Thursday, September 29, 2011

Occupy Chicago, aka Occupy LaSalle Street

Here’s what I’m doing to help Occupy Chicago:

I work in the Chicago Federal Reserve building but I do not work for the Fed, and Occupy Chicago is camped out right in front on LaSalle Street.

I make a point to encourage and talk to as many protesters when I enter and leave the building. I then immediately engage in a little small talk with Fed (armed) security, to drive home the point that I support these guys. I also prominently wear my Fed building ID and company ID (and if they want to think I’m with the REUTERS news arm of the company, so much the better).

Taking a page from Michael Rivero's book, I have pizzas delivered to the protesters. I hope they like Giordano’s because they’re a block down the street.

I printed up 10 copies of A) ACLU’s “Know Your Rights: Photographers”, B) ACLU’s “You Have Every Right To Photograph A Cop”, and C) Reason.com’s article on the Illinois State Court throwing out the charges against Michael Allison and distributed to the campers.  It's one thing to know your rights, it's another to show them in writing to law enforcement.

I also use chalk to write slogans throughout Chicago’s financial district. My current favorite is Vichy Chicago, but friends keep telling me it could be misinterpreted as “Viva Chicago.”

Chicago’s Fed is at LaSalle and Jackson, across the street from Bank of America (in the old Continental Bank of Illinois – how apropos) and the Chicago Board of Trade/Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It really is Chicago’s Ground Zero.

I’ll be there on Sunday, 2 October 2011, and if I get any great footage I’ll post it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maybe the CPD manpower shortage isn't as acute as we thought

Chicago's Police Department is so understaffed that Rahm Emanuel made it a campaign issue.  Why, if he were elected he'd put another 1000 cops on the street.

On 14 September 2011, Sun-Times reporter/columnist Mark Brown noted:
At least half the police officers that Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy have redeployed since May to help them say they’ve met that goal were already working ON THE STREET fighting crime.
Mark Brown doesn't note, however, that CPD's union contract permits full-paid time off of 12 months out of every 24 month period.  Colleagues of mine thought that statement couldn't possibly be true.  I agreed - it seemed hyperbolic.  So I went to the current FOP contract:
Section 18.2 — Non-I.O.D.
Any officer absent from work on account of non-I.O.D. injury or illness for any period of time not exceeding twelve (12) months in any twenty-four (24) consecutive month period, shall receive full pay and benefits for the period of absence, provided such injury or illness is certified by the Medical Services Section. Such certification shall not be unreasonably withheld.
 I.O.D., incidentally, is injury on duty.  That is covered in a preceding section.

Maybe if the cops had sick leave allowances that were reality-based, the manpower shortage wouldn't be so acute.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sun-Times round-up for Thursday 22 September 2011

Is today the first day of fall?  No.  Tomorrow, Friday, 23 September 2011 is.  So I overslept today on the last day of the year with more than 12 hours of sunlight.  Curses.

And now, on to the Sun-Times round-up.

Tony Bennett found a very mild way to express his feelings of 9/11 and got lambasted for it.  Oh, the online version has excised the actual comment!  Checking the print edition - they don't have it either.  Here's the incendiary lines:
"They flew the plane in but we caused it," ... "Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop. Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don't make a right."
 Buried on page 25 is this:  U.S. House kills spending bill with disaster aid.  The bill included $3.7 bn for disaster relief (read:  $3.7bn for FEMA) and rejected 230-195 in a coalition largely made up of Democrats and Tea Partiers.
[Ed. note:  This, by the way, is what they're blaming the market tanking on.  The DOW was down 391.01 (-3.51%).  This would mean that Asia & Europe plunges were also due to this, which is farcical.]

Maybe the markets plunged on this:  O'Hare $8 car rental fee may rise to help fund more parkingThe good news is that L.A. travelers are extorted for an $18 rental car fee.  The bad news - well, let the article lay it out for you:
At the time, officials described the $8 "customer facility charge" as a starting point and said the fee would go higher if the people mover system was extended to the new rental car campus instead of simply consolidating the companies' shuttle bus operations.
Wunderbar.  With TSA goons staffing every airport do they really think airline travel is going to increase?  (Leading to the mythical car rentals, natch.)

Down at City Hall, Ald. Burke in a bid to stay covered by the press echoes "Top cop has power to close stations."  From the article:
The chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee acknowledged Wednesday that Police Supt. Garry McCarthy could “unilaterally close police stations” without City Council approval and said Chicago’s financial crisis is “so dire” that the closings must be considered. . . Former Mayor Richard M. Daley once embraced a consultant’s proposal to close seven police stations to free 400 officers for community policing, only to abandon the idea and start building new police stations.
Starts to paint a picture on why the city is a microcosm of how f*cked the country is.

And then there are the Cook County Commissioners.  They voted 17-0 earlier in 2011 to take 5 furlough days and 5 shutdown days - 10 days without pay.  But now that the end of year is nigh, William Beavers and Earlean Collins don't want to take them.  Beavers asserts that the state Constitution bars any reduction or increase in a sitting official's salary.  Not sure about that, but if that's true then Beavers & Collins should be indicted for fraud since they knowingly voted for a bill that was illegal, with no intent to fulfill their duty.  And if they used a buzzer to vote, get them on wire fraud.
[Update:  Fellow Democrat commissioners Murphy, Sims, and Steele have now joined Beavers & Collins in repudiating their 26 February 2011 vote to take 10 days w/o pay.]

Back to the city, new head chosen for the CHA.  And he's from Charlotte, NC.  Emanuel is sticking to policy of hiring people from outside Chicago.  Way, way, way outside Chicago.  (Cf. Jean Brizard, Gerry McCarthy.)  Don't know what his qualifications are, don't care.

And a Chicago cop story to round it out:  Cop's lie made woman miss sister's burial.
Debra Green's sister passed away and she was in the funeral procession to the cemetery.  Officer Sylshina London was late for work and weaving in and out of the procession.  When Green called her on it, London radio'd 10-1 (officer in need of assistance) and claimed Green threw a bottle at her and hit her in the head.  A CPD blue light camera contradicted Sylshina's claim.  Now SHE'S charged with felony perjury for lying in Green's trial.  Neighbors said Sylshina moved to North Carolina.
Delightful.

One last thing.  Richard Roeper's column today addressed the two American "hikers" who were released by Iran this week.  His insipid headline:  Hiking near Iranian border probably not good idea.
I know: they’re not the only American civilians to have visited Northern Iraq. We’re told Iraqi Kurdistan is safe for tourism and people are welcoming to Americans. It’s the “other Iraq,” as many websites put it, a “popular tourist destination for people living in the Middle East.” The hikers were experienced world travelers. Bauer and Shourd were living in Damascus. Bauer is fluent in Arabic.
"We're told Iraqi Kurdistan is safe for tourism?"  Who is the "we" there?  After thinking this over, I think it's Roeper that's the idiot and not that he's taking his readers for one.  Although his regular readers probably are.
The Republic of Iran says they illegally entered the country and engaged in espionage. Bauer is a journalist. Fattal is an environmentalist and teacher. Shourd, who has battled serious health problems, is an educator and social worker.
Hold on.  On those alleged vocations, and health issues, and two are living in Damascus, and they're hiking in IRAN?  And one's fluent in Arabic?  That doesn't stink of intelligence assets?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Indian train goes wrong way, no one notices

An allegory of every U.S. company betting on India.

Indian train travels 980km in wrong direction
As the packed service pulled into the Indian city of Warangal people on board went berserk as they realised they were five hours away from where they should have been and no staff on board had noticed.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

9/08/2011 Round-up on Sun-Times columnists

Lynn Sweet's column in the paper is headlined "The tax break you don't know you have."


From the article:
No one I’ve asked over the past few months can tell me the amount of cash Obama has put in their pocket. And it’s clear the people I’ve been chatting with — friend and foe of Obama — had no idea they were getting a tax break. Maybe it’s a result of so much direct deposit that people don’t study pay stubs anymore or a matter of financial literacy or confusing messaging from the White House.

The online version changed the headline to "Obama's jobs speech to pitch extension of payroll tax cut." Maybe that's because someone pointed to her that at the same time the payroll tax was cut by 2% Illinois jacked the income tax 2% so no, Lynn, there was no change in our paychecks.

Oddly, I couldn't retrieve Roeder's column today, "Markets Hop on Hope." He attributes yesterday's market to the announcement that Obama will announce a proposal for a jobs package. Not one word on the German court capitulating on the bail-outs.

From the 9/07/2011 Sun-Times:  Cops Crack Down On Phony Sick Leave
Chicago cops have a generous medical-leave policy. Under their contract, they’re allowed 365 days of sick leave every two years.
Ich bin ein Scmuck.