Tag Archives: Oak Park

From the diaspora: Panhandlers differ, Out damned tooth . . .

From my observation post outside Starbucks: A “craft ice cream” truck tools down Bryn Mawr, 9 or so on a Tuesday morning.

We already have craft beer. What else? I’ll tell you what else, craft writing, as by Yours Truly and his ilk. Not crafty, though the temptation is always there.

Across the street, opposite corner, a young fellow in red shirt and wearing white do-rag is panhandling more aggressively — here in historic Edgewater — than I see on Clark Street a half mile west. He’s able-bodied, able enough to lean toward, though not into, passersby.

I gave him my usual buck a half hour ago, before planting myself here with iced coffee on an absolutely halcyon day, glorious in the low 70s, blessed with now a cool breeze, now a warming one, the Big Lake mere blocks away.

He took the buck blank-faced, in contrast with his Clark Street counterparts, whose responses are human enough — saying thanks sometimes, sometimes asking for more, in one instance asking me what I’m reading, for cryin’ out loud, taking the book of poems and reading from it aloud with a smile. Full of chatter when we met later on the Broadway bus.

For another I bought breafkast “britos” (burritos) at McDonald’s. Another time, barred by the manager apparently for border-line antisocial behavior, he asked me to get them for him, handing over two singles. Got life story from him in a series of encounters.

Another gave me a story on our first meeting: mother died day before, wife and three children hungry, he won’t get paid until Friday. My dollar led to request for more which proved unavailing.

Back to my post outside Starbucks, NE corner Bryn Mawr and Winthrop. Weekday, people on the run, in a hurry, except for the likes of me and a few other oldies with time to kill with over coffee, mine iced, sipped with a straw in violation of post-extraction rules.

Extraction was previous day, of a rear tooth long past its prime, like the mouth and entire body of its home for 80-plus annos.

And good riddance. It was not only “fractured,” as the dentist noted helpfully in the midst of extracting it, but infected, being (a) resting on a bone that is shrinking, as is the owner, down inches from his never exalted height physical and socio-economic. (If the tooth owner is shrinking, so is the bone that gives a tooth firm ground.)

And (b) located in area not easily reached by brush and floss and therefore vulnerable. It was doomed and had to go, which if it sounds like the plight of man on earth, so be it. Hang on and look to the heavenly father.

Extractor of this miserable excuse for a tooth deserves noting. She is the beautiful Dr. N., intelligent, impeccably professional, skilled, a 30-something Asian-American woman whom I decided to be of Chinese extraction, if I may use word in this context.

She is of coffee-with-cream complexion, alert, self-possessed, capable. If a tooth is to be extracted, how better than by the likes of her? (Two days later, patient is doing fine.)

More later from the Oak Park diaspora, North Side chapter . . .

Tax trades, and say bye-bye to the Merc

Argument is simple enough: you would make trades unprofitable.

A proposal for Illinois to tax trades on exchanges in the state is “ridiculous,” according to the executive chairman of Chicago-based market operator CME Group Inc.

The suggested levy—which would charge $1 or $2 per contract, depending on the product—would make many transactions uneconomic, forcing the exchange to leave the state because customers would stop buying and selling, CME Chairman Terry Duffy said.

The bill, designed to increase revenue in the financially troubled state, is in early stages and faces long odds of approval.

Yes, as Sen. Don Harmon told an Oak Park audience in 2013, in this exchange from my Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters.

. . . from the floor came an enterprising suggestion, that even with Harmon’s proposed fair tax (“graduated”) there still wouldn’t be enough money. “So how about the proposed tax on stock trades?” (A “sales tax on speculators,” a columnist called it.)

[Rep. Camille Lilly] laughed. “Actually, I saw that proposal, among so many that I didn’t read.”

Harmon said he had heard testimony for this tax, naming a local socialist who was also an energetic proponent of a mandated “living wage” for village employees. But he gently poured cold water on the idea, Lilly next to him nodding vigorous agreement.

“There’s the fear that this legislation would push the Chicago Mercantile Exchange out of the state,” Harmon explained. It was a rare nod to the role of taxation in damaging the economy.

Illinois Blues is available also as paperback and non-Kindle ebook.

For the rest of the CME story: Newsalert: CME Boss says he would have no choice but to move CME if Illinois tax passes

Rauner focuses on hiring transparency in executive order

Big deal here, way to flush out the hacks, such as the Sec Trans whom  Sen. Don Harmon paraded before an Oak Park audience in the fall of 2013 so as to give Oak Parkers the skinny on Dept. of Trans. plans for Eisenhower X-way and CTA”s Blue Line.

She was shown the door a few months later when discovered to be hiring relatives. Yay Harmon.

Rauner said his order is rooted in the Illinois Department of Transportation hiring scandal during the Quinn administration. An investigation found that IDOT had become a safe haven for many politically hired state employees seeking to quietly slip into jobs protected from politically motivated firings.

Nothing like transparency, which is often claimed, rarely demonstrated.

Who Is Morally Obliged to Pay to Level the Playing Field?

Asked to pony up to make things fair? Look out.

A sure sign that someone is making an argument for a policy that will unjustly pick the pockets of consumers in order to artificially and unjustly inflate the revenues of some producers is that person’s use of the term “level playing field.” This phrase is almost always a smiley-face mask for a plea for special privileges for certain producers. (I say “almost always,” although I honestly cannot recall a single instance of the phrase “level playing field” being used in any way other than the way I describe here. I could easily and truthfully drop the “almost.”)

My best example of that is, while quizzing possible school board candidates some years ago, hearing one man, a successful marketing entrepreneur with good instincts about how to deal with people, say uneven results ipso facto called for “leveling the playing field.” It had been leveled, but not enough, not until we got leveled or at least better results!

Sunday in the park with Paul Schimpf . . . . . . candidate for attorney general of our great state . . .

. . . at Day in the Village #41, June 1, Scoville Park, where tables and booths lined the walkways and small groups dotted the meadow while bands played loud and clear and people strolled.

To the OP GOP table came Paul Schimpf from downstate Waterloo, near St. Louis, a former Marine Corps infantry officer and lawyer, answering an invitation to come and meet and greet and do a lot of handshaking on a bright, sunny, hot afternoon.

Retired a year ago from the Marine Corps after 21 years following Annapolis graduation in ’93, he returned to be a father-in-residence to his and his wife Lori’s two boys in Waterloo. As a Marine lawyer, among other things, he had helped in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein.

As a candidate, he opposes the well-connected and personally attractive if not similarly qualified Lisa Madigan. To voters on this Sunday at the park, one small group after another, he presented himself as an outsider prepared to contest Illinois corruption.

He did that a week ago in the State-Journal Register:

“Look, if your father is the most powerful politician in the state of Illinois, you just don’t have the independent perspective,” Schimpf said, referring to the fact that incumbent Democratic Attorney General LISA MADIGAN is daughter of House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago. “You’re going to be inclined to give him and his political allies the benefit of the doubt.”

He continued, suggesting that Madigan plays favorites:

“Lisa Madigan cannot be a loving and loyal daughter to Mike Madigan and be the independent attorney general that the state of Illinois desperately needs,” added Schimpf, who lives in Waterloo and served 24 years in the Navy and Marine Corps. He was lead attorney-adviser to Iraqi prosecutors in the trial of SADDAM HUSSEIN.

He said Lisa Madigan is a “good person,” but being influenced by family connections is just part of being human.

Besides, she means well:

“Change is on the way!” [she said on election night 2002]. “Together we will fight corrupt corporations and corrupt public officials!”

And now running for her fourth term, Madigan lists battling corruption as a key issue on her campaign’s website.

It’s been hard:

But after nearly 12 years as Illinois’ attorney general, critics said Madigan’s only caught political minnows, while the U-S Attorney has been landing the big fish.

No fair, says Former Attorney General Roland Burris, citing “statutory limitations” of the office, which is mainly to defend the state. It’s a defense lawyer, not a prosecutor, says Burris.

So what’s she doing with all that corruption talk?

In any case, corruption-banging is attractive to most voters, so what’s Paul Schimpf got to offer that Lisa doesn’t? Those years as a Marine, for one thing.

His bio has it, offered here in reverse:

* . . . retired from Marine Corps May, 2013, returned to his home town of Waterloo . . . . is married to the former Lori Duffin from Glen Ellyn, IL. They have two boys, Ethan (7) and Garrett (5).

* . . . 2011, became Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Corps Installations Command, advising its commanding general on legal issues — from constitutionality of religious memorials on federal land to officer misconduct cases.

* . . . 2007, as Marine-appointed congressional fellow, he was Military Legislative Assistant for a Minnesota congressman, for whom he was primary advisor on defense and veteran issues. . . . then Strategist for Energy and Environment for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy . . . frequently represented the Defense department in interagency and international meetings on these issues, including as moderator of a panel discussion at UN climate change negotiations in Mexico, 2010.

* . . . 2005, as Deputy Counsel at an air station, working primarily on labor law and environmental law . . . was deployed to Iraq as lead American attorney advisor to the Iraqi prosecutors in the trial of Saddam Hussein, providing guidance enabling them to induce a remarkable courtroom confession where Saddam admitted culpability in the massacre of hundreds of civilians.

* . . . 2004, to the Army’s advanced attorney training, where he received Master of Law degree (LLM ) and wrote on how the military can improve its treatment of sexual assault victims.

* He’d got his law degree at Southern Illinois U after a stint as infantry officer at Guantanamo Bay in 2000, then served as a JAG attorney in a legal assistance clinic handling matters of family law and consumer protection law for service members. As head prosecutor for the San Diego Recruiting Region, he supervised other attorneys and personally litigated drug, sexual assault, and attempted murder cases.

You think that qualifies him to be attorney general for the great state of Illinois? Sure you do, and so do I.

Harmon’s “fair” income tax for Illinois from the horse’s mouth

Listen up, via a puffy Springfield TV-news report:

Senate Democrat Don Harmon’s proposal would have those making less than $12,500 pay a tax rate of 2.9%, those making between $12,500 to $180,000 would pay at a rate of 4.9%, those making more than $180,000 would pay at a rate of 6.9%.

Egad, that’s as opposed to the 3.75% one-size-fits-all flat tax rate set to take effect at year’s end.

So making twelve-five, you pay at 4.9%, says Don Harmon, which is a 33.3% increase. So Don Harmon wants people making $12,500 a year to pay more. As in more more more and 1/3.

It’s Democrat tax reform with a vengeance.

But wait! It’s an addition of 1.15 percentage points, so it’s only a 1.15 per cent increase, as Harmon and the other Dems figure it, complaining about Republicans’ higher figure. And if the rate were doubled, it would be a mere. 3.75% increase!

“You sigh, the song begins, you speak and I hear violins, it’s magic,” the song has it. It’s Don Harmon magic!

How to win an election intelligently, one point at a time

Alex Sink, Democrat, lost to David Jolly, Republican, in the recent Pinellas County, FL election to Congress by countering her claims point by point; and it worked.

Ms. Sink, for instance, rolled out the GOP-Wants-To-Throw-Granny-Off-The-Cliff line. Democrats beat on Mr. Jolly on seniors’ issues, claiming he wanted to privatize Social Security and cut Medicare. Rather than run from that debate, the Republican reassured voters that he supported honoring current benefits for those in, at or remotely near retirement.

Yet he also made the case for long-term reforms to entitlement programs—insisting that, yes, Social Security privatization needs to be among the options considered. He pointed out that the only folks who have done serious recent damage to Medicare are Democrats who robbed the program to pay for ObamaCare. The district’s large senior-citizen voting population knew this to be true.

War on women?

Democrats also unfurled the “war against women” theme, claiming that Mr. Jolly opposed “equal pay for equal work” for women and abortion rights. He responded that wage discrimination based on gender should be illegal, and in fact already is. He laid out a straightforward pro-life position, highlighting standard exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother—and didn’t waver from it. The Democrats couldn’t get much traction.

Rich vs. poor?

Democrats simultaneously worked the “class warfare” theme, highlighting Mr. Jolly’s lobbyist past and claiming he was in the race to reward special interests and fleece the middle class. Outside conservative groups ran ads and flyers pointing out the billions the state’s pension fund lost when Ms. Sink sat on a panel overseeing it, and also noting the $8.8 million in compensation she made as a bank executive. Turns out voters are a bit skeptical of wealthy ex-bankers posing as populists.

The Koch brothers?

The left even tried a Conservative-Special-Interests-Are-Buying-The-Election approach, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee putting out a memo that warned that the billionaire “Koch Brothers” would “prop up” Mr. Jolly to ensure that they have “more power in Washington than Pinellas families.” It was hard for voters to take this claim seriously when the airwaves were blanketed with Sink ads—many paid for by liberal “special interests” such as House Majority PAC.

The writer, Wall St. Journal’s Kimberley Strassell, has advice for Democrats: “Harry Reid, recall your strategist.”

Same goes for Republican strategists, including here in the great state of Illinois, of course, including the great village of Oak Park.

Now you see concealed-carry, now you don’t:: D. Harmon’s proposal

Oak Park Newspapers

A new twist on Sen. Harmon’s proposed twisting of concealed-carry to insert in the law the presumption of no-guns-allowed, as envisioned by a guns-fearing woman:

Nicole said she sees signs indicating gun-free zones are currently posted at her child’s pre-school, and finds them to be a frightening reminder of the tragic mass-shooting of young children in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.

She told FOX 32 news that Senate Bill 2669 would render gun-free zone signs redundant and unnecessary at places like her child’s school. She also said local businesses would benefit from posting positive signs as opposed to negative ones.

The positive sign would say guns allowed, presumption being not allowed. Progressive Dem sleight of hand, right?

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2016: Obama’s America, not for the liberal faint of heart

Dedicated libs should not be allowed to see “2016: Obama’s America,” now showing in Chi area; it would be a health risk for them, because of its blasphemous nature as they would see it, regarding their hero Obama. Others? See it, soon.

Dinesh d’Souza has put together a film that offers a fresh framework for viewing Obama — anticolonialism. A key interview is with a Kenyan writer and activist who tells d’Souza about Barack Sr.’s anticolonial feelings and convictions. Israel is “a Trojan horse” for The West in the Middle East, for instance. And Barack Jr.? He and his late father, of “Dreams” fame, are as one in their thinking. Barack Jr. is an anticolonialist in his father’s mold.

Which after an hour or so of building his framework, d’Souza illustrates, telling us what to expect in 2016 if Obama is re-elected: sharply diminished role for the U.S. in the world scene because of unilateral nuclear disarmament and because of its crippling debt, which has ballooned already and will reach five times its current level by then.

It’s an effective campaign film here. The Yorktown AMC theater audience sat quiet as mice throughout — allowing for some candy-wrapper crinkling by a young person to my right. The crowd at this 11:50 showing pretty much filled the tiered “stadium seating.” Yesterday, Sunday.  Above link gives all Chi-area showings, including AMC Showplace Galewood, just off Central north of North Ave. a few minutes drive from Oak Park.

So stay away, committed Obama-supporters; it will be too painful. But flock to it, ye Obama-objectors and -suspectors and -neutralists in the matter. Eyeful and earful awaits ye.

Oak Park hate crime not out of poverty

Image representing Zillow as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase All about addresses.

The black-on-white hate crime with which an Oak Park man is charged was committed in the village’s NW quadrant, its most affluent, and the offender has a NW quadrant address, Fox-Chicago reports, using a fuller, updated Sun-Times Media account that gives this info:

Alton L. Hayes III, of 1233 N. Woodbine Ave., was allegedly one of two people who attacked a man walking on the 600 block of North Kenilworth Avenue at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The address is for a single family home, 2195 square feet, with 2 1/2 baths, price estimated by Zillow at $487,000. Nice digs.

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