‘Tis the season
…to be jolly.
As the Earth turns rapidly to a new year, we should all be filled with the joy that life presents.
Not withstanding the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, an Australian and British philosopher as quoted in the UK “I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.” Feels like it sometimes, I must admit.
However, even with the banality of it all and everyday disappointments, I choose not to wring my hands every Christmas season over all the bad juju out there. I leave that to Ludwig and his ilk to do that.
Instead, focus on your faith, your sense of giving, and of course, the Santa gift you will enjoy. It is a remarkable season.
What are you looking for in your stockings? I love books, preferably sci-fi, history, wildlife, and a scary novel here and there.
Music is also a delight. Jazz, I say: The Byrd, the Train, and my beloved Oscar Peterson are all good additions. And of course toys. No clothes or tools, please. Robots and vintage stuff to look beautiful on a shelf. How about you? Lots of cool things out there. The Internet brings wonders to your door.
Animals are cool, too. I have a dog, two cats, a few herps, but I asked Santa for a Palmetto Corn Snake, but the blonde said no! Just because a two-foot Fox snake escaped and got loose in the house the blonde is still wary. Maybe because we never found her. I believe she may be hiding out in the basement, under the stairs, growing to a larger size right now. That’s why maybe she never goes down there, even though it’s finished — except under the stairs where it’s dark and musty. She wonders why I spend so much time there trapping mice. But that’s a story for another time.
Whatever are your wishes, I hope all your dreams come true, as “Pedro” might say. I hope Santa is good to you, but above all, I wish for peace, serenity, and joy for all of you this Christmas season. May the Lord bless you all.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and keep believing in yourself and the noble job you do.
Remember in this season of joy to tell someone that you love them.
Vita é bella.
What’s up, Gov?
Our new governor, J.B., will take office soon. It’s marginally better than the bully in office now, Rauner. Why is it that so many republicans really are bullies? I could name a few but it’s the joyous season.
Rauner hasn’t been seen too much lately. He is quietly going to end his run, unlike Rahm, who hopefully will soon go away as all lame ducks must do.
But J.B. is making noise even though as of now that’s all it is, because he never gives a lot of details or insights as to how he will handle things. He is going to inherit a state’s budget that is estimated $65,813,420,000 rubles ($1 billion USD) out of balance. And then there is a $7 billion (USD!) backlog of past-due bills. He hasn’t as of late, given us a clue how he will attack both issues.
Probably means he will send out his Orc Army to look for loose change in the pockets of all those who still reside in Mordor.
But the big issue for unions and union members, especially police officers, are pensions and retirement benefits.
The $130 billions estimated debt, which by the way can change upward minute by minute by some bean counters, makes overdue bills and the budget look like Monopoly money.
J.B. says the state should keep its promises (which I applaud). He says the state should pony up more money up front, but as usual, he doesn’t tell us how exactly he is going to do just that. But we all keep our retirement benefits as promised, that’s a good thing.
But he has a plan somewhere to do stuff. We will just have to wait and see. Where have we heard that before?
Vita é bella.
“Toilets” the Governor — JB wins
I saw a political cartoon the other day. A woman is watching TV and the telly is blaring something like “The elections are over and we return you to our regular program — advertisements for prescriptions for your medical symptoms.”
How true. And true that Rauner the Bruce got whipped and is out as governor. In fact, five minutes after the polls closed, the pundits on TV projected JB “Toilets” Pritzker as the winner. Rauner of the Janus case, fighting with unions and government workers, proponent of right-to-work laws and he of the desire to destroy your pensions and retirement rights — he is gone!
I’m biased, of course. It’s the self-preservation of not only our pensions, but our unions also. Rauner is a perfect example of how Republicans generally despise unions. You heard it all before, so I will not repeat the litany of bs that came from their platforms and agendas.
And “Toilets,” who will certainly tax the crap out of y’all, will inherit all these problems, including a $200 billion underfunded state employee retirement liability. Or so the right wing policy groups say.
So the tax plan is imminent. However, he will need a constitutional amendment to change the tax structure from a flat tax to a tiered progressive tax where the voters would have to approve, which sets the tone for gas taxes and mileage taxes in the near future. Will they?
He was a choice of two evils. However, it’s doubtful that “Toilets” would muck with collective bargaining since labor helped push him way over the top.
But he’s a rich guy beholden to no one since he put about $160 million of his own cash into his election. Rauner the Bruce put in about $60 million. Can you imagine that? Estimates to over $235 million for a 4-year job. How do you spell ego?
There have been numerous articles on what you can do in Illinois with that kind of money. It could even make a dent in our pension crisis.
Well, we are safe for now, but in 2020 or 2021 there could be an Illinois Convention where many will be pushing to amend the constitution to limit pension benefits. But we will have to wait and see how JB governs. He most certainly should be better for labor. Here’s a wishin’!
Vita é bella.
This is not who we are?
How many times have you heard that over this last year? Lots, right?
Every half-assed politician seemingly used it when there is a tragedy or dealing with political hyperbole from one party to another.
I think lame duck Rahm used it in Chicago after one of its hundreds of killings, or maybe over sanctuary cities. Or maybe in his heated rhetoric over his distaste of President Trump.
In the case of killings and attempted murders in Chicago, maybe it is who we are. If you want illegal aliens in your city or state, then it is who we are. If you hate President Trump or Obama or Bush, it is who we are.
I believe President Obama used it during his presidency while speaking to the Muslim community over the belief that America was anti-Muslim.
I’ve seen a Republican governor from another state use it while speaking about President Trump’s volatile words and agenda.
I think Cory Booker may have used it. The “I am Spartacus” senator says a lot of stupid stuff, so I might be correct there. One thing for sure is he is not Spartacus and never will be. Spartacus was a huge Thracian who spoke with his sword and would have sent Mr. Booker’s head flying.
The real Spartacus in legitimate history is not quoted to have ever spoken anything. He certainly did not proclaim “I am Spartacus” nor did that ever happen. Purely fictional account by Howard Fast in his 1951 novel and subsequent 1960 movie of the same name.
Mr. Booker would be well served to read these two books: Spartacus, an historical novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, which portrays Mr. Spartacus as anything but Kirk Douglas or Senator Booker! The second, Spartacus Wars by Barry Strauss, an historical and archeological telling of the man (not Booker) and the battlefield in a gripping fact-based context. But maybe that’s who Senator Booker thinks he is.
So every time terrible things happens or are said, a politician blows smoke out of his rear end by saying “This is not who we are.” But you know, it seems that this is exactly who we are.
People kill each other. People lie and steal. The left hates the right, and vice-versa. We destroy people’s careers. It’s non-stop racism or the accusations of same. The public, press, and politicians do not like the police. They demonize us. Accuse us of all kinds of nonsense. Cops will forever have huge targets on our backs. Not only does the world want to kill is, they lie about it, too.
I believe the phrase that I came across was first used a few years back by the Arab-American poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye. It was a post 9/11 analysis on how Arab-Americans fit into American society. A thoughtful piece. Nothing at all how it is used in today’s media.
From Vox.com, a liberal website, comes the recommendation of psychiatrists who have proposed putting lithium in our drinking water, sort of like fluoride protects our teeth. The thinking is that this would calm our minds, prevent suicide and violence, and make us all happy. I guess this would make us all unsure of who we really are!
I don’t know, maybe it will work. Seems a lot cheaper than going to Colorado or Canada to buy weed. In the absence of this working, maybe this actually is who we are.
And to further prove my point, a crazy guy sends bombs to politicians, and a man who hates kills 11 Jewish people in a house of worship.
Senator Dick Blumenthal then spews out the new buzz phrase, “This is not who we are.” Beg to differ, it appears that this is exactly who we are in many facets of our society.
Vita é bella.
Want to be mayor?
By the end of the year there will be close to 1,000 candidates for Mayor in Chicago. Among the notables are that Taxwinkle lady, the Irish guy whose brother and papa were once The Boss, maybe Chuy, the Irish cop, the current comptroller, ex-school official, some alderman types, some nobodies, and of course that nice African American man handing out hundreds and thousands of dollars to poor people. I’d vote for him. At least we know he probably won’t be on the take, a thief, or crooked.
But maybe I’ll just vote for Pedro.
You would think that with all the strife, the murders, the pension issues, the murders, the corruption, the murders, the violence-plagued hoods, the murders, the pissed off cops, the murders, CPS, the murders, and of course the murders, who the heck would want this job?
Apparently a lot of power-hungry egotistical folks who forever feed off the public trough, that’s who.
Many of us do not have a good opinion of most mayors. There are a few reasons, like threatening behavior to employees, especially during contract bargaining. Union busting tactics are common. So is throwing cops under the bus when there is political strife. Some have their hands out for freebies, some like to imbibe, bringing elements of disgrace to their office. They build up massive campaign funds, putting the squeeze on sycophants and businesses.
One exception, however, was the late mayor of Naperville, who as a cheerleader of his city worked for less, did not amass a huge campaign fund, and was a kind, religious man as his tributes alluded to. Another mayor south of Naperville has a much different style of governing.
Most fall somewhere in between these descriptions, but I have yet to see the loyalty to their employees, especially police officers.
But what do I know? Maybe there are more than a few who are not bugiardi” as we say in Italian (liars). Maybe there are some that are not vigliacco (yellow bellied) or even ubriaco (drunk).
But one thing for sure, they do think they are beyond reproach and they run the world. Need proof? Our favorite (kidding) mayor, Rahm, is going to write a book. It will be called Why Mayors Run the World. I am not making this up.
Of course he will write how great they are, probably ignoring all kinds of dysfunctions and praising their ability to change a city dramatically. (And not always for the better.) Like having a gross amount of murders and attempted murders.
Yes, they are the best because Rahm is going to say so. Do your own research and see. But is there something noble to have such a variety of characters vying for one job to rule the city?
I think quite possibly it’s for per un pugno di dollari, except for the guy who actually hands out his money. He doesn’t need it.
Vita é bella.
Who knew it would come to this? I guess it’s naïve to think it wouldn’t. It’s been going off and on for quite a while, especially with the dipshits at the Westboro Baptist Church. They protested by yelling and carrying signs denigrating fallen soldiers at their own funerals because God allegedly hates homosexuals. What that has to do with deceased soldiers — your guess is as good as mine.
And now we had the dual funerals of John McCain and Aretha Franklin. True to form, at McCain’s funeral, there were many moments of Trump bashing and the press played into it strongly. Then Aretha, in her six, or was it nine-hour funeral had Sharpton and Jesse holding hands as the Trump bashing continued with Al leading the way.
Song, dance, and politics. Was that the way to honor her? Maybe two out of three. Then we saw a past U.S. president obviously ogling a young singer, who was later groped by a pastor, who said her name sounded like a menu item at Taco Bell. Funny, huh? I think not, but it probably had a polarizing effect on some Latinas.
When another pastor offered his criticism of the Black Lives Matter group, fatherless children, and black on black crime, he was, of course, trolled and belittled on Twitter. What he said made sense, but it didn’t sit well with the haters.
I didn’t watch any of it as I sort of knew there would be loads of disrespect for our president. I would object to a funeral being a forum of belittling any president, not just the current one. I could only read about it. That was more than enough.
Then there was Mollie Tibbets. The young, vibrant 20-year old woman abducted and stabbed to death in Iowa for the crime of jogging down the highway.
Then almost immediately the haters on both sides of the aisle did their best to politicize her murder, further polarizing the citizens and only adding more grief to her loved ones. Her father had to put out a statement, telling the politicos and the press to not politicize his daughter.
I doubt either one cared or listened. Vita é bella.
What gang affiliation?
This is how seriously Chicago takes the gang violence. After a nearly 70+ shootings with 12 killings on one recent weekend and continuing murders, another cry for help went out from community activists.
And with all the finger pointing and blame, the press, citizens, and activists want something done — especially to the racist cops and police departments they accuse of all kinds of misconduct.
Chicago, like many departments, have a gang database which identifies all the thugs, purported thugs, and potential killers, as well as being able to predict who may be on the “hit list” for the next killer.
Thirty-three thousand juveniles arrested over the last two decades have been identified as gangbangers, along with countless adults. It’s an important tool in fighting gang violence in a city overrun by it.
Now I don’t have to tell you what gangs do besides killing each other (just watch the Sopranos). Gangs are involved in a myriad other illegal and harmful activities. But the press and others, especially attorneys for the MacArthur Justice Center, filed a class action lawsuit against Chicago, stating “We don’t think there is a need for gang intelligence on this scale.”
Others state the database is racially skewed. I guess since the Mafia is virtually dead that means there are few Italians or white folks in gangs nowadays.
Hey, the “Outfit” had their day and blew it! You don’t think Chicago PD or the FBI had databases on Murray “the Camel” Humphreys, or Joe “No Nose” or “Big Tuna”? Of course they did. Police track the bad guys. It isn’t rocket science.
Others say the databases point to the risk for youths who could wind up permanently labeled a gangbanger... (and this is my favorite quote ever) for an impulsive decision. Oh my, yes. An impulsive decision to shoot an 11-year old in the face while in a viaduct or playing in the park.
That’s what this has become. A press who is more than willing to demonize everything cops do. We can’t help people unless they want to be helped, and the people running the show are cowards and bow to the fanatics and PC culture because it’s all about votes. And the carnage continues.
Vita é bella.
And the answer is?
To the continuing carnage in Chicago and the never-ending issue that it’s the cops’ fault because there is no trust in the community. That, however, seems to be just a talking point of the race baiters, cop haters, and the news media that really don’t like you, either.
Actually you can add the prosecutors to that list. Nothing I have seen from them can change my jaded mind.
It’s not just a Chicago problem, although everything is obviously exacerbated in this city. Yes, there are a few bad cops in our profession (as in any profession). Policing is a microcosm of society but to continue to blame police for the never-ending violence is ridiculous.
And police involved in violent confrontations would be minimized if people comply, don’t carry or use unlicensed weapons, don’t commit crimes, or run.
Running, just like with bears and mountain lions, can capture the interest of any cop on the street. You are trained to pursue and that you should do, despite the activists and press now suggesting that you allow people to run away. Fat chance.
I think most people who are honest are not buying into racist police, white privilege, or the temperature for the violence. Media types are just desperate and keep salivating over the same old talking points that “fake news” provides.
Yes, it’s poverty, degrading neighborhoods, lack of opportunity, and other ills of society. But that means it’s okay to shoot a 17-year old girl in the face, an 11-year old on a bike, or a 62-year old trying to sleep?
More cops, more prosecutions, higher bonds, jail time, and tough policing backed by politicians can go a long way to minimizing the carnage.
Blaming race, whiteness, or the heat is dumb. Local aldermen have recently suggested the fault of parents, and the need for watchful parents and the lack of religion as culprits in the violence.
There is no major economic plan says another. And others say drugs and blood money, not getting the education people need, and no hope since the government is giving up on them. More liberal dribble.
Really, it’s the government? I guess Ronald Reagan was right, eh?
Others, including JB Pritzker, blame Rauner. Hey, I don’t like Rauner, but I find it hard to believe he is at fault. This has been a problem long before Rauner became governor.
And then there is a “values” problem that causes an allocation of resources, like to Lollapalooza instead of to endangered communities.
So in my limited brain capacity and years giving wisdom to the cop world, I would say it all comes down to this. People are scared to come forward. Unless we make the arrests, the prosecutors make the bonds high and the judges keep the bad guys in jail, folks just won’t come forward.
Police can’t protect witnesses and can do nothing to secure their safety, short of putting someone in a witness protection program, which is not happening on a local level. Order of Protections are useless, too.
So unless you can keep these assholes in jail, nothing will change. They kill because they are assholes. That’s what assholes do, despite all hand wringing and meetings and opinions on the cause.
And unless the system will guarantee a witness’ safety, they will not come forward because they know the next bullet will be for them.
Vita é bella.
Before the column starts, I just want to say, as far as unions go:
Together we bargain Divided we beg
Here it is!
Yes, my annual “Shark Week” column has arrived. Feel lucky — it could be “Snake Week” if my favorite snake catchers Simon and Souixe of the television show Snake City had an annual event.
As you know, sharks are a lot like politicians. Sneaky, crafty, mean, without mercy, and just waiting in the murky waters to make you bleed. And just like sharks, politicians have a huge PR group with fundraising abilities.
Politicians always have the proper spin on why they lie, cheat, defer responsibilities, have lax moral turpitude, and why they always have their hands in your pockets.
Sharks have numerous spokespeople telling us cretins that they don’t hunt us, we are not on the menu, all while sharks bite and sometime consume people of all shapes and sizes throughout international waters.
Some shark experts, while feeding you with this bull will, speaking of bull, advise us that bull sharks are the most dangerous sharks in all of the world. They actually will chase you and eat you up just like your local property tax bill eats up your dollars, courtesy of your local politicians.
And fundraising? Here’s a sample of the Save the Sharks mantra every time a shark gobbles up some stupid surfer (nice alliteration, eh?). No offense meant to stupid surfers.
• Project Aware
• Shark Angels (I particularly like this one)
• Shark Savers
• Sea Shepard
• Predators in Peril
• Shark Friendly Marinas (Like gender friendly restrooms maybe?)
• Shark Research Institute
• White Shark Trust South Africa
• The I.C.U.N Shark Specialist Group
And there are many more. In a bit of politico connection, some shark charities have been flooded with donations after an interview with Stormy Daniels where it was alleged that President Trump told her he was terrified of sharks and hoped they would all die.
I’m assuming he will propose a wall to be constructed on both sides of the USA as well as the Gulf of Mexico to keep these fish that reportedly do injure some bathers out of sight and mind.
Politicians have enormous amounts of money from their fundraising benefactors, fueling the hatred of both political parties and their sycophants.
• The Koch Brothers
• Big Business
• Oil and Gas
• Labor Unions
• George Soros
• And the folks with no brains who give to these morons
So aside from the moronic “tweets” that Discovery Channel insists on killing me with, I enjoyed the week of chum, large sharks, science, and of course, “Bob the Shark” on the Shark after Dark show.
Until next year. Don’t be fooled — stay out of the water. And away from politicians. They do, as you can see, have much in common.
Vita é bella.