Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cab drivers to protest Daley and city demanding "fare reforms"

WHAT: Cabdrivers gather to demand “fare” reforms, meeting with Daley
WHERE: City Hall, 5th floor (In front of Daley’s office)
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST – Cabdrivers Media Statement AT 11:30 AM

For Immediate Release Contact: Prateek Sampat, AFSC – 847-340-1658 (cell)
Facing long hours & low wages, Taxi Drivers threaten strike over “fare” reforms
Drivers submit petitions to City Council for 16% fare increase & demand Mayor Daley meet cabdrivers to negotiate on key reforms in the taxi industry

CHICAGO- With skyrocketing fuel costs, costs of living, and maintenance costs, taxi drivers are demanding a 16% fare increase, amongst other reforms. The cabdrivers will be announcing the possibility of a strike at the press conference, if Mayor Daley refuses to meet over the proposed reforms. They will be also be submitting petitions representing more than a thousand cabdrivers, on Wednesday, initiating a legally-binding process that will lead to hearings at City Hall within 60 days. (MCC 9-112-510(c))

“The taxi industry needs to be reformed from the bottom up- and nobody knows about the taxi business more than the cabdrivers,” says UTCC’s Chair Fayez Khozindar. “If the mayor will not give us the opportunity to be partners, then we will call the strike.”

Drivers say that the current Daley-backed gas surcharge of $1, which has been in effect since May, has done little to provide relief. “It does not sufficiently address our needs- what we face is not just the gas prices- our everyday cost of living is skyrocketing,” says Ron Florence, spokesman of UTCC.

Drivers favor a solution they believe adequately addresses their concerns- a permanent fare increase. Driver group United Taxidrivers Community Council (UTCC) favors a more comprehensive approach to the fare problem. The group calls on a permanent 16% fare increase that would provide some income for the cash-shorted drivers.

“We’re fed up with the working conditions we face which are making us work 12-16 hour days to make the same money we are making 3.5 years ago when we got our last increase,” says Peter Enger, another member of UTCC. It has been documented by UTCC that cabdriver income averages a $5.77 an hour, well below minimum wage, and the average shift is 12 hours and 20 minutes.

Florence insists that the Mayor Daley can stop a potential strike: “The decision maker, here, is the city- the city should provide a seat at the table for the taxi drivers to negotiate about matters affecting their jobs.“

Another key reform drivers are demanding is a biennial (every two years) review of rates of fare, based upon cost of living and cost of driving, and incremental fare increases on the basis of the findings. Other key reforms are a freeze of their lease rates & investigation of illegal leasing practices, restoration of meter & half rates to Skokie, Burbank & Elk Grove Village.
Fayez Khozindar – Chairperson, UTCC – 312-343-5831; Peter Enger – Member, UTCC – 773-550-7921;
Ron Florence – Spokesperson, UTCC – 773-682-0265

WHAT: Cabdrivers gather to demand “fare” reforms, meeting with Daley
WHERE: City Hall, 5th floor (In front of Daley’s office)
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST – Cabdrivers Media Statement AT 11:30 AM

Who voted how from Illinois

From the Peoria Journal-Star this morning:

Who voted how on the $700 Billion bailout Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives? Here is a breakdown of the vote on the measure:

Democrats voting YES:

Melissa Bean
Bill Foster
Luis Gutierrez
Phile Hare
Danny Davis
Rahm Emanuel
Jan Schakowsky

Republicans voting YES:

Mark Kirk
Ray LaHood

Democrats voting NO:

Jerry Costello
Jesse Jackson Jr
Dan Lipinski
Bobby Rush

Republicans voting NO:

Judy Biggert
Don Manzullo
Peter Roskum
John Shimkus
Tim Johnson

Republican NOT VOTING:

Jerry Weller

-- Ray Hanania

"Mornings with Ray Hanania" Broadcasting from Peoria

I'm in Peoria broadcasting my radios how this morning as I prepare to cover parts of the U.S. Justice Department prosecution -- the second attempt -- of Jeff Mazon, a Country Club Hills former contractor with Halliburton who is accused of taking a bribe. But the big issue is that the government doesn't want anyone to discuss the issues about Halliburton itself, the pattern of corruption that has plagued Halliburton's contracts in Iraq ... or the role of the Bush administration or Halliburton "former" CEO vice president Dick Cheney ...

No one is covering the trial and I think the government is trying to bury this case so Halliburton doesn't become the bigger issue than an alleged corruption case that a jury already tossed last April 2008 during the first trial because of concerns over the evidence.

I'll post updates and we can discuss this and the $700 billion bailout and President Bush's speech this morning on TV, the drop in the stock market that represented more than a trillion dollars in loses.

The online broadcast of the radio show sounds great from Peoria ...

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain versus Obama debate analysis

Although neither candidate specifically outlined exactly what they would do to confront the current economic challenges we face, the one answer we did receive was a very important one: the debate tonight in no way hindered or hampered the ability of this nation to confront the economic challenge. That was John McCain's initial message and clearly, he was proven wrong.

But there was a fundamental difference between McCain and Barack Obama that came out clearly. McCain was determined to attack McCain and hammer away at two points that he, McCain, has been to many of the foreign nations that are today the focus of our foreign policy disasters, and Obama has not; and, that McCain has "more experience" than Obama.

McCain argued that Obama opposed the "surge," but Obama came back strong and pointed out that the real problem facing this country is not one strategy of sending 20,000 troops to Iraq to help our 125,000 existing sodliers already there, but rather the flaw in entering Iraq in the first place. The Surge that John McCain championed repeatedly as an attack on Obama is nothing more than a short-term band-aid that has done nothing to resolve the fundamental challenge we face int he war on terrorism. Iraq was the wrong move after Sept. 11, 2001 and McCain did not speak out when the need for leadership and experience was in demand. McCain silently supported the Iraq war and that is the fundamental error that has led this nation to where it is today.

While Obama spoke to the American people, McCain spoke to the debate moderator Jim Lehrer. While Obama spoke to McCain, McCain seemed uptight and focused either on Lehrer or on his notes. McCain showed that he has the mental stamina to engage in a toe-to-toe debate with Obama and that his age is not an issue -- at least in this debate -- but an advantage of experience. And McCain deserves points for being tough and driving home over and over again his two priority messages.

But neither candidate offered a real solution to the nation's economic turmoil, other than their fundamental beliefs in how to address the bigger pictures that have led us to this economic challenge.

The debate was productive and Americans were given a chance to finally see, four weeks before the election, who the candidates really are facing off no-holds-barred and in open and wide debate and discussion. The fact that this debate might not have taken place is problematic for McCain.

This debate is not about who won or who lost but rather that the American people were finally given a chance to see the two men, one of which will become this nation's president, speak on the important issues. The debate was broadened from its original focus from foreign policy to include the nation's economic challenges.

Both candidates did a good job of presneting their side and newither side made a major mistake. So in the end, neither side lost anything. And did it change any minds? Probably not.

The deciding factor for most Americans will probably not come from the debate tonight but rather from the bigger, fundamental issues that each candidate brought to the debate.

McCain represents the existing policies represented by the failed presidency of George W. Bush, and Barack Obama represents a change from the past failed policies. If McCain failed in any area, it was in failing to distinguish himself apart from Bush's failures, Bush's errors in entering Iraq, and his failure to properly confront the challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan where al-Qaeda exists.

-- Ray Hanania

WAMU Takes a Whoo Hoo hit

About two weeks ago I walked into the Orland Park offices of Washington Mutual to pay my mortgage ... this time a few days early. The reports were out that WAMU, as it is called, might be having troubles.

And, being the joker that I am, I told the clerk in the office, "Hi. I'm here a few days early with the check just in case you might need the help. I'd hate to come here next week and find the doors closed and you wouldn't be able to take my money."

That's when the clerk very nicely and genuinely assured me, "Don't worry. We're doing great. Don't believe everything you read in the media."

Of course, she didn't know I was a columnist and radio talk show host. I just shrugged and handed her the check wondering what would happen if a mortgage company collapses? Do they call in the mortgage?

So I went home and told my wife, Alison, and she said, "Right. Of course they are going to tell you that. That's exactly what Lehmann Brothers was telling Wall Street the week before they collapsed."

And sure enough, my hockey mom wife hit the nail on the head when WAMU collapsed last night and it was bought up by J.P. Morgan.

Don't worry Mayor McLaughlin. I ain't leaving Orland Park that easily.

-- Ray Hanania

Kohl's opens new stores including in Romeoville

Here's soemthing interesting. If you want to avoid the repressive Todd Stroger taxes in Cook County, you can find another alternative in Will County for Kohl's Department Stores, which is very popular in Orland park.:

-- Ray Hanania

Kohl’s celebrates 1,000 stores, unveils green building

WHAT: Kohl’s Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) will officially open its Crete and Romeoville, Illinois stores with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 1. This fall Kohl’s celebrates the opening of its 1,000th store as well as 47 environmentally friendly stores, 45 are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) pre-certified at the Silver level by the U.S. Green Building Council.

In addition to its environmental impact, the new Kohl’s is making an economic impact through the creation of approximately 300 jobs in the Chicago area. Crete and Romeoville are two of three opening in Illinois this fall, bringing the state total to 61.

In celebration of its 1,000th store and grand openings nationwide, Kohl’s invites customers to enjoy special prices throughout the store on exclusive brands such as Simply Vera Vera Wang, Abbey Dawn, ELLE™, FILA SPORT® and Food Network™ and national brands such as Levi’s®, Carter’s® and Cuisinart®. Kohl’s offers a comfortable and convenient shopping environment where customers can outfit themselves, their families and their homes for a great value. In addition, every store offers Kohl’s charge cards, gift cards, gift registries, a generous return policy, shopping carts that double as strollers, centralized checkouts and extended store hours.

Kohl’s commitment to customer service has been endorsed by the National Retail Federation* which has ranked Kohl’s as one of the top retailers for customer service for the past three years. In addition, Kohl’s has ranked among the top retailers in the University of Michigan’s** customer satisfaction survey for six consecutive years.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 1
7:30 a.m. – Media Check-in with Store Manager
7:45 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
8:00 a.m. – Official Store Opening

WHERE: 23755 Volbrecht Road, Crete
261 Weber Road, Romeoville

VISUALS: • Comments from Kohl’s executives and local officials
• Ribbon cutting ceremony
• Residents shopping Kohl’s world class brands

EDITOR’S NOTES: To arrange a sneak peek, store tour, or interview with a local Kohl’s representative, contact:
Diana Wakefield at dwakefield@ckpr.biz

Kohl’s grand opening B-roll footage is available at http://mnr.onthescene.com/Kohls/Kohls_Video_Fall2008.html

This morning's topics: McCain and Obama debate; Carol Marin and Cicero ... and more

John McCain wants to cancel the debate but Barack Obama is going to go ahead with it …

I was thinking maybe I'd cancel my show to help focus on the economy … why don't we all just stop working and doing our jobs to help resolve the crisis … it's a stupid idea … McCain and Obama should STAY AWAY from the debate on the economy and let the Senate leaders deal with it … if McCain and Obama get involved they just turn it into politics … leadership is also about working with the House and Senate not taking the spotlight away … McCain and Obama should debate and they should change the focus to the economy rather than international affairs

John Bolton, Bush's former, loser UN Ambassador, is in the New York times telling us the focus should be on Iran because Iran has weapons of mass destruction and they are preparing to attackj the United States and they are preparing to attack New York … and … and … and Didn't we have enough lies from Bush … we don't need his minions out there lying for him … Bush lied enough … Bolton is one of those conservative zealots who cares more about politics than our real issues like the economic mess Bush got us into

I got some calls from friends at WMAQ TV yesterday wanting to know if I was "mad" at Carol Marin … I'm not mad at Carol Marin … I like Carol … a lot … I just think the issue isn't Carol it's the story … Dan Proft made a good argument when he came on the show this week … he had an appointment with Marin and her producer to go over the Cicero contracts on Thursday morning … but on Wednesday night 90 Marin called and said they wanted to cancel and they were going to go with the story (without Proft's side of the story -- and he, not Cicero, was the focus of the report) … why? because on Thursday morning it turns out, the Chicago Tribune broke the story too …

I told them I love Carol … she's not the issue … the issue is journalism and fairness … they wanted to beat the Tribvune with the story and I don't blame them but at what cost? Proft had everything to give them …

But the bigger issue in my mind is this: why Cicero? Do yout hinkt he media cares about Cicero? No way. Why not Orland Park … the candals and political shenanigans there? The corruption and waste in a place like Orland Park? Because the MEDIA LIKES Orland Park … they HATE Cicero … it's not about concern for the residents of Cicero that they focus on Cicero ,.. it's about media sales … sell newspapers, sell controversy, sell TV ads … the people of Cicero will vote them out of office if they don't like what is going on …

tune in this morning at 8 am
-- Ray Hanania

Sun-Times Rob Feder gives a nice plug for my radio show

Sun-Times Columnist Rob Feder included a nice mention of my new radio show in his very popular Radio Industry and broadcast media industry column. You can't get better than that. Here's the link.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Congressman Jesse L. Jackson interview, takes up idea on dealing with the housing crisis

I was privileged to have Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr., on my radio show this morning (Mornings with Ray Hanania) on WJJG 1530 AM radio. Jackson was talking first about his courageous act to reach out to his rivals and foes and apologize and extend a hand of friendship to bridge personal differences and stay focused on the issues not the personality.

During the discussion of how to help those in home mortgage foreclosure, I proposed something I've written before that instead of pumpign $700 Billion in money to save the bigshot corporations, banks and investors, we should help the mortgage home owners who are in foreclosure. One way to do that would be to take their ARM Mortgages and immediately convert all of them into conventional mortgages. Take away the cause of part of the problem, dramatically increasing the interest rate, and instead lower the instead rates and make them permanent mortgages.

Jackson said he was going to take that idea, expand on it and introduce it on the floor of the U.S. Congress befoire the end of the week.

The idea is sound. Stop the foreclosures. Give the people who are losing their homes the help they need. Help them keep their mortgages by converting the ARM to a conventional mortgage. And, even go one step further.

Why not also allow them a six month or 12 month grace period to get back on their feet. Have them only pay the interest on the converted, fixed rate mortgage, and delay the principle or extend the mortgage the extra year.

I know if I had this problem, this would help me as a homeowner.

Listen to the interview by going to http://www.radiochicagoland.com/.

Click here for the direct link to the audio file

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Letters, letters and more letters: Fire "Protect the President's Career" District

Dear Mr. Hanania

I am a faithful reader of you blog. In regards to your recent article regarding the Orland Park Fire District charging for ambulance fees, I would like to respond, anonymously, of course.

The "whisper" behind these fees is that the President of the Board of Trustees [of the Orland Park Fire Protection District], Pat Maher, will be seeking a seat on the Cook COunty Board of Commissioners in the 2010 election.

As was stated in the Southtown/Star, "the fire district is not running short of funds but the new policy, which will bring in about $1 million a year, will help prevent future tax increases."

Mr. Maher will collect these ambulance fees, sit on them until he has a nice accumulation, then he will rebate them back to the taxpayers just in time so this "good deed" is fresh in the voters' minds when we go to the polls in 2010. A move right out of the playbook of Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

This should also answer the question you asked in your July 29, 2008 article titled "Campaign Disclosure Notes for Orland Park." Under article V -- Friends of Patrick M. Maher, you asked, "So why did he [Maher] create this campaign [fund] in March?

Now you know.


Dear Anonymous.

Thank you for sharing your views and what you have heard. I think you hit the political nail on the head and I believe Maher is planning to run for higher office and Cook COunty Board -- which does nothing in Orland Park ala Elizabeth Gorman Doody -- is the perfect spot to grab. Gorman will probably retire, as she is worthless. Maher and McLaughlin are politically very close. They share friendship in a certain computer company involved in another legal mess.

And I hope voters are smart enough to see past Maher's scheme. I mean, McLaughlin raised taxes in Orland Park and built up a huge surplus that he "rebates" back to voters. Of course, this year he imposed a back-door property tax hike by only rebating a part of that promised rebate. He's keeping about 40 percent for the village and that is a 40 percent hike in property taxes.

Not that I can get McLaughlin or Maher to ever respond as they don't care. They share that imported 19th Ward Chicago arrogance that they can do whatever they want because the people they "govern" are too apathetic to bother protesting or asking questions, and most newspapers in this area don't write about controversy, especially when kissing ass is so much more lucrative.

Thanks for writing
Ray Hanania

Dear Ray

You wrote a while back that Orland Park Police Chief Timothy McCarthy would make a great candidate for mayor. Is there any truth to the rumors McLaughlin is retiring?

a "Blue Heron"

Dear "Blue Heron"

Thanks for your letter. I am not sure. My sources in the village hall and in the police department tell me McCarthy wants to run for office and may run for mayor only if McLaughlin steps down. McCarthy would make a great elected official so I hope the rumors are true.

Thank you for writing.

You do more than the Village Clerk, his son and the mayor combined.

Ray Hanania


You can email your comments to:


and I will keep your identities private and will not publish them if you request. Or, you can also send your letters to my PO Box at

Ray Hanania
PO Box 2127
Orland Park, IL., 60462

OR ... you can call me on my radio show every morning on WJJG 1530 AM Radio Monday thru Friday from 8 am until 9:30 am and share your thoughts anonymously also.

Let's put Orland Park back on the map of accountability.

# # #

More fee hikes (back door tax hikes) in Orland Park ...

The fees associated with the "Water Bills" are going up and so are taxes in the Village of Orland Park through back door means. When they lower your property tax rebate, that means they are RAISING THE TAXES YOU WILL BE PAYING even if the crafty and clever Mayor of Orland Park Dan McLaughlin doesn't want you to believe it and he has the lemmings on the Village Board nodding their fins in agreement.

Now, they are also increasing fees for some recreation programs. The Recreation Department has one of the best programs in the Southwest Suburbs. But the village officials should at least be HONEST and amdit they are not holding down fees and taxes and costs in this horrible economy. They are doing what everyone else is doing except they don't wan tto be honest about it.

What question would you ask McCain and Obama at this Friday's debate

I'll be asking radio show listeners this question, What would you ask John McCain and Barack Obama at this Friday's debate which focuses n foreign policy and international affairs ...

I'm working on a comic strip and still have not hit the mark yet on one I want to draw ... I hate doing anything. It has to have a strong point that is pertinent to what's happening now ...

The benefit for Nadia Hilou, the Palestinian Israeli member of the Israeli Knesset -- she is a member of the Labor Party and not one of the "Arab" Party slates in Israel -- is going along well ...we will have a BIG CROWD Oct. 8 at the Arts Center of Oak Park ... the info on the benefit which features a presentation on how she is working from within the system in Israel to make things better for children and families and also a performance by the world's first Christian Arab COmedy troup the "Infidels of Comedy" (including me, Nasry Malak and Maria Shehata) is available at www.InfidelsofComedy.com ... you can also buy tickets there online using your credit card. $40 for general admission (doors open at 6:30) and $15 for students with school IDs ...

Today's radio show features a soldier from Iraq and also attorney Mike Deutsch on the Mohamed Salah political dissident persecution case in the American Gulag, our system of misjustice in America.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, September 22, 2008

Green Team candidates pool resources in west suburbs

For Immediate Release • September 22, 2008


St..Charles Il.

The Green Team, consisting of 4 area legislative candidates, from the Illinois Green Party has developed a platform centered around 10 issues to be promoted by the team. Dane Willman (43rd), Dan Kairis (50th), James Dusing (70th), and Gerard Schmitt (95th) whose districts include parts of Kane, DeKalb, DuPage, and Cook counties are focusing on issues they feel are being ignored by the other parties.

The Green Team candidates believe a restructuring of the elementary grades and more equitable school funding are the two most important issues in our state. Also included in the Green Team platform are recall, term limits, verifiable paper ballots, elimination of automatic legislative pay hikes, elimination of corporate campaign contributions, community based politics- (open primaries and equal ballot access), non-partisan election of judicial system officials, and forbidding state contracts to large campaign contributors.

The Green Team offers an alternative to the ineffective leadership and “politics as usual” so pervasive in Springfield politics. The 55 Illinois Green Party candidates on the November ballot is the largest challenge to the entrenched politicians in decades. The Green Team can be reached at 866-492-8013

Informative show with 16th Congressional District Candidates

Both 16th District Congressman Donald Manzullo and his Democratic challenger, Barrington Hills Mayor Robert Abboud, appeared on "Mornings with Ray Hanania" to discuss their campaigns and the issues. Both insisted that trhey believed the CEOS od the troubled mortgage companies and investment bankers should be held accountable. Abboud said "Some of them should definitely go to jail."

You can listen to the recorded portions of the interviews by visiting www.RadioChicagoland.com.

Incompetent aides to Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

Incompetent aides to Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

CHICAGO (AP) -- Governor Rod Blagojevich says he didn't know $65,000 in campaign contributions from a former administration official who's pleaded guilty to felony charges hadn't been returned.

Ali Ata pleaded guilty this year to lying to a federal agent and evading federal income taxes. He then testified for the state against political fundraiser Tony Rezko.

Blagojevich campaign spokesman Doug Scofield tells the Chicago Sun-Times he's not aware the Ata money has been dumped.

The governor says he'd look into the matter. He says he'd also consider legislation requiring elected officials to return money contributed from similar sources.

Blagojevich has denied accusations by Ata he discussed a state job with him after Ata made large campaign contributions.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

This week's radio show lineup

Monday's radio show features inteviews with Congressman Donald
Manzullo of the 16th District and his challenger Robert Abboud.

Tuesday: attorney Mike Deutsch discusses the case of political
dissident Mohammed Salah. (also possibly Clarice Berry of the Chicago
Principals and Administrators Association)

Wednesday: Political commentator Dan Proft discusses the presidential

Thursday: Congressman Dan Lipinski discusses issues in the Southwest
Side/suburban congressional district.

Friday: Confirming US Senator Dick Durbin.

The show airs Mon-Friday 8 -9:30 AM on WJJG AM 1530 radio live. You
can call in at 708-493-1530 ... and you can listen to the program via
the internet by visiting www.RadioChicagoland.com.

This weeks radio show lineup

Monday's radio show features inteviews with Congressman Donald
Manzullo of the 16th District and his challenger Robert Abboud.

Tuesday: attorney Mike Deutsch discusses the case of political
dissident Mohammed Salah. (also possibly Clarice Berry of the Chicago
Principals and Administrators Association)

Wednesday: Political commentator Dan Proft discusses the presidential

Thursday: Congressman Dan Lipinski discusses issues in the Southwest
Side/suburban congressional district.

Friday: Confirming US Senator Dick Durbin.

The show airs Mon-Friday 8 -9:30 AM on WJJG AM 1530 radio live. You
can call in at 708-493-1530 ... and you can listen to the program via
the internet by visiting www.RadioChicagoland.com.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Alleged sex predator arrested, but former Congressman Foley gets a pass

Sex predator Foley gets the "Elected Official’s" pass

By Ray Hanania

Charles Mowder must wish he had run for congress and won.

The 40 year old man from Midlothian, a southwest suburb of Chicago, was arrested this week by the Cook County State’s Attorney and charged with indecent solicitation of a child and child pornography after soliciting sex from a 16 year old girl using text messaging.

Mowder’s bail, according to news media reports, was set at $300,000 after the mother of the Orland Park 16 year old discovered Mowder’s text messages to her daughter.

Chances are Mowder won’t get the break that Mark Foley got.

Foley was a Republican congressman from Florida who was in charge of managing the Page System which helped young boys and girls learn the ins and outs of the nation’s highest legislative office.

Turns out Foley was trying to teach them more. At least the male pages, soliciting them for sex using emails.

Foley was forced to resign 2006. But the rumors and evidence of his solicitations go back to february 2003, more than 5 years ago. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which received a lot of support from Foley when he was in Congress and not trying to sexual assault young boys, decided they couldn’t prove enough to prosecute him.

Imagine, nearly 5 years passed in the Foley investigation.

One of the pages said that Foley solicited him for oral sex repeatedly. Foley admitted he sent the sexually explicit emails to the young boys who were working under his supervision. Others were clearly involved, but the powerful Florida Department of Law Enforcement couldn’t confirm any of the other allegations of misconduct by Foley.

Foley was the pal of former House Speaker Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, the Republican big shot from Chicago’s Western suburbs. Turns out several former aides and Foley staffers claimed Hastert and his staff were warned about Foley's misbehavior long before it became public. Knowing he was screwed, Hastert resigned rather than face any public oral scrutiny for his lapse in judgment about his close friend.

But Mowder doesn’t have any big shot friends in the legislature, or congress. He isn’t the best friend of a former Speaker of the House. He never did anything to bring funding to the Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine, who is one of the most incompetent and failed public leaders of our time. (He never went after one major City Hall corruption case while his mentor, Richard M. Daley, held office.)

So the law enforcement moved fast on Mowder. They didn’t wait five years to pursue charges.

Mowder was immediately arrested while Foley was able to simply wiggle and dodge the bullet for years.

Mowder was ordered to pay bail, but Foley didn’t have to do anything except hope that his buddies and pals and political cronies would keep him out of jail.

In most places, sexually harassing under-aged children is an immediately prosecutable crime.
Sexually harassing young children and students under your tutelage and supervision is also a crime, even if they are slightly over the age of consent.

Mowder is in trouble and the system acted quickly to prosecute him.

Foley was able to skate, though, and the system did all it could to drag its feet and protect him.

Anyone surprised that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded that "too much time has passed" since the February 2003 case was first exposed?

"There did not appear to be probable cause that a crime was committed," a reported issued by the FDLE concluded.

No probable cause?

How about this is just another example of where the morally corrupt leadership in our country is merely taking care of one of their own?

It’s one reason why criticism of Hastert wasn’t harsh enough.

(Listen to Mornings with Ray Hanania on WJJG 1530 AM Radio every Monday thru Friday at 8 AM. This and other topics are discussed and your comments and calls are encouraged. www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

Another Bush speech stumble :)

Bush held a press conference yesterday talking about the fast deteriorating stock market, the bailout for AIG and his alleged concern for our economy, when he said that if anyone is found having done anything wrong in the market, they "would be persecuted."

That's for sure.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dan Seals comes out swinging against Mark Kirk

Mark Kirk has been touting his phoney military service like he is some kind of war time fighter pilot. Right! And then he wants you to think he hasn';t supported President Bush lock-step for the past 7 years ... asserting he is "Mr. Independent."

But Dan Seals, who has a shot at throwing Kirk out of office this November, says, "When our young men and women fight for our country overseas, they need to know that their representatives will fight for them when they return home," Seals said. "Over the past eight years, Mark Kirk has voted 24 times against veterans benefits, while refusing to support a responsible end to the war in Iraq. America's servicemen and women deserve representatives who will honor their bravery and sacrifice by keeping our promise to care for them and their families."

Seals has the backing of a real war time veteran, Tammy Duckworth.

Check out Seals' web site at:


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Orland Park on Facebook ...

Orland Park has a "Group" on facebook with 1,259 members ... (Facebook used to be a college networking site but now is one of the most important online networking tools a person can have -- far better than MySpace) ...

And the group description includes this very funny monologue ... "You know you're from Orland Park if ..."

You know you are from Orland Park if....

1. It takes 30 minutes to get from one stop light to the next.
2. Graduated from a high school that was remodeled and looks like something out of a SciFi movie.
3. The only thing you can do is shop or eat food.
4. There is a Starbucks, a bank, or Walgreens on literally every corner.
5. You know Walmart is in Orland Hills, not Orland Park.
6. You know how to use Ravinia Ave.
7. Farms turn into neighborhoods over night.
8. When not in Orland, you refer to it as "the O.P."
9. You can see a water tower from anywhere.
10. You ALWAYS see the homeless guy with a basketball in the Mall
12. You know which Intersections at the mall have a stop sign, and which ones don't
13. You have been exposed to asbestos- that is if you are class of 2005 or before.
14. You have NO idea who 3/4 of your graduating class is 15. You remember when Century was a new school and just built.
16. You know that going out of your way to go around Lagrange is worth it
17. You know that if your looking for a new car 159th is the place to be
18. You know the little german kid.
19. you know what people mean when they say to go to the "dead mall"
20. you bought cigarettes from papu at shop mart when you were 16


Monday, September 15, 2008

Cosumers should beware of post-flood scams


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Bernas, Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois, 312.245.2514; president@chicago.bbb.org

Chicago, IL September 15, 2008-Chicago and northern Illinois experienced 6-10 inches of heavy rainfall and power outages this weekend. The flooding has resulted in four flood-related deaths and the rescue and displacement of many Chicagoland families. Flights were delayed and cancelled at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, I-90 was temporarily closed, and Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line service was also temporarily suspended between Rosemont and O’Hare. The flooding created several road and highway closures, creating traffic jams.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 33 percent of U.S. heads of household falsely believe that flood damage is covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Because the devastation from a flood is typically widespread and costly, many insurers in the U.S. do not even provide flood insurance.
"When it's time to spend your hard-earned money, especially in emergency situations when people’s homes or businesses are damaged, it's time to check with the Better Business Bureau,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Our information and services are available 24-7 to assist you at the time you want to make your purchasing decision. When you use the BBB free services, you start with trust."

The BBB suggests that you solicit two or three bids for the repair work you are planning. Do not automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials to be used. Ask for local references and inspect the finished projects. Check to see if the contractor is a member of a professional association which has standards for members. Make sure the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding, and insurance requirements, and that any necessary building permit is obtained.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by a backed-up sewer system either. Homeowners who found themselves with something as simple as a clogged toilet or as devastating as a basement full of sewage have learned the hard way the importance of reading the fine print on a homeowners insurance policy.
Never sign a blank or partially blank contract, especially in emergency situations when your home may be damaged. Typically a down payment of one-third of the total contract price is made with additional payments made after completion of each phase of work; final payment should not be made until work is completed and you have inspected the work.

“On these occasions many of the best contractors are already spoken for,” said Bernas. “This is when checking with the BBB becomes even more important.”

Look for the BBB Accredited Businesses logo and use the following tips:

Contact the BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business at www.bbb.org.
Compare costs before making a financial commitment.
Discuss bids in detail with each contractor.
Ask the contractor for local references and find out if he or she is a member of a professional remodelers association.
Find out if a contractor is insured against claims covering worker's compensation, property damage, and personal liability.
BBB recommends you take some basic preparedness steps to help you immediately following a catastrophe and offers advice for working with your insurance adjuster to ease the stress and anguish after disaster strikes.
· Create and maintain an inventory of your personal possessions. This includes taking pictures or creating a video, as well as keeping receipts for major items.
· Make sure you carry your policy numbers and contact information for your insurance company with you at all times.
· Contact your insurance adjuster immediately. Not only does this get the ball rolling on the claims process, but you might be eligible for loss-of-use benefits, which means you could be reimbursed for hotel costs, food, and other living expenses while your house is unlivable.
· Document the damage to your property and possessions thoroughly.
· Keep all your receipts spent on supplies and living expenses for future reimbursement.
· Do not make any permanent repairs until you get approval from your insurance company. Your insurer might not fully reimburse you for repairs made without their authorization.
· Insured drivers whose cars have been flooded may be covered. Car owners should read their car insurance policy closely or they will miss out on reimbursements or other benefits they are entitled to when disaster strikes.
· If your house was destroyed by a major disaster, you may qualify for additional assistance when insurance doesn’t cover all of your losses. Check with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov for more information.
For more advice you can trust on protecting your home and loved ones before and after natural disasters, go to www.bbb.org.

About the BBB

As private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.

NTUI calls striking teachers greedy


CHICAGO - The head of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI) today charged that striking teachers in Huntley's Consolidated School District
158 not only do not deserve the pay hikes they are demanding, but that they are already "grossly overpaid." The average base salary in 2007 at District 158 was $50,915 for nine months employment.

"Taxpayer dollars for public school education are claimed to be spent 'for the children.' That's nonsense," said NTUI Chairman Jim Tobin. "The tax dollars are not spent on the children. The money goes into the pockets of overpaid and under worked teachers such as these striking teachers. They show up for work nine out of 12 months a year, and live like royalty on their lofty incomes while enjoying three-month-a-year paid vacations."

The Huntley Education Association has turned down a 17.8 percent pay raise over 3 years. In a time when people are losing their jobs and worried about having enough money to put food on their table, an annual
6 percent raise is grossly over-generous. The teachers are not concerned with teaching children, but rather extracting as many tax dollars as possible.

"Studies have shown little or no correlation between salaries and student achievement, and little or no correlation between academic degrees and student achievement," continued Tobin. "These are worthless arguments for paying higher salaries to teachers who have more than a BA degree. Higher salaries do not make teachers better; higher salaries just make teachers more affluent."

"Parents should pull their kids out of these government schools and send them to private schools for a better, safer, much more cost-effective education," Tobin concluded. "Private schools in Illinois consistently do a better job than government schools at about half the cost. We need to expand and increase Illinois' $500 education tax credit to allow more parents to send their children to the superior private schools and allow them to keep more of their own hard-earned money."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chicago puts out emergency call for sandbags

Chicago was hit by a record-setting 6.64 inches of rain last night (a new record) and up to 8 inches of rain over the past few days and the City of Chicago is in need of sandbags, put out by the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Associatio (AWWA):

Empty Sand Bags Needed ImmediatelyCity of Chicago is looking for empty sand bags - if you have any available - please call Irene Caminerat 312-446-0235.

If you can, please help

-- Ray Hanania

Chicago puts out emergency call for sandbags

Chicago was hit by a record-setting 6.64 inches of rain last night (a new record) and up to 8 inches of rain over the past few days and the City of Chicago is in need of sandbags, put out by the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Associatio (AWWA):

Empty Sand Bags Needed ImmediatelyCity of Chicago is looking for empty sand bags - if you have any available - please call Irene Caminerat 312-446-0235.

If you can, please help

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Orland Park residents hammered with new fee from Fire District

With the Orland Fire Protection District already in political disarray and conflict, now they decided that the best way to deal with their incompetence is to hammer residents with an excessive charge for ambulance service -- something that TAXPAYERS ALREADY PAY FOR IN THEIR TAXES.

Not that anyone in Orland Park cares, though, right? I mean Mayor Dan McLaughlin only cares about his union clout and his prestige, and the Orland Park Village trustees -- most of them -- only care about their re-elections and are pals with the Orland Park Fire Protection District.

No one cares about the taxpayers. That's obvious from the total disregard we get from our elected officials, from the Village Clerk David P. Maher who continues to violate the Open Meetings Act by placing wording at the top of his public meeting notices declaring the notices are not for newspaper publication. (Hey, even Mayor Daley has a lifelong difficulty with the English language and you can't nottin' to no one.)

Now, the board that Maher's kid controls, the Orland Park Fire Protection District, thinks that the best way to protect their salaries and pensions and political clout (since so many relatives of village employees, political activists and government officials work on either side of the Village-OFPD fence) is to not protect the residents of Orland Park.

The Orland Park Fire Protection District has a history of poor decisionmaking and poor leadership under its current boss, Patrick Maher, the son of David Maher. Read this from the Better Government Association Web Site.

The Fire Protection district and several village officials are the target of a lawsuit that coulds cause major financial problems for the District and Maher's leadership there. Here's the link to that story that no one wrote about.

The Fire Protection DIstrict said they made the stupid decision in public and didn't try to hide anything. Sure. They know that if they don't tell you they are going to do something important at a board meeting, the public -- which works at REAL JOBS -- won't have the time to show up at the the meetings to hold Maher and his crony's feet to the political fire. Of course, instead of important issues, the OPFPD did promote their "rodeo" ... read that story? The OPFPD loves to promote the fluff, but not something serious, of course.

The DailySouthtown reported one ambulance bill topped $760 and the Fire Protection District is squirrling away cash with more than $7 million in a surplus, which in local tax terms means that they have been gouging taxpayers. (They are not the US Budget and don't need a surplus ever). The people hurt the most are senior citizens and those in need.

Imagine, someone in your family needs an ambulance and the OPFPD shows up and hammers you with a $760 bill. Outrageous, but, what we are used to in "Orland Peyton Place Park."

But then, what do you care? It's just your money and Mayor Happy McLaughlin and OFPD Chief Maher just do whatever they want anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow, Charles Gibson toughens up with Palin; too bad he's never like that with anyone else

I was a bit embarassed for ABC Anchor Charles Gibson in his exclusive interview with VP candidate Sarah Palin. Gibson came across like a judgemental prosecutor rather than a journalist seeking out a story. Gibson was tough with Palin, constantly pusshing her back with declarations of her inconsistencies even though she kept responding clearly and consistently to every question, including about the so-called stupid bridge that no one in America cares about.

Was Gibson merely displaying that male chauvanistic attitude with a woman that is so common among men who look down upon women as not being equal?

I wish Charles Gibson would have been as tough with President Bush, or Dick Cheney or maybe take on Karl Rove and Barack Obama or Joe Biden as he was with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

What Gibson showed American Friday was not that Plain is inconsistent on issues, but rather that when it comes to heavihanded abuse of a woman candidate, some men, especially journalists, can be excessive in their holier-than-thou attitudes.

You go girl, Sarah. You kicked ass!

Trip to Washington DC and New York on 9-11-08

I flew to Washington DC through New York city to perform standup comedy at the Washington DC Improv Comedy Club on behalf of the Funniest Celebrity Contest (http://www.funniestcelebrity.org/) where politicians like Mike Huckabee, Bob Barr and journalists like CNN's Jamie McIntyre and al-Jazeera's Riz Khan performed comedy. Huckabee won the contest.

Here are some photos of New York City and also the Washington monument:

This first photo is of the shadow of the airplane I was traveling in on the clouds below, encircled by a rainbow. And amazing image and picture:

From NewYorkCity9-11-08

Here is a shot of the Washington monument from Reagan National Airport:

From NewYorkCity9-11-08

Here is a shot of Manhattan and New York City on Sept. 11, 2008, seven years after the al-Qaeda (had nothing to do with Iraq) terrorist attacks:

From NewYorkCity9-11-08

And here is a shot of the Statue of Liberty, which for many generations, had a powerful meaning that has since been cast aside because of anti-minority sentiments in America. It was the first image my mom and dad saw whem my mom came to this country from Bethlehem, Palestine in 1952:

From NewYorkCity9-11-08

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Huge explosion - sound -- off 151st Street -- sound like gun fire at 4:30 in the morning

Strange noises in Orland, crime plagues area, CTA tax burden, dumb Daley

Lots of unusual sounds these days out in Orland Park. Last week, it sounded like a train driving through the community in the middle of the night, around 4 AM, from the direction of 159th and LaGrange Road. And this morning, a huge sound like two shot gun blasts in the early morning from the direction of the Orland Park Mall.

Okay. I figure the "train wreck" sound was the construction crews on 159th and LaGrange not giving a "S" about the people sleeping at that time in the morning. And the gun fire from the Orland Mall was probably gun fire. That place has not been very secure these days. Thefts fromt he kids areas. Lots of strangers driving around the neighborhood trying to pick up kids at Jerling High school off 151st Street and, well, you don't see the police out there as much as you used to.

I am sure the police are out there. But it seems they are not.

... So I am sitting at O'Hare Airport and waiting for a flight to Washington DC to perform standup comedy there at the www.FunniestCelebrity.org contest where some of the presidential candidates, staff and congress people hang out when they are not chasing pork. This place is a real dump. Dirty. The rail from the remote lot doesn't work properly, plagued by all kinds of delays, starts and stops.

The airport can't get it's act together either. Here we are on the day before the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 and no one stops me? That scares the heck out of me!

Now they are charging people to check their bags. You can hear the low murmur of grumbling from everyone as you walk through the airport. Lousy airline service -- United sucks -- and now they want more money for your bags. ADD IT TO THE TICKET MORONS and pretend you're giving me a deal. Don't pretend you're giving me a deal and then take it back in cash at the check-in counter.

Stupid idiots.

Last night I was at the WJJG studios setting up the streaming for the radio show so people in Jerusalem and Ramallah will be able to hear my show, and call in using GoogleTalk. It should be fun.

And then there was Mayor Daley blaming Gov. Blagojevich for the CTA's problems -- AGAIN! More tax increases not just for the Chicago fools -- er, I mean people. But tax increases for the already over-plagued Stroger-taxed-to-the-hilt suburbanites. We're the ones that have to bail out the lousy CTA.

It's the CHICAGO Transit Authority -- Mayor Daley! It's not the Orland Park transit authority, although that was one of the top suggestions people responding to a survey on this web site suggested. Every time the CTA has a problem, Daley comes whining to the state. Stop your whining, Mayor. It's annoying. Really. You're starting to sound worse than President George W. Bush. Bush doesn't whine. He's not smart enough to whine. He just sounds plane old stupid when he is lying. Do you ever watch how his eyes get closer together the more he lies about Iraq?

Hey, but I did see the Space Station moving across the sky in a Southwesterly direction at 4:30 in the morning ...

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Suspect tries to lure children at Orland Park school

District 135 put out this notice about an incident that took place on Friday Sept. 5. Parents complained they did not receive an email alert. The district is usually on top of sending out notices to all parents. They may have sent it only to Jerling families.

Police Alert - Beware of Van (Click to go to the Orland
Park Police Headquarters)

The Orland Park Police Department has issued an alert to Orland area families. On Friday, September 5, at approximately 3:15 p.m., a male subject, described as balding or with a shaved head wearing eyeglasses, asked a young female who was walking home from school if she would like some candy. The subject was seated in a white van, unknown make, with tinted windows throughout. He was parked on 88th Ave, just north of 151st Street in Orland Park. When the female stated that she did not want any candy, the subject then left the area northbound on 88th Ave. Anyone who has further information or who has experienced a similar incident contact the Orland Park Police Investigations Division.

Regardless, if you see a suspicious van CALL THE POLICE. Don't take a chance. And if you see a White Van, with tinted windows -- they shouldn't be tinted, that's illegal in Illinois to have the driver and front passenger windows tinted as it is a danger to police -- and the driver is bald, CALL THE POLICE. Take down the license plates. Maybe we can catch this guy and find out what he has been up to. The number is 708-349-4111. r, if it is very suspicious, just call 911.

-- Ray Hanania

Suburban Pidgeons huddle in Sept. morning chill

The suburban pigeons -- Love Birds or morning doves -- finally gave birth to two baby birds parked in a hanging flower basket near our garage. The baby birds finally flew the coup and landed on our roof and in the bushes in front of the house where the chill brought the family together. These birds don't last long, preyed upon by the Hawk that hovers around our area and by local alley cats that wander the streets. But these look like they might make it.
-- Ray Hanania

Fight Humana/Humana One and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Liars

You can fight the robber barons in the healthcare industry. There is a great web site where you can share your story of rejection from the health companies and read the challenges the health industry is causing in our society by visiting this web site and passing it along.


I will be talking with the organizers on my radio show at WJJG 1530 AM Weekdays Monday-Friday from 8-9:30 AM.

Human One is a scam. They claim to be the best coverage out there but beware. They are LIARS. They will reject you if they do not wish to cover you in violation of the law. And because the state of Illinois is so screwed up under Rod Blagojevich and Mike Madigan, there is nothing you can do except protest and wait to punish them when the laws change as they wille ventually.

Until then, don't sign up for Humana One. It is a scam and you are NOT guaranteed insurance coverage at all. They will exclude even pre-conditions that THEY covered.

Human sucks. And I would let them get away with their lies.

Fight back. Protest against Humana and complain to the legislature.

Ray Hanania

Monday, September 8, 2008

Daley has big shoes to fill for 2016 Olympics

August 22, 2008 Southwest News-Herald - City & Suburban

Daley Has Big Shoes To Fill for 2016 Olympics


Mayor Daley was easy to spot in his pink hat at the Beijing Olympics, but I bet he was green with envy at watching the opening ceremonies, wondering to himself how in the heck can he surpass the bar set by China?

Simply put, the opening ceremonies were phenomenal. Even though the impressive image of “giant footprints” formed by fireworks walking across Beijing to the Olympics “Nest” stadium were faked, everything else was unbelievable.

The Chinese Government brought 2008 people to beat drums in an opening count down, with glow-in-the-dark drum sticks, in a ceremony putting all past Super Bowl halftime shows to shame. The programs that followed tapped a Chinese Army of 22,000 additional performers.

The stadium seats 91,000, which was larger than the populations of at least two countries that competed. The “Nest” was wrapped with a huge “TV screen” displaying a stunning array of high definition images.

The center field had a floor that went from graphic animation to three-dimensional formations using blocks replicating ocean waves — not by computer control but through the intricate coordination of individual people who moved each block up and down in precise synchronization.

A Chinese athlete “walked” sideways around the stadium’s screen to light a spectacular and huge Olympic torch.

But all I could think of was what was going through Mayor Daley’s mind as he watched the 90 minute spectacle unfold?

My first thought was that dictatorships like China can tapped forced labor to do what it wants on a whim. It doesn’t need to go hat-in-hand to a legislature to beg for money to cover outrageous opening price tags some placed at $200 million, not including the billion spent on building the Olympic Village.

Chinese dictator “President” Hu Jintao reportedly didn’t like one set of costumes among the 15,000 costumes used, and, three days before the opening ceremony, ordered all new ones with lights that created a synchronized visual masterpiece.

So what might Daley do for the opening of the 2016 Chicago Olympics, if it happens?

Well, for one, the Chicago Machine is not dead, and there are more than 38,000 employees at City Hall who can be tapped at any time to create the worker force Daley needs to make his ideas a reality.

It’s a cinch he’ll have at least 2016 people to start with, just counting ghost-payrollers who never show up for anything at City Hall except their checks.

The performers can wear easy-to-fashion felon stripe uniforms with electronic ankle monitors from the County Jail, with dim amber street lights balanced on their heads that will need to be replaced every 15 minutes.

ComEd can shut electricity throughout Cook County — and blame it on a storm — redirecting it to the Chicago Olympic Stadium, that instead of built to look like a “nest,” can replicate in the finest detail a white envelop stuffed with cash.

What will the 2016 opening drummers use for their opening number? Garbage can lids painted in a glow-in-the-dark street corner blue camera lights tapping to the tune of the themes from “The Godfather” or “Jaws.”

If the stadium crowd doesn’t applaud, Daley can Denver Boot every car in the parking lot. By 2016, you won’t need any parking tickets to get the Boot.

Daley can just order it on a whim.

Oh. I wasn’t talking about Richie Daley being mayor. He’ll retire. The mayor of Chicago in 2016 will probably be his son, Patrick.

All hail Emperor Daley.


A Gold Medal Olympic Vacation Competition

August 29, 2008 Southwest News-Herald - City & Suburban

A Gold Medal Olympic Vacation Competition


The competition for the Gold Medal was Olympic. Not in Beijing, but on the beaches of Punta Cana, where I spent a week researching Cuban cigars and teaching my son the basics of how to survive in the real world.

Every morning, I would get to the beach at 6:30 in a fierce race with teams representing Russia, China, Italy, France and Spain and a field of 130 others. There were only 10 perfect palm tree covered “cabanas” on the beach, and you had to get there early to claim one.

What’s the point of going to a beautiful paradise beach if you are going to schelp in at 11 and plop down on a towel in the sand?

I can report that I’ve won the competition every morning. Boo-rah for the American team! Well, I guess I’m considered about as American as Yao Ming. (OK. He’s an exception, a Chinese-born athlete who plays for the Houston Rockets basketball team. In the Olympics, he plays for China.) Did you ever notice that when mentioning American athletes of certain ethnic and racial backgrounds, they always mention their race but never the ethnicity of “Americans” like Michael Phelps?

Anyway, back to my own Olympic Gold Medal competition in Punta Cana at the Bavara Princess Beach.

There’s an art to securing lounge chairs and a cabana. It’s the same no matter where you go in the Caribbean, except that the world has changed. Dramatically. It used to be that places like this were filled with arrogant and obnoxious American tourists.

Well, that’s changed. Today, the resorts in the Caribbean are filled with Europeans, Russians and Asians enjoying the fact that President Bush screwed up our economy with the stupid Iraq war. (OK, that’s my last political reference. Just kidding.) Our dollar is worth less than a “peso” and I don’t care what Central American country you visit. It buys nothing.

But I wouldn’t let that deter me. I rushed out, research in hand, and made my way in a 3,600-foot dash for the beach. And every morning, beat the Russian by a nose (that’s where being Arab comes in handy, I guess). And the French, the Chinese and the guy with the full body tatoo.

They were right behind me and there was no courtesy “good mornings” or “hellos.” In any language. We were all there for one purpose. Keep our wives from screaming at us when we didn’t get the best spots.

There is an art to saving seats. You reserve them at 6:30 a.m. and don’t get back until around 11 after breakfast so you have a lot of faith that despite the tourists (any ethnicity), they will be there when you return.

You keep the towels from the day before and lay them on the lounge chair, stretched out and tucked in the niche in the back of the head rest and push that down to “lock it in.” 50 Points!

Then, you put a book you’ve either already read and don’t care if it’s stolen, or one no one will touch. I had Chelsea Handler’s book (Chelsea Lately) and made sure the cover faced out every morning. (Actually, Chelsea’s book is hilarious but none of the foreigners could figure out who she was, so it was a safe bet not to get stolen.) 25.35 points.

Then, to play to the sympathy of the crowd, I put my son’s little sand buckets and shovels on the chair. 19.15 points.


This happened every morning like clockwork, and as I said, representing the American team, WE WON. 94.5 points. (If I can add right.)

No one said hi. Mainly because we couldn’t speak anyone else’s language, I think. But still. The first morning I tried and said, “Isn’t it like a vacation? Your wife makes you run out at 6:30 to grab a lounge chair, too?” And the guy walking fast next to me — 25 mph — just grunted with a Spanish accent. That’s when I knew the competition was real.

And all of the men sat out there looking at each other. Until exactly 7:22 a.m. when the tall, blond haired Swedish woman jogged past.





Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hanania named morning talk show host at WJJG

Hanania to host weekday morning radio talk show on WJJG

(Orland Park/Sept. 5, 2008) – Orland Park resident and journalist Ray Hanania was named this week as the morning talk show host on WJJG AM 1530.

An award winning journalist who covered Chicago City Hall from 1977 until 1992, and hosted a radio show on WLS AM radio, Hanania will host the show weekday mornings, Monday through Friday, beginning every morning at 8 AM.

Hanania said he expects the show to expand in the near future.

“Mornings with Ray Hanania” will feature interviews and discussions with listeners on every topic in the news. Hanania will also emphasize local Southwest suburban news and issues in the show along with regional, national and international guests.

“I am a big believer in community news, community newspapers and community reporting and one important aspect of the show will be inclusion of community perspectives and news in our discussion,” Hanania said.

“I want people in Bollingbrook to learn about some of the events in Orland Park, for example, and for the people in Orland Park to engage people in other communities on issues that are local but that cross suburban boundaries. Suburban communities face common challenges and even though the details might be different, they are the same and sharing and discussing is important.”

Hanania is the winner of three Society of Professional Journalism Lisagor awards and was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist in America” by the New America Media in November 2006. He also has awards from UPI and two Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild.

The radio show will be broadcast live on the internet off his web page at www.RadioChicagoland.com. Hanania is also a columnist with the Southwest News-Herald newspaper, and with the HuffingtonPost.com. His columns also appear in news blogs and newspaper around the world.

“People love me. People hate me. People read my columns. Now you can listen to me and engage in a discussion about today’s top issues and topics. It won’t be me talking down to people like on most other radio shows. I want people to call and share their views on issues and topics,” Hanania said.


New Lenox and Yorkville named most Playful Cities (for Children) by Kaboom Magazine

Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008

Contact: Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 202-464-6076 or 202-327-0086

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Play:
KaBOOM! and qubo Name New Lenox & Yorkville Among 67 “Playful City USA” Communities
- Communities Across the Country Recognize the Importance of Play -

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To ensure that their children are active and healthy, New Lenox and Yorkville were among 67 communities across the country that have taken innovative approaches to make play a priority. Despite mounting budget issues, communities large and small, urban and rural, in the red and in the black, have created initiatives to increase both the quantity and quality of play and playgrounds, as well as increasing access to existing opportunities to play.

To honor these cities and towns that have made this commitment to play, KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into children’s lives, named them Playful City USA communities. Playful City USA is a national recognition program that honors cities and towns across the nation who put their children’s well-being first by recognizing and harnessing the power of play. KaBOOM! and qubo, the television and online service for children, announced the list of 2008 Playful City USA communities and will support the initiative with an extensive marketing campaign.

This is the second year of the annual program, and 27 of the 31 founding Playful City USA communities have made the list again, while 40 new communities, including New York, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg and Orlando have joined the ranks. The agendas all of these communities have created impact not only childhood wellness, but public safety and quality of life issues.

Each of the 2008 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play including:


* New York City (pop. 8,250,567) Mayor Michael Bloomberg partnered with the Trust for Public Land to create places to play within a ten-minute walk of every child in the city. Current plans call for the creation of 185 new playgrounds and community parks, serving more than 380,000 children.

* In 2004, St. Petersburg, Fla. (pop. 252,246), launched “Play 'N' Close to Home”, a public/private partnership to build playgrounds within a half-mile of every child. To date, this partnership with schools and houses of worship has increased the number of playspaces by 20%.


* The City Council of Greenbelt, Md. (pop 20,903) is ensuring the quality of existing playgrounds by creating a new initiative to foot 75% of the cost to maintain and upgrade unsafe playgrounds controlled by Home Owner Associations. In return, the HOAs agree to make their playgrounds open to the general public.

* In San Francisco (pop. 719,077), the Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) created a Playground Report Card and follow-up action plan. Any public playground that receives an “F” is visited by a group of community volunteers who undertake safety improvements and clean up days.


* To dramatically increase access to playgrounds, Tucson, Ariz. (pop. 543,897) is opening up its existing school playgrounds after school hours, on weekends and during the summer. Los Angeles (pop. 3,684,820) has launched a pilot project along the same vein.

* Teens in Landfall, Minn. (pop. 700) desperately needed a place to skate, so the community hired a bus to take the kids to the nearest skatepark, over 40 miles away. The program was so popular, the community is now working on building a skatepark of their own.

KaBOOM! also selected New Lenox and Yorkville for their dedication to play. The grand opening of the Crystal Springs Park served as the kickoff of “Picnics in the Park” and the city’s second annual Play Day on July 18, 2008. The goal of Play Day for the New Lenox Play Commission is to bring citizens out of their homes and into the parks. “Picnics in the Park” specifically focuses on encouraging families to picnic and play in the parks. This day of play focuses on providing the residents plenty of opportunities for unstructured play, food, and entertainment.

The city of Yorkville Playmaker Committee has created an innovative program to get children involved in its new initiative Play Passport. With the click of a mouse, parents and children can discover the 21 free events known as a Series of Playful Events that engage Yorkville citizens in unstructured play activities. Attendance at each event earns kids a sticker that can be redeemed for prizes – including possibly eating breakfast with the mayor.

The KaBOOM! vision is a great place to play within walking distance of every child, while qubo’s mission is to promote healthy lifestyles for children. Playful City USA communities create best practices, like the ones above, to reach those same goals. They serve as role models for other communities and prove that enhancing children’s well-being by increasing the opportunity for play is an attainable goal for every community.

“In a time when communities are struggling with critical financial decisions, New Lenox and Yorkville proved their commitment to the cause of play by launching creative initiatives designed to increase access to playspaces, improve the quality of play in their community, and increase the time children spend playing,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and Co-founder. “The ideas range the gamut, from new programming and access initiatives to creating informational resources and public private partnerships. It just goes to show you, where there’s a will, there’s a play.”

Added Rick Rodriguez, president and general manager of qubo, “qubo shares the goal of enhancing the lives of America’s children through play. We applaud New Lenox, Yorkville and the other ‘Playful City USA’ communities that have made play a priority and are proud to be part of this effort that gives kids the opportunity to be kids again.”

2008 Playful City USA Communities
*Ankeny, Iowa
Arlington, Texas
*Atlanta, Ga.
Bloomington, Ind.
Brentwood, Calif.
*Canton, Ga.
Cerritos, Calif.
*Chandler, Ariz.
Columbus, Ga.
Coolidge, Ariz.
*Creedmoor, N.C.
Danville, Va.
DeRidder, La.
*Dothan, Ala.
*East Cleveland, Ohio
*El Paso, Texas
Encinitas, Calif.
Findlay, Ohio
*Gilbert, Ariz.
Grand Prairie, Texas
Green River, Wyo.
*Greenbelt, Md.
Henderson, Nevada
Hernando, Miss.
Huntsville, Ala.
Irvine, Calif.
*Kenner, La.
*Kerman, Calif.
La Mesa, Calif.
*Lake Charles, La.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo.
*Lake Worth, Fla.
Landfall, Minn.
Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
*Longview, Wash.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Mercer Island, Wash.
Murray, Ky.
Nampa, Idaho
Neenah, Wis.
*New Lenox, Ill.
*New Roads, La.
New York, N.Y.
Newport News, Va.
*Norfolk, Va.
Northglenn, Colo.
Orlando, Fla.
Palm Bay, Fla.
Parkland, Fla.
*Phoenix, Ariz.
*Portsmouth, Ohio
Riverside, Calif.
Riviera Beach, Fla.
Safety Harbor, Fla.
St. Paul, Minn.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
*San Francisco, Calif.
*San Jose, Calif.
*Shirley, Mass.
*Spartanburg, S.C.
Springdale, Ark.
*Tucson, Ariz.
*Wapello, Iowa
West Palm Beach, Fla.
York, Pa.
Yorkville, Ill.
*Yuma, Ariz.

* 2007 Playful City USA

2008 Playful City USA Communities by state:
10: California
9: Florida
6: Arizona
4: Louisiana
3: Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Virginia
2: Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington
1: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Applications for 2009 Playful City USA recognition will be available beginning October 13.

The KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, including the Playful City USA program, is made possible via the support of the Omidyar Network.

About KaBOOM!:
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct nearly 1,500 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

About qubo:
qubo® is a groundbreaking bilingual, multi-platform entertainment destination for children that focuses on literacy, values and healthy lifestyles while celebrating the unlimited possibilities of a child’s imagination. Most of qubo’s shows are associated with popular children’s books, and the network’s interstitial programming continues to reinforce messages about early literacy and healthy living. Beyond its quality television offerings, qubo utilizes its interstitial programming, website and outside partnerships (with the U.S. Olympic committee and Reading is Fundamental) to promote messages about healthy living and literacy. qubo also recently adopted a set of nutritional guidelines for acceptable foods that can be advertised on air. Formed in 2006 by an unprecedented alliance of leading distribution partners and content players in children’s television, including Scholastic, ION Media Networks, NBC Universal, Corus Entertainment and Classic Media, qubo offers dynamic content in multiple environments. Currently broadcast on NBC Saturday mornings, ION Television Wednesday- Friday afternoons and Telemundo weekend mornings (check local listings) qubo also includes a 24/7 qubo Channel and website, www.qubo.com.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And who says rates haven't gone up?

I love the way some on the Village Board play with words. Well, rates didn't go up but your bill did go up.

Remember, here's the link to the analysis of the "Water Bills" over the past four years that I did. Why doesn't the village just be HONEST? The costs are going up dramatically. And they addressed the issue (according to my source in the Village Finance Department) because of complaints and questions raised by my analysis of the "Water Bills."

Here's the link to the original analysis I did on the Orland Park "Water Bills."

Finance Director AnnMarie Mampe says "there is no increase in rates" in the past three to four years from Waste Management. Baloney. Go back and read my analysis and you explain it.

Yet, waste removal rates went up 20 percent.

At least Trustee Jim Dodge is on the ball and showing concern.

Finally, a good idea

The Village is going to create a cross-bridge for cars connecting Orland Park Place, (with Barnes & Noble), with the Lowes Shopping Center.

That's worth doing. Finally some sense and not surprisingly from a sensible member of the Village Board, Ed Schussler.

The developer will cover the majority of the cost, $500,000 and the village will pay $50,000 from TIF monies. But, what will the developer get elsewhere? Scratch my back I scratch yours is Orland Park's motto.

Some other great ideas we've received so far: How about our own Orland Park transit system that is a little more formal than the trolleys that operate round-the-clock, for a small fee and cover many routes connecting the various retail stores.

You want to stimulate the local economy, make it easy for people to shop without having to get into their car in the weekend when this town is literally a weekend parking lot.

But don't get carried away. No walkway bridges. That is a real waste of moolah.

Okay, one kudo for good behavior.

Ray Hanania

New radio show launches Sept. 15

I hope you will join me every morning Monday thru Friday on WJJG 1530 AM Radio for my new radio show there. We'll have all kinds of guests but the focus is going to be you, the listener so feel free to call in on ANY SUBJECT at 708-493-1530 ...

The web page for the radio show is www.RadioChicagoland.com

In the past with a show only once or twice a week, I was able to podcast all of the major interviews. But doing the show everyday, I'll only podcast the most important shows, which you can download to your iPod off of iTunes.

Anyway, I hope you will join me again. The broadcast is strongest north of 131st Street all the way to the Wisconsin Border. But you can pick it up in Orland Park ...

Ray Hanania

Reps of Presidential candidates to address Metropolitan Planning Council Annual Luncheon Sept. 8

Speakers will respond to questions from Metropolitan Planning Council about candidates’ strategies for supporting metropolitan regions

Read this release on the Metropolitan Planning Council Web site.

(CHICAGO)….. As Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama campaign to become the next U.S. President, four out of five Americans living in or near U.S. cities have a vested interest in knowing how each candidate will address the thorny issues threatening metropolitan regions – the nation’s population centers and economic engines.

Some 1,000 Chicago-area corporate, civic, government and community leaders are expected to attend the Metropolitan Planning Council 2008 Annual Luncheon, “Metropolitan Mandate: How the Next President Will Maximize Metro Potential,” to hear how each candidate will support transportation, workforce housing and economic development in U.S. regions, including Chicagoland. The event is Monday, Sept. 8, from noon to 1:45 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom (East Tower), 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago.

Ill. Rep. Jim Durkin (R-82nd Dist.) currently is slated to speak for Sen. McCain. Durkin has served as a member of the state House of Representatives for more than 10 years, and co-chairs Sen. McCain’s campaign in Illinois. Henry Cisneros – executive chairman of the CityView companies, former San Antonio mayor, and former Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development – will serve as the surrogate for Sen. Obama.

Through a moderated question-and-answer format, each speaker will explain how his candidate, if elected, would address issues critical to sustaining metropolitan regions.

For instance, given a recent Congressional study showing the gas tax soon will be an unsustainable funding source for the nation’s highway, transit and bridge systems, how does each candidate propose funding environmentally sustainable transportation investments that keep the economy humming?

And, as global competitors such as China and India strategically invest in coordinated metropolitan development, how will candidates support more sustainable communities that make it affordable and convenient for Americans to live near public transit and good jobs?

At the luncheon, MPC also will present its 2008 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, which includes a cash prize of $5,000 underwritten by National City Bank, to the Village of Arlington Heights, for Timber Court, a mixed-income condominium development. To learn more about the award, visit MPC’s Web site.

With a history of community involvement that exceeds 160 years, National City’s goal is to be a vital community and economic partner in the development and growth of Chicago communities and businesses. As Chicago’s fourth largest bank, National City has over 126 branch locations to serve customers throughout Chicagoland and continues expanding its network to make banking with National City more convenient. Its core businesses include commercial and retail banking, asset management, mortgage financing and servicing, and consumer finance. National City – Illinois Banking is part of National City Corporation, which is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies. The company operates through an extensive banking network primarily in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and also serves customers in selected markets nationally. For more information about National City, visit the company’s Web site.

Founded in 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business and civic leaders committed to serving the public interest through development, promotion and implementation of sound planning policies so all residents have access to opportunity and a good quality of life, the building blocks of a globally competitive greater Chicago region.

Metropolitan Planning Council 2008 Annual Luncheon

HENRY CISNEROS, Executive Chairman, CityView companies; former San Antonio mayor; former Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; surrogate for Sen. Barack Obama
ILL. REP. JIM DURKIN, (R-82nd Dist.); Co-Chair, Sen. John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in Illinois; surrogate for Sen. John McCain
MARYSUE BARRETT, President, Metropolitan Planning Council
LEE M. MITCHELL, Partner, Thoma Cressey Equity Partners; Chair, MPC Board of Governors
JOSEPH GREGOIRE, President and CEO, Illinois Banking, National City Bank; Member, MPC Board of Governors; Presenting Sponsor, MPC 2008 Annual Luncheon
ARLENE J. MULDER, Mayor, Arlington Heights

Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, noon to 1:45 p.m. (Reception begins at 11 a.m.)

Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Grand Ballroom, East Tower

Tickets may be purchased through MPC’s Web site. Media may attend the event free of charge, but should register with MPC Asst. Communications Director Mandy Burrell Booth, mailto:mburrell@metroplanning.org, or 312.863.6018.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Creepy looking photo of Mayor Daley on Chicago Magazine Cover

I don't know about you but I thought the photo of Mayor Daley on the front page of this month's edition of Chicago Magazine was a bit creepy. Strange looking both in how the mayor is looking and also the excessive detail in the photo quality. It's not flattering.

The article does a nice job of comparing little Rich to Daddy Daley both in and out of politics.

I thought the Rev. Jesse Jackson's comment, which was intended to point out the more subtle racism of the son compared to the father that the Democratic Machine only cares about the North and Northwest Side and doesn't care about the South and West Sides is tellling. Jackson doesn't care about the Southwest Side.

Notice how the Southwest Side is marginalized not only by the Chicago Machine -- I agree with part of Jackson's assessment, and then is excluded even from the race debate by Jackson.

Good, bad or ungly, no one cares about the Southwest Side and that is sad because the elected officials don't care because they know you sleepy heads in the Southwest Side are too numb from watching America's Got Talent or Deal or No Deal (where no one has ever won a million dollars yet -- rip-off!) and are fixated on the Boob-Tube.

I also posted my 1999 review of the Chicago news media coverage of Jane Byrne. That was 20 years later. Now, we are watching it turn to 30 years. Man does time fly. The link to the series is on the blog front page on the right.

-- Ray Hanania