Monday, February 27, 2012

Slander campaign targets Morrison: he must be gaining on Patlak

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Dan Patlak, the Republican candidate on the Board of Review which used to be called the Board of Tax Appeals, is in political trouble. His election isn't doing very well and he knows it. 

That's why allies of Patlak, who is the darling of the Tea Party movement and beloved by Illinois Review scribe Fran Eaton, are pushing a slander campaign against Morrison, using a phony web site called "Sean Morrison Fact Check." But the web site doesn't have many facts and neither does Illinois Review. (Click here to read Illinois Review's most recent slanderous attack against Morrison.)

Instead, it has a lot of distortion.

Now, a web site that throws mud is not unusual in Illinois politics -- just read the Illinois Review any time and Eaton's lobbying columns pushing her right wing conservative Republican pals. That place throws more mud than a pig at the County Fair.

What the web site does reveal, though, is that the Patlak campaign must be in political election trouble. Polls show that Morrison is favored over Patlak by mainstream Republican voters.

Why else would backers of Patlack resort to a mudslinging campaign unless the polls and voter response shows that Morrison is doing far better than they would wish?

Republican Party Chairman Patrick Brady is also doing Robo-Calls to help Patlak, another indicator that the Tea Party is concerned about Patlak losing the election. Brady's Robo-calls were paid for by the Patlak Campaign. They're desperate. 

Brady is a good guy but the Republicans are making a major mistake. They think an internal fight for the Board of Review seat hurts the party. No. It doesn't hurt the party. It would help energize Republican voters, one of the big problems the Republican Party has had for a long time in Illinois. So they go for what they think are the sure thing, but follow the wrong people, like Eaton and Illinois Review.

Believe me, if Patlak were winning in the March 20 Republican Primary in a clean sweep, he wouldn't need the help of a slander web site like "Sean Morrison Fact Check." He'd do what any true leader in an election would do and ignore Morrison. But Patlak can't ignore Morrison because Morrison is gaining steam. Morrison has the backing of Cook County Commissioner and Taxpayer advocate Elizabeth "Liz" Doody-Gorman. Gorman was the commissioner who, despite Eaton's attacks, managed to give the weak-kneed county board the spine to stand up and battle Tod Stroger's 1 Cent Sales Tax increase. She had to push her legislationt o repeal the Stroger tax through the board three times before the board finally gave in and rallied around her move.

Thank goodness for that. Taxpayers were about to cough up another $500 million each year in Sales Tax donations to the Cook County sink hole. Gorman saved that. And that gives Gorman a lot of cache with voters that she can and has used to help other candidates.

Morrison is one good candidate, too. Patlak has been roping in the State GOP which has done so little in Illinois.

It's all very politically suspicious.

So Patlak is concerned. And that's why he has to hammer Morrison. Because the numbers clearly show that Morrison is doing very well in Cook County's suburbs, where Gorman's district is the heart. So the "Fact Check" web site was set up to beat up on Morrison, anonymously.

Yes, the owner of the domain name is "anonymous, which tells you even more about the fear that the Patlak team must have of Morrison's campaign. But it is traced to a controversial Internet Registry Company called 1&1 Internet. Click here to read all about them.

Yes, they wouldn't be attacking Morrison so viciously if they didn't think that his candidacy wasn't strong. 

Maybe Patlak doesn't have anything to do with the slander web site attacking Morrison. He could prove it by denouncing the site and trying to expose its authors.

But I doubt that is going to happen.

Morrison is winning this race and Patlack's nervous allies know it. 

Oh, and just in case you didn't think the Tea Party was involved, Jeff Junkas is doing everything he can to slam Morrison too, posting outrageous accusations against Morrison on Facebook. 

When Junkas and Eaton and Patlak get together, you know there is some misinformation being floated in all this.

Here is what Morrison has said about the smear campaign launched by Patlak and his campaign supporters like Eaton, Israel Smith and Chris Robbling (Mr. I love you one day and hate you the next). Click here to read the statement.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, February 24, 2012

How are most of the suburbs handling Chicago's draconian water rate increases?

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The Village of Orland Park is not unusual. Like most of the suburban communities held hostage by the City of Chicago, Orland Park buys its Lake Michigan water from Chicago through Oak Lawn. Other communities go through other suburban pumping stations, but Oak Lawn is one of the largest.

This year, to off-set the cost of corruption that has plagued Chicago for most of the past two decades under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and to cover the excessive pension contributions the city has given to its elected officials and clout-heavy employees, it faces its annual cash shortfall. In other words, because of poor money management, Chicago is always in need of cash. So, instead of making its services more efficient and cost-effective, and instead of eliminating waste, Chicago increases its taxes, fees and fines.

This year, not satisfied with punishing its own taxpayers, Chicago decided to punish the suburbs where efficiency and waste are not as enormous as they are in Chicago government. So newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel has dramatically increased the charges for water.

Why do the suburbs have to go through Chicago to get the water from Lake Michigan, I don't know. Some corrupt politician set it up that way in the 19th Century. Few knew that the suburbs would become a failed haven from Chicago corruption. What right does Chicago have on Lake Michigan other than much of the lake's coastline hugs the polluted city's shores?

Most suburban communities sent notes out to their homeowners and taxpayers informing them that the City of Chicago increased water rates this year 25 percent. And, Chicago will increase water charges 15 percent for each of the next three years.

Orland Park is no different and the water bills that arrived today included a short note that reads simply, and accurately:

"City of Chicago Raises Water Rates.
"The Village of Orland Park buys its Lake Michigan Water from the Village of Oak Lawn, which buys it from the City of Chicago.

"On January 1, 2012, the City of Chicago increased its water rates 25 percent, passing this cost onto its water customers, including the Village of Orland Park. Subsequent increases of 15 percent per year through 2015 have also been imposed by the City of Chicago.

"Based on this action by the City of Chicago, beginning in January 2012, Village of Orland Park water customers can expect an average water bill to increase approximately $3.75 per bi-monthly billing period, based on a bi-monthly usage of 9,000 gallons."

Nothing more was said. but reading between the lines, Orland Park, like nearly every suburban community, is telling you that Orland Park is going to pass along the increases from Chicago through Oak Lawn and through Orland Park to you, the taxpayer and water "consumer."

In fact, most suburban communities simply passed along the Chicago rate increases, making taxpayers share the entire burden. Most suburban communities, that is, except the Town of Cicero.

Cicero gets its share of unfair media coverage. I know because I work there as the Town Spokesman. The truth is most of the crap published by the Chicago Sun-Times is little more than exaggerated garbage. Crap that couldn't even be wrapped in the oily, greasy inked stained Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

But Cicero is different that most other suburban communities. It has held the line on property taxes for most of the past seven years since Larry Dominick was elected Town president. And, the fact is Chicago raises the water fees almost every year, this year being the largest. And Cicero has absorbed -- yes absorbed -- the majority of those water rate increases for the town to tighten its belt and share in the burden with its 80,000 official residents.

This year, Cicero only passed along 66 percent of the increase and absorbed the remaining 33 percent.

"Absorbed." And "sharing." These are not words you read much about in other suburban communities. It's so easy to pass along the rate increases and just blame it on Chicago. 

You won't read about that is the Chicago Sun-Times -- where I also worked as an award winning writer from 1985 until 1992.

But the citizens of Cicero know the benefits they receive and they really don't care if the Sun-Times editors, who live in Ivory Tower and ritzy suburban communities like Winnetka, Highland Park, Wilmette and Evanston, want to spend their time criticizing Cicero.

Cicero's residents get more services than any other suburban community. More and better healthcare services. Public works, street cleaning, snow removal and even a Town Board that would sit back when the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago fails to do its job -- its "mission" is to manage flood and rain waters, but it doesn't do a very good job of doing that and probably never will. No other public agency spends more money on its pampered elected officials than the MWRD.

Sp next time you get a glass water of water from the tap, you might want to pour it on your copy of the Chicago Sun-Times. Oh. I forgot. Most residents of Cook County don't read the Chicago Sun-Times. Crains Chicago Business has reported that the Sun-Times circulation has dropped to about 200,000 a day. Pathetic circulation that reflects its pathetic reporting.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Cook County Board of "Whatever" -- Sean Morrison working to change it

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The Cook County “Board of Whatever”
By Ray Hanania

They changed the name of the Board of Tax Appeals a long time ago because in the old days, the incumbents didn’t like the fact that many taxpayers only associated their property tax increases with that office.

So they changed it to the Board of Review, to get rid of that annoying word “Tax.”

It’s one of the most significant things the body has done, besides take money from attorneys who milk property owners to submit the complex appeals.

This year, one candidate seems to want to change it all. He wants to make it easier for property owners to file their own appeals, rather than go through the lawyers who donate heavily to the three member “Board of Whatever?”

Sean Morrison has some great ideas. He says that he wants to put the appeal process online so that regular property tax owners like you and me can scan our documents, submit them online and instead of taking time off from our workday or paying the attorneys to do it all for us, we can conduct a hearing using Skype.

Morrison notes that right now, most property tax owners don’t get big breaks and they go through lawyers who specialize in this appeal process. When you hire a lawyer, the lawyer takes 50 percent of the savings “upfront.” That’s painful because most property taxes are not paid until a year later so you’d still pay the high taxes the year you appeal, plus pay half to the attorney, and you wouldn’t feel it until the following year.

Morrison also notes that most property owners who appeal only save a few hundred dollars. The real savings seem to lean towards the commercial properties and big businesses that can afford to have attorneys on their staffs fulltime and mount more aggressive challenges.

“Homeowners don’t really need attorneys, but right now the system makes it hard for them to do it themselves,” Morrison explains. “But when you look at the data, 65 percent of the applicants for a property tax reduction only get a few hundred dollars knocked off their bills. The system is set up to make the voter, not the property owner, feel like someone cares or that the system is working. They don’t and the system is not working the way it should.”

I remember appealing my taxes at one of those pre-election campaign events called Seminars to Appeal your Taxes” where the incumbents on the three-member board go out and basically beg for your votes. I filled out the paperwork but the board flat out rejected my appeal, even though the house had been damaged by flooding. I’d written several columns hammering the worthless board in the past so I figure anyone of them could have kicked my paperwork behind a desk.

But Morrison gives me some hope. I like his ideas, putting the process online. Morrison ran for this seat in 2010. The three commissioners run from three districts, two in Chicago (end up being Democrats) and one in the suburbs (where Republicans can grab one seat). He lost to Republican Dan Patlak but is making a second charge.

Morrison says he has tried but been denied FOIA requests for data tracking how much the lawyers who appear before the board get for their clients, so we can see real facts on how the system favors big commercial properties. But the Board of Tax Review doesn’t keep that incriminating evidence.

If Morrison is elected, in addition to bringing the “Board of Whatever” into the 21st Century as the Board of Review, he’ll also start documenting data on that very important point. Something the incumbents really don’t want you to know.

(Listen to Ray Hanania every Sunday on WSBC AM 1240 Radio from 8 until 11 am.


Morrison has some great ideas. Why doesn't the Board of Review include applications in the Cook County Tax bills that go out to all residential homes allowing them to apply for a tax review and reduction themselves?

Seems like a simple thing to do, that isn't being done.

One reason is that the Board of Tax Review seems to be pandering to the big commercial businesses and properties that donate huge money to their political campaign funds.

Morrison also says he wants to reduce the number of big commercial properties that are getting tax cuts. Seriously, you have to ask why are we cutting down the property tax bills of big companies? When we do, as Morrison points out, we're just punishing the single family homeowner because they're the ones who have to pick up the lost property tax slack when businesses get big discounts. And, businesses are getting BIGGER discounts on their properties than homeowners are getting. That tells you where the concern of the Board of "Whatever" is really at.

They don't care about the little guy, you or me. They don't care about property taxes on homes. They care about big business. It's obvious.

And it's even more obvious that needs to change.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Vehicle sticker with street gang symbols, or a bunch of government idiots?

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Glad I don't live in Chicago

City Clerk Susana Mendoza is a nice lady. I've met her. She is sincere. She is genuine. But she's weak. And apparently, she is easily manipulated by outrageous stories in the newspapers and a campaign of stupidity that says a Heart is a symbol of a street gang members and hands rising up to support First Responders are "similar" to street gang hand signs.

Since when did we surrender the Heart to the street gangs? Since when did we surrender hands reaching out for support to police, firemen and others a symbol of street gang idiocy.

I have never seen a government overreact out of fear of public backlash and fear that if you don't do anything, you will look weak. Instead, the Street Gangs have won. They have defined for us what our society is all about. The street gangs have defined for us what we can use and what we can't use.

I most feel sorry for the young Hispanic child who drew the winning design that a majority of the members of the public voted online to support. The public didn't see the street gang menace in the design by a 15 year old boy with no history of gang ties.

But a popular police blog run by retired cops who see sinister images in everything wrote a story saying it looked like it was a street gang symbol and the president of the Chicago Crime Commission, and the former Chicago Police Supt. Jodi Weis agreed.

Maybe some people might ask how much the Chicago Police really know about street gangs since they are NOT very good at fighting them. Maybe they're not the most objective people. Maybe the real issue is the winning design was made by a Hispanic boy. And that this was an orchestrated racist act to take away that award from a Hispanic to give it to a girl who is of Irish heritage. Maybe it was an Irish Cop who didn't like the Hispanic boy winning the design contest over the Irish school girl who came in second with her design.

Those questions are just as equal to the claims that the Chicago Vehicle Sticker with the salute to our first responders was a street gang symbol.


The mother of the artist said it so aptly in the Chicago Tribune:

"I am very upset. I feel very upset that something so positive could be so negative," Jessica Loor told reporters crammed inside a classroom at Lawrence Hall Youth Services, where the boy attends school. "I feel there's a lot of haters. They can make anything out of anything."

Here's the official statement of City Clerk Susana Mendoza.

This is a disgrace. A disgrace to the City Clerk Susana Mendoza. A disgrace to the police department and their race-driven fraternity. And its a disgrace for the people of Chicago who live under the thumbs of what street gang members now define as our culture. Apparently what Street Gang members say is more important to some people in political power.

Here's the old "Street Gang" design:
Winning city sticker design

And here's the new design from high school senior Caitlin Henehan:

-- Ray Hanania

Del Galdo Law Group receives legal industry’s top honors

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Del Galdo Law Group receives legal industry’s top honors

Berwyn/Il – Super Lawyers Magazine, one of the legal industry’s leading publications, recognized two members of the Del Galdo Law Group in their annual "Super Lawyers" honor which recognizes the State's top attorneys in their field.

The magazine named Del Galdo Law Group LLC principal Michael Del Galdo and James M. Vasselli as recipients of the  2012 “Rising Stars” distinction.

This is the third year Michael Del Galdo has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in the legal profession.  It is rare to have two members of the same law firm honored.

“I am very proud to again receive this recognition,” said Del Galdo who was also recognized by Super Lawyers in 2010 and 2011.

“My priority is to provide the highest quality of professional legal services for my clients and to contribute in a positive way towards the betterment of the cities in which I work.”

Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in any state receive this honor.  Super Lawyers Magazine, a Thomson Reuters business, selects lawyers for this distinction using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

Del Galdo praised Jim Vasselli noting that the recognition by Super Lawyer Magazine reflects the high esteem that members of Illinois’ legal profession have for the award recipients.

"Mr. Vasselli's work at our firm and for our clients has always been internally recognized as of the highest caliber and I am proud that the legal community has also recognized this fact,” Del Galdo said.

Del Galdo is the founding attorney and managing member of Del Galdo Law Group, LLC and James Vasselli Chairs the Real Estate and Public Finance Practice Groups at the Firm.  Del Galdo Law Group, LLC is comprised of 16 attorneys concentrating in the governmental and public sector practice areas, including Municipal Law; School Law; Zoning & Land Use; Real Estate; Economic Development; Litigation; Transactional; and, Government Affairs.  The Firm's clients include some of the largest school districts and municipalities in Chicagoland.

A graduate of DePaul University College of Law, Del Galdo is also a frequent lecturer on municipal government.

Vasselli is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and holds an MBA from The Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The problem with digital photos

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Digital photos look great. The problem is after years of taking them, they easily get lost and worse, even more easily destroyed.

Oh, they keep telling you how you can "save" the digital photos more easily. Sure. First we had reel to reel tape. Then we had 8 Track. Then we cassette tapes. Then mini cassette tapes. Then floppy discs in all sizes 8.5, then 5.5 and 3.5. Then we went to "tape" backup. Then CD. Then DVD. Now Blu Ray.

Do you ever get the felling that your just a cow that can speak?

They are breeding us to be pay-as-you-go consumers. They throw technology at us at lightening speed and then expect us to pay for it. And the technology doesn't really improve on what we already have. It does two things. First, it makes the technology we have obsolete. And then second, it forces us to go out and buy the new technology.

That was the world that Steve Jobs grew up in and why he turned out to be "Big Brother," seeking to control everything we did and taking the human quality of decision-making out of our abilities to choose. 

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a cardboard box that once held Kodak Film. We used it to store pictures that he had been given by his dad. It was great to look through the pictures -- which I still have and have survived in the same condition that they were in when I got them. I didn't have to spend $600 to by a computer to "view" the pictures. In fact, the only cost was to get them printed. And once they were printed, they could be shared.

Sure, it was the only copy, unless you went out of your way to make more. They said that was expensive but I would give up all the technology we have today if I could have that back, the minimal cost it took to duplicate a picture back then.

We look through the pictures. It is so much easier to hold them in your hand and look at them all at once and decide or look for what you wanted.

Nowadays, it ain't so easy folks. I have thousands and thousands of digital pictures on CDs and hard drive. And when a computer crashes -- and let me tell you the computer technicians and programmers and PC builders are not geniuses at all. Those computers break down fast. They don't last very long. And the software races past so even if you had a computer from 6 years ago, you probably couldn't use it for anything except a space-waster. When those computers crash and break, as they more often than not do, you have lost everything unless you have gone out of your way to keep up-copying. That's the process of moving your digital images from one antiquated system or storage device to another that is "more advanced."

Worse, the computer says it's hard to copy some files. They are "corrupted." No, what's corrupted in this technology system we've been forced-fed by greedy computer industry robber barons.

Feel the tug on that ring in your nose yet?

So here I am, with a pile of CDS that go back to 2005 wondering what the hell. I can't enjoy them. Hundreds and even thousands of images on CDS and it's a hassle to try and view them.

Worse, it's a hassle to try and make prints of them.

So as we speak, I have a One TerraByte Hard Drive attached to my laptop using a USB port. One day, we'll be laughing saying "One TerraByte?" That's not enough space to keep my bills! And I'm transferring them slowly (on a high speed laptop, Core i7 Windows 7) and it's taking forever.

I'll finally get off my ass and take them to Walgreens and use their machine (if they still have it) and select the pictures I like and print them out. Then, I'll sort the prints in a book so my daughter and son can one day enjoy them in the future.

I have about 6,000 pictures I have to sort through.

So in the end, even with all the money I have spent on computers, CDs, DVDs, hard drives, digital cameras of varying high resolution and other storage gadgets and jiggamabobs, I still have to pay through the nose to get them printed.

It would have been easier and cheaper if all I had was the roll of film and I was forced to take that one good picture instead of 20 lousy pictures just because I can. I would have had them all processed and printed long ago and instead of wasting my time copying them, I'd be sitting with my son and enjoying them.

But then, what would I be writing about on my "blog?"

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Biggert's Republican primary challengers knocked off the ballot

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Unfortunately, a lot of elected officials express a loud sigh of relief when their opponents are knocked off the ballot. They think it's good but I disagree. Every elected officials should have to face a challenger. It should be mandatory. They don't like to hear it but the truth is if you are an elected official and you are doing a good, you have nothing to worry about.

It's when you sigh so loudly as Congresswoman Judy Biggert did recently when here two Republican opponents were knocked off the ballot in the March 20 Republican Primary that you have to worry about them.

The truth is having a challenger does a lot of good for an incumbent with a good record. And it's not so good for the incumbents who have been so-so.

I won't hit Ms. Biggert too hard, though I think she deserves criticism. She has been unresponsive to Orland Park and will probably be unresponsive in the new district. But, Biggert has the support of a loyal Republican who I admire tremendously, someone who I think understands the power of defeating your opponents by landslide margins, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman. Gorman supports Biggert. I don't. I respect Gorman's judgment. She knows how to fight for her constituents and she will carry forever the gratitude of Cook County voters for standing up to former Cook County Board Chairman Todd Stroger's unjustified raising of the sales tax.

Despite the odds, Gorman won out. She persisted and tried three times to scale back the sales tax by half until she finally got the measure through. Abe Lincoln, another great Republican, persisted in his many failed efforts to get elected to public office. Gorman is a great leader and has a great future still ahead of her.

Biggert? Well, you have to judge people but what they have done. What did Biggert do? I don't know. What does she stand for? Well, we won't know now because she doesn't have to answer to any challengers. So she can save her money and say whatever she wants.

Candidates should have challengers for several important reasons:

1 - It's good for the voters. It forces the candidates to speak out publicly about the issues and it educates the voters and the public.
2 - It rallies your supporters. Biggert's allies don't have to do much. They can rest on their laurels -- maybe they are used to doing that -- until the late Spring once they know who the Democratic candidate will be.
3 - Candidates with challengers have a more legitimate reason to raise funds.
4 - Candidates with challengers who win, demonstrate in the clearest and most effective way why they are in fact leaders. Gorman is a leader. She stood up against two powerful challengers and beat them back by landslides.

Biggert will face one of three Democrats in the November General election. Former Congressman Bill Foster is in the race. Foster was about the most unresponsive Democratic member of the Congress who was easily ousted by a no-name Republican after serving only one full time. 

Foster won the special election to fill the vacancy created by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert by beating Jim Oberweis. Actually, Oberweis lost the election by uttering idiotic comments about immigrants and minorities and by not listening to his advisers who knew the issues better than he did. Foster, now in office, won with President Obama's backing in 2009. But in 2011, Foster took a beating, losing in a humiliating defeat to a little known member of the Illinois Legislature, Randy Hultgren.


The National Republican Congressional Committee said Bill Foster lost the 2010 election because he abandoned mainstream Americans in a tough economic time. "Illinois working families fired Bill Foster last Fall (Nov. 2010) because of his unwavering support for reckless spending, higher taxes and bigger government. Illinois voters understand that Bill Foster's tax and spend record was part of the problem and are unwilling to foot the bill again for his big spending" the Committee said in a statement.

Now, Foster is putting up his millions to stave off challenges from two other Democrats, former Aurora Township Clerk Juan Thomas, and Orland Fire Protection District President Jim Hickey. (I work for the OFPD as a media consultant and I am backing Hickey.)

While Foster has ducked and dodged public debates, Thomas and Hickey are planning for debates to help educate the public between now and March 20 about what their solutions and answers are to the nation's tragic economic problems.

The new 11th Congressional District is new to everyone. Biggert's old district was right next door. Foster's old district only includes a small portion of the new district. Hickey lives right next door and Thomas is in the district. But under election law, you don't have to and are not expected to live in new congressional districts to run for election, but must move in the district if you win. It's a common practice so residency is not really an issue for anyone, except maybe Foster, who's wife works in New York and who only recently moved into Batavia. (It's too confusing to keep track of his efforts to get back into the congressional insider's belt.)

The new 12th District is predominantly Democratic. The rumor is Biggert would like to see Foster win because he would be an easier target, despite his money. His poor record is a bigger disadvantage than his million dollar campaign war chest would be an asset.

Republicans would have been better off with a primary battle to define their candidate. Now, they're stuck with a veteran Washington D.C. insider who parroted the National Republican Party's partisan efforts to bring the nation to a grinding halt by blocking everything that Obama tried to do.

The fact is not having a battle will keep the divided national Republican party in uncertainty. The Tea Party nut jobs will be out in force and what they do will impact her candidacy dramatically.

She has issues, of course. Like her stake in the company that makes full body scanners. (Click to read.)

What does she stand for? Maybe we'll find out this summer. Probably not though. If anything, her bigger problem will be keeping the Tea Baggers happy enough to hold their nose and support her. (It's their only choice, and being associated with them will not help her cause in the predominantly Democratic District.) Illinois is planning a farewell party for several Republicans this election and Biggert has a solid chance of getting a one-way ticket out the Congressional door.

But it depends on which Democrat wins and runs against her. Foster, Thomas or Hickey.

-- Ray Hanania

Is Jewel Osco guilty of wasting natural resources like TREES?

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Jewel Osco's "Wish Big Win Big Holiday Giveaway" was less about "winning" and more about wasting. They should have called it the "Waste Big Holiday not-Giveaway." Wish as in I WISH I never played the stupid game!

Companies use these gimmicks to attract customers knowing that good, innocent and morale people like me tend to be suckered into stupid waste-of-time games like the "Wish Big, Win Big" giveaway they sponsored that just ended Feb. 1. (You have until Feb. 15 to turn in winning prize boards -- right!

The point of these giveaway contests is to make the customer feel good and give them a pleasant experience and even give them little coupons so the customer will return to the store.

But I have to say the experience was so ugly and disappointing that I decided that I am going to try to avoid going to Jewel from now and and use other grocery stores from now on. That's how upset I am with this scam giveaway "game."

It's not a game, really. It was a scam. Yes, a few people won but when the odds are so outrageously stacked against the public, all Jewel did was waste a lot of trees. All the paper I threw away -- not even recycling will accept them -- must have accounted for about a million trees that were destroyed just so Jewel can sucker more customers into a false sense of enjoyment. It wasn't enjoyable, Miss Jewel. It was excruciatingly painful in fact to come home with a pocket full of green tri-folded tabs that were difficult to open and left bits and pieces of paper dust everywhere on my desk.

I ended up with a lot of worthless coupons, too, for junk I would never buy. There wasn't a coupon that I thought, wow, I hope I get this coupon again to save a measly 25 cents on my next purchase. They were all things I wouldn't buy.

I figure Jewel paid some big consultants the millions to come up with this trickery, money that should have been more easily won by players. The trickery was simple: They created a "game" that pushed crappy products and gave the player very little odds of even winning a measly $2.

Yes, I am going to associate the word "measly" from now in when I think of Jewel because of this game. Measly. (I had to look the word up to double check the spelling it is so rarely used but will now become my adjective to describe Jewel. Measly. Measly. Measly!)

The "game" wasn't a game at all. It was torture. The "Win Big" Jewel game was to customers what water boarding is to alleged terrorists. Except in this case, the customers were treated more badly.

Had I won the top prize of $250,000, maybe I'd be writing a different story. But I wonder how many customers actually won the big prizes?

And Jewel has a "drawing" for schlubs who played the game and won nothing -- they can turn in the game boards if they have 1 and 2 collected which everyone does. That's about 10 million entries that will be submitted.

Just what I need, more misery.

In every game, there are certain numbers missing. Maybe they make 2 of them in the entire country.

Here's the break down of the numbers that most people who lost are missing:

For the big prizes, they made sure that people would NOT get two of the required number tickets on their game card, just in case you got one of the rare numbers, you would still have to get. Here are the "rare" ones. 

04 and 05; 08 and 10; 12 and 15; 18 and 19; 22 and 26; 27 and 31; 33 and 35; 39 and 41.

Then there were the worthless stupid prizes just to keep the schlubs happy.

Those harder to get numbers were 44; 46; 50; 54; 59; 62; 68; 73; 76; 79; and 83.

For example, if you had 04 and 05, you would have won $250,000 (collecting SJ 01-06).

In the lower prize area, if you got 44 you would have completed the numbers needed 42 through 45, you would have won "$1,000.

I worked at Jewel when I was a kid in Chicago on Stony Island Avenue where Muhammed Ali (Casius Clay) would come and have me carry his bags out to his Lincoln Mark I car -- I was the darkest kid working there in the 1960s. And I worked at the Dominicks on 87th and Cicero in Oak Lawn when I got in to high school and I CAN SAY FOR A FACT THEY TREATED ME BETTER ... calm down, Ray. Calm down.

Breath. Breath. Breath!

-- Ray Hanania

The Lake County Gulag: death of Gomes needs to be investigated fully

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The excuses and even lies about how Lyvita Gomes, a native of India who reportedly had mental illness issues, managed to die while in custody at the Lake County Jail.
It's hard to beleive Lake County officials are not responsible and they should be held accountable. This issue deserves an intense and detailed investigation into how Lake County officials acted and exactly what they did and did not do.
Her crime? Gomes failed to show up for a jury summons. Ironically, as a non-citizen, she shouldn't have been hassled by the system.
Hundreds of people turned out at funeral services Wednesday for Lyvita Gomes, a native of India who died after a hunger strike in Lake County Jail.
About 200 people attended Mass in Most Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Waukegan, where the Chicago Tribune reports Rev. Daniel Hartnett posed questions about Gomes' death while offering spiritual comfort to her family. Indian Catholic community leaders, immigration reform activists and others joined about 500 who attended a visitation Tuesday night.
About 120 people, including 20 local pastors, signed a "statement of concern" that will be presented to Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and asks a set of questions about Gomes' treatment before and during her incarceration.
What is Curran's response? He needs to take this incident seriously and so should the U.S. Justice Department.
This is the story of the person who is wrongly arrested and then while being processed or hunted down, is pushed into a "crime" by the people trying to arrest her. The police harassed her because they were too ignorant or maybe even biased and bigoted to see past her ethnicity.
Gomes was a former Delta Air Lines trainer. She lived in Vernon Hills. She died on Jan. 3 at Waukegan Vista Medical Center East after going on a hunger-strike that lasted 15-days WHILE she was in Lake County custody.
Are you telling me there isn't one intelligent official  in Lake County who sees the injustice here? Are they all blind or uncaring or worse, irresponsible?
Curran can't defend his actions simply saying she was given care. She was the victim of a screwed up ugly system that considers people guilty until proven innocent. She was innocent. She did nothing wrong. And now there is a scramble to come up with excuses to cover up the failed leadership in Lake County which apparently is some kind of Gulag prison system where innocent people become the victims of political and racial bigotry.
As a non-citizen, Gomes wasn't eligible to serve on a jury. But she was arrested when she ignored the summons. That's when a Lake County deputy showed up at her door, as ordered by a judge, to get her to explain her absence. And she was arrested!!!! 
That's OUTRAGEOUS and the person who arrested her should be fired and even charged.
Gomes spent two days in the County Jail, where officials learned her visa had expired.
Why didn't Lake County drop the resisting arrest charge given the obvious simple facts of this case? That's the issue. That's the problem.
Yes, Gomes got caught up in a tricky situation. But the real crime is that it happened in Lake County, a place, apparently, where facts mean nothing and life means even less.
-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Classified section offers FREE job postings

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A day doesn't go by that I don't get at least one call from friends and acquaintances who are desperately in need of a job. Full-time or part-time.

This is the worst economy we have seen in decades. The worst in my generation, for sure. So many good people are suffering and their families are suffering because they are unable to find a job to put food on the table.

What can we do? I've helped friends as best as I could. If I hear of a job opening, I try to pass along the information to my friends and their friends.

But I felt I needed to do more.

This week I launched a new online Classified Ad web site.

Cheap Classified Ads

The web site allows businesses and organizations to post Jobs and Employment opportunities FREE of CHARGE. They don't have to pay to post the jobs available or employment available notices.

Last Fall, I had a garage sale in my yard and sold several of my household items. Not so much because I needed the money but because I wanted to get rid of the excess items that cluttered my home and garage. So many people in dire financial need came to the garage sale to buy basic things that I had taken for granted. In one case, I gave a piece of furniture away just because the man and his wife and three kids needed it -- they came in a pickup truck -- and partly because I just wanted the space.

but I realized, so many people in the Orland and Tinley park area are looking for good deals that Garage Sales offer. And I thought maybe this Cheap Classifieds web site I have launched can help make it easier not only for you to sell your items but to also do it in an inexpensive way.

Some of the categories are free. All of the Job related postings are free -- Jobs available AND Jobs Wanted. Some of the classified categories cost a modest $10 fee to post an item for 30 days.

I hope it helps.

Any profits I do make will be used to help me cover the costs of my new radio show, which I hope you will listen to on Sunday mornings at 8 am (until 11 am) on WSBC AM 1240. Listen online

-- Ray Hanania