Thursday, March 22, 2012

Luis Gutierrez is the big loser in Tuesday’s Illinois primary

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Luis Gutierrez is the big loser in Tuesday’s Illinois primary
By Ray Hanania

After an election, it’s not unusual to weigh the winner’s and the losers. Usually, the winners and the losers are the people who are actually running for public office, the candidates.

In the case of this past Illinois primary, one candidate who “won” his party’s nomination was in fact the biggest loser, U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez in the 4th Congressional District.

Gutierrez easily won his party’s nomination. Like a Middle East dictator, Gutierrez was unopposed in his election. He “won” with 99.9 percent of the vote. Only a few people voted against him by entering write-in candidacies.

But Gutierrez is a loser and was the biggest loser in the March 20 election primary.

Gutierrez, a former Chicago alderman, backed and funded and supervised the campaigns of four candidates. They are:

  • ·         Rudy Lozano, who ran for the Illinois House seat in the 21st legislative district, challenging Silvana Tabares;

  • ·         Robert Reyes, who ran for the Illinois House sat in the 24th legislative district; who challenged incumbent Representative Lisa Hernandez;

  • ·         Raul Montes, Jr., who ran for the Illinois Senate seat in the 12th legislative district, challenging incumbent Illinois Senator Steve Landek  (Note: i do media work for Landek); ;

  • ·         Ricardo Munoz, who ran for the office of Circuit Clerk of Cook County, who challenged incumbent Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown.
What’s significant beyond his defeat in all four of these races is the issue of race itself. Gutierrez is Puerto Rican. All of the candidates he backed are Mexican American.

Why is that significant? Well, it’s significant because Gutierrez’s congressional district is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican American. The Puerto Rican population dominates the north end of his odd-shaped district. Mexican Americans dominate the south end of the district.

And that explains Gutierrez’ selfish political agenda.

Gutierrez is intentionally focusing on keeping the Mexican American community divided. That’s why he runs Mexican American candidates against incumbents in Mexican American districts.

By keeping the Mexican American community divided, Gutierrez can preserve his Puerto Rican power in his congressional district. Because if Mexican Americans were united, they could easily oust Gutierrez and elect one of their own in that congressional seat.

There are no Mexican Americans from Illinois in the U.S. Congress. And as long as Luis Gutierrez interferes in Mexican American community politics, keeping them divided and fighting, he will protect his own self-interests.

The March 20 election battles that Gutierrez lost are a precursor to several more elections that Gutierrez is promoting in several West suburban communities including in the Town of Cicero (where I work as the Town spokesman) and the City of Berwyn.

But voters clearly have seen through Gutierrez’s selfish political hypocrisies. They rejected his candidates, although Gutierrez did succeed in dividing Mexican Americans, again, as he has been doing since his election to Congress in the predominantly Mexican American congressional district in the 1990s.

And they could take this one step further and challenge Gutierrez in the November General elections.

Currently, there is no Republican candidate challenging Gutierrez. But there should be. He doesn’t deserve re-election. Gutierrez is a firebrand who is quick to criticize and then even quicker to make a political deal. He spends more time sticking his political nose in other areas of Chicagoland than effectively representing his residents; his district has been ranked as one of the worst when it comes to getting services.

Guiterrez is playing race politics because it benefits him. By keeping Mexican Americans divided, he can retain his congressional seat and allow his family and especially his wife to benefit from his congressional clout.

The truth is that the 4th District was drawn to give Mexican Americans a representative in Congress. As long as they allow Luis Gutierrez to manipulate their politics, that district will never materialize.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host Sundays at 8 am on WSBC AM 1240 and WCFJ AM 1470.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Election winners and losers, and close calls

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Patlak versus Sean Morrison

The right wing extremists celebrated a pyrrhic victory Tuesday night with the narrow victory of Dan Patlak over better qualified Sean Morrison. Patlak will face a stiff challenge from Democrat Casey Thomas Griffin who received an enormous vote of more than 65,000 in the Democratic primary which had no real draw.

In fact, the low voter turnout in the countywide and Chicago elections reflected the fact that many Democrats did not vote because there were few district wide races and President Barack Obama was unchallenged. In November, that voter turnout will increase dramatically and Patak's chances of holding on the seat will drop.

The bottom line is that Patlak has surrounded himself with rightwing extremists like Tea Party literary terrorists at the Illinois Review and chief hack Fran Eaton. And unless he distances himself from that inflammatory branch of the party, mainstream Republicans who did their best to give the GOP a real choice in the November election will either sit on their hands or cross over and support Griffin.

The Patlak-Morrison race was defined by the fanatics versus the moderates. And Patlak, though a decent person himself, is smothered by many extremists who don't represent the Republican Party.

Mitt Romney will probably be the Republican Party nominee for President, and that will further weaken the Republican Party, though he is the better candidate than challenger Rick Santorum. The Tea Party activists will remain a threat to Republican party revival. 

All that spells bad news for the besieged Patlak who comes out of this election wounded by divisions, poor guidance, and a strong challenger in November.

Luis Gutierrez and his failed power grab

There is no doubt that Congressman Luis Gutierrez ran a slate of candidates he hoped would help takeover areas of the Mexican American community on the South Side. Gutierrez is Puerto Rican and he has held office by dividing Mexican voters whoa re the majority in his strangely drawn district -- it's like two balloons tied together with Puerto Rican voters dominating the north side and Mexican Americans dominating the south side.

Gutierrez was behind several power grab races including:

- The challenge by Ricardo Munoz against Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. Brown easily slam-dunked Munoz.

- The challenge by Raul Montes against Senator Steve Landek. Landek (who I work for) defeated Montes in a huge landslide.

- The challenge by Rudy Lozano, the son of the murdered former community activist, against Silvana Tabares, the talented former editor and journalist at the Extra Newspaper. Tabares defeated Lozano with a sizable margin.

- The challenge by Robert Reyes against State Rep. Lisa Hernandez. Reyes lost big time, too, to Hernandez.

All four of the Gutierrez slate of candidates Munoz, Montes, Lozano and Reyes were dramatically defeated.

Maybe someone should  challenge Gutierrez in the November election instead of allowing him to raise his money from his cronies and buddies that he directs into other campaigns.

Bill Foster buys a second chance

Bill Foster easily outpaced two challengers, Jim Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District -- the OFPD is one of my clients -- and Juan Thomas, a local attorney. Foster had millions at his disposal while his challengers lacked funds. But the race shows that Foster can't win against Republican incumbent Judy Biggert in November. Biggert can easily count on a solid coalition of Republicans including support from Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman whose successful anti-sales tax hike battles has redefined voter priorities in Cook County's suburbs.

My money is on Biggert if she can reach out and build a coalition of moderates, and tap the still strong "Reagan Democrats" who populate the Southwest suburbs.

Metropolitan Do-Nothing Water Reclamation District

The worst government agency in northern Illinois is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which spends billions doing little to live up to its important mission. The agency has been a failure when it comes to fighting flood waters. But it has spent lavishly on its board members

Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew Patrick Daley Thompson and his two running mates, Kari Steele and Deborah Shore, an incumbent. easily won the seats.

Patricia Young, a former MWRD commissioner, and incumbent Patricia Horton, lost, along with Stella Black.

Thompson will undoubtedly become the district's new president.

Click to read a review of that race.

Other Races:

Congressman Dan Lipinski easily won renomination defeating an unknown challenger, Farah Baqi. Baqi is Arab and Muslim and got about 6,000 votes, which reflects the strength of that community in the 3rd District. They constantly focus on races they can't win, of course. Poor leadership.

Congressman Jesse Jackson defeated Debbie Halvorson, despite the controversy stain from the scandal surrounding the conviction of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. No real surprise there at all.

Tammy Duckworth defeated Raja Krisnamorthi. This was a tough race for Krisnamorthi, a qualified candidate, running against an Iraqi war hero who lost her legs in defending this country. Krisnamorthi still has a great future.

Michael Hastings, the son of Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings, won the contested nomination in the new 19th Senate District representing the Southwest suburbs, defeating Greg Hannon.


Democrats didn't vote statewide with the exception of pockets where there were heated races. That fact accounted for this record low voter turnout.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blagojevich’s long farewell: the former governor and fairness head to the hoosegow

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Blagojevich’s long farewell: the former governor and fairness head to the hoosegow
By Ray Hanania

Chicagoland television news covered Rod Blagojevich going to prison as if they were following OJ Simpson in his White SUV.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 07:  Former Illinois Go...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
What is amazing is that the very media that hated and persecuted the former governor exploited his farewell to feed their ratings.

Yet, as I watched Blagojevich hand out autographs non-stop in front of his home and then the next morning at the airport at O’Hare and later Denver, I couldn’t help but feel that he really didn’t do himself a favor.

Blagojevich did so much when he was governor. And he had a right to be indignant at those who criticized him for the programs he pushed through.

What is wrong with giving Senior Citizens free access to the CTA and public transportation? Sure, a few might be well-off and could afford to drive limousines everywhere but most Seniors I know are struggling.

But somehow the people who hate Blagojevich, including the biased and unfair news media, convinced the poor seniors that they didn’t need that little benefit.

And there was Al Kids, the only program that many children in Illinois could turn to for affordable health insurance. What do we have for them today? Uncertainty.

Blagojevich was his own worst enemy, though. Either it was his ego or a media consultant with a bigger ego who kept pushing him to treat his trials like it was an election campaign.

It didn’t help him mainly because the media and the public officials who hated him were relentless in portraying him as a crook. He never did get a fair trial. Federal Judge James Zagel was far from objective. His own prejudices stained the case. Zagel is one of the most media-friendly judges on the federal bench. He sucks up to the media and has many media pals.

But what about his fealty to Blind e did cross the line? But 14 years in prison when criminals and killers are often released with less time served.

Maybe the worst part of this whole Political Peyton Place has been the rise of the former convicts who shoved their faces on TV offering advice. They’re not even worth mentioning, except that they are all losers convicted for real crimes.

Listening to them lecture Blagojevich about what he will face was an effort on their part to pretend they didn’t steal or commit worse felonies.

The media tried to spin the Blagojevich fate as a result of his battles with some of the state’s toughest and most experienced politicians. But I don’t really think it was House Speaker Michael J. Madigan who should be held responsible for Blagojevich’s fate.

Blagojevich did it to himself. Bad advisers. Poor judgment. Wrong decisions. And dealing with it all as if he were competing for TV ratings.

In the end, no one should walk away satisfied that somehow justice was done. It wasn’t done, it was violated on almost every level.

If Blagojevich is guilty, the news media is even more guilty. More hypocritical and even more corrupt. They just hide behind the First Amendment and hallowed principles of ethics that they frequently violate.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 7:  Patti Blagojevich, ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
And this was all about media spin. But you can’t spin the media when the media hates you. Blagojevich’s high-priced consultant from Hollywood should have told him that from the get-go. But he did pretty well in all of this. The media did well in all of this. The politicians who hated Blagojevich and didn’t like his programs did pretty well for themselves in all of this, too.

It’s hard to predict what will happen. But if there is any justice in this world, Blagojevich will either get a new trial or the appeals court will throw out his conviction, giving him time served.

Pre-crime is something you chase in a Tom Cruise movie on the big screen, not in real life politics. Blagojevich didn’t take a dime. He had a big mouth, but what politician or for that matter what media pundit doesn’t?

Giving Blagojevich 14 years because he almost got away with committing a crime is just wrong. Maybe one year for all that he is accused of doing wrong. But balanced off against what he did right, one year might even be too much.

I wish him well and his wife, Patty, and his daughters well, too. The taxpayers never really lost anything in all this except for a waste of time. The only people who lost are his wife and kids. And that’s the real shame.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Discuss this and other columns during his radio show on WSBC AM 1240 or in the Southlands at WCFJ AM 1470 radio on Sundays from 8 until 10 am.

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Several big races with no one to care: Patlak vs Morrison, and the useless Water Reclamation District

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They are already predicting the lowest turnout during Tuesday's primary elections March 20.

There are 1,394,453 total registered voters in suburban Cook County. Probably, about 280,000 will actually vote (about 20 percent).

Early voting ends today (Thursday) and so far Orland Park voters are leading the pack in terms of voting early. The Tribune Local gives a report on early voting:
From Feb. 27 through Monday, 1,671 voters had turned out to Orland Park’s Village Hall to vote in the March 20 primary, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Northbrook was second with 1,306, Matteson was third with 1,238, the Faith Family Future Center in South Holland was fourth with 1,144 and Arlington Heights was fifth with 1,097. There are 44 early voting sites in Cook County. (Click to read story)
That may sound good, but the truth is early voting is an indicator of how many people will, or won't, vote. Early voting this year is low throughout Cook County.

Yet there are several races worth watching, and a few referenda on the ballot of note. The one that is on most suburban ballots is the Electricity Opt Out referendum. Basically, you are being asked if you will give your local suburban municipality the right to decide to switch you to an alternative source of electricity that is cheaper as opposed to continuing with Commonwealth Edison, the bloated and poorly run electrical company that is owned by the wealthy Exelon. (Exelon plays this shell game in which it bleeds ComEd dry and then forces ComEd to seek public tax funding and rate increases, while directing all major profits to Exelon. It's a shell game.)

The referendum is also misleading. I mean, do you really trust your local government to do what's in your best interests? Not everyone does. The referendum is practically on every suburban municipal ballot (regardless of which party you vote in).

Chicago has it's contests for Committeeman this election cycle. The suburbs are in two years. For the most part, most incumbent Democratic Committeemen are unchallenged.

Here are two important races, the battle for the Board of Review in the Republican Primary, and below that the battle for the Water Reclamation District on the Democratic ballot.


The biggest race in suburban Cook County is the battle between Sean Morrison and Dan Patlak in the Republican Primary (remember, you have declare yourself and vote in either the Democratic or the Republican Primary, another reason why so many people stay home and don't vote in primaries.)

Patlak is the only Republican on the three-member Board of Review which previously was called the Board of Tax Appeals. It manages the assessment on your property and also accepts appeals to reduce your assessment and thus your property taxes, but that usually fail.

Because this is one of the few Republican-held Cook County offices, the Republicans have been engaged in a vicious fight. Patlak has some incumbent support but has been dragged down by the fanatics in the Tea Party who are pushing his candidacy. The Tea Party, which began as a people's movement, was taken over by extremist conservatives who are irrational in their hatred of everyone and often engage in racism.

Why Patlak would want to be associated with them, and the likes of the mouthpiece of the Tea Party nutjobs, the Illinois Review, is a mystery to me. He seems like a nice guy. But, he is their puppet in this battle.

Morrison is being backed by Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman who n the past few years has established herself as the only Republican champion of taxpayers. Gorman single-handedly defeated the sales tax increase that was imposed on Cook County Taxpayers by former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Stroger raised the sales tax to record heights, adding one more penny to the oppressive sales tax we already pay in the suburban communities. But Gorman opposed it and although it was passed, despite her objectives, you refused to give up until eventually the tax was repealed.

That's the kind of leadership you don't see in government.

Gorman also beat back challenges from the Chicago Democratic Machine. She defeated a Republican challenger who tried to unseat her, and then defeated the Democrat, Pat Maher, the cousin of the powerful family of Dan Hynes, who also lost the battle for Illinois Comptroller.

The fact that Gorman is backing Morrison gives him the edge in this low-voter turnout contest. And that's why Patlak is so desperate.


The mission of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is to manage rain water run-off. It does a very poor job of doing that, as most homeowners know.

Flooding from heavy rains twice devastated the western suburbs during the last two years with the region declared a disaster area in the summer of 2010. Why? Because the Water Reclamation District doesn't manage rain water run-off very well. But, it does control where those flood waters will go.

The Water Reclamation District has locks and controls to block water run-off. Now, you don't need to be a physicist to understand the principle of water, Water spreads itself out evenly, unless there is an obstruction. So, when one suburban community floods, the communities around it flood. The water drains into the sewers and unground pipes and goes to creeks and eventually to the billion dollar Deep Tunnel. But the problem is, the Deep Tunnel isn't deep enough or big enough to hold all the flood waters. In fact, it frequently fills up to capacity quickly and early.

That's when the problems start.

With no place to go, the water fills up suburban sewer and water drainage systems. It fills up retention ponds and the Canals that connect to Lake Michigan.

And therein lies the problem my friends. Chicago.

You see, the Water Reclamation District can determine if a community floods and the homeowners loose everything they own to the devastation of a flood, or if they should open the locks and allow the water to flood the canal and then flood the sewage onto the beachfronts in Chicago's wealthy lakefront beaches and properties.

You know, rich people don't actually swim in Lake Michigan. They live next to the Lake in their multi-million dollar condominiums and apartments and they love to look at the lake and sail their boats. But they won't swim in that filthy water (that Chicago then turns around and resells at a huge mark-up to the suckers in the suburbs).

But, what they don't like is when the lakefront waters get polluted and start to stink to high heaven, high enough to waft high enough to reach those expensive noses through there high-rise open windows where they peer down on the poor peons, pedestrians and serfs -- the poor schmucks like you and me.

So they poor millions into the campaigns of people who they pick to control this imbalance in public caring, to guarantee that when the time comes, that shit-water won't spill into the lake and ease the flooding burdens on suburban homeowners, but will instead stay in the suburbs long enough to destroy lives and homes, and eventually -- maybe after two or three days -- drain away along with the hopes and dreams of the victims.

On March 20, the Chicago powers-that-be are pushing Patrick Daley Thompson, a cousin of the scion of the Chicago Machine, Richard M. Daley. Thompson wants to become the president of the Water Reclamation District Board, which lives a luxurious life in their downtown Chicago offices. They each hundred dollar lunches at the best downtown restaurants, all at the taxpayer expense, of course. They spend millions on their own luxuries like buying big screen TVs for their bosses. Got to keep those people happy, especially if you expect them to order those locks closed to flood the suburbs and save the City of Chicago!

A campaign mailer just arrived in everyone's mail boxes this week, everyone who is a Democrat -- the Republicans have no chance of winning a seat there unless the Democrats approve it.

The mailer was to promote Thompson with a lot of soft and fuzzy wording about protecting the environment, restoring wetlands, improving waste treatment and "saving taxpayer dollars."

But the biggest picture on it wasn't of Thompson, who no one knows at all and has no experience running a multi-billion corporation. The biggest picture is of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Because the message isn't about electing Thompson, but assuring the wealthy lakefront homeowners and contributors that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has your back, your wallet and his finger on the button to shutter those water canal locks to keep the flood waters from draining out of suburban basements and homes into the skanky beaches where no one really swims -- except the stinky alewives, of course.

Thompson is running with two other candidates, but the powers that be don't really care about the other two candidates.

There are actually six candidates running but you only pick three. They are listed on the ballot as:

Candidate NamePartyBallot #
Stella B. BlackDemocratic71
Debra ShoreDemocratic72
Kari K. SteeleDemocratic73
Patrick Daley ThompsonDemocratic74
Patricia YoungDemocratic75
Patricia HortonDemocratic77

Personally, I only know Patricia Young. She's a good person and worked for the Water Reclamation District doing public affairs work. (I actually helped her launch her first campaign in the early 1990s). She previously served on the Water Reclamation District Board from 1992 until 2009.

The problem is that no one cares about flooding. No one addresses flooding. And Thompson doesn't care.

And the truth is, that when the rain falls this summer, it doesn't matter if the office is held by a Daley or a nobody. The fact is the Water Reclamation District needs to be reformed and until we push for reform, your taxes will go down the drain faster than the rainwater. And your homes will continue to flood and destroy your precious belongings that Mayor Emanuel doesn't care about.

Until you care, no one else will.

Thompson's running mates are Keri Steele and Debra Shore. You haven't heard anything from them. I mean, no one who expects to hold that office spends their own money running or campaigning. It's all down by the power brokers who are backing them. Patricia Horton and Shore are the incumbents, but the Democrats have dumped Horton.

If you really want to send a signal that you are not happy, you can vote for Patricia Young, and Stella Black. This is the one race that really has meaning in your lives and impacts your homes and properties.  Horton has been dumped and is on her own.

A tough choice for voters: I would give Young a shot at doing what she should have done in the past, fighting harder to expose the real problems at the Water Reclamation District. Should Horton return? I don't think so. Thompson, because he is a Daley, will be the highest vote-getter.

What we really need is a referendum to eliminate the Water Reclamation District or make them accountable for the flooding problems. When your home floods, homeowners should be allowed to file lawsuits against the District.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Patlak lackie poison pens lies at the

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Patlak lackie poison pens lies at the

John Dyslin describes himself on his professional profile as an “Analyst at the Cook County Board of Review.”

But he forgets to mention that in his poison pen diatribe he wrote bashing Cook County Review candidate Sean Morrison and Morrison’s chief ally pro-Taxpayer champion Cook County Board Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman.

The column is on the, an online news site that I have also written for in the past.

I bet if the editors knew that Dyslin works for Patlak as a paid employee at the Cook County Board of Review, they might have taken a different perspective on his column bashing Morrison and Gorman.

In his profile, he also brags that he currently works to “Analyze residential assessment appeals, attend voter outreach events and assist in some communication efforts for Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak.”

In his column, where he hides his true identity, Dyslin falsely accuses Gorman of backing former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and the increase in the sales tax that Stroger passed just before being booted out of office by angry taxpayers.

The truth is Gorman led the fight against the sales tax increase. Her persistence introducing ordinance repealing the sales tax hike three times resulted in the entire one cent increase being rolled back.

Imagine how desperate Patlak must be to falsely claim that Gorman supported Stroger. Are you kidding me? Gorman was Stroger’s worst nightmare on the Cook County Board. In fact, one could easily argue that Stroger lost his bid for re-election in a large part because of the battle Gorman waged to fight the sales tax increase.

But Dyslin’s ethical lapse in identifying his relationship to Patlak, Morrison’s chief rival, exposes how desperate Patlak must really be. Patlak wouldn’t resort to all the mudslinging that has characterized his campaign if Patlak were leading Morrison in the polls. In fact, the polls show that Morrison is leading Patlak in the March 20 Republican Primary.

Part of the reason is that Morrison ran once before against Patlak. But this time, Morrison has Gorman’s backing and every taxpayer in Cook County is grateful to Gorman for having saved them thousands of dollars in unnecessary sales tax spending.

Hiding your political alliances is not ethical. When I write columns about clients who I work for, which is only occasionally, I point it out clearly and upfront.

But I don’t work for Gorman. I admire her. I took the time to closely examine her work and realized that she is the real thing, someone who promises to fight for the taxpayers and actually fights for the taxpayers. Gorman is refreshing. And the voters and the taxpayers know it, too.

I never met Morrison or Patlak before this election contest. They both seem like nice people although you really have to wonder about Patlak when you look at some of the people he hangs around with.

The race for the Cook County Board of Review happens to be the most important race Republican’s will decide on Tuesday March 20 along with deciding who is going to represent the party in the race to defeat President Barack Obama, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.

Dyslin argues that the race between Morrison and Patlak will define the face of the Cook County Republican Organization. He's right, but for the wrong reasons. The fact is Morrison and Gorman are trying to save the Republican Party from Patlak's rightwing fanatic pals.

Patlak has tried to make that the cornerstone of his shallow campaign, also arguing falsely that Morrison and Gorman are undermining the Cook County Republican Party. Patlak’s only real argument doesn’t hold water. If anything, Gorman put the spine back in the Cook County Republican Party. It’s Patlak’s pals, like the Tea Party extremists and the fanatic writers at the power hungry Illinois Review who are destroying the Republican Party.

Dyslin rambles on and on attacking Morrison and Gorman in his column. He’s not very talented at writing, just throwing mud. The kind of mud that characterizes Patlak’s campaign literature. In one personal attack against Gorman that had me belly laughing, Dyslin wrote, awkwardly, that Gorman and Morrison are “two big liars, and distorters of truth and reality.” Seriously Dyslin, “who learned you English?” The Illinois Review?

By the way, Dyslin also brags on his LinkedIn profile that he’s a precinct captain for the Wheeling Township Republican Organization. Isn’t that the place where Patlak is also a member of the organization there.

Dyslin is a lot like Fran Eaton at the Illinois Review, who throws around pejorative attacks against individuals while avoiding any of the issues.

Dyslin does claim to have some “writing” experience. For example, on his Linkedin Account, Dyslin says he is a freelance writer “at the Indepedent Freelancer.”

Well, Dyslin may be “indepedent,” whatever that means, but he is far from independent. And he is far from being honest, too.

The should remove Dyslin’s column and give him a lecture about not pretending to be someone that he is not, and about hiding his political alliances in order to help his political pals at the expense of the’s reputation.

Ray Hanania

Tribune hasn't been very objective lately on the Foster-Hickey race for Congress

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Most subscribers to the local newspapers know the newspaper industry often has a double standard when it comes to balance and fairness, especially in politics.

The Chicago tribune is a good example. The Tribune has taken a pretty hard stand in favor of Bill Foster, the failed former congressman who founded a major non-union business in Wisconsin that his brother now heads.

Foster has a closet full of skeletons but the Chicago Tribune doesn't want to report on them. Instead, the Tribune has taken out after everyone else, not to inform the public but to influence the election on Tuesday.

For example, the Tribune has done an extensive and detailed "story" on the fact that Jim Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District and the leading candidate in the March 20 Democratic primary race int he 11th Congressional District, filed bankruptcy.

I know Hickey very well since I work with him on the OFPD board. He's done a lot of good things there as have the other four board members.

But what strikes me as hypocritical by the Chicago tribune (and don't confuse the Chicago Tribune with the highly ethical Tribune Local, by the way), is that the Tribune is willing to report on the scandals of others but not the candidates it endorses like Foster. (I'll have an analysis of how badly Tribune endorsements do in elections. Most of the candidates who win will undoubtedly not have the Tribune's endorsement so it doesn't help Foster.) But what does help Foster is that the Tribune is doing Foster's dirty work and his campaign work, too.

The newspaper slammed Hickey in an unfair profile of his past bankruptcy. Hickey made a great point responding to the ridiculous story by saying that he is proud to be standing in the trenches with millions of Americans who have also filed bankruptcy in this terrible economy and that he would rather fight for their rights and the rights of other Americans who haven;t filed bankruptcy but who face tremendous financial hardships. Hickey blames today's economy on elected officials like Foster, who held a seat in Congress until he was thrown out by the voters two years ago for failing to do his job.

Despite that failure, which the Chicago Tribune doesn't do much to report on, Foster has their endorsement? Ridiculous.

But worse is the Tribune's unfairness.

For example, Foster was involved ina  terrible divorce. His ex-wife at the time charged her husband with domestic violence. Sometimes, domestic violence is a result of tensions between two parting spouses. But sometimes, it reflects horrible realities and an abuse and disregard for the rights of women. That's the case in Foster's past. The guy has no respect for women.

Read about it on Hickey's web site, which is backed up with many citations of sources. (Click here)

Of course, his ex-wife now works for the Wisconsin company so maybe she doesn't want to speak out too much about what her ex-husband did to her.

The Tribune also doesn't want to report on Foster's current marriage. Now, you would think marriages and information about marriages should remain confidential and not be a part of an election campaign. But Foster's wife doesn't even live in Illinois! She's in New York. And that raises a question about where Foster really lives. He says Batavia but he spends his time in New York or with his non-union company in Wisconsin.

What is the truth?

The truth is the voters won't get a chance to know the truth. They won't get a chance to ask the questions about Foster's domestic violence past or about the company he founded that is now run by his brother. They won't be able to ask why a so-called pro-union advocate like Foster has a major company with more than 600 employees that are not union at all?

And, the voters won't be able to get answers to questions about where Foster calls home. Does he live in Illinois?

I've tried to interview Foster several times on my radio show but he won't discuss any of the issues. That's exactly the kind of representative you do not want in Congress. The guy is a multi-millionaire, swimming in riches he earned through a non-union company that is not even located in Illinois. You would think voters in an Illinois Congressional District would want a representative who lives in Illinois and who cares about Illinois workers and who has a better record on treatment of women.

But we won't get to ask those questions because Foster is being protected by the Chicago Tribune, a Republican newspaper that is pushing Republican Judy Biggert. The 11th District has a Democratic majority but the Tribune is pushing Foster because they know that Foster is the weaker candidate going into an election fight with Biggert. So they want to help Foster make it past the Democratic primary, slamming Foster's challengers including Hickey who has openly discussed his personal life and answered every question about his bankruptcy.

Why is it that the Chicago Tribune prefers a candidate who is wealthy and rich and has an unanswered or addressed past but they are slamming a candidate like Hickey who is open, above board and going through what millions of other Americans have gone through?

The fact is Foster OWES the public an explanation of his treatment of women starting with his ex-wife. The public deserves to know the truth behind the domestic violence charges.

But you won't get that from the Chicago Tribune unfortunately, which carefully picks and chooses which public officials it will hammer and which ones it will protect.

That's not journalism. It's called hypocritical politics. The Tribune is a better newspaper than that.

If there is nothing of substance in the domestic violence charges filed against Foster, then Foster should be a man and address them head on. But I have a feeling that he is running away from those issues for a specific reason, and it's pretty clear he has the protection of the Chicago Tribune for reasons other than ethical election fairness.

You know what's really hypocritical? That the Chicago Tribune hammers Hickey for having filed bankruptcy. Yes, the Chicago Tribune wants you to think filing bankruptcy is a bad thing when it comes to the Hickey versus Foster battle. Of course, they wouldn't want to bring in the FACT that the Chicago Tribune filed bankruptcy, too, but that it gets favors and benefits from government that other people like you, me and Jim Hickey are denied.

The Tribune filed bankruptcy. If that's a bad point against Hickey it should really raises questions about the Tribune's unethical role in trying to manipulate rather than report on an important congressional election.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, March 9, 2012

You won't read this in the Illinois Review -- Patlak hammered by WMAQ TV Investigation

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An attorney interviewed by WMAQ TV claims he was pressured to donate funds to Dan Patlak, a member of the Cook County Board of Review. Patlak's challenger Sean Morrison has accused Patlak of taking huge donations from the attorneys who do business before the Board of Review.

It doesn't sound surprising.

What is surprising is the collection of Republican losers who have circled their broken wagons around Patlak: The Illinois Review, Fran Eaton, Jeff Junkass and more. Patlak is an example of why the Republican Party has problems.

I'm a Reagan Democrat and a "Gorman Republican." A Reagan Democrat as you know is a Democrat with conservative leanings and who admired and voted for the late President Ronald Reagan. A "Gorman Republican" is someone who recognizes that the Republican Party is in complete turmoil, undermined by goofballs like Junkas, Eaton and Illinois Review, the creepy online magazine that accuses people of playing politics and then plays politics worse than anyone. Real hypocrites. 

Gorman Republicans are named after Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman whose persistence in fighting the Todd Stroger sales tax increase resulted in its rollback. She refused to give up. Gorman represents the real mainstream, moderate and effective Republicans, while Eaton, Junkass and Illinois Review and a few more of their worthless mudslingers who I don't need to name have helped to destroy the Republican Party.

WMAQ TV reports:

"When you think your property taxes are too high, you take your case to the Cook County Board of Review. But there are accusations of heavy-handed campaigning by one of the commissioners, Dan Patlak. Patlak says the charges are "false and unsustainable."

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Don't let the critics anger you Rosie O'Donnell, we all left, dumping Chicago long ago, too

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It's natural that some in Chicago will be angry that Rosie O'Donnell, the celebrity talk show host, decided to close up shop on Chicago's dumpy West Side and move her operations back to New York where her children live and her career will better flourish.

Chicago has a reputation for being a "jerk," if a "thing" can be described as being a "jerk" of any sort. The fact is Chicago as a city often acts like a jerk. It abuses its neighbors, exploits its visitors and doesn't even provide enough protection so that those who come to Chicago can feel safe. And in all that hodgepodge of failed civic responsibility, Chicago does a poor job of living up to its frequent boasts that it is a city of big shoulders that supports "diversity."

Just look at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration and you can see for yourself that the City of Chicago is far from diverse. It loves to talk about diversity but in the place of diversity, we have segments of the city's population that have been left outside the City Hall door on very cold nights, forgotten, abandoned and ignored.

, former White House Chief of StaffImage via Wikipedia
That's the real style of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But that pattern of poor leadership performance and unhospitable treatment of minorities and diversity didn't start with the rude and crude Mayor Emanuel. It's been like that for years. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was probably the most welcome to diversity of any past mayor including the late Mayor Harold Washington, and even Daley didn't do enough.

But Daley did do something.

Like the rest of us, celebrity talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is abandoning Chicago's melting pot of failures to return to New York City where her children continue to live. She had settled into the building that once showcased the Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Studios, but Oprah also tired of all the hassles of dealing with Chicago.

Both Oprah and Rose are just to considerate to blame it all on Chicago. 

What does Chicago have to offer these days?


You can still get mugged on an early evening walking through the city's streets. More people are killed in Chicago on any given day than in the Middle East where violence has become a daily lifestyle.

Good service in Chicago has disappeared. In fact, does anyone say they expect good service from Chicago any more? No one cares about the schools. No one cares about the libraries. No one cares about the businesses. No one cares about the rag-tag CTA fleet of broken down, smog spewing buses. Just this week we learned that the CTA has been using broken, deficient parts in repairing its broken down bus network. And where do you think they buy the parts? From China, which of all the nation's in the world has the worst reputation for supplying dangerous toys to children and undependable parts and equipment for about almost anything. (Look at the iPad which is assembled poorly in China. They can't even keep one long enough for public use before they have to make another that improves the older iPads' deficiencies.)

Nevermind the other obstacles to the American Dream that Chicago has artificially erected to create havoc. The outrageous charges to park downtown -- parking sometimes costs more than a good dinner. The Red Light Cameras and the sneaky adjustments to reduce the Amber Light Display from 3 seconds to 2 seconds in order to "catch" motorists who are driving to and from work. Those tickets are an outrageous $100.

Meanwhile, as former Ald. Dick Simpson has clearly pointed out, Chicago remains the Corruption Capitol of American Politics. Chicago, even under Mayor Rahm "I'll Kick Your Ass" Emanuel, is the most corrupt place to live.

Oh the Chicago stooges are bashing Rosie for her decision to leave Chicago and the West Side where a person is about as safe as a little boy in the halls of a Catholic Church on a Friday night. Included among them is writer David W. Quinn who moved into Chicago on New's Day in 2011. Hey, he survived a lot longer than most suburbanites who try and fail to survive the rat-infested Chicago jungle.

But Quinn didn't mind throwing O'Donnell under the buss for living in Chicago only five months. I mean, she was the reason why he moved in? And, who cares that the bus she was thrown under is a dilapidated, defective and unreliable Chicago CTA cattle car made of aluminum, steel and all the care that a child laborer in China can put into a gear shift shield?

No slam against Quinn. But I will put up $100 that he eventually moves out, too. Maybe not right away. But he'll see the faded light through the Chicago smog of corruption, incompetence, lack of services and recognize that the only reason Chicago is Chicago is because they are living off of the taxes paid for by the hardworking suburbanites.

If he doesn't, he should. 

Quinn argues that Chicago didn't fail, Rosie did. But I argue that Rosie is just another victim of the dimmed marquee of Chicago's past, fueled by excessively charged, costly electricity and stale tasting Lake Michigan Water that costs an arm-and-a-leg for the suburbs to purchase. And more often than not, floating in the water is an arm-and-a-leg from some victim of rampant Chicago crime.

Years ago as a cub reporter at Chicago City Hall, I had this argument with the late Mike Royko. Royko pushed shoving it to the suburbs to bail out the then incompetent CTA transportation system. Imagine that! The CTA didn't just become a rickety-fleet of poor service just recently. It's been a bundle of "Oye" for decades. I remember Royko slamming me for trying to defend the suburbs, way back in 1982. I hadn't won any journalism awards back then. Jobs in journalism were available and a source of pride. The cost of living wasn't too bad and you could actually get to Chicago and spend most of your money enjoying a city attraction instead of on getting there, staying there and crawling out as fast as you can to safety. 

And Royko shook my hand at a Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Award's night which was held at the Ambassador East Hotel, saying to me quite sternly. "I read that you have been bashing my city Raymond." Royko said "Raymond" the way someone does when they are trying to lecture me into being nice to them in my own columns.

Royko then continued, "You're the only person Jay McMullen was ever right about."

Well, it sounded funny, of course. That was the Royko way. But it didn't make much sense, that's for sure. McMullen, the wooly-caterpillar husband of then Mayor Jane M. Byrne and former Daily News City Hall reporter before that, had threatened to punch me in the nose when I wrote a column in my suburban newspaper the Daily Southtown that said McMullen had turned to his wife to fight one of his battles before she became mayor, and his mayor was getting even with the county politician who had insulted him years before. McMullen didn't like the idea that he had to rely on any woman to fight his battles, especially the woman who was the most powerful in Chicago at the time.

And then Royko smiled and grabbed a copy of one of his books that I had in my arm, autographed it and handed it to me.

Yes, the Chicago-suburban rivalry has been going full steam for years. But these days, the suburbs have been so demeaned they have little respect left and shudder in the shadow of Chicago's bullying. To Chicago, which has never held any respect for the suburbs, New York is no different than any Chicago suburb. You are either with Chicago or without Chicago, kind of a George W. Bush-esque rephrasing of his simpleminded approach to international terrorism. (It didn't work, folks!)

So have a nice trip Rosie. You at least tried to make Chicago a go, which is more than I can say for the hypocrites in the mainstream Chicago media who don't live in Chicago at all and look down snobbishly and slam the suburbs that they don't live in. (At least Tribune blogger Quinn lives in Chicago. I give him credit for that.)

-- Ray Hanania

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The disgusting tactics of Dan Patlak's campaign

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Earlier this week, as many of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know, my sister Linda experienced a life-and-death crisis. She continues to recover int he hospital although her challenges are many. Her health is in serious risk but the doctors are doing everything they can to help her. She remains on life-support and her condition is precarious. It can change at any time. (Thank you ALL for the well-wishes and prayers!)

So, you can imagine when at about 8:39 last night (Wednesday) I had received a phone call that the Caller-ID identified as coming from "Glenn Dale MD" at the number "240-556-9966."

I had just spoken with the nurses at the hospital and the call shocked me, thinking that something had changed. But when I picked up the phone thinking I was being called by a Doctor -- "MD" -- instead I heard a creepy sounding voice asking me to "Vote for Dan Patlak" for the Board of Review.

I have heard of the deceitful tactics of some campaigns trying to do robocalls to make it more likely for a homeowner at 8:40 in the evening to answer the telephone. Putting the letters "MD" after a name scares people into believing they have to answer the call from the unknown number, disarming their natural instincts to suspect any calls that come late at night -- especially around election time -- and from numbers they don't recognize.

It was disgusting to listen as the voice on the line turned out not to be a doctor, but instead was a telemarketer hired by Patlack to promote his candidacy.

Patlak must be desperate. Patlak sent out a brochure, as you have read here, in which he splattered his own face with "mud" to build sympathy and accuse his opponent, Sean Morrison of "throwing mud." But criticism and holding elected officials accountable is NOT throwing mud, Mr. Patlak. It's called accountability and that's exactly what the public should demand from their elected officials.

While Patlak is pretending to be a victim to build up sympathy and smear the good name of Sean Morrison, Morrison is out there trying to play by the rules, questioning Patlak's associations and political ties to sleazy groups like the "Illinois Review," the mud-slinging extremist conservative online blog that attacks people personally as their form of "critical analysis."

I received a robocall from Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman earlier that day and it was respectful. The number was local. t was made at 1:22 pm in the early afternoon so it could go to voice mail, rather than waking people up late at night with scares. Gorman is backing Morrison and she showcases the hard work he has done over the years and his ideas to improve the situation for taxpayers as she has done too.

Patlak is going to argue, of course, that the "MD" doesn't stand for Doctor but rather Maryland. Even then, why the hell would someone running for Cook County Board of Review (formerly the Board of Tax Appeals) hire out a non-Illinois firm in another state like Maryland to make the calls unless that company sold them on the promise: "Psssst! Hey, buddy! If you use our telemarketing firm, most normal people will think that a doctor is calling their home and they will pick up the phone. Tee Hee! Isn't that sneaky? Kind of like what Patlak and the Illinois Review are all about? Tee hee!"

Pathetic. Cheap election tactic. Typical of what you might expect from Mr. Patlak.

-- Ray Hanania

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Family of Maureen Murphy slams Patlak's exploitation of her name

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Dan Patlak has been mailing brochures throwing mud on himself, avoiding the issues and attacking his challenger Sean Morrison. But it seems that Patlak's mud has provoked anger from across the suburban district in the Board of Whatever race (Board of Review).

Patlak has used the images of a lot of past Republicans to portray himself as continuing the legacy of the Republican Party which has watched as extremists and fanatics including those in the Tea Party and at the hate-filled online publication the Illinois Review have undermined and brought the Cook County GOP down.

He used the images of former Cook County Sheriff Jim O'Grady, and then former Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley. He put his own picture up along with the rest including the picture of the beloved former member of the Board of Review, Maureen Murphy.

Maureen passed-away in 2008. She had been a school board member at Evergreen Park High school, then the legislator from the area and then committeeman of the powerful Worth Township Republican Organization succeeding another truly great Republican Herb Huskey. Back in those days, the Republicans were united by principles and moderation and commonsense.

Today,, morons like the Illinois Review have hijacked the Republican Party fueled by the vicious hatred of some Tea Party activists whoa re more interested in promoting themselves than the principled foundations of the Republican Party that O'Grady, O'Malley and Murphy once represented so proudly and effectively. There are very few Republicans like that and include Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman and Sean Morrison. Morrison and Gorman represent the moderate Republican Party movement. They focus on real issues like fighting unjustified sales tax increases while Illinois Review, their close friend Patlak, and the Tea Party focus more on incendiary political vitriol and diatribes.

Illinois Review doesn't care about strengthening the Republican Party. They only care about taking over and the power they perceive as the prize.

But abusing the name of great Republicans isn't the only trespass of Mr. Patlak. He received this angry letter from the son of Maureen Murphy, Shaun Murphy who is now the Worth Township Republican Committeeman.
Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak recently sent out a campaign mailing which included a picture of my mother, Maureen Murphy who passed away in 2008. Throughout his campaign, Mr. Patlak has repeatedly mentioned Maureen's work for the taxpayers in an attempt to associate himself with her and her record. Time and time again, he has used her name as an implied endorsement, a shield, and has even used her as a scapegoat, depending upon the audience. The complete lack of judgment Mr. Patlak has shown in bringing my mother's name into this race is disappointing. The Murphy family wants to make it clear that although he is using Maureen's name, our family is not endorsing Mr. Patlak in his campaign.
Shaun Murphy
Evergreen Park, IL
Maureen Murphy was a one-of-a-kind person. A truly considerate and kind leader. She was pragmatic, smart and dedicated to the local Republican Organization. Not everyone supported her or her kind of thinking. She worked for respect rather than using bullying the way the Illinois Review and Patlak are throwing mud in their vicious campaigns to slander anyone who dares to stand up to the garbage politics.

She deserves better than to be dragged into Patlak's mud-throwing, ugly election campaign.

-- Ray Hanania
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dan Patlak's mud-flinging campaign against Sean Morrison

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Why is Dan Patlak throwing mud on himself? Oh he is. Just look at his latest mailer that spammed my mail box last night.

Picture from Patlak's own mailer this week

He's throwing mud on himself to make himself look like a victim.

Dan Patlak is in trouble. He's running for the "Board of Whatever," sometimes more commonly called the "Board of Review," which previously was better known as the Board of Tax Appeals. It's an easy job. You basically go around Cook County telling homeowners who are voters that you can help them reduce their property taxes by reviewing their assessments.

It's a fun charade where taxpayers, just before the election, are almost promised that their property taxes will go down if they just come to one of their seminars and fill out a few forms. But the truth is that the average tax reduction on a home is only a few hundred dollars, about $20 a month. The big breaks go to the commercial properties and big businesses who can afford the real estate lawyers who happen to make the biggest contributions to the campaigns of the Board of Review incumbents.

So when a Republican rival decides that he wants the one single Republican in County Wide office to be accountable to the people, Sean Morrison, Patlak attacks Morrison saying that Morrison is "throwing mud."

Yes, using the big bucks he got from a lot of campaign contributors including some of the lawyers who appear before the Board, Patlak mailed out one of the most stupid mailers I've seen. He splotched his own picture with mud, printed a photo of the beloved Republican Icon Ronald Reagan, and threw some mud spots on him too, and then told everyone -- "Waaaaa! Waaaaaa! My rival is throwing mud at me." Patlak isn't a candidate. He's a baby.

Morrison has been challenging Patlak to be accountable. Patlak says that's throwing mud.

The only mud is coming from the pigfest that has surrounded Patlak, a handful of questionable writers and PR people including one associated with the biased and one-sided "Illinois Review." They might as well call that "Illinois Mud Central."

I don't know Patlak. He seems like a nice guy. But I do know Morrison and I know that Morrison wants whomever holds the Board of Review seat to actually do something for the taxpayers. He wants that one Republican to be accountable to the voters and the homeowners. He wants that one Republican to talk about the issues instead of throwing mud on himself, as Patlak is doing in his own expensive full-color mailers, to make it seem like he is a victim.

No, Dan. You're not the victim. The taxpayers and the homeowners are the victim. And if you can't even answer a few basic questions about your performance in office, maybe you should pack up and get out of the trough, er, kitchen!

Morrison isn't a baby. Morrison isn't whining about Patlak criticizing him. Morrison is talking about the issues. Unlike Patlak, Morrison isn't handing out pictures of himself splattered with mud. He's talking about the issues that taxpayers want discussed. But instead, all the voters and Morrison are getting is the mud being thrown by Patlak's pals in the mud-pit of Cook County politics. Yes, Patlak's muddied up cronies are the ones throwing the mud at Morrison!

The "Why are they throwing mud at me" mailer is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The fact that Patlak uses that instead of showcasing his own achievements begs the voters to ask the question, "What's Patlak's problem?"

The problem is that Morrison is a better candidate than Patlak. And Patlak's pals in the mud pit are afraid that if Morrison wins, their mudfest is going to come to a mud--filled end.

How about addressing the issues, Dan? Instead of trying to win votes by making yourself look like a victim. The responsibility of every elected official is to take the heat and answer the criticism and questions, not brush off legitimate questions by describing them as "mud."

-- Ray Hanania