Monday, December 23, 2013

Del Mar on Cook County GOP endorsements

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Del Mar on Cook County GOP endorsements

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Cook County Republican Party! Best wishes for a Happy New Year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular success.

We've got some exciting news to share with you as the holidays are just a day away.

Cook County Endorsements:

The Cook County Republican Party announced on Saturday their endorsements for the 2014 Primary Election.

Businessman Bruce Rauner was endorsed over his three opponents for Illinois Governor. Also endorsed were Judy Baar Topinka, Paul Schimpf, and Mike Webster, unopposed Republican candidates for Illinois Comptroller, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. No endorsements were made in the races for Illinois Treasurer and U.S. Senate as Tom Cross and Doug Truax won their respective votes but did not reach the 60% threshold required for an endorsement.

"For the first time in recent memory, Republicans in the largest county in Illinois have a strong, public voice in the Republican Primary process," proclaimed Chairman Aaron Del Mar. "For too long Cook County has been considered Democrat territory, yet there are more Republicans here than in any other county in Illinois. It¹s time their voice was heard loud and clear. This is why we held this endorsement process. The Republican Party in Cook County is growing stronger every day and we will ensure the election of a Republican Governor in 2014."

Ballots were cast by Republican Committeemen on behalf of their wards and townships. Votes were weighted based on the number of Republicans who voted in that township or ward in the 2012 Republican Primary. Committeemen were provided paper ballots containing unique barcodes and a pre-stamped envelope for them to mail in their vote. Committeemen were also provided a unique ID so that they could vote online if they chose. The deadline for both paper and online ballots was Wednesday, December 18th. Votes were tabulated starting at 8am on December 21st. All Republican Committeemen were invited to attend the tabulation to ensure an open and fair process. Certifying the results were Committeemen Garber, Gorman, Morrison, Smith and Yokoyama. The entire process was video taped to further ensure accuracy and transparency.

Official Results:

Bruce Rauner 63.38%
Kirk Dillard 10.18%
Dan Rutherford 5.94%
Bill Brady 0%

US Senate
Doug Truax 38.76%
Jim Oberweis 34.31%
Armen Alvarez 0.26%
William Lee 0.05%

Tom Cross 49.26%
Bob Grogan 31.19%

Judy Baar Topinka 67.81%

Attorney General
Paul Schimpf 70.03%

Secretary of State
Mike Webster 67.48%

Committeemen Support Program Q4 Report Card Released:

The third installment of the Committeemen Support Program scorecard was released today by the Cook County Republican Party. The Scorecard covers the 4th Quarter of 2013.
"We are pleased to see that many of our townships are maintaining their excellent scores while several others have improved their scores," said Cook County Republican Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar. "Many of the benchmarks used to determine grades are ongoing responsibilities, so the fact that so many townships maintained their high grades means that the Cook County Republican Party has regular activity and sustained growth as we move into campaign season."

Enrolled organizations receive an initial stipend and are eligible for further funding through the program. The funding each organization receives is directly tied to their score on the Scorecard. The Party projects that over $50,000 will be provided to Cook County Republican organizations this election cycle through the Committeemen Support Program, the first of its kind.

"We will continue to work to support our Committeemen and their organizations so that we will have the ground game necessary to win in November. We must elect a Republican Governor in 2014 so we can finally return our once great state to prosperity, and to do that we will need to increase our Republican vote totals in Cook County. We are well on our way to achieving this important goal," explained Chairman Del Mar.

The next scorecard will be completed on March 15th and released to the public on March 17th. A copy of the scorecard is included with this release. To learn more about the Cook County Republican Party, visit

Cook County Republican Party

Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised

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Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised
By Ray Hanania

Flying on an airplane used to be fun. But these days, it’s changed. And it’s not just because of Sept. 11. It has more to do with greed.

Southwest Airlines is a good example. Cited 10 times by Fortune Magazine for its financial management, it knows little about how to treat customers.

Southwest Airlines began in Texas in 1967 as Air Southwest and changed its name in 1971. It has always portrayed itself as the “little guy” in the airline business, promising the highest service and the lowest cost.

Like all of the airlines, Southwest Airlines saves money by nickel and diming its passengers, offering the lowest fares by treating passengers like cows. But Southwest Airlines has taken it all one step further.

They don’t assign seats when you buy your ticket. That’s too civilized for cows. Instead, you line up based on whether you pay them extra money. Some people might call that bribing the company to give you a better place in line.

You get seats in one of two ways. You are assigned a “boarding position” when you register for your flight online at least 24 hours before your flight.

Or, you can pay the airline $15 per passenger to have them assign you a “boarding position” 36 hours before the flight in boarding positions 1 through 60.

But 40 minutes before the flight, Southwest Airline sells the first spots in line to passengers who are willing to pay $40 more.

Worse, is that no one really checks to see if people are being honest. The boarding steward doesn’t care. He just checks you in. So many people simple get in the line even ahead of their real assigned number.

You can see how all that ala carte spending starts to add up.

It’s uncivilized, which is what Southwest Airlines should use in its motto. “We’re the uncivilized airline, but we’re rich” rather than their worthless motto which now laughingly proclaims, “Doing the Right Thing.”

What does that mean anyway? The “right thing” for who? Not the passengers.

When you pay $15 to “early register” for the flight, don’t you think that means getting a seat assigned. No. It means getting in a pecking order on where you stand in line trying to get a seat.

The steward jokingly urges passengers to pay the extra $40 per person “to sit with your significant other,” meaning the chances of a family sitting together are probably only 30 percent. Those are bad odds.

The uncivilized way they assign seats is only the beginning. The seats themselves are the most cramped of any airline. In fact, when you get into your seat, somewhere at the back of the plane after paying a fortune, the fold-out tray opens and touches your stomach. It has a sliding feature, but it has no room to slide on normal people.

They are constantly also trying to “balance” their airline wait, asking passengers to take a later flight for a flight coupon. That tells me they constantly overbook.

Maybe they should call Southwest Airlines “Sardine Airlines.” At least you will know what you are paying for.

I liked the old days when airlines treated people with respect. You got what you paid for. Now, they want to take your money and give you what they want.

There was a time when people meant something. These days, we’re just Sherpas for someone else’s profits.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at Or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rauner victory in Cook County gives him the “Big Mo” moving into March GOP Primary battle

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Rauner victory in Cook County gives him the “Big Mo” moving into March GOP Primary battle

Gorman gives Rauner the “Big Mo” in Republican battle for governor

The media is focused on what they say is the “big story,” that the Cook County Republicans finally rallied behind a candidate for governor for the first time in anyone’s memory.

The Cook County GOP overwhelming backed wealthy Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner for Governor in the Republican Primary on March 18, 2014.

But the real story may be about Rauner himself and a critical error on the part of Kirk Dillard, a great candidate who might have become governor four years ago had he been able to defeat Bill Brady, who went on to lose to Pat Quinn.

Rauner may be new to politics, an independently wealthy businessman who has committed his resources to this race. But he showed that he probably knows more about Illinois politics than the so-called veterans like Dillard and even Dan Rutherford.

In seeking to win the backing of the Cook County Republicans, and thus giving himself a public relations victory – perception has a lot to do with victory in Illinois – Rauner was smart enough to approach Cook County Commissioner and Orland Township GOP Committeeman Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman for her support.

It was a strategic move considering that Cook County represents 21 percent of the Republican vote in Illinois. In the 2010 GOP Primary, more than 765,000 Republicans voted with 162,000 of them casting ballots in Cook County.

It was a fatal mistake on Dillard’s part to turn to the North Side Republican extremists for support and not go to Gorman, who backed Dillard so many times in the past.

The Cook County GOP has not endorsed a candidate for governor in years. They didn’t endorse Big Jim Thompson, one of the state’s most successful and popular governors. And they didn’t endorse Mr. Politics himself, George Ryan who threw poor political alliances and choices sent himself to prison for six years on corruption charges, only to be released this year.

But in the battle to defeat Gov. Pat Quinn, whose popularity has soared on the backs of several key issues from his marksmen-like play to push for pension reform and his undying support for Illinois’ military veterans, you have to be especially smart.

Rauner, apparently, is the only one who apparently is thinking ahead.

Dillard had the support of Ruth O’Connell from Wheeling, a well known foe of Gorman and a foe of the equally popular Illinois Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka. Dillard put all his eggs in O’Connell’s basket and watched as they all cracked wide open, winning a mere 10.2 percent of the Republican vote at the Cook County GOP meeting.

Rutherford, the Illinois Treasurer who is an amiably and as capable candidate like Dillard, also made a critical mistake by not approaching Gorman for her support. He won 5 percent of the Cook County vote.

Both Dillard and Rutherford made a critical mistake, but more so Dillard. Rauner, with Gorman’s backing and the backing of Committeeman Sean Morrison, won a whopping 63.3 percent of the vote.

It was unprecedented, but may give us a peek into the course of the Republican primary battle in the coming months.

Bill Brady, by the way, who won the Republican primary for governor four years ago, got nothing in Cook County. Brady got “zero” voter support in Cook County, which is the second biggest story to come out of the party leadership vote.

You could only imagine that had Dillard turned to Gorman in Cook County, he not only would have won the Cook County endorsement and would be riding high on the wave of publicity that Rauner is now enjoying. But he would probably have taken the party nomination this time around.

Dillard has always had appeal to moderate Democrats, in much the same way as the late President Ronald Reagan. Many Democrats in Chicagoland, especially in the Southwest region, viewed themselves as “Reagan Democrats.” They voted Democratic locally but Republican nationally. Some of that Republican inclination also helped Republicans win in local regional races in the legislature, too.

But we’ll never probably know, though. Gorman has proven to be one of Illinois’ most popular Republicans over the years because of her fierce allegiance to taxpayers. And Rauner won her support simply by showing respect.

It’s something Rauner will be able to use to empower his campaign, probably giving It a burst of momentum that might be tough to stop as we round the corner to the primary in the next few months.

That’s not to say that Quinn will be an easy candidate to defeat. For Quinn, Rauner’s “Big Mo” might help him keep the conservative Democrats from jumping ship for someone like Dillard. That won’t happen now and Quinn can count on conservative Democrats to stand with the party in March and for sure in November.

But Rauner winning Gorman’s backing might still give him an opportunity to carve out a strategy to appeal to Cook County voters who in every election have backed Gorman in landslide turnouts.

Gorman and Morrison have become the key Republican leaders in Cook County. You have to wonder about any Illinois politician who couldn’t see that a mile away, or who thought there is a better strategy in some nook and cranny up in northern Cook County.

Cook County Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar, who is a close Gorman ally, told the media his plan is to change the party and have them back the strongest candidates, rather than keep playing inside favorites. Del Mar noted this is the first time Cook County Republicans have stood up to become major players in a statewide race.

Gorman is also backing Jim Oberweiss in the U.S. Senate battle, a tough uphill fight against incumbent U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

Rauner’s strong campaign war chest will only benefit all of the Republican candidates running in Illinois. He’s come out swinging with a battery of campaign commercials that have defined him as a moderate Republican and successful businessman in a state, he says, needs business smarts.


Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK -- what we really remember, and want to forget

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JFK -- what we really remember, and want to forget;
an American Arab remembers

By Ray Hanania
English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Ov...
English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Oval Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Probably more than half of the people living in America today were not born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I was only 10 years old and to be honest, I knew nothing about him. My parents generation would often talk about how handsome he was and how beautiful the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was.

There was another "politician" that my parents generation were talking about, too, at the time who took Kennedy's place after he was killed. His name was Charles Percy. His daughter had been murdered the five newspapers that came to our house screamed in giant headlines. During his election, our elementary school asked who would we vote for -- everyone picked him because he was "better looking" than the other guy, Senator Paul Douglas.
Good looks meant a lot in politics and elections in those days.

But that was it. I was too young to understand the Bay of Pigs invasion screw-up in Cuba. It meant nothing to me that his brother, Bobby Kennedy, was appointed the U.S. Attorney General and his priority was to crack down on the Mafia, which FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover insisted did not exist. I didn't know that either.

I knew the United States and Russia were at odds and we might blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons because I had watched movies like "Them" in which nuclear weapons explosions had created giant ants. As a 10 year old, that was scary, even though when I watch the movie "Them" again today, I wonder how the simplistic filmmaking could have scared anyone. But there was the Russian satellite, called "Sputnik" which was a round silver-like ball of metal with three "legs" or antennas.

Sputnik had been launched in 1957 just before Halloween -- I was only 4 then and a few people had dressed up like the frightening Russian satellite. Sputnik flew around the earth for about 22 days before it stopped working and then came crashing down weeks later in January 1958. But the fear that overcame America lasted years and fueled the "Space Race."

November 22, 1963, that Friday morning when I was walking up the slight hill of Chappel Avenue at 92nd Street to return to school, was just a normal day. I went to Joseph Warren Elementary school -- yes, we literally walked a mile four times a day including to and from school in the morning and afternoon, and to and from school for lunch. There wasn't any snow because it wasn't slippery. As I walked back to school, a friend who was inside the fenced playground that was adjacent to the side walk yelled to me, "Hey Ray. The President is dead."
English: President John F. Kennedy, First Lady...
English: President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Senator Patrick V. McNamara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What president? Who? Kennedy? We didn't call him JFK. The handsome guy our mom's liked. He was dead. Shrug. 

What did I know. Seriously. I meant nothing to me. Except that the school gathered us all together into the auditorium and the Principal and some of the teachers said things that I don't remember. And then they sent us home, which was not cool because my dad worked at Sinclair Oil downtown and my mom worked at Solo Cup not too far from the school, after we finished lunch.

That's what I remember. That's all I remember of that exact moment. I see the uphill inclined sidewalk. The fence. The kids playing in the playground next to the new yellow bricked school building with the flat roof that made it look like one of those Frank Lloyd Wright homes my dad was always talking about, a few were in the neighborhood. The old, brown bricked school building with the steep inclined roof was straight ahead.

That's it. But that's what has haunted me ever since. The memory of "where I was" and "what I was doing" has remained burned in my mind ever since. And instead of fading away, it has festered like an open wound. The Kennedy Funeral dominated everything the entire weekend. We had little transistor radios made of plastic that we purchased for a few dollars with little ear plugs to listen to the Beatles music and rock and roll music. Between the songs, there would be a lot of talk. We'd switch from WLS to WCFL. It was a radio station battle back then and we picked up the Silver Dollar Surveys from the local record store which listed what new songs were out and how they ranked.

Hananias1957The television was small. Black and white. I recall watching the funeral procession. And seeing the rebroadcast of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man the media and police immediately concluded had killed Kennedy. There was never any doubt and there was never a real investigation. It was Oswald and that was that. The Warren Commission and everything that came out of the mouths of our government, including "LBJ," that "cowboy" who no one really liked but who was no president, all said the same thing. Done. Closed, That's it pal.

We were afraid that the Soviet Union was going to bomb us with nuclear weapons and I would transform into some kind of monster bug from the radiation, if we didn't burn up. Thank God for our little classroom desks with the shiny beige tops that would protect us from the fallout that we climbed under during Nuclear Attack Air Raid drills in school.

If we had children hiding under desks at school for any reason, parents would go berserk today. Screaming and filing lawsuits against the schools and teachers and it would turn into a political crisis. But back then, we were afraid. And everyone had to been afraid that just maybe the Soviet Union was involved in murdering Kennedy. That's why the government had to fight so hard to convince us it wasn't the Soviet Union because if it was, we would be screaming for revenge. We would bomb the hell out of those "Communists." Those "Commies."
I knew those words. Fear of nuclear bombs and a Soviet invasion was real. It was only 18 years since the end of World War II and the Nazi invasion and destruction of Europe. And the Nazis did horrible things. The gassing of prisoners and mass murder, later called the Holocaust, was frightening.

Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on...
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
George Orwell's book "1984" was not a piece of fiction. It was the boogieman that lived in our minds. And we were headed in that direction back in 1963, only 18 years after World War II. The war had only been over 8 years when I had been born. It was fresh in our minds.

If there was even a hint of a conspiracy or Soviet involvement through Oswald, we would have gone to war. Although, maybe no one really wanted to go to war. Maybe our technology wasn't as great as we thought. The Soviets, after all, beat us to Outer Space. When we look back at it from today's perspective, "Sputnik" was just a metal ball. A symbol of the space race. But back in 1963, Sputnik flew above our homes and scarred the crap out of Americans. Our imaginations were bing fed fear. What did we really know?

If we attacked the Soviets, the Soviets would attack us. Nuclear carnage. A nuclear nightmare. We might beat them, our politicians assured us, but everyone knew that in a nuclear exchange both places would be sizzling, smoldering wastelands of radioactive rubble, breeding giants ants, gila monsters and awakening God knows what from the Earth's crust. Was our nuclear arsenal really better than the Soviet nuclear arsenal? We didn't know for sure. They told us it was but no one really trusted to government.

Today, all of that is meaningless. And when we try to understand the pathetic investigation that was decided minutes after JFK was shot that Oswald was the killer, the fear of a conspiracy drove people to the edges of paranoia. We didn't want to go there. We didn't want to go there.

The body of President John. F. Kennedy lies in...
The body of President John. F. Kennedy lies in repose in the East Room of the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blaming it all on Oswald was a convenient way to relax the American people. It made us feel comfortable. It made us feel safe. It was just one guy. Never mind all the strange and contradictory facts that were never really explored or considered.

Oswald tried to kill a retired American General a few months before using the same Italian-made Mannlicker Carcano rifle. He was 100 feet away hiding behind a bush outside the guys house. And he missed.

And from atop the 6th Floor of the Texas School Depository Building he fired a first shot when the limousine was closest and clearest in front of his site, and missed. And then finally hit Kennedy in the upper back with a second shot as the limousine was further away. And then finally, hit the president in the kill zone, cross hair shot in the back of the head from even further way, a distance almost three times what he tried to do when he missed the General who was standing and not moving 100 feet away months before.

How is it that almost four miles away, a Dallas police officer just happened to see a White Guy walking the street doing nothing to bring attention to him except walking the street, and the decide to pull him over for a first look because a few descriptions had been given of the killer? And Oswald just went home and grabbed his handgun and decided to go out of his apartment. All that time passed since the killing. So many White guys with light hair and jackets walking the streets, but Oswald is picked out like a needle in a haystack. And then after a second confrontation with the police officer, Oswald shoots him.

The Dallas police were corrupt in 1963. The Mafia that Hoover claimed didn’t exist had their little tentacles into the police. Jack “Ruby” Rubenstein, who murdered Oswald on live television 48 hours after JFK was killed in the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters, was a pal of the Dallas Police.

English: Grave of at the Shannon Rose Hill Mem...
English: Grave of at the Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The police confronted Oswald in the Texas School Depository building less than 2 minutes after the killing on the 2nd floor cafeteria of the building. He was holding a bottle of pop. He wasn’t rushed. Wasn’t sweating from running down the stairs from the 6th floor only seconds earlier. Not disheveled. Calm. And just shrugged his shoulders when the police officer asked who he was and the building manager said he’s an employee of the building. And then let him go.

And then we are supposed to believe that this man who shot the Dallas Police Officer who had Soviet ties but didn’t have Soviet ties was the sole killer because the gun was found on the floor where he was supposed to be working.
Why ask those questions? Why try to find out the truth? Why not just lie and makeup a set of facts and have your government buddies print it in a massive document that no normal person could or would bother to read, and just tie the bow and put the whole sordid crisis away in the back of our minds where it sits refusing to leave. Unanswered. Unfinished. Suspicious. And full or questions and concerns. A dark place in our minds from a dark period in our lives where fear really reigned but today sounds so ridiculous to try to argue.

But it was.

That’s what I remember.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at Or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Who’s Got the Bigger One, Chicago or New York?

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Who’s Got the Bigger One, Chicago or New York?

By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Friday Nov. 15, 2013
The Sears Tower, as seen from the east along L...
The Sears Tower, as seen from the east along Lake Shore Drive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The battle between who has the tallest building, Chicago and New York, is more about egos and who has the largest, well, let’s not go there.
But the debate and the ruling this week stripping Chicago of the title of being home to the tallest building in America is one that belongs in the gutter.
A politically motivated committee afraid to rule against the symbol of the post-Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York decided that New York’s Freedom Tower is taller than Chicago’s Willis Tower.
What a bunch of bunk!
It’s a good example of how Americans embrace perceptions over reality and facts of life. If they wanted to make the Freedom Tower the tallest building in America or the World why not just build it that way and put more floors. Instead, they put a 408 foot “spire” or “needle” atop the Freedom Tower, which is more formally called 1 World Trade Tower, and that’s the only thing that makes that building “appear” to be taller.
Freedom Tower is not taller. The spire isn’t even a real spire. It’s an antenna that doesn’t work. The Willis Tower antenna brings it almost as high as the Freedom Tower.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the judges, called the “Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings” and their partners the “Urban Habitat” made their ruling against Chicago and reality because they feared ruling against anything that might question America’s — or their — patriotism.
They concluded that an antenna, which has a real function, does not count in measurement, but a “spire” with no purpose other than as a decoration, does count.
Willis Tower is 1,451 feet tall, not including the antenna on its top. The Freedom Tower is 1,368 feet tall, but claims to be 1,776 feet tall (an intended reference to the year of America’s birth). That includes the 408 foot “spire,” a worthless decoration that makes it 300 feet taller than the Willis Tower’s real building height, not including the Willis Tower’s antenna.
Why didn’t they build the Freedom Tower to really be the tallest building in America at 1,776 feet of office and floor space? Because they knew they could cheat. And that doesn’t honor anyone.
The irony was that the terrorists had also threatened to destroy the Willis Tower, which was formerly called the Sears Tower, a true symbol of America’s dignity representing a company that employed so many Americans and was once the cornerstone of American ingenuity.
From 1908 until 1974, New York had the tallest buildings in the country, but then Chicago overtook them in the race to the sky
In the mid-1990s, the Willis Tower lost the title of Tallest Building in the World to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, which has since been surpassed by other buildings including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which has an 800 foot spire decoration, too.
I hope that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will roll up his sleeves and fight to defend the honor of Chicago. Maybe even replace the Willis Tower antenna with a new spire to give Chicago it’s title back and teach those “New Yorkers” a real lesson in civility, honor and justice.
Of course, we do have so many more problems than who has the biggest building like poverty, the political divisiveness that plagues our nation, continued racism and increasing violence.
But those are real issues and real issues apparently don’t move the public as much as the stupid ones do.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall reporter. You may reach him at and follow him on Twitter at