Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Actually, It Is The Tax-Raising Little Twerps We Fear

On Monday September 24, 2007, Mayor Daley was at it again. In yet another attempt to distract attention from his long standing failure to do anything to fix the CTA, Mayor Daley lashed out at 42nd Ward residents. Playing the race card yet again, Mayor Daley stated "We are talking about 5-year old children. I am not talking about a 12-year old or 15 or 18 or 20." Speaking at Navy Pier, the Mayor explained "These are 5 year olds, not the ones you fear, I guess."

Interestingly, speaking that same day, Gery Chico, who Mayor Daley has selected to Chair the Park District Board, admitted that moving the Chicago Childrens Museum to Grant Park might require a tax increase.

Mayor Daley, residents of 42 are not afraid of dark-skinned youths. It is the little tax raising twerps that scare the heck out of us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Trip Through The Mud

The Associated Press is reporting that George Bush said the attorney general’s “good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

That's fascinating.

I thought the good name "Attorney General of the United States" was dragged through the mud by Gonzales.

Another Racist Rant from Dennis Byrne

Today's Dennis Byrne column (I read it so you don't have to) contained more of his usual racist ranting. Today's featured these thought:

The door at my local Blockbuster video store is labeled "entrance." Right below, for Latinos who might be puzzled, appears the word "entrada." Over at the local Home Depot, the word "electrico" appears on a large overhead banner, in case any Spanish-speaking customer can't read the other word there: "electrical."This is insane. You mean to tell me that Latinos are too dense to figure out that this door is for going in? Or that Spanish-speakers are unable to make the intellectual leap between entrance and entrada, even though they share the same root?
Let me get this right. According to Dennis, Latinos cannot be told in their own language which door to use, but people who speak English are that dense [Byrne's word]. Was that his point?
Further, this was a door on a private business. That business, in order to make a sale, wants to work with people who speak languages other than English.
That upsets Byrne.
Want him to buy? Don't make things easy on the Latinos.
Ultimately. it is hard to find the harm in being polite. The signs in question are nothing more than that -- a attempt to work with everyone in order to get along.
That doesn't work for Byrne though. If people are getting along, Dennis is Mad As Hell.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dangerous Mines In Illinois

On August 6, 2007, six miners were trapped and are now presumed dead due to a mine collapse in Utah. Although originally blamed on a earthquake, University of Utah researchers now say that the opposite is true. They have reported that the mine was weakened by a risky form of mining and the collapse caused the reported seismic activity.

The owner of that mine, Robert E. Murray, is the owner of several other mines across the country.

In Illinois, Murray owns the Galatia Mine. That mine has 850 federal health and safety violations in 2007 alone.

Unless the state and federal governments crack down on Murray and his mines, there will be a tragedy in Illinois.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Republicans and the Filibuster

The GOP is at it again. For all the talk of the Republicans being the party of morality, they have once again flipped positions where they found it politically convenient.

This morning, United States Senate Republicans voted against cutting off debate on the war measure.

That's right: They voted to filibuster.

Not too long ago though, Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and Saxby Chambliss (Georgia - the draft evader who accused the triple amputee of lacking concern for America's security) publicly contemplated filing a lawsuit against the Senate in an attempt to force the Supreme Court to overrule the use of a filibuster to block a president’s judicial nominations.

Back in 2003: The filibuster was an illegal tactic.

Now? Bring it on.

With morality like that, there is no wonder that the Democrats took control in 2006. Leadership means something. It means upholding values. And these two Republicans sure don't have values.

Senator Chambliss will face the voters next year. Hopefully Georgia voters will elect an American with some courage and values then.

Monday, July 16, 2007

White House Continues With Corporal Tillman Cover-Up

"Because it might show we lied to Americans" is not a valid reason to decline a Congressional subpoena. But it appears that the Bush Administration is doing exactly that.

The backgrounds story is now well known. Pat Tillman, a safety for the Arizona Cardinals, gave up his professional football career and enlisted in the United States Army. In doing so, he became a role model for us all. He did what should be done. I want my kids to grow up by his example. When your country needs you, you serve.

Tragically, Corporal Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. It is clear that he was killed by friendly fire when his troops, in the heat of battle, fired on their own.

There is no shame in death by friendly fire. In war, it happens no matter how well troops are trained. Corporal Tillman died an honorable death. He and his troops served their country well.

It appears, however, that the Bush Administration did not share this view of Corporal Tillman's service. Instead, for reasons that appear to be purely political, they covered it up and claimed that the death was due to enemy fire. The reasoning is shameful. The Bush Administration appeared to claim that the death was somehow less honorable, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Rather than admitted its mistake, the Bush Administration is continuing with the shameful cover up. The Washington Post is reporting that White House counsel Fred Fielding has denied the demand for documents, claiming they "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."

It is not clear what interests may exist. At this point, we would hope that the actual facts of the incident have been made public. The only thing not made public is why the Bush Administration made the decision to lie about the events to the American people. "Hiding our lies" does not appear to be a legitimate Executive Branch interest.

Finally, it is important to note that the request for documents was not partisan. The request was made jointly by a House Republican and a House Democrat. This is simply a case where the House wants to know about the cover up, and the White House has refused to comply.

Pat Tillman is model for all Americans. Fred Fielding and his clients in the White House are models of a different sort.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Apparently, Dams Are Dangerous


It looks like plaintiffs' attorneys are the only ones not aware of the obvious, i.e. that playing by a dam is a bad idea.

Some plaintiff's personal injury lawyer has actually filed a lawsuit from a drowning at the Kankakee River last summer. The family is suing the City of Wilmington, among others.

A boy apparently fell into the water near the Wilmington dam. Fifteen people jumped in to save the boy. Two men died when the current pulled them under.

Apparently, according to plaintiffs' lawyers, all dams must be made for swimming. If not, somebody must pay.

The Morals of the Right

The story of right wing extremist Louisiana Senator David Vitter story is outside Skeeterville, but is is a perfect example of what is wrong with the conservatives in America.

Vitter likes hookers. We know that because he patronized them. However, he likes to talk about OTHER PEOPLE's morality.

If you want to talk about morality, you need to act morally. Vitter fails that test completely.

The quote of the day comes from Vitter (courtesy Politicalwire.com):

"I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess."-- Then-Rep. David Vitter (R-LA), quoted by Think Progress, after replacing Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) who "abruptly resigned after disclosures of numerous affairs" in 1998.

Vitter is right. It is time for Vitter to resign.

Monday, July 9, 2007

They Are Called "Gun NUTS" for a Reason

According to Rich Miller, the Illinois State Rifle Association has sent out an urgent notice to its membership claiming "Governor Blagojevich and State Senator Dan Kotowski are planning to ambush gun owners on July 9th by calling for a special legislative session on so-called 'gun violence.'"

According to the notice, the Special Legislation will be an attempt by Sen. Kotowski that will "result in the banning and forced confiscation of most of your guns." The notice concludes that Sen. Kotowski intends to "humiliate" every single Illinois gun owner and "strip" [fascinating word choice] everyone of their guns.

First, I am not clear on how taking away a person's guns will "humiliate" the person or "strip" them. I have often pondered the notion of how odd it is that gun owners tend to like handling long hard objects that emit blasts from one end. Apparently the ISRA feels the same way about guns.

Second, the urgent notice is interesting in light of the Virginia shooting. There,an insane person was able to obtain guns and go on a shooting spree. The urgent notice by the ISRA is equally insane. Of course the allegation of the notice is not true. The people who sent it out and anybody who believes it should be declared incompetent and their guns SHOULD be taken away. If they believe that sort of stuff, they are clearly incompetent.

Finally, this shows once again that the biggest problem facing Illinois gun owners is their own rifle association. Every time the association speaks, the gun owners lose support.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

When Wal Mart Comes to Town -- It Costs Us All

Wal Mart spends and average of $3,500.00 per employee per year on health benefits.

The average for the retail industry is $4,800.00.

When Wal Mart wants to come to Chicago, remember that the people of Chicago are still going to end up paying for health care for Wal Mart employees.

They keep prices low for Wal Mart shoppers, and taxes high for the rest of us.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Illinois Law on Uninsured Motorists Fails to Solve the Problem

Illinois has a new law aiming to crack down on people who drive without insurance. The new penalty? Suspend the driver's license for three months.

Who in the world thinks that this will prevent people from driving without insurance? The offenders have already made the choice to drive illegally -- to drive without insurance. What causes anyone to think that those same people will not continue to drive illegally (without insurance and without a license).

The solution has to be more drastic. If Illinois is serious about taking bad drivers or uninsured drivers off the road, then Illinois must take the cars off the road. Get caught driving without a license or get caught twice without insurance (twice only to allow for honest mistakes like lapsed policies), and lose the vehicle.

In Illinois, insurance goes with the vehicle. If the vehicle is insured, as a general rule all drivers are insured (unless the policy has a specific exclusion). As such, if that vehicle is not insured, the owner is the one at fault. We need to take that vehicle from the owner.

It is time to get those uninsured vehicles off the street, and it is time for our friends in Springfield to start passing legislation that will make a difference.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ISBA and Civil Unions

The Illinois State Bar Association, in yet another sign of increasing irrelevance, has become distracted by the issue of "civil unions."

The ISBA's Assembly (meeting in Wisconsin for reasons that remain unclear) has voted to support legislation allowing civil unions.

According to Findlaw, Joseph G. Bisceglia, the incoming ISBA President, stated "Supporting civil unions is not only a vote for civil rights and human rights, but also economic rights. With this action, the ISBA has agreed to provide guidance and support for legislative proposals regarding civil unions."

I actually also favor civil unions. The legislation seems very reasonable.

The problem that I have is with the ISBA. The ISBA should be a non-partisan legal organization and not an advocate for or against heated social issues. The ISBA should be taking strong stands on matters like Civil Procedure and should stay out of matters like civil unions.

Tru Chef To Drop By Every Two Weeks

Tru used to be one of the greatest restaurants anywhere. The food was creative and interesting and only the best seasonal ingredients were used and the food tasted great. Dinner for two would run $600.00, but it was money well spent. My wife and I often debated whether Tru was the best restaurant anywhere (until Alinea came along, I argued for Charlie Trotter's, and my wife and I both thought that our best meal ever was at the late Lucas Carton).
That was a long time ago.
Unfortunately, Chef Tramonto has other projects going on and it really shows. Walking by Tru recently, I looked over the menu. Very nice, but nearly identical to a meal I had there about three years ago. In "The Stew", the reason was revealed. Despite charging nearly $200 per person for a meal, Chef Tramonto simply has better things to do than to cook at his own restaurant. According to The Stew, Chef Tramonto stated:
"I am still going to be at Tru every other week. That has never really changed."
$200 per person and he's there every other week?
It is a shame. I remember what Chef Tramonto could do when he cared. That was a long time ago though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good News On The Culinary Front

There have been rumors that Chef Mantuano of Spiaggia intended to leave Spiaggia for another project. However, Skeeter has learned that although Chef Mantuano will be opening up a location in South Beach called Enoteca Spiaggia, but he will still be based in Chicago.
Spiaggia is an incredible experience. Chef Mantuano takes Italian ingredients and techniques and turns out cuisine that is fresh and innovative. Spiaggia itself is an incredible space and the service is first class. It also has an amazing wine list. The Italian sparkling wines are a revelation -- until I dined at Spiaggia I was a Champagne snob. The wine program at Spiaggia really turned me on to great stuff.
A meal at Spiaggia is three to four hours well spent and it is great to know that the place will remain under Chef Mantuano's leadership.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

City Failing Our Chicago Police

Recent news reports have gleefully covered a few isolated instances of Chicago Police Officers engaging in outrageous activity. The people of Chicago should realize that the instances are isolated and in fact, most Chicago POs are honest and hard working and put their lives on the line every day to protect us.
Skeeter has learned, however, that the City of Chicago is failing to provide injured POs with proper and adequate medical care. With payments for basic services taking more than three months, many doctors, including at least one highly qualified orthopedic surgeon, have refused to treat the officers.
The City needs to get behind its POs and make sure that they get the best medical care possible. A Chicago PO on the job should be worried about catching bad guys, and not worried about what will happen to him or her if the PO breaks an arm while trying to make an arrest.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sen. Durbin Champions Fair Campaign Funding

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin has proposed an interesting new campaign funding bill. Too often recently, we have seen self-funded candidates simply outspend opponents. At other times, we have seen campaigns taken over by rich developers and other special interests (as we saw in Chicago). Senator Durbin's bill would give all candidates a fair chance.

According to Senator Durbin, his "Fair Elections Now Act" would have four major components:

  1. Seed Money: Allow candidates to raise a limited amount of seed money, capped at $100 per contributor, to get their campaigns up and running
  2. Qualifying for Public Funds: Candidates must raise a specified number (based on the size of the state) of $5 contributions from residents of their state in order to demonstrate that they are serious, viable candidates
  3. Allocation of Public Funds: Once a candidate qualifies for public funding, he or she is eligible to receive a minimum of $750,000, plus an additional $150,000 for every Congressional District in the state minus one
  4. "Fair Fight" Funds: If a candidate is being outspent by independent expenditures or an opponent who has refused public financing, the law would match that spending dollar-for-dollar up to 200 percent of the base allocation.

Overall, it appears to be a great approach to a very real problem. It is the kind of reasonable solution that we have come to expect from Senator Durbin.

Dogs in Cafes Ordinance Moves Forward

Coming through on a campaign promise, Alderman Reilly has co-sponsored the ordinance allowing cafes to allow dogs (which would have the impact of giving official sanction to the current widely ignored ban). The State Legislature must act first though, to allow Chicago to pass the ordinance. Sens. Fritchey and Cullerton have introduced the allowing ordinance in Springfield. The City tabled Reilly's ordinance pending the State approval.

In the meantime, I note that the food at a certain dog friendly local cafe seems to have improved greatly this year. It is a great spot to wave to some friends while enjoying a meal. We had a nice meal this weekend (complete with a neighboring dog spending part of the meal on my lap -- the staff as usual was very nice to the dog). It was always a nice spot to have a drink, and now it seems that the food is living up to the views.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Deb Shore To Host Summer Solstice Celebration

Commissioner Debra Shore will be hosting a celebration of the summer solstice Stay, a new dog hotel along the Chicago River. Shore is an outstanding public servant and one of the most qualified people in our local goverment. She also has been helpful to some of us in Streeterville with questions about park issues.

According to Shore, it will be an opportunity to speak with her about District issues (or generally about making Chicago more of a green city), drink cool drinks, nibble on kibble, and tour the new dog hotel.

The event will take place on Thursday, June 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at Stay, a dog hotel located at 4130 N. Rockwell (just north of Irving Park). Free street parking is available.

The suggested donation (to debrashore.org) is a minimum of $50.00.

You may contribute online at debrashore.org/contribute. Contributions will help Shore sponsor several water conservation events in the coming year and build a campaign fund.

Monday, May 14, 2007

This Was Sure to Happen

A week ago on a Sunday morning, an 18 year old was stabbed repeatedly on the 100 block of West Ohio. Unfortunately, that is not a shock.
Over the past few years, the gang bangers have spent weekend nights going up Ohio Street and hanging out at the Ohio Street pedestrian underpass. Residents wake up to broken bottles littering the streets. At times, we wake to ugly arguments outside our windows. The underpass in particular is often filled with broken glass.
When something like this occurs, it is easy to point fingers and at times, pointing fingers is just what needs to be done.
Let me point the first at the Chicago Police Department. I rarely see POs in the area at night. I don't think I have ever seen one near that tunnel.
Let me point another at the developers of the 600 North Lake Shore Drive project. They have a sales office on the south side of the street at Ohio and Lake Shore Drive. Those people should install a public refrigerator there. Nearly every morning we see the planters littered with Corona bottles and often those same bottles remain for days. When people are repeatedly doing illegal activity right outside your door, you need to do something. In addition, a scaffolding was put covering the entrance to the underpass. That provides the gangbangers with great cover.
We need a new law: If you are going to take over city streets and put up a scaffold, you are responsible for what happens underneath it. Don't want that responsibility? Don't build so close to the street.
Finally, we need to blame Burton Natarus.
All this started on his watch. There are many reasons that the voters tossed him on his fat rear in February, but issues like those above sure played a role.
Let's hope that Brendan Reilly takes a look at these issues when he is sworn in next week. The 42nd needs change and we are counting on him to deliver change.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Natarus Is Gone: He Was a Rat

For the most part, people are defined by themselves, their family, and their friends. Sometimes though, the people that we have no use for at all holds us together as an affirmation of who we are and what we stand for. Hunter S. Thompson had Richard Nixon. I have Burton Natarus.
That fact that the voters turned on Burton Natarus and kicked him out of office is no reason to avoid telling the truth about Burton Natarus. As Dr. Thompson did of Nixon, I have kicked Burton Natarus when he was up and I will kick him now that he is down and the people of the 42nd Ward are better for it.

You see, Burton Natarus was a rat.

Natarus spoke a lot about rats. Being one himself, he perfectly understood them.

Burton Natarus was a cheap hack who took a half of a million dollars from developers and for that money, he sold out the residents of the 42nd. The developers and their cash was who he served. Burton Natarus never did care what the development did to the 42nd. His only concern was for the campaign cash and for getting his fat rat-like mug on the television screens.

Those were the actions of a rat.
Burton Natarus admitted that he did not report crime since nobody would believe a word that he said. When you don't report crime because nobody would believe a word you say, you are a rat.

Burton Natarus claims that George Dunne was his role model.
He never acted like George Dunne.
George Dunne was always a gentleman and a class act. Even when you disagreed, George Dunne would treat you with respect.
George Dunne was the opposite of a Burton Natarus.
In contrast, Burton Natarus was a rat.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “for laughs” Burton Natarus told a cab driver that Natarus had caused the driver to lose his license. He thought that causing a poor man to lose his job was funny.
That is not funny. Causing harm to the little guy is not a joke. George Dunne would never have done such a thing.
Burton Natarus is no George Dunne. Instead, Burton Natarus is a rat.

On the night of the election, when the numbers showed that the voters had spoken and that Burton Natarus would be crushed, he refused to do the right thing. He refused to call Brendan Reilly and congratulate the winner.

In a democracy, that is what a candidate should do. Wish the winner well and hide the disappointment. That is what a class act would do. Natarus has stated that he will do nothing to ease the transition. It shows what he thinks of 42nd Ward voters.
Natarus will not help them by easing the transition.
He never cared about the voters, and it showed to the end.

Burton Natarus is not a class act.

Natarus claims that he is baffled that he lost. He shouldn’t be. Burton Natarus should ask his neighbors, if he doesn’t think he is too important to speak with them. You see, Burton Natarus’s neighbors voted for Brendan Reilly. Burton Natarus’s neighbors – the people who knew him best – saw that he was a rat and voted for Brendan Reilly.

The reason the voters threw Burton Natarus on the garbage heap is clear: Burton Natarus lost because, until the end, he was a filthy sewer-dwelling little rat who thought it was funny to pick on the little guy and who didn’t give a rat’s behind about the voters.

But Burton Natarus still doesn’t understand why he lost.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Reason to Avoid Wal-Mart

For all the talk about how Wal-Mart destroys neighorhood wages and by failing to provide health benefits, places a burden on the local healthcare system, the fact that Wal-Mart overextends itself into areas in which it is not qualified gets barely a mention.

However, that overextension and incompetence sure got mentioned by a United States District Court jury recently. In Happel v. Wal-Mart, a husband picked up his wife's prescription for Toradol from a Wal-Mart in McHenry. The wife had several prescriptions filled at the store in the past, and Wal-Mart had documented that she is allergic to NSAIDs. Toradol is a NSAID.

Given the record of the allergy, a warning should have flashed on the pharmacist's screen warning of allergy. Further, the drug should not have been dispensed without a call to the physician.

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart complied with none of those rules and passed out the drug anyway. The result? An severe allergic reaction requiring fifteen hours of intubation, four days in the hospital, and permanent injuries.

All because a pharmacist ignored a warning on the screen.

We really don't know what the pharmacist was thinking. He was unable to testify due to pre-Alzheimer's dementia.

The verdict: $465,000.00 for the plaintiff.

If Wal-Mart strikes a deal and comes into Chicago, be careful filling prescriptions there.

Source: Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, Issue 27, Volume YY (April 20, 2007)

Friday, April 27, 2007

CBS 2: On the Scene

While out walking the real Skeeter, I happened to pass near the CBS 2 headquarters. There was a guy on the corner raising money for Miseracordia. I happened to run into a friend and his dog on the same corner.

As the light changed, the friend said to me "That guy was wearing makeup." It then dawned on us that the person was a CBS 2 reporter. We really don't know which one, but he looked vaguely familar.

I felt tempted to advise him that I hear there is a big fire on the West Side -- they should send six reporters and break into regular programming to report on it. For CBS 2, that is BIG NEWS!

I almost felt bad for the guy, wondering if that is what he had in mind when he was in journalism school.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sight Seen

This weekend's interesting sight: I happened to be walking the real Skeeter (a large working dog) through an underpass that goes from a main Chicago street under Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront.
Two women were in the tunnel. They were somewhere between seventeen and twenty-two. They were relatively attractive and pretty well dressed. You could tell that they really cared about how they looked.
One of the women was leaning against a wall in the tunnel and the other one was standing directly next to her. Both were standing within inches of the wall. I am not sure why they chose to do that. Maybe they were adjusting a shoe or something.
I thought about advising them of what I knew to be true: That homeless people (and gangbangers) urinate against that very wall.
I passed. I didn't want them to think I was hitting on them, and further, at a certain point, if you think it is a good idea to lean against an underpass wall, there is not much I can do for you.

SB 1296: Payback To The Plaintiff's Bar

It is pretty well known that the plaintiffs bar is upset with the Illinois Democrats for two reasons:

1. They have not brought back the Structural Work Act; and

2. They passed a [weak] version of tort reform.

Those plaintiffs' attorneys were starting to think that their campaign contributions were not buying them a thing.

But now Senator Cullerton has decided to toss them a bone.

Senate Bill 1296 is just that -- a bone to the plaintiffs bar. In no way remotely does it serve "justice." On its face, it is clearly biased and unfair.

But it will make the plaintiffs attorneys a lot of money.

There has been a lot written about the bill, but I have yet to see a real explanation of the bill and the implications.

The following is a typical scenario that you will see played out every day:

Plaintiff is an 26 year old ironworker who falls 40 feet at a construction site and sustains massive head injuries and partial paralysis. Value of the case is $10 million.

Plaintiff blames general contractor and masonry contractor. Those parties add plaintiff's employer as third party-defendant.

Facts show that the accident was caused by masonry contractor knocking into scaffolding, but also show that the plaintiff himself put the scaffolding in an improper location. Given the location of the accident and the fact that it happened once and only once, general contractor may have known about the situation but most likely did not. As such, liability against the general contractor is minimal to non-existent. Employer also has some minimal liability.

Masonry contractor is a small contractor. Turns out he doesn't have coverage for the accident. Plaintiff sees no coverage, so he takes $5,000.00 from that contractor and dismisses him out.

Jury returns the following:

Gen Contractor: 10%
Mason: 50%
Employer: 10%
Plaintiff: 30%

In that scenario, plaintiff likes having mason on the verdict form. Without the masonry contractor on the verdict form, plaintiff's percentage of fault is over 50%, meaning that plaintiff collects nothing. With the masonry contractor on the form, plaintiff is under that point.

Under the current law in the above scenario with mason appearing on the verdict form for attribution of fault, plaintiff would recover his meds from both general contractor and employer, since both are under 25%. Given the injuries and the usual allegations of future medical, that would probably total about $2 million.

That seems reasonable. Everyone pays their proportion of fault, as found by a jury.

Cullerton's bill would change that.

Under his bill, for purposes of joint and several liablity (but not for purposes of plaintiff's fault), you do not consider mason (who settled out cheap) in determining whether the defendant's meet the 25% threshold. As a result, without taking into consideration the fault of the mason, those other two defendants are over the 25% thresshold and as such, are on the line for the entire $10 million, rather than the $2 million in liability they would otherwise face.

As a result, plaintiff is not considered over the 50% threshold, so he does collect.

However, due to the gift of Sen. Cullerton, the remaining defendants are now OVER the 25% threshold. As such, they are now jointly and severally liable for the entire verdict.

Short and sweet:

1. Plaintiff enjoys the benefit of mason on the verdict form;
2. Defendants do not.

How is this in any way fair?

This is nothing more than a gift to the plaintiffs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Election Day Predictions

50: Dolar wins. Stone’s time is done. [Stone won]

49: Moore holds. He is a bad guy, but people up there still view things his way. Too many Loyola liberals who think it is IMPORTANT that Chicago remain nuke free and that those poor geese are treated well. [Moore held]

43: Daley holds. Her opponent has not run a serious campaign. Daley has done a pretty good job and hasn’t given voters much of a reason to go another direction. [Daley held]

35: Colon loses. This one will be close, but Colom has the field operation. [Way off. Colon romped]

32: Matlack wins. He’s got too much money and too much backing this time. He’s Natarus four years ago. He should enjoy this term, since it will be his last. [Matlack lost]

21: Brookins holds. [Brookins held]

18: Lane holds. [Lane held]

16: Coleman loses. Her neighborhood has too many problems. They need a change. Another unresponsive alderman loses a seat. Another wake up call to the counsel: “WATCH OUT FOR YOUR NEIGHBHORHOOD.” [Coleman lost]

15: Foulkes wins. Throwing darts here. There has been no coverage of this race, As such, my thought is that the union money will carry Foulkes home. [Foulkes won]

3. Tillman loses. Her day has passed. A lot of people who should know better violated Chicago rule #1: “Don’t back no losers.” They should have seen this coming a long way away. [Tillman lost]

2: Haithcock holds. Fioretti is a genuine dingbat in the Natarus mold. Haithcock hasn’t done anything all that obnoxious so voters won’t be motivated to toss her out. [Haithcock lost]

[Record 7-4-1 (forgot to predict 24)]

Smokers At It Again

It is pretty well known that I despise smoking. It is also pretty well known that the actual "Skeeter" is a 75 pound (O.K., he's up to about 85 now, but we are working on it) German Shepherd dog.

Today, those two facts collided.

While out for our early morning work out, the actual Skeeter came across a cigarette lighter. It looked like something interesting, so he picked it up. Wrestling ensued. I won (twice actually, since after tossing it, he decided to fetch it), but that didn't really solve the problem.

The real problem is that smokers are pigs.

Could somebody please advise as to why smokers feel that they have the right to toss smoking related trash everywhere?

Hey smokers, CIGARETTE BUTTS ARE GARBAGE. TOSS GARBAGE IN THE TRASH. And although I am not violent by nature, if I see anyone tossing a lighter on the ground, I am reserving the right to shove that lighter right back where into the former owner, in any way that I see fit.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Natarus Calling It Quits?

This February, 42nd Ward voters, by a nearly 10% margin, rejected thirty six years of rule by Burton Natarus. Despite his loss, Natarus remains in political office as the Committeeman for the 42nd Ward.

Now it appears that those days might be coming to an end.

It is well known in the 42nd Ward that Natarus had almost no field organization. Precinct captains were virtually unknown. Despite all of his time in office, he developed no organization at all.

In addition, his political instincts were questionable at best. In a city that values "Don't back no losers", Natarus strongly supported the candidacy of Toddler Stroger, only to see the Toddler crushed in the 42nd Ward. The support for the Toddler may well have cost Natarus his aldermanic seat (it was one of may miscues, but the language used to describe Toddler's opponent surely riled some voters).

Natarus's political website -- www.natarus.com -- has been down for several days. It looks like Natarus is ready to walk away.

We certainly hope so, as despite the wealth of many 42nd Ward residents, it remains a strongly Democratic ward. The 42nd needs leadership now, and it needs a field organization to turn out voters and to help finance candidates. Natarus provided none of that.

Here's hoping that Natarus.com is down for good.

Edited to add:
Turns out the site is back up. That's too bad, but we still hope that Natarus does call it quits. The 42nd Ward Democratic Party needs leadership, and Burton Natarus has provided none. It is time for him to fade away.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bernie Stone and Friends

In February, the papers were filled with stories about campaign contributions. People claimed outrage. The reason? It turns out that unions had contributed to certain campaigns.

Lost in the blather was an important note: It was not just the unions that were tossing around cash. It seems that the people who don't like unions also put some money on the table.

Like Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart has donated at least $3,000.00 to Bernie Stone's campaign.
And Sam Zell. He also donated to Bernie Stone.

But you don't hear those stories.

All the media reports is the union contributions.

Not one word about the union-bashers and their cash.

Let's face facts: Bernie Stone doesn't like the working man (and having spent his life in government, sure can't identify with working men) and his list of campaign contributors proves the point.