Saturday, August 22, 2009

People With Illegal Chickens As Pets Form Group To Urge Legalization -

People With Illegal Chickens As Pets Form Group To Urge Legalization - "Campaign For Legalization Of Urban Chicken Keeping Takes Wing"
And it's Sacramento, CA.

Is God protecting Fla. at Gov. Crist's request? - Yahoo! News

Is God protecting Fla. at Gov. Crist's request? - Yahoo! News: Thus spake Governor Crist: "'Do you know the last time it was we had a hurricane in Florida? It's been awhile. In 2007, I took my first trade mission. Do you know where I went?' said Crist, a Methodist, referring to a trip to Israel.

He then told of going to the Western Wall and inserting a note with a prayer. He said it read, 'Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.'

'Time goes on — May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December — no hurricanes,' Crist said. 'Thank God.'"

Better keep this man in office. He has a direct connection to the Creator.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Unplug your clothes dryer: Save energy, reduce carbon emissions | Daily Loaf

Unplug your clothes dryer: Save energy, reduce carbon emissions | Daily Loaf: "clothesline2 Unplug your clothes dryer: Save energy, reduce carbon emissionsHouseholds that do commit to hanging laundry outside in their yard or balcony may discover an unlikely obstacle – their homeowner’s association. Unfortunately many community associations prohibit clotheslines and other efforts to let the sunshine dry clothes. Project Laundry List is a nonprofit that has helped to fight anti-clothesline ordinances in many neighborhoods, often by passing city or state legislation that invalidates such ordinances."

Garden Rant: "Grass Nazi" on Penn & Teller Tonight

Garden Rant: "Grass Nazi" on Penn & Teller Tonight
Links to a video of the rant.

First New Miami Condo Tower Files for Chapter 11 - Real Estate Channel Global News Center

First New Miami Condo Tower Files for Chapter 11 - Real Estate Channel Global News Center: "(MIAMI, FL) -- The bankruptcy bell has rung in the Miami-Dade luxury condominium market for one of the highest-profile Downtown residential communities.

Saddled with estimated debt that could reach $500 million to 200 creditors, Cabi Downtown LLC, the Mexican owners of the one-year-old, $300 million Everglades on the Bay community have filed for Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The twin-tower, 49-story project has closed only 9 percent of its 849 units for an estimated total sales of $31 million, according to Bal Harbour, FL-based Condo Vultures® Bulk Deals Database."

DA looks into Channelview complaints | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle

DA looks into Channelview complaints | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "The issues at play in Sterling Green South focus attention on the practices of management companies that collect assessments for associations representing millions of American families.

In many neighborhoods, particularly those in unincorporated areas such as Sterling Green South, power and knowledge are limited to the management company, attorneys who focus on collections and perhaps the association president, said Evan McKenzie, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor whose research specializes in private governance.

“It's the most massive privatization of local government that has ever happened,” McKenzie said. “There's no transparency at all.”"

Don't think I posted this earlier.

Private investment in infrastructure: A perfect match? - San Francisco Business Times:

Private investment in infrastructure: A perfect match? - San Francisco Business Times:: "Not everyone is convinced private infrastructure investment is the right strategy. Some public employee labor unions have opposed public-private deals, fearing they might be frozen out of work. And some taxpayers question whether spending private money will reduce public access or accountability.

“Privatization offers enormous opportunity for corruption,” said Evan McKenzie, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The government too often is taking the money and running with it.”"

Yeah. What he said.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ananova - Police reject candidate for being too intelligent

Ananova - Police reject candidate for being too intelligent: "A US man has been rejected in his bid to become a police officer for scoring too high on an intelligence test.

Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took an exam to join the New London police, in Connecticut, in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125.

But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.

Mr Jordan launched a federal lawsuit against the city, but lost."

Your government at work. Nashua ranks No. 4 when it comes to federal stimulus cash Nashua ranks No. 4 when it comes to federal stimulus cash: "The report also revealed that through the end of June that stimulus money created or saved 796 jobs, with 700 of those state workers who did not have to get laid off thanks to the federal grants, Fitch said."
Maybe it will turn out that the stimulus package has been mainly responsible for saving government jobs (see below).

Obama fires back at political critics

Obama fires back at political critics: "'There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee weed up!'"
That makes two firsts for me. I never heard that expression before, and I don't think I've ever heard a President say a thing that in a speech. There have been open mike profanities and so forth, but being this juvenile in a speech is a new one on me.

Demand rises for publicly funded burials -

Demand rises for publicly funded burials - "Coroners and funeral directors in several cities say the number of people seeking government-paid funerals, cremations and burials is spiking. Most counties and states will use public money to cremate or bury people who are too poor to pay for private services.

'People just aren't in a position to pay $7,000 for a private funeral and burial,' says Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, where the number of people seeking county burial has nearly doubled since last year."

Just wait until the death panels start yanking those plugs out the wall.

Kidding. Just kidding.

Seminole Chronicle - W.S. divided on HOA-like control

Seminole Chronicle - W.S. divided on HOA-like control: "The Winter Springs City Commission is divided on the issue, especially when it comes to what you can do with your homes. It's been three years since the city passed a compatibility law, which, in its broadest sense, means that everything concerning your house - the paint, the roof, the garage, the color of the door and the type of fence - has to be compatible with your neighborhood.

'Even though the Supreme Court allows us to do it, I don't think it's the job of government to dictate what color somebody's house is going to be or what color their roof is going to be or what style their fence is going to be if that individual doesn't live in a deed-restricted community,' City Commissioner Rick Brown said at the Aug. 10 meeting."

As I keep saying, more and more cities are imitating HOAs.

Are new lending rules going to destroy condo values?

Are new lending rules going to destroy condo values?: "Effective October 1, 2009, FHA is implementing new condo guidelines that could devastate the values in condo developments."
How about the one that says no more than 15% of the units can be over 30 days delinquent in assessments?

How about hiring the goats as contractors?

Hungry goats to eat up fire hazards in Diamond Bar - "In order to clear potentially flammable brush from 48 acres of open land in south Diamond Bar, the city appropriated $43,000 Tuesday for hand crews and goats. It's a significantly cheaper option than using only humans.

When the Los Angeles County Fire Department recently inspected fire breaks in the city, it found three parcels of land that weren't in compliance with the fire code. But there was a problem. The three parcels, near the intersection of Pathfinder and Peaceful Hills roads, belong to two homeowners' associations and Diamond Bar had never maintained them before. The Oakridge Community Homeowners' Association owns one parcel of land, while the Woodglen Community Homeowners' Association owns two. The city argues it doesn't have legal responsibility to maintain the land and shouldn't have to pay for the brush clearing. But given the ongoing wildfire season and last year's Triangle Complex Fire, the city opted to take on the work for safety of its residents - but will seek reimbursement from the homeowners' associations."


Condo owners pay for property they can't use | Dallas County |

Condo owners pay for property they can't use | Dallas County |
There was a fire. The HOA didn't have enough insurance. The city won't sign off on the repairs. And everybody keeps on having to pay their assessments.

Government Jobs Have Grown Since Recession -

Government Jobs Have Grown Since Recession - "While the private sector has shed 6.9 million jobs since the beginning of the recession, state and local governments have expanded their payrolls and added 110,000 jobs, according to a report to be issued Thursday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government...The report offered several possible explanations for the disparity between the private and public sectors. It noted that there can be a short lag between an economic downturn and the time it hits states in the form of lower tax collections, and an even longer delay before the problems hit local governments in the form of reduced state aid and lower property tax collections. It pointed to the slow pace of decision-making in many states, and the power yielded by politically influential unions. But it also noted that the demand for many government services rises in a recession, and said that billions of dollars of federal stimulus money sent to states helped them avert layoffs."
Interesting. It seems that some nations may be coming out of the recession--Germany, France, Japan--but we will see how the US fares, with the massive stimulus spending that can help in the short term and hurt in the long.

Nutter Warns Of 'Virtual Shutdown' Of Courts -

Nutter Warns Of 'Virtual Shutdown' Of Courts - "PHILADELPHIA (AP) ―

Philadelphia's court system will face a 'virtual shutdown' if the cash-strapped city does not get state approval for a sales tax increase and changes to how it makes its pension payments.

That's according to Mayor Michael Nutter and court officials at a news conference Wednesday.

Philadelphia is facing a $1.4 billion five-year budget deficit."

Philadelphia is one of the cities that was called "ungovernable" by a number of urban politics specialists back in the 1990s. Seems as though some of the doom and gloom predictions of the 1970s and 1980s are beginning to materialize, but much later than the theorists said, and for different reasons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hermosa Beach wins round in Macpherson Oil case - The Daily Breeze

Hermosa Beach wins round in Macpherson Oil case - The Daily Breeze: "Adding another chapter to a long legal saga that has ensnared Hermosa Beach for more than a decade, the city has won a chance to argue before a state appellate court that it should not pay damages to Macpherson Oil for breaking a contract to drill in town more than a decade ago. Less than three weeks before a jury was set to determine how much Hermosa owed the Santa Monica-based oil company, the 2nd District Court of Appeal granted the city's writ Monday, City Attorney Michael Jenkins said. Both parties will now argue their sides in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Dec. 7. At this stage, the protracted lawsuit centers around how much money Hermosa Beach owes for breaking its 1992 lease agreement with Macpherson. City leaders voted about six years later to deny drilling permits after voters approved a proposition banning present and future oil drilling projects in town. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell ruled in February 2008 that the city indeed broke its contract and owed damages, but left it to a jury to decide exactly how much. Don Macpherson Jr., the company's president, has long asked for $500 million in damages, a figure city leaders contend would bankrupt the tiny municipality."
Mistakes can be expensive for cities...and for HOAs. But how many owners know that they are ultimately personally liable for their directors torts and breaches of contract?

City looking at outsourcing ticketing

City looking at outsourcing ticketing: "As the city focuses more on trimming down to provide core services only, the mayor said Windsor will probably continue to shed employees as it has since 2005 during annual budget sessions.

Francis said Windsor has no other choice given the downturn in the local economy and the need to invest to transform that economy. “Otherwise, we may as well lock up the doors and go bankrupt,” he said.

Valentinis said he’s “very, very open” to looking at privatization of city services and that it’s nothing new."


Would Privatization Help Public Universities Excel? - US News and World Report

Would Privatization Help Public Universities Excel? - US News and World Report: "In a trend that parallels the 'charter school' movement among public elementary schools, a number of colleges are seeking to semiprivatize.

These schools say they are tired of getting less money from state legislators. They want to seek additional revenues by setting, and keeping, their own tuition. They also want the freedom to enter into business arrangements without obeying many state rules."

Isn't it ironic that the academy was and is so overwhelmingly supportive of President Obama, but still there are these initiatives going on to make universities, even public ones, operate more like private business corporations.

Privatization of Parking Meters Incites Case Against City Comptroller - Chicago Bar-tender

Privatization of Parking Meters Incites Case Against City Comptroller - Chicago Bar-tender: "An association comprised of taxpayers and citizens and one named citizen, Aviva Patt, are seeking to sue the City and State Comptroller and Secretary of State over the privatization of parking meters in Chicago."

Local governments privatize foreclosure for unpaid taxes

Tax Bills Put Pressure on Struggling Homeowners - "With the economy faltering and property values plunging, homeowners and landlords are falling behind on their bills or abandoning their property, just as governments are facing huge budget shortfalls.

Private investors step in and buy tax liens, paying governments upfront all or part of the value of the taxes. The investors then get the right to foreclose on the properties, taking priority over mortgage lenders, and to charge interest rates as high as 18 percent on the unpaid taxes."

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link. This is called "tax farming." It has been going on for a long time. As with CIDs and red light cameras, the privatization ends up producing a nice payoff for the government, and a big payday for the private corporation, but at the expense of the individual citizen who ends up with no cards to play and takes a big hit. Not that people should get a freebie on their taxes, but should they be paying 18% interest?

My Bad! Woman's House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank | NBC Miami

My Bad! Woman's House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank | NBC Miami: "Ramirez and her family had three hours to get out of the house, police ordered. They had to stash their belongings at multiple locations and shacked up with a friend for the night as cops chained the doors of their home. With Taylor's help, Ramirez appeared before a judge two days later to explain what happened.

'I had all my stuff scattered everywhere,' she said. 'They did this in front all my neighbors. It was so embarassing.'

A mistake in the Miami-Dade Clerk's Office appears to be behind the mishap, which landed Ramirez homeless for more than 24 hours.

The sale was eventually reversed by a Miami-Dade judge, allowing Ramirez to return to her old digs. Ramirez said she wants to sue for the damage to her furniture."

I think she deserves a little more than compensation for damage to the furniture.

Vogue model Liskula Cohen wins right to unmask offensive blogger - Times Online

Vogue model Liskula Cohen wins right to unmask offensive blogger - Times Online: "Justice Joan Madden rejected the blogger’s claim that the blogs “serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting”, and should not be treated as factual assertions."
I think when you get to invective and ranting that it ceases being a forum and turns into the Jerry Springer Show.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval

Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval
Gallup now has President Obama at 52/42. This is about the lowest approval rating Gallup has ever recorded for him as President. If you smooth out the bumps in the trend lines, the situation looks troubling for him. But if a health care reform bill passes that controls costs and expands coverage without the public option, I think he may recover rapidly. In other words, he is losing independents because he is acting like a leftist. If he starts acting like a centrist, he will be back in business. But that will tick off his lefty base. The conventional wisdom on that is, "So what?" because they have nowhere else to go.

Low intensity conflict in the suburbs

'Angry Neighbors With Paintball Guns' amazed at reaction :: "Durham, N.C. — A group of Durham residents taking aim at speeders with the threat of a paintball gun said Tuesday that they are 'amazed and gratified at the reaction.'

The group, Angry Neighbors With Paintball Guns, posted signs at strategic locations throughout the city, warning motorists to slow down or risk being shot at with a paintball gun."

So what if the drivers start shooting back? It will be like the wild west out there except that instead of being dead everybody will be covered with paint.

NJ city considers adult curfew after crime spate - NewsFlash -

NJ city considers adult curfew after crime spate - NewsFlash - "PATERSON, N.J. - Curfews might not be just for kids anymore in one city in northern New Jersey.

Officials in Paterson are considering one for people of all ages in a bid to curb violence after a spate of deadly shootings.

Several experts say they believe it would be the nation's first curfew of its type to include adults. The state ACLU says it would open Paterson to legal action.

The curfew would last for two months and would bar people from loitering outside from midnight to 7 a.m. Violators would face up to a $2,000 fine and 90 days in jail."

I can't see this surviving a constitutional challenge, short of rioting, war, or natural disaster.

Philip Kennicott on Images: Obama as the Joker Betrays Racial Ugliness, Fears -

Philip Kennicott on Images: Obama as the Joker Betrays Racial Ugliness, Fears - "Superimpose that idea, through the Joker's makeup, onto Obama's face, and you have subtly coded, highly effective racial and political argument. Forget socialism, this poster is another attempt to accomplish an association between Obama and the unpredictable, seeming danger of urban life. It is another effort to establish what failed to jell in the debate about Obama's association with Chicago radical William Ayers and the controversy over the racially charged sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright."
No. Actually you don't have that at all. See below.

Clean Slate: Obama Joker Artist Revealed - Political News -

Clean Slate: Obama Joker Artist Revealed - Political News - "A 20-year-old college history major of Palestinian descent who supported Rep. Dennis Kucinich's presidential candidacy is the anonymous artist who turned a Time magazine cover photo of Barack Obama into the nefarious Joker of the Batman series, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Firas Alkhateeb was home in Chicago on his winter break from the University of Illinois when he toyed around with Photoshop to come up with the image. He posted it to the picture site Flickr for friends to see his artwork, the paper reported.

Months later, the doctored picture appeared on posters around the country with the word 'Socialism' added to it."

After all the ink spilled about this image and declaiming the nastiness of conservatives, it turns out the image was created by a supporter of the most left-wing clown who ran for the Democratic nomination.

A Short Walk Down Memory Hole Lane

A Short Walk Down Memory Hole Lane: "Nancy Pelosi recently claimed that protestors were 'carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare', as if she were astonished to hear of such behavior. The truth of the matter is that this crass, adolescent style of protest has been standard fare at virtually all anti-war and leftwing political demonstrations since at least 2003. In fact, the number of offensive signs that have shown up at recent 'tea parties' and townhalls is not even comparable to the sheer quantity of signs featuring swastikas, Hitler comparisons and other outrageous imagery at anti-war protests. The only thing that's new is that all of a sudden the media has begun to notice them."
And he proves it by posting an endless series of Bush=Hitler photos taken at left-wing demos, all of which never added up to a significant issue for the media at the time. Now it is right-wingers who are acting like idiots, showing up with rifles and Hitler posters, and suddenly the media are analyzing it to death and, even worse, suggesting that these Obama=Hitler bozos are somehow typical of those who oppose Obama's policies.

As a political science professor I find that kind of "free speech" depressing, but it is protected by the First Amendment. The point is that both sides should be subject to criticism...or should both sides be ignored because all they want is the attention from the media?

My Way News - Fla. population drops for 1st time since 1946

My Way News - Fla. population drops for 1st time since 1946: "The head of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research says Monday that the state's total population dropped by 58,000 in the past year. It's the first decline since large numbers of military personnel left the state in 1946 after World War II."
I suppose a libertarian could say that they are voting with their feet and refusing to live in condos and hoas...they wouldn't say such a thing, of course, but they could.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gee--thanks, guys. I think.

Explorers Discover Giant Rat-Eating Plant, Name it After Famed Scientist - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News - "Explorers have discovered a new species of giant rodent-eating carnivorous plant and have named it after legendary TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Nepenthes attenboroughii, a previously unknown variety of pitcher plant discovered on a remote mountain in the Philippines, is so big that small rodents could be trapped inside and slowly dissolved by flesh-eating enzymes."

Not to look a gift rat-eating plant in the mouth, but did David Attenborough really consider this a "great honour," as he said? You have to wonder if he was just being polite. He has a dinosaur named after him, and that would be cool. But this...thing? It looks like the plants from Little Shop of Horrors. FEED ME!

White House disables e-tip box - Mike Allen -

White House disables e-tip box - Mike Allen - "Following a furor over how the data would be used, the White House has shut down an electronic tip box — — that was set up to receive information on “fishy” claims about President Barack Obama’s health plan."

Administration Official: "Sebelius Misspoke." - The Atlantic Politics Channel

Administration Official: "Sebelius Misspoke." - The Atlantic Politics Channel
This is a pretty confusing clarification. There are at least four different reactions from insiders.

One (unnamed) says she was merely echoing the president's views, so what she said was true but it wasn't a change in position.

Then Linda Douglass, designated presidential health care flack, says Obama still wants a public option (obviously--but the issue is whether he will give it up to get a bill passed).

Then there is a third (unnamed) who says she didn't misspeak but "the media misplayed it." (as a change in position?)

The fourth is from White House flack numero uno Robert Gibbs, who says that that the specific mechanism used to roll back costs and "fostering competition" are up for discussion. That presumably includes the health cooperatives in lieu of a government corporation.

So if you put all this together, it seems that the White House may be trying to have it both ways--changing position while claiming they are not. They want to crawfish back from insisting on the public option, saying that if it is a deal-killer for Congress, these health cooperatives are an acceptable option. But they are also saying that this flexibility is not really what it looks like--a retreat from insisting on the public option.

Some people think the Sibelius statement was a deliberate trial balloon that was intended to see how outraged the left wing of the party, including the House leadership and Democratic caucus, would get if Obama dropped the public option. Maybe. But it seems that over the last few days the campaign for a public health insurance option has begun to leak oil and may be about to throw a rod.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Mars) could face re-election fight of her career against Fiorina - San Jose Mercury News

Boxer could face re-election fight of her career against Fiorina - San Jose Mercury News: "What looks increasingly likely is that Boxer will be in for the re-election fight of her career. While she has yet to announce her candidacy, all signs point to a run by Republican Carly Fiorina, the charismatic ex-chief of Hewlett-Packard who was ousted from her job in 2005 and last year served as a top surrogate for John McCain's presidential bid."
So you can get fired from H-P, participate in the worst presidential campaign since Dukakis, and then get elected Senator? OK. But Fiorina could base her campaign on some of Boxer's public statements. That "Call me Senator" thing, for example.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Camelot, or Spamelot?

White House will change e-mail rules - Mike Allen - "The White House said Sunday night that it will change its e-mail sign-up procedures after some recipients of a health-care e-mail complained that they had not asked to receive updates.

“We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement Sunday night."


How does it feel? To be on your own...

My Way News - You're Bob Dylan? NJ police want to see some ID: "Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood."
With no direction home? Kind of like a...rolling stone?

White House appears ready to drop 'public option' - Yahoo! News

White House appears ready to drop 'public option' - Yahoo! News: "Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers."
HHS Secretary Sebelius said the public option is "not the essential element" of the administration's proposed policy. That's because the real essential element is greatly increased federal control over health insurance. The public option will return to the agenda if the Democrats do well enough in the 2010 elections. For now, the administration is bowing to political reality. It has been clear for at least a month that the Blue Dog Democrats were listening to the private insurance industry on the public option. Then the public outcry kicked in. This health care takeover was shaping up as a debacle for the Obama administration and the Democrats. Now they will probably get a bill--and it may turn out to be a good one--and can declare victory, living to fight another day.

That is, unless most of the independent voters have irrevocably decided, based on the health care debate, that Obama isn't what they thought he was.

Meant no harm? Say what?

Blogger's Case May Test Limits of Political Speech - "CHICAGO -- Internet radio host Hal Turner disliked how three federal judges rejected the National Rifle Association's attempt to overturn a pair of handgun bans.

'Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,' Turner wrote on his blog on June 2, according to the FBI. 'Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.'

The next day, Turner posted photographs of the appellate judges and a map showing the Chicago courthouse where they work, noting the placement of 'anti-truck bomb barriers.' When an FBI agent appeared at the door of his New Jersey home, Turner said he meant no harm."

And now he is in custody awaiting his trial. After somebody really tried to kill a Chicago-based federal judge and instead murdered her husband and mother, you would think people would understand that this is the wrong subject for unleashing your internet personality. When he says he "meant no harm," he means that in the real world he would never kill anybody or solicit anybody's murder. But like many other people, he has this rageaholic activist internet personality that says all kinds of irresponsible things.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Wields Power Freely, but Faces Risks -

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Wields Power Freely, but Faces Risks - "Seven months after moving into his office in the West Wing, Mr. Emanuel is emerging as perhaps the most influential White House chief of staff in a generation. But with his prominence in almost everything important going on in Washington comes a high degree of risk."
Replace Emanuel with Cheney and chief of staff with Vice President and you could clone these stories from 2002. Is it that we keep electing people who are all image and no substance, who need a Svengali to do anything, or is it that the press creates these stories as a reflection of their own skepticism?

The city that works...but not on Monday

Chicago City Government Closed For Business Monday, Due To Budget Constraints - "The City of Chicago will basically be closed for business on Aug. 17, a reduced-service day in which most city employees are off without pay, according to a release from the Office of Budget and Management. City Hall, public libraries, health clinics and most city offices will be closed."
But no matter. The voters will shamble off to the polls and re-elect His Eminence again when the time comes. It doesn't matter that corruption is the essence of Chicago politics and the Machine insiders are getting rich while city employees are furloughed and municipal services suffer.