Saturday, October 31, 2009

Should I Stay or Should Furlough Now? | NBC Chicago

Should I Stay or Should Furlough Now? | NBC Chicago: "One of the more controversial pieces of Mayor Daley’s 2010 budget is the requirement for all city workers to take 24 unpaid furlough days.

The only city workers who have been spared from what amounts to an entire month off without pay are the city’s police and firefighters. But that could change.

A representative for the city budget office says the city is in negotiations with police and fire unions to accept furlough days."

Daley was counting heavily on the Olympics to provide the an influx of private and public revenues that he could distribute to his connected friends. Now he has to face the city budget debacle.

H1N1 Vaccinations To Be Offered To Guantanamo Bay Detainees

H1N1 Vaccinations To Be Offered To Guantanamo Bay Detainees
How nice. The Lake County Health Department canceled the vaccinations they were going to hold this weekend because they can't get enough vaccine. People had to stand in line at 3am on Thursday for the 8am clinic openings. Then they gave people wristbands. Then they ran out of vaccine.

Same thing all over this area, and across the nation.

Do you know what the press and the congressional Democrats would be saying about this situation if Bush were still President?

Dollar Homes Lack Buyers | NBC Chicago

Dollar Homes Lack Buyers | NBC Chicago: "Officials in suburban Barrington put three homes up for a sale at just a dollar a piece - a dollar! - and didn't get a single bidder."
But there is a catch. All you get is the house, not the land, and you have to move the house out of the "historic" downtown area. The houses are going to be demolished for new development.

Lindenhurst goes HOA

Home Owners Associations
I live in this little exurb. Now I see that the Village of Lindenhurst has added a link to its home page for "Home Owners Associations." So far only two HOAs have appeared on the links page. I imagine the list will grow. The connections between cities and HOAs continue to grow.

Dix Hills condo complex agrees to allow mezuzahs

Dix Hills condo complex agrees to allow mezuzahs: "A Jewish woman from Dix Hills who says her condominium complex discriminated against her by stopping her from displaying a 4-inch mezuzah on her front door has won a settlement after an investigation by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo."
The mere fact that people even have to file cases like this tells you how screwed up things are.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guess What: The Next Housing Bubble Is Already Underway

Guess What: The Next Housing Bubble Is Already Underway: "...the housing bubble is back. Sure, prices aren't at their old levels, but everything else is in place.

Generous government involvement is back. Fear of missing out on good deals is back, and yes, even no-money-down is back."

And just in time for the crash of the commercial real estate market.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Judge eats his words --

Judge eats his words -- "A Will County judge says he's eating his words after accepting a tray of jerk chicken as a substitute for a man's sentence of 100 community service hours.

The local legal community has been abuzz since associate Judge Robert Livas accepted the Jamaican-style chicken from Darrius Logan this month over an objection from a prosecutor."

Maybe this is what I've been doing wrong all these years. I didn't bring food for the judge. - Price to PepsiCo for Not Being in Court: $1.26 Billion - Price to PepsiCo for Not Being in Court: $1.26 Billion: "What's the cost of not showing up to court? For PepsiCo Inc., it's a $1.26 billion default judgment. A Wisconsin state court socked the company with the monster award in a case alleging that PepsiCo stole the idea to bottle and sell purified water from two Wisconsin men.

Now the company is scrambling to salvage the situation. The damages award was handed down on Sept. 30. PepsiCo filed motions to vacate the order and dismiss the claims on Oct. 13, saying it wasn't even aware of the lawsuit until Oct. 6."

Hey--this is better than winning the lottery. There was a case in Los Angeles years ago where the owner of an apartment building got sued by a tenant for letting it turn into a decaying slum. The landlord ignored the lawsuit...right up until the day the court gave the building to the tenant in satisfaction of the default judgment. Then it was too late. Mr. Slumlord lost the building, and it was worth over a million.

Council bans parents from play areas - Boing Boing

Council bans parents from play areas - Boing Boing: "Score one for Britain in its contest with the United States to create the stupidest fear-based society. The Watford Borough Council took the lead by banning parents from supervising their own kids in public playgrounds, 'because they have not undergone criminal record checks.'

The only adults allowed to monitor the kids are idiocracy-vetted 'play rangers.' The children's parents must 'watch from outside a perimeter fence.'"

Well, we will catch up with them soon. We already have government officials scolding us for not coughing the right way. Our local, state, and national government already think they own our kids. How much longer can it be before I need a background check to pick up my kids at school?

Thanks to Mystery Reader for this fascinating example of a real nanny state. Literally.

Restaurant owner declares victory in 'Flamingogate' --

Restaurant owner declares victory in 'Flamingogate' -- "The owner of Cafe Hon is proclaiming a victory for small business after the city agreed to cut in half the cost of a permit to erect a pink flamingo sculpture outside her restaurant and promised to promote the Hampden neighborhood with new signs on the Jones Falls Expressway.

After a rally Tuesday outside City Hall where supporters erected scores of plastic pink flamingos, Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting praised Mayor Sheila Dixon for the decision."

That's quite a flock of flamingos.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rats! City to Pay for Informing on Tax Cheats | NBC Chicago

Rats! City to Pay for Informing on Tax Cheats | NBC Chicago: "The folks at city hall will pay cash bounties to informants who turn in business tax cheats around the city. The reward would amount to some sort of percentage of the tax money that the city recovers."
They anticipate that businesses will turn in their competitors. Daley and his Machine cronies are desperate to find sources for graft.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Newspapers Across the Country Show Steep Declines in Circulation, in New FAS-FAX

Newspapers Across the Country Show Steep Declines in Circulation, in New FAS-FAX: "Circulation at many of the country's largest newspapers continued a steep slide as the Audit Bureau of Circulations Monday morning released the latest figures for the six months ending September 2009 -- proving yet again that the industry can't shake the dramatic declines that have taken hold over the past several years."
Of course there are many reasons for this. But even with all the technological challenges they face from TV, radio, and the internet, I think they would be doing better if they acted more like professional news organizations that gather and report and analyze news. There is way too much flacking for the Obama administration. People aren't stupid. They remember how these same newspapers treated Bush.

CARPE DIEM: Profit Margin: Health Insurance Industry Ranks #86

CARPE DIEM: Profit Margin: Health Insurance Industry Ranks #86: "As the table above of Profit Margins by Industry shows (click to enlarge, data here for the most recent quarter), the industry 'Health Care Plans' ranks #86 by profit margin (profits/revenue) at 3.3%. Measured by profit margin, there are 85 industries more profitable than Health Care Plans (includes Cigna, Aetna, WellPoint, HealthSpring, etc.)."
But that won't stop Obama Inc. from continuing to demonize these evil, profiteering, corporate insects.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Brit's view of America

Arrested just for looking weird | Jeremy Clarkson - Times Online: "Step out of the loop, do something unusual and you’ll encounter a wall of low-paid, low-intellect workers whose sole job is to prevent their bosses from being sued. As a result, you never hear anyone say: “Oh I’m sure it’ll be all right.”"
I have this experience about a dozen times a day.

Mayor Daley May Be Considering A Sale Of Chicago's Water System -

Mayor Daley May Be Considering A Sale Of Chicago's Water System - "CHICAGO (CBS) ―If the parking meter deal put a bad taste in your mouth, try swallowing this: Chicago is considering leasing its water system to help fix the budget.

The new boss could charge whatever they want for water, CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez reports.

Could it happen here in Chicago? It already has nearby. Homer Glen in Will County relies on Lake Michigan water, but the supply comes from a German-owned firm. Locals say there's a lot more than water going down the drain."

Here we go again. This is another scheme to get money from a private firm that then passes on that cost to the taxpayers (who become customers). Net effect: a disguised tax increase.

Sort of like HOAs and condos.

Chicago, like many cities, simply refuses to reduce its spending to match a level of taxation that will keep people and businesses from fleeing the city in droves.

Homer Glen is a city that was made out of several HOAs that decided to incorporate so they wouldn't get swallowed up (annexed) by nearby Orland Park. So the picture is complete: Chicago is doing what a huge HOA-turned-city did.