Monday, April 25, 2005

Day off

Finally, a breather. I'm taking a day off work today after an exhausting weekend. Saturday was spent cleaning. Sunday, in addition to running errands, my wife and I ran the Ravenswood Run. It was freezing cold. I ran a little more than two of the three miles (my wife, of course, ran the whole race). It was the first race I'd run since last May when I ran 5.5 miles in San Francisco "Bay to Breakers" race (out of 8 miles, I think). Because I have bad knees, that's probably the furthest I'll ever run. So today, I'm just relaxing. But actually, I'm probably going to work on -- something that I've neglected in the past few weeks because of lack of time. I'd like get my dream of launching a newspaper back on track, but I don't know if I'll have the time -- it was easier to think about when I hated my job. But about a year ago I got a new job that I really, really like. So it's hard to think about walking away from that. Of course, the other option is to keep the job and do the newspaper on the side, and hire writers. That's a possibility. But still a time-consuming possibility. One more thing: I had a weird dream last night. I spotted Mayor Daley on the street downtown and followed him into a building lobby, where I went up to him and talked to him. In the dream, I found him rather pleasant, and I felt bad for being so critical of him. Freaky.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Roberts to take on Shimkus in the 19th

Retired coal miner and LaRouche supporter Vic Roberts (D) says on his Web site that he's running for Congress in 19th. In 2003, Roberts, you may remember, dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate for health reasons. Do visit Vic Roberts' Web site.

Understatement of the Year

From the Time article, naming Mayor Daley in the "Top 5 Big City Mayors": The Setup
    He wields near imperial power, and most of Chicago would have it no other way. Two years ago, Richard Daley was re-elected to his fifth term with 79% of the vote. His annual budgets are routinely passed with only token opposition. He controls public housing, public schools and the city council. He is cozy with Big Business, is a master at the ward politics of fixing streetlights..."There's never been a [U.S.] mayor, including his dad, who had this much power," says Paul Green, professor of policy studies at Chicago's Roosevelt University.
And the punchline
    Daley's unchecked power sometimes short-circuits public debate.

Behaving like a madman

From today's the Washington Post:
    John R. Bolton's nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations suffered a setback yesterday when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unexpectedly decided to spend three more weeks investigating allegations that he mistreated subordinates, threatened a female government contractor and misled the committee about his handling of classified materials. [...] Without naming Townsel, Biden quoted the charges she made in her "open letter" to the committee, which was released last weekend. After her client complained about the performance of the Kyrgyzstan project's chief contractor -- which hired Bolton as its lawyer -- she wrote: "Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel, throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman." Back in Kyrgyzstan, she said, Bolton told USAID officials "that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth. . . . His behavior back in 1994 wasn't just unforgivable, it was pathological."
Whatever you think about Bolton, I think he does put an appropriate face on Bush's foreign policy. Full article >

Friday, April 15, 2005

Of CTA and service cuts

I was watching a Chicago TV newscast and their coverage of the proposed CTA service cuts and was struck by something the reporter said. To paraphrase: "The service could be cut as early as July if the state does not fund the CTA" Now, we know the media is supposed to report facts. This however is CTA propaganda. They say the same thing in announcements on the bus! Notice the reporter did not say "service could be cut if the CITY does not fund" or "the COUNTY". I would encourage every CTA rider to wait out this ridiculous chirade. Of course service is not going to get cut down to Sunday levels. That's just idiotic. Remember, the Mayor just cashed a check for $1.82 billion that we got for leasing the Chicago Skyway. To date, he hasn't said what he's doing with that money. Granted, most of it may have already been hauled away in one of those hired trucks, but there's gotta be enough left over to bail out the CTA, if indeed it really needs to be bailed out at all. The CTA benefits people of Chicago especially and a couple of surrounding communities. This is not something that benefits the people of East Moline. This is not an issue for the people of Carbondale. This is not on the minds of residents Rockford. Why are we asking them to fund our transit system again? The whole CTA system is contained within the borders of Cook County. Cook County is an extremely wealthy and well-to-do county. Why are we shifting the funding buden on the state? Is it because our officials want to blame someone else when there isn't enough money? Don't be suckered in. If your CTA service gets cut, blame city and county officials. They can make it work. But they choose not to.

Mark you calendars for Moving Day

More from the Green Party newsletter (it's packed with info):
    MARYLAND Popular blogger and Democrat Jim Leftwich is urging other Dems to join him in a mass exodus to the Green Party and has proposed June 21 as a 'Moving Day'. The Maryland Green Party is currently considering ways to support and promote this effort. Maryland Greens Moving Day Blog
...or you can continue supporting the likes of John Kerry, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. But remember, if Dean really does succeed in transplanting a backbone into the Democratic Party, you can always go back. But that's major surgery, my friend. Don't spend your life wringing your hands in the waiting room.

Greens elected

From the Green Party e-newsletter. Congrats to Illinois' first two elected Greens. May many more follow:
    ILLINOIS Over 45,000 voters voted for a Green in Illinois's general election on April 5, 2005. Seven candidates ran for office all over the state. Both Scott Summers, an attorney from Harvard, Illinois, and Anna Lempart, a student from Urbana, Illinois won their elections. Scott was elected to the McHenry County Community College District Board of Trustees and Anna was elected to the Champaign-Ford Regional Board of School Trustees. These were competitive races in very large districts.
Oh, but there is more interesting stuff from the Green Party newsletter. It's always interesting to note when a Democrat is doing something constructive. Positive reinforcement.
    MAINE Reps John Eder (Green) and Ben Dudley (Democrat) have introduced two bills in the Maine legislature that would deny corporations their 'personhood'. Corporations currently hold legal status as 'persons' thanks to an anticonstitutional court ruling in the 19th century); the bills specify that a corporation does not have the same constitutional rights as a human, such as the right to engage in political speech or activity. Reclaim Democracy Project on Corporations, Law & Democracy

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The tax man's taken all I've got...

Most people think of the Beatle's "Tax Man" as the ultimate Tax Day song. But for my money, I'll be cranking up "Sunny Afternoon" by the Kinks. But then again, I also like to call my friends on their birthdays and play "Back in the USSR" to them over the phone (you get the joke, don't you?) But back to Tax Day, I've been tormented every April 15 for the past four years because, for some reason, my former employer never took out enough money from my paycheck and I ended up owing a lot of money. And as I received paltry salary increases, the problem got worse . Last year, I owed something close to $1000. Of course, I'm a classical, textbook procrastinator, and it was the last year I was at that job before I looked into the problem: it was because my w2 was completely screwed up. I think there were like 5 deductions (or exemptions, or whatever they're called on the w2). So that means me and four other people. Yet, I went home to an empty apartment every night. One spring, I filled out a new W2 and handed it in to my company. After a few months of waiting, I saw that while I had filled out my W2 to take 0 deductions, they had entered my deductions as 4. So I don't know. Maybe someone who was entering it thought, "Surely this poor guy didn't lose his wife and three kids." So anyway, another form was filled out. A few months later, finally, with two weeks left to go in the year -- and right before I left the job -- the bureaucratic wheels turned in my favor, and my deductions were reduced to 0. But the crippling tax bills gave birth a Tax Day tradition. Keep in mind, procrastination is part of every one of my traditions. So, yes, I'm one of those idiots you see on the news racing to the Lincoln Park post office on Sheffield & Fullerton at 11 p.m. Once I dropped that letter in the mail, I would be completely broke. For several weeks. The excitement -- of finishing the taxes and slipping them in just as Uncle Sam begins to draw the strings on the mail sack -- would quickly wane, and hunger would set in (who can eat when you're facing mild financial penalties!) So then I would go around the corner to the Demon Dogs, scraping up any change I find on the sidewalk along the way, and buy the only meal I could afford: A greasy hot dog, fries, and if I could afford it, a small beverage. Ah, I can smell the grease right now. This year, though, things are different. I'm married -- for real, now -- and my wife is self-employed. So I've been introduced to the concept of the tax preparer. What a wonderful person that is. So no trip to Demon Dogs. It's a little sad, but you know, the CTA is going to knock Demon Dogs down pretty soon anyway. I'm going to end this post...I'm reminding myself of Lucky in Waiting for Godot, silence...silence...silence...endless rambling. I'll stop now.

Tax Day Protest

From the Libertarians...
    Tax day is upon us. The Libertarian Party of Chicago is organizing a tax protest on Friday, April 15, at the Main Post Office in Chicago, 433 W. Harrison St., starting at 5:30 PM. LPC urges all Libertarians to attend. Contact Jason Briggeman for more information at 773-339-3465. Two LPI officers, Jason Briggeman and Kenneth Prazak, present different outlooks on Tax Day, April 15th, on the blog at the LPI website: