Sunday, February 24, 2008

Faith, George Michael, and Opening the Door to Strangers

Six years ago, I did what all of us are told not to do. I opened the door for a complete stranger, or at least the first of two doors and quickly closed it. The solicitor began to talk, but my first impression was not too good and my patience incredibly short. In a blink, about two seconds into the black leather workout gloved stranger's delivery, my door closed. He was not exactly dressed for success. However, I heard enough to know that he wanted to work as a handyman of sorts. Another approach, a little advanced warning, some references and the incident would have never happened. He probably was harmless.

George Michael, or so I fondly call him, had faith, but I had little. His shoulders were sheltered by a black leather jacket with silver rhinestones. I could feel the word 'revenge' etched on my soul. I, too, had done my time going door to door for Greenpeace through the north and south suburbs during one to three evenings a week. In exchange, I received a commission, but I was educated enough to inspire a few people not only to join and donate, but to actually appreciate and be a part of the decision that was made, hopefully.

Anyway, within about a year or two, our fearless Greenpeace leader had to resign, because he shot off one too many bottle rockets at the Zion Nuclear plant and filmed footage to display his sensationalistic frustration with security, but that is old news to the core and serious digression. This is meant to display how totally unprepared I was for someone at our front door. A minor digression to make a point that I am sympathetic, but I wore a polo shirt, docksiders, and khakis for Greenpeace. I dressed like a University student and put my best first line forward. I also froze for Greenpeace, as well, from time to time and I recall my feet feeling like drumsticks ready for frying at Buffalo Joes.

I have to take some credit for my closed mindedness and gut reaction, which is normal. First, the guy was not dressed for success so to speak. Dressing like George Michael in black motorcycle gang leather, perhaps with shades in your pocket and black leather workout gloves does not win customers. In addition soliciting in those garments at 7:30 pm without an advanced flyer is less than target marketing to homeowners; freaky is an understatement, IMHO.

Of course, if you warn your neighbors of your unique and distinct garb and the need to moonlight, then you may encourage a more receptive audience. Particularly, if you live down the block with the folks. Of course, if you say hello every once in a while from the sidewalk, it does break down a few barriers, but if you are still a stranger, you are going to have to find a way to network, get street credibility, and then let people know that you are available, as needed.

Most of us are not going to open the door without some advanced notice from those who dress like George Michael about to sound off on the "Faith" video. If 'this George' is out there, albeit, living with a different identity, then I regret closing the door without giving you the time of day. However, what did you expect at 7:30 p.m. on a weekday. Guttennacht.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NIU - Remember the Victims, Forget the Attacker!

Yesterday's incident is just another example of the sorry state of mental health in the U.S. A few people are so primed, that they go off without talking to anyone out of fear for the stigma attached.

Anger management and violence have little to do with gun control, but everything to do with the fact that some people have their priorities so screwed up that none of us know until it is too late. Many foreigners often find the stigma of mental health care to be too embarrassing or costly. Life is priceless and so is peace of mind.

If the ex-student was currently enrolled at UIUC, then perhaps he could not cope with the change. If the media and the public find mental health a stigma and embarrass those who try to seek help, then those silent with serious issues may simply find death a means to end their internal dilemma. Religions have to consider realistic options and evolve in their perceptions, but so does treatment. Some conditions may be curable or misdiagnosed.

This guy, like those who look to terrorism to get respect, should be disrespected by putting their names in oblivion.

We should remember the victims and obscure the terrorists, whether they are home grown or otherwise. Whether they claim affiliation or act on their own.

Society needs to look at what makes these folks tick and get ticked off. We need to find outlets and not be recreationally and socially adverse. There is a place and a time for almost everything, but obvious not this.

Shooting off comments about gun control and even enacting a ban it will not stop violence. Those bent on it can pull out a butcher knife just as easily and attack a New York Psychologist like Kathy Faughey. Let's work on stopping the causes of violence, not merely pretending that a gun ban or conceal/carry will cure all evil.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Si Se Puede!" Anita Alvarez Wins!

Both the location and state of mind symbolized a renaissance this evening. Some of us gravitated in that direction with an incredible lightness of being. Today we voted and this evening we celebrated with Anita Alvarez. My sensitivities are an easy to follow diagram. I regret that I anticipated more from the Devine endorsement, but realized that character can prevail when it counts. Consistency is the hobgoblin of simple minds.
There were two highly qualified candidates for Cook County States Attorney, but the most effective one won. I was in total shock and satisfaction this evening; it was the best possible outcome. The last minute poll was icing. Anita even did it without making a mess!

Anita will become not only the first woman, but the first Hispanic to hold the position of the Cook County States Attorney. She earned it! As some may know, Devine held back his endorsement and tried to remain neutral. However, when the chips were down, it was Anita, not a gaming lobbyist, who beat the odds.

This was reminiscent of Harold Washington's win. The votes were so split up, that the Hispanic vote had only one candidate and she was also a woman. Que suave! Que dulce! Que bueno! It was the perfect storm and it could not have happened to a more qualified candidate. Cook County has made the brightest decision of this primary. It has chosen a level minded prosecutor, who is an effective administrator, as well.

For those who followed Anita's rise, she beelined through what seemed like a politicized mudslide of mediocrity. Some with prominent pedigrees had so much fear of Alderman Allen, that each failed to respect the Hispanic vote. It assumed that Luis Guitierez would bring home the bacon for Suffredin. I was totally awed and floored; Devine's delayed endorsement was a blessing for Anita Alvarez. It is no small feat for prosecutors who have never run for office to take on accomplished political thespians like Allen, Brookins, and Suffredin.

Monday, February 04, 2008

49th Ward Political Information - Polling Places-Sample Ballots -CBA Judge Recommendations Links

For those of us with last minute Voting Compulsions

Objective Listing without Prejudice -

Find your polling place:

Sample Democratic Ballot

Sample Green Party Ballot

Sample Republican Ballot

Chicago Bar Association Recommendations for Judges:

49th Ward Judicial Recommendations - CBA, contrasted with others, etc. in contested races

Alan Greiman

Steele or Walsh - (Even but Other Bar Assn - Decalogue Society favors Steele - Decalogue is a Jewish Society, org size varies over the years)

Dennis Burke

Reyes or MacCarthy (Other Bars Assns favor Terry MacCarthy; Jesse Reyes networks well, helps legal community @ CBA & ISBA, spent time in Government legal, and is already serving as a judge; arguable toss up)


Lingo or Ryan (Other Bar Assns noticeably favor Lingo) personal knowledge helps in this race.

Sexton or Hyman (Other Bar Assns favor Hyman, Sexton may not be as extroverted, but worthy)

O'Neill or Powell (Chgo Council of Lawyers and Womens Bar favor Joan Powell over Madeline)

Recommendations From Other City, State, Ethnic, Social, and Race Related Bar Associations from which evaluations, above made:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rogers Park Residents Taking on Non-Biodegradable Plastic for a Change!

How much spin can you pin until your neighbors get dizzy with political nausea? When non-biodegradable signs are posted on public parkways, then they are fair game as garbage. This mess comes to you as a public disservice pronouncement from the political departments of dirty tricks and scourge pilots. Political litter pigs purposely use the parkways, flowerbeds, and corners of our block, not the inner sanctum. How environmentally insensitive!
That is how you know it is not a neighbor, among others. If you know the difference, then it is okay to pick up the trash, because that is what it looks like to the casual observer. All of us know where exclusive private property begins. Parkways are easements, but still your property, not theirs. You control your flowerbeds. Their your corners and if you know that your neighbor won't do anything, then think about cleaning up. Eventually they should get the message.

Political hacks plug the grass on the parkways in an effort to confuse condo residents and townhome owners. They want us to believe that a co-owner posted it. They probably didn't! Furthermore, the condo association probably had to approve it, so express yourself. Go ahead, make your day remove it; no one really cares if it is your property too! If you like the candidate, then post it on your mid section, so the neighbors know its yours. Better yet, post it in your windows or all over your building. Make a statement on your building. Public space deserves some respect.

If we tolerate the plastic, then it will only get worse, just like grafitti. Just say no to hypocrisy. Our so-called environmental politicians spend thousands of dollars on non-biodegradable plastic campaign signs that fill our landfills. When they can't get us to voluntarily post their signs on our properties, some resort to encouraging third parties to get rid of the signs near polling places.

My philosophy is to educate voters, not to innudate them with the name game. An educated vote is what counts. Sometimes, it takes time to sort out between the Adamses, Ginderskes and the Gordons, but if you give it a chance, then your vote is more reassuring. Of course, if you really don't care, then you may care about the litter on your lawn.
Vote with intelligence! Make a difference. It is okay to change your mind. It is okay to disagree. Its okay to vote for some of the names on the signs. Just know what they stand for and their credibility in the community compared with others. Just do it.

Snow Blown this Winter, Among Other Things.

The snow did not keep me in. Rather than photograph every moment of the day like some narcissist, I went through the typical. Although there was quite a bit of football fever, I only caught the final score. There was a sense of fascination over the Patriot's loss. It was conceivable, but unexpected, so my yartzeit is lit. However, I never looked at it, since the paycheck was not mine. The amusement of watching a Superbowl is only as good as the attention given to the football season. Instead, I threatened to go to the beach this afternoon just to inhale the fresh frozen lakefront air for a moment.
This season, I was too busy trying to make a living, toying with the computer, cleaning the house, or doing the laundry. Yet, today, I was doing the Target tour in search of loose Earl Grey Tea, toilet paper, and detergent on three hours of sleep. I am working on a Powerpoint presentation.

I vowed that I would express the non-political, since my state of mind is rather cashed out on the election. I will vote, but others in the household won't. Politics often nauseates them, as well. Most of us are occasional hypocrites, so I suppose, 'what should we expect from our politicians?' However, I don't double dip. Frankly, it nauseates me, when I do the research, pull out some memories, and find out more than I expected. Politics is sometimes a mix of optimism and spin, depending upon who throws their hat in the ring and when.

I let loose while others apparently agree, remain silent, or rationalize. The disappointment is that we don't always appreciate why or how people do things, take a particular position, or act in a way that appears dubious. Without an explanation, it makes little sense. It is so easy to fixate that you simply fizzle from frustration. I mean, who are these people, anyway? Why do we let our politicians go teflon with their trespassing steel prongs? Why vote for a familiar names, when these candidates could be the functional equivalent of Hitler? I would rather not vote, but I go with my final gut position. do research, and let's leave it at that. Anita Alvarez is the only option for me.

I could have gone off on the Steans-Elder rant, but many in the area agree with me. Many in RP have expressed their support for Elder with mega-banners on their homes. I refuse to tow the 49th Ward Politburo's 'Stean push. In any event, politicians will be elected. Hopefully we will take the time to be heard at their offices on local ward issues. Maybe, they will take the time to not only listen, but confirm that they acted in some meaningful way.

In spite of cruising the Targets in Evanston and Niles, today, we have gone local. For those who remember Ames (Aames?), which turned into the flea market, we regret that it has taken the ward so long to finally encourage some decent merchants. Now, we have to find time to go or find them. We went to Buffalo Joes on Howard for the second time in the last decade. We ate-in the first time. If you like Buffalo Wings, then it is worth it, even with the blue light dangling a block away.

We are regulars at the Fishkeg and the last month was no exception. For those from the southwest, Fishkeg is the near equivalent of Hagens, but it is mostly fried and raw, not smoked based upon my recall. Perhaps, I have yet to check out Fishkeg's smoked selection. Fishkeg is open till 1 a.m. on Friday and midnight every other day. It is just off Ridge and Howard. Has anyone eaten at Burek's on the east side of Ridge?

For those who have avoided Dominicks at Gateway, it has been renovated in the last six months. In addition, Runge's Auto Repair has let a few tarps on their 'problem child cars' loose. The result is that a 1970-something Cadillac looks pathetic on the third floor at the Howard Terminal parking lot. Efforts to express concern at the security desk seem useless. Perhaps, a mass call-in to Irma at Standard Parking downtown to bug her about Runge's junkyard might make a difference. If I did not need to head downtown so early, I probably would stop by Runge's to see if it is theirs. The cars don't bite. There is an Alfa Romeo from Runges nearby, as well.

I think that the pigeons are too cold to roost at the parking lot. For those who don't know, the parking lot is loaded with video cameras, even in the stairwells. Just another evening trying to drop the political rhetoric one step below the front page.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

More Suffredin Rants. You be the Judge Series. Future Nepotism? Double Dipping? Bloom for States Attorney?

I found this photo and could not resist. Is this Loyola University Law School posturing or just coincidence? Future nepotism at work? Cronyism? Or just networking? You be the judge!
Larry, Larry quite contrary how does this garden grow? From left to right: Thomas M. Suffredin ('05), Mary Anne 'Molly' Phelan ('05), and Brian Monico('04). Participants in the Loyola University Law School Alumni Golf Outing of 2007. Isn't that special? For those who appreciate this photo, these are the sons and daughters of a few prominent Chicago Law Dynasties with political connections. Perhaps, they are some of the few who can afford to take off from work to slice the greens, while Dad's associates do the dirty work on Saturday or Sunday mornings under threat of a pink slip. This is not where Anita Alvarez came from.

Again, simultaneously holding a private law job as a Shefsky and Froehlich Partner and a Cook County Commissioner has its perks. However, taxpayers foot the bill for Commissioners who are arguably full time employees, even if elected. Was lobbying, while representing ,what contributed to former 5th Ward Alderman Larry Bloom's convictions?

Remember, that unlucky Larry Bloom did time in 'Club Fed' when he served as both an Alderman and a Springfield lobbyist for a Chicago dumpsite. Unfortunately, Bloom's client was an Operation Silver Shovel FBI Mole. Larry Bloom was lobbying in Springfield, as well. However, the client was wearing a mic. Interestingly, Larry Bloom also ran for Cook County State's Attorney, while an Alderman.

Are there conflicts of interest when taxpayers offer a salary to someone who is also doing unrelated legal work as a sidebar to a paid elected position? Will Larry Suffredin continue to hold two salaries or more when he becomes Cook County States Attorney? Are there issues of integrity when paid public officials continue to serve two masters during the day? In my day, we called this 'double dipping!' I guess that on two salaries, it is easier to put your kid through law school and perhaps support expensive recreation, if any. How progressive!

Why does the ARDC or the media ignore 'double dipping' as a conflict of interest issue? If you work one job, then should a Commissioner be allowed to simultaneously hold other jobs. Is this in the public's best interests? As an attorney, should you know better? Do we need a law or ordinance to do the right thing? Is Lucky Larry a reformer or simply Joe Blow status quo?

Frankly, Alderman Allens and Brookins may fare no better. However, Brookins inability to pay rent means that, perhaps, it is time to concentrate on the Aldermanic tasks at hand. Maybe, its time to find another attorney to share your office space. It seems like Elzie Higginbotham may have covered the outstanding rent for Brookins, for now, so that Brookins can focus on his campaign. The issue of 'double dipping' by our politicians is not new, but should it be tolerated and ignored?

Okay, perhaps I'm mistaken about poor Brian and Thomas. Maybe, I need better time management skills, stop my ranting, and save up some money for greens fees, as well. So boys and girls, when is the next LUC Law School Alumni Golf Outing? Will the rest of the Alumni appear on the 2008 photo?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Suffredin: Litigator or Pontificator? Does the Federal Record Tell? Seven cases? Less?

Is Suffredin Bluffing about his recent litigation experience? Does he have a significant docket or does he Frolic at Froehlic in Springfield? A recent review of the Federal Record through the Pacer Search System confirms that the media does not do its homework. Suffredin claims that he is a litigator. Unfortunately, at least in the last eighteen years, the Federal Courts have kept track. These are the cases in which Larry Suffredin actually filed an appearance as an attorney or was simply a party to a lawsuit in Federal Court.

This means that Commissioner Suffredin seems less than candid about his experience with Federal litigation and jurisdictional issues. In fact, the person who researched did not even bother to check if Larry Suffredin was merely a plaintiff or a defendant. Much Environmental litigation, is covered under the Federal Code and Regulations. Does anyone remember the magnet wire criminal case? In a nutshell, the burden of proof and jurisdiction can waste a public attorneys time and your tax dollars! Witnesses, not just politicians, must come forward, actually show up and testify in court. When Strayhorn came down, so did the prosecution. Perhaps, the case was best handled by the Feds, not O'Malley!

This is the Suffredin Federal Court Record. If you don't believe it, then have a lawyer friend who practices in Federal Court do a Pacer search. Does Larry Suffredin understand environmental litigation, Federal Regulations, and jurisdiction. You be the judge.