Army Of Darkness
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
"A troubled Cook County program put faulty camera equipment in police cars, wasting perhaps millions of federal dollars, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general said in an audit released this morning," the Tribunereports.
"Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Michael Quigley scheduled a press conference for later this morning to call for an FBI investigation over 'potential criminal misuse of federal funds' on 'equipment that does not perform as intended' in the program, known as Project Shield.
"The U.S. report found that Cook County did not adequately plan or manage the $44 million project to ensure that equipment worked properly and could be operated in an emergency situation."
Here's my favorite part:
"The $65,000 cameras not only didn't work, but blocked air bag deployment in the cars."
"The report takes FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to task for lack of oversight.
"Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants were funneled from DHS to the State and on to Cook County. The report concludes, 'FEMA did not adequately ensure that the State of Illinois effectively monitored Cook County's expenditures . . . '"
Gee, you'd never think anything could go wrong with FEMA funds funneled to Cook County through the State of Illinois! Talk about the blind leading the blind leading the blind.
But this isn't just a story about public sector incompetence.
"IBM was the initial contractor for the first two phases of Project Shield. Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls was brought in for Phase 3."
Here's a better idea: Supply cops with iPhones. Problem solved.
"This morning at 9 a.m. Occupy the South Side and Occupy Rogers Park delivered to all 50 Chicago aldermen a stern warning that support of the mayor's now infamous 'Sit Down and Shut Up' ordinance will be met with strong and principled resistance in their respective communities," Occupy Rogers Park announces.
"Questions abound regarding 'Sit Down and Shut Up,' both of its actual scope and the veracity of Mayor Emanuel's incomplete and misleading presentation of it. The mayor's office is dictating that 'Sit Down and Shut Up' be passed quickly, with little scrutiny. The mayor's demand continues the sordid tradition of rushing flawed legislation that has greatly damaged the welfare of our city.
"Both 'Sit Down and Shut Up' and the mayor's tactics stand in stark contrast to Chicago's democratic values. According to the Occupy notice: 'It is difficult to overstate the contrast between celebrating the life and work of Dr. King on Monday, and codifying the suppression of dissent on Wednesday.'
"Occupy the South Side and Occupy Rogers Park also presented a 'Pledge Against Sit Down and Shut Up,' inviting aldermen to stand against the Mayor's attempt to bully them into suppressing non-violent free speech in their communities."
We are writing to draw your attention to policy concerns about legislation pending for the City Council meeting scheduled for January 18, 2012. Specifically of concern are O2011-9743, "Amendment of various sections of Municipal Code and providing associated authorization regarding upcoming NATO and G-8 summits, and O2011-9742, "Amendment of various provisions of Municipal Code regarding parades, athletic events and public assemblies."
As you are no doubt aware, Mayor Emanuel sponsored this ordinance and has promoted it in the media as a "temporary" measure aimed at controlling protesters during specified events taking place later this year. As you've surely read, the Mayor has since been forced to retract his claim that these changes were ever meant to be temporary. Another blatant inconsistency is that the ordinance applies to the entire city, while the NATO and G8 summits occur only downtown. Other inconsistencies in the presentation of this ordinance are similarly problematic.
Given what the ordinance actually says, it cannot be construed as an effort to protect the integrity of G8 and NATO conferences. This measure is a permanent attack on public protest in the City of Chicago. The consequences of this attack will be far reaching, and will be felt by protesters throughout the city, most of whom will never have any connection to the protests associated with these events.
As you are also aware, we celebrate the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 16, 2012. Dr. King's legacy is not one of obedience to municipal authorities, but rather the inspiring story of a man who led a community that was willing to face down oppressive lawmakers by violating exactly the type of ordinance the Mayor is asking you to support.
It is difficult to overstate the contrast between celebrating the life and work of Dr. King on Monday, and codifying the suppression of dissent on Wednesday.
More disturbing than the symbolism of attacking Dr. King's legacy is the perpetuation of the continued oppression that he gave his life to oppose. This ordinance does not exist in a vacuum. After all, political speech is not about speech itself. It is about issues of public policy that affect citizens who wish to convey their concerns in the public space. While the city's leadership has talked of tough choices, and the need to balance the budget, communities of Color have been forced to endure the greatest losses in areas of education, medical care, and access to living-wage employment. Restricting our ability to speak to those concerns would be unconscionable.
Citizens of the City of Chicago are facing attacks on the fundamental building blocks of their lives. We are losing access to health care, seeing their schools close, and losing our jobs. In each case, the impact of these attacks has been deliberately targeted, through legislation and governmental policy, at the City's predominantly black and Hispanic south side neighborhoods.
With regard to jobs, an analysis by the Chicago Reader demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of the City's payroll reductions will fall on communities of Color. With regard to health care, the City is closing six mental health clinics, five of which are in the same neighborhoods where jobs are being cut. With regard to schools, a map of recent adverse school actions falls again in the same Black and Hispanic neighborhoods where jobs and health care are being cut.
Enacting a new ordinance to suppress dissent by citizens with good cause to complain is bad enough. To enact such an ordinance two days after Martin Luther King Day is a disrespectful slap in the face to his legacy.
The work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not a past triumph best left to history books. It is a continuing struggle that opposes governmental oppression against communities of Color. Out of respect for Dr. King, your constituents, and the spirit of peaceful protest, we are asking you to sign the attached pledge, which rejects this errant legislation.
Occupy the SouthSide and Occupy Rogers Park
Under no circumstances will I fail to vote against City of Chicago (proposed) ordinances restricting free speech*, or any variation thereof that additionally restricts in any way the right of the people of Chicago to exercise their rights to free speech and assembly.
Alderman, City of Chicago
*O2011-9743 "Amendment of various sections of Municipal Code and providing associated authorization regarding upcoming NATO and G-8 summits," and O2011-9742, "Amendment of various provisions of Municipal Code regarding parades, athletic events and public assemblies."
Stat of the Day
"[M]ore than 10,660 [Chicago Public Schools'] students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year," the Sun-Timesreports. "That's 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year, according to a CPS tally.
"And since the last school year ended with a record 15,580 students with nowhere to call home, the current surge means this school year is on pace to be another record breaker."
"[Walgreens] tomorrow will welcome residents, commuters and visitors to its new two-story flagship location at the corner of State and Randolph on Chicago's historic State Street," the company announced. "The store, which opens to the public at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, features an extensive collection of innovative offerings, products and services unexpected from a drugstore."
Noooooo! No innovations!!! You're Walgreens! Protect your brand!
"An Upmarket Cafe offer[s] a barista preparing fresh brewed premium coffee, including the exclusive State and Randolph brand."
"A bakery will serve a range of fresh baked breads and pastries daily."
Noooooo! What's so wrong with the stale Hostess rack?! Ding Dongs!
"This unique urban retailing concept raises the bar for drugstore retailing and sets us apart in our industry," said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions.
The last thing I want is Walgreens raising the bar! I go to Walgreens (almost every day) precisely because it has a low bar. That's the point.