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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Illinois lawmakers have found a way to whittle $1.3 billion from state government's massive backlog of unpaid bills, but it comes too late for The Counseling Center of Lake View," AP reports.

"The Chicago nonprofit, a mental health services provider, shut down at the end of April, waiting on about $200,000 in state money.

"Anticipating an annual summer stall in the already-slow payments and eroded by years of cuts in state funding, Executive Director Sharon Kayser said the agency opted to close and find new places for 400 clients rather than continue to slowly fade away."


"The state budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly cuts many services for low-income children," Progress IIllinois reports.

"For example, cuts in early childhood education could keep thousands of kids from getting a pre-kindergarten education.

"The cut follows an $80 million loss in early childhood education money from the past three state budgets. Those cuts translated to about 17,000 children losing access to a state-funded preschool education . . .

"The new budget also includes a 13 percent cut in state funding to the Department of Children and Family Services, expected to result in the layoffs of 375 agency workers from its current 2,900 workforce. Some of these are employees who directly work with children in situations of abuse and neglect."


"[T]he budget the Illinois General Assembly sent the governor includes $857 million or 8.2 percent in state education budget cuts from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1," Progress Illinois reports. "The cuts will especially impact less wealthy school districts that cannot turn to local property tax revenue in lieu of reduced state money."


See also: CIty Schools Scaling Back Summer Programs.

Killed Not Tortured
"A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives," Reuters reports.

"Citing figures from the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, he said U.S. drone strikes killed at least 957 people in Pakistan in 2010 alone. Thousands have been killed in 300 drone strikes there since 2004, 20 percent of whom are believed to be civilians."

See also: Obama's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up.

Mail Call
"Chicago Police Department officials exchanged a total of 297 e-mails - an average of six a day - during last year's reinvestigation of a 2004 homicide case involving a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, newly obtained records show," the Sun-Times reports.

"The police refuse to make public those e-mails concerning the case of David Koschman, who died after being punched in the face by Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko, an act they decided was self-defense. The case is now the subject of a probe by a special prosecutor appointed as a result of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation.

"Transcripts of the e-mails exchanged in January and February 2011 total 'several hundred pages of documents,' according to the police, who rejected a public records request for the emails.

"Citing an exemption in the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, they said the newspaper's request would be 'unduly burdensome' to fulfill. They estimated that 'reading, redacting and reviewing' those e-mails would take officials at least 40 hours."

Let's just play along for a moment. So one person for a week. How is that unduly burdensome? And let's face it, we all know that's an exaggerated time-frame.


"The Sun-Times also asked for copies of any text messages that lead Detective James Gilger or others might have sent during the reinvestigation, which ended with the police closing the case without seeking any criminal charges - less than three months before Daley left office. But the city doesn't preserve those, officials said."

Doesn't that violate some sort of records retention policy?


"'It has been determined that the department does not have the capability to store or search for historical text messages sent and/or received from city-owned mobile devices,' the department said in a letter. 'The messages sent to/from these devices are stored exclusively by the city's contracted third-party cellular carrier and are retained for a period of no more than 30 days before being purged.'"

Whew! But we all know there is no such thing as "purged." Shadow copies exist somewhere. Don't law enforcement agencies subpoeana this stuff all the time?

Picket Fence
"On Friday, outside the front doors of the Congress Plaza Hotel, a group of striking hotel workers were joined by hundreds of supporters marching in a noisy picket line to mark the ninth anniversary of the nation's longest-running strike," Progress Illinois reports.


He hasn't been back.

Not For The Children
"Jerry Zeldenrust retired as a commander from the Lansing Police Department in 2008 and received quite a parting gift: a $26,000 raise on his last day, hiking his annual salary to $133,680," the BGA reports in the Sun-Times.

"It turned out to be a gift that keeps on giving.

"The last-minute pay hike meant that Zeldenrust's annual pension soared to about $96,000 a year - or roughly $19,000 more than it would have been had he retired at the same time without the salary hike."


"A BGA investigation found that Zeldenrust is hardly alone. Over the past 20 or so years, about 40 veteran Lansing police officers and firefighters were given salary boosts by the village as they were retiring, spiking their individual pensions by at least $6,000 each in the first year alone. All together, at least $2.5 million in added pension payouts have been distributed since this taxpayer-funded perk was created in 1993."

To serve, protect and game our pensions!


"But it turns out the sweetener, which could cost Lansing taxpayers millions of dollars more in coming years, may not even be legal."

Hey, they're cops, not lawyers!

Not A Tech Town
"The most objective measurement available for the strength of Chicago's technology sector shows this city's performance leaves something to be desired. It ranked eighth in 2011, behind San Diego and about on par with Austin, Texas, a city with less than a third of Chicago's population," Melissa Harris reports for the Tribune.

That's about right, despite what her interview subject goes on to say.

Our FOIA, Ourselves
Our Secret Government.

The Loathsome World Of . . .
. . . Ivan Brunetti.

Tweeting Hawk
Crotch squirrels and colonoscopies.

Wow, what a depressing column, although that Hawk piece is pretty funny. Let's try to brighten the mood.


Huh. That didn't work either. I guess we'll try again tomorrow.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Up to you.


Posted on June 19, 2012

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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