Da Mare’s Private Road to McCormick Place

July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

A $43 million busway built to whisk conventioneers between downtown hotels and McCormick Place has turned into “the mayor’s road” and should be opened to taxicabs in exchange for a surcharge, Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd said Monday.

Fioretti suggested turning the 2.5-mile busway into a money-maker after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg lifted the veil on a shortcut politicians and contractors enjoy, but everyday Chicagoans know little or nothing about.  …

“I was told by some of the people in Planning that it was a good idea. But then, they came back and said, `No. It’s the mayor’s road.’ That’s what I was hit with,” [Fioretti] said without identifying the city planners by name.

Fioretti said when he argued that Chicago could not afford to maintain a “clout road” for VIP politicians, he was told there were “security reasons” for keeping the road closed to other vehicles. But he was never told precisely what those “security reasons” were.

In Monday’s column, [Chicago Sun-Times columists] Steinberg talked about his ride with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the road Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls the “Bat Cave” and Preckwinkle calls the “Magic Road.”

It is accessed only by those fortunate enough to be issued a plastic card that opens a steel gate to the busway that runs along Illinois Central right of way parallel to Michigan Avenue.

Built in 2002 by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the 2.5-mile roadway was billed as a speedy shortcut for conventioneers staying in downtown hotels and attending McCormick Place conventions.

As Steinberg noted, a trip that takes 25 minutes in traffic up Lake Shore Drive can be completed in just eight minutes.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

I’ve known about this “road” since forever as I used to walk by the entrance regularly.  There are a few “secret” entrances in the South Loop where the gates are almost always up.  I’m surprised folks on bikes are not on this thing all the time.

Regardless, nice to see the mayor serving no one but himself.

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IL Public Pension Debt at $133 Billion

June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Ten U.S. states have public pension liabilities that are at least as big as their annual revenues, according to a Moody’s Investors Service report released on Thursday that found the Illinois pension bill was equal to 241 percent of its revenues.  …

According to Moody’s, Illinois has the largest net pension liability in the country, $133 billion, equal to $10,340 per person in the state. The liability is equal to 19.8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

via Reuters.

It’s worth nothing that the $133 billion owed for the pensions does NOT include the over $45B in state issued bonds or over $8B in unpaid bills sitting on the Treasurer’s desk. (Source.)

The reality is every man, woman, and child in Illinois owes the state at least $14,400.

Every man, woman, and child in the U.S. owes the G $53,400.

So if you live in Illinois add up your net worth and subtract $67,800.  Of course, if your a taxpayer you actually owe about 2x this amount… but that’s another story.

Survey of 15,000 Law Enforcement on Gun Control

April 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

The survey, which was conducted in early March 2013, received 15,000 responses from law enforcement professionals. It found that the overall attitude of law enforcement is strongly anti-gun legislation and pro-gun rights, with the belief that an armed citizenry is effective in stopping crime. Response percentages varied only slightly when analyzed by rank and department size. Among the results:

  • 86 percent feel the currently proposed legislation would have no effect or a negative effect on improving officer safety
  • Similarly, 92 percent feel that banning semi-automatic firearms, or “assault weapons,” would have no effect or a negative effect on reducing violent crime
  • Demonstrating the opinion that the best way to combat gun crime is through harsher punishment, 91 percent said the use of a firearm while perpetrating a crime should lead to a stiff, mandatory sentence with no plea bargains. Likewise, 59 percent believe increasing punishment severity for unlicensed dealers would reduce crime
  • Respondents were more split on background checks, with 31 percent agreeing that mental health background checks in all gun sales would help reduce mass shootings, while 45 percent disagreed
  • 71 percent support law enforcement leaders who have publicly refused to enforce more restrictive gun laws within their jurisdictions
  • 82 percent believe gun buyback or turn-in programs are ineffective in reducing the level of gun violence
  • 91 percent support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or have not been deemed psychologically incapable
  • Likewise, 80 percent feel that legally-armed citizens would likely have reduced the number of casualties in recent mass shooting incidents
  • 38 percent believe the biggest cause of gun violence in the United States is the “decline in parenting and family values”. This was trailed by “overly lax parole and short sentencing standards” at 15 percent and “pop culture influence” (e.g., violent movies and video games) at 14 percent.

via: Business Wire / PoliceOne.com

This is incredible.  Don’t plan on seeing this in the MSM.

Defend Yourself from Crazy People

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is blatantly lifted from Second City Cop.  No need to correct perfection.

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Here’s some brilliant freaking idea coming out of a “police executive” group. Confronting an attacker leads to less casualties:
  • The speed and deadliness of recent high-profile shootings have prompted police departments to recommend fleeing, hiding or fighting in the event of a mass attack, instead of remaining passive and waiting for help.The shift represents a “sea change,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which recently held a meeting in Washington to discuss shootings like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo

    The traditional advice to the public has been “don’t get involved, call 911,” Mr. Wexler said, adding, “There’s a recognition in these ‘active shooter’ situations that there may be a need for citizens to act in a way that perhaps they haven’t been trained for or equipped to deal with.”

This is just coming to national consciousness now, but police departments across the country, including Chicago, rewrote these policies years ago for active shooter scenarios when it was determined that a response, no matter how disorganized, disjointed or small, almost inevitably led to the shooter surrendering or suiciding himself.The NRA has been advocating this for years and been roundly castigated for daring to say it. The issue isn’t guns, it’s people and the unwillingness to confront easily predictable and obvious signs of instability that lead to mass shootings. Columbine and Virginia Tech, the two most often cited examples, were both 100% preventable if the warning signs were recognized and acted upon. So was Newtown. So was Aurora. In fact, records unsealed late last week revealed a shocking fact:

  • A University of Colorado psychiatrist told campus police a month before the Aurora movie theater attack that James Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a public danger, according to records unsealed Thursday.Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the Denver campus, told police that Holmes had also “threatened and harassed her via email/text messages” in June 2012. He is standing trial for the July 20 shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured 70 during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie.
Colorado, which just passed some of the more draconian gun restrictions in the nation, based their anti-gun arguments on the theory that the Aurora Theater shooting could have happened anywhere and been perpetrated by anyone. But the fact is that the theater is the only one in a 20 minute radius with a specific “no guns” rule in effect and authorities were warned by a mental health professional a month in advance of the killer’s threats and violent tendencies and they did nothing to stop him. Everything that could have been done, wasn’t. And gun grabbers are using it to deprive everyone of the Right to self defense, a Right now condoned by police executives.
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This is — for those that read my blog — old news.  I shared the Alabama Dept. of Homeland Security video in January.
In a comment on Facebook I wrote that the critical factor in savings lives in any active shooter situation is the time to engagement by an armed good guy.  Once any armed good guy shows up the carnage always stops within 60 seconds.  Always.

FBI Admits Warrantless Cellphone Tapping

March 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

FBI investigators for at least five years have routinely used a sophisticated cellphone tracking tool that can pinpoint callers’ locations and listen to their conversations — all without getting a warrant for it, a federal court was told this week.

The use of the “Stingray,” as the tool is called, “is a very common practice” by federal investigators, Justice Department attorneys told the U.S. District Court for Arizona Thursday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

via Washington Times.

This is but the latest intrusion in our private lives by an over zealous and over reaching government of jack-booted thugs.

Where is Eric Holder on this?  He’s the head of the DOJ… and that head should roll.  If Holder had any dignity he would have resigned a long time ago.  It’s time for Congress to step-up the efforts to get Holder out.

Naturally, the complacent media is going to bury this story.

Chicago’s Felons with Guns Go Free

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Do you know where Chicago ranks in terms of enforcement of the federal gun laws? Out of 90 jurisdictions in the country, they ranked 90th. Why doesn’t NBC News start with, “Shocking news on Chicago. Of all the jurisdictions in the country, Chicago’s dead last on enforcement of the federal gun laws?” Why doesn’t the national press corps, when they’re sitting down there with Jay Carney and the president and the vice president, why don’t they say, “Why is Chicago dead last in enforcement of the gun laws against gangs with guns, felons with guns, drug dealers with guns?

via NewsBusters.

I’ve been saying this for over a year now.  Exactly!!

Why is it that Anita Alvarez does not refer felon with gun cases to the federal government?  Why?

Why is it that CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy does not make news by telling people that Anita Alvarez is not referring felon with gun cases to the federal government?  Why?

Why is it that Mayor Rahm does not come out and make news by telling people that Anita Alvarez is not referring felon with gun cases to the federal government?  Why?

Because the WANT the gun crime on the streets because it creates the perception that there is a NEED for MORE gun laws.

It’s all a charade.

 

Lockheed Martin’s Desalination Graphene Filters

March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Lockheed has developed a special material that doesn’t need as much energy to drag water through the filter.

Graphene is a substance made of pure carbon. Carbon atoms are arranged in a regular hexagonal or honeycomb pattern in a one-atom thick sheet.

This special material is a film of a special structure of carbon, a honeycomb lattice called graphene. Because of its structure, the sheet is dotted with holes that are one nanometer or less. These holes between carbon atoms trap the salt and other impurities.

Graphene researchers won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for developing the wonder-material.

In addition, the film is super thin — just a single atom thick — so that the water simply “pops through the very, very small holes that we make in the graphene and leaves the salt behind,” John Stetson, the chief technologist at Lockheed for this initiative told Business Insider.

via Business Insider.

Very cool.  Good… Great news for developing countries and ocean going vessels.  Hopefully it will lead to cheap, easy to use water filtration products for everyone to use.  Can’t live without drinkable water.