Monthly Archives: January 2010

O’Brien’s a tax-cutter, but Preckwinkle is Trib’s gal

Tell me, please, why did Chi Trib, which ran the ed-page graphic counting the days since the Stroger penny tax increase and until the Feb. 2 primary, endorse Preckwinkle the uncertain tax-cutter over the certain, enthusiastic, top-agenda tax-cutter O’Brien?

Has Trib been fooling us all this time?

O’Brien, polling behind Madame P. the alderwoman, who has run nothing bigger than a ward office in her whole life, has run an ad exposing her tax-raising history.  In her book it’s a “desperate attack” of the sort “some candidates make when they’re behind a lot.”

Not that O’B has it wrong.  She denies it not, namely her votes “to raise her salary in 1995, 1998, 2002 and 2006 (from $55,000 to $98,000, cumulatively) . . . to create a real estate transfer tax (1992), boost the sales tax on beer and wine (1993), raise the overall sales tax (2004) and raise the real-estate transfer tax (2008).”

Unable to deny it, she mounts a desperate counter-attack of the sort some candidates make when they are caught doing what voters most resent in the record of the despised and last-in-the-polls incumbent (Stroger).

Why wouldn’t Chi Trib have endorsed O’Brien, who has said from the start of his campaign that he would get rid of the penny increase right away, while Preckwinkle said not right away, she would have to think about it.

And oh, by the way, O’B for 18 years presided over a regional clean-water-supply operation budgeted tentatively for 2010 at nearly $1.7 billion, which I think — correct me if I’m wrong — is more than it takes to keep a ward office going, even in Chi.

Later: A new poll says this race is statistically in a four-way tie.  Huh?

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Fair is fair for all that

Discussing “No Child” etc., Richard Hoste:

What are fair standards? I don’t know. But the hard truth is that there is a significant part of the population unable to learn any skills that will help them do anything beyond manual labor.

Hard indeed, but that doesn’t change it.

Anti-abortionism at Ascension

My guess is 50 showed at Ascension’s pro-life talk tonight, by Ill. Right to Life exec director Bill Beckman.  He’s a true wonk and delivered a lot of solid stuff, but I bailed out after an hour-fifteen or so: Ask him the time and he tells you how to make a watch, a la Ronald Reagan, per his son a long time ago.

Some arresting stuff:

* Sen. Durbin “lies” when he keeps saying abortion is not mentioned in the now probably moribund health care legislation: doesn’t have to be named.  point is, it’s not excluded.  It wasn’t in Medicaid legislation in the mid-70s when the late Henry Hyde wrote his amendment that forbade federal funding of abortion for Medicaid recipients.  Deceitful of Durbin, says Beckman.  I agree.

* National inconsistency bordering on schizophrenia (my designation) lies in how inheritance and murder laws in many if not most states (I forget) that say the child in the womb has rights — kill a pregnant woman and you do double homicide.

* Early feminists (suffragists) were pro-life.  Only in the early ‘60s did feminism become identical with pro-abortionism.  I remember asking a feminist in a 1970s press conference if feminists were all pro-abortion, and the woman said yes, looking at me as if I were not quite with it.

* It was a lie foisted on us by pro-aborts that five to ten thou women a year were dying of illegal, botched abortions: 39 died that way in the U.S. in one year under consideration at the time.

* Nothing surprising here: pro-life Dems don’t get anywhere.  They can’t advance.  Remember Gov. Casey of PA, who couldn’t get a spot at the podium at the 1992 Dem convention?

On the other hand, five of six current Republican gubernatorial candidates for Illinois are pro-life, most of the senatorial hopefuls, all of the lt. gov. candidates.  As I say, we know which is the abortion party.

* Illinois is the only state w/o a parental-involvement law, requiring notification or consent for a minor’s abortion.  It got one in 1995, but the Ill. supremes wouldn’t write the rules for the “judicial bypass” it required — an escape clause whereby the abortion-seeker could plead her case for non-notification to a judge.

In 2006 the Illinois supremes wrote rules and sent AG Lisa Madigan (D.-Mike), who so badly presented the Illinois case to the federal judge that he said come back when you know what you have or don’t have.

Last year the Illinois supremes, all seven of them, wrote Lisa M. ordering her to go back and do it right.  She did, and for a few hours last year, the bill was in force.  Enter ACLU with some sleight of hand and the original injunction was restored.

Beckman estimates 5,000 abortions a year on non-Illinoisans drawn by its lack of a parental law — too much business for relevant docs et al. to go easily into the dark night, as they see it, of pro-life-ism.

All or nothing

“It is very important that progressives help defeat Coakley,” says Gregory Martin at Firedog Lake. “Please read my explanation.”

It’s about enabling the betrayers of the leftist dream, helping the “Democratic Corporate Suck Up wing of the party” grow in power. 

To do so

will, in fact, ensure that there will be NO progressive agenda. It was not the Republicans who failed us of late. It was the Democrats. We will never succeed as long as the Dem’s [sic] can talk liberal and vote corporate.

He’s right.  They have nothing to lose but their chains.  No, they also have elections.

Clinton makes a point in Massachusetts

Bill Clinton campaigning for the endangered Dem candidate, commenting on Tea Party members from Rhode Island and New York campaigning for Scott Brown:

“I thought Massachusetts knew more about American history than anybody else, and understood the Boston Tea Party was a revolt against abuse of power, not against government itself.”

Good point, if you concede that they are not anarchists, as he would have it, but rebels against abuse of power.

Ditka, Bears, banks, “reform”

Ditka and the Bears: Changing coaches is a start, but we have little to hope for until there’s a change of owners, dropping those who fired D. in 1993.

“I was fired out of jealousy, plain and simple,” Ditka said for the Beyond the Glory special. “I had become the Bears. The greatest moment of my life is when George Halas hired me. The lowest moment of my life was when a guy that shouldn’t have been there fired me.”

But he’s still there, at his mother’s side.

2) Obama vs. banks: New tax purely political, as Geithner made clear on CNBC yesterday on the Kudlow Report, John Harwood asking, “You know Wall Street . . . . Is there something morally corrupt about Wall Street institutions and the people in them?”

Geithner:

I believe personally [dodge word: how else would he believe?] that what you’re seeing happen across the financial system, what you saw happen that caused the crisis, even what you see now happening, is just causing a huger damage to basic trust and confidence of Americans in the fairness of our system.

Fairness an Obama word: he used it in the ‘08 campaign to justify tax rate increases that result in reduced tax revenues.

Geithner continuing:

It’s just very hard for people to understand with unemployment at 10 percent, you know [yes, we do know, now that you mention it], with millions of Americans–this is the United States of America [yes, we know that too]–with millions of Americans on food stamps, worst recession in almost a generation, that you could see compensation practice produce such huge returns to people who were at the center of this mess. It is unexplicable [sic]. People cannot understand why it is fair. And…

Harwood: “But you understand because you know this culture. Why is it happening?”

I don’t–I don’t–I don’t understand it, really. I really don’t understand it. [Hand-wringing off camera]  . . . but what it underscores is why it is so important to make sure that we put in place tougher rules, the kind of reforms that’ll make sure that we can wake up in the morning and tell the American people that we have done what is necessary to protect them from the risk of this happening again.

A political goal.

Harwood: “Is it pure greed?”

Geithner:

John, it’s a complicated thing. I don’t–I don’t know how to explain it. I can’t explain it, I don’t understand it, [distraught] and I think it’s very important for those people running these firms, for their boards of directors, for their shareholders, to work very hard to try to earn back some basic sense of trust and confidence of the American people.

Like the trust and confidence in Congress? He’s worried about that too?  What about the sheer economics of it all?  Is he the treasury secretary, or a highly placed morale officer?

He continued:

I think it’s very important to do that. [Of course you do.]  And I think, as part of that, they need to not just make sure they’re making loans [with less available capital, of course] again to businesses and communities, helping solve the housing crisis [ditto], but . . . are working to support a package of strong reforms in the financial system that’ll be better for the country as a whole.

Vague, indecipherable, enough to drive a sane man nuts.

 

Wheeling Jesuit refund

Here’s a strange one:

I received a check for $75 from Wheeling Jesuit, a university I’ve never attended. All it says is ‘refund from fundraiser’. I e-mailed them but have not heard back yet. What would you do?

First, I’d blog about it.  Then I’d make a call, say to

Advancement Office 304-243-8141 or
1-800-888-2586

and ask to what do you owe this favor?

Or do like Kristie in a comment:

I would send the check back with a cover letter that a mistake has been made because you never contributed to a Wheeling Jesuit fundraiser.

There is so much fraud today and so many clever ways to commit it. I would hate for them to get access to your personal information for a mere $75 endeavor.

As you wish.

The “Kennedy seat” looking Brown

In the Mass. race, Brown v. Coakley, keep your eye on the big guy:

“If the White House thinks she can win, Obama will be there,” the Democrat says. “If they don’t think she can win, he won’t be there.” 

Word is, they don’t think so and he won’t be there. 

=============

Later: Word is wrong, according to The Hill:

President Obama will travel to Massachusetts on Sunday to campaign for Martha Coakley, according to sources.

Going for broke.

Wheeling Jesuit, NASA, whistleblower suit

More trouble in Wheeling Jesuit city:

A woman who says she lost her job at Wheeling Jesuit University after questioning the way the school billed administrative expenses for government grants has filed a whistleblower lawsuit in Ohio County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit filed by Catherine Smith, at one time the manager of finance for Wheeling Jesuit’s sponsored programs, alleges she was subjected to a hostile work environment, threatened with demotion and eventually fired after reporting problems in the way [NASA] grant funds were being used to her superiors.

Her superiors being the folks we have come to know and mistrust because of their firing of Rev. Julio Giulietti SJ as president last August.

Smith:

Rather than correct the deficiencies . . . she was harassed by her supervisor, [now acting President] Davitt McAteer, and threatened with demotion, and when she complained to higher-ups the school’s legal counsel concluded her claims were groundless.

Subsequently, she found fault with a male employee, discussed it with him one-on-one, and got fired, using her fault-finding “as a pretext.”  She also 

accuses the school of creating a hostile work environment, slander, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and retaliation.

NASA got wind of it, investigated,

and in an August memorandum concluded NASA had “inappropriately” reimbursed Wheeling Jesuit for more than $4 million in incorrectly billed and sometimes “duplicative” charges.

But NASA blamed no one, except in effect those who trained and oversaw grant officers.  An earlier investigation, in January 2006, had concluded that nothing could be proven about “improper” firings by program managers or awarding of sweetheart sub-contracts.

Unnamed university officials said the same thing:

“Contrary to suggestions in the suit, NASA did not investigate the university. It reviewed the agency’s own internal controls related to the oversight of grants and cooperative agreements with the university. NASA made no findings that anyone at the university engaged in any irregularities or misused any federal funds, whatsoever. . . . [Its] cost allocation methodologies have been fully disclosed and received long-standing approval from NASA.”

Announcement of the August ‘09 memo preceded the Giulietti ouster-cum-McAteer- elevation by one day, leading some to think G. was booted because of it. Inside Higher Ed questioned that, noting that it was McAteer who “had oversight of the NASA projects.”

It also noted that Fr. Ed Glynn, both a director and a trustee, had wondered who appointed McAteer, he knowing nothing of it before reading a press release.

What doth it non-profit a man?

Chi Trib reports big bucks paid to a non-profit affordable-housing exec — $685,000 in 2008, “at least three times higher” than comparables and judged “clearly absurd” by a specialist.

She and two fellow board members decide how much she gets, one of whom is a long-time Oak Parker and onetime exec director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Rev. Stanley Davis.

Davis heads his own non-profit operation, Interfaith Connections, aimed at promoting “interfaith understanding,” but his day job is with the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, where he is co-executive director.

The affordable-housing exec is Christine M.J. Oliver, president of the Chicago Dwellings Association, which has no web site (!), but has a history going back to 1948, when it was created by the Chicago (public) Housing Authority as a private corporation to build housing “for moderate-income families.”

It built Midway Gardens, at 60th and Cottage Grove, with 318 units, and several smaller developments.  It has four buildings now, says Chi Trib.  These “also have become a lucrative income source” for Oliver.

She “also has taken out personal loans of nearly half a million dollars for her own housing purchases.”  This is a very iffy proposition.  Non-profits lend mortgage cash for employees whom they relocate.  Help them get started in a new city.  But Oliver has headed CDA since 1991, coming over from the CHA after two years, before which she was in DC with HUD since 1983. 

So she has had dwelling places in the Chi area for a long time — currently three of them, in fact — in an unnamed northern suburb, in Lincoln Park, and, oops, not even in Illinois but on Gasparilla Island on the Gulf of Mexico.  Chi Trib could not find out which dwelling the half million was for — maybe the one on the Gulf, where she probably relocates occasionally.

Look.  She works hard and does a good job, her office says, having saved CDA from bankruptcy.  One of her buildings, the one at 60th and Cottage, had things wrong with it, the city hauled CDA into court.  But they fixed the code violations, and all was forgiven.

But look again.  This lady is getting rich on this non-profit gig.  Please.

As for Oak Park’s Stan Davis . . . we don’t know.  He and the A.M.E. elder — making two of the cloth in this together — gave the O.K. to her salary, which combined with her O.K. made it official: $685G for ‘08, after $725G (!) in ‘05, plus $689G to fund her retirement in all.

Davis and the A.M.E. man, the other director, could at least explain, couldn’t they?  But they are as quiet about this apparent debacle — involving millions in public money, by the way, from HUD — as she is.  And she ain’t sayin’ nothing.

Back in the novitiate, novices would take long walks in the countryside, now and then meeting a knight of the road — I didn’t, but the novice master told us about it — who hit them up for a few nickles.  In the early ‘50s it was.  We have no money, novices said, “We have a vow of poverty.”  To which the hobo, seeing they were well enough dressed and fed: “Oh? Say, where can I get one o’ them vows of poverty?”

Where can I get one o’ them non-profit jobs?

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