Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring in the New Year with a Bang

Yee Haw Operatives looking forward to the New Year's Eve festivities are encouraged to take advantage of the free rides available. The Daily Herald says ...
If you're headed out to celebrate New Year's Eve in Chicago, both the CTA and Metra are offering incentives to lure revelers out of cars and onto public transit.
Celebrating tonight? Don't forget public transit
Operatives are also reminded that it is illegal to discharge their concealed carry firearms at midnight -- when their blood alcohol level exceeds .08 percent.

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Take the "A" Bomb

They really are a scree-um. Lake County has been railroaded. The accelerating volume of hazardous material passing through Lake County via rail has caught the attention of the Daily Herald:
A proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation to update older hazmat tank cars (dubbed DOT-111s) that carry highly flammable liquids like ethanol and crude oil is under consideration and could be finalized in 2015. The intent is to prevent breaches of older tank cars, reflecting national concerns given the increase in oil trains and deadly high-profile derailments near Rockford and Quebec in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Many derailments, however, fly under the radar.
Suburbs have dodged a bullet so far with hazmat derailments -- so far
As luck would have it, your LakeCountyEye was stuck at a train crossing (and with an unplanned hour or two to kill) -- so to get the low-down, made a call to Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Loco Motion at the College of Lake County.

"Ya" said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "Lake County has more tracks than the Florida Dog Racing Commission."

But how safe are those tracks? Your LakeCountyEye wanted to know.

"The question isn't how safe. The question is, in case of a derailment, who is culpable." Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi then posted this Daily Herald story on Instagram:
"The vast majority of tank cars are owned by shippers or railway-rolling-stock leasing companies who are responsible for the maintenance and qualification of their privately owned equipment -- not railways," Canadian National Railway spokesman Patrick Waldron said.
Mistakes, equipment issues pose serious threats with rail-related hazmat
"Hehe." chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "If one of those old tankers goes tick-tick-tick-BOOM, don't blame the railways, it's not their fault."

Unwelcome news for the LakeCountyEye legal dept.

"The tracks that cross Lake County have an evacuation zone, mandated by the US DOT." continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Anyone living within half a mile of these rails is advised to map an escape route. Try to avoid going over slow train crossings."

Your LakeCountyEye made a mental note.

"Here is a startling statistic published by the NTSB: If all the railroad tracks in Lake County were laid end-to-end along the Equator," read Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "that would be a good thing."

Your LakeCountyEye was down with that. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice before the crossing gate went up?

"Tell your operatives to leave their firecrackers and firearms at home on New Years Eve. And celebrate the New Year near a rail crossing. Chances are there will be plenty of fireworks."

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Route 53 Explosion

Operatives who look at this map of Lake County and recognize the Route 53 Extension should look again. It is actually an Oil Train Blast Zone map:

Every day the oil industry sends millions of gallons of highly flammable crude oil through cities and towns across North America. Our rail system was never built for this dangerous cargo.
Oil Train Blast Zone
The map shows where exploding railroad trains criss-cross Lake County. The Yellow areas denote the potential impact zone in case of an oil train fire. Red is the evacuation zone for oil train derailments.

An actual map of the Route 53 Extension is below:

Presumably the Route 53 Extension will be put to use as an evacuation route when one of Lake County's exploding railroad trains explodes.  Provided, of course,  the Route 53 Extension does not catch fire as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Xbox

XXXLYour LakeCountyEye observes an annual tradition of sending holiday greetings to every reader of this blog in their native language:
Merry War On Christmas!
Startling news, however, has recently come in via the Intertubes:
Everyone knows the story of how the world wide web made the Internet accessible for everyone, but a lesser known story of the Internet's evolution is how automated code -- aka bots -— came to quietly take it over. Today, bots account for 56 percent of all of website visits
Bots Now Outnumber Humans on the Web
The site stats do not lie: Were it not for web bots (and North Korean hackers) this blog would see no traffic at all!

None of which, in your LakeCountyEye's estimation, should be reason to discontinue a perfectly good annual tradition. So to all readers of this blog, young and old, human and otherwise, best wishes for the holiday season ...
  • print("Merry Christmas")

  • Response.Write("Merry Christmas");

  • echo "Merry Christmas"

  • PRINT "Merry Christmas"

  • printf("Merry Christmas\n");

  • std::cout << "Merry Christmas\n";

  • Console.WriteLine("Merry Christmas");

  • ? "Merry Christmas"

  • (println "Merry Christmas")

  • WRITE(*,*) 'Merry Christmas'

  • System.out.println("Merry Christmas");

  • alert('Merry Christmas');

  • (princ "Merry Christmas")

  • WriteLn('Merry Christmas');

  • puts "Merry Christmas"

  • SELECT 'Merry Christmas'

  • MsgBox("Merry Christmas")

  • @echo Merry Christmas
And to those hacking in from North Korea ...
  • 메리 크리스마르

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ready Aim Fire

Where's the fire? Did you hear the one about the school superintendent who made all of his employees quit smoking? He was fighting more personnel fires than he bargained for.

Haha, Liz Biondi gained some notoriety this week. She is the only member of the Warren Township High School Board referred to by a sobriquet in the local press: Biondi is the 'No Gay' Warren Board Member ...
People push for 'no gay' Warren board member's ouster
The 'No Gay' Warren Board Member's fifteen minutes of fame began last week with a fatuitous statement uttered during a Warren Township High School Board meeting. The exact nature of the remark has not been revealed to your LakeCountyEye -- inquiries are being made as you read this.

Needless to say, over the years there have been countless local government board meetings where some clueless elected official has said something, well, clueless. But none have metastasized like this one. News of the 'No Gay' Warren Board Member's remark spread like wildfire. Stories appeared all over the print, broadcast and electronic media. There have been YouTube videos, online petitions, newspaper editorials.

Your LakeCountyEye attended the Warren Township High School Board lynch mob meeting this week to find out what the ruckus was about. The Daily Herald was there too:
Neither Biondi nor board member Catherine Campbell attended Tuesday's meeting.
People push for 'no gay' Warren board member's ouster
Readers of this blog will be aware that ...
School of Business?
Liz Biondi and Catherine Campbell are the two Board Trustees who did not vote for a proposal to shake down extract $90,000 out of the Warren Township High School.  The village of Gurnee wanted the money -- in the form of tax concessions -- to lure a high-tech into the village.  The proposal passed despite opposition from Biondi and Campbell.

Note to Ops: Watch what you say in Gurnee. They pay hardball there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

School of Business?

Rah Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah If you can read this sentence, chances are you've been to school. Your LakeCountyEye is no exception. School is where your LakeCountyEye learned all about evolution and sex education and how it is illegal to recite prayers out-loud on the taxpayer's dime.

Despite their many benefits, the schools get no respect. Your LakeCountyEye has been told that charter schools and vouchers and testing standards are all aimed at either eliminating or privatizing the public schools. The public schools are like the Route 53 Extension -- everyone likes the idea but no one wants to pay for it.

Now the village of Gurnee has come up with a novel way to shake down the Warren Township High School. The Daily Herald said ...
Two Warren Township High School board members have raised concern about a lack of publicly available information on a technology company's plan as it seeks about $2.3 million from local taxpayers to move to Gurnee. Warren District 121 board member Catherine Campbell said at a recent meeting that business tycoon panelists on ABC's "Shark Tank" would demand more information from AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. than what elected officials have received before agreeing to any financial incentives.
2 Warren High board members decry lack of information in tax break request
The village of Gurnee looks at the Warren Township High School and must see a cash cow waiting to be milked. Haha, Gurnee wants to see $90,000 siphoned out of the High School and into some high-tech company -- in the form of tax breaks. The Daily Herald said ...
Last week, the Warren school board voted 5-0 -- with abstentions by Campbell and Liz Biondi -- to provide $90,000 in tax breaks as the district's share to AKHAN. Campbell and Biondi questioned the idea of approving the financial incentive without much information about AKHAN's plan. "I just feel like we're asked to be basically an investor," Campbell said.
2 Warren High board members decry lack of information in tax break request
Note to Ops: The next time you find yourself putting the squeeze on someone, remind the chumbolone that he is being asked to be an "investor".

The deadline to file for your local school board is December 22, next Monday. File the paperwork at your County Clerk's Office. Operatives who have never been to school are excused.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Brick in the Paywall

This is just your LakeCountyEye's 2 cents worth, but the Daily Herald may want to rethink its social media policy. Not everyone is going to want to shell out 99¢ for an opportunity to like the Daily Herald on Facebook:

Editorial: All the reasons we want to be Facebook friends
Of course, if it did cost a buck to get BFFed on Facebook, your LakeCountyEye would be governor-elect by now.

Billionaire governor-elect Bruce Rauner was not available for comment.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Busy Work

no loose parts! At $8.25 an hour, anyone earning the minimum wage would have to work 500 hours per week to match the salary of the average Internet political blogger. Needless to say, the typical Lake County resident is quite busy, indeed. But not nearly as busy as the Mayor of Waukegan. According to the News-Sun ...
With the minimum wage debate raging across the country, state and Chicago area, Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley said this week that he doesn't see a similar move taking shape in his community anytime soon. "I've been busier than a one-armed boxer trying to get the city back on track, and that hasn't even crossed my mind," Motley said on Wednesday, Dec. 3
Officials: Minimum-wage hike unlikely in Lake County
Never having worked in an warehouse, your LakeCountyEye does not know how busy a one-armed boxer is.  But if labor statistics are any indication, there are a few jobs in Lake County that will have you busier than even the eagerest of beavers. And not just a few -- 10 by your LakeCountyEye's count:
The Ten Busiest Occupations in Lake County
  1. Busier than a One-Legged Wallenda

  2. Busier than a One-Armed Bricklayer on a No-Bid Township Contract

  3. Busier than the Termite Inspector for the Goliath Roller Coaster

  4. Busier than a Grand Ave Red-Light Camera

  5. Busier than a Backyard Chicken on the Day Before Easter

  6. Busier than a Southlake Mosquito Abatement Truck in a Nudist Colony

  7. Busier than a One-Armed Bandit in Unincorporated Lake County

  8. Busier than a Blind Concealed Carry Certification Instructor

  9. Busier than the Shoeshine Booth at a Lake County Dog Park

  10. Busier than a County Board Chairman on the Route 53 Extension
Look for your LakeCountyEye gettin' busy near you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keep On Truckin!

I gotcha, uh-huh, huh Culture vultures of Lake County may want to prick-up their ears. On Friday, County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor told the Daily Herald ...
"The Lake County Board's culture is not one of playing gotcha politics," Lawlor said. "We're about good government and good fiscal management."
Lake County's Lawlor, Maine look ahead to big projects
Note to Ops: A self-professed exemplar of "good government" should probably wait more than three days before trying to sneak a sewer bill into a special non-business meeting of the County Board. The sewer is for an unpopular truck terminal in Grayslake:
Residents near the Mundelein/Grayslake border say scheduled action Tuesday by the Lake County Board involving the site of a proposed truck terminal is an unusual, if not unprecedented, maneuver that bypasses the normal review process in response to a corporate threat. The special call meeting, beginning at 9 a.m., traditionally is held to approve rules and make appointments to county board committees. This time, the board also will consider changing an agreement with Grayslake to extend sewer service to the truck terminal site south and west of Midlothian and Peterson roads.
Lake County Board's trucking proposal hearing questioned
But once the maneuver was reported in the Daily Herald, Lawlor pulled a quick one-eighty:
Residents and others concerned with a proposed truck terminal in Grayslake will get another chance for input after an unusual maneuver by Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor did not proceed Tuesday as planned.
Public to get another venue for comment on proposed truck terminal in Grayslake

Monday, December 8, 2014

To the Victor Go the Spoils

It's not too late to mail in your ballot for Bruce Rauner. A new chief executive would bring to Illinois one thing, above all else: jobs, jobs, jobs.

Haha, the Bruce Rauner administration is hiring and it's not too late to get in on the ground floor. Operatives are advised to spell-check their resumes -- then submit them to the Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Transition Committee:
Compassionate Illinois is Back Competitive
State job-seekers cannot be blacklisted because of their political affiliation, so even if you voted for Pat Quinn, do not hesitate to submit your resume anyways. Of course it never hurts to make a donation to the Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Transition Committee, conveniently located at the same website:

Bruce Rauner Transition Committee
Job-seekers may donate $25 through $5000 or more, any amount that fits their budget. Note to Ops: there is a difference between working a toll booth on the Route 53 Extension, or indoors as a station supervisor there. Just sayin!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Safe at Any Speed

pew pew pew Ladies & gentlemen, start your engines. The Daily Herald observed that ...
State lawmakers Wednesday voted to raise speed limits on Illinois tollways to 70 mph in urban areas. The Illinois House overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of the idea without debate. The Senate already did the same last month, so the proposal will become law next year. Suburban county boards could opt out of the plan and keep tollway speed limits at 55 mph.
Tollway speed limit going to 70 unless counties object
The champagne corks must be flying around the Lake County Board offices. One source told your LakeCountyEye: "At 70 MPH we can move twice the number of cars through the Route 53 Extension over previous estimates. That translates into twice the amount of toll dollars. We may just pay off this concrete pork barrel in my lifetime!"

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Hit the road.