Friday, January 29, 2016

Dr. Dongsheng Di: China's Economic Reforms and Their Implications

Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy
Chinese economist and university professor, Dr. Dongsheng Di will examine the economic reforms being initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and discuss the implications for that nation and other of the world's economies. His research covers topics such as the politics and economics of global currency and financial issues, as well as Chinese foreign economic relations.
  • Saturday
    February 6, 2016
    2:00 pm
  • The Stevenson Center on Democracy
    25200 N St Mary's Rd
    Mettawa (Libertyville), IL 60048
    773- 281-0378
  • $15
    No Charge for Students
  • Coffee and Conversation Afterwards

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Justice is Not Cheap

... sentenced to anger management classes. The fundamental flaw of the American criminal justice system: Cases are decided by twelve people who couldn't manage to get out of jury duty. Lake County, to its credit, has come up with a unique solution. As County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor explained to the News-Sun ...
a bill passed through Springfield reducing the number of jurors needed in court, but the bill included a pay increase for remaining jurors. He said Lake County is paying $400,000 more per year as a result.
Lake County officials question state report on consolidation
At a pay-scale of $400K per annum, your LakeCountyEye is quite sure the Lake County courts are now awash in quality jurors.

Haha. But one court-appointed attorney cautioned your LakeCountyEye not to blame Springfield: "Think about it. Every wrongful conviction in Lake County means there was a criminal trial. And appeals. And then a civil suit, followed by jury-awarded damages. And more appeals. Even if you only pay your jurors $5 per day -- a wrongful conviction here, a wrongful conviction there, and pretty soon you're talking real money!"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Motor City Madman

my eyes they burn Don't look for Chief Keef at the Oscar ceremonies, this year. Also, the Lake County rap star, and fugitive, will likely be boycotting a Waukegan music festival this summer.

The News-Sun has the backstory:
While a proposed Memorial Day weekend concert series at Waukegan Municipal Beach remains in the concept stages, opposition was voiced at this week's City Council meeting to one of the possible performers mentioned earlier this month by Mayor Wayne Motley: outspoken rocker Ted Nugent. "If Ted Nugent comes to Waukegan, as the chair of the Lake County Black Lives Matter movement, I will contact every chapter from California to New York, and we'll have the biggest protest in Waukegan you have ever seen," Zion resident Clyde McLemore told the council on Tuesday.
Protest threatened if Ted Nugent performs at Waukegan music festival
Ted Nugent, as Operatives know, was frontman for the Amboy Dukes -- the one-hit-wonder 60s psychedelic band. Their anthem to psychotropic substances is nodoubt #1 on the playlist of anyone who was alive in the 1960s (and with only sketchy recollections to prove it):
It's the land unknown to man,
Where fantasy is fact.
So if you can, please understand
You might not come back.
Come along if you care,
Come along if you dare,
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind.

Journey to the Center of the Mind
The demand for drug-soaked nostalgia rock'n'roll may be on the decline, however, because the 67 year old Nugent has transitioned to a new career. The former teen-idol is now a successful insult comic:
Ted Nugent on Barack Obama:
The "Piece Of S**t" should "Suck On My Machine Gun."

Ted Nugent on Hilary Clinton:
"Toxic C**t"

Ted Nugent on Gays:
"How Can We Offend Guys That Actually Have A**l Sex?"

Ted Nugent on Undocumented Immigrants:
"I'd Like To Shoot Them Dead."
It is unknown if Ted Nugent will headline the Waukegan music festival this summer. If he does, look for your LakeCountyEye -- clad with love beads and a peace medallion.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Raise? Hell!

$7.25 / hour The only thing not frozen in Lake County may be the salaries of elected officials. According to the News-Sun ...
A Lake County Board committee is poised to debate this month whether to raise the salary of the chairman's position after at least one board member noted that the position's compensation lags behind that of chairmen in surrounding counties.
County Board set to discuss possible pay raises for chairman
Whenever the question is "whose is bigger?", your LakeCountyEye looks up Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Behavioral Overcompensation at the College of Lake County.

"Ya," said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "you can't make ends meet these days on a public servant's salary. I've heard that some elected officials are trapping and hunting wild game in Waukegan."

To be sure, the low salaries are a hidden tax on wildlife. But your LakeCountyEye wanted to know if this was a bad thing for the human taxpayers.

"Bad for Lake County." replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "The County Board Chairs in Cook and the collar counties all make 150% or 200% over what the Lake County Chair is paid. Even in McHenry County -- where they maintain a standard-of-living far below the other, developed counties."

How bad could that be?

"Quite bad," sighed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi "because all the good talent is fleeing Lake County for greener pastures -- quicker than an office supply company can flee to Wisconsin."

Low salaries for public servants have led to a Lake County brain drain?

"Exactly." agreed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to get on a Lake County ballot. Can you name any?"

Your LakeCountyEye could not. The last one was thrown off the ballot because he bollixed his paperwork.

"Proves my point." shrugged Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Most Lake County candidates wouldn't qualify for a door prize, let alone a Nobel Prize."

And all because of the low pay scale?

"No flies on you today." smiled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "When there is more money to be made in the private sector, the remaining talent pool tends to get stocked with fish feeding from the bottom of the barrel. As a consequence, those who rise to the top of the County government food chain are those who know how to steer public policy in the direction of the donor class and the special interests."

A revolting development -- just who are these people?

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi brightened up. "They are easy to spot. Look for the guy who yells the loudest that he doesn't need a raise."

Word to the wise. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Tell your Operatives they get what they pay for."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Eating Off the Dollar Menu

How far will a politician go for a free meal? Operatives with GPS can find out for themselves. According to the Daily Herald ...
The Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road, Kildeer. Candidates running for the 6th Congressional District, state Senate District 26 and Lake County state's attorney seats will be in attendance. Light breakfast included. A $5 donation at the door is encouraged to help offset the cost of the food.
Lake Zurich chamber to host candidate forum
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but in politics there is sometimes a free breakfast.

Admittedly a free breakfast should not include a rider for a $5 donation. And admittedly that's a dollar more than you would spend at the Steak 'n Shake ...
But your LakeCountyEye has been told that you'll never see a bigger bang-for-your-breakfast-buck than with this deal at the Concorde Banquets:

Breakfast Menu | Concorde Banquets

As a bonus, candidates for the 6th Congressional District have been invited. And Operatives will have an opportunity to witness Congressman Peter Roskam match wits with his tea-party opponents.

Or what's left of them. According to the Suburban Life ...
Glen Ellyn resident Gerald "Jerry" Drabik has dropped out of the Republican primary race against U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, and has thrown his support to fellow candidate and Glen Ellyn resident Jay Kinzler.
Glen Ellyn candidate drops out of Republican primary race against Roskam
Drabik, your LakeCountyEye surmises, should be contacted at the Steak 'n Shake.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ralph Martire: The Fiscal Crisis in Illinois: Its Cause and Potential Solution

Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy
Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, will examine Illinois' deepening fiscal crisis, what factors led to it and some possible solutions. He teaches a Master's Class on Education Finance and Fiscal Policy at the University of Illinois and at Roosevelt University where he is also a distinguished lecturer on public policy. His areas of expertise include tax policy, pension reform and school funding. He has taught fiscal policy seminars for a number of other universities and the International Fulbright Scholar Program.
  • Sunday
    Jaunary 24, 2016
    2:00 pm
  • The Stevenson Center on Democracy
    25200 N St Mary's Rd
    Mettawa (Libertyville), IL 60048
    773- 281-0378
  • $15
  • No Charge for Students

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Upheavaland in Cleveland

Hey you big bully, quit picking on that little bully. They may not be muscle-bound thespians dressed in tights. But as epic battles go, Aaron Lawlor vs Bob Bednar may just rival Superman vs Lex Luthor or Spiderman vs Dr Octopus or Batman vs The Joker. Lawlor and Bednar are locked in a winner-take-all struggle for the opportunity to nominate the 2016 Republican candidate for the President of the United States.

According to the Daily Herald ...
Which local people are presidential delegates
Aaron Lawlor and Bob Bednar will both appear on the March Primary ballot as delegates for GOP Presidential candidates. Who will go to Cleveland this summer to participate in the Republican National Convention? And who will be left behind like some guest invited to the State of the Union Address by Robert Dold?

The smart money says Aaron Lawlor. A successful career politician, Lawlor is the current Chairman of the Lake County Board. Bob Bednar, on the other hand, ran for Shields Township Highway Commissioner in 2005. And lost. He ran for Shields Township Assessor in 2001. And lost. He ran for Lake County Recorder of Deeds in 2012. And lost. And ran for 51st District State Representative in the 2014 Primary. And lost.

Of course, a CV alone does not guarantee a ticket to your party's nominating convention. But Lawlor parlayed his clout into a prize opportunity to be a delegate for Jeb Bush. This is the same Jeb Bush who has raised $100 million, is the brother and son of former US Presidents, and is the runaway front-runner in the 2016 GOP Presidential sweepstakes.

On the other hand, Bednar in all likelihood is facing another loss -- because he saddled himself with another loser: the casino-owner, Donald Trump.

Presidential primaries are difficult to predict. But as of next July someone will be relaxing in a borrowed pied-à-terre at the Cleveland GOP convention. And someone else will be in an unairconditioned booth, handing out GOP lit at the Lake County fair. And your LakeCountyEye has a pretty good idea who that someone will be.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Dold Heave-Ho

but only a white lie Note to Operatives: Everyone who has an all-expenses-paid trip to the State of the Union Address in Washington DC, please step forward.

... not so fast there, Kowalski!

Haha, according to the News-Sun ...
Rep. Bob Dold planned to bring a felon to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech next week as a guest, but he withdrew the invitation Thursday after learning that a Waukegan woman had accused the man of threatening to kill her in 2014 and obtained a restraining order against him.
Rep. Bob Dold withdraws invite to felon to attend State of the Union
Your LakeCountyEye, being under no such constraints, immediately contacted Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Criminal Neglect at the College of Lake County.

"At this point," said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "Robert Dold may as well just order a side of bacon. He already has egg on his face. And just how do you uninvite a felon to a State of the Union Address -- send them a Dear Con letter? Still, I wouldn't fault the Congressman. If you can't trust a convicted felon these days who can you trust?"

Why would Congressman Dold invite a felon in the first place?

"Street cred, pure and simple." explained Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "The 10th Congressional District follows the Amstutz all the way to the Wisconsin border. A diversity challenged candidate like Robert Dold is going to need all the street cred he can get if he hopes to win an election in the Tenth."

Street cred?

"Ya." chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "If Mr. Dold gonna be down with the voters, he better be seen with the right type of guys."

Like Frank Sinatra did with Sam Giancana?

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi grimaced. "I was thinking more like guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty."

Your LakeCountyEye could not recall ever having the pleasure.

"The State of the Union speech is next week." observed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "The Congressman better get on the stick if he wants to round-up a new criminal sidekick. He could look in Highland Park for an illegal AR-15 rifle owner. Or if he goes to Mundelein it shouldn't be hard to find a DUI."

Would that send the right vibe the Congressman is looking for?

"Well, Chief Keef's people told me he is booked that week." replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "But, it's not all bad news for Mr. Dold. I can get him the names of a hundred or more other ex-cons, any of whom he could invite. They've all sued Lake County for wrongful conviction, and can afford to pay for their own Washington airfare and hotel."

A penny saved is a penny earned. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Tell your operatives they still have time to get arrested and contact Congressman Dold's office."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Road to the White House

From the Chicago Tribune:
When Jeb Bush was governor of Florida, he said his constituents didn't fully understand what they were doing when they amended their constitution in 2000 to build a high-speed rail line connecting the state's five largest cities. "People thought it was 'cool' to have a really fast train running from Miami to Tampa," Bush wrote to a constituent at the time. "No costs were discussed. The higher taxes that are necessary will dramatically change the dynamic." After slashing funding for the project, Bush campaigned in favor of a second voter referendum, to kill the project. It took him four years, but he won.
Jeb Bush's war against Florida high-speed rail shows his governing style
In related news ...
When Aaron Lawlor was County Board Chair of Lake County, he said his constituents didn't fully understand what they were doing when they approved a referendum in 2009 to build a Route 53 Extension connecting the County's largest arteries. "People thought it was 'cool' to have a really fast highway running from Long Grove to Grayslake," Lawlor wrote to a constituent at the time. "No costs were discussed. The higher taxes that are necessary will dramatically change the dynamic." After slashing funding for the project, Lawlor campaigned in favor of a second voter referendum, to kill the project. It took him four years, but he won.
Haha, j/k.

The record does show that Aaron Lawlor has filed to be a delegate for Jeb Bush ...

Candidate List GENERAL PRIMARY - 3/15/2016
Perhaps not coincidentally, your LakeCountyEye learned that construction has already begun on the spur-ramp that connects the Route 53 Extension with the Republican Convention site in Cleveland.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 is the New 2015

jolly old st nick It has come to your LakeCountyEye's attention that the odometer has rolled over to 2016. Ordinarily this would be an occasion for a roundup of the year's top stories. However, your LakeCountyEye can't think of anything noteworthy that happened last year in Lake County -- certainly nothing that merits review.  The B-plan in this situation is to review some of the new laws that went into effect on Jan 1.

The Northwest Herald observes that ...
One law, created by House Bill 3533, allows drivers who have had their licenses permanently revoked after a fourth DUI conviction to obtain a restricted driving permit after five years if he or she demonstrates a minimum of three years of sobriety and has completed rehabilitative treatment.
Ring in the new year with more than 200 new Illinois laws
In related news, the Village of Mundelein declared today a city-wide day of celebration.

Party like it's 2016.