By John Ruberry

Last week I had some time off from work and I did what few people do. Before sunrise I left home and drove to Detroit for a pleasure visit.

It was my second trip to the Motor City. My first Da Tech Guy account, from 2015, is here.

What follows is a progress report with a grade.

First of all, is Detroit back? Well, if you are like most visitors and you don’t venture beyond downtown, Midtown, Greektown, New Center, or its three casinos, you’ll say, “Yep, Detroit is a thriving city, it’s back.”

But most of the the neighborhoods, Corktown, Palmer Woods, and Sherwood Forest are exceptions, are either rundown and decrepit, or near-apocalyptic wastelands, such as Brightmoor. And as for Palmer Woods, just three blocks from its southeast corner, near where I parked my car to snap a picture of a feral dog–90 minutes later a store manager was murdered during an armed robbery.

But even in its rough patches–actually most of Detroit is one expansive rough patch–there are noticeable improvements.

The abandoned GM Fisher Body 21 plant

Two years ago I was able to walk into vacated schools and factories with only a nagging guilt about trespassing preventing me from entering. That didn’t work, I walked in anyway. Harry B. Hutchins Elementary School, where I spent an hour taking photographs in 2015, is fenced off now. The Packard plant, the world’s largest abandoned factory, has a small but aggressive security presence. I wandered around there undisturbed for hours during my previous visit. Fisher Body 21, an old General Motors factory, is a glaring eyesore at the intersection of the Edsel Ford and Chrysler freeways. While I was able to stroll into that one, the windows in the stairwells must be bricked-off. The stairways are now as unlit as a cave beneath the dark side of the moon. Only a fool, or someone wearing a miner’s hat with a supply of back-up batteries, would climb them now.

So for urban explorers such as myself, Detroit is no longer a free-range video, photography, and souvenir collection zone.

Two years ago no one with authority appeared to give a damn. I credit the attitude change to Detroit’s reform mayor, Democrat Mike Duggan–who lives in Palmer Woods by the way. Duggan was elected four months after the Motor City’s bankruptcy in 2013. Earlier this month Duggan, who is white, overwhelmingly defeated Coleman Young II, the son of Detroit’s first black mayor. The elder Young’s 20-year tenure can best be deemed as controversial. The former communist utilized race-based politics and dog whistle words–city (black) versus suburbs (white)–which kept him in office but drove businesses and of course jobs out of Detroit. He was the steward of the city’s descent. While the white population is growing for the first time since 1950, Detroit remains a super-majority African-American city. Yet Detroit voters rejected the younger Young’s own dog whistle call to “Take Back the Motherland.” Good for them.

While there still are vacant buildings downtown, two of the most obvious ones that I noticed during my first visit, the 38-story Book Tower and the former Wayne County Building, are being rehabbed. Both were seen in the premature Detroit-is-back Chrysler Super Bowl ad with Eminem from 2011. A mile up Woodward Avenue to the northwest is the gleaning new Little Caesars Arena, the new stadium for the Red Wings and the Pistons. Detroit’s NBA team has returned to the Motor City after a nearly three-decade absence. Across the street from the arena are the luxurious Woodward Square Apartments. With Ford Field, the home of the Lions, and Comerica Park, where the Tigers play, as well as some theaters and other new or rehabilitated apartments, the result is the new District Detroit, an entertainment and residential area that rivals any in the United States.

Alley in Delray

So there is a lot of good going on in Detroit.

As for the bad, let’s discuss those forsaken areas, and it goes beyond the crumbling and abandoned housing stock and the crime. Most pedestrians in “the other Detroit” walk on the streets, because the sidewalks are for the most part crumbing. Some are overgrown with weeds. Nearly all alleys are impassable. Even large trees can be found growing in some. Keep in mind that in 1950 not only was Detroit America’s fifth largest city but it enjoyed the highest standard of living of any city in the world. Municipal alley garbage pick-up ended decades ago and many garages of otherwise well kept-up homes are collapsing. Why maintain a garage when you can’t access it from your alley? And besides, there are plenty of vacant lots, with a bit of elbow grease, that can be converted into grassy parking lots. Rubbish can be found everywhere. Illegal dumping–much of it done by suburbanites–is a serious problem in Detroit. Side streets have many potholes and even more cracks. On the other hand, Duggan has made good on his promise to install more street lights.

Urban prairie in Brightmoor

And that post-apocalyptic neighborhood of Brightmoor? A few sections that were once packed with residents have devolved into the kind of emptiness that you expect to see from a country road, a phenomenon known as an urban prairie.

Critics from the left will lash out at me as I take measure of Detroit’s unpleasant underside and yell, “What about racism?” Yes, for decades Detroit’s blacks suffered from institutional racism. So did black Atlantans. The year after Detroit elected Coleman Young, Atlanta, whose blacks endured Jim Crow laws, followed suit and elected its first black mayor. Atlanta became the city that was “too busy to hate.” In 1996 Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, which is something pre-Young Detroit unsuccessfully bid on an unprecedented nine times.

Back to the good: Most Detroiters are generally friendly people, strangers say “hello” to each other. That’s a commendable behavior I’ve never seen in any big city.

Sidewalk in Petosky-Otsego

Back to the bad: Detroiters are the rudest and most reckless drivers I’ve encountered outside of New York City. And remember, Detroit’s streets are in terrible shape, so such road effrontery is especially hazardous.

Detroit is not “back.” but it is coming back. But some unfinished business remains that could send the onetime Arsenal of Democracy back in the wrong direction. While the deadly 1967 riot and the contraction of the Big Three auto makers, as well as fiscal malfeasance, corruption, and numbing levels of crime are largely responsible for Detroit’s demise, the municipal income tax, a commuter tax, and loads of burdensome regulations also played a role. Those taxes, largely idiosyncratic to Detroit among big cities, still remain, along with those regs. And Detroit’s property tax system, according to the Detroit News, is “fundamentally flawed” and was “particularly devastating in the cycle of decline and renewal Detroit has undergone.”

“New Detroit” has emerged from the starting block but the Motor City is wearing ankle weights.

My grade for the city is “incomplete.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Chicago Police camera

George Washington McLintock: Now Katherine, are you going to believe what you see, or what I tell you?

McLintock! 1963

Two years ago I wrote about an interesting incident in Jerusalem.  It seems that the “Palestinians” were objecting to treatment they claimed they were receiving when visiting the Temple/Mount area and a solution was suggested by King Abdullah of Jordan to solve the problem, Cameras.  That way if Israel was violating the rights of Muslims visiting the 3rd holiest site in Islam they would be caught.

To his credit then secretary of state John Kerry supported the idea and after some pushback from the cabinet Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu got them to go along with the plan.  However Palestinians who had been claiming oppression loudly objected claiming it was a “Trap”.  As I wrote at the time:

I don’t see how it can be a trap. After all the Palestinians have insisted that they haven’t been inciting anybody or smuggling weapons or doing anything nasty, if they’re telling the truth how could film backing them up be a trap? That would be like a police office arguing that dash cameras and body cams were all about framing him for something he hasn’t done.

You’d think they were trying to hide what’s actually going on or something?   Or as Bibi put it:

it would show where the provocations are really coming from.

And as I tweeted at the time:

Well it’s two years later and with the move to make sure police are wearing bodycams to catch them if they try to plant evidence or bully harass and murder innocent suspects (particularly if they are black) now the accepted norm, I thought we have the answer to that question. However said answer is apparently not a question of police claiming body cams are a “trap”, it’s the liberal civil rights black lives matter crowd doing so:

“Unrestricted footage review places civil rights at risk and undermines the goals of transparency and accountability,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference, in the report’s introduction.

Yes you are reading that right. You are hearing a former Obama “civil rights” official saying that camera footage of what actually happens at an arrest undermines “transparency and accountability”

You see if a police officer makes out his report after seeing his video, it’s less likely that he will state an inaccuracy that a defense lawyer can exploit and that’s bad. After all we can’t have police giving accurate reports that puts a criminal in danger of actually going to jail.

You’d think transparency and accountability in law enforcement was supposed to be about truth and facts but apparently if those recorded videotaped facts either fail to impeach the trustworthiness of an officer or help lead to the conviction of a criminal then they aren’t welcome by those on the left who demanded them.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this but then again these days left has lost its capacity to surprise me anymore.

In New York’s 19th Congressional District (which I used to be a part of before a recent redrawing put me into the 18th instead), Steven Brisee was running among several other Democrats hoping to oust Republican Congressman John Faso from his seat. But Steven Brisee can’t seem to stop himself from getting arrested!

Steven Brisee was most recently arrested for Grand Larceny, a felony, after he was caught trying to steal $1500 worth of merchandise, some 50 items of clothing and housewares, from a Kohl’s department store in Newburgh, NY. Brisee has decided to drop out of the race after this arrest, but he blames autism and his lack of people skills for fundraising as the reason, not his criminal history. Although he did admit to a local paper that he had been arrested for shoplifting in the past, he claims his latest arrest was for criminal trespass during a pipeline protest. Via Times Herald Union:

Newburgh Town Police said on Wednesday that Brisee is facing a felony grand larceny charge for allegedly trying to steal about $1,500 worth of merchandise from a Kohl’s in Orange County.

Newburgh Police Lt. James Nenni told the Times Union that Brisee was arrested Sept. 11 on charges accusing him of attempting to take about 50 items from the department store. Nenni said a petit larceny charge was bumped up to a felony because of the value of the goods, which included men’s clothing and other household items.

But in an interview Wednesday evening, the candidate disputed the charge.

“Why would I be trying to steal something while running for Congress?” Brisee said.

The charges were reported by the Kingston Daily Freeman on Tuesday. Brisee disputed the charge in that newspaper’s report as well.

Brisee told the Times Union on Wednesday evening that while he had been arrested in 2010 for stealing from the Kohl’s store — Brisee was homeless at the time — he was arrested for criminal trespass on Sept. 11 for protesting construction of the Pilgrim Pipeline.

“Either they’re looking up an old arrest or I don’t know,” he said.

Brisee said his previous grand larceny arrest was dropped to a violation.

What isn’t in dispute is that Brisee was sent to the Orange County Jail following the Sept. 11 arrest.

Brisee said he was in custody until his bail was posted Saturday night by his step father. He initially was sent to Orange County Jail but transferred to Ulster County Jail to be held on a separate trespass charge stemming from an incident in Ulster County.

Brisee said he was staying at a friend’s house, but the friend had not told his father Brisee was given permission to stay. Two days before his protest arrest, the father had called the police.

With Brisee in Orange County Jail and police in Ulster County unable to contact him, a warrant was issued for his arrest in that county. He was then transferred to Ulster County Jail on Sept. 15.

Wait, what? Didn’t he say the trespass arrest was for a pipeline protest? Now we see a trespass arrest for illegally occupying somebody else’s home. But wait, there’s more! Via Daily Freeman News:

Brisee said he and some friends were in Newburgh protesting a pipeline, but he could not recall the name of the road he was on or what company was constructing the pipeline. He said he believes people waiting to work at the construction site called police, leading to his arrest.

“I was protesting a pipeline,” Brisee said.

A clerk at the Newburgh Justice Court confirmed the felony grand larceny charge against Brisee. The matter is before Judge Jude Martini and Brisee is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 6.

Brisee is being represented by attorney Brad White of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County who could not be reached for comment.

In regards to the criminal trespass charge in Ulster County, Brisee said that matter is in Rochester Town Court and was a misunderstanding. He said he had permission to be at a friend’s house, but the friend did not tell their father. The father called police, Brisee said.

Details about that charge were not immediately available from the court. The criminal trespass matter is scheduled to return to the court on Oct. 4, according to a clerk.

Brisee also said a 2015 misdemeanor drunken driving charge against him had been reduced to a violation driving while ability impaired charge.

So Steven Brisee already had an arrest history, but he thought running for public office was a good idea to do while he continued with his lawbreaking ways, and when it finally catches up to him to the point that he feels compelled to drop out of the congressional race, he blames an autistic lack of social skills, not his own criminality and an inability to keep his stories straight, as the reason why he could not garner voter support and fundraise effectively. Criminal behavior, lying, and blame gaming – kind of reminds me of another democrat (who even once held a political office here in New York).

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

By John Ruberry

Last week I wrote this in my own blog about a scandal-plagued state university in Kentucky: “Is Louisville a college with an athletic program? Or is it an athletic program that offers some college classes?”

Late last month the shadowy and corrupt realm of NCAA men’s college basketball, whose players are nominally amateurs, was shattered by the revelation of an FBI investigation of payments to recruits that allegedly comes from Adidas. Ten people have been arrested, including four assistant coaches at Power Five college hoops programs. More arrests are expected.

But most of the media focus on the scandal is on the the University of Louisville, where no one so far faces charges. Allegedly an AAU coach, Jonathan Brad Augustine, whose team is sponsored by Adidas, boasted to an undercover FBI agent about the reach of Cardinals coach Rick Pitino–who is identified as “Coach-2” in court records–and how Pitino could get James “Jim” Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, to send $100,000 to the family of a Louisville recruit. That athlete, Brian Bowen, enrolled at Louisville. But now he’s been suspended from the team.

Oh, the first “A” in AAU stands for “amatuer.”

“No one swings a bigger d–k than [Coach-2],” Augustine reportedly said after learning that Gatto had difficulty in allegedly sending the $100K to Bowen’s family. He added that “all [Coach-2] has to do is pick up the phone and call somebody [and say], ‘These are my guys–they’re taking care of us.'”

Those remarks appear to have been lifted from a Sopranos script.

Pitino, and Louisville’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, were suspended by the university the day after the scandal broke. Both of them are expected to be fired but in the meantime they are the highest paid persons in their positions in college sports.

But despite its success on the field–Louisville has a pretty good football team by the way–the athletic department loses money. Apparently Louisville manages its athletic department as poorly as the state of Kentucky runs its public-worker pension programs.

Pitino is the only NCAA men’s basketball coach to win national championships at two universities, Kentucky and Louisville. But four months ago the Cardinals program landed on NCAA probation because of a prostitution scandal involving recruits, some of whom were underage. Uh, where are the Louisville Police? The NCAA suspended Pitino for five games and Louisville will have to vacate some victories–and possibly its 2013 NCAA title. Pitino claims ignorance of the hiring of these “dancers” by the program. He also claimed to be simply a put-upon victim in a extortion attempt by a woman, Karen Sypher, who alleged that Pitino raped her. The Basketball Hall of Fame coach, who is married, admitted to consensual sex with Sypher–she later went to prison. Pitino also admitted to paying for her abortion.

Because Louisville’s men’s hoops program is already on probation, it’s likely that the Cardinals are eligible for the NCAA “death penalty” if they are found to be a two-time offender. The death penalty allows the NCAA to shut down a program for at least a year.

I say cut down the nets and turn off the lights for Louisville basketball, preferably for several years. The possibility of the death penalty has holders of the junk bonds financing the stadium where the Cardinals play understandably a bit nervous.

At the very least Louisville needs a fresh start, but so far it’s off to a dreadful one. Pitino’s interim replacement is one of his former players, David Padgett, who until two years ago was director of basketball operations at Louisville. Was Padgett a glorified clerk? Or a figurehead?

Louisville has other problems and one of them involves Adidas. Of the money from the current marketing contract the shoe giant has with the basketball team, reportedly 98 percent of it goes to Pitino. Shouldn’t the general revenue fund of this taxpayer-supported college get at least a healthy cut?

Jurich, the money-losing suspended athletic director, likely earned more money annually than the budgets of four Louisville academic departments.

This scandal has legs longer than those of the late Manute Bol–and I’m predicting not only will it spread to other colleges and AAU programs but to high school hoops as well, starting with the Chicago Public League. Lack of payments probably explains why the Chicago recruiting apparatus for years shuts out basketball programs such as DePaul and the one at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both schools are natural fits for Public League talent and both of them used to recruit very successfully in Chicago.

Do you have a better explanation?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

My plans for finally getting my Red Summit post were derailed a 2nd time after I read this piece from Christopher Harper that stopped me in my tracks.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

What really got me were these stats

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. 

This is consistent with this story at the NY Post 

Cops in some crime-ridden South Bronx neighborhoods have all but abandoned aggressive or intuitive policing — to avoid getting sued or otherwise derailing their careers, officers admitted to The Post.

And those who commit crime know it

Several precinct patrol officers recalled incidents in which they didn’t bust suspected drug dealers who were taunting them while recording with cellphone cameras.

In one case, a cop said, neighbors were “leaning out their windows, shouting at us to go away.”

“In the past, we’d stand our ground, start issuing summonses. But we just moved on,” a cop recalled. “It was hard, to be honest.”

The NYPD’s most recent stats show shootings in the precinct have jumped 64 percent, from 14 to 23, so far this year compared to the same period in 2016.

In other words thanks to the fine efforts of Black Lives Matter, NFL players and all those who have decided to make the police the enemy those who actually prey on poor and minority neighborhood are completely unleashed knowing that they have little to fear from those who would have once enforced the law.

What’s worse there is little or no political incentive to fix this problem, these cities are controlled by Democrats who have a lock on city counsels and aldermen positions and even if you have a sitting lawmaker who wants to do something , they don’t dare side with police for fear of being voted out of office.

Meanwhile Republicans, knowing that this problem has little effect on their voters and that the race card will be instantly played on them if they attempt to intervene are, like the police, disinclined to get involved in a situation that carries political risk with little reward.

This is a direct byproduct of the balanization of our nation for fun and profit and until that stops and we unify as a culture again expect this problem to increase.  I suspect the rewards of money, power and position for this division are too great, however I do know that with God all things are possible and as long as we have people like this:

There is hope for us as a people.

The FBI annual report that violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly for the second consecutive year rated only a few passing references in the news.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

“This is ominous,” said Mark Kleiman, a criminologist at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. “What you worry about is that the trend is broken, and the numbers are going to go back up. A 20 percent increase in homicides over the past two years is not trivial. We’ve got what looks like a serious problem here.”

In 2016, Chicago again led the nation in murders with 765–more than double the 335 people killed in New York, which has more than 5.8 million more people than Chicago.

Large cities–those controlled by Democrats and with populations of more than a million people–saw homicides rise by 20.3 percent, and all violent crime increase by 7.2 percent in 2016. The trend toward greater violence was felt in cities and towns of all sizes. In towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 people, for instance, murders rose by 8.4 percent, according to the FBI.

Crime is lower than it was in the 1980s and 1990s, but that gives little solace to victims and their families.

Here are a few more pertinent facts:

–Murder victims, as well as those arrested on murder charges, were disproportionately young, African-American, and male.

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/11/ferguson-effect-study-72-us-cops-reluctant-make-stops/96446504/

–The number of police officers and their starting salaries have declined since the mid-1990s.

Many theories exist about why violent crime is up. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a good analysis: “People worry more about crime when they feel that the authorities don’t have their backs. When they feel confident that the government will make all reasonable efforts to keep them safe, that’s one thing. When they think that the political class has other priorities–or even sees them as expendable in the service of ‘social justice’ goals–they get their backs up. I think it’s also a recognition that things can go from good to bad pretty fast.”

What’s clear is that violent crime is getting worse, and it could go from bad to much worse if we don’t do something about it.

Update DTG;  I think Christopher’s piece is one of the most important stories that nobody is talking about.  It will remain pinned to the top for at least the next two days.  If you only share one post from our site this week, make it this one.

By John Ruberry

As this post goes live, the 48th Chicago Pride Parade is taking place on the city’s North Side. The event is still commonly called the Gay Parade, “Pride” is of course a much more generic term. On the Yahoo home page today, next to the rainbow colors, is this message, “Be proud of who you are.”

In Chicago there are many people who should be ashamed of who they are and what they’ve done. Which got me thinking. America’s third largest city–for now–really needs a Shame Parade, something along the lines what Queen Cersei suffered, in the buff, in Game of Thrones two years ago at the hands of the Sparrows sect.

But please, shameful ones, keep your clothes on.

Participation is limited only to brigands who live in Chicago.

Attendees are encouraged to chant “Shame…shame….shame.”

Chicagoans, now let me present to you the 2017 Shame Parade participants!

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley: The son of Mayor Richard J. Daley, the younger Daley inherited his father’s talent in creating a powerful political organization. But while the first “Hizzoner” was a whiz at public finance, Number 2 was clueless about about it–clearly Richie is bad at math. Chicago has the worst-funded municipal worker pension plans in the nation. The city prospered in the 1990s, it’s easy to see why. The pension obligations were shorted to create an illusion of prosperity, a Potemkin Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: The Tiny Dancer inherited a mess from Daley, and he’s responding as any liberal Democrat would to any problem–raise taxes. But Chicagoans are responding with their feet–Chicago is the only major city losing population. Most of the West Side and much of the South Side is a killing zone. More people are murdered in Chicago than New York City and Los Angeles–combined.

The leaders of every street gang: “Chicago is the gang capital of the United States,” CBS News reported a few years ago. There are roughly 600 gangs in Chicago and about 70,000 members in these criminal enterprises.

Shame…shame…shame.

Cook County Assessor and Cook County Democratic Party Boss Joseph Berrios: The assessor’s office has long been a campaign fund cash cow for the Chicago Machine. But in a fantastic series from the Chicago Tribune, Berrios’ reign has been shown to favor the wealthy residents of Cook County while cheating poor ones. Boss Berrios has also been accused of rampant nepotism. Do you mean the Democrats aren’t for “the little guy?”

Edward Vrdolyak: A onetime boss of the Cook County Democratic Party, “Fast Eddie” is one of the many former members of the Chicago City Council who is a convicted felon. Roughly once every 18 months a member or former member of that shameful legislative body takes up residence in a federal prison. Vrdolyak became a Republican in the late 1980s. Seven years ago he served a ten-month prison sentence for participating in a kickback scheme with cronies of disgraced governor Rod Blagojevich. Last fall Vrdolyak was indicted again on tax evasion charges.

Karen Lewis: The longtime president of the Chicago Teachers Union, a hardened leftist, was a pretty good high school chemistry teacher, a former co-worker who was one of her pupils told me once. But she’s not that good at math. Or perhaps she is? For years members of her union have had taxpayers, in the name of Chicago Public Schools, pay what is supposed to be the teachers’ contribution into their still woefully undercapitalized pension funds.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett: While the aforementioned Chicago Public Schools was headed into the financial sewer, its CEO, “BBB,” participated in a kickback scam. Byrd-Bennett will report to prison later this year.

Ayers and Dohrn’s Chicago home

Shame…shame…shame.

Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn: Barack Obama began his political career in the living room of these unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists. After their terror career ended they moved on to academia, where they learned that it’s easier to destroy America by indoctrinating youngsters with leftism than by bombing buildings.

Rod Blagojevich: Can President Donald Trump arrange a furlough for the onetime “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant? While Colorado is the jailbird’s home for now, the rest of his family still lives in Chicago. The hair-brained former governor inherited a fiscal mess, as did Rahm Emanuel, but he made it worse, particularly with his 2005 pension payment “holiday.”

Former Gov. Jim Thompson: Look! Another Republican! In 1989 Thompson signed into law the compounded interest pension raises which of course were never properly funded. An astute pol, yes, but like the younger Mayor Daley and perhaps Karen Lewis, math is not the strong suit of “Big Jim.”

Chicago’s Power Corruption Couple, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson and former US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr: They’re undergoing a nasty divorce right now, but in happier times they looted Junior’s campaign fund. Both are ex-cons. The couple that steals together doesn’t necessarily stay together.

Lifetime Lack-of-Achievement Award, Jesse Jackson Sr: Decades of race-based shakedowns enriched himself and his family. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization placed his son and daughter-in-law into positions of power. But what tangible achievements can he show other Chicagoans?

Who will the grand marshal of Chicago’s Shame Parade?

State House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Boss: Michael Madigan: Since becoming speaker in 1983, Madigan has nominally served with–or over?–six governors. But you can find the 13th Ward Democratic committeeman’s fingerprints on every piece of pension and fiscal legislation enacted into law since then. Illinois’ public pension plans are among the worst-funded among the 50 states. Illinois’ bond ratings are just one step above junk–the lowest ever for a state. And if a budget isn’t passed by the end of this week S&P and Moody’s warns that junk status will be declared.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Shame.

Oh, why isn’t Barack Obama in the Shame Parade? Chicago is so bad even Obama has bailed on it. The former president lives in Washington now. Obama served in the Illinois Senate, from 1997-2004, while the state’s pension disaster festered. Obama is so smart, right? But why were there no warnings from him about Illinois pensions?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

“Crime by Migrants in Germany Increase.” The headline on the story, buried deep within the Wall Street Journal, was so innocuous it might as well have said, “Nothing to See Here, Folks — Please Move Along.”

Despite the mild headline, however, the article by Ruth Brenner was filled with statistics that spun a tale of terror.

From 2015 to 2016, crimes committed by refugees and other migrants to Germany soared by 52.7%, a figure sure to attract attention. Except it didn’t. I saw a few references to the stats on conservative websites, but not even the crickets chirped in the mainstream media.

The pure numbers are just as startling: Migrants were charged with 114,238 crimes in 2015 and 174,438 last year. Meanwhile, crimes committed by German citizens plummeted by 3.4% in the same period. Despite the drop in misconduct by natives, the country’s overall crime rate was up by 0.7 percent.

To put it into perspective, Germany’s tiny immigrant population was responsible for more than 12% of the country’s crimes. Germany has long welcomed refugees, but the inflow turned into a flood when more than a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa arrived in 2015-16.

The article didn’t break out the severity of the crimes committed in the two years, but it noted that violent crimes by citizens rose by 1% and those by migrants nearly doubled.

The story said Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist and former justice minister, blamed the increase in migrants’ offenses on “the high number of young males traveling alone, a group that generally is responsible for the majority of crimes regardless of nationality.”

Missing from this account was a key word: Muslim, even though the overwhelming majority of migrants were followers of Islam. I’m sure Germany’s crime stats would’ve gotten a lot more publicity if the misbehaving migrants had been Pentecostals, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists or Zoroastrians.

For years, the primary commandment of the MSM has been “Thou shalt not speak ill of Islam,” which is in keeping with its unending claims that Islam is the religion of peace. While most Muslims are good and peaceful people, Islam itself was born in war. Of all the world’s faiths, only the “religion of peace” established itself through military conquests in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Germany’s miscreant Muslims may not derail Angela Merkel’s bid for another term as chancellor, but they should be a concern for every other Western government that’s supposed to protect its citizens and culture.

It’s no wonder the media ignored the German crime report and accounts of similar lawbreaking and militant activity elsewhere. The story would not only break the MSM’s primary commandment but also — more urgently — undermine efforts to thwart President Trump’s limited ban on Muslim immigrants.

Terrorism is a justifiable reason to scrutinize potential newcomers to America, but let’s not forget outright thuggery is a threat, too.

UPDATE: Merlin — the Maine coon cat who was the bliss and the bane of me and Mrs. Mick for the past 14 years — passed away peacefully on Friday, four weeks to the day after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. We met his every wish in his final weeks, and he never showed any sign of discomfort, let alone pain. He will be missed.

Andrew Knightley: You said you wanted to chew the fat. I think you just wanted to drink it. We’re not your friends, we’re just your fucking enablers.
Gary King: Enabler? Oh that’s a funny word. Gary King & The Enablers. Actually that would make a great name for the band. Steve, write that down.

 
The World’s End 2013

Have you ever heard of the term:  A Lawsuit waiting to happen:

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has instructed prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes in response to stepped up immigration enforcement by the Trump administration.

Am I reading this right?  Is the State Attorney’s office actually instructing prosecutors to use a double standard when it comes to prosecuting crimes?  Jazz Shaw comments:

For these purposes they want to focus on “minor, non-violent criminal cases.” One could imagine that might include petty theft or any burglary which doesn’t rise in value to the grand theft arena. Perhaps passing bad checks? These are the sorts of things most any of us would wind up in front of a judge for. We might not go to jail, but would probably at least be paying a fine and possibly some sort of probation. But if you happen to be an illegal alien residing in Baltimore, congratulations! You’ve pretty much got a free pass after this. Snatch all the purses you like because even if you get caught there won’t be any consequences.

We’re talking about officers of the court who are charged with upholding the law. And they are seriously cautioning the staff to consider not prosecuting people who are suspected of these crimes on the basis of the fact that they are already committing a crime by being here illegally. If you are a citizen or lawful immigrant living in Baltimore you should be outraged by this.

Well “yes” and “no”.  If you are a law abiding citizen who cares about the rule of law, you should be outraged by this, but if you are a native born person who is a criminal a passer of bad checks, a purse snatcher, a drunk driver, a drug dealer, a vandal or any one of the many people who either have a history of or plan on a career which include the risk of being subject to “minor, non violent criminal cases” your ship has just come in.

This is prima facie evidence of discrimination and even more important it’s discrimination that’s directed against a population that is 63% African American.  Or to put it another way.  If your city has a population of 600k with more that 350K black residences and you have a 1 in 20 chance of being a victim of a property crime,  (let alone the serious stuff like murder)  that suggests an awful lot of black people arrested for such crimes.  In 2005 for example:

that year, the city’s police made 100,000 arrests, among a population only six times that.

You don’t have to be Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson to see the potential here.  If it’s the policy of the State attorney’s office to let illegals skate but to prosecute native born blacks, then if you are an enterprising criminal or a lawyer looking for a huge class action score against the city, your ship has just come in.

Alas this might be hard to prove, after all it’s not as if this policy was in writing or something oh wait:

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow, in a memo sent to all staff Thursday and obtained by The Baltimore Sun, wrote that the Justice Department’s deportation efforts “have increased the potential collateral consequences to certain immigrants of minor, non-violent criminal conduct.”

“In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant,” Schatzow wrote.

Yes you’re reading that.  He, Michael Schatzow, the guy whose picture from the Baltimore state attorney office site is to the left.  This lily white deputy state attorney for Baltimore, for the sake of tweaking Donald Trump, put in writing a policy that says one should consider the consequences to an illegal alien when “considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case” but doesn’t suggest any such consideration for a black, native born legal Baltimore resident.

If I’m Al Sharpton I’d think I had died and gone to heaven.

Prosecutors declined to discuss the memo.

I’ll bet they did.  It’s an easy enough lawsuit as it is, no prosecutor in his right mind is going to comment on this even if they are a liberal democrat looking for elected office in the state.

Now it’s possible the Sharptons. Jacksons or even Black Lives Matter crowd might balk at going after a Black run city or a deputy State Attorney who works under Marilyn Mosby no matter how big the potential payoff, Jazz Shaw again:

who thought this up? The article cites the Deputy State’s Attorney as having written the memo but you know this didn’t happen without the seal of approval of Marilyn Mosby. (The actual State’s Prosecutor of Freddie Gray fame.)

And I admit with DaTipJar lagging a bit there is a little bit of Sicilian in me that says if I’m willing to go though the hassle of going to Baltimore, committing a crime, getting caught and then filing suit the score would be six figure or more.  Sure it might take years but the lawsuit and settlement might be worth it, but then I’m thinking even if I was willing to cross that line for the money, long before I got there an enterprising lawyer would have no problem finding a potential client or even a group for a class action ready and willing to collect on the jackpot that Baltimore is offering to them, in writing.

Who says crime doesn’t pay?


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

IDOT facility, Northfield, IL

By John Ruberry

You’ve heard of “Deep State,” right? If you haven’t, it’s the powerful yet anonymous cadre of senior bureaucrats within the federal government who are toiling to undermine President Donald J. Trump. They are “the swamp” Trump wants to drain.

In Illinois, where I live, we have Deep Corruption.

Last week in my own blog I reported on Deep Corruption when former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett received a 4 ½ year prison sentence for wire fraud for her role in a bribery scheme with a former employer, a contractor. Her old boss there likely engineered her hiring as the boss of CPS.

In 2014 as Illinois’ financial situation was clearly dire–it has gotten worse since then–a political hiring scandal broke at the Illinois Department of Transportation. Over 200 unqualified people were hired as “staff assistants.” The title sounds innocent enough, but staff assistants in Illinois government are supposed to be policy-making posts, which makes those positions exempt from anti-patronage rules. Most of these so-called policy makers were hired during the six-year term of so-called reformer Pat Quinn, then the Democratic governor of Illinois. But candidates with backgrounds such as managing an ice cream store, laying bricks, and working for the Democratic Party were hired as staff assistants at IDOT. Well, these hires were diverse that’s for sure. Once on the state payroll, naturally these unqualified employees were given duties that matched their modest skill set. Many of them now hold new titles and are exempt from being discharged–except for extreme indiscretions–because of union rules.

Meanwhile, Illinois has the worst credit rating and the worst-funded public pension system of the fifty states. It currently has $11 billion in unpaid bills.

But under Quinn money was available to place political cronies on the state payroll.

Last week a court-ordered monitor issued her report on the political hiring scandal, or what should be called the Hack Pol Job Fair. The unqualified candidates of course had one thing in common: connections, often family ties, to a Democratic politician.

Rauner: Shake Up Springfield, Bring Back Illinois

Fed up Illinois voters threw Quinn, out of office in 2014, replacing him with Republican Bruce Rauner, who eliminated the staff assistant job classification but has been largely stymied in his attempt to “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield” by state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Seven staff assistants with Madigan ties were hired by IDOT.

Chicago talk radio host and onetime gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft likes to say “Illinois isn’t broken–it’s fixed.” True, very true.

Quinn’s office was the clearing house for the IDOT job scandal and this episode should finally destroy his undeserved reputation as a reformer. In 1996 a prominent Illinois Democratic politician accused Quinn of being a ghost payroller for the Dan Walker administration. You probably never heard of Walker, but he’s one of those Illinois governors who later served time in federal prison. Public pensioner Quinn now says he’s working on ending gerrymandering in Illinois, yet he approved the current disgraceful gerrymandered map that created supermajorities for the Democrats in the General Assembly.

Who was that politician who called Quinn a ghost-payroller? It was US Sen. Dick Durbin. And the senior senator from Illinois’ office tried to get “Candidate 5” a job “with various state agencies.” And after pressure from Durbin’s office, “Staff Assistant 47” was hired at IDOT.

There is some good news in regards to this scandal, besides its exposure. Honest Illinois state employees alerted authorities of these abuses.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And those were illegal abuses, I’d like to add. Who will be indicted for these crimes?

On personal note, my mother passed away three weeks ago. As is natural for someone going through a parental loss, my thoughts have veered to the past of late. Years ago my mother told me about a conversation she had with my father–he’s gone now too. My dad declared to my mom that his goal was to enter politics, which of course meant Illinois politics as they lived in Chicago. “That will never work out,” she explained to him. “You’re honest.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.