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?


As I’m not going to be going to Baltimore to cash in It means all of this is paid for by you. If you think this is worthwhile and would like to help me make up the costs, pay our writers and make our annual goal consider subscribing and become (if you wish) a listed as a Friend of DaTechguy blog

Remember all subscribers get my weekly podcast emailed directly to you before it goes up anywhere else.


Choose a Subscription level



And of course if you want to give a one shot hit (and help pay DaWife’s medical bills) you can hit DaTipJar




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.

Abandoned plant in Harvey

By John Ruberry

Contained in my inbox this morning was an email from Crain’s Chicago Business touting an article by Dennis Rodkin, “Can Chicago’s Southland Be Rebuilt?” In short, “probably” is his answer. Mine is “no.”

Chicago’s Southland covers the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, some definitions include the Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwest suburb, after spending my early childhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

After several readings–I want to make sure I’m right before pointing fingers–I was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that three words were missing from Rodkin’s piece: Corruption, cronyism, and graft. While Illinois is a very dishonest state, and Chicago and Cook County are the epicenter of  its dishonesty, Chicago’s Southland is the rottenest apple in this foul orchard. Five of the last six sitting or former Chicago aldermen convicted of crimes were South Siders. The two most recent Chicago City Council indictments are for Ald. Willie Cochran, whose predecessor went to prison for bribery, and former alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has already served time in the House with Many Doors. Do you want to guess what part of the city they are from?

Vacant Far South Side home

South of Chicago is Harvey. While surprisingly light on convictions, Harvey is considered the most corrupt town in Illinois, which is saying a lot. For years the Daily Southtown, among its front web page tabs such as “Weather” and “Sports,” there was another, “Harvey.” Next to Harvey is Markham. Earlier this month voters foolishly elected a convicted felon as its mayor. The Cook County state’s attorney office is suing to prevent the mayor-elect from taking office. Nearby is Dolton. Four years ago its village president told CBS Chicago, “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas.”

Cochran was indicted last year

Illinois’ second congressional district covers much of the Southland. In 1995 its representative, Mel Reynolds, was found guilty of crimes centered around a sexual relationship with an underage campaign volunteer. He was later convicted of a slew of financial crimes. His successor was Jesse Jackson Jr, who, along with his wife, a South Side Chicago alderman, went to prison for spending campaign cash on personal items.

The most notorious Chicago Southlander is Michael Madigan of the Southwest Side. Illinois’ financial situation has descended to the point that it is functionally bankrupt. Because of generous public-sector pension commitments, which were never properly funded, Illinois is over $200 billion in debt, despite a balanced budget requirement in the state constitution.

Yes, Chicago’s Southland is majority black. Which means African Americans are being robbed the most by these so-called public servants who see government not as a higher calling, but as an opportunity to dishonestly enrich themselves and their cronies.

Much of the Southland is blighted. But there is still plenty of money to be made there, but for the most part, only if you are a crook and if you know the right people. Or if you pay off the right people. Or if you hire that politician’s brother-in-law to remodel your office so you can get that zoning variance passed.

Rodkin does touch on the soaring property tax rates in the south suburbs. But he misses the point. As people leave the Southland–and yes, they are leaving–there are fewer people left to pay the bar bill for these corrupt-and-drunk-with-power politicians in Illinois’ Corruption Corridor.

Public graft is expensive.

Oh, 600 words or so into this piece, and I didn’t even, until now, mention the region’s problems with rampant violence.

Every politician I mentioned so far is a Democrat, except for Vrdolyak, is once was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Blogger in Harvey

In related news, last week the 14 year corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not from Chicago’s Southland, was upheld by a US Appeals Court. That’s bad news for course for Blago, but good news for law-abiding Illinoisans–yes, we do exist. If Chicago’s Southland–and the rest of the state–has any hope of receiving honest government, long sentences such as the one Blagojevich was given just might be the cure. Fear of a long stay in a federal prison might scare some scoundrels straight–or better yet, frighten dishonest people away from a career in government.

But at least in the short term, I predict things will get even worse in Chicago’s Southland–and in the rest of Illinois.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Malone: You just fulfilled the first rule of law enforcement: make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.

The Untouchables 1987

Leonard: …Sheldon, you can’t train my girlfriend like a lab rat.
Sheldon: Actually, it turns out I can.
Leonard: Well, you shouldn’t.
Sheldon: There’s just no pleasing you, is there, Leonard? You weren’t happy with my previous approach to dealing with her, so I decided to employ operant conditioning techniques, building on the work of Thorndike and B.F. Skinner. By this time next week, I believe I can have her jumping out of a pool, balancing a beach ball on her nose.

The Big Bang Theory, The Gothowitz Deviation 2009

Over at IMDB there is an interesting story concerning Johnny Weissmuller the gold medal swimmer concerning his early days as the silver screen’s most famous Tarzan:

When Weissmuller was introduced to the first Cheetah in his Tarzan films in 1931 (he worked with 8 chimpanzees altogether), the chimp’s trainer told him to show no fear or the animal would attack him. As Weissmuller, dressed in his Tarzan loincloth and hunting knife, walked up to the animal, it bared its teeth, growled at him and lunged as if to attack him. Weissmuller took the knife out of the sheath and held it in front of the chimp’s nose, to make sure he saw and smelled it. He then slammed the animal on the side of the head with the knife handle. He put the knife back in its sheath and held out his hand to the chimp. It glared at him, bared his teeth again, then changed its mind, grinned at Weissmuller and jumped up and hugged him. Weissmuller never had any further problems with the chimp–although other cast and crew members did–and it followed him around like a puppy dog during all the pictures they worked together.

This is a perfect example of risk/reward, note that the Chimp didn’t change his nature, he still gave problems to the rest of the cast and crew, but when it came to Weissmuller the risk of the whack in the head outweighed the reward of giving him grief.

This perfectly illustrates this story out of LA concerning the arrest rate:

an Assistant Chief with the LAPD tells the Times the number of arrests has continued to decline. Similar declines were seen in other big cities including San Diego. The result is that the overall number of arrests in California is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

Now given the increase in the crime rate the drop in the arrest rate would seem rather odd, but if you consider risk and reward, it’s not odd at all.

But others say it is inevitable that some officers will pull back, taking care of necessary work while not engaging in the “proactive policing” that could lead to more arrests — and to more encounters that turn violent.

“Not to make fun of it, but a lot of guys are like, ‘Look, I’m just going to act like a fireman.’ I’m going to handle my calls for service and the things that I have to do,” said George Hofstetter, a motorcycle deputy in Pico Rivera and former president of the union representing L.A. County sheriff’s deputies. “But going out there and making traffic stops and contacting persons who may be up to something nefarious? ‘I’m not going to do that anymore.’”

A police job carries a good pay, good benefits and a fine retirement package (at least until the unfunded pension issue bubble bursts) that is to compensate for the risk to life and limb, but it’s not just a physical risk anymore, it’s a social and reputation risk that enters into it

LAPD officers are troubled by contentious demonstrations at Police Commission meetings and by public criticism of their colleagues for using deadly force, said Robert Harris, a police officer on the LAPD union’s board of directors.

“Suddenly, you feel like you can’t do any police work, because every opportunity that you have might turn into the next big media case,” Harris said. “Of course, you’re going to take stock a little bit more, I think, before you put yourself out there like that.”

Why on earth are you going to risk your financial security protecting people who are going to demand your head if you put yourself out there to protect them?  Particularly in a city and/or state governed by a party actively antagonistic to police officers and silent when they are targeted as illustrated in the last presidential campaign:

while President Obama and the Democratic candidates vying to succeed him are putting America’s police departments on trial in the court of public opinion in response to a rash of deadly police shootings, the murder of police officers on America’s streets is being met with a “deafening silence.”

“I cannot recall any time in recent years when six law enforcement professionals have been murdered by gunfire in multiple incidents in a single week,” National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Craig W. Floyd said in a statement Friday. “Already this year there have been eight officers shot and killed, compared to just one during the same period last year and represents a very troubling trend.”

The relative silence on officer deaths contrasts with the Democratic candidates’ often fiery language on police brutality against African Americans. When it came to the issue of law enforcement at Thursday night’s Democratic debate, the candidates focused almost exclusively on “police reform.” Vermont Sen. Sanders said he’s “sick and tired” of seeing unarmed black people shot by police, likening heavily equipped departments to “occupying armies” – a reference to Ferguson, Mo. and elsewhere. Hillary Clinton hit similar points.

And why would they act otherwise?  Given the supermajority of Democrats in the state, an electorate willing to reward them for attacking police and their lack of personal proximity to the areas of increased risk there is absolutely no incentive for elected Democrats to act otherwise, nor for professional liberals in academia:

If officers think twice about approaching people, some situations where police use force might be avoided, said Melina Abdullah, a leader of the local Black Lives Matter movement and chair of the Pan-African studies department at Cal State L.A.

“If police are more cautious about making arrests that might be controversial, making arrests that might elicit protests, then that is a victory,” Abdullah said. “We want them to begin to check themselves.”

who I suspect,  outside of an organized march wouldn’t be caught dead in the areas where crime is increasing as the police back off.  Victor Davis Hanson has these folks nailed:

The American progressive elite relies on its influence, education, money, and cultural privilege to exempt itself from the bad schools, unassimilated immigrant communities, dangerous neighborhoods, crime waves, and general impoverishment that are so often the logical consequences of its own policies — consequences for others, that is.

And of course while the negative reinforcement is being delivered to police the opposite message is being delivered to criminals, as the risk of arrest and punishment decreases, the incentive to engage in criminal behavor increases.  thus the rewards for everything from petty theft to intimidation and threats of violence increases for the criminal class while at the same time the incentive for a potential victim to call the police decreases.  Why bother calling the cops if they aren’t going to follow through?  Much better to keep your mouth shut and hope the gangs, the druggies and the thugs just leave you alone.

And this isn’t just confined to the cities, Hanson again:

Let me narrate a recent two-week period in navigating the outlands of Fresno County. A few days ago my neighbor down the road asked whether I had put any outgoing mail in our town’s drive-by blue federal mailbox, adjacent to the downtown Post Office. I had. And he had, too —to have it delivered a few hours later to his home in scraps, with the checks missing, by a good Samaritan. She had collected the torn envelopes with his return address scattered along the street. I’m still waiting to see whether my own bills got collected before the thieves struck the box. Most of us in rural California go into town to mail our letters, because our rural boxes have been vandalized by gangs so frequently that it is suicidal to mail anything from home.

No wonder the rest of the country doesn’t want to be ruled by California.


If you think this and all we do is worthwhile and would like to help us pay our writers and make our annual goal Consider subscribing and become (if you wish) a listed as a Friend of DaTechguy blog

Remember all subscribers get my weekly podcast emailed directly to you before it goes up anywhere else.


Choose a Subscription level



And of course if you want to give a one shot hit (and help pay DaWife’s medical bills) you can hit DaTipJar




Olimometer 2.52

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


By John Ruberry

Most of the main characters in Hell on Wheels, my last Netflix binge-watching adventure, were shaped, and scarred, by the American Civil War.

In this BBC 2 television show, Peaky Blinders, set in Birmingham, England beginning in 1919, World War I casts its shadow over the lead characters.

Three seasons have been released so far. The action–and the violence–is centered upon the Anglo-Gypsy Shelby family, led by Thomas “Tommy” Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a decorated Great War tunneller who returns home a new man–and a better suited one to run the family business, Shelby Brothers, Ltd, a bookmaking operation set in the grimy and noisy Small Heath section of Birmingham. But the gang is generally called the Peaky Blinders by members and their enemies. His oldest brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson) is clearly more psychologically damaged from the war than Tommy, but he’s better suited to serve as the enforcer for the family. “I think, Arthur. That’s what I do,” Tommy explains to him. “I think. So that you don’t have to.” Third son John (Joe Cole), another World War I veteran, is also employed in the muscle side of the operation, while Finn, the youngest Shelby, is only 11-years-old when the series begins.

Tommy has a sister, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle), who is married to communist agitator. But she’s still loyal to the family.

While the Shelby men were fighting in France–the family business was run by Elizabeth “Aunt Polly” Gray (Helen McCrory), a kind of a Rosie the Riveter of the underworld. Tommy quickly takes over from Polly, who serves as his senior advisor. Like Edward G. Robinson’s legendary Rico character in Little Caesar, Tommy becomes a small-time-hood-makes-good-by-being-bad by playing one gang faction against the other, first in Birmingham then in London, while largely ignoring Aunt Polly’s warnings.

When the Peaky Blinders stumble upon a large machine gun shipment in an otherwise routine heist, that gets the attention of Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill (Andy Nyman in the first season, Richard McCabe in the second), who dispatches Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) from Belfast to find the machine guns. Those guns give Tommy power and respect–and enemies. Not only do Churchill and Campbell want those weapons, but so does the Irish Republican Army.

Campbell sends in an Irish domestic spy, Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), to work at the neighborhood pub owned by Arthur, appropriately named The Garrison. She quickly becomes its de facto manager.

In season three, which is set in 1924, Tommy, at Churchill’s request, gets involved in another armaments caper, this time with members of the Whites faction who haven’t ascertained that the Communists have won the Russian Civil War. Arthur warns Tommy to stay out of “this Russian business.” It’s too bad the script writers didn’t take their own creation’s advice. As was the case with season four of Sherlock, what follows is a collection of tangled and confusing plot lines. Possibly realizing their mistake, the writers include quite a bit of gratuitous nudity to accompany the Russian adventure, including a bizarre orgy scene which does nothing to advance the storyline.

On the other hand, the Russian diversion is loosely based on a 1924 scandal that brought down Great Britain’s first socialist-led government.

At least two more seasons are coming.

The cinematography of Peaky Blinders is masterful. Imagine Tim Burton creating a remake of The Untouchables television show and setting it in 1920s Birmingham. And this is an ugly Birmingham. J.R.R Tolkien lived in the city before the Great War and his reaction against it was his creation of Mordor for The Lord of the Rings. Just as the Eye of Sauron looked upon that evil realm–the sparks and the ashes of the foundries oversee the Midlands metropolis here. And the industrial roar is always there too.

Blogger in his flat cap

Without getting into spoilers it’s a challenge to bring a description of Jewish gangster Alfie Solomons into this review, but his portrayal by Tom Hardy is too good to overlook.

Oh, the name. Peaky Blinders? There was a Birmingham gang by the same name who gained that moniker because its members supposedly sewed razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps. And in fights the hoodlums went for the eyes.

And finally, the music deserves special mention too. Anachronistic goth rock dominates, the unofficial theme song is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand.” You’ll find selections from PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and the White Stripes too.

And Johnny Cash sings “Danny Boy.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.