Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Public Space"

Today while riding the bus on my way to take a test, there were a two young mothers with 2-3 year old kids. The kids were enjoying themselves, as 3 year old kids do.

Eventually a man about my age got on the bus. He on a ratty t-shirt, sweat pants that were riding a little low, and great big, Elton John-esque sunglasses. I remember thinking that he was probably heading to the university, because he seemed to exude the "look at me! I live an alternate lifestyle" vibe.

The kids eventually were rambunctious, laughing loudly and hitting the window while their mom's spoke to each other over the back of the seat.

Big sunglasses man says, in a loud voice, "This is a public space! Public space!" I thought to myself, "Did he just tell that young mother to get her kids to shut up? I think he did." That made me mad. Who does this guy think he is?

I don't think the mothers paid him any attention, but I started to prepare a response in case he tried it again.

He did. "Hey, you're in a public space here, you need to control your kids."

Me-"Hey buddy you're in a public space, too. She's not smoking or doing anything harmful, her kid is being a kid."

Him- "But she is in a public space, she has a responsibility as a parent to control her children."

When he responded, I learned that adrenaline dumps and the fight or flight instinct show up even in a non life-threatening situation, because my mouth got dry, my throat tightened, I felt something like cold water suddenly in the middle of my chest, and my arms and hands felt cold and slightly numb and tingly.

From here on out, I don't remember exactly what I said, neither of us were speaking very eloquently, we probably both had that confrontation response flowing through our veins.

I said something like, "There just being kids, they're too young to know any better."

He said, "They're giving me a headache, would you like it if I started screaming?"

Me-"No, but you aren't three." The noisy kid looked like he was three.

At some point I said that the mom didn't deserve to be harassed for taking the bus to save some money. He responded by pointing to the stroller she had brought on board, saying she shouldn't have it because it was made in China, it polluted carbon during the manufacture, and that it was taking up half the room on the bus.

It was in the space that was designated for wheelchair users, and there were none of those on the bus.

His comment about the stroller really took me off guard, so I said what I thought.

"Are you saying that she should have carry a forty pound kid in her arms everywhere she goes instead of using a stroller?"

He said no, but the kid was loud, he had had a seizure this morning, and that his heavyset, black-wearing, tattooed female friend could probably control the kids. At least I think that's what he said.

I wondered if he was being serious, that he was worked up enough that he would go over and try himself to quiet the kid. If he tried it, well, I wasn't going to let that happen.

But that's the kind of thing you think about when your lizard brain thinks a fight is on its way. Of course he didn't do anything like that.

During our conversation, I twice told him that if he was really that bothered, he could get off at the next stop and take another bus. He said that the mom had a responsibility to "control her kid" so that Mr. Sunglasses could ride the bus in peace.

My stop was fast approaching, the argument had run its course, and I was late for a test so I got off. It took me a really long time to fish out my electronic bus card out of my shirt pocket and untangle it from the iPod headphones that were in there.

It also took me a long time to consider, and answer the test questions when I got to class.

Guy thinks the bus is his own personal limousine, and that he has the right to impose his own will and values on other people, in the name of public space. What a self righteous, left wing jerk.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why do people think Chicago is a good place to live?

There is a blog written by a Chicago Police officer, that really illustrates the problems and corruption of the city government there.

This is the link, and since I can't link directly to their post for some reason, I'll just repost this article that is in response to an editorial in a local paper. I feel it sums up the Chicago Police Department's current situation.

I'll put the paper's words in italics.

Sun Times in the Tank
*** WARNING***

Long post. We're going to take the Sun Times to the woodshed.

No wonder the dead-tree media is dying. Get a load of this "editorial reply" to yesterday's whinny screed by J-Fled. Try not to vomit:


It is easily the most dangerous and frustrating job in Chicago. The hours you work are miserable. The respect you deserve is not always forthcoming.

Your pay could be better. And God help you if you should have a bad day, lose your cool and get a little too rough. People who have no idea what you go through and put up with every day will be the first to call for your head.

It is the most dangerous and frustrating job in Chicago -- cop.

So far so good. Now it heads downhill:


But here is the other side of the coin: If you can't handle the pressure, you shouldn't be a cop. If you torture suspects in a police station basement, you shouldn't be a cop. If you beat up a woman bartender, you shouldn't be a cop. If you pummel a man handcuffed in a wheelchair, you shouldn't be a cop.

Because all you do is sow distrust in Chicago's neighborhoods for all police officers, the vast majority of whom would never in their wildest dreams beat up a woman bartender or slug a man handcuffed in a wheelchair. What you're doing is hurting your fellow officers, sullying the reputation of an entire department.

Um, none of those people are cops anymore. Each of those cases cited went through the process and were summarily adjudicated. Maybe not in the rapid-fire manner so often preferred by media types, but the wheels of justice ground slowly to an outcome, none of which made all parties happy, but the cases ended.

* It was with that in mind that Mayor Daley hired Police Supt. Jody Weis three years ago to clean up the department's image.

Oh, so now J-Fled was hired for an "image" problem? That's the first we've ever heard about that. Nice to see the Sun Times is moving the goalposts again for Shortshanks to protect his legacy of hiring this ass.

* It was an image that sorely needed restoration. Chicago was going through a mini-spree of police brutality cases. The much-maligned Office of Professional Standards was seen as turning a blind eye to rogue cops. Seven members of the elite police Special Operations Section were charged with a litany of crimes, including a conspiracy to kill a fellow cop. And it seemed like everyone in the nation had watched the video of off-duty officer Anthony Abbate attacking bartender Karolina Obrycka.

"Mini-spree?" What? When? Who? Can someone cite these cases? SOS? Seven cops in a unit of 350? On a force of 10,000? And can anyone tell us what's going on with that "conspiracy" case? You have to love how the Sun Times cites an allegation that's about to be dropped shortly as entrapment to bolster their editorial. And the reason "everyone in the nation watched the video" is because every media outlet played it over and over and over. Honest to god, we'd see ABC News running a story about Chicago cops rescuing a dog on the lake ice, and the next shot would be, "You may remember the Chicago Police Department is under a cloud after a drunk asshole beat a bartender." It was a running joke at that point.


But three years later, all is not well inside the Chicago Police Department. Weis, in a long letter that appeared in Monday's Sun-Times, criticized the police union for trying to continue "business as usual." And an anti-Weis march by potentially thousands of rank-and-file officers is scheduled for Wednesday outside police headquarters.

Weis, a career FBI agent and the first outsider in nearly 50 years to serve as Chicago Police superintendent, clearly has made mistakes. Promptly replacing 21 of 25 district commanders left many officers on the street wondering if the top brass understood the challenges they face. His decision to wear a uniform even though he never was a street cop offended those who were. And merit promotions for two officers who worked as drivers for Weis angered cops who work the streets who had been passed over.

No one wanted business as usual. J-Fled refused to work with the union. He instituted changes in direct violation of signed contractual agreements and then had to backpedal constantly. His missteps were numerous and the advice he received was from people who had never operated under a contract in their careers, i.e., clout babies. The immediate replacement and shuffling of district commanders, along with the other brass, was a power move by Daley to break up the old guard. J-Fled had ZERO knowledge of the CPD, yet he's making 30 and 40 moves of exempt personnel based on what exactly? Oh yeah, phone calls. And when he wouldn't return Daley's phone calls, Shortshanks replaced J-Fled's Chief of Staff with well-known political insider Michael Masters Masters Masters, who's primary duty was to pick up the phone and tell Jody it was the mayor on the line and he better get his ass over to answer it.

The "business as usual" was all from the fifth floor of Headquarters, not the union. The superintendent's driver making "merit" sergeant was just the icing on the cake. Cline did it. Hilliard did it. J-Fled was signaling loud and clear that nothing had changed.


Most controversial was Weis' decision early in his tenure to call in federal authorities to probe the case of Officer William Cozzi, who had been caught on video beating a man shackled to a wheelchair. Cozzi already had been suspended for two years without pay.

Looking at that incident now, it's a legitimate question whether Weis reacted too quickly, coming down too hard on a veteran officer with an otherwise commendable record who already had been punished. And without a doubt Weis had a political tin ear for department politics, clearly never anticipating how deeply unpopular -- even loathed -- that one decision would make him among the rank and file.

Word is that Daley himself, after hearing about J-Fled's recommending the Cozzi case to Fitzgerald, asked aloud, "What the hell did he do that for?" J-Fled is backtracking this so severly he's leaving skidmarks on the pavement and in his shorts. We recall very clearly, though we can't currently locate the article, that J-Fled called this the "worst case of police brutality" he had ever seen in his career. As anyone with half a brain can attest, J-Fled must not get out much.

* But a thoughtful, respectful discussion of Weis' failings was never ventured. Rather, Weis has been subjected to the cheap-shot warfare of 24-hour anonymous bloggers.

Respect is a two way street. J-Fled held five town hall meetings and then never again. His Deputy Superintendent Bartender Bea took down names and had at least one officer dumped from his assignment after the first meeting - that kind of chilled the subsequent meetings. He visited maybe ten roll calls that we ever heard about. Pointing out bad decisions and poor moves isn't "cheap-shot warfare." That's legitimate criticism of a bad leader. J-Fled's whining about "it's everyone elses fault" speaks to a poor leader with no ability toward introspection - witness the Morale Survey that STILL hasn't seen the light of day. Ask the Lieutenant who got dumped from her spot after insisting the results should be released about that one.

And even if you add up all the hours blogged from here, Shaved and Crimefile, it doesn't add up to 24 hours a day. We do find it interesting that the Sun Times editorial was published without a name attached to it though - anonymously you might say.


For their part, the police union and rank and file officers need to show they don't want "business as usual" and are determined to gain the respect of citizens still terrified by the years of police torture under recently convicted former Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

Ummm, yeah. Because everyone we run into is oh, so terrified of Jon Burge. You can't find 1 person in 10 who even knows or cares about Burge. You people are morons.


Now that Mayor Daley is not running for re-election, it seems unlikely Weis will remain when his contract is up early next year. The next superintendent needs to stand up for officers when they're in a pinch, but must like Weis have zero tolerance for cops who cross the line.

God help him (or her) if he runs into the same ugly buzz saw that's taking Weis down.

Thank god he's gone shortly. He's been a disaster. And the reason superintendents haven't stood up for cops in a pinch is directly traceable to Shortshanks. You think Phil Cline went hat-in-hand to Meeks because Meeks was racially profiled? Meeks was wrong, but Daley needed Meeks' votes, so Phil was sent south to embrace a race baiter. It's about votes for The Machine.

And it's funny how J-Fled's tolerance seems to be endless when it's politically connected gold stars with their assorted body parts in the wringer. Ernie, Tony, Ruth, Bea, Penny, Frank, Mike, the list is extensive.

The buzz saw taking J-Fled down is of his own making. A litany of bad decisions; a complete inability to self-evaluate and adapt to the situation; the arrogance typical of an FBI product too wrapped up in his own importance; a history of attacking the messenger (FBI whistleblower Wright; Lt. Andrews); and of course, running from the sound of gunfire.

It sure seems that the Sun Times is fully on board with the "re-hab J-Fled's image" as much as they were with the "destroy the CPD" kick they were before. Who are they taking their marching orders from?

Gummy Bears

Funny, I am pretty sure that I remember Gummy Bears being made of, you know, sugar and gelatin.

Well after a recent trip to Smith's it turns out I've been wrong all along.

So if you are looking gummy bears, head to the whole grain section.

In other news, I didn't get picked for the Richter7 internship.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Today I had an interview with Richter7 for a paid internship position. I think it went well, I feel qualified for the position, they are only interviewing six people for the position.

It was a little nerve wracking, but they had me fill out a personality profile survey that I feel is pretty accurate and speaks highly to my strengths, that I always have a hard time just explaining to people. I'm not accustomed to promoting myself.

Also, on my way to the interview, I stepped into a restaurant's restroom and I think I found somebody's hiding place for their crack pipe.