Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teen unemployment rates in Illinois are highest on record

Illinois, Chicago--highest unemployment on record for teens--

Report suggests teen unemployment rates in Illinois are higher for low-income blacks, Hispanics | WBEZ 91.5 Chicago: "Researchers at Northeastern University completed the report entitled “The Persistent Depression in the Teen Labor Market in Illinois in Recent Years.” It notes that teens' lack work of experience adversely affects their future employability and wages. The conclusions mirror previous studies that suggest job experience can help deter teens from involvement in the criminal justice system. The report’s authors found only 8.7 percent of black teens in Chicago were employed in 2010-2011. The rate for Asians, though, was 15.5 percent. Twenty percent of the city’s Hispanic teens were employed, and the rate for whites stood at 21 percent. Meanwhile, across Illinois, the teen employment rate fell from just under 50 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2012 — the lowest rate in the 42 years for which such data exist. If Illinois teens had been able to maintain their 1999-2000 employment rates during the past year, there would have been another 151,000 teens at work in Illinois in 2011-2012, the report said. . . ."


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Illinois Credit Rating is Worst in the Nation

Illinois is a "state of denial" and keeps digging the hole deeper--

Illinois S&P Rating is Worst in the Nation - Northbrook, IL Patch: " . . . Standard & Poor’s rating services downgraded Illinois’ credit rating today to A-, with a negative outlook, making it the lowest rating of all 50 states. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford blamed the negative rating on inaction on the public pension system by Gov. Pat Quinn and the general assembly, at a press conference today. Illinois has a $96 billion pension deficit. Rutherford pointed out numerous instances in which the state had set a deadline to address pension reform and did not meet the deadline, which was followed by a downgrade in the state’s credit rating. . . . Rutherford said state leaders need to cut the budget and address pension reform."

What are the politicos in Illinois thinking? And why would the voters keep electing them?


Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Twist on Cops and Robbers: Cops rob drug dealers

Another sad tale--

Schaumburg officers arrested - Chicago Tribune: "When Carol Stream police discovered nearly 10 ounces of cocaine in an apartment storage locker early this month, the alleged owner of the drugs had a story to tell. He said that after serving as an informant for three Schaumburg tactical police officers, he had become their business partner. The cops, he said, stole cash and narcotics from drug dealers. The informant peddled the dope they seized. . . . The officers now face a barrage of felony charges that could land them in prison for decades. It's the second recent blot on the Schaumburg Police Department's reputation: Chief Brian Howerton was recently investigated on allegations he harassed his ex-girlfriend, though prosecutors declined to press charges. Now village officials are left grasping for answers at how this case of alleged corruption could take place in their town. "I think that this is going to leave a mark on the department," Village Manager Ken Fritz said Thursday after the charges against the officers were outlined at a bond hearing. "It's sad for those people that have to carry on in the future and it's going to take us a long time to earn back some of the trust of the community." DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Audriana Anderson said in court that the roots of the alleged conspiracy stretch back to 2010, when officer Matthew Hudak arrested a man on drug charges and convinced him to become an informant. . . . "

Thursday, January 24, 2013

US Senate Leader and total deniability

Harry Reid's apparent philosophy--do nothing and you can't be blamed--

Strasssel: Harry Reid's Great Disappearing Act - " . . . The Founders created a legislative process that was deliberately different from the parliamentary systems of Europe. In the "regular order" of things, the House works its will. The Senate works its will. Those two bodies meet in conference. The president may then sign or veto the resulting legislation. In Mr. Reid's Washington, the House works its will, the Senate does crossword puzzles. Its committees do not produce bills, its senators do not debate or amend, the body does not vote. The House, to accomplish anything, is forced to engage in backroom wrangling with the White House, the results of which are presented to the nation as a fait accompli. The Senate claims total deniability. Mr. Reid's Senate has not produced a budget in three years. The majority leader rarely moves on a bill, and when he does, he uses tricks to block senators from amending legislation, or he shuts down debate in such a way as to kill legislation. Regular order and conference reports are nearly nonexistent. . . ."


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Police Misconduct Costs Chicago $33 Million more

What the heck--it's not coming out of the cops' bank accounts--

Chicago City Council OKs nearly $33M in settlements for cop misconduct - Chicago Tribune: "The Chicago City Council today signed off on nearly $33 million in legal settlements for two notorious cases of police misconduct, shining an expensive light on how the city deals with wrongdoing in the Chicago Police Department. In what may be the largest single settlement of its kind in city history, the aldermen approved a $22.5 million payment to settle the lawsuit brought by the family of Christina Eilman. . . ."


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Illinois dragging its feet on huge pension problem

Illinois dragging its feet on huge pension problem - Government News - Crain's Chicago Business: " Illinois, a state with a reputation for political wheeling and dealing, backroom handshakes and 11th-hour bargains, is dragging its feet on the one deal needed to solve its biggest crisis in a generation. Lawmakers will convene again the first week in January in hopes of fixing the nation's worst case of underfunding state employees' pensions, a problem approaching $100 billion and mounting by $17 million per day. On the table are solutions that other states adopted as long as five years ago. California and New York — states that, like Illinois, lean Democratic and have strong state employee unions — already took unpopular, tough-love measures to pass pension reform."


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Fiscal Flop

Another Fiscal Flop - "Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for tax credits, disability payments, defense contracts and the rest. They have found that the original Keynesian rationale for these deficits provides a perfect cover for permanent deficit-living. They have made it clear that they will destroy any politician who tries to stop them from cost-shifting in this way."


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

United States of Denial

Another Fiscal Flop - "Public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was around 38 percent in 1965. It is around 74 percent now. Debt could approach a ruinous 90 percent of G.D.P. in a decade and a cataclysmic 247 percent of G.D.P. 30 years from now, according to the Congressional Budget Office and JPMorgan. By 2025, entitlement spending and debt payments are projected to suck up all federal revenue. Obligations to the elderly are already squeezing programs for the young and the needy. Those obligations will lead to gigantic living standard declines for future generations. According to the International Monetary Fund, meeting America’s long-term obligations will require an immediate and permanent 35 percent increase in all taxes and a 35 percent cut in all benefits. So except for a few rabid debt-deniers, almost everybody agrees we have to do something. . . . "


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Miami Beach Corruption From Bathrooms to Frozen Yogurt Stand

South Beach's Corrupt Projects: From Bathrooms to Frozen Yogurt Stand - Miami - News - Riptide 2.0: "When Gus Lopez was arrested in October on 63 charges ranging from money laundering to bribery, even the most jaded Miami Beach residents were amazed at the extent of his alleged corruption. For five years, the city's procurement director had run a contract racket out of his office at city hall, prosecutors say. Lopez connived to award multimillion-dollar contracts to friends, who then funneled more than $600,000 to him, his model wife, and accomplice Pierre Landrin Jr. The scam was splashed all over the papers. But little has been written about the lasting consequences of Lopez's corruption. His scheme not only cost Miami Beach taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars but also saddled the city with shoddy public works projects -- many of which are over budget or years overdue."

But who supervised Gus and his department?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chicago Murders Graphic

This New York Times graphic (at the link below) tells the whole socio-demographic story of the murders in Chicago and a city in decline--

A Chicago Divided by Killings (go to link at left for the graphic)
A New York Times analysis of homicides and census data in Chicago divided the city into two groups: areas that are near homicides and those that are not.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Ways of Washington--Government Bureaucrats, Lawyers, Lobbyists, $$$

Views under the Palm - Google Has Learned The Ways of Washington--Government Bureaucrats, Lawyers, Lobbyists, $$: "Washington DC produces nothing but deficits, legislation, regulations, and bureaucracy. But that vast ecosystem, which sucks money from the rest of the nation, is now the wealthiest metropolitan area in the USA--recession?--not in Washington where government continues to spend, and lobbyists and lawyers get fat and rich, while the rest of the nation has suffered through the worst recession since the Great Depression. Also, Washington has taught everyone else a lesson--if you get too big and successful (like Google) then "we will bring you down"--if nothing else you will have to spend years explaining your business processes and industry practices to bureaucratic morons at agencies like the FTC which open investigations on meritless claims ("FTC never had compelling evidence against Google, and its lengthy and expensive investigation came up essentially dry"); the FTC even hired expensive, outside Washington counsel . . . Google knew it would have to pay the "tax" levied by the FTC and other inquiring agencies of the US government--the "tax" being the cost to hire lobbyists and lawyers (as well as the opportunity cost of diverting corporate resources to deal with and counter the FTC "investigation")--some might even call the FTC investigation a government-sponsored "shakedown"--after all, we all know the revolving door between government and law firms and lobbying firms in Washington D.C. . . . And the sad thing is, the staff and Commission of the FTC probably think they are operating in the public interest--really! What a waste of resources. Another sign of America in decline. There once were concepts of public service and stewardship of public resources (including taxpayer funds) in Washington. No more. Today, in Washington, it's just about feeding the Hogs at the Trough."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hackers hit Ohio school football team over gang rape

Steubenville, a small town with small minds, reaps attention from Anonymous:

Hackers hit Ohio school football team over gang rape - ". . . Twitter posts, videos and photographs circulated by some who attended the nightlong set of parties suggested that an unconscious girl had been sexually assaulted over several hours while others watched. She even might have been urinated on. In one photograph posted on Instagram by a Steubenville High football player, the girl, who was from across the Ohio River in Weirton, W.Va., is shown looking unresponsive as two boys carry her by her wrists and ankles. Twitter users wrote the words “rape” and “drunk girl” in their posts. Two 16-year-old Big Red players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are on house arrest on charges that they raped the girl. Their hearing is set for February. Meanwhile, many members of the Steubenville community have defended the players and blamed the rape victim for trying to defame their beloved team. . ."


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chicago --it's a homicidal town

Damn Statistics--

Tale of two cities: Homicides plummet in New York, leap in Chicago - U.S. News: "There were more homicides this year in Chicago than in New York, a city with three times the population. That means Chicagoans were proportionally 3.7 times more likely to be homicide victims than New Yorkers were in 2012 . . . Overall, crime is down in Chicago in just about every category — except the most devastating one."


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Illinois Pension reforms needed ASAP

Illinois still trying to "get its act together"--likelihood of success based on past track record? Probably zero--

Our View: Pension neglect costly; reforms needed ASAP - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star: "Illinois lawmakers’ failure to deal with the state’s unfunded pension liability costs taxpayers on a daily basis. The state got another hit from Moody’s Investors Service when the ratings agency revised Illinois’ credit outlook to negative from stable. The rating means it will become more expensive for Illinois to borrow money as it tries to fix up roads, bridges and schools in the state. Illinois has paid an extra $70 million in interest on $800 million in borrowing made in recent months, according to Treasurer Dan Rutherford. And it could get worse. Moody’s said Illinois’ rating could fall even further if the state fails to deal with its pension liability."