"Electronic Dickery"

You can expect to hear this phrase a lot more in my vocabulary in the future.

Why? (Other than the fact that I tend to latch onto phrases that make me laugh on the inside. And sometimes *outside.*)

Check out this "preview" of the Pygmalion Music Festival that starts tonight and runs until Saturday night. The "preview" in Smile Politely is written by Mark Sieckman. And, yes, I'm going to keep using quotations because the article deserves it. You might not know it from this "preview," but Skream is headlining a DUBSTEP! show at Highdive tomorrow night. And you may not know who Skream is and that wouldn't be too surprising.

Mr. Sieckman, however, is in another position because, you know, he was supposed to be writing a "preview" of the shows playing Pygmalion this weekend. And you really should get out and see something regardless of what kinda music you like because there's something for everyone. Cameron McGill is playing and Mordechai in the Mirror and....

Anyway...here's just a few highlights from Sieckman's "preview":
The Bad: Not only is The Highdive a little off the beaten path for Thursday's action, but moreover, the abundance of DJs doesn't help its appeal. Kudos to DJ Belly and DJ Mertz, but they're both area locals so this won't be the last time to check them out if you miss them.


The Bad: Enough already! Canopy Club is begins their evening with the Physical Challenge DJs and concludes with RJD2. Aside from what should provide an interesting artistic interlude from Portland's YACHT, Canopy Club has packed the bill with synthetic electronic dickery. Keep your eyes out for YACHT, though. You have to respect any band that promotes its artistic philosophy over its musical ability while listing Yoko Ono as a primary influence.
Notice how he doesn't even *mention* the fucking HEADLINER?

Now, I'm not much of a country music fan. But you can bet that I could write an article about a country music act and/or show without wiping my ass on it prior to hitting "Publish." At the very least, I'd know who was headlining the show.

There are so many reasons why that article sucks. It's factually inaccurate, it's misleading, it's a piss-poor review, etc. There are over 100 acts playing this festival---the article covers only a little over thirty. It's not like we're saving paper or anything here.

But there are also many reasons a person who likes electronic music might wanna hear that Skream is in town. And that's kinda the shame.

An internationally-known dubstep producer and originator of the genre is at the Highdive Thursday night---did you learn that from the "preview"?

Tonight, he plays Miami. Friday, it's Chicago. But he'll be *here* before Chicago. It's a major feat that the 217mafia dubstep crew has brought Skream to Champaign. His other tour stops are Vancouver, Montreal, Portland, and LA. But you didn't learn that from the "preview" either.

Some of the staff at Smile Politely have chalked this up to a difference of taste according to their comments to the "preview." A difference of taste doesn't explain poor writing or factual inaccuracies. Oh, and the lack of a preview in the "preview."

Electronic dickery, indeed.


Displacing the Problem of Poverty

Since the topic came up recently, here's a story out of Sacramento that parallels CU's Tent City. Here in Champaign, private trespass isn't the problem since St. Mary's allows the Tent City to stay there. But...it does beg the question: how are we going to proceed?

From Crooks and Liars:
As The Homeless Are Chased from Campground, We Keep Displacing the Problem of Poverty

The problems of poverty keep getting pushed from one place to another (literally). We have so many people out of work and losing their homes. What, exactly, are we going to do about it?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ―A local attorney opened up his private property for homeless campers to have a place to stay, but authorities are already warning they will have to shut it down.

Attorney Mark Merin is leasing his property on 13th Street and C Street in Sacramento to about three dozen homeless men and women for one dollar a year, which is meant to give them the legal rights of lessees and property renters.

'It's a matter of human dignity, and it's life and death,' said Greg Bunker, executive director of Francis House in Sacramento.

According to Sacramento police, it isn't legal to live in a tent anywhere in the city for longer than 24 hours. The department wouldn't say when, but did say that they would soon enforce the city ordinance and kick the homeless persons out of the property.

The lot is located in a mostly industrial area, with only one home backing up to the property, but the city has received complaints about the campers from nearby residents.

Also, there's an article in Smile Politely by Caleb Curtiss looking at Champaign's antagonistic response to Tent City.
City stance on Safe Haven ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Since first gaining media attention in June of this year, Safe Haven Tent Community has presented the greater C-U community with a real challenge. It has forced us to qualify how we define community members while exposing the inadequate way in which we deal with poverty. Some of us have stepped up to this challenge by promoting an attitude of acceptance. Others have gone a step further by openly advocating for the people who make up this small community of homeless people. But most of us have responded with complacency or even worse, antagonism, when confronted with the questions that Safe Haven’s mere presence has begged.

City Manager Steve Carter, arguably Champaign’s most powerful member, has chosen to respond with contempt. On very shaky legal ground, he has chosen to represent the will of the people by pursuing the dozen or so homeless people who comprise Safe Haven in a manner that is reminiscent of a Dickensian villain. Carter, (the unelected administrator of Champaign’s municipal policies) along with Mayor Jerry Schweighart and the Champaign City Council, have not only chosen to follow Safe Haven all the way to St. Mary’s Church in order to rigidly enforce the zoning laws that ban people from living in temporary structures, but they have done so without what appears to be a complaint on file. It makes me wonder how many complaintless noise violations the city has lying around?

The article has quite a few comments and some good discussion going on.


Google Reader Updates: New "Send To" Feature

I'm gonna start using a new feature via Google Reader. Hopefully, it will spur me into some new blogging habits.
Google Reader Updates: Share News on Twitter, Facebook, and More: "

Today confirms that Google’s not giving up their quest to become more social media friendly. Earlier today they introduced a series of new iGoogle features that make it more of a social network than a start page, and just now they’ve released an update to your Google Reader to turn it into a social distribution utility for news on the web.

Google Reader “Send To” is the new feature that you’re likely to love instantly. It’s the feature we’ve wanted from our reader since Twitter became our favorite place to share interesting links. In fact, with Send To you can set your settings to send posts to almost every social site that matters: Blogger, Delicious, Digg, Facebook, MySpace, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and — obviously — Twitter.
Google Reader social

Once you configure your favorite social sites to send to in settings — you can even add your own custom destinations — you’ll notice that you can then select the send to button at the bottom of the post and pick your final destination.

google reader send to

Google Reader has also introduced a few less social, but more practical ways, to engage with their feed aggregator. They’ve added a better way to quickly subscribe to the feeds from people you follow, and also given you an easier way to mark items as read in bulk. So now you can select the “Mark all as read” drop down to fine tune your preferences and only mark items older than a day, a week, or two weeks as read in one easy click.

Google Reader is starting to blossom, and we’re a big fan of the new social additions. Share your thoughts on the refreshed Google Reader in the comments.
So...basically, that's what I did for this post. Clicked "Send To," reworked the text and images imported into a new window, and soon, I shall click "Publish Post." Couple weird things. First, it imports all the stuff at the bottom of the blog post that I would normally see in Google Reader. The following is something I deleted:

Reviews: Delicious, Digg, Google, Google Reader, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Twitter, blogger, facebook

Tags: google reader

Not sure why all this imports as it's not part of the post but rather stuff added on by FeedBurner. I have some of these on my posts.

Also, I kinda hoped it would just post the snippet of what I see in Reader to my blog, but after seeing all this extra stuff, reworking the posts are sorta a necessary evil. I was hoping for a more "Share with Note" kinda set up---add my comment and publish a snippet of the article.

Regardless, I'm wondering: Do you use Google Reader? If so, will you use this new tool? So far, I'm trying out the Blogger and Twitter options. I think it may prove very useful....

Rumble Gut Averted!

Thanks goodness my co-workers staged an intervention with me and stopped me from eating old food....
When is it OK to eat moldy food

My friend (and MAKE managing editor) Shawn Connally posted a chart about what kinds of moldy foods are safe to eat, and which ones are dangerous.

My husband and I have battled continuously for years about whether scraping the mold off the top of -- well, anything -- makes it OK to eat, or if once a spot of green invades the top of a barely used jar of jam we've got to call it a loss and toss it out. I'm always willing to scrape off the top, cut off the moldy crusts, etc., and carry on with the meal. My husband, not so much.

Well, turns out the USDA has weighed in on the argument with interesting findings. My favorite part of the Safe Food Handling fact sheets is this chart on how to handle moldy foods (very, very carefully is not one of the answers).


Via BoingBoing.



Couldn't moblog for a while. Had to reconnect my Storm with my blog. I have no idea why.

Hopefully I can get more posts up that way in the future.

Here's a quick taste of selected tidbits:

Bling Pig Brewery open (in the space where Barfly used to be)---that's gonna be a great beer garden.

The "devil" is on our side---I'm sure some already think that.

Cynthia from The Sandwich Life got a great write-up on Smile Politely about her blog. Give her some love. If anyone needs it, she surely does.

If you miss the Snuggie/Slanket fun from this past winter, no worries. No there is the Wearable Towel.

That's right, one oversized towel with three slits cut in it for ONLY $20. Plus shipping and handling.

A five-year-old gets a "rope of hair" in her innards---the parents either too stupid or too lazy to cut her hair short enough so she can't eat it.

I'm leary of granola right now...I prefer my fiber to be of the *food* variety.

And I'll close with some really good news. Apparently, the CUMTD might reduce bus passes...drastically. Adult passes would drop from $235/yr to somewhere between $50-75/yr. And student passes would drop from $145/yr. to $30/yr. That's some *great* news for people who depend on the bus.


Before I head out....

I'm headed downtown for the Boneyard Arts Festival here shortly. Hitting up Cupcakes on Main, Luna, Bee Mi Gallery Show, and Boltini.

Oh, and I *hope* to catch the UI Black Chorus at 8:30. I'll try to moblog but I'd hate to blind anyone with my flash.

In the meantime...HOLY CRAP!


So...here's the deal....

I think I might move this blog to WordPress and a new domain name.

Has anyone else done this? Was it a nightmare?

I'm looking for input here, so gimme your opinion.

Teabaggery afterthoughts

Drove by the park today. Saw lots of Libertarian signs. And Libertarian shirts.

Oh, and Libertarians.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like some of the ideas Libertarians have. Libertarians generally support individual liberty---pro-choice, assisted suicide, gay marriage---and they usually are anti-war. Not necessarily because they don't agree with the war, but because they don't agree with public funding for anything.

And that's where I split with them. I'm all for cooperating with Libertarians when it suits me---voting reform, drug law reform, pro-choice issues, etc. Call me a Cafeteria Libertarian. And if we had a coalition style government, this might come into play. But we don't.

And, when Libertarians start talking about getting rid of public education and social security and environmental regulations and financial regulations and all that...well, I'm out.

So, as you might imagine, when I read this comment on the N-G's TEA party article, I laughed my tuchus off.
I dig the irony of tax protesters using a public park.
Posted by htucker on April 15, 2009 at 2:41 PM
That comment is all WIN.


Does. Not. Compute.

I *really* hope there's some information missing from this story because the reasoning not only makes me scratch my head, it chaps my ass as well.
A former Danville police officer on Tuesday was exonerated from criminal wrongdoing in a March 2008 incident, which resulted in his dismissal by the city a year later.


"We have felt all along this should never have been filed as a criminal case," Christoff [Piatt's defense attorney] said. He added that the Vermilion County sheriff's department launched an independent investigation of the incident and determined that Piatt had not committed a crime.

Christoff said he believes that filing criminal charges set a bad precedent. "Whoever thought of using the criminal justice system to affect personnel policy in the city police department needs to rethink that," he said. "The police department already has a system of employee discipline in place. This new state's attorney looked at all the evidence, the statements I took from the actual individuals involved, the videotape, and has determined there was no basis for a criminal case."


The charge – a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine – was filed on April 8 under previous State's Attorney Frank Young. It alleged that on March 8, 2008, Piatt, while off duty, "without lawful authority" pulled a weapon on Benny Rhodes in a local restaurant, placing the man "in reasonable apprehension of receiving bodily harm." No one was injured.


"I went over and over everything numerous times. ... It was my strong feeling that not all of the elements could be established beyond a reasonable doubt," [State's Attorney Randy Brinegar] said, adding it would not be appropriate to comment on which element or elements weren't met.
So, he's not saying he *shouldn't* prosecute, he's saying he *can't* prosecute. I'm still scratching my head at the idea that pulling a gun on someone isn't a crime. I'm gonna assume there is more to this than the article contains.

Cuz it smells rotten to me.

I read this as if I pull out a gun at a restaurant and point it at...oh...let's say...you, then it's not a crime. How does that work? And why in the hell would someone think that just because you get into hot water at work, it negates criminal charges? If I steal shit at work and get fired, I can't be criminally charged with theft? Hardly.



"Hard-line negotiating stance" code for complete dick move....

From yesterday's N-G:
A hard-line negotiating stance by Champaign Township officials is threatening to shut down the long-planned, $11 million Curtis Road project.

Township officials are withholding approval for improving a three-quarter-mile stretch of Curtis Road between Prospect and Mattis avenues unless they get concessions from the city of Champaign on annexation policy or future city boundary lines.

Champaign, Savoy and Champaign County officials, who are partners in the road project along with the state, call the strategy "inappropriate." And they warn that the project might have to be shut down in four to six weeks if the dispute isn't resolved.
Oh good. We can have this cross-town pipeline closed for even longer.

Dipshits. I hope this backfires on the Champaign Township in a HUGE way.


Wonder if they'll travel to their tea parties on Cleveland steamers....

Audio is NSFW.

I can't express the joy I find in listening to conservatives talk about their teabags and teabagging in general.

Endless hours of amusement. Even Rachel thinks it's funny as hell.

See? Hell, I might even turn on Rush this week so I can hear him talk about teabagging.

You know, on second thought....


Bass and a blast from the past

So...I was listening to some of the Dubstep mixes from the last Dubstep Massacre and one of the mixes has a song that got stuck in my head. I thought I recognized part of it from somewhere else. Here's the dubstep track, Digidesign by Joker.

Did you hear a familiar part? For some reason, the movie Pretty in Pink kept popping into my head, but I think it reminds me of this song:

Also, if you want to hear some local DJs spin dubstep, the next monthly Dubstep Massacre is Friday, April 24 at 11:30pm at Cowboy Monkey. There will be four DJs and the cover will be $2. If you sign up to attend the event on Facebook, you could be one of 20 lucky people who get in for free. The cover is going towards bringing some national or international dubstep DJs to town when they are swinging through the midwest circuit (Chicago, St. Louis, etc.).

And, to close out, here's some of the local DJs dubstep mixes that they have been handing out at each show. You can download them all and hear how each DJ puts their own unique spin on dubstep.

Dubstep Massacre 1 mixes
Dubstep Massacre 2 mixes


What a difference a year can make

From Seeds of Doubt (the direct link at SoD is messed up---sorry!). I don't think the difference could be starker. I think the G20 has shown that, at least symbolically, international relations are much better, thank you.

Course not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Here's some really great photos from another side of the G20 summit---the protests that took place in London at that same time. The photos come from a joint project between Boston.com and Getty Images.


Rape is *always* bad...no matter what....

I'm gonna get all heavy on you. That's how it goes. Gone for weeks, then I drop a brick on your brain.

Jezebel alerted me to a piece from NPR's Tell Me More about prison rape. It's a long segment---17 minutes---but it's a topic that pops into my head a lot of times. Like when I read about an 18-year-old going to prison for burglary---which popped up today in the local paper.

And I don't think about how these people shouldn't be punished for what they have done, but rather, I weigh in my mind whether I think that crime deserves X-years of rape.

From the Jezebel article:
The fact that prison rape has become an accepted part of prison culture and, in fact, viewed by some people in some cases as an acceptable retributory action isn't acceptable. Incarceration is meant to be its own punishment, and so long as our society eschews the eye-for-an-eye system of punishment in cases of theft and other assaults — and, in some places, in cases of murder — then rapists (let alone anyone else) shouldn't face sexual assaults as a form of social retributions for their crimes, let alone accept or venerate the rapists committing them.

Furthermore, if a man rapes a sex worker, or a woman in a short skirt, or a drunk woman — despite Bill O'Reilly's feelings on the subject — most right-minded people would agree that the rapist shouldn't get a pass because the woman wasn't keeping with certain social standards (i.e., because some people would consider her "bad"). So then why is it any more socially acceptable for people to wish rape — or at least to not harshly condemn it — on prison inmates because they've done something illegal? Activist Lovisa Stannow with Just Detention International says that it's due to a level of social discomfort among people and with discussing sex and rape, so we revert to cheap (and ugly) jokes and old school concepts of retribution.
Sadly, the judge on the NPR program says we'll never be completely rid of prison rape. And, even sadder, that if anything is to change, that there needs to be political will to do so.

Sadder, cuz that political will isn't even a twinkle in someone's eye at this stage of the game....

In case you haven't seen FML

You should check it out.
What's this site all about?

Fmylife.com contains a daily dose of short anecdotes, based on a simple recipe: in a few sentences, users can tell everyone the shitty moment which ruined their day. These short stories must begin with "Today" and end with "FML". On top of being a huge release for the person telling their story, delightfully proving that "fuck ups" happen to everybody every day, fmylife.com also aims to be funny for everyone involved, as well as a way to share your misfortunes with other unlucky individuals, bearing in mind that self deprecation and a sense of irony are essential!
Some are stupid. Some are funny as hell.
VinnyGoombots says FML:
Today, I was at a club with my girlfriend of only two weeks. As we were dancing, another woman grabbed my ass from behind me and squeezed. I yelped and turned around to see my mother as the culprit. My girlfriend punched her. I found out my mother is a Cougar and my girl has a mean right hook. FML
I subscribe to the Fmylife - FML feed. I love it when they pop up in my Google Reader.


Miss me?

Count how many other songs you've heard sampling snippets from this:

Mary Jane Girls - All Night Long

Yah. I'm a bad blogger.

Good news, I *will* be back.

Bad news, I *will* be back.

Also, if you really like the song, you can listen to a better version here that's even got a little sax in it, but there's no video. And the outfits are totally part of what makes the Mary Jane Girls so awesome.


Tasty Tidbits 17: Cavalcade of Links

Joss Whedon has a new show on Friday nights called Dollhouse. Check it out. I'm a *HUGE* Joss Whedon fan.

Facebook has retracted their newest Terms of Service. My guess is they'll re-write it to better reflect what they are trying to do. I'm pretty happy about that. I pulled all my blog posts off of there. It's for the best anyway. From now on, if I want to share a blog post with people on Facebook, I'll share a link rather than have Facebook import the feed from my blog.

This just in from Captain Obvious: Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. At least when it comes to knowing what he's talking about. Can't search PDFs...okay. Maybe you can't when you're high as hell on hillbilly heroin, but I can search PDFs just fine, thank you.

In other Captain Obvious news, Champaign City Council gets the memo that the parking rate scheme in downtown Champaign isn't well thought out. I heard my class instructor say during class last night that she got a ticket while eating dinner with her husband at Ko-Fusion. She said they waited for their table, ate, and by they time they left, they already had a ticket. And then she pointed out she could eat plenty of other places and not pay for parking at all.

Global warming is so *totally* not happening...lalalalala....

I've started reading a couple new blogs:

Dear Old Love makes me laugh. A lot.

Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook. I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

Speaking of...AllFacebook has lots of tips and news about Facebook---privacy setting suggestions, TOS information, application and ad reviews, and more.

And finally, there's a set of five sites that cover similar stories but package them different ways. apartment therapy (room and small space design), ohdeedoh (child-focused design), the kitchn (all things food and kitchen), Unplggd (tagline: smarter homes. fewer wires.), and re-nest (green home design). I subscribe to all five and there are dupes: a green kitchen story might show up on the kitchn and re-nest, but I'll say I've found a lot of cool stuff on all the sites. How to extend a wireless network with repeaters, DIY dryer sheets, Two-Ingredient Biscuit recipe, and How To: Eliminate Cooking Smells From A Studio Apartment.

Also, Smile Politely changed their feed. If you subscribe through Google Reader or Bloglines, you'll need to go directly to the Smile Politely site to re-subscribe to the feed.

To close it out, YouTubage. Catcora introduced me to The Streets yesterday. She's been telling me how awesome they are for quite some time. I should have listened. Bought A Grand Don't Come For Free today on iTunes. Only been through it twice but I really like it. Here's my favorite song so far, Blinded by the Lights. Oh, and *totally* not work-safe....


Planet Bush Bureau Chief Lawton Smalls rides again....

Back when Air America Radio started---almost five years ago---they had a great show entitled Morning Sedition. And Morning Sedition was Marc Maron, Mark Riley, and a cast of characters played by Kent Jones and Jim Earl to name just a few.

Marc Maron and Sam Seder are now on a weekday streaming show called Break Room Live and they stream from the break room at AAR everyday at 2pm. People drop through the kitchen behind them and sometimes they have guests or skits like Remedial Theater. They hang up silly pictures in the background. They have a chat window next to the stream and they get on AIM for the post-show chat (really, just second part of the show) where they read funny comments from listeners. It's a progressive radio geek's paradise...complete with inside jokes.

And Lawton Smalls is the biggest inside joke of all. Lawton Smalls was a right-wing character on Morning Sedition. He's done by Kent Jones who you may have seen on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show or heard on Unfiltered---another original AAR show with Chuck D and Lizz Winstead...which was also the first show to be axed by the network. Huge fan uproar about the cancellations of both Unfiltered and Morning Sedition.

Today, I share this tidbit from today's Break Room Live show. Great example of the return to funny+politics...only better cuz now there's pics, too.



Better not visit The Onion for a while....

At least not until the morons aren't running Gitmo and the rest.
A British ‘resident’ held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a ‘joke’ website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the ‘instructions’ after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.

It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top
Al Qaeda terrorist.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication’s food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.

Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its ‘extraordinary rendition programme’.
It just goes downhill from there. I linked to a story about this very man in my video fluff post in which Think Progress details all the brutal shit done to him. But it still chaps my ass so I decided to do a whole post about it.

Who is interrogating these "terrorists"? Cuz *they* should be IN Gitmo...not working there. I guess we know why all these people want *amnesty* for this stuff. Cuz they know they are monsters....


Destraction: Relive the 70s and 80s via Travolta

Cuz I just watched Saturday Night Fever.

Here's fine-as-hell ripped-up John Travolta---dancing too close to the fire. :)

Staying Alive final dance part 1

Amazing difference a decade can make, huh?

Yah, it's s fluff post, but sometimes I just can't bring myself to think about the real news.

Today is one of those days.

Everybody loves a visual aid---but probably not this one

Found via Boing Boing in their aptly titled post "Scary-ass job-loss chart comparing previous and current recession." It's a chart from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's blog.

Scary. *Very* scary.

I saw another article that had an economist making the case for "actual unemployment" being at 13.9%. The economist went on to say that meant inflation wasn't much of a concern. So, we got that going for us.


I'm *still* not sure how a tax cut on $0 earnings is much of a help to all these folks without a job....


What utter bullsh*t....

The NYT has an absurd article regarding the proposed limits on executive compensation. I think these folks are in for a rude awakening. They have absolutely no concept of what is a luxury and what is a necessity.

And frankly, it wouldn't be an issue if they weren't being paid with *taxpayer money.* But that's the rub---these folks are paid their salaries with *our* money because these very institutions were going to fail. This article, though, is an even bigger FAIL if the attempt was to gain sympathy.
PRIVATE school: $32,000 a year per student.

Mortgage: $96,000 a year.

Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year.

Nanny: $45,000 a year.

We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.


Sure, the solution may seem simple: move to Brooklyn or Hoboken, put the children in public schools and buy a MetroCard. But more than a few of the New York-based financial executives who would have their pay limited are men (and they are almost invariably men) whose identities are entwined with living a certain way in a certain neighborhood west of Third Avenue: a life of private schools, summer houses and charity galas that only a seven-figure income can stretch to cover.


Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

Total minimum cost: $16,000.


Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year, the higher end for former police officers who can double as bodyguards, said a limousine driver who spoke anonymously because he does not want to alienate his society customers.

“Some of them want their drivers to have guns,” the driver said. “You get a cop and you have a driver.” To garage that car is about $700 a month.

A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.

The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary (newyorksocialdiary.com), “a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress.”

Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000

Not every bank executive has school-age children, but for those who do, offspring can be expensive. In addition to paying tuition, “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid,” said Sandy Bass, the editor of Private School Insider, a newsletter that covers private schools in the New York City area. One hour of tutoring once a week is $125. “That’s the low end,” she said. “The higher end is 150, 175.” SAT tutors are about $250 an hour. Total cost for 30 weeks of regular tutoring: $3,750.
Someone needs to explain to these folks whose "identit[ies are] entwined with living a certain way" that when you are on the government payroll, luxuries are not the taxpayer's concern.

If these folks don't take government funds, then they can run their business however they want. But once you are using government money, this kind of bullshit---declaring two vacations totaling $15,000/year or $35,000/year for ball gowns are necessities---isn't going to fly. I don't know *anyone* who would try and sell spending this kind of money as a necessity.

We all know people struggling to secure health insurance when they lose their jobs or people who are cutting back on real necessities like medicines or food. Or people who aren't losing their jobs but are being put on forced furloughs.

And this article is trying to argue they can't make it on $500,000/yr of taxpayer money because of nanny, vacation, chauffeurs expenses?



Six more weeks of this sh*t?

Third time's a charm---I've started this as a longer post twice before. Finally getting it out there.

Yppah - It’s Not The Same

I think I'm sun-deprived.

Something needs to change. Either gimme some sun or warm the hell up because I've nearly had it with this winter. I mean *really* had it.


Will it count if I write-in his sock puppet's name?

Looks like prairiebiker is running for city council in April.

In addition, his blog is now only available to invited readers.

Probably a good idea....


Is it spring yet?

Sorry I've been away. I've had some of this and that pop up but hopefully all will be sorted out shortly. My mom needs surgery again after another fall. This time, there's a broken ulna and radius so a plate and screw are going in along with some "tissue reorganization"---whatever that means. That's tomorrow. We got all the pre-op stuff done today.

Also, since it's been colder than *shit* out, my pipes are a fun winter project lately. I'm like a mama bird who is keeping her eggs warm until spring. Sometimes, I want to chuck it all and fly south for the winter instead, but....

In the meantime, this song has popped up a couple times recently. Watch out---it'll get stuck up in your head....

Bobby Caldwell - What you won't do for love

P.S. I've disconnected my blog from my Facebook. Facebook is a little too crowded right now. I'll post links to selected posts, but I've stopped the automatic feed importation. If you only check this blog via Facebook, start using Google Reader (or whatever feed reader you use) to see if I'm posting or not. Or visit my blog hourly. Whichever.


Fun with Legos

My nephew got some Lego kits for Christmas. He's started one that has three trains to build. This the first train and he picked this photo because the flash reflection makes the light on the train look like it's on.


I wondered how long it would take....

Apparently, some local lawyers have attempted to get the same sweetheart deal for their clients that a local Champaign detective recently got on her DUI conviction.

They even had the same reason for wanting a lesser conviction as

"Is it in the best interest of society to not only punish him but likely cost him his job? Is there something egregious about his case that warrants the imposition of judgment? He (Leonhard) puts the burden on us to show a case is so unusual as to warrant supervision," Lipton said.

"The concept of the criminal justice system is not just punishment. If it was, we would call prison 'prison' instead of the 'Department of Corrections.' We're supposed to be rehabilitating people, to turn them into useful and constructive citizens," Lipton said.

Leonhard, who has presided in traffic court for 14 months, is widely regarded as one of the brightest legal minds on the bench in Champaign County. But his ruling has defense attorneys wondering what hope they can give clients who have made mistakes for which they seek to avoid a conviction that will follow them for life. And despite Leonhard's proclamation that he takes each case on its own merits, they worry his ruling is a signal that he won't give court supervision for first-time DUI offenders.

Yah, they failed. Guess his clients would have had better luck if they were police officers.

Remember last time I talked about this and I said I'd be willing to discuss the fact that Champaign County is harsher on DUI convictions than other counties? The N-G article brings up this very issue.

Defense attorneys note that in most other area counties – Ford, Douglas, Vermilion, DeWitt, Coles, Piatt – supervision is routinely given for first-time DUI offenders.

Bruno said that fact was "driven home" in the recent case of a Champaign police officer given court supervision in a negotiated plea to DUI.

Tony Lee, a former Ford County state's attorney acting as a special prosecutor in Champaign County, agreed with her attorney, Piraino, to let Lisa Staples plead guilty to DUI for court supervision, a practice he frequently engaged in during his 20 years as Ford County's chief prosecutor. Judge Richard Klaus, who used to preside in traffic court, accepted the negotiated plea.

"We are one county, and there's 101 counties applying a different standard," Bruno said. "You have to ask, 'Are the citizens of Champaign County being treated equally?'"

I think we all know the answer to that one. Unless you are "special," you'll get nothing and like it.

Oh yah, one more thing, the original article says Staples refused field sobriety and blood alcohol tests. Funny, though, that States Attorney Reitz says you *can't get court supervision* if you BAC is above 0.16. Exactly how does Staples qualify for court supervision then? I mean, I get that you can refuse to comply with BAC tests, but usually, that means you get an automatic revocation of your license.

This gets fishier and fishier....