Forgiveness and Bikes

As a sometimes bike commuter, the story of the bike messenger that stalked and then attacked a guy he had a run-in with hit home a bit. Most cyclists will regale you with hours of stories about jackasses in cars that seem to be disproportionately middle aged white guys in Dodges. They cut you off, they throw things, they get out of the car until they realize you are bigger, have pepper spray, and in a hell of a lot better shape (ed…excuse me–well normally I am). They then usually quickly get back in after a hard stare.

But cyclists behave badly quite often as well. There are of course the riding examples of Darwinian Natural Selection who ride against traffic despite clear guidelines in the laws of physics, but ultimately they are mainly dangers to themselves. Others can be quite horrific such as the bike messenger.

Zorn then uses it as a stepping stone to discuss forgiveness in a quite touching article.

Another Day, Another Indictment

Patrick Fitzgerald indicts a friend of George Ryan and former State Senator on Seven Counts of Perjury in the Licenses for Bribes scandal

Swanson was paid $60,000 a year for three years under the Metropolitan Pier contract, yet did little to no work, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said at a news conference this afternoon in downtown Chicago to announce the indictment. The defendant allegedly lied to the grand jury about how he got the contract.

I’ve lost track on the number of indictments, but the Trib reports over 60 with 50 convictions. The real effort here is to try and get closer to Ryan and make a case against him. It appears that Fawell is staying quiet making such a case hard.

A Challenge to Dick Devine

Subordinates with this sort of behavior should be made to write full apologies

When asked Friday morning if they wished to make a statement to the court after dropping all charges against two men who have spent most of their lives in prison, one of the two prosecutors handling the case replied: "I don’t think we’re required to . . . "

Of course they weren’t, Cook County Circuit Judge Dennis Porter stated. The question was would they like to.

How can someone be so callous as to ignore 27 years of wrongful incarceration?

The Problem With Twins

While this isn’t much of a personal blog, let’s say I have some experience with twins and well, the biggest problem is that they seem to have a habit of having one distract you while the other creates a mess.

John Kass, a father of twins, explains what happens when you don’t get there in time to stop the second one.

Via, Eric Zorn, another father of twins.

I have a placed a call to DCFS, however. What kind of degenerate raises his kids to root for the White Sox?

As for the Royal We–unless you have a mouse in your pocket or are using it for specific literary effect, just don’t.

Why Take a Shot at Moseley Braun

when I don’t have to, Eric Zorn did it for me:

Braun is not a sure loser because she’s African American or because she’s a woman. She’s a sure loser because she was not a particularly good senator.

Pretty much. My favorite is still when she secured a tax benefit for the Tribune Company and the Trib Editorial Board blasted her for it.

That’s a Year

Happy One Year Blogiversary to Me–well Yesterday. Thanks for all the hits and back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Seriously, I have over 44,000 hits to this site and the previous version on Blogger and I can’t really believe it. While the numbers aren’t up there with Kos or others, for a narrowly focused blog on Illinois and Missouri politics, I’m very humbled.

A Ringing Defense of Farm Subsidies

From Joyce Morrison.

On the one hand, she seems to have a clear point.

On the other, it is really dumb clear point. Not to mention Joyce is a welfare farmer. Subsidies produce gluts that artificially lower the prices and keeps inefficient producers growing. If you can’t efficiently compete, don’t. Either find a profitable crop or find another occupation. We don’t guarantee people jobs of their choice in this country. We do our best to provide economic conditions that promote full employment and that is good and certainly our rural areas are need significant help there.

However, that isn’t an excuse to cater to an inefficient industry that survives in its current form through protectionism and subsidies. If you do away with sugar quotas and subsidies corn becomes far less profitable and either Illinois producers have to switch to a more profitable crop or become more efficient. Farms are businesses and the conceit that they are a way of life is nothing besides an excuse by those businesspeople to continue to receive their subsidies at taxpayer expense and receive protection from efficient sugar producers at the expense of consumers and those companies that use sugar in production.

Senate Impressions

Jeff Trigg hits up two posts on the Senate,

1) His Impressions of the Republican Senate Candidates

The only issue I take with his comments is that while Rauschenberger lacks some of the social graces one is accustomed to in politicians (essentially he doesn’t suffer fools–but assumes everyone is a fool creating a problem talking to anyone on a one-on-one basis) he has a good shot due to some pretty good connections throughout the Illinois Senate and is close to Hastert. I wouldn’t make him a favorite, but he has a shot to do well.

2) He identifies the like Libertarian Candidate for US Senate who sounds interesting at least.

Judicial Slapdown

It isn’t often that one laughs out loud at a Federal District Court judge, but leave it to the Fox News suit against Al Franken to produce such an outcome.

here are hard cases and there are easy cases," said Chin. "This is an easy case. The case is wholly without merit both factually and legally?It is ironic that a media company that should seek to protect the First Amendment is instead seeking to undermine it."

Dori Ann Hanswirth, Fox’s lawyer, argued that buyers might be confused and think that the book was actually put out by Fox News, thus diluting and tarnishing the Fox brand. "Defendants’ use of the Trademark?on the Preliminary Cover is likely to cause confusion among the public about whether Fox News has authorized or endorsed the Book, and about whether Franken is affiliated with FNC [Fox News Channel]," said the suit. "Franken is commonly perceived as having to trade off of the name recognition of others in order to make money."

Chin didn’t buy it. "Is it really likely someone is going to be confused as to whether Fox News or Bill O’Reilly is endorsing this book?" asked the judge.

"It is likely consumers could believe that," replied Hanswirth. Later she added, "There’s no real message that this is a book of humor or political satire. It’s a deadly serious cover and it’s using the Fox News trademark" to sell itself.

In response, the judge pointed out that one of O’Reilly’s own books is titled "The O’Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life." "Is that not a play on "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly?’" Chin asked, noting that the movie title is also trademarked.

"I don’t know," replied Hanswirth.

"You don’t know?" asked the judge.

That’s about as bad of a day in court one can have as a lawyer. But it got worse,

Abrams said that if Fox pursued its case, he would challenge the validity of the "Fair and Balanced" trademark itself.

In delivering his scathing opinion, Chin suggested that Abrams would probably succeed in such a challenge. "The mark is a weak one," he said. "It’s highly unlikely that the phrase ‘Fair and Balanced’ is a valid trademark."

When you go to court and learn you may lose a trademark and not just the case to protect the trademark you just hook up the IV full of gin right there.

My suggestion to Franken is not to just be reimbursed for legal fees, but file suit proclaiming it a frivolous lawsuit. If you win, you get to use it every time a blowhole on Faux News whines about frivolous lawsuits. It’s like job creation for satirists.

Will Not Stand–What Does He Have Leg Problem

Marie, in comments, notes,

"And I’m not going to stand for it."
There’s that same misdirected righteous indignation we heard when he went after cheating cows. He’s getting lost in his own rhetoric.

Well, he can stay sitting down as he is about to be overridden by the Lege.

This fits with a recent post by Eric Zorn on good and bad Rod that describes Blagojevich’s split personality–scroll down–no permalinks. Zorn did a column during the campaign that highlighted the problem and it is linked from his post.

Rod wants to always play the tough guy when a deft hand would do better. He learned not to try and punk Madigan during the campaign, but apparently that lesson was specific to Madigan and not general to people with whom he needs to work. What he doesn’t realize (or maybe care about) is that every time he takes on a political ally with tough language he hands their opponents a campaign issue. Even in those reasonable cases where he disagrees, a softer touch will get him much farther.

The Trib does a nice job slapping him down over the veto as well.

That’s not simple. It’s simplistic. It is a cartoon view of criminal justice that says if you’re with me, you’re with the good guys, and if you’re against me, you’re with the bad guys.

So which is it, governor? It’s difficult to figure out a leader who changes his tune every time he changes his audience.

Seventeen police officers decide whether there should be an administrative penalty of losing one’s badge under the provision he vetoed. Does anyone believe that seventeen officers are going to pull a badge on a weak case? I’m not sure they’ll do it on a strong case.

Zorn addresses why there is a different standard for an administrative action in his post,

police officers to additional scrutiny, higher standards and separate disciplinary boards and proceedings in many areas for a simple reason: With additional power comes additional accountability. This is an extremely common notion that cuts across many regulated professions, such as medicine and the law. Good Rod knows this. Bad Rod thinks he can confuse the issue by portraying himself as an advocate for equal treatment for to police officers.

I’ll go one step further. Employers can discipline employees for less than criminal acts. Police officers are public employees. In this case we are setting up an administrative review panel to ensure fairness to the individual officer. It does go one step further as well banning an officer from employment as a police officer in other Illinois jurisdictions.

The Speaker Rules Out Redistricting

Up at Political State Report

as reported in the Capitol Fax

This is a good thing. This midterm redistricting idea is bad for the country and even Illinois native George Will agrees.

Two things here. One, What would George Will think about Tim Johnson representing his old home? Johnson’s personal character given Will’s view of Clinton would be an interesting challenge for Will to address.

Second, does anyone know if Will’s family had a trucking business in McLean County? Will himself, was a faculty brat in Champaign-Urbana, but I’ve heard that a relative had a trucking business around the beltway in Bloomington.

Blagojevich Stands Up for Perjury

G-Rod runs to the right of the GOP and stands by his veto of an administrative panel of police officers designed to be a watchdog over police officers perjuring themselves in capital crimes .

In a stunning statement demonstrating he doesn’t grasp the issue,

"In my view that means less justice, not more justice," Blagojevich said after he signed into law an increase in the state’s minimum wage. "In my view, that means our streets are less safe, not more safe. And I’m not going to stand for it. When the legislature has to convene, they have to ask themselves one simple question and that is whether or not we should have a system that treats criminals better than it treats police officers."

Such a statement equates any sort of oversight panel as ‘treating criminals better than it treats police.’ It is baffling to me what exactly is wrong with having a disciplinary panel for police officers given such panels already exist in many communities and every police department has the authority to discipline officers with a standard below that in criminal trials. In fact, this one is to be staffed by other police officers. If anything, that makes it far too hard to yank a badge when an officer lies under oath.

All of this should be clear to a man with a law degree–unless his real goal is to appear tough on crime like another cynic who returned from the campaign trail to oversee the execution of a retarded inmate.