Archive for September, 2010

Hizzoner,Jr. retires, a chance for govenment transparency in Chicago

September 24, 2010

I am  almost speechless.  I never thought this day would come.  After totally fucking up the city (oh, it looks real good downtown), & getting us into our eyeballs in debt, running off with  our TIF tax dollars, decimating the police force & allowing the Chicago Board of Education to become an outrageously bloated bureaucracy (as is the park district)…Richard M. Daley is  giving up.

We actually have a chance for  good government—that is—government transparency  & respect for rule of law.

Think tat will happen?  Not a chance. You see…when  we have ‘democracy’, we get  representational government…. not GOOD government.  Just another set of rascals.

One of the aldermen who was thinking of running, but has since declined to, said he’d ask for a forensic audit of the city.  Way to go!!!  I mean, our taxes keep going up, and we get less & less service for the taxes we pay.  Every department is bloated.

&, although in Chicago, we vote for the  ‘trustees’ of the water reclamation district, we do NOT vote for the  Chicago Board of Education, The Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Park District board, McPier… Why is that?  Why does the mayor get to appoint all these people?

Yet—none of the 20 some odd candidates are saying anything aboput any of the issues.

Rahm Emmanuel?  He has said he loves Daley—& he actually hasn’t really lived in Chicago for over 20 years.  I want a guy who has called the police and had them NOT come out.  Or a guy who seends his kids to public schools.

Jesse Jackson, jr.? Seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Even though he has a lovely wife, was recently caught moving a blond ‘restaurant hostess’ around.  Not only is he toast, he’s burnt toast.

Danny Davis?  he was on the county board. Then, decided he’d rather be a congressman, & now is thinking of Mayor.  Make up your mind.

Tom Dart?  He’s doing well as sheriff.  He takes dog fighting seriously.  Can he manage the whole city budget?

Luis Guitierrez?  Possible. Also a congressman.  Was a lefty activist in his earlier days.  But again…the budget…the issues.

Joe Moore.  My alderman.  He instituted participatory budgeting in my ward, &  we are also getting an infrastructure facelift.  He’s greener than most…thought we have yet to get curbside  recycling.  If he wasn’t so TIFF happy, I’d support him in a second.

What we really have to do is hold the candidates feets to the fires & ask about all this stuff. Stuff that Daley was not articulate enough to  address.  Now’s our chance.  Nice thing, though,is that if the new mayor, whomever he or she is, doesn’t fix all the broken stuff, we finally will have a chance again in several years to  throw the rascal out and get a new rascal.

I got bit by a dog…

September 16, 2010

It goes with the territory, being a dog groomer, but over the past 40 years, I’ve learned a lot about dog behavior, what scares dogs, & how to safely & humanely handle a dog….& this has nothing to do with that.  I wasn’t even paying any attention to the dog—which is why I got bitten.

What happened was….the dog , a ‘hound type’, had taken a ‘dislike’ to me…but since he had taken a dislike to several people, nobody gave it much though.  He had been boarding at the place I worked, and was in a dog daycare situation.  He was ok with other dogs, and with the ‘handler’ (I use the term loosely—the ‘supervisor’ of the playgroup—& I used that term loosely, too), and I thought his only issue with me was the fence around the playgroup.

I entered the yard to get another dog, not even realizing he was there, and as I was trying to  get to the dog I wanted, he jumped up on me and bit me, in the  shoulder area.  I turned around, told him to get off of me, & the ‘handler’ pulled him off of me.  Otherwise, he probably would have taken another chunk our of me.

It really didn’t hurt, but the blood was pretty impressive.

So, yes…for no reason at all, he  chose me and bit me.

He had been having ‘mental issues’ for some time.  He could never settle down  and relax in the kennel, and the owner actually had him on an anti-depressant.  I am not sure why.  Probably the veterinarian was  going to try any drug (rather than convince the owners to seek an animal behaviorist…or do a brain scan), but in any case, I was the ‘last straw’ for these owners. They euthanized this dog.

One of the managers at the kennel asked me how I felt about that, and I said, “Of course, it’s a sad thing when a healthy dog is euthanized, but I don’t think he was healthy, and it was the right decision.  He was a dangerous dog. They can’t all be pets.”

“I’m glad you said that,” she told me, “Because I went to a seminar on  assessing dogs, and the trainer who gave it said that if we don’t  euthanize bad dogs, if a family with a child adopts this dog,  and anyone gets bittenm they will never again go to a shelter, and may never have another pet dog.”

She then went on to tell me how  when the kennel first opened up, she had  gone into a kennel suite to clean &  was just ignoring the dog, who was put in a safe holding area. As she  exited the suite, the dog just started staring at her & suddenly lunged at her and bit her in the hip.  It happens.

The fallacy is that all dogs bred can be pet dogs. They can’t.  There are aberrant dogs, dogs with brain issued you can’t see from the outside, and they are dangerous.

The problem is—every ‘dog lover’ who has never trained a dog or worked with dogs, or read a book on dog  behavior, who wants to work in a dog business, or own a dog business, doesn’t believe this.  They believe all dogs are like Lassie, and if you just pet them and give them treats, you are safe.  You aren’t.

Another problem is that  now society believes that  the ‘dangerous’ breeds:  the Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, American Bulldogs, Staffordshire Terriers, Mastiffs of any sort & any bully breed—is automatically dangerous—& that isn’t true. I’ve been bitten by more cocker soaniels, Scottish Terriers, & Lhasa Apsos than any other type of dog.  Yet, the insurance companies of American are not moving to ban cute looking dogs.  This is totally messed up.

So the rich are giving money away…

September 8, 2010

So Warren Buffet & Bill & Melinda Gates are   convincing the  uber-rich to  ‘share the wealth’ & level the playing field …as we say.  Too bad we can’t convince them to be Peace Corps Volunteers (or VSO) for about a year or so.  You really learn so much when you live in a community in a developing (read: Third World Country) community for a few months.

I know what it’s like to be middle class and have a handle on how the world would be better.  I gave up my life to experience how people really live.  It’s a tragedy.

For one thing—-fresh water  availability is at a global crisis.  One reason is deforestation & climate change—& the reason for this is  too many people chasing too few resources (the water) in any given location that is habitable.     & in most places, the reason this is happening is that women search for fire wood for cooking fuel.  No joke.   In some cases, solar cookers are helpful. In many cases in Africa, they  don’t like the texture of baked or dry food.   They like their foods fried in oil.  Energy Efficient, ceramic lined cookstoves (what we in the U.S, might call ‘bar-b-que grills) might help alleviate the fuel shortage. This also addresses deforestation & water conservation, and the alleviation of flooding.   However, currently, there is no political will locally to encourage this?  Why? The MEN who make the rules just don’t care…. So—& this is going to take at least s decade—

We have to convince  people to  want to understand what  is destroying their environment(s) and what THEY CAN DO to make where they live sustainable.

Plus, cooking for a crowd is expensive.    We have to convince men to not only want smaller families, but to do what they need to do to  have smaller families.  Birth control  alone is not the answer.  Educating women—-when they are girls, about environmental and social realities—is the  fundamental answer.  That’s right: providing appropriate environmental education—-combined with skill training to make value-added products— to girls and women, empowering women….-is the solution. That means training teachers—& grandmothers (the most influential people in any community) how to convey information to young girls.

This means supplying educational materials to these people, and a way  for the teacher/trainers to live, & giving them social status. We sure can’t do this from the U.S., where we are still—-after over 50 years (we policy makers first noticed this when the  Soviet Union…you remember them…right?  Launched Sputnik)…scientifically illiterate.  Maybe we can get  Germans & Japanese to volunteer to live in these God-forsaken places.

At the same time, we have to convince political leaders that they will look really really good if they promote sustainable energy solutions.  I urge  anyone reading this to  go visit Malaysia & Thailand.   In less than 50 years, these 2 jungle like countries are modern places. They have transportation and communications infrastructure.  They have high literacy rates.  Most people have access to modern health care methods.  They even (this is no joke) have dog groomers!  Funny?  This is an indication that people have expendable income.

Unfortunately, what is going to happen is…the rich are going to give their money to other rich people:  people who manage arts and cultural institutions. Are they NOT deserving?  I am not saying that. What I am saying is, however…if they want to keep the arts alive in perpetuity, they must  make sure all people on this earth are economically secure enough to not become refugees or start wars.

What are wars about?  Resources…plain & simple.  Who gets to manage scarce resources.  We are still no ‘getting it’.  We in the U.S.A. are still taught that if we can pay for resources, we deserve them. What about the others who can’t? We will pray to GOD in churches for their salvation.  I am not joking.

Every now & then, when people learn that I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, they express their altruism  and ask what they can do to ‘level the playing field.’ I always mention recycling.  I mention  supporting groups that provide direct aid to communities overseas.  Now, I am telling all the do-gooders & potential do-gooders to copy my blog & send it on to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as Millenium Challenge. Ask them to address the crisis problems…