Archive for illinois

Prison Guard Beats Inmate And Illinois Must Pay


prison violence

The headline in HuffPo reads:

James Degorski, Man Who Killed 7 At Brown's Chicken Restaurant, Awarded $451,000 In Civil Suit

So I was interested to see how a convicted killer was awarded money. Could it be related to his murdering 7 innocent people? I didn't think so but I had to read on.

CHICAGO (AP) — A former handyman serving life in prison for the 1993 murder of seven people at a suburban Chicago restaurant has been awarded nearly a half-million dollars in a civil lawsuit in which he alleged a jail guard punched him in the face.

Degorski, now 41, accused a Cook County Jail guard of punching him and breaking his cheekbone and eye socket in 2002.

As it turns out, this was really not about the inmate's crime, but about the inmate's treatment. His abuse. His being deprived of his civil rights.  Degorski's attorney put it this way:

"I think it's a beautiful day for civil rights when a jury can put aside emotions and say we are all entitled to our civil rights," she said. "It's about protecting the constitutional rights of the least among us."

Well, I'm not so sure that it's a beautiful day, but I do feel strongly that we have constitutional rights which, contrary to popular opinion, are not relinquished when someone's sentenced to prison.

Why should we care, or more importantly why should a jury care to the tune of nearly half a million bucks?

Simple. We have the eighth amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The jury heard the facts, the details of this brutal attack on a brutal man who was in his care. Yet a prison sentence doesn't give the guards the right to dispatch their own kind of justice. Guards are there to serve the justice system, not create their own. And this guard evidently thought he could. Now the state must pay, which means the people of Illinois have to cough up half a mil for this crime.

If it seems like I'm taking the side of a killer, you're wrong. I'm taking the side of justice. We can't allow people behind bars to become animals, pets, treated unkindly by brutal guards. If we do, there's no chance at rehabilitation. I don't think prison should become a vacation spot, but basic human rights shouldn't be denied, either.

This prisoner who was beaten could just as easily been incarcerated for fixing the books at a financial institution or possession of a controlled substance. His crime got him put there for just punishment, not to become a guard's punching bag. But this guard took justice into his own hands, abused it and a jury found him guilty. Hopefully he will lose his job for this. But most certainly, the good and innocent people of Illinois will be covering the tab. Perhaps that's the real injustice in this case.


Republican Candidate for Illinois Governor 'Not Being Gay' with 'that man'


From the alternate world of Republican 'wide stance' reality...a cross post from our wonderful friend Anomaly at FreakOutNation.



Republican candidate for Gov: I was not being gay with that man. We were double-bunking to save money

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, an unmarried 58-year-old and Republican candidate for governor, regularly stayed overnight in hotels and a Chicago apartment with his executive assistant, The Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. But he can explain all of that.

Image: Chicago Tribune

Image: Chicago Tribune

Rutherford told the Tribune that he has shared a room with his executive assistant, Joshua Lanning, scores of times since taking office in 2011, to save money for his campaign fund. And we totally believe him.

Image; Gawker

Image: Gawker

Here  is Rutherfod saving money on the beach and not being gay with Lanning. 

Rutherford said, “We double-bunk in the campaign. We always double-bunk when we can. Totally as a cost-saving measure.”

Being a good fiscal Conservative, Rutherford shared a room with Lanning at at least 50 times between 2011 and mid-2012. During that same time, the two also shared hotel rooms at least a half-dozen times while traveling on state business, including overnights in Chicago, Bloomingdale and Danville, and billed the state, according to records.

Speaking of 2011, Ed Michalowski, claimed in federal court that Rutherford made unwanted sexual advances toward him beginning in 2011.

Rutherford was sued in federal court on Monday by Michalowski, a former top manager in the office who accused the treasurer of repeatedly sexually harassing him and pressuring him to do campaign work at taxpayer expense. The ex-employee is seeking damages, including for medical issues he said were caused by the alleged harassment.

Rutherford tried to explain the expenses and accommodations to the Tribune saying, ”A constitutional officer travels overseas and has a staff member that accompanies them is not something that I think is inappropriate.”

He added, “There’s nothing wrong with being friends with employees. I consider myself friends with many in the office.”


God Unleashes Disasters, Dementia, and Autism. Why? LGBT Rights.



Yes, friends, read the headline again. It's not a joke. It's for real. And that's what cuckoo-bird-crazy U.S. Congressional candidate Susanne Atanus had to say to the the editorial board of the Chicago Daily Herald in her interview for their endorsement. This Republican candidate is running against incumbent Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

According to TPM Livewire:

If you're afflicted with autism or dementia, or if you've lost your worldly possessions due to a tornado, Susanne Atanus thinks you should blame the LGBT community.

"We are provoking Him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military, it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

Okay now, you LGBT folks, Stop it! Stop it right now! No more hurricanes or polar vortexes, and don't you go putting the dementia hex on any of us! And while you're at it, how about removing the autism you caused. I don't know how you did it, but if you women-hating,  minority loathing, gay-bashing Republicans say you LGBT people did this, you must have. The Tea Party doesn't lie.

A moment of reality here. Yesterday I wrote about a crazy man in the Tea Party, a candidate for Florida state's legislation, Joshua Black, who tweeted and Facebooked that Obama should be hung for treason. If you missed it, it's here, with video: FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PROPOSES OBAMA LYNCHING. Now we get this in Illinois. What state is going to be next?

Are the Republicans really this extreme? I think in many cases, yes. There are some who border on sanity, but they're becoming harder and harder to find. Hopefully this is a wake-up call to both parties. We've got to pay more attention to who our candidates are and what they represent. Could anyone really support a candidate like Sussane Atanus? You bet your ass. She's currently an outlier, but she and her ilk are starting to become the rule. This is scary. And we need to rally our votes before these nutsos are making the rules for the rest of us.


Undying Dedication To A Cause


Naomi Jakobsson,

She said goodbye to her terminally ill son as she fled off to the state house to cast her vote for a cause that she and her family felt so strongly about-- legalizing same-sex marriage.

Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, a Champaign Illinois Democrat, rushed to the state capitol in Springfield to vote on the measure. With her support, the bill was approved with 61 votes in favor -- only one more than the minimum it needed in order to pass. It was her vote that mattered.

When Jakobsson returned to the Mattoon, Ill. hospice where her dying son, Garret, was staying after a 90-minute drive, she learned he had died just 10 minutes before her arrival, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Garret had seven brothers and sisters. He and his wife, Liz, also had a 10-year-old son named Gunnar. Garret was adopted from South Korea in 1968, according to the AP.

All of Garret's family was with him as he took his last breaths are reportedly slipped away peacefully. But how tragic that his mother couldn't be with him for the end. She put courage, faith and compassion above family. She is a true Democrat. Is there one Republican who would have done the same?

It was reported that it was Jakobsson's son Garrett who told his mother to go to cast her vote. If it wasn't something so meaningful, she'd never have left his side. She left with hopes she could go, vote, and return in time. That sadly was not going to be the case.

There are a lot of people in Illinois, today and in the future, who owe their happiness to Representative Naomi Jakobsson. A truer champion for the LGBT cause would be hard to find.

Condolences to the family and congratulations to the state to have such a dedicated civil servant.


New Illinois law allows firearms in public. What could possibly go wrong?


guns penis

In today's Los Angeles Times, there was an article about Illinois' mandatory gun training program. Why do they require 16 hours of Gun School in that state? Simple: Illinois citizens now have the right to carry firearms in public.

What could possibly go wrong?

Training is a positive. Preparing Mr. and Ms. America to cope with a potential Mass Murder Moment should alleviate everyone's concerns, right? Wrong.

As I posted back in January, "Here’s proof that carrying a gun won’t protect you in a crisis," even with training. But that doesn't stop the GOP, the NRA, and the firearms industry from waving their Second Amendment flags (and stuffing their already-full wallets).

But back to Gun Class. One participant, Gregory Colon, is training to become a licensed armed security guard, and he was nervous before class even started. Per the Times, "the atmosphere was designed to add to the tension and get his heart rate up," because without simulation of a real-life emergency, the course wouldn't be very effective.

"It was much more intense than I expected," said Colon, 21, of Chicago, who shot his "attackers" in self-defense. "I was sweating and my palms were sticky. It shows in real life how fast you can get hurt."

That is not unlike what Diane Sawyer and others said.

But learning how to protect yourself and legalizing concealed carry permits should not be tantamount to permission to morph into Mr. and Ms. Aggressor, nosireebob:

"The concealed-carry permit, realistically, is only there for you to protect yourself. It's not a license to go out and go looking for trouble or deal with a situation that is best left to law enforcement," said Queen, executive director of the Fidelity Investigative Training Academy in Chicago.

"Law enforcement training is about securing and containing the danger," he said. "Concealed-carry training is about protecting yourself and moving away from the danger."

"Moving AWAY from the danger," said Gun School Executive Guy. Ordinary citizens should never "interject themselves into dangerous situations," said the instructors. Not exactly consistent with what we hear from gun fondlers like, say, George Zimmerman.

Those same zealots also argue that two days of arms training "unnecessarily prolongs the process for obtaining a permit." Tell me again why that's a bad thing.

Here's what happens when one finds oneself confronted with a life-and-death situation:

A rush of adrenaline causes the hands to shake. Blood flows away from the fingers and toes, dulling the senses. Motor skills weaken. The perception of time changes, making everything seem to move in slow motion. You lose peripheral vision, and it seems as though you're looking through a tunnel.

Now imagine those physiological symptoms experienced by someone trying to respond for the first time to a gunman in a dark movie theater wearing a bulletproof vest tossing tear gas canisters while shooting off 30 rounds from an AR-15 into an unsuspecting crowd. Imagine traumatized, inexperienced Mr. and Ms. America trying to respond while doing their best to save (their own and others') lives while scrambling to instantly recall 16 hours of instruction on how to successfully deal with a sudden, unforeseen deadly threat.

And here is one more reason why common sense gun legislation advocates like myself get flop-sweat nervous:

Before enrolling in Queen's security guard course, Gloria Sauno said, she did not realize a gun should be the last resort.


As Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said:

"It's not the fear of someone walking down the street with a gun that bothers most people; it's the unexpected consequences. Someone going out to have a drink does not intend on killing somebody, but it happens."


Illinois Black Suburb Can't Even Afford a Library as America Is Privatized and Foreclosed


library closed via bigoteetoe(Photo: bigoteetoe)

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

If knowledge from books is power, then the predominantly white status quo doesn't have to worry about young people in Ford Heights, Illinois, empowering themselves at the library anytime soon. That is because there is no library and no books to be checked out in one of the poorest suburbs (about 95% African American of what's left of a village that once had 5000 residents) in the nation.  Ford Heights is like a mini-Detroit [...]

Nothing is likely to change.  There will be no happy ending to the library-less library district in Ford Heights.

That's because, quite simply, America has written off young economically limited blacks as expendable. They are just a stereotype -- with some exceptions for the ones that make it through due to special circumstances (think of Barack Obama attending the most prestigious private school in Hawaii).  Yes, there is still a bit of upward mobility wiggle room for poor minorities, but that maneuvering space is contracting as the middle class erodes.

What you are left with is a surfeit of pawns in the great economic shift of the nation's wealth into the hands of a few.

And blacks have long been in the position of being a commodity in a white man's game.

Young minorities in Ford Heights may never read about that; they may never learn the historical context of their plight.

They have no access to a house of public literacy: a library.

Please read the entire post here.


No Work, No Pay In Illinois


have no money

Oh, that great state of Illinois, the land of Lincoln. You make us all proud today. We're especially proud of your Comptroller Judy Topinka.

Judy Topinka

Here's the background, from Tammy Webber as reported by the Associated Press.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers' paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.

Gov. Pat Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month, saying it wouldn't be restored until lawmakers addressed the state's $97 billion pension shortfall. He also suspended his own pay.

"It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously," either by a court or by lawmakers agreeing on a solution to the pension crisis, said Topinka, who undertook a legal review to determine if Quinn's actions were constitutional.

Oh, how lovely it would be if this sort of gentle nudge (though the lawmakers call it extortion) would be put upon a number of other public elected officials. Then watch how quickly they move. You're going to see land speed records set for passing a pension protection bill in the Illinois house. August 1 is the next due date for a legislative payment. Who doesn't think that within ten days they have a bill, it's voted on, passed and signed?

A provision of the Illinois Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary should not take effect during the term in which they were elected. But Quinn cited the prior court ruling and said he isn't changing their salary, just withholding the money to pay it.

Quinn, a Chicago Democrat who used his line-item veto power in a budget bill to suspend the pay as a way to spur lawmakers to action, issued a statement saying Topinka came to the right conclusion and reiterating his vow to hold fast on his decision.

"Nobody should be paid until the job gets done for taxpayers," Quinn said.

Perhaps if we could get an executive decision by Obama, not to change congressional salaries, but just not fund the account that the moneys are paid from, maybe we wouldn't have so much gridlock. Maybe there is a legal way around this time-wasting that the GOP is so fond of. They want to be obstructionists? Let them. Just don't collect a viable check while doing it.

Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?