Thursday, September 23, 2010

Days of Rage

Happened to meet Chris Kennedy once or twice back in the late 80s. Nice enough guy, if a bit aloof. His wife and my wife were law school classmates. I recall thinking that it was a good thing the Kennedys weren't still around when Northwestern hired Bernardine Dohrn in 1991.

Dorhn's father-in-law, Thomas Ayers, and his close friend Howard Trienens, both sat on the board of trustees at Northwestern.

Trienens had been the honcho at Sidley Austin, your basic gold standard Chicago area law firm, when the firm hired Ms. Dohrn in the early 80s, despite the fact that the Illinois ethics people refused to grant her a law license.

Trienens was willing to overlook details like that, as, like I said, he was dear dear golf buddies with Dohrn's father-in-law, Tommy "The Big Hitter" Ayers.

The reason the Illinois legal community didn't want Ms. Dohrn in the club, was her previous criminal record.

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, Bernardine Dohrn was part of the Weather Underground.

It was during that time, those Days of Rage which she herself led, when Ms. Dohrn met her to-be husband.

Fella by the name of Bill Ayers, who is now a "distinguished professor of education" at the University of Illinois Chicago.

I recall news items from the late 70s about Ayers and Dohrn being on the lam, and they were very much hiding out. Dohrn was at one point on the FBI's Top Ten List of People The FBI Hates.

In the late 70s, the Weathermen split into a couple of groups, the May 19 Coalition and The Prairie Fire Collective. The latter group was in favor of turning themselves in to the law enforcement community, while the May 19s wanted to stay underground.

Dohrn and Ayers were Prairie Fire Collectivists. They'd had enough running. They had kids.

They turned themselves in in 1980, the year I got married. They received probation.

Shortly after that Trienens hired her at Sidley.

Anyway, after her time at Sidley Austin, Dohrn was hired as an "adjunct professor or law" at NU, which in Northwestern lingo means " a professor who was hired without faculty approval" and which in the case of Bernardine Dohrn meant there was no vote. That was in 1991, same year as the Burris/Nicarico fiasco.

Trienens insisted that neither himself nor Dohrn's father-in-law Thomas Ayers, Bill's dad, both Northwestern Law School trustees, had anything to do with the hiring of Ms. Dohrn as an "adjunct professor of law" at the Northwestern University School of Law.

No influence whatsoever.

Hey what can I tell you? Call me a cynic, but I was skeptical.

I smelled a rat, and I was very relieved to know that Sheila and Chris Kennedy had moved on, because their presence in the same legal circles as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn could have possibly caused some cocktail party tension. Ya know, because of the whole Sirhan Sirhan book dedication thing.

Anyway, we spring forward to 2008, and right in the midst of the Obama/Blago/Burris/Durbin/Reid "Don't send us a senator" thing, some people around here, myself included, speculated that it might be a good time for Chris Kennedy to jump into Illinois politics.

Chris cut everyone off at the pass by accepting a position on the the board of the University of Illinois, a job that he did while running the Merchandise Mart. In short order, Chris was named the Chairman of the U of I board.

And that, is not a good thing if your name is William Ayers, and you want the University of Illinois to grant you emeritus status.

“I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy,” he said.

“There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil, or to the hopes of our founding fathers for their great experiment of a self-governing people, than to permanently seal off debate with one’s opponents by killing them.”

The vote was taken and William Ayers' request to be granted emeritus status, usually an informal thing that gets rubber stamped, was shot down,.. by a unanimous vote


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pickwick

There's a push on right now to have the Pickwick Theater given national landmark status. Corey MacPherrin and Anna Devlantes were yakking with Park Ridge mayor Dave Schmidt about it this morning on WFLD, Chicago's local Fox News affiliate.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The End of an Era

Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley announced today that he won't seek re-election next year.

Wonderful news.


Good riddance Richie!

Fuck off.

Don't let the door hit you and all that shit.

Since 1955, Chicago has had 42 years worth of mayors named Richard Daley, the first one was a political giant, and the second one a bumbling buffoon. This Christmas, Richie will pass The Boss in length of service, and that fact alone is nothing short of astonishing.

Some day I'll write a post about the man who told me he took the bar exam for Richie, but in the meantime I'll simply say that Richard M Daley has been a terrible, terrible mayor. The City of Chicago will be better off without him and his corrupt friends. Much much better off.

In his announcement, Richie said that "Everyone, especially public officials, must know when it's time to move on. For me, that time is now."

Bullshit! The time for Richie Daley to move on came and went years ago. While trying to portray himself as a modern day version of his "Nuthin' I love more dan dis great city!" father, the reality is something much different.

Both Daley's were money grubbing, patronage laden, smoke-filled-room deal making crooks, but at least the old man knew what Priority One was. The City itself. The City That Works worked because The Boss made sure it worked. The money grubbing and deal-making were more of a hobby for The Boss, whereas money grubbing and deal-making were Priority One for Richie the Corrupt. And, as a result of his neglect, the City of Chicago has suffered.

Well, not for much longer.

Somewhere, 12,000 Chicago police are celebrating.

And somewhere else, Rahm Emanuel is formulating his plan for the invasion of the 5th Floor at 121 N. LaSalle Street..

Friday, September 03, 2010

Negotiating with Terrorists

This past week, Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis held a "secret meeting" with the leaders of some of the Windy City's more prominent street gangs. Hustlers and Kings and Disciples and a number of other youth organizations were invited for a summit with our top cop, federal prosecutors, as well as the family members of other youths who couldn't be at the meeting on account of their being dead.

The gangster leaders called themselves the representatives of "The Movement."

Weis has taken a lot of heat this week because of the meeting, from both sides.

Chicagoans were pretty vocal in condemning the meeting at first; we heard complaints about dealing with criminals and granting credibility to thugs by sending our #1 cop to the summit. We can't send our best person to this thing, send some flunky and pass along a message that we don't negotiate with terrorists.

I wasn't quite so quick to pass judgment on Jody Weis, at least not on this matter. He's had his moments where I wondered what the hell this guy is doing in that job, and the rank and file coppers don't think much of Weis at all. He's seen as an outsider who doesn't relate well to the beat cop.

They think even less of Mayor Daley, as we will all see when the Chicago police hold a march on September 15th. As John Kass pointed out today, it will come as no surprise if Richie moves his trip to China up a few days so he can avoid the embarrassment that waits for him Wednesday after next.

Something weird happened yesterday. The Movement held a press conference. According to Kass, there were 3 men in suits and bow ties behind the stage, silently listening to the comments made by the gangsters. Anyone who's spent any time around this city knows the suit and bow tie as the uniform of the Nation of Islam, and these three suits obviously were reporters for the Louis Farrakhan Daily D-Bag.

The speakers at the gangster pep rally spoke of political corruption in Chicago, as well as lack of access to jobs. The reason we're killing each other is because we're drug dealers, and we wouldn't be drug dealers if Chicago would just find a way to arrange for full employment for gangsters, presumably including Blue Cross and full dental.

Political corruption? Unemployment? That's Farrakhan talking, and he wasn't even in the house.

It's a power struggle here, and this is a defining moment. The gangsters are pissed off at Jody Weis. They think he's trying to strong-arm them. At least that's what they're saying.

The big gangster/cop/fed/victim wasn't about "negotiations" it appears. Seems as though Jody Weis informed the youth leaders that he intends to do something about the rampant violence on the south and west sides of Chicago. Weis told the gangsters that it's up to them to stop shooting each other, but if they don't....we're going to go all RICO on their asses. Thus, the feds at the summit.

Shoot somebody, and we'll take your mom and dad's house. Sell crack at 31st and State, and we'll seize the property of anybody even remotely related to you as it must have been criminally obtained.

Back in the late 60s, Richie Daley's old man, The Boss, scoffed at the notion of needing federal or state help in dealing with rioters in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination. We can deal with our own problems, in-house.

A few months ago, we had 54 people shot in one weekend here, more Americans ate hot lead in Chicago, Illinois that month than we did in Afghanistan ind Iraq combined. In the aftermath of that bloody weekend, someone suggested calling up the Illinois National Guard, a notion quickly dismissed by Richie Daley. We can deal with this ourselves, in-house.

Well, apparently we can't. And so, the gangsters have been put on notice. RICO is coming to town, and he's pissed off. Early indications are pointing to a quick drop in gun crimes since the summit, although you'd be hard pressed to believe that if you watch our local news. (4 people duct tape muzzled, and shot dead last night in a garage down by Midway.)

But if the gangsters are pissed off, I'm encouraged.

I'm encouraged, just like I am about the handgun ban being shot down by the Supreme Court. The other way hasn't been working here. Time to try something else. I've read about other cities taking a similar approach to gang problems, and from what I can gather reactions are mixed.

That's okay with me too. Mixed reactions to trying something somewhat radical are expected, but the reality here is that it's worth a try, because simply put, there's no way on earth the gangster situation in Chicago could get worse.