Daily archives: January 22nd, 2010

We Should Be Thanking Dorothy Brown for ‘Jeans Days’

From the Chicago Tribune:

Democratic Cook County Board president candidate Dorothy Brown today tried to move past an employee "jeans day" controversy that’s dogging her campaign by providing records she said shows the money was accounted for.

Brown, the county circuit court clerk, said the $2 or $3 that employees paid to wear jeans on some Fridays has gone to charities including the American Heart Association, a Hurricane Katrina victims fund and a Pakistan earthquake victims fund.

"It is unfortunate that this innocent practice that helps so many causes is being subverted and maligned by some members of the media," said Brown at a lengthy news conference. (You can read her documents by clicking here.)

Questions about jeans day follow previous stories about Brown raising money for pet causes from workers in her office, which has more than 2,100 employees. She’s also raised campaign money through her employees and they’ve been asked to contribute to gifts for her.

Today, Brown’s staff acknowledged that there’s no comprehensive accounting of the jeans day cash contributions that reach the tens of thousands of dollars each year. She said the office tries to verify that the number of permission stickers issued equals the number of contributions. Employees also are supposed to write their names on envelopes when they contribute for jeans day, she said. The comptroller in her office tracks the money, Brown added.

According to documents Brown’s staff provided, nearly $23,000 was spent last year from the employee appreciation fund, accumulated with jeans days’ contributions, to pay for an the annual appreciation dinner held at a union hall. She provided an overall accounting, canceled checks and bank account statements.

In any other season that does not begin with the word "election," Dorothy Brown would be, and should be, praised. But this is election season, and the worst dirt Toni Preckwinkle can unearth in Dorothy Brown’s professional career is the fact that she collects donations from staff for the privilege of wearing jeans, and the money goes to charity, or to a fund that can be used to show appreciation to employees.

What a great idea.

This tells me that, outside a campaign, both of these candidates are wonderful people.

Are you at that point yet where you’re wishing it was already February 3, 2010?

We haven’t even seen the deluge of commercials all the candidates are waiting to unleash closer to election day…

Poll Shows Quinn, Hynes in Democratic Dead Heat

From the Chicago Tribune:

The Democratic governor primary is a toss-up between Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes as controversy over an inmate early release program and an imploding state budget cut into the governor’s once-sizable advantage, a Tribune/WGN-TV poll has found.

On the Republican side, three candidates are in a tight battle ahead of the Feb. 2 primary. Former state GOP Chairman Andy McKenna, former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan and state Sen. Kirk Dillard lead the field, but none reached 20 percent, according to the new poll.

The results show that with an early primary election coming little more than a month after the new year, candidates who placed a premium on extensive and expensive TV advertising are seeing dividends as prospective voters began tuning in to the upcoming election.

Each of the surveys, conducted Jan. 16-20, also indicate that results for this primary could depend on last-minute voter appeals through TV, radio and campaign get-out-the-vote efforts.

Among Democrats, Quinn’s better than 2-to-1 lead over Hynes in a Tribune survey six weeks ago has evaporated amid concerns about the unelected incumbent’s ability to handle the job. The poll of 601 likely Democratic voters showed Quinn with 44 percent and Hynes with 40 percent — within the survey’s 4 percentage point error margin. Thirteen percent of the voters were undecided.

While the gap has narrowed, I believe those four points are significant. Both of these candidates have character. I still favor Quinn.

ABC: 16-Year-Old Starbucks Barista Sues Over ‘Sex Demands’ at Work

From ABC:

An "alarmingly high" number of high school students are reporting sexual advances from their adult bosses and other supervisors at some of the country’s best known fast food operations, according to an official of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"It’s an incredibly serious problem," said Bill Cash of the EEOC in an interview to be broadcast tonight on the ABC News program "20/20."

"Employers that choose to use high school kids to work have a responsibility to protect these young people," Cash said. "We don’t want them to be fondled, we don’t want them to be raped."

According to ABC, Kati Moore of Orange County, CA claims a 24-year old supervisor at Starbucks made almost daily demands on her for sex, months after she began working as a 16-year old barista.

She said she would be summoned for sex via text messages, hundreds of them, including one that said, "I’d liked to f— tomorrow."

The young woman’s mother alerted prosecutors after she learned of the relationship. According to the ABC report, supervisors and managers at Starbuck’s knew what was happening and did nothing.

Time for a corporate statement.

Mystery Visitor to Poe’s Grave Is a No-Show

From ABC:

It is what Edgar Allan Poe might have called "a mystery all insoluble": Every year for the past six decades, a shadowy visitor would leave roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on Poe’s grave on the anniversary of the writer’s birth. This year, no one showed.

Did the mysterious "Poe toaster" meet his own mortal end? Did some kind of ghastly misfortune befall him? Will he be heard from nevermore?

"I’m confused, befuddled," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "I don’t know what’s going on."

The visitor’s absence this year only deepened the mystery over his identity. One name mentioned as a possibility was that of a Baltimore poet and known prankster who died in his 60s last week. But there is little or no evidence to suggest he was the man.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Poe.

Obama Proposes Tough Limits On Largest Banks

From the Washington Post:

President Obama expanded his new offensive on Wall Street on Thursday, proposing rules that would impede the growth of the largest banks and bar them from making what he called "reckless" investments.

The proposal comes as the administration is shifting from its year-long effort to save financial firms toward a new willingness to confront them with explicit prohibitions on activities that fueled the economic crisis. In essence, Obama is now aiming to force the firms to choose between the federal benefits that come with being a bank and the unbridled pursuit of profits.

After opposing proposals such as hard limits on executive bonuses, the administration is embracing a tougher line — more evidence that Obama has the industry in his sights as he seeks to show Middle America that he feels its economic pain.

Obama’s plan would bar banks from making investments that are not intended to benefit customers, including the creation of proprietary investment funds solely to benefit employees and shareholders. New limits also would make it difficult for the largest banks to become any bigger, effectively stopping domestic expansion at well-known companies such as Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase.

While the proposed restrictions are narrower than the now-defunct law that segregated Wall Street trading from commercial banking for much of the 20th century, they share a similar goal: to subsidize banking — which the administration considers vital to the economy — without having taxpayers subsidize highly speculative activity.

According to the Washington Post, the bankers are not happy. This, coupled with Obama’s proposed a fee on big banks to recoup losses from the government’s $700 billion program to bail out financial firms, some bankers say they wish they could take their votes — and monetary contributions — back from Obama.

Did they think they were buying the presidency?

I heard comments disguised as reporting on Chicago’s WBBM today claiming that the drop in the stock market today is directly because of this announcement by the president.

So, did the value of the stocks of the various banks take a dip today? Then they were worth too much to begin with. A bank that is too big to fail is too big to fail. We’ve heard that so many times over the past year or so, and it’s true.

Bring it, Barry. And then bring some more.