Archives for the 'Law, Politics and Government' Category

President Barack Obama: “Special Olympics” gaffe to impact Chicago 2016 Olympics bid?

Last night during his appearance on the the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama likened his bowling ineptitude to the Special Olympics.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley has stated on numerous occasions that US President Obama would be a key factor in influencing the 2016 Olympics bid selection favorably, by dint of his high official rank and connection to Chicago serving to impress and wow the selection committee.

Apart from the audacity of offensiveness in Obama’s gaffe, one must now wonder if Obama reflects favorably or not on Chicago in the eyes of the Olympics selection committee.

Too bad politics does not have the same rules as the Olympics, because our country certainly voted for amateurs to occupy the White House this term.

Unfortunately, although his chaotic and ill-considered policies are driving up the price of gold and emptying the pockets of taxpayers for years to come, Obama is not winning any gold medals for his presidential abilities.

20 March 2009 | Chicago, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago Park District: 2009 Budget Documents

The Chicago Park District is responsible for the operation of Chicago Harbors.

Summary budget documents for 2009 are available online.

The capital expense budget remains a work in progress, with plans for two new harbors pending bond financing now on temporary hold.

15 March 2009 | Chicago Harbors, Law, Politics and Government | No Comments

Fighting Invasive Lamprey in Great Lakes

National Public Radio describes a possible new solution for the lamprey problem, gratuitously invoking vampirism and sex to tell the story:

A team at Michigan State University has discovered how to create sort of a “Love Potion No. 9” to attract an invasive species of fish out of the Great Lakes.

Originally from the Atlantic, the lamprey is usually considered a parasite. But in the Great Lakes it has achieved the status of predator. Researcher Nicholas Johnson says the fish is killing off other large predator species and has “completely changed the ecosystem.”

Lampreys use their suction-cup-like mouths to attach to other fish and feed off their blood. Their prey is often left for dead, giving the lamprey the moniker “the vampire fish.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spends $20 million annually to control the jawless fish. Now they may have a new weapon to combat the invasion — lamprey perfume.

The substance is created from the pheromones the male lamprey releases to attract females during mating season. Johnson and his team are using it to redirect the females into traps.

15 March 2009 | Great Lakes, Law, Politics and Government | No Comments

Proposed Wind Farm for Evanston?…

Offshore wind farm on Evanston’s horizon?

15 March 2009 | Environment, Law, Politics and Government | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: More Money, Please. Illinois Governor Quinn Pledges State To Commit $250M Guarantee for Olympics

Chicago Tribune reports:

Daley’s inability to provide anything more than a limited financial guarantee could make it difficult, if not impossible, for the city to win the 2016 Summer Games, many Olympics experts say.

Chicago Olympics boosters are scrambling to increase taxpayer support for the 2016 Games to shore up a fundamental weakness in their bid just weeks before international officials arrive to evaluate the strength of the city’s pitch.

At the heart of the push is a statistic that Chicago officials have not mentioned: No city in the past quarter-century has won the Games without a blanket guarantee to cover all financial risks.

Chicago will not make such a guarantee, but Mayor Richard Daley and other leaders of Chicago’s plan won a pledge this week from Gov. Pat Quinn to raise the state’s share of the guarantee by $100 million, to $250 million. State lawmakers moved to fast track the guarantee Thursday, and Quinn said time was of the essence with Olympic officials scheduled to visit in early April.,0,7167962.story

15 March 2009 | Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: “Shocked.” “Surprised.” “Not Happy.”

Chicago Tribune reports:

Jim Scherr resigns as head of United States Olympic Committee
Resignation of USOC chief executive hurts key image of continuity

“I was disappointed. I don’t think it helps in any way, but I don’t think it damages us,” Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan said Thursday. “[But] I was shocked. I’m surprised. Not happy.”

In the four years before Scherr took over, first as acting CEO and then permanent boss, the USOC had four presidents, four CEOs and four marketing directors.

The stability since his arrival allowed the USOC and Chicago to establish what both sides called an unprecedented partnership to promote a U.S. bid. Ctvrtlik, the USOC vice president of international relations, has a key role in that partnership.

Now Chicago must waste time and energy before the Oct. 2 vote for the 2016 host in trying to explain why the USOC once again has an new CEO. Stephanie Streeter of Neenah, Wis., was given the job on an interim basis.,0,614314.story

CNN Sports Illustrated takes a look:

Scherr’s abrupt resignation leaves questions throughout USOC – Brian Cazenue – Inside Olympic Sports

Jim Scherr’s abrupt resignation as Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee leaves several questions: Why is he out, what does it mean for the USOC and could his resignation affect Chicago’s chances to land the 2016 Olympics when the IOC awards those Games in October? Is an organization that had righted its ship after years of dysfunction now setting itself up for another era of wayward management or merely adjusting its priorities in a tough economy?

15 March 2009 | Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Proposed Illinois Tax Bill Adverse to Boaters Stalled

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) press release:

Proposed Illinois Luxury Tax on Boats Withdrawn From Consideration
Boating organizations, including NMMA, were prepared to testify

Chicago, IL

February 26, 2009 – Today, the Illinois State Legislature’s Revenue and Finance Committee decided not to move forward with HB 451, a bill to impose a five percent luxury tax on vessels sold in Illinois over a purchase price of $200,000. Mark Adams, vice president of sportshows for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), along with opponents from six different marine-related organizations and businesses, attended the hearing to testify in opposition to the tax. However, before testimonies could be heard, the committee echoed industry concerns about the tax and withheld a motion to take up the legislation.

The proposed tax would have had a devastating effect on Illinois’ marine businesses, causing buyers to hold off on buying boats or cross state lines to make purchases. In the early 1990s, a similar national luxury tax on boats was enacted, only to be repealed two years later because the tax cost more to collect than the revenue it earned. The tax also led to 19,000 lay offs, cut boat sales by 40 percent, pushed tax revenue from boat sales to below pre-luxury tax levels and forced several brands of boats into bankruptcy.

“While we understand Illinois must address its looming budget deficit, we are pleased the committee realizes a counter-productive tax like this one is not the answer,” said David Dickerson, National Marine Manufacturers Association director of state government relations. “Despite assurances from the bill sponsor that similar measures will not be pursued, we will continue to monitor any new legislation moving forward,” Dickerson said.

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

15 March 2009 | Law, Politics and Government | No Comments

Northern Trust: Ideal Chicago Sailing Event Sponsor?

Has anyone approached Northern Trust to sponsor any Chicago sailing events?

TMZ reports on lavish parties, gifts and entertainment by Northern Trust, after receiving $1.6 billion US government bailout funds and laying off 450 employees.

Sounds like an ideal sponsor!

In all seriousness, we disagree with the tone of the TMZ article.

Note that in a capitalist society with economic freedom, private enterprise shall be rewarded for its success. Rather than condemn Northern Trust for its business decisions, responsible news media should be well-advised to identify Northern Trust as a leader in its industry, avoiding the many banking pitfalls that beleaguer our economy today.

It is a failure of the government to disburse $1.6 billion in US taxpayer funds to a banking institution which does not require it.

We support all efforts by individuals and private enterprise to generate their own financial success and wealth, and remain highly skeptical of government interference with market economics.

Kudos to TMZ for questioning the role of Congress and our federal government in failing their responsibilities to taxpayers.

Update- some additional thoughts:

1. Sailboat racing requires a certain level of economic prosperity. Thus, it benefits racing to support policies which promote prosperity, rather than denigrate capitalism and successful private enterprise.

2. Interestingly, the Northern Trust statement responding to the TMZ article highlights the charitable contributions made to the community.

Apart from exercising social responsibility, it brings to mind the notion that event promotion supporting charitable efforts often yields greater rewards, both tangible and intangible, than sponsorship based on purely commercial interests.

Locally in Chicago, it would serve well to find an affluent sponsor to promote sailing to replace the loss of ABN AMRO’s highly visible participation in major local events.

The growing continued success of Windy City Match Race and the Leukemia Cup regatta demonstrate the value of charitable efforts combined with sailboat racing events.

24 February 2009 | Hospitality, Law, Politics and Government, Sailing Promotion, Sponsorship | No Comments

Chicago Tea Party

Was anyone on the floor during CNBC today?

Thank you to all traders taking a stand.

19 February 2009 | Law, Politics and Government | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Bid links – “a comprehensive, balanced discussion about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid.” – Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee website.

Citizen Media Law Project – Chicago 2016 v. Frayne – vexatious litigation by US Olympic Committee and Chicago 2016 Olympic bid organization against website domain.

Don’t Give Up The Ship – Chicago Yachting Association and Columbia Yacht Club boating advocacy support for Chicago 2016 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee will choose the 2016 Olympics host city on October 2, 2009.

15 February 2009 | Burnham Park Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Columbia Yacht Club, Jackson Park Yacht Club, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Leukemia Cup Regatta -












 ...a cool website for everyone who wants to sail fast...