Chicago’s Metra “On The Bi-Level” newsletter had an inadvertent doozy this month. Normally I’m not one to read too much into word selection, but in this case it is warranted. First, we have a complaint about a sidewalk:

I was told by a Berwyn alderman that it is Metra’s decision to close the crosswalk on the BNSD that’s two blocks east of Harlem for “safety reasons.” … I have already seen four instances of people running and crossing at Harlem with gates down and in front of express trains! Yes, you are actually endangering people.

Here is the newsletter’s response:

It is for safety reasons. And we can hardly be blamed for endangering people who willfully go around crossing gates.

When you’re designing a safety feature, be it for an air traffic control system, a financial web site, or the layout of a train station, it is best to design for people as they actually are, not the way you wish they were. Design is a series of trade offs, and the proper way to evaluate closing a crosswalk is “how many people die with the cross walk” vs. “how many people die without the cross walk”.

Of course, that’s if you are interested in keeping people safe, not avoiding blame.


Real men only talk when they really need to. I have a true story that demonstrates this.

Several years ago while on vacation my family stopped at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere. My small children were easily distracted by a couple of other male vactioners who were flying a kite around the rest area. They were doing some impressive stunts, and got awfully close to a large pine tree. Eventually they got too close and the kite was stuck in the tree.

Over the next ten minutes they were unable to extract the kite from the tree.

Then some men (yes, all) in a truck with a cherry picker pulled up at the rest stop. They got out of the car, looked at the kite, looked at the tree, and drove right up to the tree. Out came the stabilizers from the truck. Up went the cherry picker. Down came the kite.

And they never said a word.

Real men only talk when they need to.

Recently, I’ve decided to look back at old rants for inspiration for new stuff, bad or good. In this spirit, back after the election I wrote:

So, coming soon to a Diehard Republican—and, I think even more likely, the sorely disappointed “bake sale bomber” type progressives when Obama fails to deliver on the impossible things they’ve projected onto him—near you: Obama Derangement Syndrome…[.]

You can read the rest here. So, let’s just say I was “pleased” to see this.

Maybe “unsurprised” is the right word. Whatever. Is anyone really surprised? Back during the recent period of Republican dominance the backbenchers got kept in line by Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, but Dems haven’t been so good at that kind of strongarm for quite some time.

As Fitzmas 2008 draws finally to a close, at least for now, it seems fitting to commemorate the past days with a rousing Fitzmas carol:

By the Twelfth Day of Fitzmas, Fitzgerald gave to me:

Twelve Days of Laughing,

Eleven amusing reasons,

Ten quotes of Blago’s,

Nine tainted planners,

Eight weeks of silence,

Seven Blago Questions,

Six AM Waking,


Four Blago Rules,

“Three Day” Harris,

Two Main Counts (PDF)

…And a Governor in a Crime Spree!!!

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As Fitzgerald might say (and John Kass did):

A Merry Fitzmas to all…Except those I indict!

For all of the tongue-in-cheek approval of Chicago and Illinois corruption that we are going through, it should be reminded that, free from any romantic notion of crooks being “Our Crook“, this is the actual Chicago way.

But Democrats, fearful they might lose the Senate seat if it was put up for a vote, essentially stalled talk of a special election. They cited concerns about the multi-million dollar cost of holding the election with state finances in shambles. The lack of action means that Blagojevich still retains the power to appoint Obama’s successor.

From the Chicago Tribune — who has good reason to be the loudest anti-Balgo voice in the world.

That’s right — despite having the most obviously corrupt official in decades, the party with a massive majority both in Illinois and national government is still too afraid of losing a Senate seat through the democratic process it loudly champions when no opportunity is at hand, now turns tail and lets its elite choose another of its elite. This shirking of manly virtue, ironically, demonstrates Blago’s statement about who is packing the proper testicular fortitude to make the right decisions. It wasn’t Blago, and it isn’t the Illinois Democrats.

Their argument about a special election being prohibitively expensive is especially transparent, since there will already need to be a regional special election to replace Rahm Emmanual, who is shirking his elected duty to wield Obama’s Rod of Power as Chief-of-Staff. A Senate run-off will be more expensive than a Representative election, but given the circumstances, (and the golden child of light who vacated the Senate seat when he was bodily assumed into Office), they ought to open that seat up to an election as well.

Truth be told, sending the decision to the Lt. Governor is the constitutional process in Illinois, but notice that is not one of the arguments forwarded by the Illinois Democrats. When Illinois corruption makes the news, it makes it big. But it’s the spineless, worthless, neutered corruption which never makes the news that is the real Chicago way.

The Mrs. Angry Immigrant and I flew back from the old country to this flammable desert on Monday. To sane people, there was fog over LAX airport. Our plane had to make a 2nd attempt at the runway, because the pilot didn’t like his first approach. Admittedly, the cloud/fog over the airport looked like Dr. Horrible was doing some Horrible PhD research at the airport, since it was solid dark clouds there, and perfectly clear over the rest of the city…

To insane people, however, this mass of dispersed water vapor a terror so vile that they kidnapped, held captive, and deprived 190+ fellow people of basic human necessities in order to save them from its unspeakable horror.

This kind of “X hours stuck on a plane on the tarmac” kind of debacle is the result of two spineless bureaucracies also demonstrating a lack of heart. I’m not sure if the customs officials or the airline officials are to blame on this one (signs point to the airline, but it’s hard to tell for sure), but no one, especially airline crews should think that staying on an aircraft any longer than necessary is acceptable.

It’s ok, though, because they served water and crackers at 4am… Ontario, CA is just not that far away. Put these people on a bus, or put a customs official in a taxi to Ontario.

If someone is going to forcibly confine me to an aircraft cabin, the ground outside better be on fire and the air outside better be poisonous (admittedly, this is LA most of the time…). Otherwise I’d have to weigh my options about spending an overnight in jail for deploying the emergency doors myself, rather than sitting in the life-draining confines of the plane.

Detroit, Detroit!
It’s a blunderful town,
The graft goes up,
then they burn the place down.
Jobs disappear down a hole in the ground.
Detroit, Detroit!
It’s a blunderful town!

Apologies to Frank, Gene, and the gang.

Angry Immigrant note to self:
Borrow $500M from government, start a new manufacturing hub in northern Ohio. That way I can preserve 100,000 manufacturing jobs, while demonstrating what incompetent management comes out of the University of Michigan. The fact that these workers’ children will go to OSU in large numbers and grow up hating Michigan is just a bonus.


The “Auto Industry Crisis” is easy to solve. Before giving any more private companies any public money:

  • Step 1)  Get it out of Detroit. Anyone smart enough to be good management is too smart to move there. You’d have to bribe them, and the industry can’t afford it. Ohio seems like a good new place for it. Round on the edges and high in the middle… Use this move to:


  • Step 2)  Get it out of the UAW. Or re-educate the UAW about what actions you will accept. They’re one of several albatrosses around the neck of the U.S. auto industry, and they need to be taken down a few notches. The workers are necessary, the union is just like barnacles that need scraping off. The Department of Labor is their only friend, and the only one enforcing labor laws. Congress should write a neat little loophole into labor law that any company being bought into Gov’t receivership is now subject to special labor rules, including all-out ignoring current contracts. This will allow for massive flexibility in changes the government can force into the company. Use this flexibility to:


  • Step 3)  Purge the dross. High and low. Anyone making a multiple of a typical line-worker salary is gone. If they were so critically useful to the process, then they had the power to make it succeed or fail. They chose to fail. Their replacements will work on contingency, and be paid their fee once the company comes back out of receivership. Union dues are reset to $0 until all gov’t loans are paid back. Until my government money is paid back, not a cent goes to the bungler/crooks that caused the problems in the first place. This crisis is about preserving workers’ jobs, not their parasitic union fat cats’ jobs. They can start collecting regular welfare with the rest of the shiftless. The workers can feel free to organize. Their grievances will be heard by a special board at the Dept of Labor. Any work by a union organizer will be done on a volunteer basis. Then we’ll see how much the “workers good” they really care about. Until their employer buys itself back from me, John Q Taxpayer, I make the rules.


This will likely cause 2 of the big 3 to fail. I’m fine with that. Re-tool the assembly assets into making other things we will always need — garbage trucks, railroad equipment, forklifts, etc, and make a crapload of them. Use government-owned product designs so you don’t waste time and energy making ugly useless and unwanted slag any more. The surviving major U.S. manufacturer will be an efficient bastion of design, marketing, and manufacturing that we can be proud of. It will repay its debts to society and buy itself out of its government indenture. Then it can proudly show its face again.

But step 1 is getting the heck out of Detroit. And turn the light off when you leave…


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