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TIme waster

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

McSweeney’s New Food page is a culinary and literary delight.

Swiss Chard

Submitted by Eric Smith

I hate you Swiss chard. Oh, how I hate you. I have hated you ever since I figured out why dumpsters smell like dumpsters. It’s because of you. I always thought they took on that characteristic stench because long years of bad garbage odors combined together in an unholy stew that for some reason always smelled the same. Kind of like how mixing lots of different paint colors always gives you brown. But no, it turns out that they smell exactly like you did two days after I brought you home from the grocery store. So it was you all along. Screw you, Swiss chard. [Snip]

The Litchi

Submitted by Ellia Bisker

If you’ve ever idly wondered what it might be like to eat a human eyeball, you might want to consider the litchi as a delicious (and more socially appropriate) alternative. Here is how to eat a litchi. Stick your thumbnail into the base of the stem and pull back slightly until the stem releases, then peel away the papery skin in a thin spiral strip. About this skin: it is covered with small rosy hexagonal scales, like the drupelets of a raspberry with some reptile in its family tree. You will expose a slippery globe of translucent white flesh about the size of a pingpong ball. Stop peeling about halfway down, because here comes the part you have been waiting for: press your lips to the perfectly smooth fruit, apply a little suction, and with a wet, satisfying plop, it will suddenly pop into your mouth, luscious, fragrant as nectar. Imagine that it’s the eye of your lover, or your nemesis. It’s just that good.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Watch your back

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

Is the Republican-controlled Will County Board gearing up for a fight with the incoming county executive, Democratic state Sen. Larry Walsh?

Walsh upset the apple cart in Will by defeating incumbent Joe Mikan. The county board has already moved to hire Mikan’s top assistant, Bruce Friefeld, as its “director of operations” - a new post created for Friefeld after the election.

Will County Executive Joe Mikan may be leaving office on Dec. 6, but he won’t be going far — for a few months at least.

Mikan has been asked to stay on as a county board consultant while the executive office transitions to the administration of County Executive-elect Larry Walsh.

Mikan will stick around for at least 3 months, at $1500 per month working about two days a week, according to the article. Walsh better watch his back.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Old Fax

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

Back when I started Capitol Fax, in 1993, about a third of my new subscribers had to buy a fax machine just so they could read it. It wasn’t that long ago, but the world of technology has progressed amazingly fast since then. Still, the fax machine has been around a very long time. From Boing Boing (click on the photo for a larger image).

This fax-by-telegraph machine was in operation at the New York Herald in 1900. From a Pearson’s Magazine article published at the time:

“The equipment consists of two machines, almost identical in construction, the first being called the “transmitter,” the second the “receiver.” Each is provided with an eight-inch cylinder, which may be made to revolve by a delicate system of clockwork so finely regulated that both instruments work together to a nicety.

Above each cylinder rests a fine platinum needle, or stylus, not unlike the point in a telegraph key. A sheet of tin-foil, six inches by eight inches, ready to wrap round the transmitter’s cylinder, and a sheet of ordinary carbon manifold-copying paper of the same dimensions, which, when placed between two sheets of blank paper, is to be wrapped round the receiver’s cylinder–these complete the chief requirements.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Blogroll additions

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

I’ve added a few more blogs to the roll.

Peoria Pundit has moved to Typepad, so go check him out. Also he has a snarky little piece on Rep. Ricca Slone today that’s a good read.

Metroblogging Chicago has some good stuff, mostly not about politics, though.

Glenview politics is the subject of Glenview Watch.

Draft Vallas has apparently expanded its subject matter beyond the goal of drafting Paul Vallas to run for governor in 2006. Good site for those who aren’t thrilled with Rod Blagojevich.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Chamber statement

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

The statement from the Illinois Chamber about the Cook County judge’s ruling on the fee increase follows. Also, I read the court’s decision very early in the morning and misread part of it. Only the fees collected from the Workers Compensation surcharge are placed in escrow. However, it’s clear from the opinion that the other 300 fee increases aren’t Kosher.

“The court’s decision sends a clear message to our state lawmakers that it is unreasonable – and unconstitutional – to discriminate among fee payers and specifically burden one group, in this case businesses and employers, with providing funds for general purposes,” said Douglas L. Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber.

“The court’s decision addresses the fundamental distinction between fees and taxes,” added Whitley. “If the General Assembly decides it needs additional funds for general purposes, it should be up front about it and enact a tax increase.”

“Our hope is that this well-reasoned decision will prevent lawmakers – in Illinois and across the nation – from abusing their power by using excessive fee increases to supplement general revenue funds, which should be generated by taxes paid by all taxpayers,” he said.

“By drawing this distinction, the court is saying that state government does not have unlimited power to impose fees. State government does not have a blank check to discriminate against a certain class of fee payers to solve its fiscal problems,” Whitley said.

A story in Crain’s about the judge’s ruling is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Fee hike decision

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

As promised in today’s Capitol Fax, you can click here to download Cook County Judge Patrick McGann’s ruling from yesterday that struck down 300 state fees which were imposed last year. The file is fairly large, so be patient if you have a dial-up connection.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

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