Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cigarettes in Chicago may get Costlier


copyright 2005
Contributing Writer

Cook County residents are encouraged to voice their opinions about the proposed
2006 budget at an upcoming series of public hearings.
January 5, 6:30 p.m. at the Markham Courthouse; January 6, 10:00 a.m. at the
Cook County Building; January 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Skokie Courthouse; January 12,
6:30 p.m. at the Maywood Courthouse.

Subhead suggestion: Windy City smokers play a game of give and take

A proposed county cigarette tax increase could bring the price of cigarettes in
Chicago to $8 or more a pack.
However, according to the 2006 county budget proposal released Monday, property
taxes will not be raised.
Smokers at Chicago Legend, a South Loop bar, kept the proposed tax increase in
perspective and took it in stride.
Freddie Atkins, 40, said he would continue to purchase cigarettes because it is
only a $1 difference and because he intends to continue to smoke. His friend, a
woman who only wanted to be identified as Ms. Tina, had mixed feelings.
"It's more money out of my pocket but I don't need to do it anyway," she said,
adding that as a property holder in the county, "either way, I'll get it,' (in tax
She said she was glad the tax was placed on cigarettes rather than
her property but storeowners had a slightly different perspective.
Mustafa Muhammad, owner of a 7-11 in the 5200 block of North Western, said he
thinks his customers will stop buying so many cigarettes but wonders how many
more will express anger at him because they don't understand the tax increase. He said cigarettes at his store cost about $6 without tax included.
"Maybe they will stop smoking. Maybe they will buy them somewhere else. They
get mad at us when they are so expensive," Muhammad said.
In a blog dated Decmeber 22, 2005 Tim Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, said in "Burned: Cigarette taxes are unfair to smokers," that the taxes on cigarettes in the city could go as high as $4.02 per pack if the proposed tax increase is allowed. (so just tack that on to whatever the taxless price of smokes are and you will have an accurate description of what to hand the cashier).
A sign from cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris was spotted in the cashier's
window in nearby Hammond, Ind., asking proprietors to limit the number of
cartons of cigarettes that customers could purchase at one time.
Reasons for the proposed cigarette tax increase are due to significant reductions in federal
health care reimbursements to the state, rising costs for employee benefits and other
increasing financial requests--all which resulted in a $307 million county budget shortfall, according
to a Cook County Board of Commissioners released statement.
The $1 tax increase on cigarettes, if approved, will bring $2 in taxes to
the county coffers, instead of the $1 the current tax structure now allows. It will yield $75 million for next yearÂ’s budget, making
sure public health services are not cut, Cook County Board President John H.
Stroger said.
Included in the proposed cuts are, "nearly 100 staff positions." Also, there
will be no new positions created.
"It's doubling the net profit the county will get. That money is plugging the
gap in federal Medicaid reimbursements (cuts)," John Gibson, a spokesman for
Stroger told the Defender.
Public safety is the largest part of the county's budget with funding levels in
excess of $1 billion. That budget funds the operations of the Sheriff, Chief
Judge, Clerk of the Court, State's Attorney, Public Defender, Judicial Advisory
Council and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
The 2006 budget provides almost $830 million for the Bureau of Health, which
funds Stroger, Oak Forest and Provident Hospital operating costs, the Department
of Public Health, CORE and 28 ambulatory clinics.
"Prescriptions are probably the fastest increasing healthcare service we
provide. In 2003 we filled 2.2 million prescriptions. In 2005 we filled nearly
3.8 million," Stroger said.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Blog of Usefulness: CD Review

Merry Christmas. My kids are at their Dad's house visiting with him and Grammy and Stepma and the rest of the family so I got a bit of free time.
I want to see Jamie Foxx (nee mr bishop), sing live on the circuit of small clubs and then record or produce the best live tour of small venues.
I bought his CD "Unpredictable"--which is also a DVD--for myself for Christmas.
He has a smooth-as-silk voice that is out of this world. I just love the way he talks to his audience. I already liked him as a sitcom and film actor but damn--the man is cut! I feel like a little girl reading "Right On!" all over again (Remember Prince's poster in the 1999 album?)
No longer do I long for Jodeci or The Ton-i-e-y's because now I have Jamie/Eric and damn, is it good. He is sooo good.
His body is bangin (watch out 50) and his voice is sooo smooth.
He is my rhythm & Blues singer for the new millennium.
And we always knew he could sing but dang it--it wasn't until this CD that we got to hear at least some of his range and breadth. We all waited for this one!
As my Christmas dinner cooks (it smells heavenly) I sit and watch the DVD and listen to the harmonies that are The Foxx.
"Love Changes," is the classic remix that should hit the airwaves next. Who can beat Mary and Jamie's voices together?? He should also check out a duet with Sylena Johnson. Any cut they made together would be tight. They could release it as a street single.
But I want to hear all of Jamie without outside influences. I want him to put all of his original songs and arrangements on tracks. I want HIM in the RAW.
Just him. I know he can do it but there is something or someone holding him back.
"Unpredictable"--do something you've never done before.
What else can be said?
I thought he and Ye (Kanye West) sat down and collaborated on that song and added Luda. It wasn't until I heard him unplugged on the DVD side of the CD that I understood his genius.
"Warm Bed" is another one that I like--except the brief intro (might keep it off of the radio with the name chanting and all) but it makes good driving/bouncing music. He speaks to a time where I thought I was the center of the universe. It takes me back and I love it. I love the beats.
It is nice to listen to and you can do a little dance to it.
He even have a sorta-steppin' cut on there with "VIP"-- a little Cha Cha and all-- and you know that steppin' is important to the Chicago area listeners.
"'Cause everybody in my party is VIP. Won't you come and step with me?"
Everybody in my party is VIP-- ain't he the nicest man you've listened to lately?
I'm steppin' to "VIP" right now!
(i've been drinkin' apple vodka mixed with the twisted apple so 'scuse me. By the way alcohol and a hot ass oven don't mix!)
I'm taking this up to the Cave and the Three Gs. I gotta get my step on!
My man/bf/ xbf just walked in the door. I called frantic this morning because I forgot to layer the lasagna and couldn't tell if the ham was done. We stepped to "VIP" right quick when he walked through the door. Remember the apple vodka?
Note: The CD/DVD is a great idea but sometimes it doesn't like to play on first try unless you keep it in the same machine, ie dvd player or cd player. I moved mine around with me and it became temperamental.

Monday, December 05, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, December 02, 2005

Stop Screwin' with My Computer!!!

This message is to the computer wiz who screwed with my internet settings and changed my ip address. It took me and hour to redirect your fu** up mister. If you aren't sure the changes are okay across the board, why would you ass with my existing structure that works EVERYWHERE but where you are?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

No More Blog Space for You!

Okay, bf/xbf is driving me to write about him.
I think he likes the attention. I know he must like reading his own press but all he is really doing is taking up unnecessary space on my blog.
In an effort to spare the reader every minute detail of my personal life, I will continue to write about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.
I like Thanksgiving because it is a no stress holiday. Alls ya gotta do is cook, serve, eat and watch the football game.
Momma and Dad had a pretty cool Thanksgiving. They were amazed I went to work but the day was basically over by 10:30 p.m. anyway. My Little Brother and my new Sister-N-Law came over. My Little Brother beat my dad in who hollers at the TV the most. I don't understand the hollering at the TV thing because the only players that hear them are already in the room with them! (And because I don't know when to cheer.)
But they always holler at the game. It's tradition and I like it.
The Kids ran amok throughout the house and then before ya know it, dessert was gobbled up and everyone laid down.
I went to sleep, happy and satisfied at another wonderful Thanksgiving.
(Take that bf/xbf! No more blog space for you!)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's Thanksgiving--time to get fat!

This day we should be thankful that it is all right to eat until you get sleepy and then go to sleep.
"Everytime I look at something on TV, I see White folk talking about how we killed up all the Indians and now we gone give thanks," Nicey said.
She called me this morning because she is tired of Thanksgiving stuff and anyone that gets on her nerve. She doesn't care for any race--just like Archie Bunker.
She didn't have to work on Thanksgiving so she gave thanks.
"Two years ago, I couldn't sit at my desk and read the Holy Scripture. Now, I'm sitting here writing pu**y and di*k and don't nobody say a word," she said.
She couldn't find a sweet potato pie.
"I wasn't buying sweet potatoes and making crust and standin' up over a stove and all that," she said.
"If you had a husband, you would," I said.
"That MOTH$*&$*R would have a cut throat. They wouldn't set there and let you cook. They want to get in the way and go in the 'fridgerator.
If you working an eight hour gig and come home and f**k with that cooking too. My mom would get off from work and stand up for 72 hours, cookin'," Niciey said.
I concurred.
Cooking for African American families and Southerners is a big deal on Thanksgiving.
It's an all day affair starting the day before.
"You don't have to buy a whole a turkey. You can buy a turkey breast," she said she told her mother.
But the huge spreads continue, even though there aren't as many to enjoy it.
"We got to get the Swan cake flour and the Carnation milk. Husband get out the shithouse and want to help and ain't washed his hands since the 50s," Nicey said.
"Git yo' nasty ass outta here. And they want you to to su*k they d**k too," Niciey said.
Whew! Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Yeah, I Wanna Be an Old @#% Baby's Momma

Copyright 2005LJM
Being held hostage in the car after work shouting answers to questions no one asked me on the Les Brown talk show, I began to realize that there were too many parallels between the people who I know and the ones being described on the radio.
The topic was teen pregnancy.
The host and several well-heeled guests and listeners had called in to say that their children were either pregnant early in life or refusing to go along with the plan of fatherhood long after the cow was out-of-the-barn.
I appreciated their candid responses but I know for a fact that women who decide to bear a man's child out-of wedlock don't have to be teenagers to do so.
There were too many parallels between the irresponsible, wayward teen parents being described on the show and the men and women who I know today.
These men and women are in their 30s and 40s and do not seem to mind being an over-the-hill Baby's Momma or Baby's Daddy. Matter of fact, at least one cherished the idea.
This man is a professional making in excess of $50,000 a year and college educated. He was raised with traditional values, albeit on the West Coast but he knows better than to invite a woman to have a baby out-of-wedlock.
At least he should have known better than to ask me.
He said since he was in his mid-40s and childless, he figured he'd better get moving on the daddy track before it was too late. He had even gone through fertility testing and yes--he has a few swimmers.
However, he is unwilling to marry, he said, unless I became pregnant.
(I tried to believe him)
Oh so negative buddy. No out-of-wedlock kids for me because I know better. I know that even the sanctity of marriage (be it shotgun or no) will not guarantee two people happiness or be a reason to have a baby or stay together. So why complicate the issue. Either you want to marry me or you don't.
He didn't want to marry me.
What I don't understand is why would anyone want to be permanently connected through children to a person they don't want to marry?
I wouldn't want to do that at all.
Love children at the age of 40. How dumb can you be, really? Foolish love games and tragedies are overlooked when you're in your 20s as youthful indiscretions. But two 40-somethings (I am 39) unwilling to commit to a date let alone a baby is just wrong.
There aught to be licenses issued to couples wanting to have children.
Yes, childbearing should be regulated because some of us just don't know what to do with our bodies, spare time or apparently our money.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

He's Not So Nice

Well, I haven't heard from my boyfriend in a day or so. We're broken up by my standards. I wonder if the fact that he is married to and divorcing a woman who he said is dying had anything to do with his decision?
It may have been my incessant whining about doing the things I want all the time. It could have been that I am demanding and began to get pushy.
It could have been anything.
The deal breaker was that he failed to bring me a Subway Italian BMT on the cheese bread with everything and oil and vinegar and a pack of cigarettes to my job when I had to work a double. That really pissed me off.
He was too busy partying to bring me some essentials. He even had the nerve to ask for sex that day.
Damn that, I'm a virgin as far as he is concerned--never to part my legs again for him. I can become really mean when I am upset or dejected.
(In some part of my cold, dark heart, I am weeping silently)
But he has a lot of nerve not calling or even reading the damn blog that has ended up being about him lately.
(Maybe that was the problem and he just backed away)
Any suggestions on what I should do? Did I handle this the wrong way?
Maybe I should stop laughing now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My BF Doesn't Like My Blog

My BF doesn't like my blog. He won't speak with me about it at all. I urge him to go to the site and read and listen to some of the things that I have written but he won't. He won't assist me in any way and I am getting tired of his resistance.
Ya know, as a Chemist, he certainly acts close minded at times. He even gets upset when I am out-and-about or suggest we date other people. (He can date others but not I for some strange reason)
Well, I get the feeling all of this is about to end very soon. I'm in a Kiss-My-Grits kinda mood.