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Privacy, please?

I was going to cackle at all the Iphone users whose precise locations are known to the databases in Cupertino, Cal.

However, I own an Android device (a Motorola Droid X, which is excellent, by the way), and I read that my locations are probably also known to Sergey Brin at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Cal.

I didn’t sign up to have my movements tracked and stored. Worse yet, the government now knows these databases exist. How long until the government talks Google into handing over the information.


A Common Thief … Too Common

Hackney’s on Harms celebrated St. Patrick’s Day the way you would expect a neighborhood restaurant owned by an Irish-Catholic family. They had an Irish band, Harp and Guinness on tap, corned beef, cabbage and all the expected fare.

They also got the Glenview Police involved and had them collar a 52-year-old woman, a former bookkeeper at the Harms Rd. location. Because she was in charge of making the nightly deposits and because inadequate controls were in  place, she was able to embezzle something to the tune of $186,000 from September 2008 until the restaurant caught on last fall.

It appears that the bookkeeper was pocketing cash from each day’s receipts and then writing a check from Hackney’s account to the bank to make up for the lost cash. It was a confusing scheme, and it’s a little surprising neither the bank nor Hackney’s caught on sooner.

That said, I know exactly how it feels to find someone in my own organization with his hand in the cookie jar. His scheme was doctored (or plain forged) receipts that went on his expense reports. This fraud totaled only a tenth of what Hackney’s experienced, but it was no less stinging. Family businesses rely on trust — sometimes too much — with employees.

We discovered this in January and I wonder why we didn’t catch on sooner. The problem is simple. The system of controls we have in place is inadequate. We’re a small business, and most employees are stretched thin. The company president approves the expense reports, but he only checks to be sure all the receipts are in the report and that the numbers match. He’s not spot-checking them for irregularities.

It was a brutal lesson for one man to learn when he came into the office to be informed he was fired. It could have been worse. Unlike the Masterson family who owns Hackney’s, we decided not to prosecute. (I use the word we to indicate it was discussed. Collectively we decided not to get police involved. I won’t tell you what my course of action would have been had it been my call.)

At least we learned our lesson, too. Right?

Don’t hire his lawyer

Poor Billy Gillespie. Today, he saw his two-year run as head coach of the Kentucky men’s basketball team end with an unceremonious firing, made worse by the athletic director crucifying him in a press conference.

This wasn’t your typical “we wish Billy well in what he does…”  This was about as harsh as you can get:

“There is a clear difference in how the rules and responsibilities of overseeing the program are viewed,” Barnhart said. “It is a gap that I do not believe can be solved just by winning games. It is a philosophical disparity that I do not think can be repaired when the chemistry is just not right.”

But that’s not the insult. No, the insult came thanks to when he couldn’t come to terms with Kentucky on anything other than a handhake agreement and a “memorandum of understanding.” Instead of a seven-year deal and a $6 million buyout, the university views it as a year-to-year deal. As for the buyout, well:


“Suffice it to say it will be less than that,” Barnhart said.

Billy Gillespie is a good coach, who will get a chance again somewhere else. Suffice to say, he’ll have a different agent.


In Elkhart, Indiana, a high school basketball coach was arrested for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license the night before his Elkhart Memorial team was set to take on Valparaiso in the Michigan City Regional Semifinals. He wasn’t bonded out of jail until after noon the next game, roughly the same time his team tipped off.

He made it there for the final few minutes of the Regional semis, which Memorial won, and then coached the Regional final, a loss to Munster, that night.

Later this week, it came out that coach Mark Barnhizer made it to the game via police car. The Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent asked the police department to get him to the game. Michigan City is a good 45-minute drive from Elkhart.

It’s troubling, but in some parts of Indiana, school districts are little more than minor league sports franchises that do classes on the side. The athletic director said that he didn’t want the actions of one ruin the season fdor the rest of the team. Interesting. Mark Barnhizer might or might not be guilty, but treating him as indispensable, especially when the stakes are just high school basketball, doesn’t exactly send the right message to students.

Meanwhile, last night in Peoria, North Lawndale Prep in Chicago was ready to tip off against Champaign Centennial in the Class 3A semifinals, when the officials — at the bequest of the IHSA Administrators — called a technical on North Lawndale Prep for a uniform violation. Centennial made the technical free throw, got the ball immediately after, and went on to win by 1.

North Lawndale has played with the same uniforms all year. Apparently, the vertical stripes on the jersey are too long, but not once all year was the team assessed with a technical foul. Tonight, North Lawndale wore the same jerseys in the third-place game, and was served a technical again.

This is the case where the mistakes of one (the AD, maybe) shouldn’t ruin it for the team.  It was an inadvertent mistake. An obscure rule. Let it go.

Or was the IHSA not too keen on having two Chicago Public League teams win state titles (Whitney Young, the Class 4A favorite, beat Waukegan tonight to win the 4A title)?


You know what’s wrong with the Illinois GOP? Guys like Gary Skoien. He adds very little to the debate (beyond his desire for power), brings little in terms of ideas, leaves good candidates (see: Jack Ryan) on their own, yet one-ups everyone with this latest for the archives.

Palatine Township Republican Committeeman Gary Skoien denies he was with two prostitutes when police say his wife attacked him early Sunday morning.

“No money was exchanged. Nobody was naked,” Skoien, 55, said. “I’m a politician. You think I’d call police if I weren’t afraid for my life?”

The account offered by Gary Skoien, who has not been charged with any crime in the incident, directly contradicts a report by Barrington-Inverness police.

According to the police report, Gary Skoien “told (police) that he did in fact have prostitutes with him in the playroom when his wife caught him.”

Skoien called the report “absolutely wrong” and said he was headed to the Barrington-Inverness police station Wednesday night to speak with the responding officer and fix the discrepancies.

Skoien wanted nothing to do with Jack Ryan when David Axelrod’s ex-colleagues at the Tribune had his sealed custody hearings records released. Thus, we got Alan Keyes.

Gary hosts for two “friends” (that maybe now take Visa or Mastercard), gets caught by his wife, who kicks the crap out of him, and he has nothing left to do deny.

Flush this guy out. If the Republican Party in Illinois is to save the state or the county (God knows the Dems are saving the state just like Neifi Perez saved the Cubs in 2005 and 2006  – they’re the group that thought Todd Stroger and Rod Blagojevich were the way to go), they need wholesale personnel changes. Skoien’s career is over. Flush him out. Only a few more left?

Good riddance.