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The proud tradition of Illinois

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:23 pm

ChiTrib
In a sweeping victory for federal authorities, a jury convicted John Bills on Tuesday of all charges, finding that the former Chicago city official took up to $2 million in bribes and gifts in return for steering tens of millions of dollars in red light camera contracts to an Arizona company.
...
Asked if Bills' trial epitomized "the Chicago Way," Fardon said it was Bills' lawyer who introduced that theme and he would not expand on it.
...
The scheme was first exposed by the Tribune in 2012 — a fact noted by the only juror who spoke to reporters after the verdict.
...
Bills, 54, was charged with accepting lavish gifts, meals and hotel stays along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in a cash-for-cameras bribery scheme that grew Chicago's network into the most prolific ticket-writing machine in the nation.
...
Fardon's team presented evidence at trial that Bills met with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and then-Mayor Richard Daley as part of his efforts to help camera vendor Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., but prosecutors have never implicated any elected officials in the scheme.

They did offer evidence that Bills counseled company executives on which well-connected lobbyists to hire to court favor with Daley and Madigan. In addition, they say Bills ordered the admitted bagman in the conspiracy to use bribe money to contribute a total of $5,500 to Madigan's political war chest as well as to a nonprofit foundation supported by the mayor.

None of the politicians named nor any of the phalanx of connected lobbyists and political consultants hired by Redflex was ever called to testify. Among them were William Filan, Mark Fary, William Griffin, Michael Kasper and Greg Goldner.

Jurors heard from three admitted co-conspirators, including Bills' bagman and the ousted CEO of Redflex, who are both cooperating with federal authorities in exchange for leniency.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:27 pm

This should be available to non-subscribers:

The twisted saga of Chicago's red light cameras.

The TL;DR 3-pane summary:
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:22 pm

Chicago School Board sues:
The Chicago Board of Education is seeking $65 million in damages and penalties in a lawsuit against former Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett and her co-defendants in a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme.

"In plain terms, Defendants have stolen money from Plaintiff and the schoolchildren of the City of Chicago, and that money should be returned," the school board said in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Also named in the lawsuit is SUPES Academy, the firm that won more than $23 million in no-bid contracts from CPS while Byrd-Bennett was superintendent; SUPES owner Gary Solomon; and partner Thomas Vranas.

Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty in October to a single federal count of wire fraud. She faces up to about 7 1/2 years in federal prison. Byrd-Bennett is cooperating with prosecutors, and sentencing has been postponed until the charges against Solomon and Vranas are resolved.
...
In its lawsuit, the school board says the defendants "have used and are continuing to use public funds fraudulently obtained from Plaintiff to pay multiple law firms to defend them in their efforts to avoid the consequences of their wrongful conduct, to hire lawyers to insist that Defendants' ability to pay be kept secret from public scrutiny, and to provide sources of funds to pay criminal penalties as part of hoped-for concessions in plea agreements and sentencing," the lawsuit alleges.

One potential sticking point in talks over a plea deal had been the district's plan to seek restitution —Solomon and Vranas' attorneys have said that would conflict with mandatory restitution sought by prosecutors as part of any conviction.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Enough » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:16 pm

Wow, this is absolutely hardcore:
Jessica Soto, the daughter of state Rep. Cynthia Soto (D), and Bradley Fichter allegedly attacked failed House candidate Robert Zwolinksi outside his campaign office on March 6, according to the report. Zwolinski told the newspaper that Fichter held Zwolinski down while Soto stapled his head and screamed "this isn't your territory."

Police say the two assailants also hit Zwolinski with a bottle, according to the report.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Zarathud » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:21 pm

We warned the challenger running for state representative that he should have a second person when going door to door. Particularly since his opponent's mom lived two streets to the west.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jaymann » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:45 pm

Enough wrote:Wow, this is absolutely hardcore:
Jessica Soto, the daughter of state Rep. Cynthia Soto (D), and Bradley Fichter allegedly attacked failed House candidate Robert Zwolinksi outside his campaign office on March 6, according to the report. Zwolinski told the newspaper that Fichter held Zwolinski down while Soto stapled his head and screamed "this isn't your territory."

Police say the two assailants also hit Zwolinski with a bottle, according to the report.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by LawBeefaroni » Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:46 pm

Jaymann wrote:
Enough wrote:Wow, this is absolutely hardcore:
Jessica Soto, the daughter of state Rep. Cynthia Soto (D), and Bradley Fichter allegedly attacked failed House candidate Robert Zwolinksi outside his campaign office on March 6, according to the report. Zwolinski told the newspaper that Fichter held Zwolinski down while Soto stapled his head and screamed "this isn't your territory."

Police say the two assailants also hit Zwolinski with a bottle, according to the report.
They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue.
They bring a stapler, you bring a paper cutter...
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jaymann » Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:59 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Jaymann wrote:
Enough wrote:Wow, this is absolutely hardcore:
Jessica Soto, the daughter of state Rep. Cynthia Soto (D), and Bradley Fichter allegedly attacked failed House candidate Robert Zwolinksi outside his campaign office on March 6, according to the report. Zwolinski told the newspaper that Fichter held Zwolinski down while Soto stapled his head and screamed "this isn't your territory."

Police say the two assailants also hit Zwolinski with a bottle, according to the report.
They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue.
They bring a stapler, you bring a paper cutter...
:clap:
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:03 pm

SCOTUS
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dashed one of Rod Blagojevich’s last hopes to reduce his 14-year prison sentence by refusing to hear the former Illinois governor’s appeal of his remaining corruption convictions, including his attempt to sell an appointment to the vacant Senate seat once occupied by President Barack Obama.

In so doing, the justices let stand a July ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that the Chicago Democrat crossed the line when he sought money — usually campaign cash — in exchange for naming someone to fill Obama’s seat. The justices did not explain their decision.

The lower court had handed Blagojevich a largely symbolic victory by tossing five of his 18 convictions and said he should be resentenced on the 13 remaining counts. No resentencing date has been set, but it’s likely to happen this year. In its ruling last year, the 7th Circuit said that even with the dropped counts factored in, Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence may still be fair.
...
Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman said in a phone interview that there’s an outside chance the high court might consider a new request to hear the 59-year-old Blagojevich’s appeal after resentencing. He said that’s because one argument prosecutors made against the appeal being heard was that resentencing and other legal steps need to play out before the court should entertain the possibility of taking on the case.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Zarathud » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:28 pm

And Blagojevich's father -in-law, Dick Mell, just lost his re-election as the 33rd Ward Democratic committeeman by 62 votes to one of Rod's former defense attorneys.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:44 am

That's one nice political system you got there.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Zarathud » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:49 am

Texas and Louisiana just let their political crooks go free range. Here our choices are between incompetent and corrupt. At least my alderman can get shit done.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by coopasonic » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:57 am

In Texas our only options are probation or death penalty, so we have to choose carefully.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:48 pm

Boy shot in back by stray bullet after pleading in video for end to Chicago violence
Last year, 12-year-old Zarriel Trotter spoke out against the violence roiling his Chicago neighborhood.

“I don’t want to live around my community where I’ve got to keep on hearing and hearing: People keep on getting shot, people keep on getting killed,” Trotter said in a public service announcement about the effect of gun violence on the city’s black youth.

The video won an award, but gun violence in Chicago only got worse.

And on Friday, in a tragic and ironic twist, Trotter became one of its latest victims.

Trotter, now 13, was struck by a stray bullet Friday night while walking home after playing basketball, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was shot in the back, close to his spine, and remains in critical condition. No one else was injured, and there have been no arrests so far.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by El Guapo » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:51 pm

Awful.

Not, however, ironic.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu May 05, 2016 3:57 pm

History on the red light cameras from 2014:
Confronted with questions about a flurry of red light camera tickets stamped with yellow times below the 3-second minimum, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration said the fluctuation of hundredths of a second was normal — imperceptible to anyone behind the wheel of a car.

It turns out that fraction of a second makes a big difference to drivers and to the city's coffers.

The Emanuel administration on Friday acknowledged that it had changed the rules on what qualifies for a $100 ticket, quietly directing its new red light camera vendor to tag drivers even when the duration of a yellow light slips just below the 3-second standard set by the city.

The policy generated 77,000 more tickets and nearly $8 million in revenue for the city over the last six months.

Three days after facing Tribune questions about the short yellow lights, the administration just as quietly suspended the practice on Sept. 22. Called out weeks later by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, administration officials said they would end the practice for good but keep the money.
...
In July, a 10-month Tribune investigation exposed suspicious spikes in tickets at dozens of red light cameras around the city that national experts said were likely the result of faulty equipment or human tinkering.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:35 am

"The world is suffering more today from the good people who want to mind other men's business than it is from the bad people who are willing to let everybody look after their own individual affairs." - Clarence Darrow

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by malchior » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:12 pm

And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jeff V » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:13 pm

malchior wrote:
And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.
Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:14 pm

Jeff V wrote:
malchior wrote:
And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.
Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."
Or he considers students > union.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by El Guapo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:19 pm

Moliere wrote:
Jeff V wrote:
malchior wrote:
And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.
Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."
Or he considers students > union.
Conflating joining a strike as putting the union above students would necessarily mean that you couldn't have teachers unions.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:27 pm

Moliere wrote:
Jeff V wrote: Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."
Or he considers students > union.
How is that different from what Jeff V said?

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Max Peck » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:44 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Moliere wrote:
Jeff V wrote: Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."
Or he considers students > union.
How is that different from what Jeff V said?
An obvious difference (to me) would be that Jeff V's phrasing appears to disparage the coach while Moliere's seems to praise him.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jeff V » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:17 pm

Max Peck wrote: An obvious difference (to me) would be that Jeff V's phrasing appears to disparage the coach while Moliere's seems to praise him.
Not at all, he did what he felt he had to do, which was abandon the union. He should have zero expectation that the union he abandon would continue to support him, as he refused to do the same. My only problem was this:
And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.
Why should the union have done a damn thing differently?

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Max Peck » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:38 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Max Peck wrote: An obvious difference (to me) would be that Jeff V's phrasing appears to disparage the coach while Moliere's seems to praise him.
Not at all, he did what he felt he had to do, which was abandon the union. He should have zero expectation that the union he abandon would continue to support him, as he refused to do the same. My only problem was this:
And the Unions wonder why people are increasingly turning against them.
Why should the union have done a damn thing differently?
The phrase "It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."" came across as a little disparaging, appearing to imply that he wasn't bright enough to forsee the consequences of his action.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:37 pm

Max Peck wrote:
GreenGoo wrote:
Moliere wrote:
Jeff V wrote: Seems the chess club coach already turned against them, the expulsion being a formality. It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."
Or he considers students > union.
How is that different from what Jeff V said?
An obvious difference (to me) would be that Jeff V's phrasing appears to disparage the coach while Moliere's seems to praise him.
So, tone, in other words.

shrug.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by malchior » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:15 pm

Jeff V wrote:Why should the union have done a damn thing differently?
IMO this is pretty much a terrible case to defend the union. I'm not anti union entirely but I am getting there mostly due to how they wield their power. Especially teacher's unions in states like Illinois, new york, or New Jersey where they have political cover and take self interest to a silly end like in this case.

As i understand it they couldn't legally strike so they had this so called day of action and he crossed the nonexistent picket line...you know...because it wasn't a strike. For his part he allegedly tried to work with the union beforehand since the team had a National Chess Tournament coming up and he was prepping his team. They refused to budge. And I'll just throw out an aside that there are plenty of in-service days that the teacher body could skip to make a statement to management; but of course that wouldn't get them as much press which is all they care about. Instead they take it out on the students who are already failing in the first place. I happen to think that is pretty scummy.

Anyhow he ends up in the paper the next day for working through the 'strike' which embarasses the union for being shitty. Then they go on to win a National Championship again embarassing them with press mentions about how he worked through the strike. Allegedly they demanded a garnishment of that day's wages. And maybe as a peace offering he should have agreed but reading up on him he is pretty principled. So considering it lead to multiple stories about how a very successful teacher ended up getting punished for doing his damn job versus the shit heel union...I happen to think that probably wasn't the best hill to die on. Instead they easily could have rebuked him quietly.

Edit: Apparently was called a strike by all parties.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jeff V » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:53 pm

Max Peck wrote: The phrase "It seems he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "union."" came across as a little disparaging, appearing to imply that he wasn't bright enough to forsee the consequences of his action.
I don't know if he was or was not. A union serves one purpose: to be the single voice of a collective. It cannot abide by members acting contrary to their interests whenever they see fit. If the guy didn't see it coming, then yes, he was an idiot and does not apparently understand the prime function of his union. A union that can't wield the weight of its membership to achieve the wishes of the majority of members has no hand at all. While I'm not a fan of many unions, I can't fault them for acting in this manner in this particular case.

I would hope the guy did understand the consequences of his actions. CPS apparently doesn't understand the function of unions either, however,
CPS officials had a different opinion. They praised Ocol: “This is exactly the kind of professionalism that the Chicago Teachers Union should be holding up as a shining example of what it means to be committed to students.
The Teacher's Union raison d'etre is to be committed to teachers, period. Happy teachers will likely create a better student environment, but that is a side effect. Without the union, you'd probably see classrooms with 100 or more students, and that certainly isn't good for the kids.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Max Peck » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:21 pm

GreenGoo wrote:So, tone, in other words.

shrug.
Yup, with the caveat that such is my perception (and is not necessarily either's intention).
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Covenant72 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:32 pm

Image

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:46 am

Age to buy tobacco in Chicago increasing to 21 this week

Another group of "criminals" for the cops to roust instead of going after actual criminals. What could go wrong?
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by hepcat » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:52 am

On the one hand, I can understand your annoyance. On the other, I'm a former smoker who sees the upsides to making it harder for people to get started down that road.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Zarathud » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:05 am

The Chicago police have better things to do than look for underage smokers, but I have no problem with this law.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:13 am

hepcat wrote:the upsides to making it harder for people to get started down that road.
Pragmatic: Do you think this will stop anyone that wants to smoke? All they're doing is creating a larger black market for people to sell cigarettes. Remember Eric Garner? The cops were rousting him for selling illegal cigarettes.

Moral: WTF is the government doing telling 18, 19, and 20 year olds that they can't smoke? They can die in Iraq but can't smoke a cigarette or drink a beer? :evil:
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by hepcat » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:26 am

As I said, I can understand why this annoys you. Also, I never said it would stop everyone. Just make it harder. Sometimes that enough.

I think back on my days of smoking and I shudder to think about what I was doing to my lungs. So even though I understand why it comes across as hypocritical, as well as an example of too much governmental intervention in the minutiae of everyday life, I also can't help but see an upside.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:12 pm

Moliere wrote:
hepcat wrote:the upsides to making it harder for people to get started down that road.
Pragmatic: Do you think this will stop anyone that wants to smoke? All they're doing is creating a larger black market for people to sell cigarettes. Remember Eric Garner? The cops were rousting him for selling illegal cigarettes.

Moral: WTF is the government doing telling 18, 19, and 20 year olds that they can't smoke? They can die in Iraq but can't smoke a cigarette or drink a beer? :evil:
It's not about cops busting 19 year-olds smoking. It's about putting the pressure on stores that sell cigarettes. It's up to them to card and they face heavy fines if they don't. And trust me, the city does enforce this with older looking- minors who go in and try to buy. If you're cynical, it's just another revenue generator. If youre not, it's just the logical extension of the 18 age limit.



Also, any cigarette black market that exists is due to taxes, not age restrictions. This new law won't change the cigarette black market at all.
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Moliere
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Moliere » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:43 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:Also, any cigarette black market that exists is due to taxes, not age restrictions. This new law won't change the cigarette black market at all.
Really? You don't think 18, 19, and 20 year olds are not going to buy cigarettes on the black market? This age extension is a boon for illegal cigarette dealers. Hell, they probably lobbied for it.
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by Jeff V » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:52 pm

When we were kids, we just got our smokes from convenience stores who didn't give a crap, vending machines in bowling alleys, or in a pinch stole them from our parents. The idea of a "cigarette black market" was something I saw once in a movie.

Then again, back then my high school had student smoking sections.

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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by hepcat » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:21 pm

Jeff V wrote:When we were kids, we just got our smokes from convenience stores who didn't give a crap, vending machines in bowling alleys, or in a pinch stole them from our parents.
Was your nickname Ponyboy back then?
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Re: The proud tradition of Illinois

Post by tjg_marantz » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:22 pm

Moliere wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:Also, any cigarette black market that exists is due to taxes, not age restrictions. This new law won't change the cigarette black market at all.
Really? You don't think 18, 19, and 20 year olds are not going to buy cigarettes on the black market? This age extension is a boon for illegal cigarette dealers. Hell, they probably lobbied for it.
They will but he's right. Bootleg is about taxes.
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