Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interesting Article about Chicago's new Top Cop - From the "Examiner" newspaper 3/11/2011 Written by: Reporter Jim Kouri

Helping DSLC Spread the news on this one... See his original posting at

Newark Police Chief Garry McCarthy advises citizens to "hug a thug"

To create “racial reconciliation,” the city that protected an illegal immigrant child rapist who massacred three youths is offering its most violent criminals therapy, education and jobs in lieu of prison, according to a report on Friday by a non-partisan, public interest group that monitors political corruption.

Known as "hug-a-thug," the goal is to rehab vicious gangbangers with tender loving care rather than the harsh punishment that they probably deserve. The program has failed miserably in two cities -- Stockton, California and Cincinnati -- yet officials in Newark will launch it during March, according to Judicial Watch.

"Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy claims it’s the next step in the “evolution of policing” because its “proactive” instead of 'reactive,' whatever that means, according to Judicial Watch's analysis of a news story on

Director McCarthy also claims it will establish much-needed “racial reconciliation” in New Jersey’s largest city. The mayor asserts that the initiative is a “powerful new policing approach” that will fight crime.

"Currently, we are locking up hundreds and hundreds of people who are involved in gangs," Newark Mayor Cory Booker said. "Young men are going in and out of prisons and we, as a community, are not doing nearly enough to break this cycle of recidivism, which is consuming the lives of too many who are caught up in this dangerous lifestyle -- and doing horrible collateral damage to Newark.”

Here is how the new program will work; authorities will invite street gangs and drug dealers to meetings with community leaders and law enforcement officials who will “implore” them to stop violent acts in exchange for job offers and “other assistance.” Those who don’t agree will receive a stern warning that their group will be dismantled “by any means necessary.”

A sanctuary for illegal immigrants, Newark made worldwide headlines a few years ago for shielding an illegal immigrant gang-banger who murdered, execution-style, three college-bound students in a schoolyard.

A fourth student survived but was seriously wounded by the gunman. The assailant, a Peruvian national named Jose Carranza, had a lengthy record when he committed the gruesome crimes but the city’s sanctuary policies protected him from deportation.

Carranza had been arrested on various occasions and had been indicted on more than 30 counts of child abuse, aggravated sexual assault of a child and weapons violations. Yet he was free on a $150,000 bond when he shot the four youths at a schoolyard in 2007 because the Newark Police Department has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when it comes to inquiring about a defendant’s immigration status.

A few months later the city was embroiled in a separate scandal involving longtime Mayor Sharpe James (72-years old and married) who got convicted of corruption for getting his young mistress heavily discounted public property that she later sold for large profits.

About the author of this article:Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for and New Media Alliance ( In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB ( Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations.

He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some Chicago Schools Ban...the deadly...HOMEMADE LUNCHES!

What's next?  Soon parents won't be able to make any choices or decisions for their children.  As President Ronald Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help." 

A Little Village Academy student cringes at an enchilada dish served at his school. Many students throw away their entrees uneaten and say they would rather bring food from home. The school, though, does not allow students to bring in their own lunches, unless they have a medical condition or a food allergy.

Students who attend Chicago's Little Village Academy public school get nothing but nutritional tough love during their lunch period each day. The students can either eat the cafeteria food--or go hungry. Only students with allergies are allowed to bring a homemade lunch to school, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," principal Elsa Carmona told the paper of the years-old policy. "It's about ... the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke."

But students said they would rather bring their own lunch to school in the time-honored tradition of the brown paper bag. "They're afraid that we'll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won't be as good as what they give us at school," student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. "It's really lame."

The story has attracted hundreds of comments so far. One commenter, who says her children attend a different Chicago public school, writes, "I can accept if they want to ban soda, but to tell me I can't send a lunch with my child. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????"

For parents whose kids do not qualify for free or reduced price school lunches, the $2.25 daily cafeteria price can also tally more than a homemade lunch. "We don't spend anywhere close to that on my son's daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk," Northwestern education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach told the paper in an email. She told The Lookout parents at her child's public school would be upset if they tried to ban homemade lunches.

"I think that lots of parents at least at my child's school do think that what they pack is more nutritious [than school lunches]," she said. A Chicago public school teacher started a blog to protest the city's school lunches, and last year the schools tightened their nutrition standards for cafeteria-served school lunches. Every lunch must contain whole grains, only reduced-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise are offered as condiments, and the meals must feature a different vegetable each day. Meal providers also must reduce sodium content by 5 percent annually. About 86 percent of the district's students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches because their families live close to the poverty line.

Change in Chicago's school cafeterias feeds into a larger effort to combat the country's childhood obesity epidemic. About a third of America's kids are overweight or obese, and since children consume at least 30 percent of their calories while in school, making lunches healthier is seen as one way to counter that problem. Poorer kids are also more likely to be obese or overweight than middle class kids, and to consume a bigger proportion of their calories while at school. Forty-four percent of American kids living below the poverty line are obese or overweight, according to a 2010 study published in Health Affairs.

While we haven't been able to track down another school that bans homemade lunches outright, many smaller food battles have been playing out in cafeterias across the country. As principals try to counter obesity in their schools, healthy intentions can come across as overreach, occasionally sparking parent and student anger.

Alabama parents protested a school's rule that barred students from bringing any drinks from home, as ice water was provided at lunch. East Syracuse, New York schools have outlawed cupcakes and other desserts. And schools around the country have kicked out chocolate milk and soda vending machines. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin even showed up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with dozens of cookies to express her disdain for a debate in the state about recommending teachers limit the number of times per month the sugary treats are eaten in classroom birthday celebrations.

Tucson, Arizona's Children's Success Academy allows home-packed lunches--but only if nothing in them contains white flour, refined sugar, or other "processed" foods, the Arizona Republic reported in a story last year. The school has no cafeteria, so some parents told the paper they struggled to find foods to pack that meet the restrictions. Many schools ban fast food or other take-out meals.

Soon, cafeteria offerings across the country will all be healthier, whether students like it or not. Last year's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, calls for higher nutritional standards to serve the 32 million kids who eat lunch every day at school (most of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunches through a federal government program). For the first time, the USDA will set calorie limits for school lunches, and will recommend they contain more vegetables and whole grains, and less salt, USA Today reports. French fries should be replaced by vegetables and fruit, the guidelines say.

The bill also calls for stricter food safety checks on cafeteria food.
(UPDATE: An earlier version of this story was illustrated by an AP photo of a student's lunch in Gleed, Washington, which was labelled as such but some readers complained was misleading. To see a photo of a sample lunch served at Chicago's Little Village Academy, click here.)

The rest of the story...I PUT OUT

It was brought to my attention that shortly after the incident explained below, a teacher explained to the mom why her daughter was required to turn her shirt inside-out.  Mom's claim was that she had no idea what the shirt meant (regardless of the fact that wearing shirts with writing on it is not part of the school uniform anyway). So, for clarification, the teacher explained what "I put out" means to mom...Her next reaction...she had NO idea that that was the meaning of that phrase and they get so many free t-shirts anyway, she didn't even think about what was on there. 

Who else hears the B.S. meter ringing loudly on this one?

Original Post:
I PUT OUT...was on the t-shirt the fourth grade girl wore to school.  As I walked down the hallway, my mouth was agape as I read the words stretched across the front of the child's shirt.  I quickly mentioned this to a colleague of mine only to be told that this girl was her student.  The mother, a very active member of our school community, was in the school as well that morning but said and did nothing.  This shouldn't surprise me anymore, but it still does.  My colleague told the girl she must  turn the shirt inside out because it was inappropriate and could not be worn in school.  Without much protest, the girl did so before going into the classroom that morning...

I don't know if it began with Bill Clinton, but he certainly played a huge part in the crumbling of our morality once he said it all depends on what the definition of is is and the majority of the country accepted his outrageous lies and behavior! I know he was not the first to have a sex scandal and he definitely was not the last...just look in the last few months we have Arnold Shwarzenegger and now the latest in low-life deviant behavior with Anthony Weiner.  These people with power are arrogant and in our faces.  They apologize on camera and the only thing they are really sorry for is that they actually got caught.   As the people for whom these politicians work, we should be demanding that they leave office and not by resigning.  They should be fired!  We as Americans need to show our  outrage.  I know many of us are, but that's not what is being reported on the news.

Day after day I have to remind our young children on such things as modesty and having respect for oneself.  I see 10-12 year olds wearing clothes that leave nothing to the imagination. In some cases, I have to tell them to cover themselves up.  They look at me as if I just came out of a cave.

If people in authority and with power don't take their vows seriously, don't take their oaths seriously, and know there are no consequences for their actions, it's no wonder the kids today have the same attitude. 

As for the girl with the t-shirt...I feel sorry for her...whether she knows what "I put out" means or not, where is the adult supervision?  Who is there to  tell her that she is making a reputation for herself with advertising like that?  Who is there to tell her NO.  Who is going to be responsible? 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sale Prices Extended and There are 5 Days Left for a Chance to WIN!

Great summer reading!  Happy, Uplifting, Authentic!!
There is still time to enjoy great sale prices and be entered for a chance to win! 
(Click on the icons on the right to place an order! Thanks)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Knock, Knock...Who's There??? It's YOUR TEACHER! (Give me a break!)

CPS doesn't want to have its citizens of Chicago focusing on the real issue at hand...

With one hand, the Chicago Board of Education had NO PROBLEM rescinding a contractual 4% raise for its school teachers while wanting teachers to work more days with no extra pay (because we all have to sacrifice). 

While with the other hand, the same Chicago Board of Education voted for their top executives to get substantial raises (one of which was an increase of over $40,000).  The same mayor who believes teachers should do more for less, stated that these executives will have more responsibilities and therefore agreed that they deserve more pay. 

While that is the real issue at hand, yesterday the new CEO stated that he'd like to see more school days added to the calendar and see teachers make house calls to the students and parents. That would be one more hat the teachers have to wear.
We already have the following:

The"chef" hat insuring students get breakfast and lunch at school,

the "nurse" hat since this coming year we will be expected to administer the Epi-pen if students have an allergic reaction to something (for example, the food that they're getting),
 the "doctor" hat when expected to make recommendations about students who need eyeglasses,

the "babysitting" hat because they want the schools opened longer but not necessarily for learning during those hours,

the "teacher" hat (if you're lucky to wear that for part of the day),

and now the "social worker" hat being expected to make house calls. 

To quote the news article, "Brizard, speaking at a news conference with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, suggested CPS teachers and staff should be assigned home visits in an attempt to get public school parents more involved in their children's education."  How about those same parents coming to school for Parent-Teacher conferences, sitting down and making sure their children's homework is being done each night, making sure they are getting food and sleep and discipline when necessary.  Those parents that do all those things don't need teachers to come to their home because they are already involved in their children's life.  Those that don't need to start being parents first to their children and let the teachers do their job and EDUCATE them.

Now I think I'll go enjoy my hard-earned non-paid summer vacation!
Click the link to read newspaper article in its entirety.  Brizard: CPS Teachers Should Make Home Visits

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Problem starts at the top...CPS Execs Found Money for Their Own Raises?!

As I said in yesterday's blog, the problem is NOT the teachers, it's the system..
And the problem starts at the top!

Here's proof!  Not only are they trying to give themselves raises, but they don't have to follow the same rules as the "little people". 

Where is their sacrifice in these tough economic times? Oh yeah...they sacrificed their teachers!

Newly installed Chicago School Board members Wednesday will be asked to approve six-figure salaries for new Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and four other new top executives that represent raises over what their predecessors were paid.

The vote on whether to boost executive Chicago Public School salaries comes only a week after the same board members, in their first official action, found the deficit-ridden system did not have enough money to pay for 4 percent raises to teachers and other unionized school workers worth $100 million.
School Board President David Vitale said the new salaries were recommended by board staff based on a combination of factors including enhanced responsibilities, what prior employees were paid, and competitiveness.

“The due diligence done on all these things suggests these salaries are appropriate within the context of all that,’’ Vitale said.

Some were skeptical.

“It’s not a good way to start a new administration when you elevate the salary level of a lot of administrators and tell the teachers they cannot get raises without putting a plan on the table for higher performance,’’ said Andy Shaw, president of the Better Government Association.

“People who take over a struggling school system ought to implement some positive changes before they are paid higher salaries [than their predecessors]. You could argue previous salaries were too high because the performance level of the schools was dismal,’’ Shaw said.

“This will only further incense teachers.’’

Brizard’s base salary of $250,000 is $20,000 more than predecessor Ron Huberman made before taking furlough days; more than the $213,000 drawn by the New York City Schools Chancellor, and more than any other city executive — including Mayor Rahm Emanuel — except for New Police Chief Garry McCarthy.

However, among the nation’s five other big-city districts, it is also less than the superintendent salaries in Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas’ Clark County. Brizard has said he also expects to be allowed bonuses tied to district performance in a new contract up for a board vote Wednesday.
CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley is due for a $215,000 salary, up from his predecessor’s $179,167, and Chief CPS Communications Officer Becky Carroll is in line for a base of $165,000 — up from her predecessor’s $130,383 and higher than the base salary of mayoral communications chief Christine Mather, who is taking home $162,492.

However, Vitale said Cawley will oversee eight departments, compared to his predecessor’s four. Carroll said she expects to also be in charge of internal and external communications as well as media.
New Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso’s $195,000 is up only slightly from her predecessor Barbara Eason-Watkins $192,850. New chief of staff Andrea Saenz is to be paid $165,000, compared to $116,000 of her predecessor. However, Vitale noted that back in 2009, the post carried a base salary of more than $163,700.

Also Wednesday, board members will be asked to give Cawley a two-year, rather than the traditional six-month, extension to move into the city to meet residency requirements. Cawley is a Winnetka resident and he and his wife would like their daughter, adopted a year ago from the Ukraine, to finish seventh and eighth grade in the suburbs before the family uproots and moves to Chicago, Carroll said.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Police, then Firemen, now Teachers...Oh My!

"The city that works" to continuously punish those who contribute the most to this city is at it again.  Not too long ago, the police department was the target, then the firefighters, and now it's the teachers.  All of a sudden it is the teachers who "gave the students the shaft".  Well, I am here to dispel some myths and impart some truths...

The Myth...

Teachers in the Chicago Public Schools  GET a 10-week paid summer vacation.

The Truth...

Teachers in the Chicago Public Schools do NOT get a 10 week paid summer vacation.

The Board of Education  keeps part of our salary for the 10 1/2 months we work; they get the interest and make money on our money and then "ever-so-kindly" give us OUR money that we already earned back during our time off. We don't get paid when we don't work, just like anyone else.  But unlike others, we have to wait to get our hard-earned money that was held hostage throughout the school year.

The Myth...

CPS has the shortest school day and we need to extend the day to get in all the instructional minutes.

The Truth...

Mandatory breakfast has arrived this year in full force at CPS which takes place during the first class period.  It used to be students could come to school 15 minutes early and "eat for free", but now they don't even has to make that effort to come early to get breakfast.  EVERYONE  gets a "free" breakfast now on their way to class.  So, instead of teaching reading for a full class period, we are now spending at least 20 of those minutes with the students eating/wasting breakfast food in the classroom.  If we were allowed to teach during instructional time, we'd have enough minutes. If we weren't wasting so much money, in this case in the form of food, we would be able to get our contractual raise.

The Myth...

The students need to be in school for longer days and a longer school year, so they can be safe.

The Truth...

It's true but unfortunate that many children today do not value human life or the rights of their fellow man.    Many of the "student-related" crimes happen at night or on the weekends.  We can increase the school day/year as much as you want, but the fact of the matter remains...if someone is going to do someone harm, they will find a way.  Unless we keep the students "locked in 24/7"   (which is the job of the prisons, not the teachers) they will have the opportunity to do harm if that is their intent.

In the end,  the teachers' goals are that the children are learning at least the basics..reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Unfortunately, they also learn..

ü  Dependency on "the system" from a very young age.

ü  Self-Esteem is great...Self-reliance is out along with self-respect.

ü  Schools/teachers are given more responsibilities than their own parents.

It is not the teachers who are giving our students the shaft;
it's the system.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

For Father's Day...

I posted this last month, but being Father's Day Weekend, I thought it was appropriate to reprint it! Happy Father's Day !

My Grandpa's Hands...

I was blest with a wonderful grandfather who was truly the inspiration for my book and I was thinking that who he was can best be described by his hands...

When he was just a teen, Grandpa was in WWII. As a Veteran his hands were that of a survivor, his hands were protecting, his hands were American.

When he had his own business and used his jeweler hands, my grandfather was artistic, creative, and delicate;

When Grandpa was at home using his farmer hands, they were hard-working and strong;

When it was time for his golfer hands (and he loved those hands) they were gripping , focused, and determined;

As a family man, Grandpa's hands were always loving, dedicated, and generous;

Once he became a grandfather his hands were supporting, comforting, and fun;

And when he used his DING DONG hands (my favorite) they were truly caring, silly, one of a kind, and always Young at Heart!

Lisa Tortorello 5/2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

And the Winners are...

Thanks to all who participated in my Goodreads Book Giveaway at  An amazing 704 people entered the contest!  The lucky winners are Catrina Dickens and Tracy Kyle! 

Anyone interested in more information on my book can check out my website by  Clicking HERE! 

You may purchase a book by using the links at the side of this page or via my website as well.

Thanks again to all who entered!

Lisa Tortorello

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thank You!

I was just wrapping up my book signing as the storms rolled through yesterday.  It was nice that the weather held out for most of the day.  The book signing went very well and I met some very nice people.  I also saw some people that I haven't seen in about bringing back childhood memories!  Thanks to all who came and supported me!  I would also like to give a BIG thank you to Emily, the manager at Borders who was very professional and accomodating. And the biggest thanks to my husband Charlie, my biggest advocate and fan, for all the work he does to support me!

Borders in Highland, IN


What wonderful neighbors they were when I was growing up!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

TODAY! Book Signing at Borders in Highland, IN ~ Stop by if you can!

I hope to see you there!  If you can't make it, be sure to check out my website.  You can always purchase an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of my book via PayPal or the US Mail...just click on the links to the right!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get Out of the Kitchen...Please!

I am a true believer that we must look at ourselves and focus on our strengths and be aware of our weaknesses.  The older I get the more comfortable I am in my shoes.  For years, the motto in our house has been Whatever needs to be done, just do it.  If my  husband or I didn't feel like "just doing it" at the moment, we knew sooner or later (usually sooner), one of us would take care of it.  This works in all aspects of our life except cooking!  One could only wait so long before needing another meal.

Since we were married, I always quipped about how I am NOT the cook in our house.  Over the years that has become a very important fact not just my humble opinion.  Luckily, my husband came into our marriage very well prepared!  I thank my mother-in-law all the time for "bringin' him up right"!  When we got married, my husband already knew how to clean, do laundry, make a bed, and yes COOK! 

For someone who likes to eat as much as I  do, one would think cooking would be an exciting, creative, fun task, but for the life of me I just can't get enthusiastic about it.  When not in the kitchen I am a very organized person and I love math but the idea of getting everything hot at the same time, measuring ingredients, following directions...oy vey...just goes right out the window.  I'd rather wash dishes afterwards because the whole process is much easier...If it's dirty, clean it.

I am very lucky that my husband, not only does the cooking, but he is so good at it!  I figure, why mess with perfection!

In 22 years of marriage I have mastered the art of four meals....Italian-style breaded steak, bacon double cheeseburgers, reservations, and delivery. 

It's no wonder that the sign over my computer reads...

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"What is human life?

...The first third a good time; the rest remembering about it." Mark Twain

With Father's Day fast approaching I thought I'd give you a sneak-peak into my book.  For those who love to read, love family, and love life, this could be just what the doctor ordered for some summertime reading!


I awoke in the darkness listening to the sound of a jack hammer. After a few moments, I realized it was me, the jack hammer, my heart. Fear engulfed me and I remained still wondering why my heart was pounding so heavily in my ears. Where was I? The room was dark, and except for the throbbing of my heart, silence ensued. I felt beads of sweat running down the sides of my forehead, but I dared not move my head. As I shifted my eyes to the left then to the right, shadows began to form. It was only then that I realized where I was …

As my eyes focused further, I saw my husband Charlie lying beside me. Only then did the jack hammer in my ears begin to subside. We were still on vacation at my in-laws’ house. Realizing that and seeing my husband beside me relaxed me enough to begin piecing together the very thoughts that had awoken me.

In the middle of the night, most people wish to be able to sleep soundly; I was now thrilled to be wide awake. Details started flashing in my mind, and I didn’t like what my mind’s eye was revealing. Morning couldn’t come fast enough now, for in the light of day all things looked better, didn’t they? A dream, that’s what it was, right? Actually, it was more like a nightmare. Realizing it as such, I tried to go back to sleep, but to no avail. No matter how long I lay there, I couldn’t get the chilling thoughts out of my mind. The daunting part was that this nightmare seemed so real. So real, in fact, that before I knew it, I would consider this nightmare a vision.

In this vision, I was having a conversation with my grandfather. Instantly, I saw him standing near me, talking. Ironically, I’ve had millions of conversations with him over the years ranging from light banter to profoundly deep, but none as foretelling as this one. In this revelation, my grandfather was explaining to me that he was going to die. Even now this thought makes me shudder. To say he was going to die was certainly out of character for him. My grandfather loved life, and death was very rarely ever discussed. He survived WWII and knew how precious life was. Another flash and I see Grandpa speaking to his father. Now I was truly perplexed, seeing as my great-grandfather had died some years before. Their conversation continued, discussing how important it was that "the others" did not fight after grandpa died like they had when my great-grandfather passed away. From memories past, I figured out "the others" referred to my grandpa’s sisters and brother who caused Grandpa great agony after their father’s death.

In the next instant, Grandpa was speaking to me again, reassuring me that, even though he had to die, things would be okay. This inimitable nightmare seemed endless, but finally I was able to calm myself down recognizing it for what it was—a horrible dream—or was it?

For more about the book "My Hero, My Ding" Click HERE! or look at the side panels for more details and options.

Remember my book and audio CD are on sale between now and Father's Day.  And if you buy before July 1st you can win a FREE Kindle reader.