The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Diaz murder suspect caught; extradition soon

The Chicago Sun-Times reported late yesterday that New Mexico authorities have arrested William Bahena, chief suspect in Tuesday's murder of Elva Diaz, and will extradite him back to Illinois next week:

Almost a year after he was arrested for violating an order of protection involving his girlfriend, a 31-year-old Near West Side man is accused of killing her, authorities said Friday.

On Sept. 10, 2007, Diaz obtained an emergency order of protection against Bahena.

On Christmas Day, he was arrested for allegedly violating the order of protection, but she declined to bring charges against him, court records show.

Elva's funeral is tomorrow; there is a visitation today at St. Gall's on the Southwest Side.

I need to mention another thing about this. A couple of Elva's friends have told me she died intestate, meaning she did not have a will. They specifically asked me to blog about the difficulty this is causing her kids, and I'm happy to do.

As an unmarried person with children (ages 12, 11, and 6), the distribution of her assets is straightforward, but her children have no access to those assets until the court can appoint an administrator. Five days after her death this hasn't yet happened. It could take weeks. Meanwhile, though her children are safe, they still need food and clothes, and it will take some time before the court can determine their permanent custody arrangements.

This isn't an appeal for grocery-store gift certificates (which, nonetheless, would help). Rather, I urge anyone with children to write a will.

As a law student, I drafted several wills for attorneys, and I can tell you they can be very, very simple documents. At the very least a will should dispose of all your property, nominate an executor to manage the dispostions, and recommend who should have custody of your children. Now, I don't know Illinois child-welfare law at all, so it's possible that had Elva died any other way than at the hand of her children's father, he would be the presumptive nominee for custody. (I think the order of protection against him might have overcome that presumption, and certainly murdering his children's mother would; but this is why you need an attorney, because it can get knotty. I also have to remind people that no one has been convicted of any crime relating to Elva's murder yet. I am merely discussing the possible legal ramifications of a scenario of unknown likelihood.)

But still, if the Public Guardian has a document saying "I nominate Aunt Mildred custodian of my children" then he has an idea of who's best for the kids. Further, if the will nominates a qualified executor, then the executor can make this happen as well--by representing the estate against the Public Guardian, if necessary.

Elva's death has affected a lot of people, including me, but most especially her children. Writing a minimal will takes half an hour, and a neighborhood attorney can do it inexpensively and efficiently. It can really help your kids at their worst hour should something happen to you.

First time in Chicago history

The Chicago Tribune today endorsed the Democratic candidate for President, for the first time in its 160-year history:

The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.

With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.

The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.

We see parallels today.

Possibly some of this has to do with Sam Zell, but possibly it has to do with the 45-year slide of the Republican Party into, well, whatever it's become today.

Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon passed my house in two directions this morning, going north from mile 5 to 6, and then south right around the 15 km mark. Here, running north through Lincoln Park, is the Kenyan team, with race winner Evans Cheruiyot third from left:

I didn't catch women's winner Lidiya Grigoryeva (she was well protected in the pack), but I did get Olympic gold medalist Constantina Dita (right) heading south on Clark Street.

The course temperature has hit 26°C again, making this year's race almost as hot as last year's.

Below: a runner crosses the 15k timer on Clark just north of Belden.

Below: The scene at Belden and Clark, in Lincoln Park, Chicago:

Found a note on my car

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, this Sunday, will box me in unless I have the foresight to park outside the race course before then. I'm not sure what to do about Parker, either; there are a couple of underpasses from where I live to the park, but it looks like from the time we wake up until about noon Sunday we're not going to go very far.

The weather should be really good, though possibly a little warm. Good luck, runners!

High-speed rail in the Midwest

Chicago is finally getting high-speed rail service:

The ambitious project proposed for the Midwest would cover 3,000 miles in nine states. All lines would radiate from a hub in downtown Chicago. The cost of a fully completed Midwest network is estimated at almost $8 billion.

Travel times of almost 5½ hours on Amtrak's route between Chicago and St. Louis would be cut to 3 hours and 49 minutes on a high-speed train, according to preliminary estimates.

In the past year, more than 501,000 rides were taken on Amtrak's Lincoln Service route between Chicago and St. Louis, a 284-mile trip, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. Some 1.2 million rides a year would be taken when the route is served by high-speed trains, according projections by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Imagine if we'd invested in this infrastructure five years ago, or even ten? Or forty years ago, as France did?

And the Alpha shall be Omega, bleat like a goat, and add another digit to the sign

I hope every Cub who failed to get a hit in the series gets fired.

I also hope TBS disappears in a puff of finance.

I am not happy at all, and my dog, who doesn't understand what 100 minutes looks like let alone 100 years, does not understand why I am yelling at my TV.

The best team in the NL just got swept by a team that didn't even have enough wins to make the wild card. Why? Who knows. Who cares. Fire the lot of them.

My only consolation is, we may have crappy sports teams, but the next President will be a Chicagoan.

Why I don't watch television

I'm forced to watch TBS while the Cubs are in the playoffs—at least until I'm forced to watch (shudder) Fox—so I'm seeing TV ads ("commercials" in the vernacular) as if anew.

Aside from the NLDS being brought to us by erections, I'm trying to wrap my mind around Gillette running ads in favor of their new 5-blade razor by trashing their existing 3-blade razor. I happen to use their 3-blade razor. I think I could probably make do with two blades, or even one; but seriously, five? And why trash your own product to sell your new product? (By the way, I hate all-Flash sites. I want steak, not sizzle, which I think makes me un-Mercun.)

And if I have to see one 60-something dude waggling his eyebrows at his wife again while another 60-something dude extols the virtues of hard-ons...that doesn't bollocks. That's almost enough to want the NLDS to end already.

Playing like Cubs

How is it that the team with the most wins in the league faces a team that ended four games over .500 and then falls apart? It's just sad. You'd think in a hundred years someone would figure out why the Cubs can't win the pennant.

It can't be October

Why? Because both the Cubs and the White Sox are still playing baseball. Chicago's minor-league team on the South Side won a 1-run game against Minnesota to clinch the American League Central Division last night to the total underwhelm of those of us who live north of Roosevelt Road. They now get to play the Tampa Bay Rays, starting tomorrow afternoon.

I have to concede there is some history here. The last time both teams played in the post-season, the Cubs beat the White Sox in the World Series—the 1906 World Series.

Tonight: Game 1 of the National Leage Division Series at Wrigley Field, 5:30 pm CDT. Eamus Catuli!

National League Division Series

The Cubs lost to Milwaukee today, giving Milwaukee the wild-card and the Cubs home-field advantage on Wednesday against the Dodgers. I'll miss a good hunk of the second game, as it's against the Vice-Presidential debate Thursday (unless they schedule a day game). I sincerely hope that the Dodgers play no better than they did all season (4 games above .500 at this writing; their final game is in progress), but of course the Cubs winning the division series at home on Tuesday wouldn't be too awful.