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Thursday, January 12, 2017
His Final Farewell... til the Next Greeting
Ethel C. Fenig
Before a wildly enthusiastic and adoring crowd of an estimated 14,000 supporters, many of whom waited in line for hours in the freezing, windy cold of a Chicago winter off the city's justifiably famed lakefront the preceding weekend for their free tickets, President Barack Hussein Obama (D) returned to the city where it all began for a farewell to his presidency.
How cold was it for those waiting in line for tickets? So cold -- 6 degrees above zero with a wind chill factor driving the uncomfortable index further down -- that even Chicago's notorious shooters stayed inside. The city suffered only one murder and five shootings, an exceptionally low number compared to the usually busy Chicago weekend murder spree. That's cold.
And of course, the event was free in the way Chicago government stuff is free; the city paid out a fortune in police overtime to direct traffic and guide and watch the crowds, who arrived before the doors opened although they were asked not to do so. But then, they're Democratic Obama supporters so rules don't matter.
While the tickets were free, just one ticket per person was available on a first-come, first-served basis, and so people arrived to Saturday's 8 a.m. ticket pick-up as early as 4 a.m., despite a White House announcement earlier this week that no one would be allowed to line up before 6 a.m. (Italics added.)
The first wave of people were able to wait inside, forming a line from the grand ballroom of the South building that snaked through the West building and finally outside, winding around the Hyatt Regency hotel. Those hoping to snatch a ticket exited cars stuck in traffic and raced through intersections, only to find that the line was so large that they were unsure where it began or ended.
The size of the crowd meant that, as early as 7 a.m., Chicago police were telling people who hadn't yet arrived to McCormick Place to save themselves from the frigid temperatures, as the tickets for the most part were spoken for.
But not all the tickets were free, for in the true free market, capitalist system, which even Democrats honor in the breech when it suits them, several of those waiting in line immediately offered the "free" tickets for sale on Craigslist and e-bay as soon as they grabbed a ticket.
Within hours of the 11 a.m. closing, tickets were popping up on the secondary market, including a pair of tickets that were being sold for $10,000 as of 1 p.m.
From the comments section:
2 Ticket listed on ebay: Buy it now: $10,000.00 Want to witness history? President Obama's final speech to the American People is this Tuesday at 8pm at McCormick Place, in Chicago, IL. You can be there. Must pick up in Chicago - No shipping. Hahaha!!
By Sunday, advertisements to auction dozens of the elusive tickets had sprouted up on secondary market websites like eBay and Craigslist asking for as much as $5,000 apiece.
Left unclear, however, was whether those tickets were legitimate or could be legally sold.
Steve Bernas, Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois president, strongly warned against buying tickets. Whether its tickets to a Cubs game or the musical "Hamilton," there are invariably reports of counterfeit tickets and other hoaxes, he said.
"Stay away from anyone selling these tickets," he said. "You don't know who these people are. It's different buying a couch on Craigslist. You can see the couch. ... There's no way to verify these tickets."
Though there were no complaints of fraud related to the Obama farewell as of Sunday, Bernas said generally people won't know they've been scammed until ushers stop them at the door. Bernas said it was unlikely police would pursue scalpers.
Because the police are so busy solving Chicago's murders -- less than 30% are ever solved -- going after scalpers for an Obama event wouldn't be prudent.
Fraudulent or not, after undergoing a thorough security check, all ticket holders were admitted. And, except for a few scattered shouts of "Pardon them now" by supporters of illegal aliens, there were no anti-Obama groups disrupting the liberal celebration, unlike Stalinist totalitarian liberals who feel it is their duty and right to disrupt everything they oppose -- check out the hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and the proposed multiple protests for president-elect Donald Trump's (R) inauguration.
But Chicagoans will be Chicagoans, an Obama appearance or not. A few hours prior to the event and while people were arriving there was a carjacking and holdup involving a gun not too far from the venue. Incidentally, Chicago has very strict-gun control laws but surprise, carjackers don't care about gun control laws.
Also, prior to Obama's appearance, in another major indignity for Chicago's Democratic-run hometown, Obama's former aide and now mayor (who I think is doing a fairly decent job considering the awful circumstances he has to deal with).
Emanuel asks credit ratings agency to back off ahead of latest round of borrowing
City Hall prepares to borrow $1.2 billion, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked a Wall Street debt ratings agency that's been highly critical of Chicago's finances to withdraw its evaluation of city creditworthiness, the administration disclosed Tuesday.
The mayor contends that the junk status placed on the city's debt by Moody's Investors Service drives up borrowing costs covered by taxpayers and does not reflect the steps he has taken to fix the city's finances.
"It has become increasingly clear that Moody's rating methodology and agenda are far from objective and independent," Emanuel wrote to Raymond McDaniel Jr., president and CEO of Moody's. The mayor asked Moody's to "withdraw all of its ratings on city of Chicago debt."
Asked if the company would do what Emanuel wants, Moody's spokesman David Jacobson did not directly answer, saying only that the company has a process for considering such requests.
So farewell, soon-to-be ex-president Obama. Sure, this farewell address won't be your final word but when you pipe up again it will be as a private citizen. An important one to be sure but still out of office.