Well, the Democratic primary is coming up here in Chicago in a couple of weeks. That means it's time for us to revisit our favorite local politico, MWRD head honcho Terry O'Brien. (Q. How can you tell when Terry O'Brien is lying? A. His lips are moving!!!!!) For you non-Chicagoans, MWRD stands for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
You may recall from prior posts that Lyin' O'Brien is the hamster brain who came up with the brilliant idea that Chicago-area birders were in cahoots with Al Qaeda in some sort of plot to do something to Chicago's precious supply of sewage sludge. Yes, sewage sludge. Birders know that smell better than anyone. When you stand next to it, it just plain stinks; the smell gets into your nostrils and sometimes you can't get it out for hours, you feel sick to your stomach, and you try to get away from the smell as soon as you can. But enough about Terry O'Brien, let's go back to the sludge for a minute.
So, Lyin' O'Brien and his favorite puppet, Jackass Farnan, apparently feel that Osama bird Laden and the local Audubon groups have some sort of nefarious plot to attack Chicago's local sewage sludge facilities. (Q. How can you tell when Terry O'Brien is lying to you? A. Jack Farnan's lips are moving!!!) I'm sure you must have seen bird Laden's latest tape, where he said: "Death to America, accept my offer of truce or I shall send my armies to reign hell down upon your land, specifically the sludge pits on 130th Street where my binocular-toting colleagues in evil will assist me!" Or something like that.
Anyway, it's not clear if us evil birders are supposed to steal the sludge, blow it up, or simply contaminate it so that it is no longer the crystal-clear, 100% pure substance that usually comes out of Chicago's sewer system. And of course, if, God forbid, someone does contaminate Chicago's precious supply of sewage sludge, where would we go to get more???? I guess generally increasing security at the 130th Street facility isn't a horrible idea, and now that they've got the birder crime wave under control, maybe they can try to keep an eye out for the folks that dumped that bullet-riddled body along the road that runs just behind the back fence of the facility????
So yeah, we here at BINAC are a little pissed at the MWRD. Birders had been given access to the 130th Street sludge pit for years until Sack Farnan got his lil' ol' self appointed to be Grand Poobah of some national committee, I can't remember the name, I think it was called "Sludgers Hate Ignorant Terrorists."
Anyway, once Sack decided that the citizens of Chicago (and their shit) had to be protected against birders, he did three things, in this order: 1) He refused to allow birders into the pits. 2) He concreted over the pits that had been the best shorebird spots over the last ten years, including one pit that had hosted a number of unusual breeding species (a few of those species were designated as "endangered" in Illinois); and 3) He finally decided to REPAIR THE HOLES IN THE FUCKING FENCE that the local kids has been using to ride their bicycles into the pits. (Still nothing about the bodies being dumped behind the back fence, though. Priorities, priorities.)
So, as you can see, there is just a wee bit of doubt about the motives behind this security crackdown. If there are no birders checking out the sludge pits, there's no one to complain about the habitat that the MWRD destroyed.
Even worse, more than one of the MWRD commissioners indicated to the birding community that they would be happy to allow birders back into the facility, as long as the birders would agree to some minor inconveniences, like having their vehicles searched, or giving the MWRD notice of who would be seeking to enter the facility a few days in advance, so the MWRD could, if it so desired, run a security check on those crazy birders. Of course, Lyin' Jackass didn't like this idea, despite the fact that the proposal to allow birders back into the facility would have subjected birders to stricter security checks than MWRD employees, or the dozens of outside contractors that are employed by the MWRD every day.
But the straw that broke this birder's back was when Lyin' O'Brien promised that the restrictions were only temporary, due to 9/11, and that things would be back to normal after a year or two. Again, with the lips moving thing. Despite the fact that nearly five years have passed since 9/11 without a single attack on any of our great nation's high-security human biosolids waste processing facilities (ie shit pits), birders are still locked out of all MWRD facilities. Even the ones that don't contain high-value sludge and sludge byproducts.