Sunday, October 31, 2004

Vote 2004

We have two disappointing presidential candidates to vote for Tuesday in my opinion and many of my friends. I’ll vote for George as the lesser of two unqualified people to guide our nation thru these times of so much conflict and controversy. But I am a long way from being a happy camper and the third or fourth parties are no consolation. George and his insiders have caused a lot of stress on this nation but I believe the two Johns would cause a lot more stress on most of us. No point in debating each ones strengths and weaknesses, they certainly have many of each and these attributes or weaknesses have been thoroughly exploited.

No matter who wins this election, both parties are going to have to do some serious soul searching and make some major changes in their Central Committees. However, there are many others who should take some of the responsibility for the nation being so distrustful of each other and so divided. Some of the one issue voters should be ashamed of themselves. Instead of seeking solutions, they wish to cast stones. Uninformed people lack shame because in their ignorance they believe themselves to be right. Most people are so wrapped up in themselves and their cell phones and TV’s that they have no time to study what the real situations are in their own community or in their own country let alone what happening in the real world.

I made a lot of phone calls supporting an incumbent candidate the last three nights and had a quite receptive response when I stated the candidates name, party and position he was seeking to continue to hold. Still, a couple of people hung up before I got to the fourth word and one guy said “tell me who you are and I’ll decide whether I want to talk to or not”. Otherwise out of 190 households who were around to personally answer the phone, most were quite polite. Unfortunately, not many questions were asked about the candidate’s background and why he deserved to be reelected. Not many were interested in whether he was a team player, most questioned what party he represented. I know people believe they can determine a person’s ability by the party they represent. The predominant feeling is that if you belong to a party vote a straight ticket. Thinking people often question the candidate. Those who follow party lines without question would not prevent another Hitler from taking power.

Yes, we are divided, opinionated or no opinion at all, sometimes only one issue matters to the voter, but by working reasonably well together and by preventing too many bloated bureaucracies to run our lives, we have had large measure of success since July 4, 1776. We are a material nation and greed and envy cause many of the have-nots to look for a socialist government. That we are becoming more socialist should be of great concern to those of us who do honest labor for our needs. Many of the wealthy and famous become materialist and arrogant and disregard the opinions of others.

This country is in need of a great and good leader, one who can get elected and we need him or her soon. Unfortunately, in my opinion, neither Hillary nor Arnold measures up for 2008. That does not necessarily spell doom and gloom for the next eight years as we are still probably the most democratic country in the world.

We seek people to run for office who are intelligent, flexible, reliable, have an ability to communicate, who respect themselves and others and who accept the responsibility of the office. Unfortunately the media will look for any mistake the candidate ever made, then if they do not like that candidate they will use their power to try to demean the person. This prevents and has prevented many potentially great leaders from ever seeking office. While we know that all people will make mistakes as they are human, never underestimate the power of people who buy paper by the carload and ink by the barrel. However, to not acknowledge a serious mistake before running for office is also not a divine right!!

Many millions of people have died and suffered to give you at least a chance to vote. That your choices are limited at this point does not matter. Vote to the best of your knowledge believing you are supporting the right candidates for this countries future.

Social Promotion and Voc/Tech

Social promotion was practiced when I taught many years ago. Since I taught in a totally different environment, it was understood that most of these kids who could never stay up with their class, would wind up working for some factory, as a farmhand, truck driver, railroad hand or something that required few basic skills so it was of no great concern to the community when these slow or “I don’t care” learners were graduated with their peers. Back then almost everyone who wanted to work could work. Back then, materialism wasn’t a student’s main goal.

Today, I believe anyone who is physically capable, can still work. However, jobs that require few skills for the most part will pay less than a living wage and are subject to outsourcing. Society and the job market has been changing ever since I was a teacher. Once a person arrives in the position of having to work to earn a living or support a family, only then do the poorly educated realize they must learn all kinds of skills including responsibility. For many, it will be too late as jobs will be going to those most prepared and capable. Often times this means immigrants that are seeking employment and will work for less money will be taking jobs that in older days went to those who where born in the community.

The secondary schools have not fully adjusted to the progress being made in technology.
Many of the kids interested in being educated to participate in this new technological age are not challenged. Many will reach college or the job market only to find that their secondary schools did not prepare them for the challenge.

Some in the classroom still think that they will get a job no matter how poorly they are prepared. When these dropouts or unqualified kids find they can’t find a living wage job in today’s world, they develop a hatred of those around them that are working and envy their successes. (Look at the uneducated in the Middle East) Many will make the smart decision to further their education in fields where there are demands for skilled labor. But much time will have been lost and they will need to catch up with not only their own countrymen but with the advancing world citizenry. Human resources always are usually guided by the law of supply and demand. And the supply outside the U.S. is growing daily. One only has to look at our outsourcing problems to realize many people will do good work for less all over the world.

Some kids do not accept the fact that no matter the surroundings or culture in which they were conceived and the environment in which they grew up, they themselves are the only ones responsible for making a contribution to society and receiving earnings equivalent to there contribution.

Figures show that the most inmates in prison in Tazewell County and in the Juvenile Detention and Peoria County jails are kids that never learned any basic skills to contribute to society. These inmates believe others have caused their inabilities to make it on their own. Many of the poor blame the system (everyone but themselves) instead of their own attitudes and their lack of acceptance of education. But our own public schools must bear some of the blame for their failures. The failure to recognize that all humans learn best when they are interested in the subject!! As a kid on the farm we knew you could “lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Only when it was thirsty would it drink!

So what to do in our own community? The answers are not as difficult as we make them.
If kids feel basic knowledge is not important, they will not accept the traditional curriculums. If they know the teacher is weak, they will exploit the teacher until the teacher either gives up or ignores them. It’s the schools responsibility to hire teachers who can keep discipline in the classroom and still teach. It is the schools responsibility to promote to principal ship, those who will support their good teachers, and can calm the parents and get their cooperation. It is the principals responsibility to have teachers removed from classrooms they cannot handle the classroom environment. It is the schools responsibility to direct resources to non-traditional curriculums.

Where does the money come from to expand the curriculum? The same sources where new museums, a new zoo, a new ball park, a new recreation center and other community enhancements get their monies!! Some influential leaders in Peoria give up on community social problems and instead concentrate on community recreational activities. They say after all, it is the family, and it is not the schools responsibility to raise the family. This is what I have been hearing for 20 years or more. You are not going to change generations of failure in families by saying “it’s the family!”

What can the schools do??
Stop social promotions now!
Remove these kids from the traditional classroom as soon as there is a majority consensus of those in authority that this is the proper step.
Offer non-traditional class choices for the removed child.
If discipline is a problem, enforce it at once. If the teacher can’t handle discipline they probably should not be teaching at that school.
If the principal won’t back up the teacher, the principal shouldn’t be a principal.
Truancy should not be a problem. Enforcement of truancy laws and programs long ago instituted must be enforced by community leadership.
In Peoria, the mayor says he wants to help. Then his public safety officers should pick up truants and return these kids to schools for counseling along with those responsible for them.
Crack down, get tough!! We talk of love. Very important but what good does it do when a person if leaving for a prison term and mom says “I love you”. Don’t people understand people will take advantage of EVERYONE THEY DON’T RESPECT? You don’t earns respect by saying “Now Junior, don’t do that again” but I love you. You tell Junior, stop now, don’t do it!! Period! Be ready to back your statements up because “respect” must be earned in today’s environment. Otherwise be prepared to have respect learned in the educational or work environment. By then, it may be too late.

I’ve heard the excuse that we can’t do some of these things because “of the unions.” The unions disagree. Many private businesses succeed with the help of unions. School boards, administration, unions and community leaders had better get it all together soon or most schools across the U.S. and in District #150 will be privatized in the not too distant future.

I leave with this thought – Accepting people having varying gifts & will arrive at varying outcomes is not diminishing their humanity. How to educate a person so they can achieve a meaningful life, has been discussed, debated and experimented with since ancient times. The conclusions always come back to what I just wrote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Scary Budget "Buster"

Evidently most of the people I talked to recently didn’t read the article in the JS on 10/27/04 titled “Park Board proposes budget-boosters.” Maybe people aren’t paying much attention to budgets because of elections, Christmas shopping, watching the Cubs, I’m sorry, I mean the Cards playing in the World Series. So I’ll condense it on this site:

1. After building a $137.000.00 fence around Luthy Gardens, (The Park Board had to borrow the money to pay for the fence) visitors will be charged to enter this garden.
2. Golf fees will be hiked again, a proposed $20.00 to 415.00 a year.
3. Central Pool will be closed again for the summer.
4. The budget for the RiverPlex will be hiked by 13% or $4.03 million.
5. The overall budget will be hiked from approximately $33,000,000.00 to approximately $44,700,000.00.
6. The new budget assumes that the Zoological Society will raise $10,000,000.00 more then what has already been raised and pay the park back. Consider this amount a loan that may not ever be paid back.
7. New bonds will be sold to cover the $782,000.00 principal and interest on the Riverplex, on the Golf Learning Center, and several other projects for which the park borrowed to build. (Fourth year in a row)

The budget plans are laid out for the public to see before the Park Board meeting at 6:00 P.M. , Wednesday Oct. 27. The budget will be approved on Nov. 3.
To me, this is scary stuff but I guess not very many people care. Without protest, I calculate that after the zoo runs into the same red ink the Riverplex creates, (I predict it will come close to the same figures of $6,000.00 to $7,000.00 a day) after the new children’s Playhouse is built, after the Park headquarters is moved to a new location, (Bonnie says she will need 33,000 square feet of space), after the Park’s financial contributions to the new museum (with your money, of course), and other projects such as the softball diamonds, the budget will reach $60,000,000.00 in this decade or at least by 2015. Remember, all bonds the park sells are the amounts borrowed not the payback amount. The Park owed $15,530.000.00 principal in outstanding bonds on 12/31/03, but actually will need to pay an additional $6,745.437.00 in interest, so amount actually due in time, is $22,275,437.00. Add in all the new projects and their respective losses, (based on the PPD history), and the many dollars needed to maintain these projects, I could even be $10,000,000.00 low. And don’t leave out the higher costs of pensions, salaries, health care, insurance, increased travel and consultants. The good news is you won’t be able to learn how much the PPD lost last year until the 12/31/04 financial statement comes out in June or July of 2005, which will be after the two board incumbents get reelected in March 2005.
So go ahead, keep approving these projects. Your children and grandchildren are going to be paying for it. Not mine, my children live in areas with leaders with more common sense who create affordable neighborhoods with all the amenities they need.

At the 10/26/04 board meeting, the manager of RiverPlex said that the Riverplex has 6900 members but he didn’t know how many contracts!! Say what?? It’s the number of CONTRACTS that count!! I know of one contract where nine people use the same contract. He knows the number of paid contracts or he shouldn’t be the manager!! The park administration doesn’t want to admit there are only about 2400 paid contracts and approximately 1200 free contracts, totaling about 6900 members. On 6/16/1999. the projection made by one of the many the consultants on this project, was the PPD would need at least 5,000 contracts to break even. No problem said Bonnie and everybody on the board but Jim Cummings. Mr.Cummings is quoted in the JS on 3/1999, as saying “RecPlex will chase Peorians out of the city.” Thousands of other people knew what the high priced administrator of the PPD knew too, but fame and fortune meant more than common sense. (Some administration and board members and families just got back from an all expenses paid trip to Reno, Nevada) Don’t believe me check it out but make the PPD show you how these expenses were handled. Had the Peoria County Board been involved in a public financed trip to Reno, the JS would have had this taxpayer paid event on the front page!!

I leave you with some encouraging news in the Business Section of today’s JS by writer Paul Gordon. Paul says” The most rapidly growing occupation in Central Illinois in this decade is expected to be waiters and waitresses. Or that the number of people moving out of this region far exceeds the number moving in? Peoria County had 4,297 more people move out than moved in over the last three years.”

Have a good day!

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Welcome to new readers!! I started “blogging” in August and have recorded approximately 25 articles. To know me better I recommend scrolling back to my first post titled “In the Beginning”… I do not wish to picture myself as a journalist and at times that lack of journalism shows up in my posts. I also do not consider myself as being “politically correct” and I do have opinions (so that makes me “opinionated”), a fact I do accept, formulated over various careers and wide experiences. I am a conservative based in fact that I base a lot my beliefs on the old standards of less government intrusion on the public body, smaller government where possible fiscal responsibility and a low opinion of bureaucracies that start out with a good cause and then become bloated. Yet I am somewhat a liberal, according to the definition found in my Thesaurus (with its 34 line description of a liberal) and my condensing it down to the following interpretation: Open minded, not prejudicial, unbigoted, fair, believing in freedom of all who are not a serious threat to society, generous and a believer in the rights of an individual. At some point I may have believed I was a neo-conservatist but that term has recently been used in a manner that does not properly describe me. I am a pragmatist in part but here again I have a streak of optimism. Some best describe me as an independent. I agree.

Earlier posts I made that might be of interest to you are – The Election Referendum Revisited, Water-Logged, Zoo-Illogical and Zoological II, election comments and my posts in support of the public school system while encouraging private competition.

With a decisive election coming up in a few days, I have made some comments on the candidates and their positions:
Since I serve on the Peoria County Board, I will make no recommendations about those County Board members who are up for re-election except where the Journal Star unfairly attacks a sitting board member and who in my opinion, has served the county in a fiscally responsible manner. My 3 years and 10 months experience on the county board has proven we work quite well together and seldom has party affiliation been a large issue. It reared its ugly head during redistricting but that usually is controlled by the party in power at the time. Republicans the dominating party 10 years ago and Democrats now for the next 10 years. Bad way to do redistricting but that is what the Journal wants; two teams competing against each other with winner take all. I take exception to the Journal comments about incumbent Eldon Polhemus in this week’s Journal Editorial page where they could only find fault with Eldon’s 14 years service on the board. Eldon is like many of us, disappointed in the walls being built up between die-hard Republicans and die-hard Democrats and their obsession to blame everything that goes wrong on the other person or party. When Eldon makes comments about his party affiliations, he suggests people vote for who he is and what he represents rather than what party affiliation he has. Wouldn’t that be better than the mess we have in our governmental bodies now?? Shouldn’t government bodies work as a team? Aren’t we called the United States of America? Wouldn’t this country be better off if Republicans and Democrats worked as one team for their constituents? The Journal condemns Eldon as not representing his team as if government was a game between Republicans and Democrats. When the Journal says Eldon doesn’t know what party he in, may be true but he does know what team he is on. He’s on the Peoria County team!! And that’s the way it should be. Eldon serves his constituency to the best of his ability without letting party affiliations cloud his community benefiting decisions.

The Journals comments about his lack of 100% support of the funding of the EDC is certainly not fair to Eldon. The majority of the County Board recognized the problems existing between the County and the EDC and voted as a team to reduce our funding to the EDC until the EDC gave Peoria County more recognition and support, because WE were the ones who are sitting thru long meetings with EDC representatives with seldom a Journal Star reporter in attendance. With Eldon’s help, working relations with the EDC now under the Heartland Partnership are improving and he recently voted, along with the rest of the board, to approve a $15,000.00 appropriation to EDC to help keep the Air National Guard in Peoria. The City of Peoria voted to only give $10,000.00.

Eldon also had the foresight to call attention to the possibility that the $1,000,000.00 investment made by the county in 1999 in space in One Technology Center might turn out to out as a bad investment. Eldon is quoted by Jennifer Davis (one of the fairest JS reporters) “My fear is that in a few years we’ll be landlords of a million-dollar piece of office space that we won’t know what to do with”. His statement unfortunately has come true and that space sits empty as an ongoing burden on the taxpayers. The Journal Star Editorial Board strongly recommended that Peoria County participate in this venture and would have castigated the County Board publicly if the board had not gone along with this strongly “hyped” project. Diane Cullinan as she was known at that time was the developer. Her representative Sandra Birdsall had strong support from then County Board member, Zan Ransburg. Anyone want to rent or buy a million dollars worth of empty space in the Tech building? Maybe the JS can help us out? They helped the County get in this mess.

Anyone ever remember the Journal Star ever taking blame for anything? Some feel the Journal Star is the most divisive element in the community with their attacks on people they don’t like and unending praise of those they do like. They “waffle” on almost any governmental expenditure of any size. First they questioned the building of the RiverPlex. Then they said it would be a great benefit to the community without being a financial burden on the Peoria Park District.. Then when the RiverPlex was proven to be losing staggering amounts of money they started a cover-up.

The Journals vile discourages any person with a good reputation from running for office. If the Editorial Board likes that person, fine. If they don’t they use the power of the press to try to destroy just like they are again attempting to destroy Eldon. If the person has a lot of money and tough skin they can overcome the bias of the press. But there aren’t many of those around.

Eldon was also responsible for greater recognition of the nearly 4,000 people buried in a plot of land out near the Peoria County Highway headquarters. These people and their families were considered so poor, the county assumed responsibility for their burial, one grave site on top of another to save land. My experience working with Eldon is that he is a caring person. But despite his public service of 14 years, the Journal Star could not find one good thing to honor his service. That’s how the Journal has rightfully earned the often used nickname “the Urinal Star”

Eldon, like all board members, works well with our capable administrator and heads the Facilities committee, where he recently approved a decision to put county landscaping out to bid. This move is saving the taxpayer more than $30.000.00 a year. Eldon is one of three members of the County Strategic Growth Plan Committee, whose platform was unanimously adopted by the full County Board this year. He sits on the Executive committee of the Board and the City-County Landfill Committee among other committees.

The Journal Star has shown its bias toward Eldon for a long time. Yet Eldon is part of a team that has balanced the budget again this year with as the Journal Star Editorial Board member said with “a minimal amount of controversy.” (11/03 in the JS) At this time it “appears” we will balance the 2005 budget without any cuts in personnel and no base tax rate hike other than was approved by referendum.

The personal animosity of the JS toward Eldon accelerated when Eldon endorsed me for the County Board in the race in which I unseated the nine year incumbent Zan Ransburg a strong friend of Editorial Page Manager Barbara Mantz Drake. The Journal has a growing dislike for me ever since I called attention to School Dist. #150 Sexual Training Handbook that taught such things as mutual masturbation and 16 methods of contraception to mixed classrooms in Grade 10. The Journal Editorial Board agreed that kids had to be taught those things early in a public school with no parent present and in a classroom with both boys and girls together, some as young as thirteen years old. There dislike of me grew when I pointed out the folly of building a new diagonal highway to Chicago across some of the best farmland in America. Evidently USDOT agreed with me!! (My article opposing this $800,000,000.00 pork barrel appeared in the conservative Bloomington Pantagraph on 10/7/1995) as a Guest Commentary but appeared in the ultra liberal JS only as an edited “Letter to the Editor.) The Journal never missed an opportunity to condemn me as being opposed to the “highway to Chicago”. I did not believe USDOT, after these many long years, was going to build a highway dead ending in Peoria. $10,000,000.00 of wasted survey reports are now shelved with very little chance USDOT will ever change their position. (I’ll write more about improved transportation for this area later.) They take all this out on Eldon.

It was for the reason of exposing bias in some of the local media especially the Journal Star, that this site was created. The Journal Editorial Board can hardly wait until I’m up for reelection in 2006. They will build more animosity toward me when I tell the true story (starting sometime in January 2005) of their longtime cover-up of the financial status of the RiverPlex and the Peoria Park District. (The PPD planned budget this year is $44,000,000.00 up from $33,000,000.00 last year!!). That includes a 13% boost up to $4,003,000.00 in the RiverPlex budget not including $782,000.00 for interest and principal on the RiverPlex bonds!!

Hope you enjoy visiting this site and pass the word on to your friends. I encourage you to post a comment. Just remember it will appear on the same site as my “blog.”

Thanks and I close with this thought “Today, as in the past, we need a brave “civic virtue”, not a timid civility, to keep our republic. Active citizens are often subjected to truly vile attacks. By trying to be non- judgmental and tolerant, we censor ourselves. (Clarence Thomas)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Local Elections and District #150

The Observer quoted an interview with departed Director of Career and Technical Education, Ed Bradle, in last week issue of this newspaper. According to the Observer, Bradle had been lobbyist for Dist 150 before he said he was “ambushed” by Board member, Aaron Schock and removed from that position. He was then tapped to head the Career and Technical Education Dept. by the now departed Superintendent Royster, where he remained in this position until he retired this September. At various previous times, Bradle handled the Academy programs at each high school. He was the one I was always referred to when I lobbied for greater opportunities for those students to position themselves to qualify and hold a so-called non white collar job, after they determined their school days were over.

Having met Dr. Royster shortly after she was hired, listened to her speak, served on her strategic planning committee, attended all three of her Summit sessions and put her on the program to address my social club, I felt I would like to talk to Dr. Royster one on one. I was never openly critical of her performance based on what I could interpret. But I was increasingly concerned about what appeared to be a breakdown in dialogue between herself and the School Board . I scheduled an appointment with her on July 13 this summer, and when I went to the designated room, Ed Bradle was there with Dr. Royster. She talked about the progress she had made and I asked why not much progress was being made on having curriculum for those kids who would not make it past high school or even thru high school. I mentioned that John Day agreed with my assessment that less than 50% of kids who enter the first grade in Dist #150 do not graduate from high school. I inquired why we had not progressed from the Academies serving about 270 out of a total enrollment of around 15,000. Mr. Bradle and Dr.Royster reminded me that the Adopt-A-School and other programs served an additional maybe 200 kids. I again pointed out that was only a total of approximately 500 and that was no where near the number that would never set foot in any college and in nay other educational learning situation. I said that we should be reaching kids in the Middle Schools, many of who were being socially promoted into the penal system because we were not preparing them to hold a job.

When Dr. Royster came to Peoria she talked about the problem of lack of vocational training in Dist. #150. She indicated that was one of her priorities was to expand vocational learning, yet there on July 13, very little movement in that direction was observed. She indicated the lack of money prevented her from accomplishing many of the things she wanted to do. She and Mr. Bradle defended the existing curriculum as being adequate for the need.

I asked her if she felt the communication problem with the board had anything to do with her communication skills. She responded by saying that it wasn’t her job to educate the board. I reminded her that the board was elected and she reported to her board.

Now back to Mr. Bradle and Representative Ricca Slone and their efforts to get more financial support for Dist #150. Mr. Bradle is quoted that when he was in Springfield lobbying “I pulled Ricca off the floor and told her how bad this House Bill 3495 would hurt Dist. #150. Ricca said the governor was in favor of it and so was Madigan and she would probably have to along with it. After getting figures from the districts controller/treasurer, he ran to the railing and screamed at Ricca. I yelled at her this bill would cost District #150 $2.3 million. She changed her vote and voted no and the motion failed for the lack of one vote.”

This was a noble effort on Mr. Bradle’s part but shows a lack of preparation and knowledge on the part of Ricca Slone. Aaron Schock is quoted in the Observer article as saying “Slone simply assured the school district received money it had coming, and added there was no new money in that bill. Maybe it’s time for someone else to make a difference.” (meaning himself)

Was Mr. Bradle was effective as a lobbyist? All I know is that he was removed from the position of lobbyist and offered a job back in the classroom before Dr. Royster interceded. What was his role in developing more vocational education? I know vocational education stopped being a priority about the time Dr. Strand was named superintendent However, Dr. Strand has been gone a good ten years. The opinion of the vast majority of people, whose opinion I respect believe it was a serious mistake that much of the vocational training was removed from the curriculum and I believe that many on the current school board feel the same way. But how much longer before the community and the administration act on this need?

I recently received an E-Mail from Board Member Mary Spangler. (I supported Mary in her campaign to oust Jan Deissler not because of any particular flaw in Mrs. Deissler, but I felt their were too many problems on the board and after 10 years, more progress should have been made. Also, she was Board President at the time of the hiring of Dr. Royster) Mary asked me if I had visited Pekin High School and observed their Voc/Tech School, a school within a school that should be a model to Peoria. She had visited it and was most impressed. I told her yes I had visited it several years ago and at that time I asked District #150 board members if they had visited it and if not why not? I was shocked when Board President Francis Duren told me he had not and was curious why I thought he should!!

I close with these observations:

No school board in recent history has listed the expansion of Voc/Tech as a priority. This board and administration appear to be making progress.
The leadership of Peoria does not want to put District #150 in the same class as Pekin because they think Pekin is still a “blue collar” community.
Ed Bradle and Dr. Royster did not do any appreciable expansion of vocation education during their terms in authority.
The financial condition of District #150 has deteriorated over the years.
Aaron Schock was on the board that hired Dr. Royster and he was quoted by the Journal Star as saying “I stand 100% behind Dr. Royster. I’m eagerly awaiting all these great things we’re going to see in the years to come.”
It is apparent some things went wrong. The key now is how well does Aaron work with the new and old board and with the new administration.
I and many of my Democrat friends feel that Ricca Slone could be more effective in Springfield and in her relationship with her constituency.
I will support Aaron in his election bid and if the situation in Dist.#150 doesn’t improve and he does not serve the community from Springfield better than the incumbent, then changes can be made in the next elections.
Ricca Slone has done a number of commendable things but we need a representative not so closely aligned to Madigan, the governor and the Chicago block.
I would discount what Mr. Bradle says because “he does have an axe to grind.” In the above mentioned interview I had on July 13 with Dr. Royster and Mr. Bradle, Ed strongly supported Dr. Royster. It is to be noted he retired two months later.

I close with this thought: Move forward in stages but MOVE FORWARD!!

Biased Surveys

A CNN Survey this morning shows how this biased popular new channel manipulates the news. The question they posed to the viewer was:

Should Social Security be privatized? The vote tally was 48% yes and 52% no. Yet nowhere have I read that any candidate was suggesting this black and white approach to the SS problem!! President Bush has stated a possible reform to SS by allowing younger people to put part of their deductions into private investments. He specifically stated this decision would be entirely up to the worker, not mandatory. He specifically stated that this program would in no way affect the people already drawing their SS benefits. By “loading” the question CNN was able to swing the vote to show another lie to help Kerry (who has attacked this Bush plan). When someone wants a desired result all they need do is run a “loaded” survey.

It’s done all the time, even right her in Peoria. Remember back in 1999, Bonnie Noble, Superintendent of the Peoria Park District, claimed that surveys showed 18,000 + people had a meaningful interest in joining the RecPlex? (Because of bad publicity they changed the name to the RiverPlex). The PPD now claims 7,000 “membership”, note the subtle wording, “membership”, not memberships. If they have 7,000 people (memberships) using the Riverplex and figuring an average of two people (which is low) per membership, that would indicate 3500 memberships and one-third of those being free scholarships, (the agreement they signed with the hospital and the State of Illinois requires one-third free scholarships), that means they have less than 2400 paying memberships. The Journal Star goes along with this subtle cover-up leading the public to believe the PPD is NOT going to lose the $6,000, to $7,000 a day in 2004.

The December 31, 2003 Financial Report, available to the public under the FOIA, verifies these losses. By using “creative” bookkeeping to keep such things as the yearly payment on the $10,000,000.00 RiverPlex bond and interest and with scholarships losses and some operating costs held OUT (approximately $450,000.00 held out so far) of the profit and loss statement, the PPD and JS can make it look like the taxpayers in Peoria, got a bargain. (Paying members are considered by private by health clubs as ones who buy yearly memberships to the club, not pay- by- the- day system the PPD uses to make the numbers look better).

Expect the PPD to claim “more than 450,000 people passed thru the doors of the Riverplex in 2004. But then the PPD does not have to worry about such silly things as losses because all they need to do is sell more bonds and raise taxes and claim fiscal stability. (An article in the JS, dated 6/16/99, projected a deficit of $152,639 if they had 3000 memberships by 2004.) With only approximately 2400 paying memberships as of September, 2004, look for the deficit to be $2,500,000.00+ when the 2004 Financial statement comes out in June of 2005!! Between then and now I’ll update you when I see the budget in December and the new bond issues in January.

As of 12/31/2003, the PPD owes $22,000,000.00 + of bond debt at maturity dates. They claim they only owe only $15,000,000.00 subtly overlooking the fact that they must pay additional interest everyday until the bonds are retired.

Anyway, so much for surveys!!

“Some people are good at showing just one side of the mountain. We need more people to speak out and show some of the other sides.” (Merle Widmer)_

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Kerry and Bush 2004

Kerry and Bush comparisons are found in all the media. Here are some comparisons that I’ve read and some of my own knowledge. I’ll start with some quotes from people far more learned than I and what they have written about John Kerry:

“He is obsessed with the United Nations. In a recent debate, he referred to the UN, alliances, allies and summits fully 27 separate times, always charging President Bush with ignoring them. The UN was designed to protect the territorial integrity of established states, to protect Poland so to speak, from Germany or Indonesia from the Netherlands. The most disastrous wars now being waged, however, are the near genocides within established border, like the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and at this very moment, Sudan. The UN has been less than effective especially in Rwanda and the Sudan where wholesale genocidal murders by the hundreds of thousands, are happening right now.

The UN did nothing when Saddam Hussein was murdering Iraq’s Kurds and Shiites in the hundreds of thousands, the UN has been less than passive in these cases, passing vaguely reproachful resolutions reluctantly and, in any case, without effect. The very structure of the UN makes it hostage to the five permanent members of the Security Council, one being France who shouldn’t even be there. (India should) The very essence of the international community is very different from what it once was, and Kerry cannot or will not see it.

Kerry voted against the 1991 Iraq war despite the fact that war was supported by a larger coalition of countries than support the current war and reconstruction, many Arab states included. Multilateralism is not a panacea in itself. Would we have wanted a clumsy and brutal Russian army, its officers and veterans of the first Afghan war? Can you imagine a French battalion under the discipline of an American commander? The fact is that there are only a few countries equipped to wage precise modern warfare and that’s another reason why some countries refuse to go to televised wars: They don’t want to be exposed as being militarily obsolete. Kerry is living a fantasy that other countries would also put up money for the very enterprise he and they rallied against. Kerry wants to convey the strength of being right. America needs that quality in its president, but President Bush wants to convey to the world the strength of certainty. Too bad we won’t have a president with the instincts to do both.” (Excerpts taken from an article written by Marty Perez, Editor in Chief of The New Republic – (10/04/04.)

“George Will may have been too harsh in calling this presidential race two “delusional optimists,” but he correctly identified the profound unwillingness of each to face unpleasant realities. This shared unwillingness to admit obnoxious truths is also, alas illuminating. Political leaders except those of the very first order, can become detached from the realities of the world around them. Surrounded by sympathizers and sycophants, subjected to a ceaseless torrent of criticism, consumed by an unending stream of work, deprived, for the most part of the spontaneity of unstructured debate, the danger is not that they will say things that they do not believe. It is, rather that they will come to believe things because they have said them, and to act accordingly”. (Eliot A. Cohen, director of the Phillip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies – (10/04/04).

We have before us two candidates, neither of which I would have chosen to be on the slate in November. Yes, there are others up for presidential election but let’s realize they are only there as a protest and cannot be elected. The countries that did not support us want Kerry to win for there own selfish reasons, mostly their own financial interests in Iraq; the terrorists want Kerry to win because they have correctly determined they will best succeed under Kerry and many pacifists believe that the world really will live in peace and harmony thereafter. Can’t they see these brainwashed innocent unlearned people allowing themselves to be killed along with other innocent people so they can sit at the right hand of Allah with 72 virgins, or looked upon as martyr’s by their bereaved families? (No one has explained what the women get but the terrorist male I’m sure doesn’t care. The women lead such a suppressed uneducated life that they really don’t understand what is going on and these women couldn’t do anything about it if they did because THEY ARE NOT FREE !!!)

I believe the party currently in power, will lead the way out of the situation they agreed was necessary even though they did not clearly comprehend the obstacles they would be confronted with. A president relies on the information given him by the generals, the intelligence community, his (or her) staff, the Congressmen like John Kerry, and other friendly countries. He then tries to the best of his ability to makes decisions based on all available knowledge. Remember that Lincoln changed generals more than once in the Civil War and it took four years to subdue the South, then guerrilla warfare lasted for many years after the peace treaty was signed. During the Civil War more people died in one battle than have died for the United States in war over the past two decades. (More on the Civil War later) The fact is that most conservatives see Kerry as a career politician with a wealthy wife who we cannot envision as a first lady, a debate team captain (and therefore more verbally skilled than President Bush), a person who did go overseas and see active duty as did hundreds of thousands of other Americans. Upon his return home we believe he encouraged the North Vietnamese by his actions and words, thus costing more American lives. We see him as a Senator whose voting record was often not in the best interests of the security of this country. We do not see him as president of this country with tort lawyer John Edwards just a heartbeat away from being President of United States of America.

"In war, the truth is important, it must always be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies” (Winston Churchill)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Worst President??

One of the best Financial Newsletters I have read is:

Perkins Capital Management
730 East Lake Street
Wayzata, Mn. 55391-1769

Not only a financial letter, it doubles as a news letter. Commenting on the death of Alistair Cooke, the British born journalist best known as an observer of America through his 13 minute broadcasts over BBC called “A Letter from America” started in 1946 and lasted 58 years, the letter comments on an article Cooke wrote on April 25, 2003 stating his view on Iraq:

Titled “Appeasing Hitler and Saddam” he recalled the late 1930”s when Prime Minister Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler who then proceeded to break his promises. At that time Cooke was 30, having been born in November 1908, and commented that all those involved in the Iraq debate were toddlers in 1938, and some were not even born, so how could they remember those events. He closed saying “All I know is that the voices of the 30”s are echoing through 2003”. If you recall I wrote in a recent “blog” that I compared what was boiling in the MidEast before 1993 (Attack on the World Trade Center) with what was happening in Germany in the 30’s.

This letter also comments on an article appearing in a Durham, NC local paper as a letter to the Editor:

“Liberals claim President Bush should not have started this war. One liberal claimed that Bush was the worst president in history. They complain about his prosecution of it. Let’s clear up one point: We didn’t start the war on terror. It was started by the terrorists BEFORE 9/11. Let’s look at the worst president and mismanagement claims:

FDR led us into WWII. Germany never attacked us. Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 a year. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 5800 per year.

John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam didn’t attack us. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-75, 58,000 lives were lost an average of 5800 a year.

Clinton went to war with Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

In the two years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled El Qaeda, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughted300,000 of his own people. We lost 600soldiers, an average of 300 a year (Update to November, 2004, approximately 1000, or 500 per year). Bush did all this abroad without allowing another terrorist attack at home. Worst president in history?? Come on!”

Then we have;
“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime…He presents a particular grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation…And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction…So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
-Senator John F. Kerry (Dem, Ma), Jan.23, 2003

Thursday, October 14, 2004

School Vending Machines

Headliner in the JS says Rockford School District #205 has 10 year, $7.5 million contract with a soft drink company. A suggestion to Peoria School District #150 Board – Rather than make a deal with a soft drink company, make a deal with a bottled water company. One school district in another state did just that and their volume of sales TRIPLED!! With so much obesity, why keep encouraging kids to buy soft drinks and foods that add to the problem? Suggest trying it at one school by replacing the soft drink machines with bottled water machines and chart sales volume and customer satisfaction. I’ll bet most of the parents would buy into the bottled water program. Also, teachers should be encouraging kids to drink more water and less soft drinks in the schoolhouse for the betterment of their health. By not selling soft drinks in the schoolhouse, District #150 would be solving another conflict with private local stores who all sell soft drinks and if the kids want soft drinks after school, let them buy from an entity that pays taxes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Presidential Issues 2004

The television show “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” will be shown on Channel 43, Oct. 22 at 7:00 P.M. A lot of protests and threats to the FCC about this TV show as there was over Michael Moore’s film. As I see this election, a lot a of smoke screens are being thrown up to keep the voting atmosphere highly charged emotionally and to set each group of supporters 100% opposed to the other group. What a way to incite the public into losing sight of the real issues!!

The issues that are important to me and should be important to all of us, are not simple, not easy to accomplish, and can’t be done without a give and take posture by both major parties. I list some of these issues, not necessarily prioritized:

Now that we have won major victories in Iraq, who would be best to lead us out without leaving the Iraqi’s that support us hung out to dry like we did those who supported us in Vietnam?
Who best realizes that the more common a product becomes, the cheaper the price becomes to the consumer and in what country that product is produced no longer matters?
Who best realizes that the above statement is true and that we must continue to lead the world in technical innovation or be left behind by the emerging third world?
Who best realizes that children of immigrants are becoming more vital to the technological advancements of this country than the product being turned out by our flawed public school system?
Who will tax the least with the best economic results?
Who will be least intrusive to our capitalistic way of doing business?
Who would be most effective in stopping our accelerating slide to a more socialist society?
Who best realizes that charity begins at home and that each of us is responsible for putting aside savings other than social security?
Who best can provide affordable health coverage for all our citizenry?
Who understands that drug producers, who at times are their own worst enemy, are so vital to our health, that these producers and innovators must be allowed to make enough profit for themselves and their shareholders, to continue to spend more that $33 billion on R & D annually? Who best realizes that R&D will slow to a trickle if the producers develop a new drug and someone with no R& D costs, sells the same product generically at a much lower cost? Who can reduce costs of medicines without stifling R & D?
Who best understands that the long time boiling underbelly of the Middle East was nearing (no later than 2010) a breakout similar to Hitler’s Germany in the early 1930”s. Who best understands that by striking first we are avoiding WWIII.?
Who best understands that the whole world is looking for stability and the United States is in the best position to lead the way to stability?
Who best realizes that the world was never safe and never will be without constant vigilance?
Who best understands that pacifism has never worked for any long period of time?
Whose values do I most believe in?
Who best understands that entitlements are funded by the taxpayer and should be restricted to necessity?
Who best understands that those who respect and fear us do not need to love us?
Who would make the best decisions to appoint Supreme Court Judges that will have a lot to do with shaping the politics and the lives of our citizenry over the nest forty years?

Leadership of all countries throughout history have made major mistakes and this administration has made their share, largely in failing to realize that those who would kill any infidel under any circumstance, are making Iraq their last major stand. If they succeed in driving us out before we have completed the jobs at hand, the world and your children will soon be living in a greater terror than we in the U.S. could ever imagine.

I respected, feared, and loved my dad and mother. So did my eight other siblings. None of us depended on welfare or spent any time incarcerated or funded by any entitlement than the GI Bill. None of us were highly educated but we all would be considered successes by today’s standards. The world of our conservative republicanism has changed in ways none of us could have ever imagined. I believe the election of the wealthy liberal John Kerry and with the possibility of John Edwards, a tort lawyer as President, is totally unimaginable.

My family’s rules were simple. You misbehaved you were disciplined, the heck with your “self-esteem.” To the boys, my mother said “if you bring a girl home pregnant, I will kick you both out of my house.” Dad & Mom meant what they said. And it worked!! They weren’t “pacifists.” Were they alive to vote today, the Kerry Party would not get their vote.

“What is government but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” (John Madison)

The Economy - One View

“The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4%, real economic growth has jumped to 4.8%, real GDP has averaged 3.4%, in line with the average WWII expansion rate. Somehow this message is muted by the media. Yet over the past year:

Inflation adjusted consumer spending is up 3.6%.
Residential housing investment is up 13.9%
Spending on machine tools for heavy-industrial manufacturing is up 54.2%.
Exports and imports are up nearly 11%.
After-tax corporate profits are up 19.5%.
Industrial production is up 5.2%.
High-tech production is up 5.2%.
Productivity has reached an astonishing 4.6%.
Household wealth is up 11/1% hitting a record high $45.9 trillion.
The GDPdeflator is up only 2.2%.
Interest rates are at 45-year lows, with short term rates at less than 2%.
15-year mortgage rates are just above 5%.
Home ownership stands at a record 69.2%.

Impressive? No, remarkable, considering that the economy was up against an inherited recession, a busted tech bubble, corporate scandals, 9/11, two wars and an oil price shock. More than 1.69 million people are employed today since 2001.

Taxpayers in the top 1% earn only 14.8% of the nation’s income, but pay 34.4% of individual income taxes. Similarly, taxpayers in the top 5%, make a quarter of the income but pay over half the total income tax. Why not share tax relief with those who pay the most taxes? Punishing successful earners and investors, as Mr. Kerry would do, is no way to grow an economy”.

These are excerpts from an article entitled “It’s the Economy, Smarty Pants” by Larry Kudlow in today’s WSJ. Is everybody happy?? No, and we weren’t all happy in 1999 and we won’t all be happy next year, the year after and the year after, and the year after…..

Passion for the truth must be accompanied by the ability to recognize it.

The Economy - One View

“The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4%, real economic growth has jumped to 4.8%, real GDP has averaged 3.4%, in line with the average WWII expansion rate. Somehow this message is muted by the media. Yet over the past year:

Inflation adjusted consumer spending is up 3.6%.
Residential housing investment is up 13.9%
Spending on machine tools for heavy-industrial manufacturing is up 54.2%.
Exports and imports are up nearly 11%.
After-tax corporate profits are up 19.5%.
Industrial production is up 5.2%.
High-tech production is up 5.2%.
Productivity has reached an astonishing 4.6%.
Household wealth is up 11/1% hitting a record high $45.9 trillion.
The GDPdeflator is up only 2.2%.
Interest rates are at 45-year lows, with short term rates at less than 2%.
15-year mortgage rates are just above 5%.
Home ownership stands at a record 69.2%.

Impressive? No, remarkable, considering that the economy was up against an inherited recession, a busted tech bubble, corporate scandals, 9/11, two wars and an oil price shock. More than 1.69 million people are employed today since 2001.

Taxpayers in the top 1% earn only 14.8% of the nation’s income, but pay 34.4% of individual income taxes. Similarly, taxpayers in the top 5%, make a quarter of the income but pay over half the total income tax. Why not share tax relief with those who pay the most taxes? Punishing successful earners and investors, as Mr. Kerry would do, is no way to grow an economy”.

These are excerpts from an article entitled “It’s the Economy, Smarty Pants” by Larry Kudlow in today’s WSJ. Is everybody happy?? No, and we weren’t all happy in 1999 and we won’t all be happy next year, the year after and the year after, and the year after…..

Passion for the truth must be accompanied by the ability to recognize it.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Elections and the Biased Media

As the Presidential Election nears, the Journal Star is openly showing their support far John Kerry. Often it is done in subtle ways but more often it is in their editorials or thru outside columnists. A frequent columnist appearing in the JS, is left leaning Leonard Pitts who says a quarter of the population in Iraq, won’t be able to participate in the voting because it’s too dangerous. He says there are two Iraqs and he says we need a President who would unite these two Iraqs and formulate new strategies in that volatile part of the world. Then we could all live together in peace and harmony. Mr. Pitts is correct in his statements but not correct in the meaning. Here in the free United States where Mr. Pitts lives and writes, we are so divided that there are millions of people who are afraid to venture far after dark. Thousands of murders, violent assaults such as robberies and rape, and intimidation occur in our communities, like right here in Peoria, where shooting deaths occur with regularity. We have statistics to show that over six million people are incarcerated in our country even though we have all kinds of trained Public Safety people to protect us. There are millions more not incarcerated, who would do us harm if we didn’t have these Public Safety Departments. We have military bases scattered around the country including National Guardsman. Are we all united and living peacefully right here at home?? Please get real!!
Of course there are two Iraqs. In fact most of the country is divided up by religion, each sect fighting to impose their own brand of fundamentalism on the citizenry. If Mr. Pitts would not try to shape the news to his agenda and report the news as journalists are supposed to do, just pass on what he has read and let the reader interpret it or just express his ignorance about what he hasn’t read, the reader would get an honest viewpoint as to the Mid-East situation. There is no party system like we have in the U.S. and their have never been any true elections. In Iraq, we have made much progress in a relatively short time. Iraqi lives have been lost including women and children many of them women bombers and children trained to use guns and wired with explosives or used as shield by the cowardly terrorists. Some die accidentally as many innocent died in our World Wars, Vietnam, Korea and our own Civil War

There are more than two Americas, in fact many more. Those who are called criminals that we try separate from society and from our hard working wage earners, child raisers and homemakers. We welcomes back into our communities those who were incarcerated after they have “paid their debt” to society. We have people who could work but claim illness and live off support of others. We have safety nets for all others. We have unions and management with different viewpoints and disagreements about wages and benefits, working conditions and tenure. We have the right to disagree with our own leadership without resorting to violence. We embrace all religious beliefs as long as they are not a threat to our freedom. We are religious, but few are such fundamentalists that they do not welcome other beliefs. We are a democracy which we believe, is the most successful working government in the world. Yes, we disagree a lot of the time but we do that because we are basically a free people.

When it comes to Americans voting, less than 25% of registered voters actually voted in the Primary and no more than 50% are expected to vote next month. And we have been free since the 1800’s. Who does Mr. Pitts blame for this? Yet Mr. Pitts wants to blame the party in power for all the century old problems in the Middle East and the fact that only some of these formerly enslaved people will be able to vote. Then who does he blame for all the problems in our own communities including problems generated by people from his own origins? Mr. Pitts writes that we unfairly pick on Muslims citing an incident where a man tossed a beer bottle full of gasoline at a group of Muslim kids. Has he forgotten the Klu Klux Klan and how that organization did much worse? It took time but the KKK is generally in submission and it wasn’t by the authorities sitting down and dialoging with them!

Mr. Pitts and his ilk, such as Molly Ivins try to emulate Neville Chamberlain and his ilk who wanted the world to live peacefully with Adolph Hitler. Chamberlain figured Hitler would be appeased and the world would wipe out the memory of all the millions of people Hitler and his Nazis killed. I believe we would be under foreign rule today by the evil Axis, Germany, Italy and Japan ( I name the primary countries because few of today’s pacifists and our “now” generation, bother to read history and even know the history of the Axis) had not leaders in the free world, taken a stance against killing, brutality, enslavement and suppression of people who had and have the right to be free. As to the MidEast where we are trying to stabilize and free the citizenry, the MidEast been a cauldron of hatred long before this administration came into power. (I believe I am qualified to say this because of my ongoing study of history.) With the rapid rise and the ease of deployment of weapons of mass destruction it was more than evident that people mad with power and using people lacking a balanced education, would try to strike us down sooner or later. Some our “now” people aren’t even aware of the strike on the U.S. World Trade Center in 1993 and may even still believe the attack on the Twin Towers was set up by our own people. Hatred is not monopolized by just terrorists just from abroad.

The Journal Star is using their position to help swing the election in November and is doing so in their usual manner of half-truths and selected material for the subscriber to read. They sensationalize the horror of war to make it look like the current administration did everything wrong. Why not put more pictures of the 300,000 recently uncovered graves in Iraq under Saddam! Show more Front Page pictures of the thousand of gassed Kurds and show the agony of their deaths and the suffering caused to their families by Saddam and his terrorist leaders. Show how Saddam hoodwinked the na├»ve pacifist UN and tell how some UN officials profited from Saddam staying in power. Put these things on your front page in super bold print! Also Russia, France and others were reluctant to see the Iraq regime toppled. Put that on your front page and explain the real reasons how some of these countries profited in trading with Saddam. Why not a headline on the front page that says” 75,000 people a year die in the United States from alcohol related auto accidents and liver damage”? How about this headline? “Five binge-drinking deaths by college underclassmen in four states in less than one month” as reported in USA Today on 10/7/04? Why make it look like the all the suffering in Iraq is because of the current administrations policies? Past and present administrations can’t even stop unnecessary suffering here!

I predict that most of our men and women in uniform, will vote to not change our administration. Does that mean this administration has not made mistakes? Of course not, but I believe out of this engagement will come a more enlightened and safer world. Do I believe Russia, France and Germany would have ever joined us? No! They aren’t even joining us now when most of the Iraqis need help in setting up some semblance of democracy. Would they change because of a new administration? No! Why would they? They have turned into the same appeasers as Chamberlain because their citizenry have gotten soft and enjoy the good life with out worry about what the envious MidEast is doing.

Here in the United States we have mostly free people and almost all could be free if they want to be. All can be educated if they want to be. All can work if they want to. We have safety nets for all others. Most of us, I believe, want to keep that freedom and are willing to give up material things to preserve that freedom. We live with death and sorrow all around us, much of it caused by actions that could be prevented. When people signed up for the guard or enlisted, they were told that facing death was a possibility. They were told they might be called on to face dangers far from home. They were told that they might be pulled from their jobs causing hardships to many. We appreciate what they are doing and support them and wish them to safely return. We believe, as most of them do, that they are supporting a greater cause and protecting worldwide freedoms. On the other hand, when people abuse privileges of being free, they are told they might face death and great bodily harm. (Drinking, smoking, speeding.) Death and sorrow are not new to any generation especially the elderly.

All friends of the United States and almost all citizens regret the loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan but the totals are nowhere near the combined loss of life from terrorist attacks against us at home or abroad in the past few years.

MidEast poor people of various degrees of education have been brainwashed by those seeking power thru terrorism. They believe that if they die to kill the infidel, they have a chosen spot by Allah in heaven. The terrorists behind them send women and children to their deaths while they remain hidden just as Saddam did. Tell me how you reason when minds were never opened?

Don’t let the biased liberal media swing this election. Get informed and make your own decisions. Read magazines like Forbes, U. S. News and World Report, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Business Week, and newspapers like the Bloomington Pantagragh and Wall Street Journal and realize that USA Today, the JS and Chicago Times many times have an agenda. Probably all media have an agenda, but some are more biased than others Only by the voter being widely informed can the voter make reasonably correct decisions.

I ask you to read this column for a conservative’s view of the news. Post a comment as some of you do so opinions can be read by others. Appeasement will not win over people who have long hated us. The Indians who were here first tried at times to live in peace with the settlers. They learned only after they were nearly extinguished that the early settlers were not into appeasement. I can’t possibly envision a tort lawyer and a debate team captain, one month away from the presidency. John and John are already giving solace to the enemy which will lead to more deaths as the terrorists try to take back control of Iraq. They pretend to talk tough but at the same time put our people in the way of more harm..

I leave you with this saying “to unify people, look to what we all share as human beings.”

Thursday, October 07, 2004

72 Virgins

“72 Virgins” is a short antiterrorism film created by Micah Aron. It focused on suicide bombers who believe they’ll receive 72 virgins when seated at the right hand of Allah. The film contends these uneducated lower class victims of their own destruction, misunderstood what they were told. They actually receive “one 72 year-old virgin.” According to the article appearing in today’s WSJ, the film hasn’t been released. Mr. Aron says the film is not to offend older women or Muslims. He says he is trying to reach the younger MTV crowd where things have to be quick, accessible and funny. To bad that the younger set who can not remember that we left our shores to prevent the spread of Nazism have turned into unrealistic pacifists.

Non-profit organizations are also trying to reach the younger set through such things as billboards asking “Can’t cool people be compassionate too?” Studies show that the younger set, are less apt to volunteer, join or make donations. Reasons? Transient young people don’t feel connected to the local social clubs and don’t have the patience for luncheons or meetings. Young people are easily distracted; if they take a job or volunteer at a non-profit and aren’t moved or impressed, they’ll quickly quit. They often prefer “episodic” volunteering for various causes than long term commitments to one group. Working men and women are too busy which means leadership roles are often left to the older set. The WWII generation joined more, gave more money and more time, but they didn’t pass these traits on to their children and grandchildren.

The feeling of being left behind by a liberated society in America and other modern countries is the major cause of terrorism. The uneducated in the Middle East envy and hate us and because their leadership has kept them shackled to an ancient form of life. I suspect the many virgins in the Middle East are property of those doing the enslavement of their own people. If these virgins are in “heaven” as their leadership tells them, I also suspect these leaders would be the first to blow themselves up to get to “heaven”. As I recall Saddam valued his life more than death and evidently so does Osama Bin Ladin or he wouldn’t still be hiding in a cave.

We hope our “now” generations as they get older will get interested in the real history of dozens of past generations. History does determine most of our future. They must stop and realize stop that at this moment approximately six million citizens of the United States are in prison in this country and we consider ourselves as the land of the free. Unfortunately this freedom resulted in 42,000 highway deaths last year, of which over 2300 were teens deaths in which alcohol was involved.

Remember, the best of all people can be killed by only one of the worst people.

Racism & Elections

Expect soon to see a scathing report from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission timed to
play the “race card” in the Presidential Election. Singled out is the Bush Administrations roll in demanding accountability in education even from poor kids of any race. Accountability was part of the Bush 2000 campaign. Accountability is part of his campaign this year. He argues against discrimination with the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. What seems to upset Chairman Mary Frances Berry of the Commission, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, all who claim to support more accountability in education, is the leadership of the Bush Administration in taking the moral high ground. The people now blocking the African-Americans and others at the schoolhouse door are the same people who support the status quo. The status quo is not working and those communities who demand accountability are seeing results. Both the Republicans and the Democrats know that. Most of them supported the “No Child Left Behind” programs. These programs have had some successes but are not in themselves a solution to the problems in educating children and improving the overall system. In Peoria, District #150’s efforts to move forward appear to be working and despite all the bad publicity, the majority of the Peoria community feels we are going to overcome most obstacles including an erroneous budget and the continual playing of the “race card” by some who are supposed to lead the African-American community. Those of us who vote, pay taxes and raise or help raise families, demand accountability. At the same time all of us must be more accountable.

In most parts of the United States the present system of funding and properly running of our public schools is not working as we expect the system to work. Change has been slow in coming because many people feel that if taxes from any source are raised for schools, this extra money will be spent on building larger static bureaucracies rather than for better teachers and curriculums that best fits the need of the community and tomorrow. Taxpayers are concerned about the increasing power of the union bureaucracies and their ability to control the public school system. Where unions and government play their proper roles, success is almost always guaranteed. Proper is the key word. The School Board and Administration must seek more good people to teach, properly train them and pay competitive wages and benefits, and have the ability to “fire” those who do not live up to expectations. The board must seek competition from the private sector if the private sector has the ability and track record to do the same job more effectively. What counts at the end of a students public school education, is the finished product, produced at a competitive cost. “Race cards” have no place in determining the finished product and no place in the process. There are failures and successes in all peoples, companies and careers. If the private sector can’t do the job properly, the government should intercede only long enough to get the private sector back on track and the same goes for when the public sector, education or other, isn’t getting the expected results the private sector must be called on to assist or take over. However, natural competitions are the most natural solutions to our problems, always with the minimal amount of governmental assistance and interference. Unfortunately in competing, there are always those who feel they lost unfairly, and in some cases, quite so, but many wish to play the blame game, especially in education, hiring and promotions. Sometimes the “race card” is used, usually because it is the most popular blame game in competition in the everyday workplace or school system. With the November elections on the horizon, look for lot of unfair blame and less willingness of the candidate or the voter to accept responsibility. I urge you to criticize the media when they show their bias and favoritism. All people are flawed, even the ones who most vociferously claim they are not. I am, you are, and so were Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy. Our job is to pick the “flawed” person who can best meet the job description, by examining their credentials, determine who is the most believable and then show up to vote for that candidate. If you feel there is no best candidate, write in someone you feel would be better, but most important, exercise you’re right to vote. Get involved in getting the right person on the ballot next time. Encourage qualified people to run for public office.

Unfortunately, the “race card” and its presumed unfairness will continue to be used in the current political campaigns and some minorities and pacifists will listen to the wrong people. You should know by now who the wrong and who the misinformed are. They are the ones blocking entrance to ways and means for the majority of those who want to be educationally eligible to find their particular niche and to be a contributor to society. Without a continuously educated society, we will be see a widening gap between the rich and the poor, a shrinking middle class and have some people in this country reverting to hatred and envy similar to the hatred of us by the uneducated in the Middle East.

I leave you with this thought. “Fairness is not the same as equality. A fair society is one in which some people fail. Blaming failure on race or gender is today often an excuse.”

Sunday, October 03, 2004

More Election Time Lies

If you repeat a lie often enough some people will believe it. The biggest lie being told by Community Word writer Roger Monroe is the lie that a Peoria County Board member now makes almost $9,000.00 a year. In an article dated 7/1/04 in the Community Word, Monroe wrote, “Can you imagine a County Board Member now makes almost $9,000.00 a year?” He says “NOW”. That is a lie and Mr. Monroe knows it!!

Fact - County Board members have earned $5400.00 a year since 2002 and will continue to earn that amount until December, 2006, when member’s salary will go to $7,900 a year.
Fact - County Board Committee Chairpersons have earned 5,800.00 a year since 2002 and will continue to do until December, 2006 when Chairman Salaries will go to $8,900.00 a year.
Fact – The Peoria County Board Chairman has earned $16,000.00 a year since 2002 and will remain the same until 2008.
Fact – County Board elected members from 1994 - 2006 will average less than a 2% increase annually. Over a period of eight years the members went without a pay increase.
County Board members currently do not receive any car allowance, mileage or parking fees. In my case, I funded all my election expense, receive no benefits, and am expected to attend numerous community events. For board members whose terms expire in 2006, these pay raises are only potential. Those elected to two year terms this November, will only receive the pay raise if they are re-elected in November 2006.
Fact – By State Statute, any County salary increases by December 2006, had to be approved by the full County Board six months before the 2004 General Election. May, 2004, was the latest date for the full board to act without holding a special meeting a few days later. A motion to hold a special meeting, died for lack of a second. Some say because the Union Contract had not been settled, the timing could have been better. Actually, the AFSCME Union contract expired in January 2004, and the new contract was not accepted by the Union until July of 2004.

Mr. Monroe as a 22 year member of the Peoria County Board was and is aware of all these facts.

All of the above facts can be verified by the County Administrator. These facts were also printed in the Observer on 5/18/04 and printed by the Journal Star on 5/17/04. Mr. Monroe served on the Peoria County Board until 2002 when as the incumbent, he chose not to run. Since then, he has peppered his columns with subtle falsehoods and outright lies, about present and past County Board Members even stating the Bellwood Nursing Home had spent the referendum tax money months before it was even collected. (In the July, 2004 issue of the Community Word, he wrote “Starting January 2003, the home ended with a deficit despite receiving $584,152.00 from the referendum tax levy.” Another subtle falsehood or outright lie as Mr. Monroe should have known as a longtime former County Board Member that none of that referendum money would come in until property tax bills were paid in June and September of 2004. He knew that the Bellwood financial year ended on December, 31, 2003 not January, 2003!!

Journalists, and I’ll use the word loosely, love to run around playing “gotcha” (Mr. Monroe’s favorite term) with public figures. Hyper sanctimony and outright lies in the media, has made the planet uninhabitable enough for elected officials.