Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Political "Slop"

Political Slop 6/26/06

We media readers and TV watchers are going to be subjected to another four month plus of political half-truths and distortions coming from the Blagojevich “slop” fund in attempts by his followers to cover up his failed efforts as steward of the well being of the State of Illinois. Christopher Wells of the Associated Press writes that the shabby campaign ads run by the incumbents paid writers are intended to be quick jabs to bruise and bloody the Republican challenger Topinka.

The incumbent has doled out enough political favors from Chicago to points south to guarantee a large pot of campaign expense money to go on continual attack of his Republican opponent. While money won’t usually buy a political office, many voters are often susceptible to believing the “slop” being fed them if the source continues to be perpetual repetition.

As Mr. Wills points out, “If you see rank distortions of fact often enough it becomes a subliminal fact that the challenger would be worse for the state than the present governor.” We can only hope that the common sense voter will realize that any incumbent who goes on a sustained attack of the challengers record with half truths and distortions is trying to cover up the incumbents failure to live up to his campaign promises and the turn around in spending promises to the voter.

Some of these ads attack Judy Baar Topinka’s opposition to a substantial minimum wage hike. As an ex businessman, I realize that raising minimum wages substantially will cause a lot of entry level applicants (often drop-outs with no skills) not to be hired. When I hired someone at minimum wage it was because they were totally unskilled or seeking extra money for a short time, while they continued their education. If they showed interest and applied themselves, they moved up in earnings or left for better opportunities. Business owners will pay more to their present good employees and ask them to be more efficient and productive than to interview, background check and hire a new unskilled employee. Paying a substantially higher starting wage adds to more cost than the employer can afford. Of course, people cannot live on minimum wage, so turnover is and is expected by the employer to be high. Minimum wage was intended by the middle and conservative branch of the Republican Party to be a first step or part time position earning extra money in the first steps in an individuals learning career. This country offers every possible advancement opportunity to young people starting with a free public education system. Opportunity abounds for those who want to learn and are willing to delay gratification for a better place in society than a life time minimum wage job.

Most Democrats, Republicans and independents know that. It’s just a political game some Democrats are playing under the guise of “compassion”. As this country continues to become more socialist and pacifistic, a path down which our governor and others continue to lead us, the more we will become like Cuba and Venezuela.

Blagojevich has made so many promises to so many of his financial contributors that he is kept occupied finding enough jobs and contracts for them and less time to lead the state. Illinois deserved someone better than George Ryan and now, his successor. Instead, it appears we have gotten someone worse.

As to Judy Baar Topinka and her position as Treasurer of the State of Illinois, she had to have many photo opts with past and present governors. The voter expects her to be a team person working as best she can with leadership of both parties. This makes it is difficult for any elected official to dis-associate themselves from a phony, incompetent or fraudulent governor. She is required by law to work as best she can with the incumbent governor. They both report to the citizenry of this state. The Treasurer of the State of Illinois is not the Auditor, the Budget Director or in charge of fixing the finances of the state when things go wrong. The treasurer’s primary job is to be the collector of taxes for the state, invest it for earnings in different financial institutions, and to account for all money received and disbursed. Except for disbursements required by law, how this money is used is eventually determined by the governor, not the treasurer.

I hope Ms. Topinka will run on her record of accomplishments and what changes she will make as next Governor of the State of Illinois. To point out provable failures of performance is acceptable; to personally assault ones opponent should not be acceptable to those who take the time to study the issues and take the responsibility to vote.

A good slogan for the Republicans to use is “Rod Blagojevich, why isn’t he thinking”?
His record should convince the thinking voter, Democrat or Republican, that the incumbent is just another “political hack” looking out for the special interest groups that support his endless financial kitty.

The failed Soviet system of always blindly supporting the party line and incumbents, did not work in Russia and should not work in this country. I expect many thinking Democrats will support a change in Springfield.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Global Warming

We’ve all read enough about global warming to all be expert on the subject. It appears that instead of some experts shrill alarmist theory that our modern ways of living are causing a drastic change in our environment, that there indeed is no agreement that we can attribute any cause to changes in our atmosphere. If you would believe Al Gore and his ilk, we polluters would retreat back into the caves our forbears came from. (No, I do not plan to see his movie, I see enough fiction on TV or read about political fiction in the liberal media) That the earth has heated and cooled for millenniums should be no secret to anyone who has studied history and geography. One expert scientist from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado argues that we are in a state of global warming because he can’t think of anything else. Hardly a compelling argument. Some glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century after advancing several centuries before that. Some glaciers in parts of the world retreat while some others advance. Hurricanes and storms are predicted to become stronger. Carbon dioxide levels have risen in recent years and should have increased warming by a greater intensity than it has. Is the warming caused by increasing carbon dioxide or by natural fluctuation? Those on one side try to submit proof that our current civilization especially that of the United States is the direct and only cause of a predicted global warming. “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” was the smoking gun for Kyoto. “The changes observed over the last several decades are likely due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability.” This statement from the National Academy of Sciences declared it had found “clear evidence of human influences on the climate system.

Many of these scientific articles do not have abstracts supporting the endorsement of consensus of their global warming views. Models submitted imply that greenhouse gases should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979.

It appears that nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding science. Claims of consensus of agreement of what appears to be causing global warming relieves policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait and switch scam. Frankly, all dialogue and consensus appears to be more political than moral. By attempting to use perpetual repetition to mount a moral campaign, appears to be more political than consensus reached by scientific methods.

This country has made large advances in controlling unhealthy emissions. We admittedly have a long way to go. If other emerging countries such as China and India would do the same as the U.S., which they aren’t, I doubt even then the Gore Liberals would stop finding ways to pin the cause of global warming on the Bush Republicans. Everyone who buys into the Gore theories should sell their oceanfront houses and retreat inland. I’m counting on this inland movement because I own some stock in an undeveloped land company way inland from any ocean. And no. I know the dangers of living on an oceanfront, an earthquake fault, a tornado alley, live below sea level or live in a paved over desert. We most usually live where we want to live and most of us accept the liabilities. Our financial risks should not be born by our taxpayer funded government.

While I have read extensively about scientific and non scientific views of global warning trends, much of the information for this article comes from Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT in an article in today’s WSJ.

I do not dispute the validity of global warming. I dispute many of the theories and do not believe there is any totally acceptable consensus of causes.

Monday, June 19, 2006


So we learn today that two of our cities hotels are on the selling “block” because “now is a good time to sell hotels because hotels are hot.” At the same time some investors looking to build a new hotel downtown to help out the Civic Center, say they can only do it with help from the government. Say what?? Are some of our elected officials going to just write off all the existing hotels in town; forget them and give taxpayers new hotels that the majority of the citizenry do not want? And this time I believe the majority do understand the facts!!

I don’t need to say, build the taxpayers more circuses so the taxpayers don’t notice the new bonds being sold that will need to be paid off some day; they’ve been built or on the drawing boards. I’m not as much worried about the people who have never had anything and could work but don’t, there are a bundle of safety nets out there for them, I worry about the working lower and middle class and retirees without substantial pensions, who have no job guarantees and have financial obligations to meet.

But maybe I’m reading this all wrong. Don’t we judge people by how much their house would list for on the market, the year and model of the Lexus or and the Brooks Brothers clothes they wear?? Isn’t “appearance” used as a determiner as to what we call being a success? So let’s build everything new where visitors can come in and uh and ah and say isn’t that a beautiful RiverPlex or ball park or a Gateway building or a new hotel downtown, and on and on. Isn’t there a saying that “appearance is everything” but isn’t there a saying that “things are not always as they appear to be”? But the financial books are seldom made public and when they are, those presenting are often “creative’. Think WorldCom and Enron. Take visitors a tour of Grandview Drive but keep them away from all the abandoned buildings in Peoria County and City, 40 plus abandoned houses and business structures, probably more that we don’t have on record, in Peoria County alone. Don’t take visitors on a tour of many Peoria streets in the daytime and absolutely not after dark. Save the night time drive for Grandview Drive and Weaver Ridge.

Should we make Peoria one big TIF district? Use taxpayer dollars to help new subsidized companies prosper by taking business away from established business owners. Why not subsidize all new projects and become a socialistic community? I trust that a majority of our elected officials will realize that the over creations of TIF’s are not in this communities best interests. And that the community will realize one day soon that many circuses are illusions that unfortunately once created, don’t go away without somebody, think taxpayer, stuck with a never ending debt.

A Federal Reserve Chairman said today that the fed is obligated to keep inflation under 3%. Tell me how many in public service would graciously accept a yearly raise under 3%? In most well run private industries there are no wage increase guarantees except for union members. If your company doesn’t make a profit, you usually don’t get any raise and may lose your job. Exception of course is GM where some union people were paid not to work.

Many experts talking about our economic outlook feel that while new millionaires are growing like dandelions, never the less; we are approaching a slowing down in our economic growth. These experts including Federal Reserve authorities feel that this economy slow down will result in a soft landing. With a prediction of a slowing in the building of new homes except luxury homes and with the stock market in a relentless decline, I suggest this community may feel a more substantial impact than a soft landing when the bills on all the recreational projects now built, being built or in their planning stages, come due.

I hate to say “I told you so” but go back and look at the “letters to the editors” I wrote and were published in the local media’s and I have yet to be wrong on any major prediction. Next big loss will be the new zoo that makes no sense from a financial position. Even a $10 entrance fee for everyone including kids would only gross $1,700,000 a year and the new bond “nut” is projected alone to be $1,400,000.00 a year. Optimistically, I’m still looking for the wealthy philanthropist who will donate $10 million and $7 or $8 million in a contingency operating fund. Time to step up, friend. I really am an optimist.

History in Peoria is repeating itself and is it appears just a few of us who are noticing. Are we wrong? Hope I’m wrong because I still live here but I’ll take bets that I am sadly right again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I’ve always been optimistic of what I could do as an individual. Probably the worst decision I ever made was to retire and put my faith in the optimism of others. Right now I’m pretty pessimistic about a lot of happenings that have a direct effect on my friends, retirees, the unemployed who are able and capable, the overtaxed and soon to be further overtaxed citizens, my family and myself.

This blog is prompted by “Another Opinion” by former Mayor Bud Grieves in today’s JS. Bud, who is a friendly fellow, writes about the failure of the Bush administration and an economy built on consumption and credit with zero savings. Bud also worries that our entitlements are about to bankrupt the country. These comments cause me to chuckle in dismay as I review all the slowly deteriorating projects Bud supported while mayor. Just a few include the RiverPlex where the city invested approximately 5 million in infrastructure; the last financial report available to the public, showed a loss of approximately $6,000 a day, a ball club in which I am a reluctant part owner (I bought in when a group of us headed by Pete Vonachen bought the club from the smarter than us guy from Chicago back in 1994), the city invested approximately $4 to $5 million in infrastructure depending on what figures you use and has yet to turn a profit to any stockholder that I know of, One Tech Center, in which the county made an unwise investment, (before my election to the County Board), the riverfront where the former Damons sits empty for going on three years and many others are keeping a brave face. Remember when River Station once thrived? Sooner of later, the city is going to be asked for financial support for a “zoo that might inspire some young person from Peoria Heights to start the next Microsoft in Peoria” (Peoria Times-observer 11/15/2000). I’m sure the community wanted the Gateway Center that looses approximately $500,000 a year and I’m not sure the community supports the closure of the railroad track for a yet to be funded trail. Where is the promised development of Southdown around the ballpark? Who was mayor and on the council when loan of $5,500,000.00 grant for Cubs that put two neighborhood groceries out of business and is now rumored to be downsizing. Looming on the horizon is a new TIF for SouthTown business development, concern over the new museum that if not built, Caterpillar says they will NOT build their Visitors Center-----I’ll stop here, I’m out of breath.

You know, I try to be optimist but just when I was feeling better, the stock market dropped 1200 points with no end in sight, attendance at the ball park appears to be going further “south” and the Peoria Park District Board floated another $10 million dollar loan for the zoo expansion. Glen Barton, whose wife Polly is heading up the fund drive for the new zoo expansion, says PPD needs another $6 million in contributions. The PPD still has 15 years to pay off the $10 million they borrowed to build the RiverPlex and $15 million of yet to be paid off bonds from other projects and expenses. In the meantime, the city hasn’t yet been asked for the public infrastructure everybody knows will be needed for the zoo expansion. Now the city and/or the county are being asked for more money for the museum, more money for school consolidation, more money for the Civic Center, more money for the neighborhoods, more money for street building and maintenance, increasing safety dollars for a sprawling relatively growth less population, ect.

With higher interest rates on the horizon, inflation camped on our doorsteps, gas prices remaining high while oil stock are plummeting, a global recession apparently underway and no end in sight in spending money off shores while off shore investors area pulling their money out of the U.S. economy, well folks, some of us no longer have a job and no pension, well, some of us are losing a lot of our optimism.

As one of the fiscal conservatives on the County Board and a minority in partisanship, my one vote is only one out of 18. But that one voice represents those of you who understand the meaning of fiscal conservancy. I want to retain that one vote to represent those of you who believe in the fiscal common sense you have and want your elected officials to have. (Please vote for me in November and if not in my district ask your friends to support this fiscal conservative).

While I want to share some of this community’s leadership optimism, in order to do so, I need to see more business plans based on history and facts. I need to see some of the current debts paid OFF and new projects that at least come close to breaking even and bring to the community more than just more restaurants and shops. Maybe I’m becoming like some of the “please vote no” people, I want some type of a guarantee that all these projects aren’t going to cost those not making $100,000 a year plus and those with large publicly funded pensions; an arm and a leg. Other than some proof, I’m going to turn pessimistic like my old acquaintance and optimist, Bud Grieves. I’ve tried my best to get more people to see what I see, but even I have trouble believing what I can see for myself.

Journal Star Editorial Today

“County must aggressively fight landfill appeal” is the title of the JS Editorial Comment column today. As you recall the JS strongly supported the PDC Expansion Application, especially after the 30 extra requirements (criteria) were added and approved by the PDC. Now that 12 of the 18 member County Board voted against the application and the added criteria, the JS calls attention to the fact of who is going to be responsible for the landfill after PDC is not legally be required to service this landfill after the year 2034. The JS writes “Those County Board members who were convinced the landfill was not safe and voted no because they were convinced the landfill was not safe nor compatible still need to reckon with the liability. Then the JS asks, Why the silence?”

Indeed, why the silence??? And indeed, not just the County Board members but the entire community should be asking who is going to be responsible. Some board members, extreme environmentalist and the Sierra Club say let the government take it over. Who funds the government? It wouldn’t be us taxpayers, would it?

Time will tell whether the “no” voters made a mistake that may eventually cost Peoria County taxpayers millions of dollars. Please re-read the testimony of Dr. Zwicky, who claimed to have the support of 750 doctors who opposed PDC’s application. This testimony and cross-examination is posted in full on my blog site dated 4/13/06 and also reprinted on the counties website If you can find any Zwicky’s testimony that said more than that toxins kill if not properly handled (any adult should know that), please call me personally as I am in the phone book or post your comments on this site. In conversations, it appears that most doctors feel that emotions overrode evidence and common sense. I remind you again that the only practicing doctor who actually toured the site and learned what was going on was Dr. Stephen Smart. His ‘letter to the editors”, can also be found in my April blog archives.

Note that the Civic Federation’s Executive council, presided over by Michael Bryant CEO of Methodist Hospital, had a majority vote in support of PDC’s application. So did the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council and the Heartland partnership. Also the public support of the Teamsters Union and the silent approval of most union members and leadership.

My proper decision to “keep the Coulters in town and responsible for the next 48 years and with a hundreds of million dollar trust fund handled by an independent financial institution”; we “yes” voters decision will be proven true. More so, if PDC wins on appeal which some authorities feel they have a good chance of doing. Remember, if PDC does win, all the 30 “special criteria” accepted if the vote was “yes”, will go “out the window”. In this “special criteria”, was the stipulation that PDC, a locally owned company and a good steward of unpopular waste; a company whose employees protect the welfare of all citizens, could NOT sell to another company without County Board approval. When the vote was no, all 30 added criteria left the bargaining table. Also gone is the special air monitoring over and above what is required of the EPA.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Part 6 - Extremist Environmentalists

After the 1965 hurricane swamped New Orleans the Army Corp of Engineers started to shield the city with flood gates similar to those that protect the Netherlands. Work stopped in 1977 when an environmental group called “Save our Wetlands” filed lawsuits claiming that the Corps’ environment impact statement was deficient. While the environmentalists blame the Corp, the Corp let the environmentalists win the day and proceeded to build less controversial levees that failed when Katrina struck.

Litigation delay involving governmental bodies like the Corp can effectively kill necessary projects. That is too often the intention of groups like the Save the Wetlands and the Sierra Club. Delay or try to kill any project they decide to attack. Large federal projects cannot proceed unless executives and legislatures at several levels agree on the same course of action at the same time. As delays turn into years, funds dry up and elections change the players.

National environmentalist groups and federal agencies share the belief that federal power is usually a force for good. Their disagreement is who should wield the power - activists or bureaucrats? Federal power is often a force for bad and ditto for state governments, but when the feds intervene, things often get worse because of the blurring of the lines of responsibility. When Washington decides which project to fund, state officials can take credit for bringing in federal bucks and blame the feds for the mistakes in priorities. Federal government tends to do more than is strictly necessary.

The Clinton administration argued that Congress should return many programs, including some environmental ones to the states in order to “focus the energies of the federal government on the parts of the task for which it has a distinct advantage, and rely on the states for activities they are more likely to carry out successfully.” Unfortunately, more bureaucracies were create that tend to try to micromanage everything they can. Government bureaucracy has grown so huge that intelligent decisions are difficult to make at any level of government. Had the corps been given the responsibility of protecting New Orleans without interference from the radical environmentalist and an overbearing federal government and had the State of Louisiana been made responsible for its own destiny, the destruction of Katrina would have probably been mitigated. If not, then the responsibility would have at least been correctly identified and reconstruction would now be proceeding under new management.

That’s the way successful private industry works. While the capitalist system may not be perfect, far too many failures are occurring in this bureaucratic society with few ways to truly assess the blame and hardly any demotions or outright firings occurring. When administrations changed in year 2000, many of us thought we would have smaller government with states and communities made responsible for much of their own destinies. Instead, government has become much larger, more expensive, and the buck easier to pass. As long as people believe that the federal government should increase the budget to include “earmarks” for everybody, the more the feds are going to tell the recipients where they will spend this “free” money.

So New Orleans environmentalists have now lost their wetlands at a cost of maybe a quarter of a trillion dollars and thousands of lives ruined and with no promise that the city can survive another major disaster. With 20,000 acres of wetlands now destroyed, I wonder what havoc the extremists and fumbling bureaucracies are doing today.

There are a growing number of people who want the government to relieve them of all responsibility, bow to any “herd” pressure and guarantee safety with little responsibility, no matter what the expense is to others. It’s unfortunate but the lack of willingness to accept responsibility penetrates to all levels of government. Sometimes I feel I am part of a dying breed of people and elected officials who believe in accepting responsibility without so much governmental and bureaucratic assistance.

Parts of this article come from “Saving our Environment from Washington: How Congress Grabs Power, Shirks Responsibility and Shortchanges the People by David Schoenbrod, a professor at New York Law School and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. I personally have studied much that went wrong with the State of Louisiana and New Orleans and was disappointed to see Nagin gain reelection. The amounts of money being dumped into that sorry situation are more than alarming.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Peoria Disposal Company Files An Appeal

Peoria County Board members were informed today that PDC has filed an appeal stating that they did not receive a fair trial. The county has issued a statement that “Peoria County is confident that the vote no decision will be upheld.”

On 5/10, I sent a 250 word letter, now lengthened on this blog to get in all the facts, to the editors of the Journal Star that reads as follows:

“Vote No, you’re constituents told you so, said the opposition.” Look at both sides, uphold your oath of office, read, listen and act as jurists, the Peoria States Attorney told us. As one of 7 County Board Members appointed by the County Board Chairman to the Regional Pollution Control Site Hearing Subcommittee, I sat thru approximately 50 hours of testimony along with staff, engineers and attorney. At the end of the testimony and cross-examinations, we were to do the following: #1 – The “Rules of Order” submitted to the siting committee reads “After the close of public comment period following the hearing, the Committee shall meet to discuss and consider the record, and develop recommended findings of fact and to develop a recommendation to forward to the county board.” Our directions from our outside attorney reads “The role of the subcommittee was to hold the required public hearing, and then reconvenes to hear staff reports. At the end findings of fact recommendations would be made as well as general application recommendations. This would be forwarded to the entire County Board. #2 – The duty of all of the board members as explained by our attorney was to formulate decisions based solely upon that found in the public record. #3 – The Application from PDC and all the proceedings were to be posted on the our counties website

#1 – The subcommittee did not meet at the close of public comment as recommended and the subcommittee did not meet with staff nor did the subcommittee have an opportunity to make recommendations to the entire board.

#2 – Properly forewarned by the States Attorney and outside counsel to not make our decision on emotion but on facts, 4 of the 7 members of the subcommittee, including myself, voted to accept the application with 30 special criteria added by staff and accepted by PDC. Part of the “special criteria” were the adding of a trust fund, enclosing the water from the rinse that turns the toxic material received by PDC into hazardous waste as permitted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Association; enclosing this rinse water in tanks to be treated and released to the Greater Peoria Sanitary District as been done for 27 years, three new monitoring wells and the right for the county to come out and do our own testing.

#3 – The majority of the no voters do not have a computer at home as noted by their emails being sent to the county. Yet the typed out proceedings or hard copy, 2018 pages, were not made available to the full board until one week after the first vote. Approximately 500 to 700 letters supporting the PDC Application were filed in a storage box in the office of the County Clerk and according to the keeper of these documents; I was the only board member who came in to review these files containing both pro and con letters. In reviewing the opposing files, I noted that a coordinated effort appeared to have been made by the Sierra Club and The Families Opposed to Toxic Waste as these documents of opposition, were duplicate copies I received thru the mail or on my emails, board members who appeared not have a computer were assigned email numbers addressed to the Peoria County Clerk. Among these emails were letters of support from the President of Keystone, unseen by the board member representing Keystone, from ranking environmental officers of Caterpillar, Ameren/Cilco and hundreds of letters from environmentally concerned leaders of the business community. In this hard copy file were letters of support from the Civic Federation, the Chamber of Commerce, Heartland Partnership and the Economic Development Council.

Two no voters on the County Board are members of the Sierra Club who strongly opposed the expansion application; Allen Mayer, who was characterized by the JS reporter as leader of the no vote faction and Jim Thomas whose wife JoAnn told me does not have a computer at home but probably read the files on the computer at ICC where he teaches.

One board member, Eldon Polhemus, did not attend any of the hearings and he was absent on the first vote yet told the journal Star reporter that had he been there, he probably would have voted no. On May 12, Mr. Polhemus stated before the entire board that he voted no at the 2nd meeting based on the presentations made by Mr. Edwards. His comments are in the minutes of May 12 County Board meeting. (Mr. Tom Edwards appeared before the full County Board approximately 24 times protesting the presence and expansion of PDC.)

Who will prevail on this appeal remains too be seen. I remind the reader that the no voter, the yes voters and PDC are all my constituents. I make effort as a member of the Peoria County Board to be fair to all when I vote. But there are some facts presented on this blog and the approximately dozen other blogs I published on the subject of the PDC Application that need to be known to the entire community.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Part 5 - Extreme Environmentalists

This blog could start with any number of titles “Energy Politics Will Do US In Yet”, No Increase in Capacity As Energy Demand Grows”; these articles in the WSJ describing the rise of energy prices while our leftist or week-kneed politicians cave in to the screeches of the radical environmentalists. Demand for natural gas has more than doubled in the last two decades while production increased by only 1% since 1996. Yet drillers are blocked by not only our own government but by lawsuits filed by environmental radicals. Even when access is granted, drillers are faced with such hurdles as complying with the Endangered Species Act; this act alone causes billions of dollars lost to taxpayers and the economy. Lawsuits, easy to file by the NIMBY and radical environmentalist ilk, prevent any progress in development to be made for up to decades.

In Maryland, retail electricity prices are increasing 72% on July 1. Deregulation made no actual provision for increasing energy supply and the market has been effectively blocked by NIMBY activists and weak governmental control. No generation capacity has been added anywhere in the U.S. in decades with the exception of gas turbines which have been rendered uneconomical by the spike in natural gas prices.

The radical environmentalists used lawsuits decades ago to shut down further nuclear energy development and have continued to employ them to block development ever since. However, efforts of the current administration have caused the recent easing of opposition to nuclear power and open the door for renewed construction of nuclear plants in the U.S. but it will take years to even begin to get new power from these plants that will not even be built by the end of this decade. George Melloan of the WSJ wrote on 1/24/06, “In the meantime, we must start removing many restrictions on the devolvement of more conventional sources such as oil and gas, but politicians of the left are meddling with the current energy crisis all the while proclaiming that nukes will save us in the distant future.”

So while most everyone complains about rising energy costs that we begrudgingly pay, we should put the blame not on private enterprise but on weak national governmental policies, many of them of the Clinton and Kennedy eras, and on the radical environmentalist who would like to see us return our country to the 1600’s. Unfortunately, the Republicans have their share of politicians who are swayed by emotion and the next election, rather than facts available.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed by congress, even with all its flaws, is designed to strengthen our nation’s electrical infrastructure, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase conservation and expand the use of renewable energy. However, neither windmills nor ethanol could make it on their own without substantial subsidies from the taxpayer. These expensive alternates are at best temporary until new clean nuclear power plants come on-line in the next couple of decades.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Part 4 - Extremist Environmentalists

To quote from the Editors of the WSJ “No doubt the greens have succeeded in promoting higher environmental standards, which in turn have contributed to cleaner air water and land. But environmental activists don’t want to believe their own success, much less advertise it. They need another looming catastrophe to stay relevant, not to mention to keep raising money.” According to the EPA, since 1970, carbon emissions are down 55%, particulate emissions are down 80%, sulfur dioxide emissions are down 80% and lead emissions have declined by 98% despite the doubling the vehicles on the road and tripling the number of miles driven. In the 1970’s the greens were predicting mass starvation, overpopulation and global cooling. Since then population growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found more ways to feed people than the doomsayers believed possible and global cooling has become a global warming crisis. The greens haven’t missed a beat to talking up scares that never come to pass. Al Gore, environmentalist conscience-in-chief, attempting to find credibility for another campaign run, says Katrina “may have been the first sip of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us over and over again until we act on the truth we have wished would go away.” Mr. Gore borrowed that statement from Winston Churchill who correctly described the Nazi menace in the 1930’s. Mr. Gore is welcome to borrow my extensive files on what went wrong in the gulf including an excellent article titled “Debunking Katrina Myths”, what really happened and what to do next time, in Popular Mechanics March 2006 issue.

For Earth Day, Vanity Fair, a liberal magazine published 246 pages of celebrity worship and environmental apocalypse including computer generated images of New York under water and the Washington Mall as one big reflecting pool. The credibility of some prominent environmentalists becomes more questionable every day. They mount full scale demonization of anyone who doubts that the “end is near”. Certain greens would rather not debate the “evidence” at all and merely invoke some “consensus” that everyone allegedly knows to be true.

Any student of the environment knows that the world has had climate changes in its entire history. Approximately 10,000 years ago parts of the northern half of the U.S. was covered with glacial ice. Duh?? Deserts in the west show aquatic remains high on banks where there is no recorded history of the presence of water. Our teacher taught us that we would all “breath easier” (the title of the WSJ article I quote) when we got older if we didn’t smoke. She was an environmentalist with common sense. She didn’t know about cancer but she knew smoking could kill you and of course it does kill. Thank God that she and people like my parents passed on the common sense I try to use today. And no I don’t “suffer fools gladly” and if more people were like me stood up and be counted, we with common sense would have less fools to suffer.

I’ve never been much for cliques nor did I “run in packs”. I have always read, listened and observed to arrive at my own decisions and still do so at my older age today.

Hope you find my blogs informative. More to come on this environmental series and probably some local information may become public in the near future.

Noon Optimist Club Meeting

I will be the speaker before the Noon Optimist Club on June 20. My question and answer presentation will be “Peoria County Issues”. Lunch at Barracks Catering on Pioneer Parkway starts at 11:30. You can come as my guests but unfortunately you will have to pay for your lunch unless you sign up to join on the 20th. Sorry.

I believe there will be quite a bit happening concerning county issues between now and the 20th but hope to see some of my readers in attendance.

Part 3 - Extremist Environmentalists

Deadly Prejudice is the title of an article written by Steve Forbes in Forbes Magazine. Mr. Forbes writes “Nearly every month almost as many people die from malaria as were killed by the tsunami waves in the Indian Ocean. Most of malaria’s victims some 2,000,000 a year, are children under the age of 5. More than 300,000,000 annually suffer from this debilitating disease that drain survivors of their mental and physical energies. Incredibly, there is an easy proven way to eradicate most of the globe’s malaria---DDT. Yet in one of histories more murderously myopic ongoing activities, most advanced countries and international agencies discourage its use. Why? Blame Rachel Carson’s seismically influential—book, Silent Spring first published in 1962. In it she blames DDT for imperiling birds and people, portraying it as a blight of almost biblical proportion. It isn’t so. As Dr. Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health once put it, there “has never been a documented case of human illness or death as a result of the standard and accepted use of pesticides.” The British medical journal The Lancet similarly notes that after 40 years of research no significant health threat from DDT has been found. Indiscriminate use of DDT will indeed have a deleterious impact on certain birds. The use of tiny amounts inside house or hut is all that is needed to stop malaria devastating affects on human lives. Nicholas Kristof observed “Four hundred fifty thousand people can be protected (from malaria) with the same amount of DDT that was applied to a single 1000 acre cotton field in the 1960’s. Humans are far better off exposed to DDT than exposed to malaria.”

Yet Carson’s book has made DDT taboo—with ghastly results. Some 30 to 60 million people have perished unnecessarily. In 1996, for example, South Africa stopped using DDT and its malaria cases increased tenfold. Four years later South Africa reversed itself and employed DDT again and the incidence of malaria dropped 80%. That various agencies, governments, health officials and environmentalists have deliberately dissuaded the world from using DDT is one of the most immoral moves of modern times.”

Tina Rosenberg writes in the New York Times “DDT is a victim of its success, having thoroughly eliminated malaria in wealth nations that we forget why we once needed it. The very insecticide that eradicated malaria in developed nations has been essentially deactivated as a malaria-control tool today. The paradox is that sprayed in tint quantities inside houses—DDT is most likely to not harmful to people or the environment. Certainly, the possible harm from DDT is vastly outweighed by its ability to save lives. One in 20 African children dies of malaria, and many of those who survived are brain damaged. Each year, 300 to 500 million people worldwide get malaria.”

I recently clipped an article which I have misplaced the says another country in Africa (on the West coast I believe), has returned to using DDT resulting in a drastic reduction in malaria cases

On 2/15/06 a letter to the editors of the JS by Mr. Robert Coats of Peoria reads “From a rational standpoint, any society that accepted only zero-risk activities would be completely non-functional. In determing which risks are acceptable we need to look at all the facts, not just the information that supports our own point of view.”

Radical and extreme environmentalists do not appear to let any of the facts get in their way. They have agendas to fulfill and the apathy in the wealthy parts of the universe lead to billions of dollars lost each year and millions of lives changed forever.

I once belonged to the Sierra Club and some other green organizations. As soon as I realized the radical and extremists had taken over most of these movements, I withdrew support and after a couple of years the mailings asking for money stopped.

“All knowledge is sterile which does not lead to action and end in charity” (Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier) “With all thy getting get understanding”

Friday, June 02, 2006

Extreme Environmentalists - Part 2

On 3/23/06, an article by Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journals Editorial board reads “Here in Colorado, the hottest political issue of the day may not be the War in Iraq or the out of control federal budget, but rather the plight of a tiny mouse. Back in 1998, a frisky eight-inch rodent known as Preble’s meadow jumping mouse gained protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. What has Coloradans hot under the collar is that some 32,000 acres of local government and privately owned land in the state and reaching into Wyoming was essentially quarantined from all development so as not to disrupt the mouse’s natural habitat. Even the Fish and Wildlife Service concedes that the cost to these landowners could exceed $183 million.” (The writer then refers to the debacle of the Northern spotted owl.)

Based on research, it turns out that the mouse is not endangered; it isn’t even a unique species. “The full species of the meadow jumping mouse, far from being rare, can be found over half the land area of North America” says Mr. Ramey who I quote below. “The federal government has effectively shut off tens of millions of dollars of economic development based on saving a species that we now know doesn’t even exist.” But green groups and Interior bureaucrats, who regard the ESA as a sacred pact-the modern day equivalent of Noah’s Ark, as former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt called it—pledge to fight any change in status. The man who is almost single-handedly responsible for exposing the truth about the meadow mouse is Roy Ramey, biologist and lifelong conservationist with extensive credentials, says “nothing prepared him for the viciousness of the attacks from the environmentalist lobby.”

Meanwhile the meadow mouse continues to impose huge costs on local communities. One water district was recently required to build two tunnels for the mice under a man made pond. The cost; over $1,000,000.00. The Fish and Wildlife Service also has the authority to assess penalties on property owners if they even inadvertently spoil mouse habitat. Owners can eve be fined if their cats chase and apprehend mice.

Many people have been so strong armed by federal bureaucrats that they have come to believe that the original and widely supported intent of the ESA has been subverted into a back-door means to slam the brakes on economic development. They believe it is a cost-free way for the government and the greens to impose land-use controls on property owners. House Resource Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (Pombo is up for reelection) has sensibly proposed reforms that allow landowners to get fair compensation from the government if their land is depressed in value due to a wetlands or endangered species designation. He says if society wants to preserve habitat for the common good, then costs should be borne by all taxpayers, not individual landowners. Problem is that many of the radical environmentalists are shills of “wealthenvironuts” who can afford more taxes, and are not property owners or pay very little property taxes.

The article concludes “If anything good can come out of the mouse fiasco in Colorado, it will be that it has awakened Congress to the reality that the ESA isn’t just failing property owners but the very irreplaceable species it was designed to protect.”

Ridiculous over protection of mice and owls, “historic decisions that are going to be nationally important”, are the aim of the extreme environmentalists.

Wake up Peoria and elected officials; our community is becoming part of this dangerous movement started over 33 years ago; a movement that appears to be accelerating and straying far from its original intent.

Part 1of "Fatal Damage Done by Actions of Extremist Environmentalists"

A recent article in the Journal Star labeled “Tiny Owl Sparks Endangered Species Lawsuit” stating that conservationists had gone to court to stop the pygmy owl from being removed from the endangered species list. Protection of this owl which is found in more than one place in the west has stopped private and public construction including a new school northwest of Tucson, AZ.

In an article titled “Owls of Protest” dated 10/19/05, Kimberley A. Strassel, a senior editorial page writer for the Wall Street Journal wrote about a successful family shake and shingle business operating 6 mills and employing 200 people around Washington State, “By 1993 it was all gone, the last mill closed, his people unemployed, all thanks to a little predator known as the Northern spotted owl. This owl came under protection of the Endangered Species Act. This owl has become for property owners the poster child of everything wrong with the 1973 Endangered Species Act”. That law has taken a toll on thousands of communities and the speed with which that law brought entire regions to their knees indicates how badly that law has gone wrong. Northwesterners have taken to referring to this debacle as their own “Katrina”. The spotted owl law has resulted in 130,000 lost jobs, more than 900 sawmills, pulp mills and paper mills closed in the mid-90’s. The effect on small businesses was severe. Divorce rates shot up; men committed suicides. People migrated to Canada for work. Ms. Strassel continues “But at least we have the owls, right? Wrong. The old growth trees on which the owls were suppose to thrive remained but the owl population declined drastically. The answer, biologists are beginning to admit is ….another owl. Barred owls migrated into spotted owl territory decades ago and started killing the smaller spotted owl birds, driving them out of their homes, or mating with them-producing impure offspring”. “We’re seeing two species duke it out. It’s too early to tell if the spotted owls’ species will survive” says a federal wildlife biologist in 2004.

Back to the “Act”. The government is only required to use the “best available” science in determing what is protected and recovery plans. Too often “best available” science has been pushed by greens or by government biologists who have their own political agenda. The decline of the spotted owls was totally blamed on logging.

Critical habitat designations have become a powerful tool to “extremist” environmentalists, who sue to get them with the larger goal of putting more land off-limits to homeowners or workers. This focus on idle land rather than on the species itself is behind the law’s spectacular failures; in its 32 year history, the act has recovered less than one percent of listed species.

Ms. Strassel states two laws are in process in Congress to attempt to remedy some of the fatal damage already done. She ends “Whether any reform come soon enough to make a difference to those already hurt in our country, is unclear. What is clear is that those in congress who oppose reform bear the burden of explaining how a law that currently fails both species and humans can possibly be justified.” (Anyone with knowledge of how these reforms are progressing, please post below)

This Endangered Species Act was a “historic decision that became nationally important”. These “historic decision” words are the words ‘environmentalist’ Tom Edwards spoke at a meeting before the full County Board on April, 13, 2006.

The continuing series of articles will show how extremist people are plotting and acting to change the ideals and beliefs on which this country was founded and how they are attempting, under the guise of “we are just protecting our environment”, to lead us into pacifism and socialism as we now witness in old Europe. Scare tactics, threats and actual violence are all within the realm of any extremist. We have these extremists in our midst, not just in the Mid-East.