Monday, November 20, 2006

Save the Environment by Producing Ethanol?

Ethanol is supposed to save our country from dependence on oil from other countries. Here are some facts to dwell on: The quantity of carbon dioxide emitted when ethanol is used as fuel will be 1.56 the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted when gasoline is used for fuel. Why aren’t the radical environmentalists screaming about the additional pollution of the air caused by the use of ethanol? They were successful in stopping the growth of the most efficient energy source in the world; nuclear power. (Note that they were not successful in stopping the use of nuclear power in our navy; aircraft carriers, submarines, ect are all powered by nuclear energy) They were responsible for stopping the building of more chemical plants in the U.S. making the cost of imported gas too high to be used by industry and caused the closing 70 chemical plants in the U.S since 2004 at a loss of 100,000 jobs. They and weak politicians are responsible for thousands of laid off workers due to the closing of plants using natural gas in their products; plants producing everyday consumer products from plastic cups to carpets to semiconductors. Of the 120 chemical plants being built around the world with $1 billion dollar price tags, (think jobs) only one is in the US. Talk about outsourcing, our politicians and rad enviros are responsible for many jobs in the energy sector to be lost to countries that have used more common sense than John Kerry and Democrats of his ilk plus a few Republicans. (It’s easy for Kerry, he doesn’t need a job; he married lifetime security.)

The Gulf holds an estimated 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and a lame duck congress has an opportunity to open up 8.5 million acres to natural gas and oil drilling. Failure to act will continue to punish Americans with short supplies and high costs, causing more plant closures and job flight overseas.

All kinds of efforts have been made to use the shale formations in western U.S.; 70% of this shale is located on federal lands. Production has been stymied by high reclamation costs and environmentalists. But Shell claims to be able to make high quality products straight out the ground with little processing to turn into diesel, jet fuel and naphtha. Chevron has a plan using carbon dioxide to break the rock bearing energy shale to release oil in mainly Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Exxon tried but abandoned a 3 billion dollar Colorado project in 1982 and that failure cost the confidence and dollars of a lot of people in the community. So people have a right to be wary.

The future on energy sources remains cloudy. Fortunately, the energy sources we have depended on in our past are still available; we will just pay more or use less. Ethanol, from all I can gather is not the answer. Neither are windmills. We have the resources here in our own country. We just need politicians with guts and reasonable environmentalists’ activists.

We’ll see.

And what about those “frog eaters”, French, they were smart enough to get nuclear energy approved and are building more nuclear plants today.

The cost of corn is going up so will the cost of producing ethanol. Eventually, so will the cost of corn produced ethanol at the pump. So will the cost of all products that are produced from corn (think groceries) adding additional costs to the consumer. The beneficiary will be the farmer who already is subsidized by taxes you pay to the government. You also pay taxes to subsidize the ethanol producers, plus the touted energy producing windmills are subsidized with your tax dollars and are blights on the landscape. In fact, subsidies are becoming a way of life with our “spend and borrow” governments. Who will be responsible for tearing down these monstrosities when this country wakes up and fights back against the radical environmentalists and weak stomached politicians and, we, like the French and Russians go back to nuclear power?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our Armed Services: Without Them, We Would Not have the Freedoms We Should be Enjoying

Do you know some young person going thru life without much aim, education or skills? I suggest advising he or she to take a make a phone call or contact with one of the many of the armed service offices in our community. One source is the Air National Guard: Free college, training in over 100 career skills, great benefits: Call or e-mail Dale Losher, Air Guard Recruiting Assistant - 3093702016 or

I have a grandson Bill Greytak serving in Turkey in the Air Force. Bill had started college only to discover it was not what he expected at the early age of nineteen. I suspect he will have a better direction of careers after four years.

It was my service in the Air Corp that launched me into my first career; teaching and coaching and my second career in business which prepared me for my third career, local politics, all honorable services to my community.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Open Court

An article written by Paul Beston and published this weekend in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye because it featured a company called Open Court in Peru Illinois. Founded in 1962 by friends of mine, Blouke Carus and his wife Marianne and a small band of dedicated educational theorists and consultants, they created innovative materials with the goal of educating the American masses as rigorously as the elites of Europe. The vision of Open Court was to break down “the false dichotomy between rationalist’s emphasis on skills (particularly phonics) and the progressive insight that different children learned differently, the company managed to attract opposition from both sides. But the most vigorous objections came from the progressive advocates of Whole Language. This theory rejected specific skill instruction in favor of “meaningful contexts” for reading. Some of its practitoners believed that reading could be learned as easily as talking: others feared that a systematic focus on skills was akin to cultural and economic oppression. Open Court argued that depriving children of such skills was the true act of oppression in a society where the boundaries of opportunity were drawn mostly by ignorance.

There is a book on the subject titled “Let’s Kill Dick and Jane” by Harold Henderson. Henderson says it was the anti-intellectual rigidity of the educational establishment which continually resisted the research-based methods that Open Court employed. The effectiveness of Open Court’s pedagogy, to the extent that it was measured, indicated that Blouke and Marianne Carus knew what they were doing. The overt resistance of professional educators lessened somewhat over time, only to take on more subtle forms. Even when the educational system seemed to respond to cries for reform, as in California in the 1980’s – where Open Court materials were found to be the only one’s that met the state’s promising new standards – bureaucracy and the status quo untimely prevailed.

But the question of what might have been lingers. For all the challenges the company faced, perhaps the most insurmountable was securing the commitment of the teachers: they were often too deeply attached to their established routines, which were less demanding than was Open Court was asking of them.

Their resistance, Mr. Henderson stresses, was caused more by inertia than ideology: They (the teacher) have all the spirit and excitement of baked halibut. Contrast this dull conformity with the passion of Open Court who states “that if you teach a child to read, you never have to do another right thing in your life.”

And there in lies the fundamental dilemma. In the U.S. such dedication is more typically associated with those who work in business of the more lucrative professions. Despite decades of reforms, an unanswered question hangs over the education debate: how to find enough spirited and gifted, people to do vital work that does not pay especially well (better than some think with all the benefits) and has none of the glamour bestowed by success in the private sector.

The American education culture, Mr. Henderson concludes, “can assume a veneer of progressivism or traditionalism as the times dictate, but its routines lie deeper than ideology. Many can testify to the truth of those words."

Open Court was eventually worn down and was sold to McGraw-Hill in 1996 which has doubled the sales of its materials. But the phrase “See a good idea. See it run into trouble” is well described in the book “Let’s Kill Dick and Jane”.

Much of this article can be attributed to Mr. Paul Beston, a writer living in Beacon, N.Y.

Today I and 19 others were invited to a parochial school to be interviewed by kids asking us what they needed to do to be successes as the group of us was described. They did the questioning but when it was my turn, I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. Then I asked them if they liked to read. The lead boy said he loved to read and wanted to become “an engineer”. I suspect his enthusiasm and love of reading will take him most anywhere he wants to go and be what he eventually decided he will be. The 2nd boy said he wanted to be a veterinarian and I asked him what he thought a veterinarian did. He answered that they worked with animals and sometimes they had to kill the animals that were in too bad of a shape to heal. I told him that doctors had to be good readers to read medical journals to make decisions like that and that he would have to be familiar with all the diseases related to animals and to be able to find and read the information required.. He agreed he had better learn to like reading. The third boy said he hated reading and had no idea what he wanted to do. He did agree that in order to someday make a living and possible support a family that he would need to develop some skills and maybe he had better learn to like reading as the lack of the ability to read would most likely be an obstacle to prevent him from succeeding.

There is something wrong with a system of which approximately only 50% of the kids really like to read. Part of the problem is described in this article and in the book. I suggest all in education and parents, whose kids are having trouble reading, take the time to read or visit a language class to see how and what the teachers are teaching your kids.

I look forward to be invited back to be “interviewed” by more kids in grade school. Kids can learn from volunteers with enthusiasm who are also willing to listen and share.

I have been invited by three schools to be a reader. I’ll soon be taking them up on this offer. I have done so at Northmoor; a school with an enthusiastic principal, Nicole Wood and with many excitement creating teachers like Michelle Kneer and Tracey Kupper.

I have written at least a dozen blogs covering many aspects of education and what needs to be done to increase the many successes that come from the private and public school systems in our county. You may benefit to scroll back to many of them including “School Daze” or “In Defense of Elitism”. (4/25/05)

I am a strong supporter of competition to the union dominated public school system and still remain a strong supporter of WELL RUN public schools. Well run schools with strong and knowledgeable boards, hire the best teachers available, the best administrators and promote the best principals and fire the poor teachers before they become entrenched in tenure.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All Slander All the Time

That is the title of an article in today’s JS written by John Ellis a former columnist for the Boston Globe. Ellis writes “the vast majority of those polled described the political advertising this year as “very negative” to “extremely negative”. My opponent on her mailer last week showed a dump truck dumping poisons, paint and oil into an open hole labeled “Landfill”. She picked up on the theme of the small crowd of extreme environmentalists who have poisoned the atmosphere in Peoria County with their half-truths and falsehoods. Mr. Ellis writes “In the midst of all these negative messages, one would expect to find a broad, thematic campaign that aspired to something bigger than ‘he voted for toxic waste dumps and against your unborn child’. Political parties are all tactics and no strategy. They spend millions of dollars micro targeting supposedly single-issue voters and bombarding them with negative messages about the opposite party or party’s candidate alleged disdain for those concerns. Ultimately, the reaction of this ceaseless negative barrage will be the rejection of both major political parties. Americans share two overriding beliefs: Tomorrow will be a better day and the idea of America is fundamentality important. That critical mass will eventually embrace a party of hope and mission. A new political party that speaks to those beliefs will emerge. All slander all the time eventually collapses of its own foul weight.”

During the hearings on the PDC Landfill Expansion, I received numerous e-mails and phone calls issuing threats to me about the next time I ran for election. I was the first “yes” voter to stand for election since the “no” vote and won despite the facts detailed in my preceding blog. The radical environmentalists allegedly threatened Peoria Park Board Trustee Stan Budinski who publicly announced support of the expansion, that they would work very hard to defeat him when he ran for reelection. Mr. Budinski recently announced he would not run for election.

During my reelection campaign, the radical environmentalists continued to spread their slander of my support of a “toxic dump” and my opponent picked up on the theme. These RE”s along with other groups and individuals with axes to grind very nearly defeated me on single issues.

They failed.

In 1931, Aldous Huxley wrote a book titled “Brave New World. Twenty seven years later, 1958, Huxley wrote “Brave New World Revisited”. I encourage all who vote to read these writings combined now in one book. Mr. Huxley has predicted that “groups” could be turned into “crowds” that often get ugly. During and after the Landfill hearings, some of these crowds got ugly with threats of dire consequences if the board did not deny the application. Huxley also predicted that we would become a soft nation seeking protection from fear and desiring to live in a perpetual state of happiness and security. This is a condition that makes any country ripe for the taking by demagogues such as Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Osama and a large number of lesser demagogues here in the United States, some of them extreme environmentalists who do go as far as to commit arson and physical violence to those who do not agree with them.

In Brave New World, Huxley tells of people so wrapped up in their own attempts to feel good and to feel safe all the time that they do not realize what is going on around them. When they do, they react many times for all the wrong reasons. Hearing and reading screams that PDC and the County Board is putting “toxic in our water that will make Peoria a ghost city” caused many people to become very stressful and seek an outlet for their emotions. Reason gave way to fear. People in this state of fear for their safety and happiness eventually are soothed by what Huxley fictitiously calls “soma” which we today would today recognize as being in a safe happy state or a hypnotic state being soothed by falsehoods, circuses and game playing. Many resort to alcohol excesses and the excessive use of hundreds of drugs of all types. In this state of restrained responsibility they look for false leaders who play on their imagination and lead them to abandon reason.

Unfortunately, people have been led to believe that the safety of our community is threatened by a grave danger to our water and air by the expansion of a locally owned solid waste landfill. Some people are under severe stress and look for someone to blame and something that will guarantee their safety. Huxley tells us how even as early as 1931 how we can all be safe and happy. The results are predictable for those who can reason. Fortunately this Brave New World is fiction. Brave New World Revisted is not fiction. Neither are the half-truths and falsehoods being circulated by small groups about the long term safety of metallic waste legally accepted by our solid waste landfill and approved by the Illinois Environmental Agency.

Ellis writes “A general rule of politics is: It’s not the action, it’s the reaction. The reaction to the onslaught (of half-truths and falsehoods) is aversion; qualified, capable people avoid politics and the political process at all costs, thus diminishing the talent pool. You’d be crazy to get involved. It’s bad and it’s only going to get worse.”

John Ellis believes that this country in dire danger of becoming a socialist country thru repeated lies, threats and false promises made by our political parties and politicians. He believes that unless our two major parties change their methods of electing candidates that our only salvation will be an emergence of a party that speaks the truth and people can believe in. Both parties are trying to say they are doing just that but many do not believe them. In fact, so many distortions of facts are disseminated by the political parties and the press that many people do not know what to believe. Too large a portion of the populace appears to be losing its individual reasoning ability. The individualism that developed this country will become a victim of demagogues. Small radial groups will bring down the small and large entities that have given us the opportunity for prosperity and safety for most all of the populace of the United States.

As has been said many times; be careful what you ask for, (safety and happiness)you might just get it in the manner described in the writings of Aldous Huxley.

Four More Years; Thanks to the Informed Voter

Here is my formula to win a political campaign:

Don’t put up any yard signs. Don’t do any mailers except for residents of retirement and private homes. Don’t spend any of your own money and take no money from special interest groups. Have no fund raisers. Don’t do a phone bank. Weather repeated attacks on your perceived personality by the Journal Star and get their “smarzy” endorsment. (As Bill Dennis called their endorsement of me, even 5th rate columnist Republican Roger Monroe, 20 years on the County Board without ever being elected Chairman, did a rambling attack on me 3 days before the election.) Survive the fabrications mailed by your opponent in 2 or more mailings. Make no public attacks on your opponent; just correct their fabrications on a blog site.

Be 81 years old, double the age of your opponent.

Try not to be a candidate in an election year dominated over the whole country by Democrats.

Survive the radical segment of the local environmentalists whose letters to the editor attack your intelligence. Survive phone calls to voters in your district urging people to vote against you, some from your own party.

What I described above is the way my campaign progressed and ended in a win for me. While the margin was small, a win is a win no matter what the score. For those who say I should have won by a larger margin, I suggest they won’t forget that I did win and am on the Peoria County Board for the next four years if I desire. I survived a number of telephone calls to park employees asking them to vote against me coming from at least one leading member of the Peoria Park District. (More on the Park District soon) The best letter of describing and supporting me came from a Democrat. After I made a supposedly unpopular vote on the landfill hearings and got bad press for doing what every responsible person should do, one prominent member of the Republican Party asked me to consider stepping down because he said the party felt I couldn’t win and if I wouldn't step down, would I consent to a telephone poll. I said no to both questions.

The application by the landfill operators was turned down by 12 members of the board and supported by six including myself. (Locally owned and well operated Peoria Disposal Company has filled an appeal to overturn the decision and the County has already spent $91,000 of taxpayer’s money in preliminary defense of the appeal.) More on the progress of this appeal later. By the way, PDC is in Peoria County and therefore a constituent of mine same as the opposers.

Since I didn’t put up any yard signs except at the voting precincts, I don’t have any signs to pick up. I did pick up all Republican signs at one precinct and picked up my other precinct signs before daybreak today.

I want to thank especially Republicans Tim Swain, Gene Ginoli, Chuck Martin and Democrat Kenny Carrigan. And a special thanks to Fritz Rapp and his daughter Julie, owner of ADCO who designed and printed my handout.

I thank the Republican Party for their endorsement and many of the hard working staff at headquarters especially Norma Goodale. Thanks to Mayor Jim Ardis for his support. (And ex-Mayor Jim Maloof) Thanks to PAC for supporting me and their understanding of my request not to be given any money. Same for the Republican Central Committee.

And the big thanks to all those Republicans, Independents and Democrats who voted to reelect me. These are the most informed people in Peoria County and the type of individuals who want some form of stable sanity in governmental bodies and look to people like me to provide it.

My next challenge is the approval of the budget and the election of a County Board Chairman. Both Democrats Tom O’Neill and Bill Prather have thrown their hat in the ring. I am not standing for reelection as Vice-Chairman.

As Saddam Hussein, after being sentenced to hang, said “no hard feelings, let’s all shake hands and work together”. After all no matter of which party we belong to our job is to make the best INFORMED decisions for the benefit of Peoria County.

I plan to continue to do that. I just received an email from Patrick Urich, our capable county administrator, congratulating me with the expression that he looked forward to continue working with me.

Thanks to all those who supported me and thanks to Cheryl S. who always has a kind word. Many, many thanks to my wife Claire and my daughter Mary Jo. And to my daughter Nancy Ann, for her interest and words of support. And friends like the Ruffs and Alms. All others who gave support are so numerous that I can only say “special thanks” to all of you.

Sure, I could have won by a larger by putting up yard signs; I’m probably the only candidate in the country who didn’t put up yard signs, didn’t send out mailers, and didn’t have a fund raiser, didn't do a phone bank and still won my reelection. By losing I would have probably added more years to my life, more money in the bank and be an unlikely target for the vile of 3rd string columnists of the ilk of Phil L and Terry B.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Common Sense

A number of years ago I clipped an article “Too Many Rights Make a Wrong” written by Phillip K. Howard, an author and a lawyer and Author of “The Lost Art of Drawing the Line” and “The Death of Common Sense”. He writes “In his first day as a teacher, John Pager attended a meting with the principal of his school. He sat there, interested in hearing the principal lead a discussion of school goals. Then, right in the middle of the meeting, half of the teachers stood up and left. Even more surprising, no one seemed surprised. The principal kept on talking as if nothing had happened. It seemed so strange.
Later, Mr. Pager learned that under their union contract, teachers had the right to spend no more than 40 minutes a week on staff meeting. Once the allotted time was up, off the teachers went even though the discussion was far from concluded.”
Mr. Howard continues “A young principal, brimming with ideas on how to revitalize an elementary school in Boston’s South End, was cornered on her first day by a group of unionized teachers who warned her, don’t try to change the way we do things. We know the rules. We know our rights.”
In his book, “The World We Created at Hamilton High”, Gerald Grant describes the frustration of a teacher who catches a student cheating: “I saw the kid cheating. I saw him with his open book on his lap during a test. Administration wanted documentation. “How can you prove it?” “We’ve heard John’s side of the story, what’s yours?’ Somehow it felt like I was part of the crime.”
Psychologists tell us that children need more affection. But in America, hugging or a pat on the back is now considered so dangerous that the National Education Association urges teachers to do no more than briefly touched a child’s arm or shoulder. Michigan passed a law that forbade teachers to touch a child for any reason..
A huge glob of mucous was dripping down the window of a classroom at Walton High in the Bronx but when the teacher, Nancy Udell, called in a custodian, he explained that the union contract requires window cleaning only on a set schedule. “Actually cleaning the window was furtherest from his mind. What interested him was how I could be so naive as to ask him to do it.”

We have reached a point of nonjudgmental at odds with common sense and a point of group-entitlement that that leaves us in a sea of confusion of what we make as the right judgmental call at the time will be considered wrong by the politically correct left wing of many of our militant union members and leaders. Much of this confusion can be blamed on militant unions who are more interested in the individual rights of the person they represent than the rights of the organization these individuals are supposed to be representing.

My opponent in Tuesday’s election is described as a militant teacher’s union bargaining agent. She has shown her ability to prefabricate when she mails out a flyer showing paint, oil, poisons and organic material being dumped in what she insinuates to be the environmentally controlled Peoria Disposal Solid Waste disposal area. She says she would have voted “no” on the PDC Application without every hearing or reading a paragraph of 2200 pages of testimony. She said she made her decision based on “Letters to the Editor:.” She would have disobeyed the law she swore to uphold by reaching a guilty decision before the jury (County Board) heard any of the evidence, testimony and cross-examination as the County Board was instructed to do by the Peoria County States Attorney.

For those of you who are buying into the “garbage” she is distributing in this election may want to be careful of what you asking for. You might just get it.
Her mailers attack me with prefabrications without mentioning her background as a teaching, volleyball coaching and union employee. Not the right combination to keep the County Board on the right track where my leadership experience has moved the county in the right direction to attain our fiscally responsible goals with increased service to the community.

I ask you to contact your acquaintances and friends who live in my district to support me on Tues.

Thank You

Saturday, November 04, 2006


In a new mailing sent out today to all voters in County Board District # 11, my opponent does not mention her background. She does not mention she is a member of the Illinois Federation of Teachers that the Journal Star calls a “militant union” that the Journal Star accuses of “Why District #150 Went Broke”. (JS June 18, 2005) Is she ashamed of being a union member? She shows a picture of paint, oil and other poisons being dumped in a landfill. Those wastes are banned by the City/County Landfill and PDC. She is pulling the usual dirty tricks most associated to some in the Democrat Party of which she is a member and that have confused and driven many voters away from the ballot boxes or is she ignorant of the facts?

She says the JS say’s Widmer’s “weakness is communications” but doesn’t mention that the Journal Star endorsed me over her and that my peers on the County Board elected me Vice-Chairman at the start of my second term.. She interviewed with the JS and the PAC and both endorsed me over her. She doesn’t mention I grew a business from $0 to $11,000,000 a year sales and am recognized by the community as a community leader

I’ll stand on my record of 40 years in this community. She stands on her record as a volleyball coach. She is a proven prefabricator and a militant teacher’s union bargaining agent.

You want a militant prefabricator with limited experience on the County Board? The majority of the community and the county board including Democrats have told me they want me to remain working with them on the County Board.

I do my part on litter; I did not put up yard signs that eventually wind up in the Peoria/County Landfill where my opponent reputedly buries her paint, oil and rat poison in closed plastic bags that are not inspected before dumping. My household recycles and takes waste that is untreated like paint, batteries, oil and poisons to specified collection centers in Peoria County.

Everything that goes in the 28 year old PDC Landfill is approved by the IEPA and thoroughly inspected and cleansed before being contained in a dry tomb.

I ask my readers to call their friends on my behalf and ask that they vote to retain honest and responsible people in government.