Thursday, August 23, 2007

Racism - Classism by JS Columnist Pam Adams

Adam’s is correct when she says in her column today “Intro to Racism, Classism 101” that “Some of you are saying: Oh. My. God. Does she have to go there again? Haven’t we said/read enough about that already?

Yes, Pam, we have read enough of your bigoted columns in which you continue to promote the “great divide” between black and white in Peoria. Almost any tragedy involving a black person brings forth a racial discrimination column from you.

Adam’s is picking up on PJS column writer Luciano, when she writes about the two sad tragic cases (one where white kids in an act of stupidity kill a white friend and a black kid who allegedly beat up and robbed a jogger, set fire to one or more cars and threw a brick that killed an innocent driver) opened what was, for her, a fascinating public dialogue on race and class, mainly among white people. She continues, "Bradley would do a service promoting it. Merely comparing the intentions of two very different types of defendants and the criminal charges filed against them qualifies for a pass out of the introductory course, Race 101. If this continues, we’re heading toward the public version of a graduate seminar on the racial signals and symbols in everyday life, the hidden structure of racism.”

She continues writing that history tells us how Peoria reacts when the smallest questions of or race and racism, money and status collide and break through colorized comfort zones. She says, “There are a thousand ways to deny that race matters.”

If race does matter to a few; then I can say there are a thousand ways in which race doesn’t matter, but the culture of a hateful individual or groupings such as destructive gangs, does.

Adams is the black female version of Don Quixote. Her imagination runs rampant every time she gets an opportunity to tell this community how racist we white people are. Some of my friends of any color, the vast majority don’t care about people’s color, are as tired of Adam’s perpetual racist whine. In fact, many who are classed by our government as “minorities” are not only embarrassed by her ranting but also of the damage she is causing to the growth of the certain areas of the city; in fact, the entire City of Peoria.

Some accuse realtors of allegedly steering new residents to other communities in which to reside. If they are, it could be for many reasons including but not limited to the culture of the some or the residents; not because of the color of the community.

All new residents want to feel safe in their surroundings and most all want to separate themselves from those who have been told so many times that they are “victims of the white man” that some have come to believe it. (I refer you to my blog “Victimization” dated 9/19/05.)

Most potential new residents want to be part of a neighborhood where they feel reasonably safe. They also want to live in a neighborhood that challenges kids to accept the opportunity to get an education, to develop a work ethic and who keep their homes and yards looking neat. They want their neighbors to be responsible citizens.

The new owners of the Journal Star may think these constant accusations of white racism by far left leaning and bigoted writers makes for good copy and sells papers but they may misunderstand; promoting a racial divide in Peoria does not sell the entire community to outsiders considering the Peoria area as a place to start businesses and to reside.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Phil Luciano: PJS Reporter

On 8/15/07, Luciano writes “What sets bricks and fireworks apart?” he talks about two sets of compassions. One senseless act meant to cause no physical damage and one act intended to do physical or severe property damage at the least. He describes two sets of good kids and then he attempts to make this into a community racial problem. He talks about the anguish of four young men involved in the disastrous prank and the younger man (kid?) who threw the concrete with an apparent deliberate attempt top do much harm. (I’m glad I wasn’t the driver of the car hit by a deliberately flung piece on concrete or some PJS reporter would have tried to make it look like I was the one at fault.)

Luciano writes “Fireworks pranks are common in college.” Really; no wonder we are falling behind other nations in learning or did Luciano hang around with a bunch of stupid idiots “throwing furniture into the street off balconies and or “shattering beer glasses over someone eye” as he wrote in his 8/15 column? Where were college administrators? These “kids” should have been booted from college then they wouldn’t have had to wait for graduation when as Luciano states at least “he would no longer have to listen to meaningless lectures that kept him in boredom”.

Luciano continues “other parts of town have different cultures. Young people with no direction (don’t they go to school, attend church and what about the millions of dollars poured into Peoria’s approximately 70 social agencies?) or hope often turn to crime for fun or profit.” He says these problems are prevalent. I suggest he needs to return to take more journalist classes as the word “prevalent” as described in my Oxford Dictionary is “generally existing or widespread”. Yet our sheriff has stated publicly that if we could permanently remove a couple hundred “swinging door” juvenile and adult criminals from this community, much of our crime would cease.

Luciano rants on, “Until July, the 15 year old (person, kid, man) had one prior: a juvenile account of car burglary.” Want to bet? He continues "that is not a good thing (really?) but it’s not horrendous either." (really again.) Next, after being caught, (probably finally being caught) this person sets a car on fire, beats up a jogger and hit a car with a brick killing one occupant.

Then Luciano says it’s the mother; she suffers from some behavior disorders, including be-polar disorder. So now this bleeding heart liberal excuses the kid for behavior “prevalent” in certain cultures.

He ends his article of inanity by saying that public compassion favors the stupid “kids” who killed a fine young man when their prank went awry as opposed to the kid born in the wrong “culture” where acts of violence are prevalent and who deliberately set out to steal, beat-up, destroy and kill.

I suggest Mr Luciano keeps trying to paint this community as racist; he is really saying only whites are predjudiced. He is not the only JS reporter who paints this community as 'white" racist. He disregards the definition in my dictionary of racist as “being prejudiced with antagonism against other races.” The term “racist” unfortunately creates the perception of white against black.

It’s not the race that is the problem in Peoria; Mr Luciano, and others who have been in print lately talking about the great racial divide in this community. It is the culture of a small minority of people of all races in Peoria, white, black or whatever. Few care about race; most thinking people care about the culture of the race.

For Mr Luciano’s benefit, as well at a couple other PJS writers and some elected officials, I define “culture” from my Oxford, “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively; a refined understanding of this; intellectual development, etc”.

Luciano complains of bloggers not being “fair and balanced”?


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Age of Permissiveness or Rethinking College Culture

Yesterday, A JS writer wrote a column “Rethinking the college culture”. The writer talks about “the bad craziness of college, the lunatic moments…..out of sheer, dumb luck, nobody got hurt, nobody died, nobody faced prison.” He continues though “not everybody rages through college like a maniac.”

In the April 3 edition of the JS, this writer attacked a local school board member for perhaps exaggerating her degrees and then not defending or correcting herself on the “advice of her attorney”. He wrote, “Look, I readily admit that I don’t recall much of college academics: I focused my energies in activities outside the classroom, but I recall getting my degree because of my unbridled glee over not having to listen to the drone of lectures.”

This age of permissiveness of which the JS writer must have been a part, started taking off in approximately 1960 and has accelerated to today. This “they are just kids” starts at home, moves to the public sector, into the schools and social sectors and the permissive ones say “they are just boys”. And nowadays, “they are just kids”.

Most of those that lacked respect of others like the JS writer, lucked through these maniac stages “just being a boy or a kid”. Most even became hirable. Respect of others? Probably not, except where they had to show respect to hold a job. But they caused a lot of grief and anguish to many others along the way.

Whenever I see or hear of acts of lawlessness and stupidity committed by “just kids” today, I remind people that I am a college graduate with a Bachelor of Education and taught for 5 years. I say “things were not like that back then” and they say “but things have changed over the years”. I agree, but hardly to the better. I do have a good memory and I recall a story of what was probably an exaggeration, of a guy siting on the hole in his outhouse when some of the older guys tipped it over on Halloween night.

This JS reporter talks about a beer glass being shattered over an eye as a prank and bragging about it? The JS reporter tells of thing as “hurling furniture off balconies”. These are not pranks to the recipient of the action. They are acts that do cause fear, injury and deaths and are not what any thinking person would call a “prank”.

Makes you wonder about what happened to the women unfortunate enough to marry these “pranksters”. No wonder we have so many case of physical abuse in this world. Maybe, like the women in the works of Anita Shreve, women and some men, are afraid to say what bad things are happening or happens to them.

When pranks that can be destructive and acts of cruel stupidity go unpunished, these senseless actions abet the problems we have with respect and disciple in today’s world. Most bad behavior caught and punished at early ages changes mindsets. Bad behavior almost always could have been prevented at a very young age starting with proper corrections by parents, grandparents, schools, counselors, mental health agencies, social agencies, judges, “snitches” and ordinary citizens helping out along the way.

Don’t expect law enforcement agents to have time to do much social work with those who lack respect of others.

Just kids at one time, maybe, then but maybe not. Anyone who believes kids can’t be cruel needs to be a better observer of what is going on around them or they should read syndicated columns by writer John Rosemond. Unfortunately, too many stupid and cruel kids grow into stupid and cruel adults.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peoria Public Library - Thirty Five Million in New Property Taxes

On 11/01/01, in a Letter to the Editor I pointed out the folly of the spending of approximately $500,000.00 for the renovation of the South Side Library. Now, plans are to close that library. Plans call for also closing the recently new RiverWest Library. ( I believe Mr Szynaka told the City Council that RiverWest averaged four patrons a day)

Both libraries were products of the “equality” mindset of some of our leaders in this community. Both libraries are “underutilized” and the money basically wasted. The “use it or lose it” is the politically incorrect phrase that our leaders seem afraid to use.

As a fervid user of all libraries (I would rank in the top 10% of all users in the community) and bookstores, I have had many, many opportunities to observe usage of all the local libraries and bookstores. As a computer user, I know the value of computers in the libraries but also note how free computers in libraries (and other places are often misused).

I have also visited all four Peoria Public High School Librarians and Principals. None of them were consulted by anyone representing Peoria Public Library and its $35 million campaign. One would believe the consultants would want to know how school kids are using school libraries to design public libraries.

Mary Ward, Head Librarian for District #150 told me she has about $500.00 per school per year in her budget while Peoria Public Library has $25,000.00 for the lightly used McClure Branch alone. That is an interesting fact when Peoria Public schools alone have over 250,000 books on shelves.

I have offered to accompany anyone who would ask me to share my observations. Only one councilperson and two community leaders have taken me accepted my offer.

$100,000.00 was spent to promote the advisory referendum. By contrast my County Board successful campaign cost less than $900.00 to collect almost 2300 votes. This $100,000.00 could have been used to hire more employees which is what some current and past employees say they need. Some space would be nice perhaps, but current space could be better utilized.

Council members and the public, you have been given much information some of which is not correct. An example is that not all books that are checked out at any Peoria Public Library must be hand date stamped. They must be hand stamped except for the approximately 15% of Lakeview Library patrons who use self-check-out machines (when these machines work).

Why would Lakeview Library be expanded when a new far north side location is being planned? Remember, Lakeview has over 1000 linear feet of empty bookshelves and three meeting rooms lightly used considering the hours available every day of the week.

I hope those responsible do more homework than was done when half a million was spent on the hardly used South Side and RiverWest Libraries. Many of us believe that this is more of a “bricks and mortar” 35 million tax dollars than actual needs project.

My offer to visit and share my facts is open to anyone including Library Board Members who I would be happy to accompany along with council members.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Go For More

Kudos to Methodist for their 4 page advertisement promoting wellness in today’s JS. I probably should stop this blog right now before I offend anyone who believes that they are just “stout” or feel that excess fat is in and the rest of us are just weird looking and jealous. If this blog offends anyone who is my friend, no problem with me, I’m still your friend.

I don’t expect to see anyone at our Congerville school reunion this Saturday who is what most of us would call fat. Maybe there were some at one time but I’ve been going to our reunions for a long time and I don’t recall any. You won’t find fat people on the tennis courts either, especially on a hot day. Maybe the people in this farming community listened to our “teachers” and want to extend our longevity and quality of life as long as we can. I never had an overweight or sloppy teacher but I’ve seen quite a few of them in Peoria over the last decade or so. And most of them are not school teachers but parents of equally fat kids.

Most Congerville families weren’t very wealthy and didn’t eat out a lot. For many of us TV and Computer games were not a sedentary way of life. Plus maybe our work ethics took care of the fitness part.

Of the entire progeny of dad and mother Donat (Tony) and Lillie Widmer with 8 kids with more kids and then more kids, I only know of one blood descendant who is fat, yes, is a little obese.

I doubt of many of them took fitness classes anywhere. Maybe it was all in the genes including the genes of those they married.

Yesterday, I did my periodic “pig out” at Hometown Buffet. One woman, about 61/2 hands high and slightly less around her girth; I was born on a farm, actually wore a T-shirt that said GO FOR MORE. That’s all the lettering said, go for more. And she did. No doubt a lot of her weight problem was in her “jeans” but unfortunately for the viewer, she was wearing shorts. She was eating when I came in and eating when I left (I ate and read 30 pages of “Eat the Rich”. Her male companion reminded me of that old nursery rhyme “Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean----.”

Another younger lady had legs so fat she could have passed for albino penguins joined at the hips except her obscene wrinkles gave her away. You would have thought she wouldn’t go around in shorts but maybe she just wanted to say to people like me “so there”.

For my younger friends who might consider themselves stout and some really are, I don’t mean to offend, but I also don’t want to outlive you.

I’ve already outlived a lot of obese younger people like John Belushi and Nicole something that married a rich old man and died before she could spend all his money. These people and Rosie O or whats-her-name, try may make people believe that fat is in.

It really isn’t and overweight adults and kids are going to continue to overload our health system, spoil a good lifestyle and those paying taxes are going to pay for the obesity of others whether we go socialistic or not.

Depressed people who can’t control their weight should seek help in determing the cause of their depression or change their lifestyles or both. We’re all going to die someday, so you better try to have a life quality now because no one has come back from the hereafter to tell us what it’s like up there. If they did, they haven’t told me; maybe because they feel I’m going to a different place than they are. Anyway, a good way to shake depression is to enroll at Methodist, RiverCity, and Landmark, to name a few fitness centers. Or find a dietician, who isn’t fat; I should mention that my wife, Claire, is a dietician and no, she isn’t overweight one pound. And my first wife, Dee, who reads my blogs, was never overweight either.

Or read Carl Hiaasen or P.J. O’Rourke or the writer who wrote Harmony (Miller?) and other pleasant books. Reading the Bible is highly recommended by many. But reading about a lot of violence and suffering over the premature deaths of our young people usually causes more depression. Plus I’m told worry never accomplished anything either.

I suggest overweight people who WANT to lose weight to stop fooling themselves and stop overeating. But who am to tell anybody what they look like, I’m 10 pounds heavier than when I graduated from college. And I play tennis 2-3 times a week.

Anyway, back to what Methodist advertised; what the ads say is correct. The problem is that you can walk, jog, exercise, ride bikes, swim, dance, or play bridge, these things won’t help much till you keep the silver off the gold in your teeth. Just don’t expect any sympathy from me when you join in the class-action lawsuits that “tort” attorneys are working on as I type this blog.

When I started blogging in August of 2004, I said this was going to be a politically incorrect blogsite. It is, has, will be and will be more so after I finish reading the book I bought yesterday at Barnes and Noble, “Enough” by Juan Williams, of Fox News fame. If I ever get to talk with him, I guarantee we would get along famously. Some one should invite him to the nicely done Civic Center to address this entire community. He’s needed.

Some of my regular readers may wonder why I am not more consistent in my blogging. The real reason if that I’m slowing down a bit and blogs are stressful. Plus I realize there are too many problems about which I have knowledge of and I could blog. But some of them would put off some of my colleagues and other elected and appointed officials. I offend enough of them when I feel they are wrong or playing politics or building monuments to themselves and their egos. Or politicians feeling guilty about all the money they are taking to Springfield and Washington and giving us back things like we need more bad ties at Christmas. Just cash back, please.

Also, I’ve had more than the usual amounts of computer breakdowns and today I learned I was playing with a full deck; oops, I mean disc. And tomorrow I get a new mouse and the stock market will be up and maybe I’ll win at tennis.

Always have something to look forward to. Makes all of us feel better. If we have nothing to look forward to, we should change our lifestyles. Never too late to change; even carrying too much weight around. People have the will to stop smoking; people can have the will to stop overeating too. But like homeless people and drug addicts, they won’t change their lifestyles if they don’t want to.

Includes guilt.

P.J. O'Rourke and Economics

P.J. O’Rourke’s book “Eat the Rich”, a Treatise on Economics, ought to be required reading for every college student who aspires to a degree in Economics. Or required reading for anyone who is teaching Economics. And by all socialists and pacifists, but of course they won’t; they already know how they are going to eat the rich.

If you are easily offended, I suggest taking a pass on any of O’Rourke’s books.

I’m sorry I didn’t read this 1998 book until now but the book should be read by anyone expressing an opinion on poverty, socialism and capitalism. Most of O’Rourke’s truths are written with a lot of mostly sarcastic humor so if you are tired of reading and listening to hollow campaign rhetoric and death on our highways and urban gang killing, his books will lift anyone’s depressed spirits.

He writes “I stole the title. But I don’t know from whom I stole it. It may have lifted it from the 1993 Aerosmith CD “Get a Grip”, which has a song by the same name. But Aerosmith might have nicked it, too. Or maybe from Moorhead’s 1988 album “Rock and Roll”. And Motorhead may have filched it too because I first saw the phrase on T-shirts worn by Sshi’te Amal militia in Lebanon in the 80’s. I don’t know where Amal got the phrase, but I assure you they stole the T-shirts. Or may I got it from a forgotten Folkways recording, Song of the Economic Advisors”:

Kill the poor,
Eat the rich
Screw every other son-of-a-bitch.

He writes “The absurdity of socialism made a dog’s breakfast out of the Soviet Economy, just as it continues to ruin Cuba’s. Michael Gorbachev in his Memoirs says, “The costs of labor, fuel, and raw material per unit of production were two and one-half times higher than in the developed countries, while in agriculture they were 10 times higher. We produced more coal, oil, metals, cement and other materials (except for synthetics) than the United States, but our end product was less than one-half of the U.S.A.”

O’Rourke writes “The problem in Russia is how to reform economic system. The problem is many place in the world is how to get one. Many world organizations claim that 2 billion of the worlds inhabitants live on approximately one dollar a day. They don’t buy, sell or trade because they don’t have much to buy, sell or trade. They’re poor. And nowhere in the world have people been poorer than in Africa. According to World Bank the 10 poorest countries are in Africa.”

For other countries and entities like the World Bank compensating for the lower living costs found in poorer countries, is like your boss telling you when you ask for a raise “why don’t you move to a worse neighborhood—your rent will be lower and so will your car payment, as soon as someone steals your Acura.”

In the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, maybe, or maybe Dodoma, (I didn’t look it up because I really don’t are where the capital is because the situation of economics and people problems are much the same in most of Africa, I say most, not all) because no one seems to know for sure. He writes about corruption at a city-hospital morgue. “Some hospital staff was preventing certain people from picking up dead relatives until they were paid fees or some consideration to the staff. The hospital was forced by congestion to put some bodies outside the “cold” room. Nurses, doctors, patients and passerby were exposed to a chocking smell. A photo in the newspaper, Guardian, showed a garbage truck hauling the bodies away.” Also he says the city is out of water with hundreds of women standing in line waiting to get water out of a common tap plus the system has a 40% leakage. Peoria has a lot of water leaks also; I don’t know the per cent but the only place we stand in line for our basic free needs is at the public libraries. A little “tongue in cheek” humor. O’Rourke says in Russia they don’t stand in lines; they just shove ahead of other people.

I remember a cruise I was on years ago when we were standing in line for a show with a loud and boisterous European group behind us. I kept getting shoved in the back so many times that I finally shoved back causing a domino effect but no more shoving after that.

In talking about a Brit named Copperthwaite and his role in the astounding growth of Hong Kong, he quotes the Brit as saying in 1961, “in the long run the aggregate decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralized decisions of a government; and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster.”

Even Communistic China into 2007, has not been too detrimental to the prosperity of Hong Kong.

He sums up that we know what to do to escape poverty:
Hard work
Property rights of others
Rule of law
Democratic government

I’ll chime in here.

I know first hand what hard work can accomplish. But the definition of hard work by many is not just working hard. It is what hard work accomplishes. Unfortunately, a lot of people who claim to be working hard never learned what real hard work was or is.

Education as long at it is not just studying the Koran and learning the best way to kill the non-believers. Or not learned behind prison bars by those released who return to their old habits and buddies.

Responsibility, yes that’s right, be responsible and accept it. I don’t think our leaders ever admit they are wrong, probably some, maybe Jimmy Carter, who was still wrong after he admitted he was wrong. Or Bill Clinton. Or George and crowd.

Or the some managerial employees of the JS.

Property rights; what belongs to someone else is not your right to take.

Rule of Law – depends whether in the U.S.A. or in Western Pakistan run by the Taliban or the Al Qaeda. I prefer ours, flawed as it sometimes is.

Democratic government; sure as long as people understand, which many don’t, that it takes years to achieve even some semblance of democracy in the third world. It never happened in the U.S.A in a few years even if the “chatterers” have forgotten about our own Civil War. (a large number of college kids, combining their knowledge, know less about the history of democracy and economics than now deceased Milton Friedman and his wife Rose.)

O’Rourke concludes “The Tenth Commandment sends a message to all socialists, to egalitarians, to people obsessed with fairness, to American presidential candidates—to everyone who believes that wealth should be redistributed. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.”


Saturday, August 04, 2007

65th Congerville Reunion

Saturday, graduates or attendees, spouses or siblings, of Congerville High School will hold their 65th annual reunion. 32 have sent their checks in to date. Rather remarkable when you consider that Congerville had only a three year high school that closed as a high school in 1946. Mary (Lantz) Sharp, who tried hard to teach me; I wasn't much of a student, and most everybody else who will be in attendance, will be with us again. Last year, her sister Dorothy (Lantz) Cross (and son Steve); Dorothy and her husband, also taught at Congerville High, stopped by en route to another engagement.

I will not hazard a guess at Mary and Dorothy's ages but they were still pretty good looking and still vivacious.

I continue as organizer by default after some wanted to close it down three years ago (some misunderstood and thought we wanted to close it but a majority of the attendees asked that we keep it going.)

Each year Dave Greer, whose wife Lois (Zook) was in the next to last graduating class, continues to send invitations to all of those we can still locate.

My three sisters will attend; Loretta Kauffman Funk, along with my next oldest sister Pauline Hermann, my now youngest sister Viola and husband Herb Kauffman, his son Larry and his lovely wife Marilyn and two friends of Herb and Vi’s, who will sing with Herb; (Herb flew 26 missions over Europe in WW2) and provide the entertainment. Maybe Herb will also tell some jokes as he can almost put Royce Elliott to shame.

Also attending will be Roy and Pearl Schrock, C.D. and Eva Zook, Edie and Mary (Knapp) Steffen, Harvey Schieber, Clara (Miller) Kemp, Joy Stark and perhaps her sister, daughters of Ruth Kelley, Kenneth and Helen (McLaughlin) Miller; Ken was once purchasing agent for my company, Loren and Joan Knapp, recently of Tucson, AZ., Roland and Marjorie Hoffman (Zook), Esther (Schieber) Troike, School Scribe Russell and Laura Oyer and my wife Claire and I.

All of these have continued to have close connections to Congerville and the area.

My sister Dorothy, who was part of the program last year, was taken from us in January. Byron Gresham who attended last year with his wife Norma, has also passed on.

The joy of reunions is seeing and visiting with old acquaintances and friends. The sorrow is with those too ill to attend or have left us mortals with their memories.

This article is posted on my web site so you may look me up and post any additions, errors, additions and corrections in the comment section of my blog site.

See you soon.

My Views

I checked out “Eat the Rich” written by P.J. Rourke in 1998 from the McClure Branch Library that had last been checked out in year 1999, 8 years ago. The MccLure Branch is “bursting at the seams! This also “tongue in cheek” well renowned writer offers a good change of pace from some of the pathetic romance books dominating our public library system. I recommend “A Parliament of Whores” also by O’Rourke, a book that somewhat fairly describes the processes of decision making in D.C.

For serious readers, I reprint an essay titled “Eye of the Beholder” by Victor Davis Hanson, a renowned writer and syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He writes “War torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a “peaceful” California perhaps now 35 million. The former is violent and impoverished landscape, the later said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each.

As a fifth generation Californian, I deeply love this state, but still imagine would be if the world woke up each morning to be told that once again there were 6 more murders, 27 rapes 38 arsons, 180 robberies and 360 instances of assault (more of each not yet or ever reported) in California – yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day. I wonder if the headlines would scream about “Nearly 200 poor Californians butchered again this month!”

How about a monthly media dose of “600 women raped in February alone!” Or try 600 violent robberies ands assaults in March, with no end in sight!” Those do not even make up al of the state’s yearly 200,000 violent acts that law enforcement KNOWS about.

Iraq's judicial system seems a mess. On the eve of the war, Saddam let out 100,000 inmates from his vast prison archipelago. But imagine an Iraq with a penal system like California’s with 170,000 criminals – an inmate population larger than those of Germany, France and the Netherlands, and Singapore combined.

Some of California’s most recent prison scandals would be easy to sensationalize: “Guard watch as inmates are raped!” Or “Correction officer is accused of having sex with underage detainee!” And apropos of Saddam’s sluggish trial, remember that our home state multiple murders, Tookie Williams, was finally executed in December 2005 – 26 years after he was originally sentenced.

.Much is made of the inability to patrol Iraq’s borders with Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. But California has only one border with a foreign nation, not 6. Yet over 3 million foreigners who snuck in illegally now live in our state. Worse, there are about 15,000 convicted alien felons incarcerated in our penal system costing about half a billion dollars a year. Imagine the potential headlines: “Illegal aliens in state comprise population larger than San Francisco!” Or “Drugs, criminals, and smugglers given free pass into California!”

Every year, over 4000 Californian’s die in car crashes – more than the number of American’s lost so far in Iraq. My comments- (they are dying for a cause which most “get out of Iraq now” pacifist couch viewers of sitcom, Liberal medias, and CNN, to name a few, can’t seem to understand in their numbed brains.) In some sense, then your badly maintained roads (and bridges) and other poorly trained and sometimes intoxicated driver, are even more lethal than Improvised Explosive Devices. Perhaps tomorrow’s headline might scream out at us: 300 Californians to perish this month on state highways! Hundreds more will be maimed and crippled!”

In 2001, California had 32 days of power outages, despite paying nearly the highest rates for electricity in the U.S. Before complaining about the smoke in Baghdad rising from private generators, think back to the run on generators in California when they contemplated as a future part of every household’s line of defense.

We're told that Iraq’s finances are a mess. Yet until recently, so were California’s. Governor Schwarzenegger inherited a $38 billion annual budget shortfall. That could have made for another newscast teaser: “Another $100 million borrowed today - $3 billion more in red ink to pile up by month’s end!”

So is California comparable to Iraqi? Hardly, yet it could be easily sketched by a reporter intent on doing so a bankrupt, crime-ridden den with murderous highways, ten’s of thousands of inmates, with wide-open borders.

I myself returned home to California, without incident, from a visit to Iraqi’s notorious Sunni Triangle. While I was gone, a drug-addicted criminal with a long list of convictions broke into our kitchen at 4 a.m., was surprised by my wife and daughter, and fled with our credit cards, cash, keys and cell phones.

Sometimes I wonder who really was safer last week.”

If you read this whole article, you are a regular of mine. I am neither the typical blogger nor the typical politician. I won my last election by spending less than $900 and that was given by friends seeking no political gain. Only in my run for Park board President, did I solicit OPM. I listen to all special interest groups but make my decisions based on facts known and researched by myself and others I respect.

Keep reading my columns. If you don’t agree, fine just be civil. If you want to personally attack me like AdamP whose real name is Adam Bee, son of Lori, be prepared for me to attack back. I don’t suffer fools gladly, even those with college degrees from a liberal college (but then many of them are from liberal colleges) and no one will ever accuse me of being a bleeding liberal pacifist. I can also tolerate the attacks by my socialist relative who takes care of her long time woman friend who is in dementia. I can only imagine how those things can affect one’s mind.

I agree with almost every position that Victor Davis Hanson has ever taken. Those who like to read me might want to subscribe to Perkins Capital Management, 730 East Lake Street, Wayzata, Mn. whose newsletter provided me with this intelligent article.

If my readers believe that I don’t realize the mistakes made by top Republicans and their advisors, some military leaders and planners, a goodly number of Democrats including the messes left by Bill Clinton; if you feel I excuse any of them, you are wrong. I also blame a goodly number of career bureaucrats who have probably more influence as to how our governments are run then the average citizens knows.

In 2008 I will vote again for the best, hard nosed realistic leader with the least charm. I was once fooled by Clinton’s charm but George’s persona never really fooled me, I studied his background, there just wasn’t a better choice. Then again, I may not have a better choice in 2008 than I had in 2004. I see this country leaning more and more to being dominated by the socialistic and populist voter.

I am just as disappointed in a very large number of our leaders as many in this country are. However, I would never do or write anything to give encouragement to the Islamic, Fascist Terrorist, both abroad and in our country many for more than 2 decades. Neither would I leave those Iraqi’s that supported our troops to die at the hand of fundamentalist and cunning idiots.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bridge Tragedy - More to Come?

Unfortunate were the people killed, injured and terrified when the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. Unfortunate also that this bridge collapse was not a “fluke” but one of many bridge collapses destined in the next decades. Unless, of course, community leaders heed the message from engineers that 74,000 bridges in the U.S. are considered in one or more ways to have elements of doubt about their safety. Estimated costs of repairs? Some experts say from $1.3-6 trillion dollars.

Since 1994, I have been writing and saying we must take care of our existing roadbeds before we spend millions of dollars to study new roads. Approximately $12 million has been spent or being spent ($1.6 million again being wasted on Rt. 29, a project dead before any study money was ever spent on it) in studies of new highways in the Peoria area, all being studied with no idea where the money will ever come to build them. $12 million, the estimated amount spent so far, would have paid for a lot of repair on local roads such as the vehicle damaging and community disgrace part of Knoxville and three miles of Rt. 40.

In a 2001 article by Omar Sofradzija, JS Transportation Reporter, before he said adieu to Peoria and the JS, quoted a group of transportation experts all saying that Peoria should fix our existing road and most importantly, fix our public school systems. Mr. Sofradzija also asked “Is the so-called Peoria to Chicago highway – only a slightly more direct road link – really worth the $800 million dollar cost to save a few minutes to get to Chicago?” A director of infrastructure at Northwestern University said “A Peoria to Chicago interstate highway is not going to do what you want it to do, transform Peoria into something it currently isn’t.” One expert said interstates have “no monopoly on generating business growth”.

In the spring of 2006, the City and County of Peoria hired internationally famed community building consultants, Ady International, to come in and study Peoria’s strengths and weaknesses to focus business attractions to our community. The study concluded “the areas assets are highway access, higher education opportunities and our culture. Our liabilities are crime, property taxes community appearance and workmen’s compensation.” Was he ever right about the State of Illinois labor favoring Workmen’s Compensation Committee! He was not paid to look into Peoria Public School District #150 which is a case history study of community liabilities in itself.

Yet on 7/09/06, the JSEB wrote “It’s not too late to look at sensible highway to Chicago.” Such a major decision should be dictated by engineering and common sense; (Was there ever a proven need for an expenditure of a billion dollars?), not who screams the loudest.” Hmmmmmm?? I believe the “highway to Chicago” promotion by the JSEB screamed to the rooftops that it must be built if Peoria was to survive. The JSEB conveniently overlooked the statement of Highway Engineer Chief Dale Risinger, now capably representing the area down at Springfield, who was quoted as saying “none of the proposed routes showed any outstanding economic benefit because jobs created along the corridor would be at the expense of existing businesses.” (Heart of Illinois highway feasibility study, August 1995).

Sorry, all you highway to Chicago promoters, the proposal was DOA as early as 1995 when my Guest Commentary was printed in full in the Daily Pantagraph under the title “Highway Proposal ought to be scrapped.” It was dead when USDOT changed their philosophy from: “mobility and efficiency” to the “feel and function” of a community. But the JSEB has never been known to stop beating dead horses or maligning those who do not agree with them.

Now with “Highway to Chicago, no, now ring road supporter, then Rt. 29 supporter and now back to ring road supporter, Ray LaHood leaving office; he did get his engineering contributors more money (1.6 million) to keep “studying” Rt.29, local Republican and some Democrats supporters will try to get Dave Leitch to replace him. Leitch will continue to berate those “free spending” Democrats in Springfield while he continues to seek every tax collecting and spending entitlement in the “politic-sphere”, especially those that favor big business in his district.

Oh yes, back to the 74,000 bridges, many in desperate need of repair. There hasn’t been much happening as there are no ribbon-cutting-photo-ops and dedication ceremonies in bridge and road repair. It often takes tragedies to boot our lawmakers into action.

Too bad.