Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peoria Museum - Finance Committee Action

After considerable debate and outside input, the Finance Committee will present to the full board a resolution in support of the concept of a museum on the riverfront. The full board will discuss this resolution at the next full board meeting on December 13. No decision was made on making up the $24 million shortfall faced by the museum fund raising committee.

There does not appear to be enough support on the County Board to commit to any type of taxation without further debate, discussion and input..

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Illegal Immigrants

I am totally opposed to illegal immigration. I have no problem with having citizens of this country or those applying for citizenship being taught a second language. But only AFTER they have learned to speak English.

Find my blogs dated 5/01/07, 6/22/07 and 6/30/07 on my laments as to what our politicians and others are doing to this country.

You may use this blog to add to, refute, pass on or make recommendations.

Subject: Very Interesting Facts


From a California school teacher - - -
'As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:
I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic
and income levels.
Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, etc., where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.

Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. ( OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK )

I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)

I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)

I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less then 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them 'Putas' whores and throwing things that the teachers were in tears.

Free medical, free education, free food, day care
etc., etc, etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements ?

To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.

Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.

We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?


It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses
to assimilate , and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about ' politicalcorrectness' that we don't have the will to do anything about it.

If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know.
CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?

Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.

Consumers don't want expensive produce.
Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.

But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase 'cheap labor' is a myth , a farce, and a lie. There is no such thing as 'cheap labor.'

Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for
$5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an 'earned income credit' of up to $3,200 free.

He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.

He qualifies for food stamps.
He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care.

His children get free breakfasts and lunches
at school.


He requires bilingual teachers and books.

He qualifies for relief from high energy bills.

If they are o r become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at (our) taxpayer's expense

He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.

Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material. He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/h our in benefits.

Working Americans
are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills and his.

The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.

Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people!

THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE SHOULD BE ADDRESSING TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR EITHER PARTY. 'AND WHEN THEY LIE TO US AND DON'T DO AS THEY SAY, WE SHOULD REPLACE THEM AT ONCE!'

Please pass along with your comments.





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Monday, November 19, 2007

Surface Transportation Board Ruling

The STB ruled that Kellar Railway will remain a railway. Now we will see whether the trail promoters will ask whoever runs the railway if they will allow a trail to run beside the rails. I’m told it is not possible to have both but I suspect the trail could leave the railway path detouring down a streets or sidewalks and rejoin the railway path at a juncture further up or down..

For a more complete story on the STB ruling and other information regarding the ruling, visit the blog site of C.J.Summer.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rails and Trails - Information to Ponder

This article was forwarded to me by a rail supporter. I recently voted to send a resolution to our Congressmen to support the conversion of what is commonlly know as the Kellar Railway to a trail PROVIDING that this valuable pathway be "railbanked". The County Board was assured this branch would be railbanked by pro-trail advocate and developer Dave Maloof. Subsquent followup finds that this is not the case.

Merle Widmer 11/16/07

Re: TRAILS TO RAILS - the difference between RRers and bikers.
Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:45 am ((PST))

Looks like everybody here realizes the common need for alternate forms of
> > transportation (specifically, trucks) and we don't get all crazy when a rail line is
> > converted to recreational trail use.
> > Why then don't bikers / hikers ("It's all about meeeee!") get it when an
> > abandoned rail line comes back as a needed economic-development tool?
> > There's a world of difference in thinking between our two camps, it
> > appears.
> > ===========================
> > Some of these trail users don't care about the 'RIGHTS' of business owners. All they care about is one thing, that they can use a TRAIL to bike or walk. I would tell these people who are up in arms - 'Ok, you employ these people if you DO NOT want businesses to expand', but I bet
> they don't have a job! :)
> > Currently there is a case of trails going back to rails in Wisconsin.
> > In the new TRAINS magazine, the Wisconsin Southern is working with
> > the state of Wisconsin to reactivate a former rail line. Now a trail, the railroad is experiencing
> > growth in the area, which last saw train traffic in the late 1950s. Apparently what is
> > happening is WSOR rr has some present customers who want to expand their
> > businesses but need rail service in a new area.
> > The line runs from Monroe to Mineral Point and a branch would lead to Shullsburg which was
> > abandoned in th very early 60's The balance of the line was abandoned in the
> > mid to late 80's. Pecatonica Rail Transit Commission has already given this project it
> > blessing and forwarded it on to the state. It will be a $45 million project over 65 miles with 15
> > miles of ROW to be repurchased and done over a three year period.
> > The bridges have to be rebuilt and that could be done to accommodate a trail. This trail is a
> > crap hole for ATV'ers and horse people and they are really up in arms over the
> > entire thing and have been very vocal in their opposition to the railroad taking our trail.
> >Trail Users -- GROW UP!!!!! Jobs = tax growth = tax decreases...
>
>
Re: TRAILS TO RAILS - the difference between RRers and bikers.
> Date: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:27 am ((PST))
> It seems like there is a lot of hostility against rails to trails amongst this group. I think there are
> two sides to each story so let me share a little. My parents live on the NS line between Buffalo and Chicago (old Nickel Plate line next to Lake Erie) and they would rather have trains running in their backyard vs unknown people walking and running behind their yard. I know a lot of people in the neighborhood have similar feelings. On the other hand I live in Pittsburgh so I have
> access to the Montour Trail (old Montour Railroad) and the Great Allegheny Passage (former WM line between Pittsburgh and Cumberland MD). Both are first class trails, I have enjoyed many hours of exersize and beautiful scenery riding the trail. The trail is also bringing tons of economic growth to the areas along the trail. Many small towns are coming back to life with Bed and Breakfasts, bike shops and eateries. These are towns that if the railroad rebuilt through there would just be a pass-through location. The other thing I love about the trails is that they preserve the railroad history. There are old stations along the trail that have been restored and have museums in them Meyersdale). I would much rather an old rail line be turned into a trail that the public
> can use over it reverting back to the original land owners so the railroad history can be destroyed. Many of the rails to trails groups are very preservation minded. I know on the Great Allegheny Passage they have moved a bridge and are restoring it to original condition instead of just building a bike bridge. Some trails have rail cars along side, and many still have signals too. In many places the abandoned railroad is never coming back, because either the industry that it used to
> support is gone, or there are better lines nearby. In those cases I think turning them into trails is a better use than hoping that one day the glory of the rails will be back.
> As with everything a middle ground should be sought out. I know in some areas they've actually located a trail next to an active mail line. I'd love to ride by bike and watch passing trains.

> > It seems like there is a lot of hostility against rails to trails amongst this group. I think there are
> > two sides to each story so let me share a little. Nate, I'll second a lot of your comments - check out this out from Greg Harrison's new abandoned rails website:
>
> http://www.abandonedrails.com/article.asp?id=292
>
> I ride the East Bay Bike trail typically a couple of times a week, doing usually between 18 & 30 (or more) miles as a workout; seeing the forlorn-looking track alongside the bike trail inspired me to start doing some historical research on the line whose former roadbed it's built on - the New Havens's (later Providence & Worcester's) former Providence, Warren & Bristol branch.
>
> It's far better to see an old right-of-way preserved as a rail trail then to get totally obliterated by property development; an excellent example is the Cape Rail Trail in MA (which I also ride during the
> summer months). The Cape Rail Trail starts in South Dennis, MA & runs up to South Wellfleet; the roadbed was originally the Cape Cod Central, then became Old Colony & later New Haven, running originally all the way out to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. When abandonment of the line began in the 1960's, the stretch from Provincetown down to South Wellfleet was abandoned first. (This was LONG before the rails-to-trails movement). I've tried following the old roadbed from the north end of the bike trail in South Wellfleet up all the way to Provincetown on "Google Earth" & Microsoft's "Live Local"; I've actually explored some of the roadbed (beyond the bike trail) on my bike. From Wellfleet going northward ("eastbound" from Boston), a sizable percentage of the roadbed has been TOTALLY obliterated by property development on the Cape. The stretch which is
> the existing Cape Rail Trail was abandoned a bit later & was one of the first rails-to-trails conversions in this area. (Surprisingly, the roadbed for the Chatham branch, abandoned even earlier in 1937, was never developed, and was paved as an extension to the Cape Rail Trail in the last couple of years).
>
> Regarding the original thread on the protests of ATV'ers & horse riders on the trail-back-to-rail in Wisconsin, was this ACTUALLY a "legitimate" rails-to-trails conversion, or did the ATV'ers & horse
> riders just "claim" the abandoned right-of-way as "their own"? (I frequently see ATV's on the abandoned former New Haven roadbed between Whittenton Junction in Taunton & Stoughton, MA; this roadbed may see rails RETURNED to it by the MBTA as a restoration of commuter rail
> service to Fall River (where I live) & New Bedford). My personal observation is that a high percentage of ATV'er's have little regard for anything other than getting their "jollies"; I've seen them on the Cape Rail Trail, for example, where gas-powered vehicles are expressly FORBIDDEN! A lot of the legitimate rail trails are developed under "rail-banking" clauses, which stipulate that the right-of-way CAN revert to railroad use, if needed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Drop Outs and Their Causes

A “Letter to the Editors” in today’s JS written by Bob Lillie titled “Do the math on Education Reform” prompts this blog. Mr. Lillie now lives in Phoenix but is formerly from Eureka. Mr. Lillie says he has been involved as a teacher and administrator for 27 years and has a master’s degree in education administration from Bradley.

Mr. Lillie writes “I would like to see a national survey asking the American public how many have used algebra and trigonometry since they left high school. I would also like our politicians (many who live in scholastic ivory towers; my comments) who mandate these tests, to themselves take the state required tests and have their scores published before each election.” He continues “Isn’t it a form of discrimination to force all our young people to compete with unequal abilities? (And unequal abilities and motivations? My comments).

On 10/30/07 the JS pushed an article by an AP writer “School Dropout numbers dismal” and on 7/23/07 the JS published an article saying one out of ten Illinois Schools are labeled dropout factories. A reputable study showed that 1700 regular or vocational schools held on to 60 percent or less of their students from freshman to senior year over a three year period.

No Peoria school was on that list. #150 graduation rate was 83.1% with Richwoods listed as the highest and Manual listed as the lowest at 66.5%.

I am somewhat suspect of these local figures as it was no more than two years ago; I was told by an administrator that #150 did not have a tracking system. Earlier, during the term of Ed Bradle and John Day, I was told that the suspected dropout rate from 1st grade thru 12th grade was 50% and that the district did not have a tracking system.

I also know that some kids picked up for excessive truancy attend school only because that is part of the agreement reached to get them back in the classroom. Being in classrooms does not necessarily mean any learning process is going on (don’t believe me, go visit some classrooms in session and see first hand)

Communities have continual dialogue over giving all kids an equal opportunity. I agree. Many teachers and administrators know that not all kids have the same abilities, interest or drive. Too many kids take the attitude that the school offers little or nothing of interest to them. This is where politicians who probably did like school and got a reasonable education have got it wrong. They feel the curriculums set by mandate will be accepted by all kids. That is mostly true of most college bound kids.

But what about kids who have unequal abilities, unequal interests and unequal motivations and at this early stage of their life have neither the means or interest in going to college? Those are the ones I feel we are leaving behind and those who often become dropouts. Curriculums have been broadened to try to keep kids in schools. Administrators do know that not all kids are college bound. So why have mandated requirements that they take college entry level courses?

Kids must be offered basic courses that kids have the skills and the interest to complete and to get passing grades. Administrators show that they do offer a diverse curriculum but if not enough kids sign up for these classes, the school can’t afford to assign a teacher.

I have long contended that school personnel have to do a better “selling” job to keep kids from becoming dropouts. Every kid has an interest in something meaningful and some type of talent. A column was devoted tin the JS a number of years ago about a dropout who made it big on Broadway of somewhere in the entertainment field. Maybe one out of 100,000; similar to high school or even college basketball stars ever making money playing as professionals. Very, very few.

Ask any kid not interested in school and over 13 years old and they can name less than half a dozen that were very successful in sports or entertainment. I have and some can’t even name more than three. The name many of them think of first is Hersey Hawkins. Wrong.

The kid and parent (yes, both) have no excuse for not being able to learn to read and write, reasonably well. That is a mandatory requirement for everyone. Starting immediately, schools must help kids develop a reasonably positive attitude, a work ethic, the ability to accept critiquing and leadership, the ability to have dialogue and communicate their feelings and needs, accept personal responsibility, be dependable, have integrity and to be clean and well groomed. With these basic attributes, I see no reason why any kid can’t become a positive contributor to society.

There are of course points of no return in school just as there are in life. When all else fails, the kid becomes a ward of society. With the help of social agencies or law enforcement agencies or other outside the school assistance, they eventually may become productive citizens of a community.

That is why society must make every effort to get kids involved in a meaningful and productively involved childhood by the time they reach fourth or fifth grade. It seems after 3rd grade, many kids fall too far behind and never catch up with their peers who have a greater realization of what it takes to make it successfully through at least 12 grades and with enough learning and preparation to lead a reasonably successful life.

You can’t force a kid to learn in any school or in life IF they have made up their minds that they do not want to. But give them plenty of opportunity to change their minds.

Many do. The rest fill our juvenile courts, jails, prisons or become welfare dependents and blaming others for the sad situations of their lives.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Disrespect Revisted

Today’s JSEB “Schools should pick their battles” would have better read “Schools should halt skirmishes before they turn into battles.” School Administrators, Boards and Teachers are becoming totally confused. First, the good parents who back the schools decisions involving discipline and distractions in the classroom and on the school grounds are ignored when a student and her parent challenge the kids dress or behavior in the media. Divisive media like the Journal Star say these are just kids and wait until there is something bigger. Bigger like what? More disrespect, such as challenging the teacher when the teacher tells them to please sit down and they defy the teacher with a remark like “make me”. Yes, I saw that happen twice in my classroom visits to #150.When I asked the teachers why she didn’t send the kid to the office; their replies were that “just causes them (the teachers) more problems”. I have blogged on this sorry situation before.

Again, bigger like what? Like coming to school with a shaved head like Brittney? Getting pregnant in the fifth grade or sooner? Dressing in tight and tighter clothes showing the boys the best you have to offer because it won’t be your stresses and your common sense that will cause them to “like” you? Wearing spiked hair and T-shirts with profanity like they allow at most colleges? Read Molly Messing’s letter to the editor in today’s JS.

“60 Minutes” is often too liberal for me, (I do like Andy Rooney!) but if you watched the program on “workplace entitlements” last night you are getting a better idea of where this once great country is heading.

It is parents who challenge school rules that have caused the problems described in an article in the WSJ on 11/08/07 titled “Adult Supervision”. Excerpts: “A Colorado Springs elementary school is one of the latest to ban tag on its playground. Running will still be allowed as long as there is no chasing. The ban wasn’t the idea of overprotecting educrats—it was the result rather of children and their parents who “complained that they’d been chased or harassed against their will.” Other schools have already banned swings, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters, sandboxes and even hugs. You read about the discipline meted out to Megan Coulter for hugging two friends goodbye for the weekend-a violation of the schools ban on “public displays of affection? That rule came about because some inconsiderate and spoiled kids were all but “making out” in the hallways so all “hugging” had to be banned.

The old saying is that “a few bad apples” ruin the basket. But we used to have common sense and remove those apples before the good apples were ruined. Today, do that and you hear from an attorney.

One California school district worried about bullying, violence, self-esteem and lawsuits” also banned tag, cops and robbers, touch football and every other activity that involved bodily contact. In some schools, free play has been replaced by organized relay races in order to protect children from spontaneous outbreaks of creativity. This makes sense to the type of parent who thinks children must at all costs be protected from the scrapes of life and the prospect of having to deal with social interaction and disappointment.

We have parents wanting everybody that shows up to an event that used to be competitive to receive a “trophy”. Worry about a hot sun? Build a canopy over playgrounds. Worry about bacteria? Scrub everything and maybe eventually wrapping everything in bubble-wrap.

My parents always said “wash your hands”. Nothing wrong with that especially today but Dad didn’t say get soap and wash off the handle of the manure shovel. He said grab the shovel and learn how to work cause you aren’t living off Mom and I when you become of age. And speaking of manure, all this over protectiveness and defiance of authority are turning this country into a country of wimps. Some day, expect this once great country to be taken over by religious radical zealots and Socialistic-Fascists similar to Bin Laden or Chavez. Pacifists are going to be in what some call d..p s..t.

They can see the fear in our eyes and read it in our psychobabble.

Most of those that did the fighting to keep this country and its inhabitants safe from tyranny were shaped by the competitiveness of this countries character. We had better pray that our enemies of the future are enemies that value non-competitive, risk-free and self-esteem building play activities for its young. I suggest that while prayer may be powerful, prayer to stop aggressors who rather you would be enslaved or dead won’t work.

Don’t blame the schools for making all the stupid rules. Almost all these stupid rules come because of complaining parents, the liberal Medias and outside pandering. Blame over-protective, disrespecting parents and divisive medias to force administrations to set rules to protect the schools and the property tax payer from the NCAAP, the ACLU, attorney’s of the same ilk and parents who often times don’t have a clue about what’s going on in their kids lives. They do know they wield great power thru the press and that some liberal newspaper and some attorneys are going to force the school leaders into submission, no matter how small the perceived slight.

This attitude of let them go, they are just kids doesn’t work anymore. When you let them go, they often don’t know how to stop. And many kids become very good at embellishing a “story” they tell or are good at outright lying.

A recent article titled “Is Goodness Really Gone” reads “Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law or a teacher. Imagine that!

Not everybody made the teams. Those that didn’t had to deal with disappointment. Not today, you get a trophy for maybe occasionally showing up.”

This irony came home to me recently. I competed in sports at Western but never won or earned a varsity letter. Last year I received a Varsity Letter from Western apologizing to me for not being awarded a varsity letter many, many years ago. Their belated compassion still did not get them the expected donation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Emails to me 11/11/07

If you send me an email and I can't identify you, I do not open your email and especially if the rating warning is high. I can always be reached by phone.Or you can ask to be added to my email list.

Thank you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Peoria Museum

I know I promised to blog on the County Board meeting last night so I am. Other than what you read in the JS today, it was just a presentation. Our administrator will put together the request as detailed by the museum supporters. This information will be presented to our Finance Committee meeting late in this month. The next full Board Meeting is scheduled December 13. If a special meeting is called, I will post that information on this site.

I have been asked not to comment on my position and I won’t until all the facts are presented to the Finance Committee.

Your comments are appreciated. I have posted over 430 blogs in three years so you may want to go back into my archives to reread some of them.

I appreciate all of you who pass my blog site along to others. http://widmer-peoria-watch.blogspot.com

Pleasant Valley Middle School

On November 4, the JS reported Annual school report cards. Pleasant Valley was graded a 72.1 on their 2007 SAT scores.

Manual High School was graded a 17.8.

Average expenditure per pupil for Pleasant Valley was $7,438.00
Average expenditure per pupil for Manual was approximately $11,000.00

Both schools serve communities with an approximately 71% poverty level.

On 11/08/07, JS Columnist Pam Adams wrote “Monday morning one Manual student walked down the hallway sporting candy apple red and bright yellow kinky twists, like micro braids, a popular hair style among young black women. The unconventional educator might take time out to help students explore the mathematical concepts beneath some of the most popular hairstyles worn by black women.”

Perhaps Pleasant Valley got 3 1/2 times better SAT scores than these “women” at Manual because the administration had convinced them that learning to read, write and compute was more important than studying hairstyles. Also, Shawnterrya is 12 years old, not even a teen let alone being called a “woman”.

Hmmmmm.

Congratulations to Pleasant Valley School District Administration and Board in quickly reaching an agreement with the ACLU, Don Jackson and the mother. I suspect the dress code will spell out more clearly what appropriate hair styles, clothes and conduct allows all to concentrate on why all kids are in school. That is to learn enough to stay out of trouble and get enough education so that they can get a job and at least support themselves .Future employers are not hiring kids with the most outstanding hairdo, male or female.

Like O’Reilly or not, his book I described, “Kids have rights too” is well worth it’s 30 minute read.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Phil Luciano: PJS Reporter

Unlucky 44 year old Deborah Seifert, a business woman forced to fly on a cramped seat airplane and placed beside a large man reading a Playboy Magazine. The guy placed his leg next to hers and she was forced to sit there for the two hour flight.This is all reported in the JS today.

Wow, this should be front page news. But let’s examine the 44 year old's story, or so it’s said, businessladyperson dilemma.

Being a 44 year old businessperson indicates she has probably flown a lot in her day. Most, if not all business people traveling do not waste their time looking over to see what their neighbor is reading. If they are of any value to the company they represent, they should be working on their laptop, boning up on the reason for their travel, studying backgrounds of their clients, learning more about their products or about their company. Better yet, she could have been reading any Middle East history book or novel. Sheesh.

Maybe this is a plea to get her company to fly her FIRST CLASS next time.

What was her fascination with what the guy in the next seat was reading? She says she tried to close her eyes, wow what a prude or maybe deep down she is fascinated with the beauty of a picture of the beauty of most naked women who allow themselves to appear in print. Being a 44 year old woman and disgusted by a picture of a naked woman, which she evidently couldn’t stop looking at, raises questions which are to obvious for me to ask..

The big question is why was she sticking her nose into what a perfectly legal (if he was obese, maybe his legs took more space) acting guy was reading? Hmmmm.

So the “large” older guy (could that have been Phil Luciano, he’s “large”?) was drinking a beer. Perfectly legal. What’s the story there?

“His leg was against mine the entire trip” says Deborah. Wow, is that close? Are you sure she wasn’t flying in a Piper Cub? I suggest his leg wasn’t that bothersome or she should HAVE MOVED HER LEG. Yet she didn’t complain to the flight attendants because she was intimidated by him. How old was she 44? And an experienced business person who flies often on business? Sheesh.

So she doesn’t complain to any airline official about anything. So she finds a sympathetic ear in Luciano. If Phil wasn’t on the plane she made contact with him somehow. Did she call him, go to his office or go to his home or see him in say, one Phil’s favorite hangouts. Does she have a “business” relationship with Phil?

More important didn't Phil contact the man and get his side of the story? He could have filed a complaint with the airline and an attorney could have gotten the name of this “large” intrusive passenger.

And now Phil, who threw furniture (he published he did) off balconies into the street; I suspect Luciano knows a lot about drinking, is a judge on Porno. Wow, did he see it first hand? And if you are reading and looking at porno in a seat you have paid for legally; Playboy magazine is sold in most all bookstores across the country, where is the problem? Or are the Muslims in this country turning us into radicals like the Taliban?

Why didn’t Phil quote Deborah’s surely incensed husband. Or, if not a husband, her closest friend? Or her dad? Or maybe she is one of these men-haters or a radical member of NOW. After all, this large guy had his leg against his wife’s leg for TWO WHOLE HOURS! Or should he have just used common sense and asks her why she didn’t move her leg and if the guy kept encroaching on her space, why didn’t she tell the attendant. Oh, Yes, I forgot, she was a fearful 44 year old business person.

And, oh yes, how large is Deborah? Her size on a crowded seat plane must fit in this equation somehow.

This I will say. If she had she been working for me when Phil printed this hare-brained article; she would be looking for a new job today. And if Luciano would have been working or teaching under me, he would not have been dragging my paper down to the caliber of rag and contaminating the minds of students struggling to find a life outside of academics.

Wow, what a story, okay, it's a column telling a story, surely to be presented in some type of writing contest to win some kind of award.

Now, it’s my time to tell a story. Back years ago, as a salesman I was calling on a local hospital purchasing agent. I had in my employ a lovely blonde young lady who also called on this purchasing agent for another division of my company. Bob, his correct first name, the PA complimented me on the competence of the young blonde. I made the mistake asking if he preferred to have her handle his account instead of me. A perfectly innocent question as PA’s are given choices of who they prefer to deal with in a company. That’s where the s...t the fan. Suddenly, old Bob was accusing me of saying that he “liked” Diane. He went bonkers. Shorten the story. My company lost the account. The reason was that good old Bob had a boyfriend and he was afraid the story might get around the hospital and eventually back to his man “friend”. I was pretty na├»ve. But then I was just in my forty’s.

I don’t know if my last paragraph fits in with my blog but I printed it and it is a true story. Some of you may remember old Bob who I understand is deceased so you can’t reach him to confirm or hear his side of the story.

And I do all this common sense writing for no pay. But I’m not complaining because I never took a class to learn journalism. But having flown a couple million miles in my life, I know a lot about how not to be offended by someone in the next seat to me and also how not to offend. And yes, I have complained to a stewardess about other passengers. Never had a real problem worth complaining to a hack reporter.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Entitlement Epidemic

On 7/19/07, the WSJ writer Jeffery Zaslow wrote about this epidemic and who is to blame. He asks why so many young people today have an inflated sense of entitlement? He lists the usual suspects including MTV – and especially the parents. He also says you can’t just blame Mr. Rogers just because Mr. Rogers was always telling kids they were “special”, Rogers also encouraged hard work and mutual respect. Mr. Zaslow says, “The entitlement problem has many roots: Indulgent parents continue to make their kids beds, pour their juice, give them so many choices as what they want for dinner, what TV and radio THEY want, and do their trouble-shooting for them long after they are capable of doing these things themselves. (Nowadays, maybe parents should show boys how to use condoms instead of a teacher in a classroom.) He believes this makes them dependent as young adults (and older adults, I might add). One university teacher calls the cell phone the” world’s longest umbilical cord”. Do I have one? No, nor will I ever. Might it save my life? Yes, and it could also take my life and others with me. It’s happening all around us.

Psychologist David Walsh, author of “No: Why Kids of All Ages Need to Hear it and Ways Parents Can Say it” has led to a movement within his own state of Minnesota. This coalition called “Say Yes to No” is made up of parents and educators working to counteract the culture of “more, fast, easy and fun.” Entitled parents and kids suffer from DDD—“discipline deficit disorders”—with symptoms such as impatience and inflated expectations.

At Loyola University Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, Mary Burns teaches “Entitled to What? - A Reality Check for the Generation Entering Corporate America.”

Zaslow blames Consumer Culture like MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” celebrating acquisitive lifestyles. I personally believe that most of kids appearing on these shows should serve a minimum of military service so they might learn what the reality world is. Or spend a couple of years volunteering to work in some parts of Africa or some major U.S. cities ghettos. Oh, that’s right, we don’t have ghettos anymore. Everybody has money and privilege as shown nightly on MTV. Do kids ever watch The History Channel anymore?

Zazslow believes the self-esteem movement started in 1986 when California created a task force on self-esteem. Schools soon nationwide adopted “everybody’s a winner” philosophies. Teachers were told to tell students that she like their smiles, or the way they sat up straight, rather than focusing on, say, their failed spelling tests. One California grandmother wrote, “Her grandson wanted to play trumpet in the school talent show but hardly ever practiced. Every note he played was wrong but he thought he was “awesome.” At the show, so many acts were horrible, though the kids seemed proud. One child had the real talent, but her grandchild couldn’t see past his own self-absorption to even recognize it.

I believe today that good teachers remind students that “self-esteem comes from the self doing something worthy of esteem. If I were a teacher, I could praise you for having a good attitude. And for learning to read and write well, for being responsible, for having a work ethic in school, the community and home. Or for being be respectful of yourself and others. For speaking in class only when acknowledged and when you have something meaningful to tell or to ask.

Why hand out trophies for just attending an event? What’s to be learned by doing that? Trophy’s are for accomplishments such as good attendance and good grades. Competitions are held so kids learn to win honestly and to lose gracefully.

This is what too many kids have learned about entitlements and self-esteem: “Five binge-drinking deaths” on a college campus because most kids are just let loose when they get away from home, especially those who don’t have to work their way through schools. A 13 year old and a 26 year old teacher run off of together. Probably both spent too much time watching MTV. 15 year old kids, and younger, shooting whoever or whatever over some small acts they consider is disrespectful to their self-esteem. These shooting are happening with increasing regularity. Most violence is created by kids (and adults) who think themselves as being invincible and full of super-rated esteem. When they find out they were lied to by adults or their peers, they lose control of their anger and strike out.

Some will say I’m wrong and kids do these things when they lack self-esteem. Well, the, did anybody ever teach or tell them how to EARN self-esteem?

Good question.

Since proportionally, most of the threat to our wellbeing comes from the uneducated, understand that these aren’t the good old days of “Leave it to Beaver” when everybody went to school and had a reasonable respect for authority. Today, it takes a village to raise a kid. Why, because those who so carelessly brought them into this world leave them alone in their new world even though the “bringers” are physically present. Problem is that the village today is often run by idiots telling our kids to sell crack and shoot each other any time their “self esteem” has been disrespected.

Pop culture reeking of “disrespect” is ruining so many lives. They even encourage our kids to dress like idiots speeding us to a cultural genocide. Rapper types say “hey man, get some respect for yourself.” Get a “piece”, “double entendre), knock up another kid, mug somebody or steal a car. Sell some drugs, meth is in. It will soon make you crazy, but what the hey? Use that good looking smile and your “unique” hairdo and stylish baggy pants. What pieces of crap most of the pop culture rappers are and how unsettling they are to unstable family structures.

Real leaders trying to get the attention of kids today are considered by disrespectful kids as being “Uncle Toms” or old fashioned and not in step with todays “do it if it feels good culture.”

Only a select few had access to your brain back in the forties and fifties. Parents let teachers teach and teachers expected parents to parent. Today’s parent is often hardily appreciated unless the parent is permissive. Too permissive parents will eventually be ignored. The comic strip “Zits” portrays much of today’s youth. Today, too many of us are wrapped up in our own lives to recognize our responsibilities on many levels, not just child raising. Many teachers, at all levels, especially in college, have neither the skills nor ability to teach and lead. They get by by praising self-esteem and by telling kids how much they love them. Kids then get a false sense of security often signaling that they can do about anything they want and still be told how great a smile they have and no matter what, their closest kin and teachers will always remember them fondly and will always love them.

Since so many kids are good liars, they usually know when they are being lied to by their peers, teachers, leaders and parents. Many of them emulate the bad things they see in the adult world. It’s hard for kids and adults to always do the “right” things. But educated, a term I sometimes use loosely, or wise adults have no real excuse for failing to set good examples for youth to follow.

It’s past time for a lot of people to look closely in the mirror and see what they are really seeing. In most cases, it’s not too late to change themselves and the way they are bringing up their kids.

I think I change in some ways for the better each day. At least I try and I do look closely in the mirror. If you have kids in school, especially if your kid complains about the teacher, drop in unannounced, check in at the office ask to visit class and sit quietly in the back. After a couple of visits to your kid’s classroom you may learn something not always good.

But then, if you are a too permissive parent, you might not.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

On 3/13/07, I blogged on Ms. Ali being forced into hiding because of her statements about Muslims who treat women as baby machines; these son factories as she calls them. She says it is a tolitarian method similar to what Nazi Germany did in producing soldiers. In an article in the October issue of The Atlantic, Ms.Ali argues that “there is a deep link between Muslim faith and violence.” She compares violent Islam with Judaism and Christianity. “Adherents of these religions over the centuries have been pacified to understand and accept the separation of the divine and worldly…Nowhere in the Muslim world has that profound pacification of Islam..taken place. And I think that is the difference.

The vast majority of Muslims today will not commit acts of terrorism but if Islam is defined as submitting to the will of Allah; the sixth obligation is to convert others to Islam, first by peaceful means, then by violence. Islam’s treatment of women; some states have progressed to the point of where they “only beat their women lightly” while most domestic violence is above the law and genital mutilations are sanctioned.

Robert Morgan Emerson of Anacortes, Wash. writes about MS. Ali rejection of forced religious beliefs (read the Koran all day every day is considered an education) and he believes that “histories worst tyrants have used their positions of power to design versions of a deity, capitalizing on vast human ignorance and become gods themselves.” He quotes from Lenin that “Only after the last king is strangled in the entrails of the last priest will we have freedom” bears some contemporary reconsideration.”

Ms. Ali is a brave person and one can only hope that her speaking out will not cost her her life at the hands of an Islamfascist.

More Random Stuff

“Allowing into our homes the kind of media that tolerates foul language, indecent acts and bodily exposure (I believe he means more skin than ordinarily seen in public or in the classroom) creates the atmosphere for teens to act indecently.” A WSJ reader responding to Jeff Zaslow’s column on teens’ dating habits.

Question in the WSJ. “Should water-boarding be legal for use on enemy combatants? I can answer that easily. If I caught anybody that I knew had kidnapped someone I cared deeply about and that person wouldn’t tell what happened to this loved one, I would have the answer before an hour or two was over. If I was involved in a situation where someone admitted planting a bomb but wouldn’t say where and I had my way, they would tell. And, yes, as Senator Lindsey Graham says, my actions might be repugnant to me also. I pray that it never happens.

Then again, I am not a law-breaker so I would follow legal procedure. Then again, it depends.

And confirm Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General now. He is what the country needs while we need less Feingold, Schumer, Rangel, Boxer and Spector types.

According to Brook Nelson of Peoria Heights, 1200 educators appeared at a Heart of Illinois Conference on Oct. 19 at East Peoria Community High School and no local media showed up to cover the event. Some award-winning educators spoke.

Hard to believe but conferences are not as exciting as a person with pink braids in a household with an attitude. By the way, Shawnterya had not returned to school as of yesterday. Everybody loses but the JS got a lot of pictures and copy.

Shawnterrya,(came up red today on my Spell-Check tonight)who presents an $100, 10 hour hairdo in school but I hear by loose talk that her mother is employed while the kid is a poverty level student.

Hmmmmm.

From the Economist “A new disease is abroad in eastern Germany: Frauenmangel, lack of women. In some towns there are only 75 women for every 100 guys. The article says that girls are more studious than boys, so they get better qualified and migrate west to find both partners and jobs. The boys lack role models at home, where fathers are often unemployed, and at school, where teachers are mainly female. Young men now account for 65% of German high-school dropouts.” Do the last three sentences sound familiar?

While some of Peoria’s leadership advocates trails to replace rails, an article in The Informed Reader, A Lonely Road Home for Commuters: How Longer Drives Exact Social Costs” pretty well sums up what is happening in the good old U.S.A. Two economists at the University of Zurich found in a lifestyle survey that an hour long commute requires a 40% boost in salary to keep the commuters as “satisfied” with their lives as non-commuters.” Get a copy of this of this sales pitch, you downtown planners. (Think Pat Sullivan) Nine out of 10 commuters travel by car and 88% of those drivers do so alone. Every 10 minutes of commuting results in 10% fewer social connections and long periods alone provoke loneliness, reduces time for sleep, sports and other “things”.

The article says in Atlanta it sometimes takes 45 minutes to travel 10 miles. Many of you have traveled through Atlanta at rush hour. I believe 1 ½ hours is more like it today.

When gas hits $4 a gallon, all growing communities are going to be forced to look for less congestive and cheaper ways to move people. In Peoria, either that or redevelop the center of the city to more residential. Downtown major development that has taken place over the last century is not all going to move north.

I believe my vote on the resolution the county sent to Senator Durbin and others was correct the first time. Unfortunately, because Peoria is growing in sprawl rather than population that quickly, I will probably not live to see what the Surface Transportation Board decides and then live to see what happens when it does decide. I’m betting on the SBC to make the “right” decision.

That’s right, the STB, not Peoria Heights or the City of Peoria. Read David Jordan’s Transportation blogs. Mr. Jordan not only makes a lot of sense, but he is also interesting reading. And Sharon Deckard will email you more information that is factual about light transportation developing in communities across the country that are growing.

And while you are looking up the articles in the WSJ, best all around business newspaper I’ve ever read, look up “Tough Love on Skid row, on the Opinion page, 11/2/07. Quoting Officer Deon Joseph: The idea that because people were homeless, they have a right to break ‘minor’ laws…has led to nothing but death, disease and despair.” In Los Angeles policemen are fighting to help the homeless. So-called civil libertarians want to let them rot" so reads the article.

Time for dinner and then Channel 22 so I’ll end with a couple of quips from the JSEB “if we dance around the word “race” then it’s not about race, even if everybody know it’s about race” and Gary Sandberg's sage statement about City Council” actions, “We need to focus our energy on earlier commitments. We need to finish things.”

I’m with you there, Gary.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill's new book "Kids are Americans Too" a book all parents should read especially one that attends Pleasant Valley Middle School. Book is only a 50 minute read so most should find time to read it. It reads "Back again with a dialogue on rights that will have everybody talking, O'Reilly and his co-author Charles Flowers dole out the kind of blunt, cogent, commonsense commentary you count on them for."

I visted with the Pleasant Valley School principal in her office yesterday; no one else who has written about this waste of time and lack of commonsense had visited her as of yesterday afternoon. I can best sum up our conversation by quoting the from an article in yesterday's JS titled, "Four low scorers still at the bottom". The article quotes Tyng's principal as telling his students that if they want to talk to him this year, it has to be about education. There's a fifth grade girl that like to chat about her hair and her sister, but he won't allow it.

"I want them, when they see my face, (to) think of learning, learning, learning " Tim Ryon said.

Some people don't understand that schools were intended to be temples of learning for kids, not show places for their hairdo's, bare midriffs, tight tops, short skirts and superior attitudes. School authorities set rules to stop as much distraction in the classroom as possible and to create an atmosphere in which kids, teachers, counselors, parents and administration can all dialogue and learn.

I suggest every school district have a copy of O'Reilly's book to discuss in the classrooms or office with a few disruptive or planning to be disruptive parents and kids. Maybe a with some dialogue and some common sense reasoning, differences of opionion can be settled in the school and not by a sensation seeking media.

I stand by the school's decision. From small acts of disrespect to juvenile court and for many, prison, a place most people wan't to avoid.

I was surprised, but then I shouldn't be, the the JSEB excusing the kid and mom because "they bet some teachers tint their hair." That in itself, is a (hair)-brained statment. What has, let's say, a dark haired teacher, getting a little gray and tinting his or her hair back to it's original color have to do with a 12 year old kid using distractive colored hair stresses? Totally irrelevant. Especially after she was told that other colors were acceptable, her mother choose a different color. Why? Probably because she wamted to show that for reasons one can only speculate on, she choose to cause a problem. To a point it was effective, the good looking girl got her picture in the paper several times and the publicity distracted a lot of other kids, teachers and administrators from doing their jobs and learning.

Some succcess!

I recommend that all schools add at least more counselors. Schools today "ain't" what they used to be.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Random Comments

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released this August showed one in four adults read no books in the past year. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices. Number of books read per year, 7, excluding those who said they didn’t read any books.

I know many of you that read my lengthy blogs, read books. If you haven’t read “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, you should and perhaps you will shed a tear and realize again how great this country is even with all it’s faults. Also, read Hosseini on the Editorial page of the WSJ, 10/24/07 issue, “Afghan Homecoming” where he expresses fear that the Taliban is regaining control of the country while the elite of the world are planning million dollars vacation homes and posturing in the media.

They caught the teacher in Mexico with the 13 year old. Possibly the 13 year old kid had asked his teacher to take him down to Mexico to visit his grandparents. Or maybe she was just taking him on an extra-curricular field trip? Maybe she was counting on her tenure or maybe the district has a strong teachers union she thinks will defend her. Or maybe she was like a few who teach that don’t have a clue. Maybe she thought if 10 year olds who are given condoms by the school – hey, maybe a 13 year old who may look like an eighteen year old, is an adult. Maybe she didn’t know the law or maybe she is just plain stupid. It will make good copy for a couple of months on TV. Might be better watching then some of the stupid, mind numbing sitcoms.

When I left the teaching profession a long time ago, I saw problems on the horizon. Too many people who couldn’t hold a job in the private sector were going into teaching. The good and dedicated teachers weren’t being paid for performance. Some stayed because they believed they could make a better world. And they did and they do. Good, better and best teachers were (and are) being lumped together by position and seniority. When I taught, teachers without advanced degrees received small yearly incremental wages increases. Tenure today keeps the system from firing incompetents, but sometimes tenure allows you to have a say in what school you are assigned.

Check the average expenditure per pupil per school in today’s JS. Some of the best performing schools had the lowest salaries and cost per pupil.

Problem with the Chicago Bulls is the game can only be played with one ball. Or maybe the coach is over doing his tranquilizers. Anyway, write another season off unless the team shows more teamwork than they have in the first 3 games. Hold the ball until 8 seconds on the shot clock and then throw the ball up in desperation? And coaches and players make millions? I really shouldn’t complain. I benefit by not wasting my time watching professional athletes get by on their athletic ability and get overpaid by millions of dollars.

So the school handbook names the colors of braids you can use in your hair. So the kid and mom want to add another color. No problem, just do it because who is paying attention to rules anyway these days. How do some of you believe that acts of disrespect of authority are of harm to anyone? Some of believe that a SMALL act of disrespect won’t hurt anybody. So take away a small part of their paycheck. Is that okay? How about just stealing a couple of dollars from some kids’ locker? Sure, the rules are, keep your hands off other peoples property but you only took 2 bucks. What’s the big deal?

Walk down the middle of the street because there may or may not be sidewalks? Why not? Why should I walk on the side of the street? Hint. Try walking down the middle of the street on Knoxville, Jefferson, Adams or University. Trust everybody to slow down or stop. Maybe do it on a dare or just play a game with those who are “victimizing” you.

Lot’s of luck.

Don’t pay attention in school? Why pay attention? Who needs to learn to read, write and compute? Who needs to learn how to have a work ethic? Who needs to work? There are drugs to take or sell, or both, welfare and disability and free food and the emergency rooms at the hospitals with free transportation, room and board. Take care of your health? Why? Socialized medicine and health care won’t cost you a dime.

Creating new departments, electing new or reelecting incumbents don’t mean a thing unless you put people in power who have common sense and the ability to perform for the benefit of the whole.

Blame the establishment for everything that goes wrong. Why not, they are easy targets. Plenty of left wing reporters are trying to make big stories on half-truths. Half of what the "blamer" is saying and half of what the reporter embellishes sometimes make a half-truth.

We need more people like Mel Ghighi, Eddie Murphy, Mary Clark, Sara Partridge and Karrie Alms to tell it like it is. I’m proud to know them.

Goodnight.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Peoria Museum Funding Efforts

Museum planners originally submitted a financial plan that showed 54% of the money coming from private funds or approximately $35,000,000.00. As of early October, the media reported $24,000,000.00 raised from what I interpret as private funding. Included in that figure is $11,000,000.00 that will be or is a donation from Caterpillar. As of approximately November 19, the Museum Committee should know whether the Federal Government thru financial dispensing sources is going to contribute a chunk of the still needed $40,000,000.00.

I do not believe neither the State, Federal or Local governments are going to voluntarily make up the difference. Also, the museum will still need to meet operating expenses projected to be approximately $4,000,000.00 a year. At a possible 300,000 visitors a year and at a possible average $10.00 admission fee only adds up to 3 million dollars. Other sources of revenue including memberships and sales of merchandise would unlikely make up the missing $1 million yearly.

A cursory proposal has been made to our County Administrator which at this point I do not wish to comment as details have not been submitted to the board. I do know that the City believes they have already made their contribution valued between $5-8 million. I suggest they may not be willing to do much more but that is up to the Council.

The PBC has been mentioned as a possible vehicle to avoid a referendum. The PBC has also been mentioned as being part of a larger plan to include other sources of funding including, but not exclusively, new schools.

Along the way, there appears to be strong sentiment on the Peoria County Board to build a new 220 bed nursing home replacing the existing structure off Farmington Road. It has been mentioned that this $30,000,000.00 project funding could possibly be secured by a quarter % sales tax hike.

Anyone who knows more than I do about what is going on regarding funding for these projects is welcome to add to, refute, deny or correct any information on this post.

Where I stand personally on these issues have either been stated before or will be clarified when I have more information from respected sources.

For further details I suggest contacting the County Board Chairman, the County Administrator, the Museum Committee Chair, School District #150 or the PBC.

No way is this blog intended to accurately assess what is transpiring or that I am any type of a spokesman for the County. But I will be involved in some of these final decisions.

Keep you posted.

Books in our Public Libraries - Recommended Reading

“Letters to a Young Teacher” by nationally renowned and award winning author and educator, Jonathon Kozol is recommended reading for anyone of any age. To steal a phrase, “What a Wonderful Book! Anyone who cares about rebuilding our public education system should read it. I could not put it down.”

Another book that was hard to stop reading is a new book by Garrison Keillor, “Pontoon: a Lake Wobegon Novel”. Garrison tells it like it is and some might struggle to accept his interpretations of life in the Lake Wobegon area or maybe some resemblance to life all over the country.

A judge friend of mine asks that I blog more. I plan to. And thanks for reading me, Judge Shadid and also Judge Kouri. Computer crashes were driving me away from blogging until my friends helped me solve the problems. Anyway it’s working fine again. A new Dell Laptop is on order.

Also, a temporary health set back made me lose my energy but this did not prevent me from filling in for our Board Chairman Bill Prather: Bill also has some temporary health set backs. Bill requested that I conduct our full board monthly October meeting and the Executive Committee meeting Thursday. Plus I still average reading about 3 books a week and I soak up Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

Still playing some tennis and visiting two sisters in local nursing homes. I feel best when I’m involved as I believe everyone usually does. Might hold off some diseases longer as we age. For you who have called me an old man, don’t worry, you’ll be old one day also if you live that long. For an old man, I do quite well, thank you.

Thanks for reading me.

Adult Kids?

“School teacher runs off with 13 year old boy” says today’s newspapers. At least, the teacher was a woman. However some feel; no problem, lots of 12 year old boys are carrying condoms in their back packs or wallets. She’s safe. Maine is making a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches to 6th graders. Condoms have been available at King Middle School in Maine since 2000. The middle schoolers who are sexually active range from 10 to 14 years old. Maine is not alone. Maine’s actions were the latest to appear in the news I read.

On 2/27/04, I clipped an article “Youths are getting sexual diseases at high rates.” This Associated Press article stated “teenagers and young adults account for nearly half of the newly diagnosed cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. though they constitute just a quarter of the sexually active population, according to the first national estimate of STDSs among young Americans.” Check with our local County Health Department. They keep statistics on those who come for advice and recommended treatment of their diseased sexual organs. And most of them are treated on the taxpayer’s dole.

Also, no big problem to some because our growing welfare society now aided by an expansion of SCHIPS will pay for the medical treatment and there is no longer any stigma involved with sexually transmitted diseases and unwed pregnancies. (Senator LaHood, I was in disagreement of your yes vote again but I know you were under pressure to not make it look like you were opposed to child health care. I agree with Bush on this one that the program moves to far up the income ladder and is written as another step toward socialized medicine that I totally oppose.) I hope for children’s’ sake this bill is being reworded so our President can sign it soon.

For those of you who support socialized health, take time to listen to some of the experiences of people coming from the north of us and some parts of old Europe..

At a #150 Peoria Middle School I was visiting, a drop-out young "teener" was proudly showing off what many in this country used to call her “bastard” baby; sorry folks, look it up in history books, to an oohing and aahing group of 11-14 year old girls in the school hallways. I faulted school policy. If the school had a child care program, which none of #150 schools have, I could have understood.

Somewhat.

On 10/19/07, the JS reported “Officer gave alcohol to 20-year-old.” Preteen kids are having sex with permission sometimes of their parent or parents or some adult but a guy gets in trouble because at a party where in the heat of all the fun, he providing a 20 year old some alcohol that she misused! The paper says she was pulled over and arrested on a DUI.

How “totally” interesting. Studies indicate that the majority of 20 year old women have had at least one sexual experience outside of marriage by the age of 20 and many of our service people are dead in action before the age of 20.

Too many mothers and “Mothers” are letting their kids dress like sluts, dressing them up like models with lipstick, stylish hairdo’s and high heels at the age of 5; in a few cases younger. The media is hung up on youth “role model” types like Spears and 200 other Hollywood types who have less space in their brains than they have between their bosoms. Too many of our George Bush types are caught up in a total abstinence delusion while too many other are saying “we know you know its “there” so here are some condoms and birth control pills. Don’t forget to use them and good luck.” And maybe throw in “happy hunting” to let kids know they understand.

The problem many adults don’t understand at all and neither do most of the kids. You can read dozens of books on the problems created by having “casual sex” and if you don’t read, you can take the experts testimony as gospel that most causal sex before marriage and sometimes after marriage has a highly negative effect on millions of people’s lives.

No wonder some schools see less and less kids playing sports and participating in activities that wear them out so they go to bed at night to sleep and rest. The kind of sports most of us kids from Congerville and Normal Community played when I was in grade and high school. Many others went home to assigned jobs and learned a work ethic. Sure, sex was on our minds. But it wasn’t constantly flaunted in our faces and our Moms and Dads made sure it stayed just there. The school was to teach us other subjects. Big difference when it is on your mind instead or elsewhere with someone; nowadays, sometimes with either sex. Now kids can forget sports, work, extra-curricular activities and parental supervision; there are lots of physical actions available in many locations for some of these high testosterone foolish misguided kids.

Young women and now young boys carrying condoms and birth control pills are sometimes going to authorities protesting sometimes weeks or years later claiming that they were raped. No, I certainly don’t condone rape when it is really a forcible act totally against the will of the “rapee” but I have always know allegations of rape and actual rape can be a fine line especially if the girl becomes pregnant or gets a problematic sexual disease. Or it dawns on her later that her or his sexually overt acts weren’t such a good idea after all.

Do I think kids and most people lie? Surely, you jest.

I also know that there are a lot of animals acting like humans beings are out there in person or on the internet and nowadays they aren’t all men. These “people” should have a fair trial and if convicted, have the lawful sentences imposed.

Wait till you see what happens when our libraries load up on hundreds of unsupervised computers. Think about it.

Ray LaHood Revisited

One thing anyone in public office or running for office should learn is to answer questions as generically as possible when talking to known dunderhead reporters such as Phil Luciano of the JS.

Luciano calls LaHood “Lord Ray” for taking his time to hand out money to three capable brave citizens running for office. Luciano also says he came up with a novel idea in which politicians should just donate their money to charity in the name of the candidate. Luciano says it makes good sense. I suspect that LaHood didn’t want to say “not a good idea” because then some with less common sense might interpret his statement as making LaHood opposed to charities. Remember the library referendum? How could public figures not say no when asked if they support libraries. It would be interpreted as one’s being opposed to education. More on that subject later. Better yet, go into my archives of a few months ago on the library referendum.

Luciano says that “Pragmatically, his (LaHoods) donations do nothing to affect the race, because they all get the same amount. It’s a wash.” Giving money to be used for the sole purpose of helping his friends; the reporter leaves out the fact that they are all three are his friends. It's not implied that each will use the money to help get them elected in the same manner. Perhaps “Prince” Luciano should spend more time reading the Bible which has a parable about a father giving his sons equal amounts and how the father held them accountable for the use of his gift after a proscribed length of time.

The JS reporter admits that he is not a politician but he believes his “novel” idea in the political world makes no sense at all. He is correct. Some reporters often try to interpret what politicians say so their words make the reporter look smart and the politician dumb.



This reporter made the front page of the B section in today’s JS commenting on letters he received supporting Shawnterya, the one with the pink braids. (did I spell her name correctly?) Hope you read and respect Bill Cosby, Juan Williams and Ward Connerly (all blacks who have become very successful in trying to keep this a great nation) who tell of their first hand knowledge of what is happening and who is abetting the accelerating decline of our great nation.

Luciano says “of the hundreds of responses on this story, few supported the school. Maybe the school district will some day stop hiding and explain its decision.” Maybe Luciano will reveal how many of these letters are from past and present school teacher, principals and other administrators. Especially from the thousands of teachers who have left the profession because rules and codes of conduct were held in contempt by kids and backed up by their “mothers” and some incompetent teachers, principals, boards and administrators. And the school did give him a copy of the code handbook which clearly states their position while they try to educate kids and not hold fashion shows with 10 hour, $100 do’s.

I stand 100% behind Principal Sandy Somogyi and Superintendent Allen Johnson.

But then of course Shawnterya is just a 12 year old kid. Why does my word processor always showing that name coming up green like I'm mis-spelling it?

Read my next blog on “Adult Kids”.

P.S. Hope most of you read the letter printed in the JS on 10/27/07 by my friend Ed C. Murphy, former Peoria Mayor candidate and sports columnist for Senior News. Eddie lays it on pretty heavy but he sure writes many statements that should be pondered and in some cases, more action taken by some of who are doubtful this country is heading in the direction our fathers planned.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Open Letter to the Editors of the Journal Star

On more than one occasion I have written and stated that the Journal Star is the most community divisive media from Chicago to St. Louis and from Des Moines to Indianapolis. It is a media that embarrasses its community leaders whenever an opportunity arises. Then it criticizes these leaders for not running for public office or serving in positions of authority over others in the public sector. Many Journal Star headlines and articles frighten some businesses and some visitors from even considering moving to the City of Peoria.

On Sunday, a guy who I’m told teaches at a major local university is featured on the front page of the JS crying the administration of Pleasant Valley Middle School committed a foul for their decision to send a 12 year old “pensive” (her picture with her pink stresses, not maroon; the journalist changed it to maroon so it fit in the headline, “Girl marooned by hairdo”) kid home because she violated the language in the school handbook. I quote , “Any type of dress or grooming that is inappropriate or disruptive will not be permitted, and students will be asked to change or given alternate clothing. Refusal to cooperate could result in the student being sent home.”

The apparently disobedient 12 year old kid is described as an honor student. Surely she and her mother can read and respect the rulings of those in charge of kids. School Boards and School Administrators with legal counsel determine dress and conduct codes, not a kid and parent just because the mother spent $100.00 and 10 hours on a hairdo. $100 bucks on a 12 year old kid’s hairdo?

The JS says that the kids name is Shawnterya Carter and her mother’s name is Ebony Neasman. It doesn’t mention that Pleasant Valley Middle School attendees are 72% poverty “family” kids.(The mother said the hairdo cost $100.00) Hmmmmm. The usual phrase was thrown in by the mother; “I think I’m going to have to get a lawyer”.

The JS whines about rising crime in Peoria and wants to blame everybody that’s anybody for the problem. When kids flout the rules and the law, someone on the editorial board or some reporter gets around eventually if not immediately placing the blame on authorities that do their best to keep law and order in Peoria. Then they whine about rising crime in Peoria. Any Police Officer will tell you that one of the major causes of crime in Peoria is the disrespect of any type of authority.

On 11/01, the JSEB wrote “Stressing out over student’s tresses.” Cute title. Both articles will tend to make this apparently disrespectful kid and parent martyr’s to the cause of disobedience. I am familiar with this school and its administrator. I have great regard for the benefits they bring to that community. Principal Somogyi followed the correct procedure to refer the reporter’s call to her superior, Superintendent Allen Johnson. Then the writer whines “He didn’t call me back.” Why should he? I suspect he already knew of the threat of a lawsuit by the “mother”. Any school attorney will tell the party being attacked to not let some bullying reporter attempt to try and convict the parties being victimized in the newspaper.

Remember when the JS twice reported that I approached a “mild manner Arthur Ashe” type in a parking lot when the police report clearly stated the “Arthur Ashe 30 year younger type” approached me saying “if you ever have a problem with my property call me.” (the property was registered at City Hall in the name of a woman with a different last name), What he really said was describing at least three ways to remove my M-----F------ head .After my protest the JS eventually issued a correction buried at the bottom left hand corner of page B11

I have spent a goodly number of hours visiting schools and viewing how a few kids in almost any class show their disrespect to almost any kind of authority. As a result, some teachers try to make “buddies” of these disruptive kids or ignore them totally in the classroom. Most teachers tell me that if they correct disruptive kids, the mother, note I say mother, comes railing and threatening the principal and the teacher. .

Both my wife and I remember that when we taught, disrespectful kids were handled by school authorities supported by the disruptive kid’s parents. We also knew to be a respectful kid’s friend but not become a “buddy” to any minor. Not true in much of our permissive society today.

Most of us who live in this community say to the JS, let the schools and other authorities do their jobs without every event involving a black becoming a racial front page issue and everyone they don’t like becoming whipping stock.

We are sick of it. Many of us hoped things would change when the paper was sold and some of those divisive to the community “retired”. Instead the JS looks more like the paper’s most of us give a glance but never buy when we check out at the grocery counter.