Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slippery Slide to Socialism - The United States of America

Calling oneself a "citizen of the world" meant a supporter of Communism during the Cold War.

This blog comes from my friend in spirit, thought and deeds, Robert Huschen of Woodford County.

"Whether one supports the liberal-progressive agenda or not, there must be clear-eyed recognition that it is pushing the United States toward abolition of national sovereignty."

July 30, 2008
By Thomas E. Brewton

European socialists and Middle Eastern Muslims are wildly enthusiastic about Senator Obama, because he styles himself a citizen of the world whose ultimate goal is world government.

American liberal-progressive-socialism, in the person of Senator Obama, is a carbon copy of European socialism, and Islamic jihadists recognize that socialism offers no opposition to their ruthless jihad to enslave the entire world.

For historical perspective, let's look to one of France's leading socialist theoreticians, the late Jean-Fran├žois Revel. As I wrote at the time of M. Revel's death in May, 2006:

Jean-Fran├žois Revel, who died last week at the age of 82, was that exceedingly rare person: a French intellectual who didn't despise the United States, an intellectual who understood the cancerous prognosis of liberalism.

Revel's 1983 How Democracies Perish described liberalism's debilitating effect on confronting the threat of domination by the Soviet Union. His observations apply equally today in our long-term struggle against Islamic jihad.

Revel wrote about democracy, meaning societies unhinged from historical tradition, in which people come to accept the idea that a constitution is nothing more than the latest social-justice fad formulated by intellectuals. That is a 20th century derangement, very different from what the Constitution instituted: a Federal republic with power divided between the states and the national government and split, within the national government, among the three main branches; a constitutional government designed to protect the rights of individuals against PC tyranny of the majority.

Earlier, in 1970, Revel had a sharply different, eagerly accommodating view of the nascent Baby Boomer cultural, educational, and political revolution in the United States. He happily foresaw a worldwide revolution spreading from this nation and transforming the world.

The ensuing thirteen years, however, were severely disillusioning to him, leading to the reassessment quoted above.

What was his assessment in 1970?

Contrary to the hate-Bush party line, Europeans have despised the United States at least since the early 1960s. Describing the typical European perspective, Revel wrote in Without Marx or Jesus (published in 1970):

On the one hand, there is America, the citadel of reaction; and, on the other hand, there is the rest of the world - the revolutionary camp, composed of everyone who resists America . . The basis for such a division of the world, obviously, is the opposition between capitalism and socialism . . . And, since imperialism is a necessary concomitant of capitalism, it is clear that the United States will move toward socialism only if it is forced to do so from without . . . Thus the spirit of revolution and anti-Americanism become synonymous.

In 1970, Revel had high hopes for the late 1960s cultural anarchy in the United States: the Cal-Berkeley Free Speech Movement, SDS, Weatherman, the Reverend Martin Luther King's civil right campaign, feminism, homosexual outing, the black power groups, and the push for abortion, no-fault divorce, and sexual promiscuity. All of these, he anticipated, would lead to full-fledged socialism in the United States and would become the model for the remainder of the world.

The particular relevance of Revel's 1970 analysis, with respect to Senator Obama's public relations tour of the Middle East and Europe, has to do with the Senator's speech in Berlin. To roars of approval from the socialist throng in the Tiergarten, he declared:

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

Citizen of the world is liberal-progressive-socialist code for world government, the fundamental socialist goal impelling the 1960s student anarchism. This became the foundation for Senator Obama's cultural and political doctrine. Underlying Senator Obama's continual refrain of change is Revel's 1970 expectation:

With respect to the second world revolution [originating during the 1960s in the United States], it is clear that it can have only one goal, on which all other goals, however numerous, must depend. And that single goal is the establishment of world government . . . On that, depends all else, including the establishment of economic equality and the abolition of social classes . . .

In other words, bringing us together and transcending racial barriers is to be accomplished by moving toward world government.

This goal of world government has been prominently in evidence since Senator John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign emphasizing "sensitive" foreign policy, in which the United States is to take no international action not approved by all of its purported allies and by the UN.

Senator Obama in his Berlin speech echoed Senator Kerry:

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

Again, Revel's assessment clarifies and amplifies both liberal-progressive-socialist denunciation of President Bush's foreign policies and the implications of world government espoused by Senator Obama:

. . . we can conclude that the abolition of what we call foreign policy will be one of the essential components of the future world revolution. And it will also be the key to all other changes that constitute the revolution . . . The second world revolution will therefore consist in putting an end to that notion which is the source of all evil: the notion of national sovereignty . . . only multilateral agreement on reciprocal controls, leading to planetary multinational law, will allow us to escape safely from this absurd situation. Bilateral accords must be avoided like the plague, for they are only the framework for warlike foreign policies, local hegemony, or imperialistic domination . . .

Whether one supports the liberal-progressive agenda or not, there must be clear-eyed recognition that it is pushing the United States toward abolition of national sovereignty. From Supreme Court advocacy of international and foreign country law as superseding the Constitution, to "sensitive" foreign policy that must be pre-approved by the UN, we are barreling down the slippery slope to socialist impoverishment and domination by foreign powers.

http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2008/07/30/senator-obama-citizen-of-the-world/

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Edison Schools

****************************
This is the first I've heard this news in this community. There were many reasons for the failure of Loucks School in District #150, from strong resistance from the union, wrong principals, weak adminstration and school board and an expectation that the Edison concept would quickly "make a silk purse from a sow's ear".

Charter Schools run by local leaders is one way out of the public school quagmire. Where does the community think those juveniles involved in local riots will wind up this fall? Either our public schools or the juvenile sytem or both.

From The Quick and the ED, Education Sector, Wednesday, July 2, 2008. See http://www.quickanded.com/2008/07/company-formerly-known-as-edison.html
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The Company Formerly Known as Edison Schools

After 16 years, endless controversy, and a sea of red ink, Edison Schools is no longer. CEO Terry Stecz, who replaced Edison founder Chris Whittle as chief executive in early 2007, announced yesterday that Edison Schools would henceforth be known as edisonlearning, and that the company intends to become a player in education software, focusing on student tracking systems and other "achievement management solutions." Whittle predicted the company would be managing 1,000 schools with a million students by 2010 when he lured Benno Schmidt away from the Yale presidency to help launch Edison in 1992. But Whittle and Schmidt could never make the company profitable and after reaching a financial high water mark in February 2001, when the company's stock was worth nearly $2 billion, things went South in a hurry when venture capital dried up with the Dot Com Bust, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation of Edison's revenue reporting, the company lost a string of contracts, a teacher union-led attack on for-profit school managers intensified, and the work of running schools for mostly disadvantaged kids in poor neighborhoods proved a lot tougher, and less profitable, than the company had expected. Nor has the company been able to scare up much new business in the No Child Left Behind era, a period where states and schools systems have scrambled to find help in turning around the many failing schools identified by the law.

Edison's competitors haven't fared much better. Of the dozen or so other substantial for-profit school management companies that sprung up in the 1990s, most have disappeared, switched to non-profit status, or are limping along. Only one or two companies are profitable and they haven't expanded as far or as fast as expected.

So Edison's executives and majority owner, a New York-based private equity firm called Liberty Partners, are hoping that re-branding the company will lead potential clients in the education world to give the company a fresh look, to put aside Edison's troubled past and the legacy of it flamboyant founder. But changing the name on the door and moving into the educational software business doesn't alter the fact that Edison spent 16 years and nearly half a billion dollars trying to find a way to run high-quality public schools for disadvantaged kids as a viable business--surely one of the most important experiments in American educational history--and failed. More than anything else, the announcement of edisonlearning is a sobering commentary on school reform.
-------------------

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Journal Star - Three Really Good Columns Today

All on page A5 starting with, "Class is in Session" - With school starting soon, it's time to crack open the books and debate how to improve education - By Collin Hitt. Then "Mixing up student demographics accomplishes little by way of learning" by Joanne Jacobs and "Learn math and science, but also skills" by Ronald Raison.

All qualified business people and educators; all who feel that our public education must be improved should read this full page, discuss and act. While Colin Hitt says "it's time to debate how to improve education" I can only add it is past time to improve. Without a consensus of our leaders that we must make drastic changes, we will continue to believe what we are being told by some of our educators and unions, what down deep, we really don't believe at all. Surely no one would buy a bag of apples if a large percentage were discards. The good apples will not be able to make us think the grocer who sold us the apples isn't responsible for selling us all good apples. Even if we were given a sizable discount. Most of who do not live in la-la land can see first hand what bad and potentially bad apples are leaving our public school systems.

While the "blame it on the parents theory" is substantially correct, we can't do much about the parents but we can about taxpayer supported public schools that charge over $11,000.00 per student (to educate?) per year with a shortened school day and a nine month year of opportunity to educate our future.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friendly Confines

Chicago fans may be seeing the best team in baseball and it's not the loveable Cubbies. As a former coach and player, yes, baseball too, I have watched Chicago's baseball longest sports love play and win and play and lose. Pretty much predictable that they will not win the big games. They haven't in 100 years won the big games. Don't count on a 2008 World Series pennant waving in the wind above Waverly Avenue.

As an ex-coach with far more wins than losses, I know that talent alone seldom guarantees a winner. This Cubbie club has talent and the manager is a knowledgeable old timer but without LaRussa's talent. Sports analysts says he doesn't have a hit and run team but I believe he could use it on more occassions. Also the squeeze play or the suicide bunt play but some of his players appear to be afraid of getting hurt. But there seems to be a missing ingredient; an overwhelming desire to be the best TEAM in major league baseball. An ingredient you see in unpaid amateur sports all over our country.

There is no comparison between amateur sports and professional spirits. Professionals are paid to play and the more they are paid, fans expect them to perform and to deliver the key hits, make the outstanding plays and the clutch pitching wins.

Why do these highly paid performers need to really bust their butts to win? They know that a .250 batting average and pitchers with say, 40 wins and 50 losses; they will still get paid more money in a few years than an ordinary Joe could spend in a lifetime. As for the "stars", why not spend this money; Barry Zito got a a long term contract for over $150,000,000.00 - that's millions, folks. I don't know whether he is still with the Giants but I do note San Francisco is in next to last place. Why should he work out hard every day and come to his room or home too tired to go out and spend that money? The money is obscene. Most people who accumulate a million dollars or less in a lifetime can lead a good life.

Sure, our highly paid basketball Olympians will put on a good show in China because everyone in the entire world with a TV set can see them. And most of our U.S. Olympic players do have "national" pride.

I admit I watch while I'm multi-tasking and seldom discuss sports anymore. Probably disenchantment with what appear to be obscene salaries for a game I used to play to compete as best my abilities and my mental strength allowed. I have never been an easy loser even though I was never paid to play. Even my years of coaching only paid a maximum of $300 a year, the going rate in those days when winning wasn't everything.

I long ago warned that if the people fall too much in love with leisure and have full bellies and plenty of circuses, the country will fall to the populists and socialists and eventually to dictators like those who once ruled Germany and Japan. And Russia possibly even today. You readers know of dozens of other dictatorships scattered throughout the third world and should know that their major aim is not to have 30 or so major league baseball teams with 900 or so (less than 15 African-Americans, I read) deemed to be major league caliber. Players of color from south of the border appear to more eager to play baseball hard or at least until they get the "big" money.

Back to the Cubs, I'll give you my opinion and you can give me yours if you wish. Zambrano is an overpaid extremely strong, talented emotional pitcher. Good but far from great. Lily doesn't look like he pitches his heart out in every appearance. Marquis is questionable in every start. Ramirez is a satisfied, somewhat lazy, talented player. Takes too many pitches down the middle and too many swings at outside pitches that would be balls (so do many of the Cub hitters) and has probably seen his best days as a hitter. Theriot is real but no Sandburg. DeRosa is a medium player. Soto got off to a good start but swings and totally misses too many pitches. Soriana is an overpaid hot dog and apparently easily injured. Cedeno would like to be a hot dog but doesn't have the ability to hit with consistency. You win pennants and series with every day dependable players. Edmunds has the heart of a lion but his best is behind him. Woods never was and never will be what everyone thought he would be. Woods and Prior probably had their arms ruined under Dusty Baker. Dempster gives his best and the Cubs need more like him. Howry should have been traded long ago. What Pinella sees in him must be the money in his contract. Marmol may make it big time but he lacks patience and savvy. Blanco is the same year in year out and is a good back up catcher.

The players from the Oakland trade may help. Too early to know. Eyre is back but hasn't see any action too my knowledge. Cotts may prove to be of major league caliber but he seldom is in the game for more than a part of an inning.

Why they kept Hart as long as they did is a mystery. Who saw something in Patterson should be moved to a lower minor league. Marshall is not consistent and will always be a 50% or less pitcher.

The Marlins took the last two games with better pitching and clutch hitting. I believe their payroll is less than one half the Cubs payroll and I would bet on them being in a World Series before I would the Cubs. Every year I start out as an optimist. My prediction is that his year will end with Cub diehards saying their patented chant, "Wait till next year".

I hope I am wrong.

What Bush and Batman Have in Common

Writer Andrew Klavan says that "the film "The Dark Knight" is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergencies have passed. And like Batman understands there is no moral equivalence between a free society-in which people sometimes make the wrong choices-and a criminal bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in it's moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nontheless.

The TRUE complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them-when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend ourselves, or unkind in order to defend unkindness, or hateful to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficulties on themselves, it is tempting to turn our backs on them, to vilify in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. Commissioner Gordon says of the hated Batman, "He has to run away--because we have to chase him."

That's the real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes man must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be be heroes, true heroes must often slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised--then and only then will we be able to pay our President Bush his due and make good TRUE films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day."

And I add politicians, pacifists and "chatterers".

My Grandson is serving in Iraq as an armed protector of the Iraqi citizen. He says he has "his boots on the ground" and is tolerating the intense heat even with all the extra weight he has to carry to protect himself, his comrades and the peace loving Iraqis citizenry. He has a dislike for those among us who would like to further embarrass the administration and give solace to those who would like to see all of us dead, including the pacifists among us.

All our related families support his position.

Mr. Klaven has a new novel, "Empire of Lies" about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.

The Age Debate Crap

Satchel Paige, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame who because of his color was not allowed to play with the white guys in major league baseball. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Satchel Paige got his opportunity. Right away his age became the next controversy as it seems no one, even Satchel, knew how old he was. Satchel supposedly commented that "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter". He then went on to win a number of games because he could still pitch and that is what counted.

In 1964, Ronald Reagen is credited with saying, in a debate with 56 year old Democrat Presidential Candidate, Walter Mondale, "I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." Reagan who was 73 at the time went on to win the election and history is showing and will show, despite the growth of spending during his administration, that he will be one of our greatest presidents.

At the end of his second term, according to columnist George Will, "he said he sometimes wondered how presidents who have not been actors have been able to function,"

If charmistic and demagogue Barack Obama wins in November the answer to his statement (question) maybe become tragically true.

Obamaisms'- Forwarded by a Friend

Barack's Obama-isms
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Media: The gaffes Barack Obama has committed would have crushed the typical Republican politician. But the reporters who can't get over Dan Quayle's misspelling of 'potato' have little to say about their man's slip-ups.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if Obama is really fouling up or simply puffed up when he tries to live up to his media-fed image as a leader ready for prime time.
Consider his claim during a news conference Wednesday in Israel that 'just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran.'

His committee? Obama isn't even a member of the Banking Committee, let alone its chairman. So was it a self-promoting lie or a misstep? Only he knows.
In other cases, however, it's clear the junior senator from Illinois has erred. It was Obama — and not a too-old-to-serve John McCain or a too-dopey-to-take-serious George W. Bush — who once said he'd visited 57 states, not including Alaska and Hawaii, and still had 'one left to go.'

It was also Obama who said Tuesday from Amman, Jordan: 'You know, it's always a bad practice to say 'always' or 'never' ' — a statement only Yogi Berra could fathom but which those aboard O-Force One seemed to regard as incontestably profound.

While the media have ensured that Obama's communication skills are now widely viewed to be impeccable, it's obvious that when the man doesn't have a teleprompter in front of him, he tends to mangle both facts and language.

How else to explain his 'Face The Nation' comment that the leaders he would meet in the Middle East and Europe are the ones 'who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years'?

Had a Republican candidate said that, he'd have been suspected of some dark plan to shred the Constitution and institute martial law.

A few days later, Obama goofed again, asserting that 'Israel is a strong friend of Israel's.' Sure, he meant America is a good friend of Israel. And sure, he knows the difference. But he's also sure the media will cover his howlers even as they ridicule Republicans when they are just as 'inartful.'

Maybe the media kept quiet because they know Obama's no better when it comes to geography. Surely they noticed how he confused Sioux Falls, S.D., with Sioux City, Iowa, claimed that Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than to Illinois, and called Iran — with population bigger than France's and a land mass four times that of Germany — 'a tiny country.'

Even worse, he claimed Iran doesn't 'pose a serious threat to us,' then somehow recalled the next day that he has indeed 'made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.'
Could it be that Obama is even worse with figures? It was in the spring of 2007, long before he could blame campaign fatigue for causing him to stumble, when he reckoned that tornadoes had killed 10,000 people in Kansas even though the real number was 12.

Obama's tendency to lapse into some rainbow world has apparently infected his staff. In discussing Obama's Berlin speech, a senior adviser first promised 'it's not going to be a political speech.' But then he added: 'When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.'

The staffer had to be reminded: Obama isn't president — yet.

Or does that kind of thinking — that his coronation is a mere formality — start at the top? Earlier this month, it was Obama himself who reminisced about a time 'when I was a United States senator.'

Space won't allow a full list of Obama's blunders to date. But somehow we get the feeling we haven't heard the last of them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Elliott's and the City Council

Hattie Hatchet voiced her usual crusade about the perceived sins of some of our fathers and some of their sons and daughters before the City Council Tuesday. That, along with a lot of TV posturing by some City Council Members was better than some of comedy available on private and public visuals.

I especially noted the statements by some councilpeople about saving the taxpayers the amazing sum of $250,000.00 by settling the lawsuit for $50,000 of taxpayer money on a lawsuit they COULD NOT WIN.

Statements were made by a couple of councilpeople how this money (250,000.00 could be used for law enforcement, sidewalks, infrastructure, etc). Tears came to my eyes when Eric Turner said the council could not "foist" this $250,000.00 plus lawsuit on the taxpayer when he strongly supported "foisting" $28,000,000.00, yes that's 28 million, on the property tax payers a few weeks ago. 28 million would have put 25 badly needed additional policemen on the streets for years, supported many a crime and drug prevention program, could have built and staffed a Vocational Training Center and built miles of sidewalks. Instead, the library board is now building a free Computer Center under the guise of a BADLY needed public library branch for the sprawling northwest and remodeling a couple of others that were so underused (and are very underused for their originally intended purpose) that there was consideration in 2000 and 2001 of closing the McClure and Downtown Libraries.

Back to the soul corrupting Elliott's. I suggest that those who buy into the unproven theory that clubs like Elliott's will bring down this nation and it's naughty boys and girls, might want to check the police blotter to see how many public safety calls have been made to Fantasyland, Big Al's and Club Cabare't and compare with just one tavern that has been in the violent news sector of the JS in recent years. How many times (and time) have the city police been called and time spent involving Fantasyland, Big Al's and Club Cabare't? I can guarantee you a lot less than they have spent time in picking up prostitutes and johns on the streets.

Check it out and prove me wrong. Also find a case of prostitution or solicitation by any strip club performer in a private club in Peoria where an arrest has been made.

As DeWayne said, I have never been afraid to speak the truth whether I was up for election or not. And while I may have less "fire in the belly" I suspect I will still be bringing the "rest of the story" to this site for a few more years.

It's the Hattie Hatchets and their ilk who believe that if we rid the world of all strip clubs that the sexual desires (ususally controlled or satisfied harmlessly or by mutually agreed satsifaction) of boys and girls, men and women, priests and preachers and teachers, housewives and businesspeople, farmers and politicians would all suppress these "unnatural sexual desires" and seek only the comforts, naked body viewing and wiles of a chosen companion.

Makes me curious about their sex lives????

I suggest they read more ancient history and do more questing why with all it's prohibitions and trillions of dollars spent why this nation has a spreading use of drugs that are far more devastating then strip clubs that sell alcohol.

Jerry Becker - Quotations From One of my Idols

"The whole trouble with the world is that fools and fanatics are
always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

(Bertrand Russell) [Sent by Denis Tanguay]


"There are no such things as visionaries. There are only latecomers."

(Richard Pallascio) [Sent by Denis Tanguay]


"The best things in life aren't things."

(Art Buchwald, American humorist)


"I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing."

(Johnny Carson, American comedian)


"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe."

(Anatole France) [From Reid Prichett]


"The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being
a success."

(Irving Berlin, American composer)


"Frankly, I don't mind not being president. I just mind that someone else is."

(Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. senator)


"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in
others belong to us as well."

(Voltaire, philosopher)


"Mathematics is not about answers, it's about processes."

(Robert H. Lewis, mathematician)


"Education isn't rocket science. It's much, much harder."

(Author unknown)


"Every expert was once a beginner."

(Unknown) [From Jo C Dill]


"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and
finds himself no wiser than before."

(Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist and satirist)


"The true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers."

(Unknown)


"Prejudice is the child of ignorance."

(William Hazlitt, English writer)


"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

(George Orwell, English author)


"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but
they have never failed to imitate them."

(James Baldwin, writer and civil rights activist)


"In everyone's life, at some time, the inner fire goes out. It is
then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We
should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner
spirit. "

(Albert Schweitzer) [From Elva Marie Bowens]


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

(Margaret Mead)


"It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have
lost our way."

[Rollo May, psychologist (1909-1994)] [From Maureen Zack, via
Connie Kelly]


"I don't care much about music. What I like is sounds."

(Dizzy Gillespie, American jazz composer)


"My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe
I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around
my neck that's worth more than my head."

(Rita Rudner, writer and comedian)


"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough
enough to follow through."

(Rosalynn Carter, former first lady)


"It's never too late to give up your prejudices."

(Henry David Thoreau, American author)


"When someone is impatient and says, 'I haven't got all day,' I
always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?"

(George Carlin, American comedian)


"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."

(Satchel Paige, Baseball Hall of Famer)


"There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet."

(Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author) [From Mike Contino]


"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself."

(Michel de Montaigne, French author)


"We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly
disguised as insoluble problems."

(Lee Iacocca, American industrialist)


"Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that
counts can be counted"

(Albert Einstein) [From Trudy Mitchell]


"A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities."

(Herman Melville, American author)


"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone."

(Audrey Hepburn, actress)

*************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker

Jerry Becker - Quotations From One of My Idols

"The whole trouble with the world is that fools and fanatics are
always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

(Bertrand Russell) [Sent by Denis Tanguay]


"There are no such things as visionaries. There are only latecomers."

(Richard Pallascio) [Sent by Denis Tanguay]


"The best things in life aren't things."

(Art Buchwald, American humorist)


"I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing."

(Johnny Carson, American comedian)


"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe."

(Anatole France) [From Reid Prichett]


"The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being
a success."

(Irving Berlin, American composer)


"Frankly, I don't mind not being president. I just mind that someone else is."

(Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. senator)


"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in
others belong to us as well."

(Voltaire, philosopher)


"Mathematics is not about answers, it's about processes."

(Robert H. Lewis, mathematician)


"Education isn't rocket science. It's much, much harder."

(Author unknown)


"Every expert was once a beginner."

(Unknown) [From Jo C Dill]


"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and
finds himself no wiser than before."

(Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist and satirist)


"The true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers."

(Unknown)


"Prejudice is the child of ignorance."

(William Hazlitt, English writer)


"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

(George Orwell, English author)


"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but
they have never failed to imitate them."

(James Baldwin, writer and civil rights activist)


"In everyone's life, at some time, the inner fire goes out. It is
then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We
should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner
spirit. "

(Albert Schweitzer) [From Elva Marie Bowens]


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

(Margaret Mead)


"It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have
lost our way."

[Rollo May, psychologist (1909-1994)] [From Maureen Zack, via
Connie Kelly]


"I don't care much about music. What I like is sounds."

(Dizzy Gillespie, American jazz composer)


"My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe
I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around
my neck that's worth more than my head."

(Rita Rudner, writer and comedian)


"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough
enough to follow through."

(Rosalynn Carter, former first lady)


"It's never too late to give up your prejudices."

(Henry David Thoreau, American author)


"When someone is impatient and says, 'I haven't got all day,' I
always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?"

(George Carlin, American comedian)


"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."

(Satchel Paige, Baseball Hall of Famer)


"There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet."

(Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author) [From Mike Contino]


"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself."

(Michel de Montaigne, French author)


"We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly
disguised as insoluble problems."

(Lee Iacocca, American industrialist)


"Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that
counts can be counted"

(Albert Einstein) [From Trudy Mitchell]


"A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities."

(Herman Melville, American author)


"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone."

(Audrey Hepburn, actress)

*************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker

Peoria County Property Taxes

More and more property taxpayers are upset about the property tax increased dollars they are paying to own their homes. I suspect more people will be paying more attention to the first notice of the projected amount of their taxes bill they receive next year. Many did not compare 2006 taxes with 2007 and when they did compare the time frame in which to protest had closed. 3,060 parcels were appealed to the County Board of Review. 1,675 received no relief, 51 had their taxes INCREASED after the appeal and numerous complaints were sent to the State Board of Review including mine and County Board Member, Bob Baietto.

Some have said they did not appeal high tax increases for fear of retribution.

As you may recall, I previously blogged that my property tax jumped $1300 in actual dollars I will be paying Peoria County this year with expected increases each year hereafter.

President Mike Fortune has resigned from the Peoria Board of Review leaving the two least competent members, Nancy Horton, wife of the Recorder of Deeds, Brad Horton, and Gary Shadid still on the board while our County Board Chairman seeks a qualified replacement for Mr. Fortune. I am told there have been few applicants for this well paid and powerful position.

To illustrate the inequities of the current assessment system, I refer to a full page article appearing in the June 22, AT HOME section of the JS titled "Welcoming Charm - Local Attorney (and businessman) focuses on making his home inviting to friends, guests and events". This home, built for former Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof, backs onto Mt. Hawley Golf course. It is listed in the September 2007 Journal Star under "Legal Notice as having a fair market value of $100,340.00. My home backing onto busy Mt. Hawley Road and a busier Knoxville and fronted by a busy access street, is listed at $94,960.00 fair market value.

Hmmmmm.

I have previously blogged on the lack of common sense and a personal touch lacking in the public sector more so than the private sector that depends on a free market to stay in business. Those in the private sector lacking courtesy and common sense disappear and others with more savvy take their place. The private sector owners and managers know this.

For those of you who feel your assessed values are too high please pay attention when your notification comes out in 2009. There is a small window of opportunity to protest before your actual tax bill is received in the mail. There are many competent people who will help you including personnel in the County Assessors office. Many articles have appeared in the media about the effect high property taxes have on where people live especially those in retirement or on fixed incomes. Unless changes are made soon, many of us will look for more tax friendly areas to live and retire.

There are public use computers in the Peoria Court house shere you can review any property tax assessment in the entire County. These computers are in the waiting area of the Assessors office.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peoria Times Observer News Editor DeWayne Bartels

I much appreciate DeWayne's comments about me and my role in the community, both in his column and on his Editorial page. Probably pretty much me. However, I need to make a correction and add some content. My house was appraised at a fair value of $284,880 for 2007, not $200,000 as printed, up $44,000 from 2006. DeWayne will probably make a correction in next weeks edition as I don't want a deluge of people arriving with cashiers checks made out for $200,000.

As to my 5 year departed neighbor; (left town) he was the much younger man who threatened in four ways how he would remove my head from my body. When he asked me to fight him, I dropped my hands to my side. When he said if I wouldn't fight him, he would send someone up from the "SouthSide" who would remove my head. I then said, I would need an equalizer and that is the phrase that upset the Journal Star. JS reporter Andy Kravetz didn't help things by quoting the police report in error. (Mr. Kravetz later apologized) Kravetz wrote in the JS that I approached Pickett and made the death threat. The police report clearly stated that Picket approached Widmer. I had no witnesses but Picket had his live in companion so it was their words against mine. A friend of mine who worked with Pickett said Pickett told him that the JSEB said I was "combative" (so is IBM, Microsoft, Google), and he wanted to egg me in to hitting him so he could file a civil suit.

As to my comments on Bellwood, I said that Peoria County was having studies made to determine if it would be more feasible to build a new $32,000,000.00, 220 bed nursing home with an Alzheimer wing or remodel the existing building for $23,000,000.00 Either way the funding would come from the sale of 30 year long term bonds. Our capable administrator is confident that if the County continues to pay the IMRF, Social Security and FICA ($1,231,729.00 last year) for Bellwood from our General Fund, or even if the County didn't, that no additional property taxes would be required.

It is my opinion that subsidies such as above and Medicaid subsidies from our governments are seldom dependable over extended periods of time. I also note that the JSEB wrote on 3/26/03 that the voters should vote to raise the nursing home tax to 3.5 cents and that this tax would bring in $800,000.00 a year. Actually the county has raised this 3.5 cents to 5.92 cents which brought in $1,761,000.00 last year.

In a personal survey to a number of local nursing homes, found none that I talked to had waiting lists. All felt that Bellwood was competition to the private sector.

On July 17,2008 Bellwood had 255 beds out of 300 in use. 16 were Medicare, 52 private pay and 187 Medicaid. On July 22, 2004, Bellwood had 275 residents indicating that our resident population is shrinking.

The question always comes up "where would the Medicaid residents go if their were no County Home"? My answer is "the same place those in Tazewell County and 89 other counties who don't have taxpayer subsidized nursing homes". We would not close or sell Bellwood before every resident would have plenty of time to relocate to the private sector that now includes reimbursed home care as studies show that less that 2% of people actually want to go live in a nursing home.Also, Medicaid payments have been increased to nuring homes.

When comparing costs to Bellwood with the private sector, there is very little difference. I do not dispute that Bellwood seems to be running more smoothly but it has had a troubled past from being sued to being fined. It is a buiness that has been and can be extremely troublesome and subject to litigation.

I asked for a more thorough debate as to the continued need of a taxpayer funded public nursing home in Peoria County before we launch on a new administrative time consuming project. The project is not backed by any formal "needs" study. No study was made to prove the need, Bellwood has 45 empty beds which is about the monthly average. No formal estimate has been made to install required sprinkler systems although it was estimated in past years as approximately one million dollars.

This project is kind of "flying under the radar" as the remodeling or new constrution can be done without a referendum. At least one board member questioned whether Bellwood should stay in that location.

At this time no options other than remodel or rebuild is on the table.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Charter Schools in Peoria

Time is NOW for community leaders to get into serious discussion to create at least one charter school in Peoria. INCS (Illinois Network of Charter Schools) made a presentation to the Peoria Neighborhood Alliance Meeting last night at AMT. Unfortunately, the Alliance had many other presentations including revisions to their bylaws, presentations by John Kunski (Rental Registration and Inspection Programs changes) and Michael Sims, (Low income, crime prevention, low cost housing and monies available over the next two years); both from the city, so by the time City Councilman Jim Montelongo's sponsored Charter school presentation was delivered, half the attendees had left. Little time was left for questions and answers.

INCS touts considerable success; 39 Charter public schools serving over 23,000 students. Fifteen of these schools are in the Chicago area, 84% of the students come from low income families and 65% are black and 29% are from south of the border.

You can contact the organization at 312-235-0789 or contact Dan Kramer, Dircetor of Education at 773-548-9705. Mr Kramer is located at ACE TECH High School at 5410 State Street.

I strongly support the Edison concept although I was disappointed in Loucks the last few years (Loucks is being closed) but perhaps the building could be used as a Charter school. I also strongly support Charter schools and have accumulated a large file on successes and failure across the country. Critics say Edison types and Charter schools do not improve grades that much. In some cases that is true. Much depends on the quality of the board, administrator, principals and students attending. However, I know and it is proven that the job of the education system is to turn out a well rounded product who can hold a job, support a family of some description and stay out of being one of the more tnat 11 million people who now serve from 30 days to life in our United States of America security law and order systems.

Again, I say, wake up, Peoria! Peoria Public School District #150 with it's restrictive union and promotion by tenure, is not holding the interest and educating low income kids the way Charter schools can.

Plus competition is good as it usually causes improvement in all education or a narrowing of the number of competing entities.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Peoria Public Library - A Fleecing of the Public

The Library Board, the Journal Star Editorial Board, a gullible public and a gullible group of politicians plus an $130,000.00 privately paid for referendum, not really, because of those who contributed the money like attorneys' can add 15 minutes here or there at from $300 and up per hour on some unsuspecting clients bill, accountants can do the same, the insurance companies can raise your premiums, the Caterpillar Foundation promotes Caterpillar and Caterpillar wants and gets everything they want with the veiled threat of relocating if they don't and the hospitals can raise the rates they charge. Plus those with excess money are always looking for noble causes in which to initiate. Which usually causes the common sense crowd to empty their pockets in support of something they didn't necessarily want.

Then there were the people who pay little or no property taxes, such as the "Letter to the Editor" guy who attacked the mayor while offering the mayor the use of his garage; he lives in a 2nd rate apartment complex. And three letters printed from people who do NOT live in the City. Or City Councilman Sandberg who this year paid a grand total of $16.50 of his $410 property taxes to support the library and a host of other people who don't use the library but think that is the place kids go these days to get an education. Or Councilman Eric Turner who said in an email to me the following,"I definitely accept. (I invited anyone to visit any and all of Peoria Public Libraries and show me where they see the needs) I will be out of town until Thursday of next week and will be willing to go Thursday or Friday. Cell phone #------.Thanks Merle, I truly appreciate it." When he didn't call me i called him only to find both his phone and email was blocked to me.

Did we ever take a tour? You guessed right, Even on Flag Day at Constitution Gardens, he came up to me and said he will DEFINITELY call me Monday to set a date. Do you think he called? Even promised to take me lunch. Oh, that's right, I forgot, he works for Caterpillar and Ex-Cat man and recent DUI offender Henry Hollings is now City of Peoria Interim City Manager.

Hmmmmmm.

Then there were those who equate the flag, mom and apple pie to the nostalgia of the library. They will go visit the new library to oh and ah but the same people who use libraries now will be the ones who keep coming back.

The same may happen at Dunlap's new library. But Dunlap is only spending about $3 million and they are close to town and to some schools and Dunlap is probably short of meeting rooms. My wife and I will continue to use Peoria Heights underused library as it is closer, has a great selection and never crowded.

Old Ed's library in Indianapolis went only $45,000,000.00 in cost overruns. That $45 mil.and some interesting conversations he had with the State of Indiana Attorney General Office led to his firing and finding a gullible board. Where better to find one? Peoria, of course. Does this sound like a Peoria Public School District #150 recent superintendent?
We have in place libraries to accommodate everyone in the City with approximately 1,000,000 books, tapes, discs, magazines, etc. The Southside Library, the one the JSEB said was overcrowded with eager young faces and desperately needed more space in 2001; it will be closed along with the little used library at RiverWest.

Here's exactly what the JSEB said September 26, 2001, "People who live on Peoria's southside are among the city's poorest. Yet adults (open 10-5, 5 days a week. Don't adults usually work from 10 to 5)? use this library and kids flock there. Peoria can wring their hands over gang influences and children who don't learn and parents who don't care, they can take notice of the obvious. Finish the library. Good Grief!"

So the council gave the library board about half a million, even giving $80,000.00 for an elevator to the second floor; basically empty now.On 11/06, the Strategic Plan says, "Southside Library offers inadequate service due to a lack of "space" and staff. It will be closed and combined into Lincoln along with RiverWest.

Did it help slow down the gangs? Ask the Police Department. The gangs are growing and moving further north. Do they use the libraries? Yes, free computers (that's mainly what this library furor was all about) to help patrons learn how to create social security cards they sell to illegals. And play computer games, surf for something with sexual context along with a number of serious users who have computers at home but save by using the libraries free computers.

When my friend Ed Murphy ran for mayor a number of years ago he indicated he would not spend much money to increase the size of existing libraries. He also said he never knew of a library that brought a new business into any city. He was right but some people get a perception and are led like sheep to a fleecing.

And tucked away in my files is this quote dated 5/25/08 from the JS, "The library wants no operating cost increase for five years with no net jump in full time staff." Note "full" time staff.

We will see.

Location, location; pedestrian friendly, kids on bikes, isn't that what everybody says? And on really great on land that only cost $170,000 and acre. Tucked away but visible from the highway. Oh, joy. Now when visitors come into town you can take them to Walmart, a destination, and Menards and then show them the new library on cultivated land but not similar to the grass and weeds I saw on a recent visit to Lincoln Library. or when people are taking visitors to the Shoppes they can point out the library while driving by at 80 miles per hour.

In the meantime more land will no longer valuable for dearly needed crops, land now asphalted and concretized, washing more soil towards the waterways causing the rivers to fill up and higher prices at the grocery store and filling stations.

Oh well, the voters spoke and majorities are ALWAYS right.

Maybe we can move the Illinois River out to the northside so they don't have so far to drive to their marina's, relocate the Civic Center, the ballpark, where it has a chance to make a profit for their stockholders, the Courthouse and City Hall. And why not have the park build them a NorthPlex? The park has a $48,000,000.00 budget and should be able to work in another fitness center.

Oh, I forgot, the park is still are looking for the money to build the sports complex out on Rt.91 and Fox road. Or has that site been replaced by a 2006 promise to upgrade Peoria Stadium? Superintendent Hinton says the park is read to build at the Stadium this fall.

How will property tax payers pay for all the money losing projects now completed or underway; don't forget a hundred million for sewer revamping and maybe $120,000,000.00 for new schools? We heard a lot of grumbling and some anger expressed in the community for 2007 property taxes but wait till three or four years from now. I know how I'm paying for my $1300 property tax increase. A lot of requests for contributions, average 3 a day, go directly into the round floor file.

Will I vote yes, or support any additional taxes on property owners?

Probably not in the 2 1/2 years left on my term.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama - Fundamentaly Dishonest

If I only believed half of what I read including one of his books, the man is a proven liar. Now that 5 Supreme Court Justices have made a correct interpretation of the our Constitution by upholding an individual right to bear arms, we supporters know that if this fundamentally dishonest man is elected to the top position in our country he will appoint 3 new justices the likes of Souter, Ginsberg, Stevens and Breyer.

Justice Scalia wrote that Constitutional scholars over the decades believed in individual rights. It is ironic that so many Democrats believe that the government has intruded too far into our rights, such as our methods of persuading terrorist oriented prisoners to tell the truth and save many lives, voting against surveillance techniques that do save individual lives and could prevent a nuclear attack on our country, stopping the development of more of our natural resources while alternate energy plans are incubating, protecting the rights of radical individuals who use violence to stop projects in which they disagree, demanding free medical care for all individuals except the wealthy and even the right of an individual to protect themselves from unprovoked attacks including attempted rape.
Yet these same Democrats and some Republicans want to deny individuals to defend themselves from those whose intent is to do bodily harm to an innocent.

I mention abortion as individual rights but I will not enter into a debate on this site. Also unions, which were formed to protect the rights of an individual even if that individual is worthless on the job, disruptive or files false claims against management.

My sincere respect for Judges Scalia, Roberts. Kennedy, Thomas and Alito. Also to Richard Anthony Heller and his supporters Shelly Parker, Tom Palmer, Gillian St. Lawrence, Tracy Ambeau, George Lyons and their lawyers Robert Levy, Clark Neily and lead counsel Alan Gura.

Be ever vigilant. If Obama is elected expect this decision to be reversed as soon as he appoints three new very liberal Supreme Court Justices.

A friend just reminded me that if we let men marry men, women marry women and legalize all abortions, eventually there may not be so many left leaning liberal Democrats in this country.

Hmmmmm.