Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canadian Health Care

Have a painful hip problem in Canada? Wait over a year for surgery after waiting nine months to see the specialist that recommended surgery? Unwilling to suffer that long a period, Christina Woodkey from Calgary, drove across the border to Montana and had the surgery done in two days.

"What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated wait list, said Bryan Day, a former Canadian Medical Assn. director who now runs a private surgical center in Vancouver. "You cannot force a citizen in a free democratic society to simply wait for health-care and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list." (Source WSJ "Escape to Montana", 9/30/09.

And, no, Ronald Presley from Peoria who recently wrote a LTE in the JS saying "Profit is root of medical evils". No profits? Then its all government socialism. Doesn't work and never has for long. However, Mr. Presley is correct in what he says about greedy tort malpractice attorneys, fair arbitration for real damages and a better method of weeding out incompetent medical practitioners.

Incompetence is hard to weed out in all walks of life. Hard to determine what makes up incompetence and saying I'm sorry won't alone handle the incompetence of individuals, the private and public sectors. Incompetence occurs every second someplace. Most of us are incompetent from time to time. Incompetence of one type or another is a major reason we have 43,000 vehicular deaths and over a million vehicular injuries every year in the the United States. Redress for proven grievances; yes, but the tort system in most of the U.S., especially in Illinois; is ridiculous.

So is part of the Obama health plan; ridiculous. We've taken this long to come up with a better health plan so let's do it right. One thousand pages of health care language that most of Congress hasn't read? Get real, you bureaucrats.

Subprime Loans

It's not the ones you decline, it's the ones you approve that get you in trouble. Confucious says (probably not) "the superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell."

Source - Bailout Nation

"Bailout Nation"

This book by Barry Ritholz with a foreword by Bill Fleckenstein is the best book I've read on "how did we get there?" Ritholtz operates one of the most popular economic blogs, receiving over 50 million page views since launched. He assesses responsibility for the mess we are STILL in to 22 individuals or entities with Alan Greenspan at the top, the Federal Reserve #2 and Congress #5 with borrowers and home buyers (those who were misled or stupid or both as #7.

Describing Nouriel Roubini (find his credentials on the net) describes the book, "A beam of enlightened thinking in a sea of delusional complacency".

Greed, easy money, a corrupted Wall Street, unenforced regulation, incompetent "career" politicians, gullible investors (myself included) over-optimistic analysts, aggressive brokers; well, that pretty well sums it up. Well worth a read for all.

Stephanie Aaron Performs in Peoria

Nothing to do in Peoria? You got to be kidding! Go see and listen to my friend Stephanie and her friends. Good, better and best entertainment!


...I will be kicking back and relaxing with a big wet vodka rocks! Because our gig at Basta O'Neill's is from 6 - 9pm this Thursday, October 1st and I'll be all done singin' by this time!!! Seriously, though, all you great Central Illinoisans, it is another wonderful weekend in your neck of the woods, and I will be there with the awe-inspiring Larry Harms for three - count 'em, three delicious gigs: the aforementioned Basta O'Neill's on Cummings Lane in Washington on Thursday, October 1st from 6 - 9pm, the intoxicating Rhythm Kitchen on Water Street in Peoria on Friday, October 2nd from 8 - 11pm, and at the kindly and enthusiastic Swinger's Grill in Normal on Saturday, October 3rd from 8 - 11pm.
We will have some beautiful people along with us in the band, including Randy Emert, Cory Flanigan, Tom Marko, Tim Brickner, and Tim come and be a beautiful person in the audience! We are looking forward to some great tunes and some great company.

Means of Self-Protection

Forwarded by email from Dan Proft, Republican Candidate for Governor of the State of Illinois.

Amen. Refer to my blog of 3/9/08 "Guns and Safety". If I had a gun, and maybe I do, no law would take it away from me. I have always supported the rights of people to have or carry concealed weapons legally.


September 30, 2009

News Release: Bill of Rights Likely Coming to Chicago

SCOTUS Takes Up Chicago Gun Ban Case

(Chicago, Illinois) - In response today to the United States Supreme Court's writ of certiorari in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, a case centering on the constitutionality of the City of Chicago municipal handgun ban, conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft issued the following statement:

"I look forward to the day when residents of Chicago will be given their full complement of Constitutional rights, including the individual right to the means of self-protection. Given the Supreme Court's recent decision in the Heller case in which the Court clearly held that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, I cannot see how municipal gun bans like that in Chicago can pass constitutional muster.

"Overturning the Chicago gun ban would not only be good constitutional law, it would be good public policy. The City of Chicago is routinely at the top of the list nationally in per capita murders. Mayor Daley's wrongheaded policies have made people less safe, particularly those in violent neighborhoods, by disarming law-abiding citizens in favor of well-armed criminals.

"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of those who exercise their rights recklessly runs counter to the principles of a free society. If my neighbor yells "Fire!" in a crowded theater, he is punished. But my First Amendment rights are not restricted. Similarly, if my neighbor commits a crime with a gun, he should be punished. But my Second Amendment rights should not be restricted.

"I am hopeful that the Supreme Court's decision to take up this case will result in a newfound respect for people who play by the rules in Chicago and throughout Illinois; law-abiding citizens who have long been denied the exercise of their fundamental, Constitutional rights because of Chicago Democrats who think they can make up the rules as they go."


Peoria Roads - Poor Condition

So wrote former 22 year Peoria resident Barry R. Schneider from Palmetto, Fl., on 4/28/09. Barry says "our roads are a costly embarrassment. My last two visits (to Peoria) were in December 2008 and April 2009. I have never experienced such poor highway and road maintenance". More than that Barry, these bone jarring jolts play havoc with tires, suspensions, etc.

Some have noted that city maintained streets, sidewalks and curbs, have progressively grown worse since our "new" City Highway Manager, Dave Barber took the position. As for IDOT, Illinois has been ranked numerous times in the top ten of the worst roads in the country. The most workers standing around, the most equipment tied up and by far, the most traffic tied up and by far, the most orange cones.

To be "world class" we have to lead in enhancements and entertainment to keep the creative class in town. Our roads are not the only thing going wrong in Peoria. Our public bodies keep spending more and raising taxes. However, I believe the spending is on hold right now but over the next four years, watch for a considerable increase in property and sales taxes.

Better roads and less crime? No.


Dan Proft For Governor - News Release

Dan was in Peoria for a short visit yesterday. A number of us got to spend some time with him. He is my selection for Governor of the State of Illinois. I have some literature, signs and petitions. 692-2591 Or I can fax you a petition.



Sept. 29, 2009

Why a Scalpel Doesn't Work

Fundamental System Change Is the Only Solution to Illinois' Problems

Anyone who tells you we can solve our state’s many problems simply by going line-by-line through the budget, posting everything on line, or taking a scalpel to minor government programs is not only mistaken, he is misleading you. I have committed this campaign to telling you the truth about the desperate condition of our state and what we can and must do to find our way back to prosperity.

And the truth is this: the balance between the citizen and his government is dangerously distorted in favor of government employee unions. Government no longer exists to serve you, the citizen. Rather, you exist to perpetuate government and its ever-expanding unions.

This problem affects every state across this country. The public sector is cannibalizing the private sector to fulfill promises politicians, more often than not Democrats, made to government employees in exchange for their votes.

The Free Enterprise Nation has compiled just a snapshot of this problem:

• The average state and local government employee earns 29% more than the average private sector employee, according to The Tax Foundation’s analysis of 2007 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

• Since the recession began in December 2007, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that private sector employment has declined 5.74 percent, while government payroll has grown 0.83 percent.

Now these promises, in the form of pension liabilities, Medicaid benefits, and a host of other costs, are coming due, and government is finding it can’t keep them unless it takes more and more from you.

The irony is that the people who take risks and compete in the private sector are subsidizing more lavish benefits for those who take no risk whatsoever and are not subject to competition. The public sector simply defies the law of economics. As the Chicago Sun-Times uncovered in its investigation into Illinois’ pension system, nearly 4,000 Illinois retirees have an annual public pension worth at least $100,000. Guaranteed by you; financed by you; and all for the benefit of the Democrats' patronage armies.

But this immunity from economic laws cannot last forever. And forever is right around the corner.

Here’s what’s coming: Illinois has an unfunded pension liability upwards of $80 billion, the highest in the nation; in 10 years Medicaid spending will consume half the state’s budget.

My opponents in this race want you to believe that Illinois’ problems can be solved with a scalpel, a little more line-by-line scrutiny, or by posting everything on a brand new shiny web site. Good suggestions all, but it is a distraction from the real problem and the tough solution.

Unless we face our problem, the voracious cannibalization of our private sector by public union locusts will continue until there is no more tax money left to reap.

We must fundamentally change the relationship between you and your government; a public sector service should be a worthwhile career, but it should not be more financially rewarding than the private sector, and it cannot be immune from economic realities.

To do this we must institute system-change reforms on Illinois’ pension system, Medicaid system and spending system; the bidding war of public sector salaries and benefits must stop. We will tie those salaries and benefits to what exists in the market place. Above all, we need to stop taking more from those who can least afford it.

I am the only candidate in the race who recognizes the nature of the real problem that we face, who is being frank with you about the problem, and who is ready to take the fight to the Chicago Democrats who won’t give up this scam without a fight, no matter how much they have to soak you to keep it running.

If you’re one of the people who play by the rules, join me and let’s Un-Fix Illinois.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


"Men, it has been well said, think in herds," writes Charles Mackay in 1841. "It will be seen that they go mad in herds while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

There really isn't much new in the way people act 168 years later, is there?

After nine years in government and the last 20 years observing government and financial investors, unions and social groups, I can personally attest to the "herdism" mentality.

Jack Lochrie of Farmington Hills, Michigan where I once was a finalist in a tennis tournament, comments on WSJ Columnist Daniel Henninger's "Top New Year's Resolution: Don't be Stupid", 1/9/09, "the dwindling population of Americans who actually embrace 'personal responsibility" is being drowned out by daily pronouncements of our government that only the government can rescue us from our economic quagmire."

Yes Virginia, we are still in a quagmire. Don't be fooled by the recent surge in the stock market.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fisker Automotive - $529 Million Grant From Feds

Al Gore was instrumental in getting this start up company more than half a billion dollars to try to develop a hybrid sports car for Finland according to a release from Newsmax today.

Hey, it's just phony money printed by the Federal Reserve Bank who is still deciding whether it it time to turn off the presses.


Employee Free Choice Act - 2

If anyone doubts where I stand on this issue, look-up my blogs dated 10/30/08 and 5/16/09 in my sidebar archives. Some Democrats and strong union supporters on the County Board took issue on May 12 or 14 2009, two letters to McConoughey, the same with different dates, about an email sent out over the signature of Jim McConoughey who is President of the Heartland Partnership, an email sent in error that evidently wasn't complimentary to union organizers.

McConoughey and The Heartland Partnership, umbrella over a number of economic development entities such as the Greater Peoria Chamber of Commerce and the EDC, took responsibility for the missile. In a letter dated May 14, 2009 carboning in Tom O'Neill, County Board Chairman, McConoughey and Sid Banwart, Heartland Partnership
Chairman took responsibility for the email. Several apologies to the Peoria County Board have been issued.

County Board Democrat member Allen Mayer along with other board Democrats continue to take extreme issue with the email and the fact that the event described in the email featured Karl Rove who was in town to lobby against the EFCA. It is now almost October and the the County Board Democrats are still hot about the issue. They threaten to pull County Economic Development funds from next years budget. $113,000 was budgeted last year. I understand today that the EDC had a meeting with County Board Member, Andrew Rand.

I read many of the articles that Rove writes because he is an intellect. I often do not agree with Rove's approach but what's new. I agree less with Rahm Emanuel, once famously described in the Washington Post as a "wiry-thin, foul-mouthed, tough-talking ballet dancer from Chicago".

Like some Democrats have told me on other issues, get over it and move on. The Democrats should decide to work with the EDC, who I have not always been happy with either, or set up your own County Board run EDC. Probably better to K&MU than to go it alone.

As to the EFCA? Take time to read the language which some Democrats did and are helping hold up passage. Karl Rove would be the best in reading the "fine print" in the proposed legislation. The private sector has long realized passage would not be in their best interests.

Keep knocking down business and you'll find out who furnishes the jobs that keep people employed and pay taxes. Businesses who make a profit, that's who.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brent Lonteen and the PCB

The resignation of Brent Lonteen, President and CEO of the Peoria Area Visitors and Convention Bureau was made public Friday. His three week absence from his office created a period of public speculation which continues today. Maybe the problem is with the organization. My contact with the PVC has been infrequent starting with criticism I received from Greg Edwards who held Brent's position at one time. Greg's brother Rick has been and is chairman of the PCB board.

Greg criticized me for resigning from the Prairie States Games Board in Peoria when I learned the organization wasn't organized at all. It had been kicked out of various communities, the last location Bloomington. The leaders were more interested in socializing at bars and fund raising efforts, (they left Peoria owing local businesses an alleged $40,000) than developing venues for youth. Next year they were gone from Peoria and again have had trouble finding a home roving from city to city. I searched for PSG on the net and found they had finally landed in Bensenville with much hype. The net and other sources say they had the same problems in Bensenville. I could not find where they were active this year.

The JSEB criticized me also for resigning. Had they asked the sports desk who was familiar with the problems Peoria was encountering, but in those days certain people on the JSEB "knew it all". Years later, 1999, the JS wrote that this "mickey mouse" operation should be shut down.

When Dave Williams was chair of the Peoria County Board, he noticed that no one from the county had filled an open PCB advisory seat or board seat for years. Dave submitted a qualified board member only to be told that Peoria County no longer was invited to sit on any PCB board or committee.

Maybe the problems at the PCB are just that; PCB problems.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Teachers Pensions

Ed Geppert, Jr. President of the IFT in Westmont in a LTR in the JS today is quoted as saying "The average pension in the Teachers Retirement System is approximately $3400 per month or $40,800 a year. TRS members do not receive Social Security. This modest amount in their retirement is hardly a 'golden' pension. In fact, they pay the majority of the cost, 9.4%, not the taxpayer".

Well, Mr. Geppert, Jr., let's take another view. A teacher friend of mine took retirement at 57 and draws around $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year. Not bad for doing nothing if he wanted. Instead, he took a part-time teaching position that paid him more than half of what he was earning at retirement. So averages are just that; averages. In a subdivision, there is a house selling for $190,000 and a house selling for a million plus so the average is $600,000 plus. Right? No.

I believe the 15 million unemployed people in the U.S., half with no pensions and no job would be happy with $40,000 year pensions. 50% of those still employed, have no pension beyond a 401K. I believe most of them will work till 65 and receive far less than $40,000 a year.

Union bosses work to get all the benefits they can for their employees. That's their job. Weaker boards in the public sector, which, is growing in employment numbers on the federal level, grant increasing benefits. Only private sector bankrupt or near bankrupt companies benefiting from "bailout" largess, and "controlled" by the unions are holding on to substantial benefits. Some have had their benefits reduced and are complaining. Such is life.

I have never understood why people complain how little they make and how little they will receive in benefits. I was not happy with what I was making teaching so I left and started a new career. No problem, I was sought and had three job offers waiting.

After retirement, I visited school classrooms in #150 for about 14 years. 7 out of 10teachers were what I would have deemed competent to teach. Some were outstanding. Part of the other 30% fell in the range of they should not be teaching any classroom. Some were mostly interested in making friends than building a desire in their kids to learn. Why should kids to learn respect authority in school? Many of them do not learn to respect at home. How do you discipline someone who should be respecting you if you are trying only to win their friendship? These teachers should work in social services. A very large number dressed like it was their day off. Teachers who dress down as bad or worse than some of the kids, drag their classroom down. Teachers can't be fired after two years unless the system if prepared for a long and costly court battle as it is the union who represents the teacher, not the kid, parent, school or community. Unions say they do represent the kid. If so why can't a bad teacher be fired? The union stands up for all teachers, good or bad.

I wrote a blog on 1/30/06 on Unions and Community Cooperation in which I quoted an amazing true statistic, only 2-5 teachers out of 90,000 were terminated in the entire state of Illinois in one year. In District #150 in Peoria, 2005 was considered by many to be the year that really put #150 over the financial edge when the "board granted a $43.8 million dollar increase in teachers salaries alone, excluding benefits, which are substantial". JS, 6/19/05. The JS continued that 6 union members, Terry Knapp, Mary Connet, James Lewis, Ken Meischner, Lillie Foreman and Larry Burdette were paid more than $482,000 this past year not to teach in the classroom. The JS also reported that "staff compensation as a percentage of of education funds as jumped from 78 to 91 percent. It would have been higher if not for 257 retirements with a total bonus of $4.4 million".

On 9/24/09, the JS listed salaries not including health and life insurance paid by the district. The article indicated that all administration, including some support staff and professional instruction and development made up $14.2 million in benefits and salaries. I question that figure as being too low.

I assume the salaries and benefits include ex-teachers now serving as consultant, anywhere form $330- 476 per day. One is paid by grant money, almost always taxpayer dollars. On 9/20/09, the JSEB reported that while attendance has declined dramatically, "In fact, staffing has not been reduced over the years commensurate with declines in enrollment".

A coach who only coaches one minor sport and is not a classroom teacher is said to be eligible for pension benefits.

Message is: Don't complain, get a job where you are happy. All teachers have college degrees.


Teachers Unions Represent Teachers - Not Kids

Teachers Unions exist to advance the interests of their members. Unions present themselves as student advocates while pushing education policies that work for their members even if they leave kids worse off. Everywhere school choice of any kind.; KIPP is a good example, wherever these choice programs are established and even while they are being planned, the teacher's unions oppose and try to discredit ANY choice schools in every manner their extensive war chest funds permits.

The Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore, started in 2002, is one of the best schools in Baltimore and all of Maryland; it is primarily low income and %98 are black and 84% qualify for for free or reduced price meals. Now, the Baltimore Teachers Union, Maryland charter school law requires teachers to be part of the union, is demanding that the school pay its teachers 33% more than city public school teachers despite the fact that these teachers are already being paid 18% above the union scale.

in New York City, private money was raised to hire classroom teaching assistants. The United Federation of Teachers in 2008 filed grievances against the schools. "It's hurting our union members". Even though the city didn't have the money for teacher's assistants, the city caved in to the union and discontinued the practice.

What a shame. (Source - Editorial Page of the WSJ, 8/3/09).

This is only one instance I have in dozens of articles of why the powerful teachers unions along with weak school boards and public apathy are killing the Public School System.

Water Shortages

L.A. is restricting lawn watering to twice a week and only in evenings. What about the golf course that drink it up? We have been fortunate here but now things are worsening for the farmers. They don't need rain now. If this dampness continues, an early frost would be disastrous.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let's Talk - Peoria County Board

This blog is in response to "Word on the Street" on the local page of the JS today.

Are we always transparent? In my opinion, not as much as we need to be. I showed our administrator a letter from Caterpillar dated April 9 or two days after the sales tax referendum passed (by approximately 400 votes out of approximately 30,000 cast), stating how Caterpillar planned to still support the museum but are not starting construction on the Visitor's Center in 2009 and that "planning for the project will be modified to reflect our current financial position and to temporarily suspend outright cash payments to the museum committee". Our administrator said he had not heard that from Caterpillar.

Sometime during the week of August 10, 2009, our administrator met with six, I believe, Caterpillar officials where Caterpillar outlined their position to him and confirmed in a letter to him dated August 21. While confirming other commitments to the museum, the letter said they were withholding $4 million pending the COMPLETION of the project funding. In this letter, they no longer called the museum a "regional" museum but called it the PRM.

All county board members did not receive a copy of this letter until 3 weeks later.

Our administrator was one of the prime pushers for the "facility" sales tax , appearing before legislative officials in Springfield to get a law passed to put the question on the ballot this April. Then he pushed to get the county to take ownership of the museum as the referendum did not mention the museum by name but was a tax that could be used for museums, recreational facilities, libraries, parks, etc. as long as construction was involved. The board concurred 17 to 1, mine being the only no vote cast. I did not then nor now want the County in the sticky business of owning a questioned museum. 14,000 no votes and 75% of the eligible voter (and future users) who could have voted but did not vote.

It is now 4 1/2 months since the referendum passed and only 3 1/2 months before merchants in Peoria County will start collecting a 1/4 per cent sales tax but as yet the museum fund raising appears to be from $11 million upward short raising the original amount of private dollars promised the County Board. Only when this money is raised will Caterpillar contribute another $4 million as per their letter.

Should the County Board vote to approve the contract drawn up by SA Kevin Lyon, and his paid outside counsel; before the money is raised and pledges are actually in hand, would be a serious mistake for a major part of the tax-paying community.
We have not been told who is going to be paying for this probably $400 an hour private counsel nor were some of us told we were going to need to hire a consultant from Caterpiilar because "we didn't have the time and expertise"

The PRM closed their books on 6/30/09. It will soon be three months and yet the full board has no information as to the financial stability of the group. I know that at least 2 million was already spent before 6/30/08 on consulting, engineering, travel, etc. and that over $550,000 in pledges had been withdrawn by 6/30/08.

Before anyone private or government, takes over ownership of any multi-million project, the full board must see an audited financial statement that is reasonably current. Would we believe an un-audited statement where loses incurred over the lifetime of this museum could run into high millions of tax-payer dollars?

And what about the museum fund raising drive for $500,000 promised by the museum be held each year if the county owned the museum? I believe some fail to realize that Lakeview Museum will be empty except for some planned museum storage which I believe the PPD who owns the building has not yet agreed on terms, if they agree to any. The status of this amazing DETAIL has not been told to the full board.

The full board has not been privy to certain museum proceeding. Nor the now $41 million new BelWood and a review of its history from 2002-2009. It's location has not been approved by the full board yet the administrator has come close or offered to buy property for its re-location.

The cost (our administrator estimated $10,000 which I don't believe will come close even though some mowing has been donated) of putting the Hanna City Correctional Center, now owned by the County, into some semblance of usage and for what? What will happen to the old BelWood that is in good enough shape to handle 258 clients as of last week. In good enough shape that its rumored the sheriff wishes to use it.

The administrator is looking into buying a building for records storage while admitting the county has no official records retention plan. And no money to buy it.

The county administration dealings are not as transparent as they were in the past. There are other lack of transparencies such as the reluctance to release information about why the State recently fined BelWood $10,100.00 for a number of violations.

Nor that Bel-Wood collected over $14 million dollars in property taxes in the last five years yet wasn't able to keep the building in proper repair. Why not when in 2008 it collected almost $3 million in property taxes?

Why weren't we notified that we were going to run a deficit in our 2009 budget while we were voting in May, 2009, on $200,000 of new signage inside the courthouse? Fortunately, nine of us killed the recommended purchase. And in June our administrator said as part of "our partnering for success" we should consider lending our Financial Officer to #150 when we were ourselves facing a budget crunch. Our Financial Officer questioned whether he would have the time and on his good judgment, we didn't.

Transparency, yes and no reason why not as we have the competence in the courthouse to let everyone interested know what is going on in the the county that affects taxpayer dollars.

Dan Proft and Acorn

With all the negative publicity about the illegal and highly Democrat partisan nationwide group called Acorn, it is not conceivable that any Republic or even Independent would vote taxpayer dollars to support this politically biased organization.

Below is a Media Release from Dan Proft.


September 21, 2009

NUTS! State Sens. Kirk Dillard, Bill Brady Voted to Give $100,000 of Illinois Taxpayer Money to ACORN

Chicago, IL – Conservative reform candidate Dan Proft released the following statement today in response to the discovery that State Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady voted to give ACORN $100,000 of taxpayer dollars:

“On Friday, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, the self-described ‘camera-ready’ Hinsdale Republican who appeared in a campaign commercial for Barack Obama, called on Gov. Pat Quinn to immediately ban all state funds to ACORN.

“‘We should not be spending tax dollars to fund an organization like ACORN which continues to violate the public’s trust at a time when our state is in a budget crisis,’ Sen. Dillard said in a statement.

“I agree. But perhaps Sen. Dillard should stop voting to fund ACORN before he calls on others to do the same.

“In 2007, both Sens. Dillard and Brady voted for SB 1167, which appropriated state funds to the Illinois Housing Development Authority which in turn distributed a $100,000 grant to ACORN.

“Once again, Sen. Dillard has let the headlines guide his convictions. Well before the recent undercover footage was aired, nine states had charged ACORN employees with crimes totaling 30 convictions. Where were Sen. Dillard’s denunciations of the group then – a group he voted to fund with taxpayer dollars?

“Sens. Dillard and Brady like to tout their respective 15-year political careers in Springfield. How’s that working out for you? It’s working out great for ACORN.”


Proft Defines McKenna

McKenna, with all his family money, has NO chance to be Governor of Illinois. Republicans have no chance of winning the governship unless they get behind someone who will raise the low perception of the Republican leadership and therefore their public image.


News Release:

Andy McKenna: Bipartisan Combine Candidate for Governor

(Chicago, Illinois) - In response to Andy McKenna’s reported entrance into the Governor’s race, conservative reform candidate Dan Proft today released the following statement:
"I welcome Andy McKenna’s entrance into this race. His candidacy clarifies the choice Republican primary voters have.

"We can nominate a candidate beholden to a small group of affluent political insiders who give money to both parties. They win when Republicans get elected; they win when Democrats get elected. Either way, you lose.

"Or we can nominate a candidate willing to take the fight to the establishment politicians of both parties, those who are concerned only with peddling influence and dividing up other people’s money.

"I am the only candidate willing to make a clean break from our ignominious past; to hold cynical Chicago Democrats and complicit Republicans accountable for what has happened on their watch; and to chart a future focused on expanding opportunity for people who play by the rules in Illinois.

"The McKenna family has donated thousands of dollars to Chicago Democrats, including Mike Madigan, Lisa Madigan, Dan Hynes, and Dick Durbin. They have also donated thousands of dollars to Republicans and the Illinois Republican Party.

"They hedge their bets, because they are interested in self-preservation. Mr. McKenna has taken indicted Springfield powerbroker Bill Cellini’s infamous ethos to heart, ‘When we're in, we're in, and when you're in, we're in. We're always in.’

"Who’s the ‘we’? I suggest you ask Andy McKenna. But the ‘we’ sure doesn’t include rank-and-file Republican primary voters.

"We have been down this road so many times as a party. Every time we allow the bipartisan combine to select our candidates, we run into a dead end. We cannot make the same mistake again if we want to not only win elections, but also bring about the system-change reform required to make Illinois economically viable. We cannot hope to un-fix Illinois before we un-fix our own party.

"As State Senator Matt Murphy, the other half of ‘Team Status Quo,’ said just a few weeks ago, ‘People are looking for a new face to take us in a new direction, especially on the Republican side…They want to see somebody who can represent a clean break from the past.’

"Sen. Murphy is right. And that is why Andy McKenna is absolutely the wrong candidate to lead our party and lead this state."


847- 912-2038

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cub Critique Qualifications

Here are the titles and dates of blogs where I detail my sports background. My background gives me some credibility to comment:

"No Seniority in Sports of Life", 11/23/04
"How Sports Helped Mold my Life", 10/14/05
"Breakdown of Codes of Conduct", 7/24/06
"Friendly Confines", 7/26/08

Find these blogs on my archival sidebar.

Breaking new from the Cubbies today, Bradley sent home for the year supposedly for his detrimental attitude towards the fans, his season over. Actually it ended the first month he came to Chicago to "play".
Zambrano says he is out of shape and has to do more work on his abs. Who'd have thunk?? Soto need to lose 20 pounds and he should use a step stool to hit those pitches he swings at eye high.

Zammie pitched pretty well tonight. Only gave up two runs in 6 innings.

I halt this blog to say Jake Fox hit a 2-run homer in the 11th and Marmol retired the Cards in order and the Cubs pull out a win. Player of the game? Relief pitcher Gregg only gave up ONE run. Player of the game? Just kidding.

I watch this game for entertainment by a bunch of mostly overpaid guys. I say about the Cubs as John McEnroe says on his TV ads "You Can't be Serious". Watch the Cubs and be serious? We should get a life while we wait for "next year".

Golden Public Pensions

"Golden Public Pensions need dose of Private Reality" says the JSEB on September 19. Actually, parents should no longer send their kids to college to compete in the private sector. Get enough education to secure and hold a government job. Government bureaucracies are still hiring and expanding and the pensions of government employees expand.

As to the private sector, half of which can't afford pension plans and when they do they are subject to large IRS fines. Read the article in the WSJ on September 19 and you see what problems the private sector encounters when seeking advice on setting up a small business pension plan. Congress changed the law in 2004 believing that many pensions were tax shelters costing the Treasury billions of dollars. The law was enacted to catch the biggies but guess who got caught in the middle of advise from advisers, certified tax accountants and attorneys. The little guy now faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Finally, Chuck Grassley and Max Baucus issued statements that they hope to change the law that mandated the fines.

Hope to change a bad law that probably few small business owners had the money to hire New York and Chicago tax accountants for advice in drawing up the pension plans for themselves and their employees.

Another example of how changes have possible unforeseen consequences. A thousand page health bill is tailor made for tort attorneys. Who doesn't want the "tort" taken out of attorneys?


Orange Cones

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is quoted in today's JS about all those orange cones causing traffic delays, "All those orange cones mean people are working". I don't know whether he made a "tongue on cheek" comment as to whether it is the factory workers working or?????

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicago Cubs - Does Ownership Really Want a Winner?

Maybe The new owner of the Cubs will want a playoff winning team rather than be content to make millions by just providing entertainment to fill the seats. If he does these are changes his administrative staff will need to make:

Hotdog Soriano goes
Hotdog Zambranno goes
Relief pitcher Gregg goes
Outfielder Bradley goes

Fukudome is not a franchise player
Soto had one good year and that may have been his best.Derek Lee is probably the only franchise player and he is not getting any younger. Ramirez? Hmmm.

Not enough space here to say why these changes are needed but if you watch them play and know the game, the reasons are obvious. The whole team at times looks lethargic and not highly motivated. The team lacks just that, playing like a "team" that doesn't always swing from their heels with two strikes or the need to advance a runner.

Needed: one power hitting outfielder and one starting pitcher, preferably left-handed. And a closer. That is if they can get the lead which has been hard to do this year.

Maybe its time for Pinella to go. Maybe upper management tells him to play some of the big salaried players like Bradley and Soriano, but he doesn't always put his healthy best players in his starting lineups. His players have confidence to hit mediocre pitching but do not seem confident against better pitchers, even against 42 year old John Smoltz in tonight's game. Two runs in the first inning and a 3-2 loss against the Cardinals. Theriot gets picked off base and first man up for Cards hits a homer off a third rate Cub relief pitcher; game over.His imagination is not much better than Dusty Baker's. Seldom, a squeeze play or even a safety squeeze. Few hit and run plays, players seem to not know how to advance a player from 2nd base when there is no one out. Some pitchers can't bunt and their sliding technique is often wanting.

Not even the playoffs this year. What the Cubs need is real change. I can't wait another 100 years.

My credentials? I have some. Next post.

Financial Planner Goes Bankrupt

A reputable local Financial Planner, once Vice-President of a major brokerage was listed under "bankruptcies" in a recent bankruptcy list in the JS.

My advice for what it's worth, I haven't been very good at trusting, with the world still in financial turmoil, beware who you trust with with your money, no matter how well known their firm. All of your investments are a risk worth watching on a daily basis.

Voice of experience.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caterpillar's Committement to the Museum Updated

In a letter from Caterpillar retiring executive Sid Banwart to Peoria County Administrator Patrick Urich dated August 21, Mr. Banwart writes, "It was a pleasure to meet with you last week to discuss how Caterpillar and Peoria County can work together as we build the Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Caterpillar Visitor Center.

Per our discussion, I want to underscore Caterpillar's commitment to this project. As we outlined, the Caterpillar Foundation has pledged a total of $13.5 million.
Here's the breakdown:
* $1 million Community challenge - paid in full
* $500,000 Government challenge - paid in full
* $5 million Employee and Retiree challenge---employees and retirees have .
pledged $4.2 million, so $800,000 remains as an available match
* $7 million Corae capital campaign - paid $3 million and $4 million is being
HELD (emphasis, mine) pending completion of project funding.

Our intent is to consume all the matching funds available, so if the remainging Employee and Retiree match isn't fully utilized by Caterpillar, we will make the balance available as a community match.

In addition to the CAt Foundation pledges, CAterpillar, Inc. has contributed $400,000efor the prep work and has committed to anoter $1.2 million for the construction of the parking ($9 million plus underground, my note) garage and the surrounding infrastructure. In total Caterpillar iNc. and the CAt Foundation are contributing more than $15 million to the development of the Peoria Riverfront Museum and parking garage.

Finally, our Aterpillar Visitor Center will bring our total committment to Build the Block to more than $52 million. As a company that honors its committments, we look forward to continued communications with the county as we work together to Build the Block."

This letter was distributed to all board members on September 10.

"Museum Waits on Agreement for Operations"

So reads a header in today's JS by Scott Hilyard and Andy Kravetz. Actually, while the museum may be waiting on a contract that probably will release all responsibility from the City of Peoria and transfer ownership to Peoria County, it is also waiting on a funding shortfall anywhere where from $12 million upwards.
What's missing in funding? At least $6 million promised by the CEO Roundtable, $3-4 million for the underground garage, and $a minimum of $5 million for the Endowment fund promised the County,; 43 million actual and $5 assumed committed to the County before the county agreed to put the sales tax referendum on the ballot.

Now in today's paper, Peoria County States Attorney Kevin Lyons is quoted in a letter he sent to museum officials in August stating, "the project (building the museum) must comply with 'public policy and statutes'. The letter, in effect, restarted the process of creating by-laws and forming an agency that will operate the museum that WOULD BE LARGELY FINANCED WITH PUBLIC DOLLARS".

Thanks, SA Lyons, whew, it's finally out officially that the taxpayers will be stuck with more than 50% of the the $78 million needed a year ago to build the museum. Up to $40 million to be collected by the 1/4 percent sales tax that goes into effect January 1, 2010.

Does anyone think the public and the County Board were lied to when a leading political spokesperson for the museum told the county board "only 33% will be needed from the taxpayer, blah, blah, blah, etc., when 49 and 1/2 percent of the people who took interest to vote "no new taxes" knew better. We are having Tea Parties of all times to protest no new taxes and reduce the old. My wonderment is, did a lot of these well intentioned people marching vote for the museum because this community needs more "circuses"?

Now I want the big hitters to prove me wrong. Maybe tomorrow, because our County Administrator said he would be getting out the latest developments to the board this week. Or was the column in the paper today his method of informing the board he reports to. One executive in the private sector in this city owns 1,000,000,000 shares of stock in his company that is trading at $53 dollars and change on the NYSE. Another owns 336,000 or more shares of stock in a company whose shares are trading at $54 and change. Then there is a tort attorney I mean a WC attorney worth who knows how many millions, an insurance company third generation CEO and this list goes on. Will they step forward soon with their big bucks? Or are they waiting for taxpayer stimulus money to fund the missing millions to complete just the BUILDING of the museum?

Next blog - Caterpillar's official position.

Illinois Pensions

Another voice to be heard. As you read the comments below, know that approximately 50% of the private sector has no pension plan per se. Considering all the private sector layoffs and firing during this recession, I know of none actually laid off or fired from the burgeoning government sector. If a reader does, submit names and complete details under "comments" I appreciate the ones I have already received.

Here is what anonymous sent me today:









Debunking Illinois Pension Myths!

Reality: Illinois actually ranks 49th among the states, next to last in the nation,

in number of state employees per capita.
Historically, Illinois has not been a high public employee head count state.

Instead, Illinois is mostly a grant making state
- that is, rather than hire state employees to provide services; Illinois

disburses grants to independent providers such as
Lutheran Social Services or Catholic Charities, which in turn deliver the

service to the public

Myth: Public employee benefits areTOOO GENEROUS!
Reality: For most Illinois public employees, their pension is all they receive

upon retirement

NOT ONLY THAT- fully 78% are not covered by and do not receive Social

Security. This is unlike workers in the private sector, who receive both Social
Security and private retirement benefits!

4. Myth: Illinois' current defined benefit; THE SYSTEM IS TOO EXPENSIVE!
Reality: The 'normal cost' of a pension system is the contribution required

from an employer to fund the plan's benefits.
The weighted average 'NORMAL COST' across all five Illinois pension

systems, as a percentage of active members' payroll,
averages 9.13 percent.
The NATIONAL AVERAGE for state and local government is 12.5 PERCENT,

placing the normal cost of
ILLINOIS' current defined benefit program FAR BELOW THE NATIONAL












THE Center for Tax and Budget Accountability executive director Ralph

Martire tells us the truth....i challenge YOU to view this video:

Peoria School Closing Information and Mis-Information??

Back in 11/27/05, I wrote a blog titled "Peoria Still in Denial". For some of you, this may be a good re-read. Some like Dr. Laura, may want to ask authorities for an update. Everthing I ever wrote is still on my side-bar archives. Just click on the dates.

I also remember another blog I wrote that I can't find a copy of right now, where I wrote I walked with 5 PHS high school boys down a Peoria High corridor, asking them whether or not they used Proctor Center. (I was asked by PPD Board Chairman Tim Cassidy to do a study of Proctor Center on the southside, to determine why it's operating losses were $300M a year and why so few used the center) Finally, one boy put his finger to his head and said "bang-bang". No, they don't use Proctor Center as a gang different from their gang controlled activities in and around Proctor, they said and they feared for their safety.

Being politically sensitive, I doubt the subject has come up in a School Board meeting. The situation has not changed, ask the law authorities, some may say it has changed but with 10 deaths allegedly drug related so far this year, all on the south side, I believe, I doubt it. Maybe that is another reason some want to close PHS.

Years back I recommended closing off North Street in front of PHS, buying the houses on the east side of North; some of these houses were alleged to be dealing drugs anyway, tear them down, build a vo/tech center there, connect is with a walkway to PHS similar to Pekin High.

One community leader on a study panel said "he never thought of that". Guess no one else did either. But outsiders reading this blog may not know that Peoria and now Dunlap, is home to the "elite", while Pekin, Bartonville, and Chillicothe? Well.

Close Woodruff or PHS? Seems like I have always run on smaller classrooms,smaller schools, smaller government but others are determining "big" is better.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unsustainable Pensions

Biggest concern to all local taxpayers should be the eventual unsustainable pensions of the City of Peoria. The following is from Dan Proft, Republican Candidate for Governor of Illinois.

IL Pension Systems Are Financially Unsustainable

September 15, 2009

The Chicago Sun-Times has suddenly discovered something Springfield politicians have known for a long time and tried to conceal, and something conservative reformers have known for a long time and tried to expose with no help from the establishment media: Our pension system is a looming disaster that threatens our state’s economy and our quality of life.

At $90 billion, Illinois’ unfunded pension liability, the highest in the nation, didn’t appear overnight. The facts have been long known.

It’s why residential property taxes keeping rising even as property values fall: we are not financing the education of our young people, we are financing public pensions.

Even liberal Democrat Sun-Times columnists Mark Brown and Carol Marin have come to the realization that Illinois’ public pension systems are not financially sustainable in their current form.

On Sunday, Mark Brown wrote:

“I would respectfully suggest instead that if the public employee unions don't step up to the plate and join as advocates for real pension reform in this state, then we're going to need to reconsider that constitutional protection.

“I say that knowing I am sticking my head in a hornet's nest. I really don't want to get a reputation as a public employee basher and don't believe I am one.”

I am not a public employee basher either but there is no escaping the unyielding math of actuarial tables. And I don’t blame people who take advantage of the rules as they have been set up. I blame those who set up the rules.

This is why I routinely say Illinois does not have a management problem, it has a system problem. Illinois isn’t broken. It’s fixed. The rules have been set up for the benefit of the Springfield political class and against people who play by the rules.

Listen to newborn taxfighter and Chicago Democrat Carol Marin, reacting to the Sun-Times' pension stories: “No wonder taxpayers, hunched over with the burden of paying the taxes to support these pensions, are broke!”

Welcome to the party, folks.

For years conservative reform state senators like Steve Rauschenberger talked about the voodoo math one must subscribe to in order to believe we could continue on with public pensions in their current form. That didn’t stop the liberal elites in the media from flaking for the public sector unions and the politicians they finance.

This is another example of the great paradox in Illinois politics: systems no one in power wants to defend, but no one in power wants to change. Someone is benefitting from the status quo—and it certainly isn’t the taxpayers.

Democratic politicians, public sector unions, and liberal media elites all get theirs, and you get the tab.

Both Ms. Marin and Mr. Brown would have done their readers a service if they acknowledged what is clear to all but the most ideological columnists: Nothing will change with Illinois’ pension system as long as the Chicago Democrats are running the show. If what I say is not so, then I would like one of those Chicago Democrats or their media handmaidens to please point to any substantial public sector pension reforms advanced by the Chicago Democrats who control every branch of state government.

Nothing will change with the current political order because those in charge do not have the political courage to do the right thing and risk the ire of the public sector unions. It’s the public sector unions which finance the Chicago Democrats’ careers, and there’s not one in the bunch who’s prepared to take on his own patronage army to reform the system.

Instead, the Chicago Democrats do whatever it takes to finance the status quo, kicking the can further down the road. They’ll even rewrite the Illinois constitution to jack state incomes taxes to fund their core constituency, as Dan Hynes recently proposed.

Nor will go-along-to-get-along Republicans who have received thousands of dollars in campaign cash from the public sector unions touch these pension systems either.

My opponents, State Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, who collectively have been in Springfield a total of 30 years, have received thousands of dollars from the teachers unions and other public sector unions like SEIU – the principle obstacles to pension reform.

I am the only candidate for governor who is proposing a fundamental overhaul of Illinois’ pension system to make it financially sustainable going forward. We need to look at a whole battery of reforms including:

• Moving recipients from a defined pension benefit model to a defined pension contribution model.

• End the automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases, compounded annually. At 3%, annual COLA bumps have consistently outpaced inflation for the last 15 years. We have had deflation recently, which means these COLA bumps are not COLAs. They are raises.

• End double- and triple-dipping.

• Increase the retirement age.

• End the practice of income spiking, which is notorious among school superintendents.

• Increase the number of years required to be vested in the system.

That’s what real reform looks like.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Museum Funding

County Board members are to receive an update this week.

Private funding for the Caterpillar highly blessed and promoted museum should now be no problem. Cat stock is up $3 today to $51 and change. Jim Owens owns 363,000 shares.

Hope that is what we hear this week that all goals have been meet with only 33 per cent coming from the taxpayers.

Of course we know that is never going to be true. The sales tax pledged to the project is more that half the $78 million project.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Survival Skills

I'm trying to make a point on my last blog. Stay with me. Most everyone born immediately starts learning the skill of survival. They count on those strangers who they see every day, for their care and treatment. They go through many stages of survival; stages of which most parents are much aware. This early development is defined as in-nate. I'm going to fast forward.

Sooner or later, they further develop the skill of manipulation. They further develop develop the skill of being greedy, two skills from which I would say only changes by degrees. We all develop skills of using each others (manipulation?), a term again that most people do not like to hear. But then, most of us do not like to hear and accept the truth or partial truths. That we use each other for our own survival is in itself, not wrong. But when we use these skills solely for our own benefit, we usually are unhappy and make those who care; care in any way about us, unhappy when in our presence and thoughts. That is, if they don't understand that they are being used in a way negative to their well-being. (examples - Madoff, gang members, women wired with explosives, etc.)

We should and usually do, accept the fact that these social skills are not in themselves bad skills. They are necessary for our development. But when these two skills arrive at the point of being "arrested" at an early peak of development, these "skills" usually cause an adverse affect in their sphere of influence. Examples such as in forming or joining gangs and terror groups, lying, cheating, theft and murder as in today's JS. Murder number 10 this year in an enlightened socially community: new museums, zoos and parks, schools, libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, Dare, Peoria Promise, 10,000 private sector layoffs or firings, etc.

In the early stages of our life, we tend to migrate to the leadership of those we most depend on, hopefully, families with a mom and dad and close relatives; hopefully, again, that these relatives or caretakers have our best interests in mind. As life progresses we tend to attach ourselves to those others who are most manipulative or who we can manipulate or use for our own purposes, again, not in itself a bad thing.

Fortunately and unfortunately, our life choices are legion. We can, if accepted, run with an "in group" even before first grade. Usually, with the right caring early guidance, we run with the right "in groups". These groups move us in the direction of staying out of bad trouble like being dopers, sexual conquest before we understand its responsibilities, and lack of respect for other peoples property.

The right "in groups" move us to develop social skills such as communicating with the object of continual learning. To communicate without openly expressing our in-nate anger in a violent destructive manner. These groups encourage us to get an education, whether we want to or not. Enough education to at least allow us to pursue careers that support ourselves and the families most will desire to have.

Group influence sometimes turns into the "herd" influence; both good and bad. Choices must be made. If your friends do not respect authorities; parents, schools or legal authority, chances are you will not finish even 8 grades of formal schooling. Then usually unable to find a job because of the lack of development of other necessary skills; ones chances of a troubled life are magnified at least 10 fold.

However, if your friends or peers have the opposite approach to life, ones chances of some type of success are magnified at least 10 fold. So back to Dr. John and his skills deficit column in the JS. We have too many young people growing up with little desire to develop skills beyond manipulative or being manipulated and greed of all degrees and types.

Their are deviations, going from right to wrong or wrong to right or somewhere in between and these reformed people appear before classrooms of kids to tell them why and how they changed; how they have benefited and how they now want to show young people they too should not get in the "wrong groups" but if they do they can recognize the error of their ways and become productive citizens.

It is my belief that most parents and teachers understand how important peer influence is on EVERYBODY. I don't think they know how to best guide those who get in the wrong peer groups. Not so much on influences those with a strong individualism bent, many who have shaped the world we live in. In fact, we need more of them. They develop their own peer group, often different from the two types mentioned above.

The incentives move our lives in the "right" direction are too often not recognized by the kids and many adults, even those adults who mean well. Dr. John says, "the deeper American students go in school the poorer their performance becomes: 75 percent of fourth graders meet proficiency standards in reading and math while only 45 per cent of 11th graders do. On every international comparison American students are at the bottom--except in obesity where the occupy first place".

It is my opinion learning to read should be our NO. 1 PRIORITY, learning history should become NO. 2 PRIORITY, that is while learning basic arithmetic which they will need to know even if selling drugs or working in a fast food restaurant. We should let those most interested in math move ahead not holding them back while others never catch up. Or have any interest in catching up. There are hundreds of other well-paying jobs out there that Dr. John is talking about that require not only some skills beyond in-nate skills, but also, a work ethic, integrity, responsibility, etc., (haven't I been through all these needs before in my blogs?); what part of this equation do our community "leaders" not understand?

No wonder so many of our kids look for shortcuts to prosperity while they are "arrested" mentally. We don't even understand their needs. They don't understand their needs. Yes, finally we are talking about a vocational school in #150 after my 15 years of trying to get 150's attention. And even a vocational school won't work unless you bring "non-school-teacher educated" volunteers who were successful in industry to light a fire in the bellies of those who are not equipped for extensive schooling and drop out of all formal education, including colleges.

Then, again as I said years ago, while fund raising for charitable purposes, to a good Catholic sister, "we can't save them all". Her reply was "Yes, but we can try try." Well, we've been trying. Its past time to admit that you can have years of formal education and still don't know how to make a living. But maybe a work ethic can't be taught. And maybe single or two adult families can't be taught. Or we are going about it wrong which is more likely.

Hundreds of 300 page books have been written by people supposedly a lot smarter than I on the above. They are intellectually smarter than I. But too many things are lacking. Perhaps we could all benefit and be better parents, teachers, mentors and leaders with a little more use of more realistic common sense.

And be a little less "politically correct".

Skill Deficits

Dr. John F. Gilligan says our culture presents few incentives for acquiring knowledge. I agree and disagree. Incentives can always raise an individuals desire to acquire knowledge about things in which an interest desire has been created. People have to be motivated by people who know how to motivate. Sure, you can't put all the blame on the educational system but the system is broken in so many schools, the system is broken in so many homes and broken by politicians careful to be politically correct as they look forward to being re-elected.

Dr. John, who often contributes meaningful articles to the JS reader, says 50% of our high school graduates with massive skill deficits yet few people feel or understand. Why not? We seem to be diligently engaged in learning about drugs, sex, and violence. (He adds music and dancing, although, both practiced with moderation or as a career or avocation, make a better rounded person, I say) Dr. John says we have been too prosperous and oblivious to see how hungry much of the rest of the world is.

Well Dr. John, you are right. Some do see it, but for many it is getting close to being too late. Every day, new poor performing individuals graduate or drop out of school, too many winding up on welfare or in our courts, jails, and prisons. And without being much of a contributor to any community or society.

Developing a passion for learning must start within each individual as desire to have a passion for learning. Desire to learn contributing skills cannot be "force fed". That it takes all, the family, the educational system, the business community, religious institutions, government? or just one good teacher or mentor. Learn the skill of competing and one understands the true meaning of leveling the playing field. That field can not be leveled by bringing everybody down to a lower level. Just the opposite. I'm not sure most in governing do enough to promote the learning of skills to bring the poorly educated up to higher levels.

Unfortunately, too many are doing just that in the name of compassion. Better believe what is commonly quoted; It is better to teach a man how to fish than to feed him the your fish. He may be your "friend" but not after you run out of fish and he has never learned to "fish".

Reflect in your compassion that giving food and shelter is a noble thing to those in dire need. Be careful that compassion is not extended for too long for the able.

It is never too late to point someone the way to learn to develop a skill, Seek it and it shall be found, its said. Unfortunately, not all will seek and not all will find.

The same is true in the third world. The same dangers this creates abroad is far too common here in our own country. We need real leaders to emerge in so many areas from the common to the extraordinary. We all need to keep trying, just a little harder. Building more leisure, pleasure and entertainment is not what those who would destroy our way of life are doing. Those of us who would educate others need to do more to educate ourselves as what is going on in our community, state, country and world.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Health Care Reform?

"Why rush this decision without proper debate on options, cost, etc., especially with a huge deficit our grandchildren will have to pay eventually?", says my friend Dr. Rida W. Boulos in an "In the Spotlight" article in the JS on 9/6/09. Dr. Boulos had just visited his hospitalized mother-in-law in Canada. Dr. Boulos says there is not enough space on this page to explain how unacceptable the quality of care is in Quebec. Nothing is free. Canadians pay high taxes. You never see an American going to Canada to get treatments. He says. "many Canadians are worried we will get a socialized health care system here and they will not be able to come here for quality health care."

Dr. Boulos points out that Obama is not talking about tort reform which costs at least an $100 billion a year for "defensive" medicine. In a single-payer system, there will need be rationing, especially for seniors. (I'm a senior and both my wife soon will be and we both have 'quality of life' agreements) My quote.

Dr.Boulos believes we have high quality, expensive health care and not available to many. He writes we should do the following:

Require every state to do health care reform on its own. Massachusetts has done this; it is gradually taking hold, but with escalating costs. Require every state to determine if its uninsured are eligible for public aid. If so, they should be enrolled. People who earn at least $75,000 a year who have elected not to buy insurance should be required to buy it. Make sure any health insurance is portable, and that preexisting conditions are not an obstacle to coverage. Look at hospital costs. Why does hip replacement cost $50,000 in Peoria and only $25,000 in Europe? Physicians fees in some areas are extremely high; we should find out why. Completely overhaul the legal system to allow physicians to practice without spending billions in defensive medicine.

Health care will account for 20 per cent of the economy.

Well, said my friend. Why a massive bill now that only the tort attorneys and the politicians who accept large large amounts of money to fund their campaigns know what we are doing in a hurry after being aware for more than a decade that they current system needs an overhaul. We should have had tort reform two decades ago.

We should have so much so long ago. Now it appears we are going to do something few really agree on or understand.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 and the 'Good War'

So writes Fouad Ajami today in the WSJ. Fouad Ajami, who I've quoted before on this site, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq". Ajami writes, "It was the furies of the Arab world, not Afghanistan that struck America 8 years ago today. The road that led to 9/11 was never a defining concern of President Obama. But he returned to 9/11 in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, AZ. on August 17. "The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't happen overnight, he said, and we won't defeat it overnight, but we must never forget: This is not a war of choice; it is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Queda could plot to kill more Americans."

Ajami writes, "This distinction by Obama of a war of choice (Iraq) and a war of necessity (Afghanistan) has become canonical to American Liberalism. That is both morally false and intellectually muddled. No philosophy of just and unjust wars will support it. It was amid the ferocious attack on the American project in Iraq that there was born the idea of Afghanistan as the 'good war'. This was the club with which the war in Iraq was battered.

President Obama and his advisers need not pay heroic tribute to the men ans women who labored before Obama's rise to power. But they have so malinged their predecessors and their motives that the appeal to 9/11 rings hollow and contrived. In those years behind us, American liberalism distanced itself from American patriotism, and the damage is there to see," writes Ajami.

Ajami continues, "Wars are great clarifiers. Obama's trumpet is uncertain. His call to arms in Afghanistan does not stir. He fears failure in in Afghanistan, and nothing more. Having disowned Iraq, kept its cause at a distance, he is forced to fight the war in Afghanistan. So he equivocates and plays for time (as a Democrat Congress continues to lose stomach over this war). Forever the campaigner, he has his eye on the public mood. the steel that his predecessor showed in 2007 when all the balance in Iraq, is not evident in Obama. In the face of a Taliban insurgency that is gaining strength and geographical read, Obama will have to make a hard choice. He needs a troop commitment of sufficient weight to turn the tide of the war. He has to face his own coalition on the left and convince them that there is a war in Afghanistan worth fighting and paying for.

This is a decision he has refused to make. He has underestimated Nato's role and the refusal of Europe; Germany and France do not have the mood to contain the insurgency, while the British appear to be on the verge of withdrawal) to do more".

Ajami concludes that "eight years ago we were rudely awakened from a decade of whose gurus and pundits had announced the end of ideology, of politics itself, ant the triumph of the world-wide Web and the 'electronic herd'. We had discovered that on the other side of the world masterminds of terror, and preachers, and their foot-soldiers were telling of America the most sordid of tales. We had become, without knowing it, a party to the civil wars in the Islamic-Arab world between the autocrats and their disaffected children, between the those who want to live a normal live and warriors of the faith bent on imposing their will on that troubled area of geography.

Our country answered that call, not always brilliantly, (that is for sure, my quotes) for we are fated to be strangers in that world and thus fated to improvise and and make our way through unfamiliar alleys. We met chameleons and hustlers of every shade and had to learn in a hurry, incomprehensible atavisms and pathologies. We fared best when we trusted our sense of things. We certainly haven't been kept safe by the crowds in Paris and Berlin, or by those in Ankara and Cairo who feign desire for our friendship while they yearn for our undoing".

These are excerpts from Ajami's lengthy column but I believe I have made his point. Obama is "between a rock and a hard spot" and it while take all his charisma to fulfill all his promises to the pacifists without risking failure in a war he feels it is necessary to continue to some reasonable success with an "acceptable" risk of American lives and the ones who desperately seek relatively basic freedoms.

I have never been a neo-con. But once our leadership committed our armed services to these distant shores, (now getting closer) I have never wavered in support of all forces involved in what is now surely a battle for the survival of the basic freedoms, most people seek.

As a reminder, my wife and I were in Arlington, V.A. and Washington D.C. on 9/11. I saw the American Airlines plane change direction and set the throttle at full speed, angling away from the White House or Capitol towards the Pentagon. I saw no landing gear extended. From 300 yards, I could visualize the passengers, terrified and alive only to be dead with less than two minutes. My wife was on a tour bus and saw the explosion.

Many wars have been waged by this young country; wars in what those we elected believed were "just wars". That some were poorly handled, most agree. Only history will write the final verdicts of "just wars" in years upcoming. That sacrifices by so many are greatly regretted. My First Cousin, Richard Witzig, from Goodfield, Illinois was KIA in WW11. He died in a war "to end all wars". Unfortunately, that day never came and most likely, never will. A belief that most of us have who read extensively and try to keep up with past and present history.

Richard Witzig will always be remembered by some who still are alive. His relatives are mainly dead. Dead of old age due to his and so many others, sacrifices. Sacrifices that should never be forgotten. There is a plaque in his honor on the Peoria Courthouse Square along with the names of many others.

Let us never forget. There are a large number of people in the world who wish us and other we support; to be dead. This nation must be ever vigilant and always remember that wanting peace and having peace require more than "making nice" to everybody in the world.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Dan Proft for Governor of the State of Illinois

I'm a little late with this release. Dan is right on target.

Both Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were seen yesterday, standing side-by-side with the governor, praising his veto of the campaign finance “reform” bill. It may surprise you to learn that they both voted for it.

This is what passes for reform in Illinois. Egregious corruption is exposed by third parties, and when the public finally seems to have had its fill, some career politician decides to take a stand and appoint a “blue-ribbon” panel, headed by a fresh new face from his own party. Inevitably, the conclusion they come to is not that government is too big, has too much influence, or is designed to increase the accumulation of power over time; they conclude that there aren’t enough laws designed to exclude outsiders.

In this most recent case, the sham campaign finance “reform” legislation that was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk, at his urging, was meant to protect legislative leaders in Springfield, who essentially retained their unfettered ability to raise and spend money. From the day this bill was written to the governor’s veto, the whole sorry charade of Springfield politicians “doing something” played out exactly as planned.

Meanwhile, Republican legislators were unable throughout this entire process to present a contrast vision for what true reform would look like in Illinois. Instead, Republicans agreed to the principle of individual campaign contribution limits, a policy that serves the interests of incumbency protection.

The whole episode perfectly captures the problem in Springfield: The complete lack of critical thought or substantive policy consideration going on in either party.

My primary opponent, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, the "camera-ready" Hinsdale Republican who appeared in a campaign commercial for Barack Obama, is representative of this problem. In a statement, Sen. Dillard praised the governor’s veto. From this, one would think that Sen. Dillard was a champion leading the fight against the original legislation. The roll call indicates otherwise as it reads simply: “Dillard: Present”.

We need Republican leadership that is not content to simply be present while the Democrats advance policies that destroy our economy or pass window-dressing legislation to cover up their crimes and mismanagement.

Not until the Republican Party is willing to present a clear, contrast vision for how Illinois should be governed will we have meaningful reform of state government. I am the only candidate in this race proposing system change ideas rooted in conservative reform principles. I am the only candidate proposing a reduction in the size and scope of state government tentacles, and I am the only candidate who saw this sham for what it was when it was originally handed off to the “blue-ribbon” panel.

As governor, you will know where I stand. I will be present, and the Democrats will know it.


My Readers - My Appreciation

Within the last hour my hit total reached 100,000 since I lost lost count accidentally and had my site meter reset by Bill Dennis. While I am and have always been a registered Republican I have not been enamoured in recent years with the leadership of the party on a local level, state level and national level. I can critique my party as well as the Democrats. (See my blog, "A Conservative Republicans Moral Morass" 7/30/05) This is a worn out cliche but I will use it; many of my friends and acquaintances are Democrats, the majority I don't know what party they are registered. And I don't care. As long as they pay attention to what is going on on all levels of the local or national scene so they can acquire enough information to make an intelligent decision or vote rather than as some from both parties tell me, "I always vote a party slate". Vote intelligently, you are using some of you own money but mostly OPM. Politicians find it hard sometimes to think that way.

Too bad.

I know that both Republicans and Democrats often act like sheep; no offense intended to sheep, once elected or put in any position of power, they seem to develop a "follow the herd" instinct. Not good for any community or political party.

Some stopped reading me because of my position on Obama, Biden, Emmanuel, Pelosi, Browner, Chu, Dawn Jensen, anyone connected to Acorn in a leadership position, Waters, Boxer, Rangel, Schumer, Dodd and now Geithner and Holder. And a lot of Republicans like Ted Stevens, Don Young, George Ryan, Mark Sanford, once considered a presidential candidate, although I agreed with most of his positions as a fiscal conservative, Tom DeLay and Alan Keyes. Sorry, but people seldom change their stripes. Some think Obama's selection for the Supreme Court will be fair to all and not try new interpretations of the Constitution to suit her liberal mindset, but I think she won't.

Anyway, for anyone who knows me, I do listen to all sides, and there are many. I am more independent than my Republican friends would like me to be. And I do keep records, so many I am a week behind on my filing but everything is kept in a sorter so I can find it as I just did and corrected a comment made on my blog.

I know my readership is small, I could use more links which I invite, but I believe I have good quality. As long as my readers believe I have something to offer, I will keep blogging even though my next birthday will be my 85th.

I did not become really active in government until 1994 when I ran for #150 school board and finished 3rd in a field of six in a contentious debate over sex education in the public school system. My position turned out to be correct, though, and the condition of #150 is under fire from many different sectors. Then my next run, year 2000, when I was asked to beat the woman Republican incumbent on the county board which I did by a 27% margin. When my third term ends in December 2010, that's it. There were some that were disappointed and have been disappointed in my positions but, so far, my positions have been proven mostly correct. I too, have been disappointed in what I have been able to accomplish but perhaps, in my way, I may have accomplished more than visualize. My main goal was to keep government limited and be financially sound. That goal is now somewhat debatable.

Anyway, thanks for reading me and I realize that what I write and to the reader I try to reach, does not promote a lot of comments. I didn't intend to have a chatbox type site which many enjoy as do I occasionally. But I appreciate those comments I receive as long as they do not include personal attacks.

Thanks again and if I'm worth reading, pass the word. For readers who are new to this site, I refer you to my blog of 4/30/09, "Place the Blame Where Most of it Belongs"; you will see I am not the only one who can get "strident" about what's going on in the world.

As a lame excuse, I never took a course in Journalism and it often shows. Too lazy, I guess.


From my daughter who is active in her community down in Waterloo:

Thanks for the link to your dad's blog. I forward it to our corporate
attorney (the only conservative lawyer in St. Clair County) and he has
immediately become a fan of your dad and is going to start tracking his

It's great that your dad has committed to having a well researched blog
that many of us can benefit from to keep informed.

Pass our kudos on to him.


Rob Malone
Malone Building Solutions
227 West First Street
O'Fallon, IL 62269
618.622.0616 fax

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dan Proft for Governor of the State of Illinois


September 2, 2009

CHICAGO -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft issued the following statement today on Comptroller Dan Hynes' proposed income-tax increase:

"Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes formerly announced his campaign for governor today by touting a “major policy proposal.” What he introduced was a major tax hike. Mr. Hynes should be more careful with his choice of words, since what we heard from the new entrant into the gubernatorial race are the same failed policy proposals which have destroy Illinois’ economy.

"Mr. Hynes wants to distinguish himself from Gov. Pat Quinn. But Mr. Hynes’ biggest problem with his opponent is that the governor hasn’t raised taxes high enough.

"Even with the tax rate we currently have, Illinois lost 175,000 private sector jobs last year and ranks 48th in the nation in economic performance. Only Michigan and Ohio rank lower. Raising taxes will only increase the speed at which Illinois’ economy is circling the drain.

"Instead of driving people and businesses away from Illinois, we need to make Illinois a growth state again. I’m the only candidate in this race who has the right proposals to do so.

"Both Mr. Hynes and Gov. Quinn want to talk about how much to raise taxes. I’m the only candidate in this race who is discussing how much to cut them.

"Both Mr. Hynes and Gov. Quinn want to quibble about how to finance the status quo. I’m the only candidate who’s trying to challenge the status quo.

"The Chicago Democrats, including Gov. Quinn and Dan Hynes, have created a public sector which is cannibalizing the private sector. The people of Illinois cannot tolerate another four years of their destructive policies."


Peoria School District #150 Forum

A guy who thinks like I do, I hope he reads my blogs, was John Sahn at the umpteenth public input session last night. John said, "I look at this enterprise as a $160 million business, and it seem to me that business leadership and business ability is a (the, my comment) key element to this position". Glen Barton, you should know that.

Other comments were typical such as lack of communication, what's new, why do you think, school board, that only 8 people showed up to your "forum". We're tired of showing up and our input disregarded.

Diane Vespa said we should hire someone with "charisma"; Diane were you thinking of an Obama type? Diane, where was your following last night?

Max Pogue, as usual, nailed it pretty well, by saying "we need a sense of where we we are, where we need to go and a constantly updated road map to get us there". Max, as to the creative part, these talents can always be hired and fired if they don't work out. They do not need "golden parachutes" like an administrator will demand. Remember Kay?

Of course, representatives of the $45,000, includes expenses, consulting firm, were in attendance, plus $300 a day (night?), $36,000 a year, not bad for someone retired, consultant who will be "in charge of project implementations". I figure the cost of last night meeting came to around $3200 divided by 8 in attendance or about $400 a head.

Of course, it is not quantity that counts but quality.

I close with comments from Julie Schiefling, a Bradley employee with a impressive title, who wrote not too long ago in the JS, "District 150 is doing well trying to involve parents. She said she can attest that there are parents who are interested, etc., etc. She touts success at Manual with the creation of a parent advisory council. Whatever happened to the power of PTA or PTO's? With the public school system being around for a couple of centuries I don't believe "advisory councils" are anything new.

Where were these parents last night???????

I'm not sure how much #150 is in debt but I suspect it will exceed $100 million counting the borrowed money to build the new schools. That's just the principal. The interest will be about another 70-80 million. Plus 150 takes in about 55% of everybody's property tax bill. This tax borne by the approximately 50% that pay property taxes.

A highly publicized forum with a turn out of 8. That's eight like in 8, and I'll bet part of the school board don't understand why. Many of us have been intelligently advising the board (myself, for more than 15 years) but they appear to listening to everybody but still can't make enough good decisions.

On the other hand, this community has too many committtees. Maybe that's why we don't get more of our priorities taken care of before we keep building more amenities to keep the "creative class" here. Were any of those types in the audience last night?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

History and the Role of Activists and Pacifists

Most of us want to live in peace. We do not want to be involved in nor witness carnage. However, acts that create violent death and destruction are facts known through the history of our universe. Activism does more to create a more secure world than does pacifism. Constant struggle and sacrifice for security brings us some of the peace we seek. Almost always, at a great cost of suffering. It is those who are ever vigilant, those who risk their lives to give us the opportunity to live in a relatively peaceful United States of America.

Most of our young people do not know much history and why we are, at the present time, near the top of the being the safest and most secure country in the world.

However, this freedom allows us to kill each other at the rate of 41,000 a year on our highways. This freedom allows us to kill ourselves and others with drugs of all kinds including alcohol abused. This freedom allowed us to worship as we please, elect and appoint possibly some of the most dangerous people in our history and some of the best in our history. This freedom allows a few in leadership roles to hinder our ability to keep those who wish us dead, and there are many, from wreaking further destruction on us and the rest of the peace seeking world. By attacking some of the most important public servants whose mission is to keep us free from a Shariah and Islamaniac or similar form of government, puts our freedom at great risk. We are hearing and reading about our own government attacking our security community gives solace to those bent on the destruction of our way of life. Our security forces, our government and politicians are a long way from being perfect but we have the right of peaceful dissent and elections generally free of corruption. Those who wish to destroy our way of life do not tolerate dissent or elections free from corruption.

Under Shariah Law, now making inroads in parts of Europe, such an act of waterboarding and threats would be considered to mild by radical elements of society, but public beheading and public lashing would stifle any type of dissent or get any type of confession. Women's rights, gained over many years in this country, would slowly be eroded. Those involved in terrorist acts look at our pacifism as a weakness to be exploited.

Freedom from inside or outside aggression as we strive to accomplish in the United States should set an example to other countries, to have their own somewhat similar version of freedom. Freedom is what most people agree is to lead a relatively peaceful existence, the right to vote and elect our leaders by secret ballot, be reasonably safe (auto deaths and gang violence are not reasonable) liberty to get an education to help us get satisfactory work, support a family if we wish, travel around our country without harassment, and be a contributor to society. All in pursuit of a reasonable amount of happiness.

Those who die and are maimed are heroes beyond most of our apprehension. All who honorably served are our heroes. And those who support our security forces are heroes too.

This email was sent to me by a friend. Read on and keep reminding our youth why other's sacrifices have given them what they feel is their "right". Wanting to live a peaceful life without danger is a nice belief. Current and past history prove it has never been a reality.