Monday, August 30, 2010

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Why the "Block the Bonds" Petition

You will get, "Why the petition" explanation, support and questions on C.J.Summers blog, the Peoria Chronicle.

More information at Call for more information from any of the 5 of us.

It was fairly well described on Saturdays Journal Star front page and in the wording on the petition.

Basically, the rules were changed without voter input. Here's some history. The museum group turned to the county as a last resort for raising the funds needed to complete the then $68 million, now $92+,million, museum. Originally, the request was for $24 million as I've previously blogged. Then, after being told that the taxpayer would be responsible for only 1/3 of the museum cost, the request from the taxpayer rose to $34.3 million and after the 1/4 cent sales tax facility referendum had passed, capped at $40 million by County Board vote. Or a projected $72-80 million over the 20year tax collection period.

Now the rules have changed. General Obligation Bonds now presented by the county means that the burden of failure shifts from the bondholder to the taxpayer. Also, more taxpayer dollars than the $40+ cap om museum funding can be used to the fund the museum. Already $0.6 million over the County approved Resolution cap.

The wording now read "General Obligation Bonds" which would allow, that if the museum needs more money, the County can give them more than the originally agreed on $35+, then $40 million. And now $40.6 million.

A request to Peoria County,(in writing) was made by the museum committee for the extra $5+ million to help fund the badly underfunded Endowment Fund. Taxpayers will now largely fund the Endowment, a measure intended to be funded by the private wealthy sector.

The changing of the wording done this month, is because the county can get a better interest rate on the bonds through the government. The government, already in debt so large, few can comprehend, will pick up the difference of a lower interest rate to the County, permitting the bondholders to make the profit while now placing the risk on the taxpayer.

Then there probably won't be an IMAX, a big name draw. That was definitely promised from Woith, Richerson and dozens of others; before the referendum and after. I have all kinds of documentation.

Minor things, not worth the JS ink are: 1. The PRM Group has already spent $13,400,000 and Peoria County, $555,000, without a shovel of dirt turned. $1.2 million in pledges are doubtful through 2009 and $19 million of pledges are still OUTSTANDING.

Also, no provision of cost of the temperature controlled vault now at Lakeview with no vault at the new PRM. Underground parking is also not a favorite of the older crowd.

Feel free to correct me by comment or email if one find errors in this blog.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dilbert's Scott Adams - "How I Almost Saved the Earth"

If the missed this article in the August 22-23, Wall Street Journal's special section titled, "Weekend Journal", it is a most informative and humours read. Adams say, "I live in a log with a family of chipmunks, but your willingness to recycle is good too." Adams says, "No one said it would be easy to build the greenest house on the block, told me about perplexing energy bills, ugly lawns, and the true meaning of 'green'."

Adams said he got sold and hired an architect who later became his engineer also, asks you to sign a document saying you won't sue them when beavers eat a load-bearing wall and your entire family is crushed by forest debris.

He continues "the greenest house is the one you don't build. If you really want to save the earth, move in with another family and share a house that's already been built. Better yet, live in the forest and eat whatever the squirrels don't want. Don't brag about riding your bicycle to work a lot of energy went into building that bicycle. Stop being a hypocrite like me."

After pointing out that "greening" is hyped beyond possibilities and that "his contribution to the well-being is joining the early adopters (OK, idiots) so that those who follow have better information and lower costs for green building."

There is no doubt that "greening" has been oversold and the "over-sellers" have and are making a bundle at a lot of people's ignorance and expense.

Anyway, Adams, as usual, wrote a very interesting, informative, funny article. Pull it up and read it. It may some some of you eager-beaver "greeners" a lot of money and stress.

IMAX - Probably not in the New Riverfront Museum - Part 2

There are three major possibilities as to why the planned IMAX theater will not be seen in the museum.

#1. The Lakeview Museum Committee did not raise the money they planned on to be able to afford an IMAX.

#2. Most likely, IMAX Corporation is looking at the "projected" museum financial projection figures, they have noted the difficulty of raising the private money the "movers and shakers" in Peoria promised, the possibility that the State of Illinois will go broke, and are doubtful that the museum will still be operative in 2022.

While considerable secrecy has been maintained by all promoters, there is word that IMAX Corp. does not commit without a signed 10 year contract.

#3. It is believed that IMAX asks for a guarantee in revenue. That may be why Construction Committee Chair and County board member, Andrew made the quote about less costly options.

Under any circumstances, whatever company is awarded a contract to install a big digital screen in the museum, they will demand a lot of money up front and a guaranteed stream of revenue.


Peoria County to Spend $1.6 Million for Record Storage

Unnoticed by most of the public, the new BelWood will have a $1.6 million basement to store old county records. With all the vacant buildings close to the Peoria County Courthouse, records that may be referenced 6 times a month, will become stored in a new taxpayer funded building miles away from the Courthouse.

Peoria County nor most elected officials have no formal Record Retention System with records on microfilm, photocopies and originals. Duplications of many of these records are also stored in Springfield.

I've asked to see a Record Retention program but apparently it is easier to build more NEW storage than to discard anything.

This $1.6 million we don't have, basement was a late add-on. OPM is easy to spend and getting easier with this administration. You may have forgotten the wish list prepared by the county a couple of years ago.


Many of you can't complain. You voted for the Facility Tax Referendum. You also elected this County Board of 12 Democrats.

Peoria County Transparency

On August 5, 2010, 10:16 AM, I received an email from Peoria County Administration confiding that Museum Committee Chairman Stephen Morris was holding a 12:00 PM news conference. Naturally, only the County board insiders were aware of this news conference. Most of us on the outside couldn't have mace it anyway. I didn't check my emails till 12:30 PM.

I understand only questions from the news media were answered. It is apparent that the news media were advised of the meeting before certain board members were advised.

Administrator Urich took responsibility as usual.

Is the County transparent? No, and getting worse.

Recently, a more than qualified and immediately available citizen found out the interest of Peoria County for a disaster coordinator for Elmwood. He put in a call to Peoria County Administrator Urich that WAS NEVER RETURNED. As a Peoria County board member, I and others on the board, did not know of the hiring of a John Hamann for this unadvertised position, former Woodford County zoning administrator until the news appeared in the JS on 8/18/10.

His salary is to be $1000 a week for 26 weeks. Whether a county vehicle or expenses are added, I have not yet learned. If another disaster occurs in Peoria County, I believe our administrator has the authority to place Mr. Hamann in a permanent position.

Hamann worked for the Pekin Fire Department for 22 years, 8 years as chief as well as being a Senior fire instructor at ICC and supervised the Tazewell County Hazardous Materials Response team. Why he left those positions is unknown.

Who made the reference for the position? I'm told it was Terry Kohlbuss, EDC Administrator under Heartland Partnership.

The JS reported that after various clashes with the Woodford County Board, Hamann resigned in May.


Peoria County's Voluntary Separation Plan

This plan, accepted by approximately 72 older employees working for the County last year, did not exactly turn out as publicized. First, administration said only 25% of these vacated jobs would be "backfilled" (hiring replacements). Now another surprise; the number backfilled was 50%.

Another surprise from Peoria County Board leadership and administration.

Not all elected agree with the plan, State's Attorney Lyon commented "that he does not support the VSP as a repeat practice." The County is looking at other ways to make up for decreasing revenues including flat certain percentage "across the board" budget reductions to all elected officials. Not a very good practice and one seldom used in the private sector.

The private sector shows their loyalty by hiring back the ones best suited for a particular need when the company can afford to hire back.

Most public sectors continue to give wage increases to the unions and then grant compensatory raises to non-union employees. Peoria County unrepresented employees will receive 3.5% increases effective Sept, 1, 2010. Some employees have had raises this year. Another 35 appear to be in some sort of salary limbo. Elected officials have fixed raises amounting to approximately 3 1/2 -4% annually compounded.

Raises in the private sector, I understand, have been few and far between. Also, 9,000 people in the private sector are out of jobs. Not true except perhaps for teachers, in the public sector.

Revenues to the County are pretty much down so far this year. I'll report how much down or up in September.

Peoria's County Owned Nursing Home - More Interesting Facts - Part Two

The County Board recently voted to borrow (Issuance of Debt) to cover expenses of a new BW County owned nursing home.

Our administrator has now advised us that the new land purchase, demolition and site work will now cost the property taxpayer approximately $6.6 million, up CONSIDERABLY from past estimates.

All the while this country may be heading for a double dip recession.

No problem, it creates temporary (stimulus type jobs for the unions while approximately 9,000 people in the private sector, go unemployed in the area. (Along with the 72% taxpayer funded museum)

Again, interesting.

Peoria's County Owned Nursing Home - More Interesting Facts

Facts not previously know to the public.

After showing charts that the new $56. something million new BelWood (BW) would be supported by an average 3% increase in Assessed Property Evaluation now we are told by our administrator that it is more likely to be 1.5% annually. Also, that financing has been back-stopped with the same utility tax pot passed by a narrow referendum vote, that is supporting the major cost of the new museum, as the full amount cannot be covered by the 2003 property tax levy.

In effect, people buying in Peoria who don't use BW or wouldn't even though they can, (at least 10% of the residents at BW now come from OUTSIDE the county and who pay no tax to support BW) will LIKELY be paying sales tax supporting the $51 million bond and interest for BelWood, around $72 total depending on whether the bonds are for 20 or 30 years, not determined to date.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

IMAX - Probably not in the New Riverfront Museum

A friend of mine sent me this letter that didn't make it on the Editorial Page. This project was doomed to struggle when the "movers and shakers" didn't perform as they promised. What is new in Peoria? Now I'd say its just doomed to cost the taxpayer a lot more money over the next 5-----10-----20 years. Maybe 40 to 60 years.

Lakeview records show that over $40,000 has already been spent on IMAX???? Those trips, rooms, and dinners must be expensive.


Letter sent to PJ Star forum 11/22/10 at 11:43 a.m.:

Much has been said over the last few weeks over the inclusion--or not---of an IMAX-branded theater at the proposed Peoria Riverfront Museum. Yes, we were promised an IMAX theater there. No, it doesn't look like we're going to get one.
The problem is not that this is yet another taxpayer-funded bait and switch. The bigger problem is, if not an IMAX, will the desired outcome be the same?
The whole reason we were going to move what already exists at Lakeview Museum to the old Sears block was that, with the addition of the CAT Visitor's Center AND an IMAX-branded theater, paid attendance to the museum would increase dramatically over current Lakeview levels. Thousands of tourists from outside the county would come to Peoria and spend money here.
However, the new redevelopment plan clearly states that if the PRM must go with an “alternate vendor” to IMAX, it “will result in significantly lower attendance”.
The theater (IMAX or not) will have a separate admission fee from that of the main museum. Can someone please tell me what will be at the new main museum that would draw people from as far away as, say, Bloomington----that does NOT already exist in Peoria?
Without an IMAX-branded theater at this location, what would cause paid attendance to increase over current levels at the existing Lakeview Museum?
Are we going forward with this (mostly) taxpayer-funded project simply because a select few have put a lot of time into it? Because it's "too big to fail"? Or are we just throwing good money after bad?

P.S. Thanks to Merle for getting HIS letter published---Well done!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Museum has long history of IMAX promises"

Thanks to the Journal Star Editorial Board (JSEB) for running my editorial "In the Spotlight" Saturday. As usual, I write too many words so they edited it a bit but also added some comments such as my saying "it would be best to stop this project now than to see its funding cut back."

That statement comes from the contract with the county that says "if funding goals are not met, the museum will need to cut back on overhead and operating expenses." If that happens, there goes another "Amaze" as Richerson said we will differ from the financially strapped Wichita, Kansas museum as Peoria will keep changing exhibits.

Changing exhibits are quite costly.

Also left out were Koehler and Leitch touting an IMAX theater in the Peoria Riverfront Museum (PRM) in the Inter/Business (IB) local news magazine.

Look for my "letter to the editor" (LTE) in the September issue of the Community Word.

Twist the Ground Zero Story

Only story here that I can see is:

Use some decency, you promoters. After all, this mosque will only be two blocks from a terrorist Muslim attack killing thousands of innocent people.

Those who think this mosque will foster more jihads against the infidels, should definitely demand to know where the money is coming from and run a public background check.

All of these questions could be answered by the largely silent Muslim moderates. Am I prejudicial? No, Muslims should swear allegiance to this country just like my Dad and his parents did when soon after they arrived in America through Ellis Island. My Mom and her brothers and sisters were born here. I have a copy showing my Dad as a naturalized citizen of the U.S.

He and my Mother wanted no part of the countries they came from.

This became their home, not where they or their parents came from.

And Ron Paul is an intelligent idiot. He is a Republican? Another reason for me to be an independent.

Caterpillar Restarts Its Growth Engine - In the South

So reads a headline in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) dated 8/12/10. The article is a little more detailed than the one on the same day in the Journal Star. (JS) The new plant in Victoria, Texas, a right to work state, will employ more than a 1000 new jobs. "It's a major shift in manufacturing strategy for Caterpillar. It's all driven by cost reduction. It is not just labor costs;#1,my comment)its the cost of exporting and attempting to shorten distance between the supplier base and production facilities" says a Chicago based forecaster for the construction machinery industry.

This shift of business is just a series of Caterpillar moves out of Illinois including shifts from Aurora,(Cat says displaced people in Aurora will move to other Cat jobs in Aurora) Morton, Decatur and Peoria announced so far. In the meantime of the approximately 25,000 Caterpillar employees laid of or fired, only a few of the approximately 5300 rehired are from the United States.

This country, and especially Illinois, under Obama, the Democrats and the unions, is basically dead when it comes to manufacturing growth. We are becoming a health and service industry country where the jobs do not pay as much and the lower end jobs taken by illegals; most illegals in this country whose major skills are "hard work".

While their has been some construction out at Mossville, insiders say it is mainly more office space. I believe if you took a "Facility Tax Referendum" just among non-union and non-management Cat workers right now, the referendum would fail. Many of these people think the $53 million Cat is spending on the museum and visitors center could have been better used by the within the company for its shrinking manufacturing employee base.

While manufacturing employment is up for by a couple hundred thousand, most of this employment has been in the subsidized part of the auto industry. Look for more consolidation in this country and no change in the unemployment figures as small businesses have little idea where this administration is taking them.

Probably for the ride of their lives. I would not want to be a small business owner today, even if I had a niche market. Too much paperwork and worry as starters.

And then again, what has all the hype over TranPort gotten us here in Peoria?


Our President; "The Community Organizer"

Worse than anyone ever. Also a union organizer. He wants the "Card" Bill, he wants in every way to unionize the private sector and use stealth to start unionizing the "right to work" states where Caterpillar is shifting production out of Peoria.
All the time, expanding the unions in the public sector and giving them more control of the country.

Merle Widmer

Worse Than Carter
By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. on 8.19.10

WASHINGTON -- It is becoming apparent for all to see, that a man who made his name as a community organizer does not have the skills to be President of these United States. Maybe he could develop the requisite skills as a governor. Possibly, he could develop such skills were he to sit in the Senate for a couple of terms. Yet there are delicate sensitivities, the ability to listen, to stick by your guns, occasionally to remain reticent. These are the fundamentals of a leader, and President Barack Obama has demonstrated that he lacks all of them, most notably reticence. I now think it is clear even to Official Washington that President Obama is the worst president of modern times. President Jimmy Carter is redeemed.

The other night at a White House dinner solemnizing the opening of Ramadan he leaped right in to endorse the building a mosque at Ground Zero. He -- a man who has shown no religious fervor during his time in the White House -- let out a ringing defense of religious liberty and tolerance. Of a sudden, he was at the center of a national controversy that was growing. It put me in mind of his inability to defuse the controversy over healthcare. Any sensible president would have relented, as opposition to healthcare grew to the majority position. He would have settled for some sort of compromise, but not the community-organizer-turned-president. He wanted it all. He lunged on and created among the electorate a row over national healthcare that divided the nation, and put some of us in mind of a civil war that continues to rage. What is more, he imperiled his party's margins in both houses.

Notwithstanding his apparent personal insouciance toward religion, he made it clear that the mosque should be built. Who cares about the sensibilities of the loved ones of the 3,000 victims? Or for that matter, of the 68% of the American people who according to a CNN poll oppose the mosque? It took him less than a day to make things worse. While on a swing through Florida, he claimed that he was not speaking "on the wisdom" of building the mosque. He was merely commenting on the Constitutional right to build the mosque and to practice one's religion. A right "that dates back," the prof allowed, "to our founding. That's what our country is about." Blah, blah, blah -- the community organizer turned-lecturer at the University of Chicago could not resist.

Now he has a red hot national controversy on his hands. It is somewhat like the controversy he created over Professor Henry Louis Gates when he pronounced the Cambridge police's reaction to Gates's truculence "stupid." Or when Mr. Obama barged into the Arizona immigration pother. He cannot resist showing the world how smart he is, but at what cost? Every Democrat battling a tight race will be called to answer questions about the mosque. It will become an issue even in remote places such as Nevada. There the Senate leader, Harry Reid, fighting for his seat against a Tea Partyer, Sharron Angle, has come out against the President. He announced that it is not a question of right but a question of prudence. He says the mosque should be built elsewhere. How many other Democrats will join him? This could develop into a major rebellion against President Obama's leadership. It could be the beginning of the end of his presidency.

President Obama represents the leadership of a sterile elite. His weird lectures play at the University of Chicago or in the communities he has organized in Chicago, but not among the mainstream of the American electorate. He has brought it together and it is against this idiocy. As I said in this space two weeks ago, he represents the leadership of the Ruling Class. It is not the leadership of the consensus of the American people. Only the most extreme voices in this debate are speaking intolerantly about Islam and its right to build a mosque. Most of the American people are siding with the dread Sarah Palin who was quick to say, "Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where the radicals killed 3,000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have a right to do it, but should they? And no, this isn't above your pay grade."

Yet it is. It is above the pay grade of a community organizer. That is what our president is. Increasingly, it is clear that the Democrats brought down on the country a community organizer as president. Maybe in the future they will consider experience a qualification for the presidency. Possibly the age of charisma is behind us. Possibly Mr. Obama even lacks that dubious quality.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

She May Not Win an Award as America's Most Likeable Coumnist, But.........

I believe it is realistic that illegals can sneak into this country and have a baby so that baby automatically becomes a citizen. The law should have been changed a century or more ago. Worry not, you liberal Democrats; Obama and you know that every illegal will eventually be a Democrat vote. Obama is working to legalize as many illegals in this country or still coming BEFORE his bid for reelection in 2012.

His minions are frantically working behind the scenes while he is practicing his demagoguery as he skitters around the world and country, while taking vacation #6 already this year.


by Ann Coulter
August 18, 2010

"Nativism in American politics has become so rampant that it is considered scandalous in Republican circles for a judge to acknowledge paying any attention to foreign courts and their legal rulings." -- New York Times editorial, Aug. 3, 2010

The New York Times runs this same smug editorial every few months -- at least I think it's the same editorial -- to vent its spleen at conservatives who object to American judges relying on foreign law to interpret the U.S. Constitution.

But when it comes to anchor babies, The New York Times and the entire Democratic establishment plug their ears and hum rather than consider foreign laws on citizenship. (For more on this, see "Mexican immigration law versus U.S. immigration law.")

Needless to say, America is the only developed nation that allows illegal aliens to gain full citizenship for their children merely by dropping them on U.S. soil.

Take Sweden -- one of the left's favorite countries. Not only is there no birthright citizenship, but even the children of legal immigrants cannot become Swedish citizens simply by being born there. At least one parent must be a citizen for birth on Swedish soil to confer citizenship.

(Applicants also have to know the lyrics to at least one ABBA song, which explains why you don't see groups of Mexicans congregating outside Ikea stores.)

Liberals are constantly hectoring Americans to adopt Sweden's generous welfare policies without considering that one reason Sweden's welfare policies haven't bankrupted the country (yet) is that the Swedes don't grant citizenship to the children of any deadbeat who manages the spectacular feat of giving birth on Swedish soil.

In Britain, only birth to at least one British citizen or the highest class of legal immigrant, a "settled" resident with the right to remain, such as Irish citizens, confers citizenship on a child born in England. And if the British birthright is through the father, he must be married to the mother (probably a relic from Victorian times when marriage was considered an important institution).

Even Canada, the country most similar to the United States, grants citizenship upon birth -- but excludes the noncitizen parents of anchor babies from receiving benefits, such as medical care, schooling and other free stuff given to Canadian citizens.

After MSNBC'S favorite half-black guest, professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, made the dazzling point last week that "all babies are anchor babies" because "I certainly know my 8-year-old has anchored the heck out of my life," thereby winning this week's witty wordplay contest, she claimed to be stumped on how citizenship could possibly be determined if not by location of birth.

"I want Americans to pause for a moment and ask themselves," Harris-Lacewell said portentously, "on what basis would you determine citizenship, if not based on where a child is born?" (Luckily for Harris-Lacewell, U.S. citizenship is not granted on problem-solving abilities.)

Harris was off and running, babbling: "Do you have to have two parents who are citizens? How about grandparents? How about great-grandparents?"

I don't know -- how does Sweden do it? How about Denmark? Maybe we should check the laws of every other country in the universe -- especially the ones liberals are relentlessly demanding we emulate!

Or is Ms. Lacewell one of those chest-thumping, nationalistic nativists who becomes hysterical when anyone brings up foreign law? Where is The New York Times when we need it?

The Times' editorial denouncing "nativist" conservatives ended with this little homily: "(Republicans) might want to re-read James Madison's description in the Federalist Papers of the ideal legislator: 'He ought not to be altogether ignorant of the law of nations.'"

Of course, conservatives' objection to judges looking to foreign law is that they're judges, not legislators -- least of all "ideal legislators."

Judges are supposed to be interpreting a constitution and laws written by legislators, not legislating from the bench. Hey, whose turn is it to remind The New York Times that the legislative branch of our government is different from the judicial branch?

As the Times' own august quote from James Madison indicates, he was referring to "the ideal legislator," not "the ideal Supreme Court justice."

In its haste to call conservatives names, the Times not only gave away that they think judges are supposed to be "legislators" -- a point they've been denying for decades -- but also provided a ringing endorsement for ending birthright citizenship.

Not being an easily frightened nativist like Harris-Lacewell, I think we should look at other countries' laws, then adopt the good ones and pass on the bad ones.

For example, let's skip clitorectomies, arranged marriages, dropping walls on homosexuals, honor killings and the rest of the gorgeous tapestry of multiculturalism.

Instead, how about we adopt foreign concepts such as disallowing frivolous lawsuits, having loser-pays tort laws, and requiring that both parents be in the U.S. legally and at least one parent be a citizen, for a child born here to get automatic citizenship?

Or (to paraphrase my favorite newspaper) has nativism in American politics become so rampant that it is considered scandalous in Democratic circles for a legislator to acknowledge paying any attention to foreign countries and their laws? If so, then Democrats might want to re-read James Madison's description in the Federalist Papers of the ideal legislator: "He ought not to be altogether ignorant of the law of nations."


Friday, August 20, 2010

Billions for Teachers Unions - Nothing for Students

By Kyle Olson
Here’s a story problem to get kids ready for the new school year:

If Congress borrows $10 billion to bail out the public schools, and if toilet paper costs fifty cents a roll, how many rolls of toilet paper will each of the nation’s 132,000 K-12 public schools receive?

The answer: Zero. Zip. Zilch.

The average American can be forgiven for thinking that the $10 billion “edujobs” bill signed into law last week by President Obama would directly benefit the nation’s school children. That’s certainly how the National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel spun it: “As a result of this vote, we expect to see less crowded classrooms, reinstated bus routes and restored education programs and services,” Van Roekel said.

What a windfall for the kids, right? But how to make sense of this headline in The New York Times: “Back to School? Bring Your Own Toilet Paper.” Just five days after the $10 billion bailout became law, the Times reports that schools all across the country are sending out shopping lists to parents and students, requiring them to help stock the janitorial closets that have been stripped bare by shrinking school budgets. Wasn’t that money supposed to prevent this kind of thing?

It’s a fact that school districts all across the country have smaller budgets to work with, due to the aftermath of “The Great Recession.” It’s also a fact that unlike most American workers who have had to take less pay and fewer benefits to keep their jobs, many teacher unions all across the country have refused to make any concessions (i.e. accepting a freeze in pay or contributing to their health insurance costs). Left with no other options to balance their budgets, school districts were forced to cut teaching jobs. This resulted in a “crisis” and led to Congress’ $10 billion bailout.

With Congress pumping all this new money into the education system, the teacher unions can forego any unpleasant concessions and can protect the status quo. Meanwhile, parents and students are forced to stretch their back-to-school budgets to help stock the restrooms with toilet paper and Kleenex.

Despite all the spin, it is clear that the “edujobs” bill was simply a bailout for the intractable teacher unions dressed up as being “for the children.” Once again, the nation’s school kids are asked to do with less so the teacher unions can do with more.

Welcome back to school.

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Billions for Teachers Unions - Nothing for Students

By Kyle Olson
Here’s a story problem to get kids ready for the new school year:

If Congress borrows $10 billion to bail out the public schools, and if toilet paper costs fifty cents a roll, how many rolls of toilet paper will each of the nation’s 132,000 K-12 public schools receive?

The answer: Zero. Zip. Zilch.

The average American can be forgiven for thinking that the $10 billion “edujobs” bill signed into law last week by President Obama would directly benefit the nation’s school children. That’s certainly how the National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel spun it: “As a result of this vote, we expect to see less crowded classrooms, reinstated bus routes and restored education programs and services,” Van Roekel said.

What a windfall for the kids, right? But how to make sense of this headline in The New York Times: “Back to School? Bring Your Own Toilet Paper.” Just five days after the $10 billion bailout became law, the Times reports that schools all across the country are sending out shopping lists to parents and students, requiring them to help stock the janitorial closets that have been stripped bare by shrinking school budgets. Wasn’t that money supposed to prevent this kind of thing?

It’s a fact that school districts all across the country have smaller budgets to work with, due to the aftermath of “The Great Recession.” It’s also a fact that unlike most American workers who have had to take less pay and fewer benefits to keep their jobs, many teacher unions all across the country have refused to make any concessions (i.e. accepting a freeze in pay or contributing to their health insurance costs). Left with no other options to balance their budgets, school districts were forced to cut teaching jobs. This resulted in a “crisis” and led to Congress’ $10 billion bailout.

With Congress pumping all this new money into the education system, the teacher unions can forego any unpleasant concessions and can protect the status quo. Meanwhile, parents and students are forced to stretch their back-to-school budgets to help stock the restrooms with toilet paper and Kleenex.

Despite all the spin, it is clear that the “edujobs” bill was simply a bailout for the intractable teacher unions dressed up as being “for the children.” Once again, the nation’s school kids are asked to do with less so the teacher unions can do with more.

Welcome back to school.

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Tags: Congress, National Education Association, nea, New York Times, public school bailout, teachers union
Posted Aug 19th 2010 at 11:29 am in Big Labor, Congress, Education, Federal Spendi inappropriate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Democrats Played and are Playing Major Roles in the Freddie-Fannie Disaster

Foremost among the Democrats was, as usual, Barney Franks as he said on Sept 10, 2003, that there was no and had been no problems with these two corrupt taxpayer supported financial firms. Joining in the chorus was Democrat Charles Schumer. They are still in the same chorus but now that so many Democrat seats are up for election, I see and hear a small change in support by the Democrats for this corrupt massive financial missile.

Voices of reason George Bush, John McCain and most all Republicans, could not make reform progress as the Democrats in Congress voted as a block against badly needed reforms.

Bush's major problem was that he didn't wield the veto pen often enough and the Republicans could not reach the independent voter.

The Republicans with the help from most of the Tea Party people may be able to oust a number of Democrats in November if they can keep from shooting themselves in their mouths.

I am an independent thinker and voter but I have yet to see a Democrat on any level who is running for office for whom I would cast a vote. Unfortunately, there are still a few entitlement and special interest mentality Republicans that I would prefer not to continue representing this country at any level of government.If you are paying attention, you surely see that this country citizenry and it's governmental bodies are far from being out of the woods. In fact, the "woods" are getting more dense.

Community Gardens

With some fanfare PEECO announced "Planting a Community Garden" has begun. Volunteers will tend the garden and provide community gardeners the opportunity to create some thing beautiful."

The "garden" is located 100 feet south of Harrison Home Offices at 2634 W. Meidroth.

Beautiful? How about unattended, very small and partly vandalized. Go see for yourself. I did. It takes "work" to create a beautiful garden.


Community Gardens have never worked in Peoria to my knowledge. Years ago, there was a large garden out north on Galena Road. Closed shortly after it opened, I'm told, because people who don't like work thought community meant "it's mine too". Since the County now owns the abandoned former 43 acre Hanna City Correctional Center building and grounds, I suggested a work re-lease program with low risk jail residents becoming involved with learning a trade and creating a community garden carpentry shops, in this totally fenced area. The U of I Extension showed some interest in December 2009 but overall the community is more interested in building museums to themselves, shooting ranges, professional ball parks for themselves but partly funded by taxpayer dollars, zoos, recreations parks with no water or toilet facilities, (think PPD and the $230,000 they allegedly received from the state to put in a small basic shelter, a small playground, two basketball hoops, all seldom used, plus a rather large parking lot on the north end of Peoria Stadium).

Vandalism a growing problem in undisciplined youth who the JSEB calls 16 year olds, just kids growing up. Like 13 year old rapist, murderers and burglars. No, even 8-9 year old doing the same thing.

The "bleeding" liberals think building self-esteem for partly doing what they should be learning to do or doing, handing out trophies for showing up, excuses such as "but they are just boys (and now girls) and ignorance of the "broken window" theory, is the way to build youth leadership.

Sure it is. By the way what ever happened to the highly touted CeaseFire program? Still in existence in Peoria and who runs it out of where? School people I thought should know, do not. I know Carl Cannon runs a successful program out of the RiverPlex for mainly, if not totally, for the southside, but over the years, many other groups have been organized and faded away.

Ask me what I've done, I've mentored, organized an at risk programs, served 3 plus years on the PPD Advisory Board and nearing 10 years on the County Board, served 5 years on a Homeless Shelter Committee, served on the B & G Club Board, Harrison Youth Center Board, worked for years to help clean up the abandoned or dilapidated buildings in the community, talked and instructed and advised kids, visited school, etc.

Not bragging, I didn't do nearly enough.

People With Good "Intentions" Should Not Let Facts Get In Their Way

Community meetings after community meetings and now a new law titled "Illinois Youth Development" making Illinois the first state in the nation to make after-school programming official.

Sounds again like lot's of taxpayer dollars with lots of new administrative jobs, new offices and secretaries and very little leadership.

That is what has been proven in Peoria. The JS announced on May 23, 2008, in an article titled, "Community school will debut". "Kids programs such as book clubs, sports instruction, cooking classes, will be available, along with adult programs like basketball, fitness classes, a walking club and weight lifting. The resource center will be run by the the Workforce Development Board.

Problem is, none of this "resource center" ever existed unless you call the 19 computers free to anyone including business people a "community resource center". I've dropped in at this location at least 5 times and have yet to see more than one kid and no parents with kids after school hours.

Then there is the Boys and Girls Club who still FALSELY advertise a phone # and address on Grinnell when that location has been closed for 3 years, 3 1/2 months. The B & G Club also sometimes puts on programs at Trewyn which I have visited several times. Kids come and go when they please, talk whenever they please which is often among themselves, chaos to the point of having an ex-police officer on hand occasionally to blow a whistle and tell the kids to settle down.

Of course, there is a larger attendance when the food is served, the gym is open with the "instructor" shooting hoops with a couple of the boys, girls aren't present, and the rest of the kid horsing around.

Some say this is better than having them on the street. Good, but face the facts, the people in charge have no idea where these kids are either outside of the building or in the building. I have never seen a roll call.

There was supposed to be an after school program at Manual. Fact, no never was one according to the Ass't Principal and the janitors. Janitors are always the best source of knowing what is going on inside a school.

And now today's JS reports on another "what is available for our kids after 5:30"? meeting at Friendship House. What about the period from 3 til 5:30? Sports, in the high schools with maybe 3-4 kids out for tennis, again coming and going, 12 maybe out for baseball and the same in track, a few for volleyball and a select few for basketball and football. I've recommended intramural or inter city intramural competiton or just play with supervison.

Or work like gardens, etc. (see my nex blog on community gardens)

In the grade schools, not much of anything after hours that I've see. Maybe some one will enlighten me.

It is interesting to note that Community Builders who started out with $75,000 taxpayer dollars, added another $10,000 for programs at Trewyn, Garfield and Manual??, has a phone number for a Bradley University person who now refers calls to Jim Bateman who doesn't return calls. Mr. Bateman is no dummy, he knows I will ask the hard questions and go and observe these "community programs".. If you recall Joyce Banks was originally paid to run Community Builders out of an office on Sheridan Road, who told me when I called on her, "I needed to make an appointment".

She is long gone but I suspect she still has a government or taxpayer funded position,

I quit throwing money at these programs and many other people would do the same IF they looked in once in while. Wouldn't hurt to visit a few classrooms "unannounced", that way you could see what goes on and why we our public schools threatened to be taken over by the City.

The cities who have there own problems by the bundles?

NewLiberalism Has Let This Country Slide Way Too Far to the Left

Prayers like this are needed badly, whether you are a church goer or even have a named religion. We need CHANGE in this country and our leaders in Washington, Governors, Mayors, County Board Chairs, School Administrators, and oftentimes preachers who preach but are heard only by the "choir" and then most times do NOT follow through with their good "intentions".

Merle Widmer (Forwarded to me by a friend)

A Pastor with GUTS!

Thought you might enjoy this interesting
prayer given in Kansas at
the opening session of their Senate. It seems
prayer still upsets some
people.. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open
the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is

what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask
your forgiveness and to seek your direction and
guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those
who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we
have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed
our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it
the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it

We have killed our unborn and called it

We have shot abortionists and called it

We have neglected to discipline our
children and called it building self esteem.....

We have abused power and called it

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions
and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and
pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values
of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts
today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free..

The response was immediate. A number of
legislators walked out during the prayer in
protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian
Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than
5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls
responding negatively. The church is now receiving
international requests for copies of this prayer
from India , Africa and Korea .

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on
his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,'and
received a larger response to this program than any
other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep
over our nation and wholeheartedly become our
desire so that we again can be called 'one nation
under God.'

If possible, please pass this prayer on to
your friends... 'If you don't stand for something,
you will fall for everything.'

Think about this: If you forward this
prayer to everyone on your
e-mail list, in less than 30 days it would be
heard by the world.

How many people in your address book will
not receive this you have the guts to pass it on?

Go Arizona Lawmakers

I lived in Phoenix off and on for many years yet despite, at that time, being a sports fan, I only attended Sun games when Roger Phegley or David Thirdkill (both Bradly graduates) played. Today, I do not attend any professional sports. The big ego owners, the overpaid players, the costly admissions and concessions, plus traffic jams, have turned me off on professional sports.

I wonder how many of these professional athletes vote? Or even are citizens or have made application?

Recently, efforts were made to apply a tax on tourists to support these expensive stadiums. Fortunately, this effort was killed, at least for the time being.



This comment follows the Phoenix Suns' protest of the new AZ law.

"What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people
were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good
idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security
personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their
ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected.
Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those
who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on
those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had
to provide free medical care and shelter?"

- This was posted by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on FaceBook

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Robinson, Pitts and Adams - All Peoria Journal Star Columnists Need to Read

About half of what these bleeding liberal race baiters write is just that - race baiting. Whether Buchanan wrote this or not, I agree. So do many of my black friends.


By Patrick J. Buchanan

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America .. Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation.. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.... This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.. Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ' 60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream. Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants. Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated their time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.
We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude??

Barack talks about new 'ladders of opportunity' for blacks. Let him go to Altoona ? And Johnstown , and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for 'deserving' white kids...? Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America ? Is it really white America 's fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?

Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena . And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago. This needs to be passed around because, this is a message everyone needs to hear!!!


will you pass it on ?

YES. I did but will you?

Because I'm for a better America

Honor our Veterans - it's the right thing to do.

I am
Not racist,
Not violent,
Just not silent anymore.
If you can read this...thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English...thank a veteran.

Bear Arms Rights

The widespread efforts of those who wish to control the rights of a concerned citizenry must be thwarted by every means possible.


For Immediate Release: 8/16/2010
CHICAGO, IL – The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Chicago’s new gun ordinance, asserting that “by banning gun ranges open to the public…under color of law,” the city is depriving citizens of their right to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Joining SAF in this lawsuit are the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), Action Target, Inc., and three individual plaintiffs including a retired Chicago police detective. They are represented by attorneys Alan Gura of Virginia and David Sigale of Chicago, who teamed up with SAF and ISRA on the landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, which incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, effectively striking down Chicago’s 28-year-old handgun ban.

“While the city has adopted new regulations that make it legal to own handguns,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “they have crafted this new ordinance to make it virtually impossible for prospective gun owners to meet all legal requirements unless they travel outside the city for mandatory training. The new ordinance prohibits public gun ranges inside the city yet the city demands that handgun owners get at least one hour of range training time.

“This is a ‘Catch-22’ scenario,” he continued, “that seems deliberately designed to discourage Chicago residents from exercising their firearm civil rights barely two months after those rights were restored by the Supreme Court.”

Individual plaintiffs are Rhonda Ezell, a victim of three attempted burglaries who has disabilities making it difficult for her to travel outside the city; Joseph Brown, a WWII U.S. Army veteran who was among the liberators of the infamous Dachau concentration camp, and William Hespen, a retired police detective, all of whom must qualify for Chicago Firearms Permits.

Action Target, a Utah-based company, builds shooting ranges and manufactures gun range equipment and supplies. It has a long history of providing gun safety equipment and training, and has previously built law enforcement shooting ranges in Chicago. However, Action Target is prohibited from building a public target range within the city’s limits under the restrictions of the new gun ordinance.

Randy Graham, vice president of Action Target, said, “We believe that citizens have a constitutional right to use and train with firearms in a safe and controlled environment. As a leader in the firearms training industry, Action Target is committed to standing up for these rights.”

“By banning public gun ranges,” Gottlieb said, “and by banning the loan and rental of firearms at such ranges, Chicago is acting under color of law to deprive citizens of their right to keep and bear arms, and to conveniently receive the education required under the ordinance that is necessary to obtain a Chicago Firearms Permit. The city is violating both the Second and First amendments, and we are asking the court to put an end to this nonsense.”

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Locked out of my Facebook Account

I've been locked out for quite a while. I have not forgotten my password. The instructions they send me do not make sense. I had someone help me with no success. Anyone want to give me instructions?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We Were Not Promised an IMAX

So said Tim Riggenbach, former County Board member and now a City Councilman as quoted in the JS today. I am delivering a letter the the JSEB today refuting his claim in detail. If the JSEB elects not to print my letter, the whole letter with comments will be printed here in the near future. From what I read, hear and see, the public is wearying of this "Saga of Flim-Flam on the Riverfront".

"Yes sir, right here in RiverCity."

When I was in business and we sold a customer a Herman Miller (a prominent name brand) and delivered, say a Hon, we would have lost that account,

Friday, August 13, 2010

BelWood New County Nursing Home Bond Passes 12-5

Democrat Allen Mayer kept up his successful rants about the 2003 successful tax levy increase referendum to "MAINTAIN" BW, gave the County Board the power to build a new BW for $29 million, oops, $34 million, ooops, $45 million, oooops, $54.6 million, whew!, without a new referendum to build anew. This 2003 referendum hinted that BW might need to be closed if the referendum didn't pass. (Neither Tazewell County or Sangamon County has County owned nursing homes). BW is touted as a safety net for the poor despite the fact that administration said that new BW rates MIGHT be just slightly less than the private sector and that the Medicaid people had no place to go despite having, so far, 130 beds in the private sector, that a location hasn't been selected yet and demolition and site preparation might mean $3-4.5 million more, that we don't have the money saved, that BW was supported by $3.2 million in property tax last year, that administration told maintenance to repair only life-safety issues starting in 2007, that 3 months ago, we were told that 24 residents came from OUTSIDE PEORIA COUNTY, that selling BW was never an option or SUGGESTED by our administrator, (now vacationing in Maine) despite the costs of remodeling rose dramatically from $12.5 million to $26 million after the hiring of a new consulting group, that the contractor that made the newest estimate on remodeling was the same contractor that is making the new estimates on building a new BW, despite the fact that the present building is about the same age as my house which the Assessor, until I appealed, said was rising in value.

Could it be possible that BW employs 167 union members, that the Peoria County Board has 12 Democrats, that Mike Everett, a union boss or Marty Clinch also representing the union, set in on all critical vote issues or was it the fact that the 12 members voting yes (Bob Baietto voted with the Democrats, Democrat Junior Watkins was absent)were such compassionate people? Or was it because as board members kept saying we had to "compete" to attract residents (at the last meeting it was suggested by one of these 12 that maybe we should drop the word "compete").

Or is Peoria County following the Federal Government and believes in more government growth? The County plans to use the old BW for other county functions if a new site is selected. Of course, all these things can be justified just like I can justify the need for a new car. Only my problem and yours, is that WE pay for it

I asked if so, why not store old records there? Good question, and administration said it was a possibility. Wanna bet?

Or is it after 10 years of service, I can escape, I mean, I had decided 2 1/2 years ago to not run for a fourth term in December.

Whew, I'm going to stop even though there is much more of the BW story to be told, fines, huge monetary settlements of lawsuits and the allegation that a union business manager was caught in a residents bed, allegedly the resident was there also and that it was confirmed in a letter from administration today that the state charged BW of another violation of some sort occurred and corrective action is being taken.This spring we paid the State $10,000 for numerous violations that I understand were negotiated down.

Stop. Administration says that the new 223 bed BW will be self-supporting. Similar to the claim that there still will be an IMAX in the museum? And that an extra $1 1/2million will be spent on a basement in the new BW to POSSIBLY hold old records that hardly anyone looks at (we will borrow that $1/12 million also) and disregarding the fact that there are empty buildings within walking distance of the courthouse. And the possibility of using the old BW for storage since we are going to keep it anyway.

Hey, it's OPM, let's spend it because we can justify because our residents want a new building and the 43 year old building is obsolete and run-down, so Board member Phil Salzer, ex-teacher and track coach and official, keeps saying. And 11 others agreed.

Boy, has this last 2 years on the board been fun, or what? Only 4 more months (whew, again) to go and most of the board can't wait till I'm gone.

Democrat Lynn Pearson, 19 year member of the board, who said a year ago that if we didn't build a new BW by 2012, an outright lie, that BW would be closed by the State, is up for re-election in November. Karrie Alms is running for Ms. Pearson's position. Her election would bring some sense and intellect to this board. And you can bet, Karrie will not be swayed by special interests. Please, those of you that can support her campaign by volunteering and/or contributing money that is always needed to win elections.

Thanks for reading me and please correct any errors of omission or commission in the comment section of my blogs.

Read more about BelWood Financials

Maxine Waters - Blame it on the White Folk

Typical. What I like about Goldberg is that he "pulls no punches".


Jonah Goldberg Race-Card Payment Coming Due
EMAIL JONAH GOLDBERG | COLUMNIST'S ARCHIVE SHARE THIS: Share150 2911diggdiggSign-Up "The race card is maxed out."

That was the punch line for a recent hilarious exchange on "The Daily Show" in which Larry Wilmore, the faux news program's "senior black correspondent," reported that the race card is not only over its credit limit but is in fact "void during a black presidency." This discovery came in the wake of Maxine Waters' allegation that her political problems stem from a racially biased congressional ethics investigation.

Wilmore said he should have seen this coming, given that "the Congressional Black Caucus has been overusing the race card for years." Like when it circled the wagons around Rep. William Jefferson. The CBC in effect argued it'd be no big deal if a white congressman had been videotaped receiving a $100,000 bribe and if the FBI then found most of it in his freezer. Singling out a black congressman for this sort of thing, Wilmore jokes, amounts to punishing Jefferson for "Legislating While Black."

Of course, Wilmore (a great comic talent) is joking, but not everyone is laughing. Waters, the representative for South Central Los Angeles since 1991, is one of America's premier racial hucksters. A notoriously nasty piece of work, she sided with the murderous rioters in what she called the post-Rodney King verdict "rebellion" and danced the electric slide with the Crips and the Bloods. (Who says she's not bipartisan?) So it's hardly surprising that she'd lump all of her problems on Whitey.

In Aesop's Fables, the scorpion must sting the frog because that is what scorpions do. In real life, Waters must blame her problems on, well, you know who.

Waters is alleged to have offered special help for OneUnited, a minority-owned bank where her husband served on the board until April 2008. Her husband owned roughly $350,000 worth of OneUnited stock. If it didn't get bailed out by the Treasury Department, the bank would have gone under. Waters told Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, about the potential conflict of interest, and Frank -- not everyone's idea of a scrupulous ethicist to begin with -- told her she should stay clear of it. She ignored his advice and allegedly helped secure OneUnited $12 million in TARP money, saving the value of her husband's bank shares. Waters says it's all a misunderstanding since she was barely involved. She merely outsourced most of the work to her chief of staff, aka her grandson.

She insists she won't be anyone's "sacrificial lamb" and points to the fact that eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been subject to ethics investigations -- which she and many in the CBC suggest is no coincidence.

And they're right.
1 2 | Full Article | Next > Jonah Goldberg's Biography Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

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PRM - The Grand Lies Continue?

A message from Anne. Yep, a Giant Screen Digital Theater. Oh boy. The scary thing about this whole mess is that the County Contract puts certain restrictions on the PRM; one being that if they don't come up with additional financing when required, the contract calls for them to cut down on "operating costs and overhead which could cause further financial problems and eventually, possibly no tenant. Then what? Or would Peoria County use it as a larger "old record" storage system - or Cat - a larger Visitors Center Or more likely, another "white elephant" on the riverfront??? Or more taxes? Which would be the more likely scenario?


AnneC has left a new comment on your post "IMAX SAYS NO ONE IN PEORIA IS INTERESTED"

Hi, I'm Anne---the one that contacted IMAX. Yes, I have forwarded this email to the mayor.
To see the "Grand Lie" about IMAX, you need only go to the Build the Block website. It's STILL up there! Go to
wait for it to load, then click on---yup---IMAX (upper left of the design). Read the very informative pop-up. Nothing about an IMAX knock-off there.
Some more interesting facts about the planned "Giant Screen Digital Theater":
It will have just 200 seats---less than the Town Theater in Chillicothe.
First-run movies will only be shown once per day, and only at night. During the day, "educational" films will be the only shows available.
Since the "educational" films will have an admission price about half that of the first-run movies, receipts will be lower than if first-runs were shown more often. IMAX requires its partners to guarantee a certain dollar amount in ticket sales (the majority of a ticket price goes to IMAX). If those sales are not met, the partner (in this case, PRM) would have to make up the cash difference. Do you think PRM has that kind of money in reserve?

Facility Tax Referendum Was Sold on False Premises

A major part of the the reputed $640,000 spent by the Lakeview Museum Committee to "educate" the public, contained constant references to the riverfront museum having a main attraction feature: An IMAX Theater theater installed in the PRM. (One source - FACTS ABOUT THE PEORIA RIVERFRONT MUSEUM - 8/14/08).

Now that it appears there will be no IMAX, or maybe never was going to be an IMAX in the PRM. Peoria County Board Member Andrew Rand was quoted in the JS as saying that a "large digital theater would be just the same thing." Advertise a name brand and substitute a generic? And it be a MAJOR seller? I think not.

And Rand is a "businessman"? And Chairman of the PRM Construction Committee??

Another widely circulated document "Building on the Legacy promised an opening by 2009 with an Endowment of $8,000,000. How about after all these years and Endowment of MAYBE $3,600,000?? Lot's of problems in keeping promises for what started out as an 110,000 sq. ft. and is now projected to be 81,000 sq. ft.

The problem, lack of Peoria's "big hitters" who backed these promises to come up with the funding. The County Board approved the selling of the bonds, cost of over a million dollars just to sell the bonds, without even having title to the land, the missing money for the Endowment, the uncertainty of the validity of the $19 million in outstanding pledges, over $1 million in pledges deemed noncollectable as of June 30, 2009 and no requested indication of additional uncollectables for the past 13 recent months.

Had all the real facts been known by the public, this referendum would have never passes. Nor will it live up to it's projections once built.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


How long has the Lakeview Museum Board the various PRM Boards know this? Talk about transparency in this community!! No wonder Ransburg wants his meeting to be closed.

Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:43 AM
Subject: new response from IMAX

Well, this is interesting.....
Yesterday afternoon I emailed IMAX through their website. Here's the response:

Dear Anne,

Thank you for contacting IMAX Corporation. At this time, IMAX Corporation does not have a client interested in opening an IMAX theatre in Peoria.

Best regards,

IMAX Corporation

PRM IMAX - Another "Smoking Gun"

An email dated 2/15/10 from Kathleen Woith, Lakeview Museum Administrator reads, " We continue our negotiations with IMAZ for a giant screen theatre, and the PRM is being designed for the IMAX format. We are still on track to open the first all digital IMAX in a museum. We will be the first designed specifically for the digital format. Our theater designers and we talk IMAX constantly as the building design evolves. Since the technology is changing every week, we are waiting to sign the official CONTRACT till we are certain we have the most up to the minute details.

With the digital picture, the screen will be about 42 feet tall by 70 feet tall??? And, of course, it will have the amazing IMAX sound system."

All kind of excuses coming now that say the public wasn't promised and IMAX theatre BEFORE and AFTER the referendum vote. What a confused state the PRM and the County are in.

The money, the IMAX and the Endowment needs to be s funded or this whole mess scrapped. And an Endowment proposed by the "movers and shakers" who supported this project to the tune of $640,000 or more in "public education" should step-up and fund the balance of this needed $12 million dollar Endowment.

After the news of nooooooo IMAX the Endowment must be increased to at least $16 million to be anywhere near safe.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tennis - Bragging Rights

Bob Orr from Pekin and I won the Tri-County 75 Doubles a couple of weeks ago. Bob is 82 and I am 85. We also won it two years ago and have won numerous tournaments in Bloomington, Lansing, Mich., (Midwest Championship in 2000) Peoria and Danville. We plan to play again next year in the yearly Tri-County which drew about 180 entries in all age divisions.

It was my 5th 1at place Tri-County trophy to go with the approximately 250 tennis and track awards I have won since I started to compete again at the age of 55. My wife bought me a full size trophy case a few years ago. It was large enough to hold half of my trophy's. Even through I've played only 4 tournaments while serving 10 years on the Peoria County Board, I plan to play the Gran Prix Tournaments on the Gulf Coast starting in January. Some of the best senior players in the country and Canada play in these Grand Prix tournaments generally held in Naples, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Ft. Meyers, moving from city to city through February with the finals of the best in early March.

Peoria Riverfront Museum - What Bloggers are Saying

Find the Peoria Chronicle by typing it in your search. This site is the most widely read in Peoria. On this site you can read what people are saying about the PRM, District #150, the City of Peoria, Peoria County and more.

I've had more people asking how to find my blog site. Easiest way is to type in merle widmer's blog or use my number

Illinois is

Dial it up. Better do it on an empty stomach unless you believe you have a secure public job and a secure public pension.

No IMAX -------------------nooooooooooooooooooooo

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said in today's JS under the caption of "Museum may lack an IMAX theatre", 'I think a number of people in the community as well as myself, were under the impression there would be an IMAX theatre in the PRM.' He then states that "If there isn't, I guess the concern is will the alternate make the County and the PRM feel the project still has the same energy that it would have with an IMAX?" County Board member Andrew Rand and Chairman of the PRM Construction Committee is quoted as saying, "I don't think we're specifically hung up on IMAX which is a specific brand."

Besides, Andrew says it's too costly. Andrew is a smart guy but occasionally he says things that indicate he is drinking too much Kool-Aid. Andrew, in case you believe that IMAX is only a brand name and other big screens out there are all the same then I'd like to rename my Lincoln a Mercedes-Benz. After, all it does the same thing a double the price car does, like gets me where I'm going with air-conditioning and heat.

C'mon Andrew, the referendum was sold on the basis of there being and IMAX theatre.

Proof, here goes: JSEB, April 5, 2009, in urging the voters to vote yes wrote, "The museum will an IMAX theatre". What say?
JS 'You Page', April 12, 2009, "I can't wait to see some culture in Peoria, an IMAX, etc.
Same page, "This (museum) will add culture to the city and IMAX will be cool."
Same page, "the whole campaign focused on this awesome IMAX theatre.... small problem, IMAX hasn't signed a contract."
JS, the day after the referendum passed with a "mandate" of 400 votes out of 30,000 votes cast, The PRM will have (among other things) a giant IMAX theatre."
Peoria County Courier, Feb. 27. 2009, show a picture of the PRM with a building clearly labeled "IMAX'. Who sent them that picture? The museum committee!!
Js, November 29, 2009, "Some of the proposed features include a giant IMAX theatre."
Letter from a PRM Board member, Dr. Bruce Hillemeyer, dated 11/17/2009, "Solid projections of over 360,000 visitors each year will visit the Cat Experience and IMAX theatre. OUR IMAX will be the only one south of Chicago and in all of Il. and it will draw thousands..."
Enough? No let's print just the ones I can find.

Margie White, Secretary African American Hall of Fame Museum in a personal letter to me on 12/13/2007, "The IMAX theatre alone will attract visitors from near and far."
(The AA Hall of Fame is presently located at Proctor Center and can be viewed only by appointment, at least, each time I visit). Board Member Junior Watkins said that the Hall is donating $10,000 to the PRM.
Letter from Dan and Kim Phillips, Illinois Antique Center on requesting my vote for support for the downtown museum, "This project will be home to (among other things) a digital IMAX theatre."
Pat Barton, wife of Glen Barton wrote a LTE on 3/14/09, "There is no elitism in plunging through a dark hole in the planetarium, enjoying a movie in the IMAX."
Dr. Joanne Glasser, Bradley University President wrote on 3/22/09, "The PRM will boast (among other things) a 3D IMAX like, note she is the only so far to say 'IMAX like'theatre."
Mayor Jim Ardis on the PRM, "There will be tremendous value for such a low cost. (you bought the Kool Aid then, Jim!) For example a 3-D IMAX theatre."
H.L. Chappie Chapman, on 4/29 in a LTE to the JSEB, The Build a Block will be a major destination for families in our region and visitors to Illinois. It will include (among other things) an IMAX theatre."
Emily Thompson, Bradley Class of 09, in a LTE in the JS wrote, " The museum will house (among other things), an IMAX theatre that will show both educational movies and big blockbusters like 'Harry Potter'........'

Had enough yet, folks and especially Mr. Rand? No, here's more:

Pam Adams of the JS, of course, had her say in a column titled "Dreams of the riverfront museum's future", wrote 'A museum on hand to razzle dazzle attached to a Caterpillar experience and an IMAX theatre.'
Fuss Crawford, Mr. Everbody, in a LTE to the JSEB on 4/05/09 wrote a snide article in which he explains to his kid why Peoria blew it and didn't build "There was going to be a huge IMAX theatre, etc......
And of course, the perennial Barba Mantz Drake wrote an LTE on 3/22/09, she got it right this time, "There will be an IMAX type theatre........."
And then Sheldon Shafer, Lakeview employee and political candidate wrote "How could we sign a contract with IMAX when the building hasn't been built yet?" A s----d statement and he wants to govern us??
Michael Bryant who runs Methodist wrote in the EB on 5/2009, "The IMAX theatre will allow first-run movies,drawing more people downtown."

I'M RUNNING OUT OF ENERGY SO THE LAST ONE AND THE CLINCHER is a statement from Jim Richerson in the IB on June 2009 in a column written by Ray Lees, PSA Dewberry, "Our
stage to the world". Richerson is quoted, 'The Peoria Riverfront Museum will appeal to all people of all ages and will include a digital 3-D IMAX theatre.'


Folks, looks like you were lied to by an awful lot of our best and brightest.

What's new? BelWood, up from $34 million to $54.6 million in less than a year. There bond request costing $72 million more or less will be voted on also, tomorrow night. No questions from the board, I predict. OPM is easy to justify spending it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Additions

An addendum to my blog. Referring to the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences Financial Statements June 30, 2009. On Page 8, of this 2009 Financial Statement, it reads "Notes to Financial Statements, June 30,2009, "Discounts on pledges/allowance for uncollectible pledges - $777,739. On Page 5, it reads, "Provision for uncollectible pledges - $432,000????

Pledges are just pledges and which figure is the correct one for 2009? Both may be correct depending on the meaning of "discounts" and "provisions".

At a recent fundraiser, Peoria County Board member and a PRM Chairperson, Andrew Rand said an additional $400,000 was raised. I asked, cash or pledges? His answer, pledges.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

This blog is a copy of an email I sent today to our County Administrator and Board Chairman, Tom O'Neill, and three dozen other individuals. I have made some small corrections or additions.

Please read all as some of this information is unknown to the voters.


Early this year you issued a single sheet titled "Museum Project Cost/Funding Summary", dated 12/31/09 showing $13,318,791 "Funds actually received or spent" and "Expenditures through 12/31/09" of $11,516,757 leaving "Funds Pledged or on Hand" of $1,801,791.

Nearly 12 million spent as of 7 months ago.

Since Lakeview Museums Fiscal year ended 6/30/10, I last week asked you again for an update of their financial condition in print. You have indicated you are working on getting it. What is the delay?

The board is going to vote in two days to bond out $41 to the museum from the Sales Tax Referendum passed last year.

More facts need to be made public. In a letter I received from Michael Bryant dated December 11, 2008, before the referendum passed, contained these words "57% private funding (for the museum) of which nearly 90% is in hand". I would interpret that to mean only 10% more private funding would be needed to fund the entire, at that time, $136,000,000 project. The letter said "public funding was to be $59 million". The overall project now has projected costs of $145-147 million. So many statements have been made about the funding of the museum and parking garage funding that it is difficult to know the future risk to the taxpayer.

Millions of dollars in pledges were made to the museum. Pledges are not "cash in hand" as Lakeview's Financial Statements show $556,000 in 2008 and 432,000 as 'uncollectible'. No figures on uncollectible pledges are available as of Fiscal year 2010 ended on June 30, 2010.

The original resolution "supporting the concept of the PRM" passed by the County Board on 12/13/07, was for $24 million. Now that amount has risen to $41+ million. Also, a report from our former Financial Officer, Erik Bush, on 09/08, stated that the Endowment would have to "contribute $11 1/2 million in 'stable' budget situation and $22 1/4 million in a 'reduced' revenue scenario". An amended report was received on January 22, 2009 from Mr. Bush, after further information was given him by Lakeview, stated the endowment needed to be $8,000,000, producing approximately $320,000 per year over the 20 year sales tax term. Mr. Bush said that "a common benchmark for investment is 10%". The proposed Endowment does not meet this benchmark.

These figures are all based on projections. Projections have not been met on any major development on the Riverfront in recent history.

The full board was told by PRM Board Chairman Brad McMillan that "public involvement in other museums is not unusual" and the public share should be about 33%. Actually, today the public share for the museum project is more than 70% depending on whether the city is still going to lease or sell the $10 million valued land for $1.

The board needs to see a draft of the financial condition of the museum at the end of June 30 similar to the one we received dated 12/31/09. As a former businessman, I know of no lender who would wait for 5 weeks to get a draft of this very important current financial report. Nor should the County Board especially before an extremely important vote on Thursday.

Also, we are raising the $34.7 million cap pledged to the museum from the "Facilities" referendum fund to $41 million for the museum building alone The museum was to offset other costs. This extra revenue would help finance the badly underfunded Endowment Fund according to this statement made by Lakeview on Oct, 22, 2009, " If Peoria County supplies the additional $5.3 million, an equivalent amount of funding can be redirected to enhance the Endowment or fund unfunded priorities.......".

(Doug Stewart, a bank president and CEO Board member was quoted in the JS on 12/04/05 that the Endowment should be $14 million). We appear to be settling for much less creating more risk if the project does not live up to projections. Not to be overlooked is projected operating costs to be in the $4.1-3 million range with costs projected to be around $8 million a year in 2032.

No Endowment should be funded by taxpayer dollars. Raising the museum tax collected from $34+ million to $41+ million would appear to bridge this gap as last week the Endowment fund stood at around $3.6 million. Isn't this similar to the City of Peoria garbage fee which is really a tax on the public? To fund what was promised to be a private Endowment?

We have not yet reached an agreement with the City. The only way the facts are gong to come out on this underfunded and now publicly ($70 million+) financed museum project are for all the committee meetings be open (and advertised) for questions from the concerned citizenry.

If this museum is to succeed, facts for all who voted for or against the Facilities Referendum, should be easily available. It appears that some leadership has forgotten that this referendum passed by about 400 votes out of 30,000 cast, hardly a mandate, with the supporters spending from between $600,00 upwards to the non-supporters spending less than $3,000. These "no" voters need to become believers and visitors if this still underfunded project is to succeed..

Promises and pledges are just that, not hard money in hand. There is often a vast gap between "visions" and facts. Our board chair has been told to "prepare a tight agenda and stick to it". As of now there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the stability of either project, mainly the PRM.(BelWood bonds for $51 million are also on the agenda). Chairman O'Neill should not hold to a "tight agenda" this Thursday evening with so many questions unanswered.

Once low interest facilities are built, they remain to be funded for 50-60 years or more. Any studied information of this museum, indicate that both the funding of the museum, underground parking and future revenues and operating costs pertaining strictly to the museum and parking garage, are all projections; these projections to be funded largely by a "skeptical" taxpayer as proven by the referendum vote and all the delays on contracts and funding.

Skeptical? One of several surveys presented by County Administration showed the answer under Policy questions was "Peoria Riverfront Museum: 65% somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a sales tax increase" Note also that the Peoria Public Park District has failed to raise the money for the $5 million dollar parking lot and entrance to enhance the new zoo. Also check how many dollars in new business has been brought into this community by the new $27 million zoo. The museum, two Bradley Professors project, will bring in $14 million new dollars to local businesses every year??

At a County Board Meeting July 9, 2009, you made it clear that "ground will not be broken, even for the parking deck, until there is $8 million dollars in PRIVATE funds to cover the gap. If PRIVATE funds in CASH have been raised in the past year, please "show me the money'.

Is not this situation similar to what helped get us in the financial mess we are in in this country; that the buyers thought they had the funds and credit to buy housings and buildings?

This project became flawed shortly after its inception. One misunderstanding was the museum committee believing the County was contributing $6 million. The figure is actually $600,000 paid over 6 years. This was an error made by the County. This money is supposedly being held in a separate County Account. As our paid County liaison Mark Johnson said "it is a mess". Before the "messes" started surfacing, I supported the $24 million and the concept as per my vote on record. For the past two years, I have not.

Despite a tremendous amount of energy and money already spent, approximately $12 million, it still appears to be unfunded and flawed.

This project should again be put on hold at least until the City decides if they now wish to charge the museum project for the land. And the Endowment is fulfilled with PRIVATE funds and the pledges outstanding are audited, a request I made a year ago..

Friday, August 06, 2010

JSEB Makes No Common Sense

New York's Planned new mosque to add to the hundreds they now have throughout the City.


When developers tried to build a mall next to the Manassas battlefield, many who had kinfolk who fought and died in that war blocked it, including Jody Powell, Jimmy Carter's press secretary.

They did not fight development because they opposed private enterprise, any more than those who blocked the licensing of a casino beside Gettysburg battlefield did so because they dislike gambling.

Patrick Buchanan

Honor Killings

Fox News will have an "Honor Killings" program tonight at 9:00PM Central Time. This program will shed more light on the "true believers" who are gaining a strong foothold in this country.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Governor Quinn's Political Ads Avoid Voters Who Can Think

To constantly run a political ad condemning Gubernatorial Candidate Brady, Quinn appears to be appealing to welfare people, minimum wage people, out of work people, socialist bent people and village idiots. By claiming that Brady earned a salary of $70+ a year and paid no income tax is meant to rile up people whose only income is as stated above.

Educated types, including the job-seekers, realize that ones salary, if they are fortunate enough to be employed, is just part of your possible earnings and possible losses. When you report these earnings and losses, it is your combined earnings (or losses) on which one pays taxes. If he files a joint return as most of us do, their combined losses or carry forward losses evidently were charged against his salary, thus no overall income but losses on their investments. However, after even a very ordinary accountant puts it all down in legal form showed Brady would legally owe little or no taxes.

No special treatment for Brady. Ask any accountant.

You could explain this to an average forth grader. Just what type of voter is Quinn trying to reach with this elementary low blow ad??

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Don't Forget the Little People

So writes Diane Vespa, a local parent of two children who attend Peoria Public Schools. She works as a volunteer in the classrooms and advocates for sound child-focused district policy. She also works as a realtor and her husband, John, a judge, is running for election in November.

Her article appears in the August Issue of InterBusiness Issues magazine. She is right in all areas including school board members with little background to run an $150 million system. She says not to be too hard on the unions. Unions in Peoria Public School District #150 have gained their power through the public general dis-interest in who serves on the (thankless 5 year, no pay, my comments), school board.

Diane tells it pretty much like it is which is rare in a publication like IB that generally selects article writers who are only positive and optimistic about the "goings on" in this community.

Diane says new buildings are nice but it's what the kids learn that is more important than new steel and concrete (and debt, I might add).

Her article can be found on pages 64-66. Good reading, and thanks, Diane, for telling it like it is while holding hope for the future of the Peoria Public Schools with less interference from the government such as the highly questionable NCLB.

Liberal Piety and the Memory of 9/11

This the title of a column in today's WSJ by one of my favorite columnists, Dorothy Rabinowitz. Among supporters of the location of the Islamic Mosque is New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg who states, "Ground Zero is a 'very appropriate place' for a (15 story) mosque. It 'tells the world' that in America, we have freedom of religion for everyone."

Rabinowitz writes, "Here was an idea we have been hearing more and more of lately--the need to show the world America's devotion to democracy and justice, also cited by the administration as a reason to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in NY City. Who is it, we can only wonder, that requires these proof? What occasions these regular brayings on the need to show the world the United States is a free nation?

Bloomberg and Cuomo resort to the pious battle cries, the claim that antagonists of the plan stand against religious freedom. Why have the builders insisted on building this 15 story mosque within 2 blocks of Ground Zero? It is an insistence that calls to mind the Flying Inmans, whose ostentatious prayers-apparently designed to call attention to themselves on a U.S. Airways flight to Phoenix in November 2006-ended in a lawsuit. The inmans sued. The airlines lost.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser-devout Muslim, physician, former U.S. Nay Lt. Commander and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy-says there is every reason to investigate the center's funding under the circumstance. Of the mosque so near the site of the 0/11 attacks, he notes 'It will certainly be a seen as a victory for political Islam.'

The center may be built where planned (at least one lawsuit has been filled to stop it) but it will not be without consequences on the political intent on jamming the project down the public throat, in the name of principle. Liberal piety may have met its match in the raw memory of 9/11, and in citizens who have come to know pure demagoguery when they hear it. They have had, of late, plenty of practice."

Don't expect our current administration to come to the support of the the families of the victims of 9/11. He is too busy making "nice' to all the oppressive regimes in the world while they laugh at him behind his back.

Aaron Schock on H.R. 5175

Forwarded to me by a friend. An intelligent answer from an intelligent public servant.


August 3, 2010

Dear Mr. McWilliams,

Thank you for contacting me regarding, H.R. 5175, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. I certainly appreciate hearing your views on this issue, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Currently all groups funding political advertisements must disclose their identities in each ad and file spending reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Donors who contribute toward funding the ads must also be disclosed. Furthermore, foreign corporations are prohibited from making donations or supporting electioneering communications.

As you may know, H.R. 5175, was introduced by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on April 29, 2010, and subsequently passed the House of Representatives on June 24, 2010. However, this bill has recently stalled in the Senate. Passage of this bill would impose absurd disclosure requirements that could take up more than half of an ad's time. It is a bill that was craftily designed to serve the interests of the current majority in Congress.

This bill is so objectionable to adherents of the First Amendment, that disparate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have united in opposition.

The DISCLOSE Act is the result of a recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC. The Court held that funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. The Court struck down a provision of the Campaign Reform Act that prohibited both for-profit, not-for-profit entities, and unions from broadcasting commercials within 60 days of a general election and within 30 days of a primary election. The ruling became even more infamous, after President Obama gave an unprecedented rebuke to the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address.

The DISCLOSE Act is nothing more than a punitive measure against associations of persons who choose to exercise their right to free political speech; as guaranteed by the Constitution and affirmed in the Citizens United v. FEC case. The bill's new limits on spending and endless disclosure requirements target only the political speech of businesses and non-profits, with no effect on unions - including foreign-influenced labor unions, public-employee unions or government grant recipients.

Alarmingly, the DISCLOSE Act represents a significant departure from past campaign-finance legislation, which sought to treat unions and businesses comparably and was framed in a genuinely bi-partisan manner. The legislation's sponsors admit that the bill's purpose is to deter their potential enemies from participating in the political process. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that the bill will make organizations "think twice" before attempting to influence election outcomes, and that this "deterrent effect should not be underestimated."

While the authors of the bill claim their provisions are necessary for voters to know who is paying for political advertising, the truth is they want to intimidate concerned groups into not expressing their views about incumbent lawmakers without fear of retaliation.

By attempting to silence voices in the political process, while enabling unions to retain their enormous influence, the DISCLOSE Act is patently unconstitutional and a political threat to the election process. Its partisan intent is clear. The bill's principal sponsor in the House, Congressman Van Hollen, is the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC); its other principal sponsor has previously held the equivalent position in the Senate. The sponsors have openly admitted their intent to enact the bill quickly to influence the elections this fall.

While I understand the concerns many may have with the Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, I believe the decision preserves the free speech protections of the First Amendment and ensures that these protections are applied evenly. I voted against the DISCLOSE measure when it was passed by the House this past June.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this, or any other issue. Also, to stay informed on what's happening in Washington, please feel free to sign up for my electronic newsletter, The Schock Report, at


Aaron Schock
Member of Congress

Islamic Mosque Near Ground Zero

We must not fool ourselves in the true intent of this "religious" mosque. If it is built at this location, at some point it should come down. As an American senior student of Islam, I have concluded that just as in Germany, Italy, Japan, the Balkans, Somalia, Pakistan, India, Iran, etc., most of the citizenry did not nor do they want war. Nor do they want the destruction of certain ethnic groups. But the radical elements, though much smaller in numbers, seize power through forcing their ideology on the largely unsuspecting and sometimes fearful inhabitants of these countries.

Among the dozens of books I have read is a book of "real" fiction; "American Taliban" by by Pearl Abraham that is best described in the cover as 'provocative, unsettling' in describing how a typical upper-middle class family became snared by the forces of history, politics and faith and whose son finds his destination in Islam destructive web.

As liberal Columnist Leonard Pitts writes on November 12, 2009, "Not fair to judge U.S. Muslims by Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood Killer", it is not fair to believe that all Muslims believe in the writings in the Quran such as 'O ye who believed! Take not the Jews and Christians as friends. They are friends to one another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoers.' Pickthall translation, Quran 5:51 and "Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that what Allah has forbidden by his messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low' (9.29).

Islam preaches an intolerance of non-believers. My grandson, who is in the Armed Forces and has served in the Middle East says most Muslims will smile at you but beneath the surface, they do not like non-believers. Of course, not liking and killing non-believers is a gap bridged by millions of radicals of Islamic faith.

All countries have native born radicals. We moderates do not tolerate them and take action to remove them from our street without nearly enough success. We rail against their cowardly actions.

I have blogged "What's Happening in the Muslim World," 2/01/08 and "Geert Wilders Trial", 2/19/10. I refer you to hundreds of articles such as about the terrorist Yousesf who is quoted as saying, "The problem is not in Muslims," "The problem is with their God. He is their biggest enemy. It has been 1400 years they have been lied to."

On July 10, 2007, R. James Woolsey, then Co-chair of the Committee on Present Danger, Director of Intelligence from 1993-5 and Nina Shea, then director of the Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute, wrote in the WSJ, "What about Muslim Moderates?' Yes, what about them? We hear from them far to seldom and without much conviction despite the liberal press in this county. Yes, what about the Muslim Brotherhood whose motto is "Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."