Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gary Sandberg at Tuesday's Council Meeting

Of course he will pay his bills before the meeting. He is having too much fun and getting "his kicks" by having a reason to vote no on most every proposal presented to a council vote.

Socialism - A Lesson

Taken from Perkins Capital Management April 21 issue:

An economics professor at Bradley U. said he never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who had studied little had studied even less and those who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D. No one was happy. When the third test was done the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, and name calling all resulted in hard feelings as few would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise. Then the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away no one will try or want to succeed.

Yes, I know this story, in different versions, has been around for quite a few years but facts are facts. Last year, more people received welfare benefits than at any time in recent history.

The greatest growth in employment has been in the unionized public sector where most of the stimulus money landed. The failures of our public school system is blamed on the parent, usually the ones that are single family and depend on welfare or through handouts from social service agencies. Blame the weak school boards and the strong unions who make it next to impossible to fire a union worker, and once a unionized public worker has received tenure, they usually have a lifetime job with substantial pensions and health benefits for life. Reasonable benefits are good but the same benefits go to all, no matter how hard or efficiently, they worked.

Provided this government on its way to socialism doesn't receive and F and goes broke. While I'm not a great fan of Glenn Beck, his book "Broke" detailing how and why this government is going broke, is a worth while read for anyone. Free to borrow at any public library.

Stop and observe most of our public unionized roadway workers at work. If anyone thinks we will get the bridges all repaired in their lifetimes, observe these workers in action and you make the judgment. Look at the sorry condition of the streets, curbs and sidewalks in Peoria. The worst I've seen in most any city I've visited. I have driven over 1,500,000 miles in my lifetime so I know somewhat more than some about roadways. I also talk to over the road 18 wheel drivers and read about road conditions.

I also know that the majority of public unionized workers are good workers. However, highly vocal minorities usually win the day in politics. Still, why should good workers work any harder than anyone else when the rewards are mostly evenly distributed. Do you think the hardest and best working school teachers were the ones who led the protest at Madison, Wisconsin? No, the weakest links were there, led by greedy union bosses, the teachers protesting because they were led to believe they would lose the right to organize.

As I've said before, the company I owned was unionized. No trouble getting along for 22 years. They understood their role and power and I understood my role and power. I've always believed that anyone unhappy in their work should seek another place of endeavor. Why spend your life being unhappy?

Never let the facts get in the way. No way did the governor or any of us who understood the facts believe this was an attempt to kill the unions. Just slow down their demands for more and more power. Especially, when so many in the private sector have trouble find a decent paying job; jobs, often with many less benefits than those jobs in the public sector. And while the government is unable to pay their mounting debts while paying mounting interest to foreign countries.

At home and abroad. Example, I sent a check to the IRS in early April which was cashed quickly. Prior to that, I received notice I had overpaid one year and would be reimbursed plus interest.

Still waiting for the feds to reimburse me. My accounting firm says it may be a long wait.

Skateboarders Robbed at Peoria Park District Remote Facility

Journal Star news article today reads, "Two skateboarders robbed at park in Peoria". Two men in their early 20's were robbed at about 5:00 PM Thursday at Becker Park, 3401 W. Woodhill Lane.

The victims told police a male robber fled with a Motorola Droid smartphone, a Gucci wallet and an undisclosed amount of cash.

As he departed, the robber fired one shot into the air with a handgun he produced after the robbery.

There were no injuries."

On February 01, 2006, I blogged the following under the title of "Exaggerators, Falsehood Tellers or Dreamers?": My blog reads, "The promised skateboard park is a joke compared to Pekin's and other cities smaller than Peoria and cities with much smaller budgets. (The PPD budget is in the $40 millions) The location lends itself to an accident waiting to happen. It is so remote that the site is blocked out so it is impossible to police."

What caring parent would allow a juvenile to skateboard at this mickey mouse skateboard facility in a location so remote and unnoticed by the public. Especially around 20 some year old adults? I suspect many a drug use and drug transaction has taken place at this skateboard facility.

The facility along with a ball diamond now covered with weeds and unused for at least two years, was built largely with public money from the State of Illinois.

Becker Park consists of a shelter, about 200 yards up a slope from the skateboard area, 3 basketball baskets, an unused ball park with a short screen backstop next to a gully where many foul balls would pass over and land in the creek, and a walking trail, mostly built with state money. (Ever notice the unused ballpark behind McClure library with the backstop backed up to a creek bed)?

And with no porta potty as of last week. Or drinking water at Becker or McClure. McClure also has a playground but I have never seen toilet or drinking water facilities.

As to the ball park, reat planning and a possible reason why it is unused if the players have only one or two balls to lose.

The Peoria Park District, still strapped by the money losing RiverPlex and now the African Exhibit Zoo, evidently has no money or desire to build a real skateboard facility. (The PPD set aside $750,000 to lose in this years budget according to a board member and the zoo's $5 million new parking lot and entrance were never completed and by the looks of attendance, may not ever really be needed.

There is another skateboard facility built by the park on the northwest side of Peoria that is so small I asked a park worker where it was located and he answered, "it is right across the street from where you are parked"!!

In the interest of public safety of our kids, the remote Becker Park Facility should be closed now and a new and more challenging one built in eyesight of the public.

As to the unused ball park? You will need to ask the park and the school that was to share it. To find the skateboard park, turn on Woodhill Lane off Molleck and walk down to the ball diamond home plate and you will see it next to a wooded ditch, perfect for all kinds of 'out of sight' illegal transactions with an easy getaway down the large overgrown ditch and creek. Not much of a skateboard park facility, either.

To find my blog of 2006, just type in the title in the search bar, upper right hand side of this blog.

Congressional Reform - Tea Party Should Pursue

This proposition has made the rounds before. It should be a start to reform our governments on all levels,


Congressional Reform Act of 2013
> 1. Term Limits.
> 12 years only, one of the possible options below..
> A. Two Six-year Senate terms
> B. Six Two-year House terms
> C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
> 2. No Tenure / No Pension.
> A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay
> when they are out of office.
> 3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
> All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
> Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
> Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
> 4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
> Americans do.
> 5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
> pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
> 6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
> the same health care system as the American people.
> 7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American
> people.
> 8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
> 1/1/12.
> The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
> Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
> Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
> envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),
> then go home and back to work.
> If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only
> take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message.
> Maybe it is time.
> THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it
> on. >

Friday, April 29, 2011

PRM Pledges

A pledge cannot be posted as an asset on a financial statement. Only when converted into cash can you count it. I was told yesterday I am wrong as I blogged maybe as many as $2 million in pledges to the PRM have been cancelled since the first pledge was made on____. You fill in the gap. That only $200,000 pledges have been cancelled. Whoa. Peoria County alone pledged $6 million only to find that County Administration had misplaced a decimal. The pledge actually was to be $600,000, not $6 million, paid out over 6 years. A yearly sum of $100,000 is being set aside by the county, as per former Administrator Patrick Urich.

Local State officials, like Dave Leitch, pledged $12 million and Ray LaHood pledged $12 million from Washington, D.C.

Opps, in 2007, there came a bigger recession than the one in 2003, and there went $24,400,000.00 in pledges. Now we learn that $5 million pledged by Governor Quinn; 18months later, is still just a pledge. $1.5 million vouchered but no money, at least, not for museums when the state can't meet payments pledged (owed) to the private and public sector; public like as in BelWood.

Enough about pledges. The museum is being built and when it opens in 2012, it says it will have the money, a fully funded endowment and enough money to meet the last 'projected' operating budget of $4.3 million.

Of course, I hope those who worked so hard are successful. All I've ever asked for was 'show me the money' and tell the truth.

I'm still waiting for both.

As to private pledges cancelled. Those will not be made public nor will the ones decreased. The large donations will be made public, already have been, unless they donate anonymously.

Journal Star Quotes Dave Ransburg

Way back on 4/9/03, when Mr. Ransburg was Mayor David Ransburg, the JSEB wrote their opinion about Ransburg's stance, "Museum a piece of the Downtown puzzle". Here is what the editors wrote, "It's no surprise that Peoria Mayor David Ransburg would characterize as "useless" a study that dares suggest a $60 million (the last figures I have "Project Cost/Funding Summary", pegs the PRM Museum projected at $94.9 million; overall project cost of $140+ million) museum would be 'the highest and best use' of the Sears block. Ransburg has already made up his mind that the museum doesn't fit that description, so this study doesn't tell him what he wants to hear. For that, he has his own consultants or will find them."

The JSEB continues, "What the mayor doesn't want to hear is that his desire for denser development-a hotel, high rise residential, retail, offices-may be unrealistic in this economy, (2003) and in event would require subsidies."

The JSEB continues, "What he doesn't want to hear is that the museum may be able to carry the Sears block, perhaps by itself."

So much for history. Ransburg now heads the entire PRM Committee, Lakeview will be phased out over time, I'm told. As for the JSEB, which at that time, the power on the Editorial Board, was the departed Barbara Manz Drake, "Businesses would have to be subsidized'? Good grief, 72% of the museum is CURRENTLY being subsidized by the taxpayer and Ransburg's Committee is still seeking more from the public in the form of "New Market Tax Credits".

Again and still seeking more from the public.

Who said that that the PRM was still seeking "New Market Tax Credits"? Dave Ransburg at yesterday's Construction Committee Meeting.

Another "Good Grief".

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Citizens For Responsible Spending

Eric Turner, who was recently reelected to the City Council with 6,911 "votes" to newcomer Chuck Weaver's 14,785 votes, had made derogatory comments about the folks involved with CFRS by saying "Do these (you) people ever vote for anything positive"? Yes, Eric, we do. We vote for responsible spending which is about as positive as we can get these days. The City you have long "represented" is suffering from a $13-14 million budget deficit. The city budget deficit is widening while crime is up and our streets, curbs and sidewalks are a disgrace to any community spending an $160,000,000.00 yearly budget.

Turner likes to use the term "you people". At a city council meeting Turner used the term when castigating a neighbor hood group who were trying to stop the down slide of their part of our community. Turner, who is not listed in the phone book and usually has a full email box, probably lives in a nicer neighborhood with well maintained streets and no crime.

Turner, a minority, (being black still constitutes a minority for the time being) who says he doesn't need the 5 for 1 vote to get reelected, but still spent $17,000+ on his campaign. Or about $4 dollars per vote figuring approximately 4700 actual voters selected him. Whatever legislative action is needed to stop the 5 for 1 ridiculous way of voting, is needed to be in action now.

Who are those responsible? Maybe the JSEB can do more than print a protest.

Of course, Turner is not alone in voting for more spending whether in the form of police and firefighters pensions or hotels. A survey a few years ago, showed when it came to capital expenditure voting, 70 times out of 73, the politicians voted "yes".

Of the lousy 18% voter turnout for this April election, it could be that people no longer care who gets elected. Possibly, it is because approximately 50% pay no income taxes and 50% of the residents also pay no property taxes in the City of Peoria.

No, Mr. Turner, those you derogatorily refer to as "you or 'these' people" are very POSITIVE about risk spending when it is NOT YOUR PERSONAL MONEY you vote to spend on risky projections. But, then it is possible people who would ordinarily vote, just aren't interested in politics anymore. Maybe its because they believe most politicians say what it takes to get reelected; their promises are just that, promises, are too busy searching for a job to pay their bills, stressed out or aren't educated or brave enough to use the new voting machine technology, etc.

Or forgot to vote.

So sad. With only two new members on the Peoria City Council; George Jacobs was a tremendous asset hopefully only temporarily gone, and a "new" City Manager, I still see the City Council as between a "rock and a hard spot" when it comes to balancing the budget without more "garbage taxes", sales taxes or raising fines and fees. Or another attempt to buy the water company with money we don't have. Slowing the growth of pensions will help if it can be done, but cutting fat where fat can be cut, or hired directors who can control the powerful unions, would be a big help.

Anonymous Donors

Some people who make anonymous donations may have a good reason. Retribution from those who don't agree with them. Disclosure of any donation over $200 should be available from the county and state. I have often looked it up myself to see who was supporting whom. It was easy to put together what financial gain they had in donating to one candidate over another.

Note that Hispanics, blacks and unions are some of the largest donors to the Democrats. Not hard to figure why. I suspect some of these will be donating anonymously in the next election or giving more cash.

I belatedly agree it may sometimes be best to be anonymous. I did not ask anyone to put up a yard sign for me in my last election because I knew the Journal Star had done there best to smudge my reputation. Nor in my all three successful elections for County Board did I accept any contributions. Except I did accept printing of my last run brochures from a retired friend and $100 cash from a Democrat friend. I so noted this before in a blog on this site.

I also admit look askance at any one raising money whose views I feel are detrimental for the financial growth of this city, county and country.

I now donate to few political causes or politicians but I never made an anonymous donation in my life. I do not fear easily even if I know it may cost me money or to be disliked. I have also cut more charitable giving unless I am sure the money is spent for those victims of circumstances beyond their control. There are too many free-loading off the compassion of too many non-believers or what Jesus was chronicled as saying, "teach a man how to fish,.....

This blog was prompted by an article by James L. Huffman, a professor of law at Lewis and Clark, "How Donor Disclosure Hurts Democracy".

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ransburg's Museum Committee Still Holds Secret Meetings

I promised you an update on the unfunded Peoria Riverfront Museum now under construction. If you recall, about 10 months ago, Ransburg practically guaranteed he would raise the missing $10 of so million that might complete the funding. A usually reliable source says that two $500,000 anonymous pledges have been made since that statement was made and that another 3-4 million has either been received or pledged.

If you recall, the Journal Star Editorial Board, who had some doubts about this project in the beginning, wrote on 11/1/2009, the following: one of the few bright spots of the Illinois Legislature veto session was "that it guaranteed 5$ million in funds for the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Having 5$ million of capital construction money returned here to support a local project is not a tough call and we commend local legislators to be commended".

Now the truth. No $5 million has ever been received and it is now 18 months after this false "guarantee" and only $1.5 million has been vouchered but there are no funds to pass on to the PRM. And the other $3.5 million hasn't, and probably won't be, despite the best efforts of our free spending folks in Springfield, ever funded.

In the meantime, the facts are ($13,318,000.00) had been spent by 12/31/09, 16 months ago, without a shovel of dirt turned.

Did you catch the blatant misstatement by the museum people in the Peoria County News Bulletin? Here it is: "While the construction of the $52 million dollar Caterpillar Visitors Center will be funded by Caterpillar, the MAJORITY of the funds needed to construct the museum will be DONATED. Peoria Riverfront Museum administrators have raised $52.065,660 in PUBLIC funds for the construction of the museum. They have also COLLECTED $30,398,067 in PRIVATE donations."

Majority donated? I think not. Reporter Wes Schmidgall fits in the mold of low cost neophyte reporters who fail to note glaring errors in what they print. Or even some experienced reporters locally and nationally.

Don't count the $41-51 million from the Caterpillar Foundation as a "donation to the museum". Caterpillar is building that to publicize Caterpillar and in the hope that their action might help the museum draw.

Then Richerson is quoted as saying, "We received a number of significant pledges. They would ALL like to remain anonymous". What say? The latest info released by the museum people on donations of $50,000 or more listed two anonymous individuals, 3 anonymous companies and one anonymous couple and 24 individuals and companies by name including the Caterpillar Foundation which pledged $13.5 million (Source - Letter to Patrick Urich dated August 21. 2009). In addition Caterpillar donated $400,000 for site preparation and $1.2 million for the garage.

Summation: The museum committee of 25 or so meets in secret meetings because the money has yet to be collected. A pledge is a pledge and close to, or maybe more by now, $2 million pledges have been cancelled. (Source - Museum Financial statements through year end June 30, 2010.

I suggest when an announcement is made about museum funding they will add $5 million or so from the Public Facility Tax Referendum, taxpayer dollars, to help fund the endowment. I stand by my figures. The original $34.9 million, "The plan is for $34.9 million in committment from the County of Peoria." (Administraor Urich, Peoria County Board Agenda, 3/11/2010)

In little over one year that amount has risen to almost $42 million, not $34.9, all in taxpayer money to be taken from the "facility referendum" fund.

And no IMAX. Read Phil Luciano, JS reporter, the only JS reporter to tell "the rest of the story" in his 4/19/11 column, 'Leaders sell sizzle, deliver no steak'. Sizzle? I call them MIS-TRUTHS and expect them to continue.

Federal Government Spending to Reach 25% of GDP in 2011

As more private businesses do more business with the government, gain favored status, get federal subsidies, acquire a financial backstop or secure trade protection the less these companies are stepping forward to defend free trade and restore a reasonable balance between the private and public sector.

The federal deficit will exceed $1,600,000,000,000.00 (that's trillions) and state budgets reach a combined $130,000,000,000.00 billion and rising, this year, it will be more difficult to vote the existing free spending elected officials out. Not hard to understand as that is where these elected and reelected get the major bulk of their political funding. With everybody, including the big corporations vying for more of the "phony money" now flying off the Federal Reserve presses, why should they vote out the tits from which they are sucking?

Only if they feel they can still get the subsidies, favors and protection from the party not now in power. Do you think the large contributions to one's election do not come with at least some chits attached that can later be called in when favors are needed?

As Arthur Schlesinger wrote in the WSJ on June 7, 1995: "The assault on the national government is represented as a disinterested movement to 'return' power to the people. But the withdrawal of the national government does not transfer the power to the people. It transfers the power to the historical rival of the national government and the prime cause of its enlargement-the great corporate interests."

They join the millions of union bosses and their followers, the millions on welfare, the very likely millions of illegal entry people who will become eligible to vote in 2012 if Obama figures out how to slide it past the honest politicians and the millions more who draw their wages and pensions from federal, state, county and other government paid positions. the odds, from where I sit, are that Obama will be reelected in 2012.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Peoria County Real Estate Tax Bill Received

I have no complaints as I appealed my assessment to the state and won. However, I suspect some homeowners that have never appealed their taxes as the value of their property sunk are very unhappy. Others, as pointed out by an observant citizen, are enjoying another year of having the value of their property under assessed.

No one ever said life was fair. Sort of like saying everybody is born equal. Translation; everyone is supposed to have the same rights.


Noteworthy is my Peoria County taxes went down as they should. Older homes seldom gain in value after they and the neighborhoods around them reach a certain age. Peoria County passed a balanced budget, same as it has the past 8 out of 9 years. Peoria City taxes went up about $110 as expected. Peoria Park Distinct taxes stayed the same; however, Peoria Park taxes are too high for a community this size, coming within about $82 compared with taxes collected to run the entire county. Also, that the park charges for about every activity they present from golf to fitness.

Expect taxes for the Library, Park, City and #150 to rise proportionately larger as more bond payments kick in. Peoria County is iffy four or five years from now depending on the success of the museum and the new Bel-Wood.

And increasing pension costs, only slightly higher for 2010.

"Green" Policies Kill Jobs

And the EPA doesn't care. Back in June, 2006 through September, 2006, I blogged a series of articles, one blogged on 6/2/06, titled "Fatal damage caused by actions of extreme environmentalists" and on 9/2/08, I blogged, "Radical Environmentalists in Central Illinois". Locals tried forever to call the PDC Hazardous Waste Landfill a "Toxic" landfill despite numerous letters from the IEPA denying their claims. Toxic my ass. Would these people eat horseshit? I'm sure it's toxic but we use it as fertilizer to grow grains we eat. The "horseshit" spread by the radicals we are expected to swallow.

"Regulatory environment is choking the business world", said the Illinois Chamber of Commerce".

Nationally renowned columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote on 11/12/2007, the following, "NBC, owned by General Electric whose favorite color green means money, bragged that NBC sportcasters turned off the lights in the booth to kick of "Green Week", while the the game itself burned 65,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and 35,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Cars and SUV's driving to the game spew out 200 metric tons of CO...."

But then if you like to be bull shitted, watch the very liberal NBC as they twist the news to favor the far left and support Obama's radical policies.

And, yes, my household consists of environmentalists, recycling most everything and preventing litter whenever observed. I take credit, along with Phil Luciano and the JSEB of starting the litter drive now being pursued in the area.

Find any of my blogs about "Radical Environmentalists" by typing in the word in the search bar found in the upper right hand front page. On any of my blogs.

'Green' Policies Kill Jobs
by Bethany Murphy

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy have, in the midst of a major recession, enacted policies and regulations that strangle job growth. The Heritage Foundation is hard at work identifying regulations that they have put in place that make it harder to do business.

Testifying last Wednesday before Congress, Heritage Foundation energy expert David Kreutzer explained how environmentalist government policies kill jobs.

"American taxpayers have, at the behest of the green lobby, subsidized research into renewable energy sources that can't survive in the free market," he said. "Forcing taxpayers to subsidize energy they would not buy at its full price does not save them money, nor does it make production more profitable."

He outlined for the committee how regulations have and will impact the economy.

The notion that cap-and-trade will have costs in terms of lost national income is not peculiar to analysts at conservative think tanks. In September of 2009, a panel of economists from the Brookings Institution, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Congressional Budget Office, the Energy Information Administration, and The Heritage Foundation presented their different findings on the economic impact of cap-and-trade policies. None of the economists argued that cap-and-trade would stimulate the economy. Instead, the debate was over how much the economy would be harmed.

The Heritage Foundation estimated that the Waxman–Markey bill would have cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year and would have led to an aggregate loss of nearly $10 billion by 2035. The disruption would have cut employment by nearly 2.5 million jobs by 2035.

While testifying in front of another House committee last week, EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus said the agency does not consider how its regulations affect the economy.

Visit myHeritage to watch the video of Stanislaus' astounding explanation and join in the discussion by leaving your comments.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

PRM Progress Reports on Peoria County Website

Peoria County has not updated their website since November of 2010 for obvious reasons. I will give you an update in detail by Monday evening.

Financial information, such as it is, that is released by the museum, is quite erroneous as per a release in the latest Peoria County News Bulletin. Wes Schmidgall, the reporter, should have questioned the museums statement. Evidently he didn't. Read it and see if you can find the glaring error.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rocco Landesman Stirs Pot That Should be Stirred

By now Mr. Landesman, who recently stirred up the pot by trying to placate the "artsy" set in Peoria, may be out of a job. Or near losing his job as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Landesman was quoted recently, "You can either increase demand or decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase, so its time to think about decreasing supply".

"What does he mean we can't increase supply, screamed the the artsy folks? Who determines which theatre companies are wheat and which are chaff? Why not just increase the funding? Maybe the N.E.A. is outdated and should be replaced by another system for funding the arts in the U.S. Or maybe the people who are running the N.E.A. should be replaced", shrilled others in the artsy sets.

Landesman defended his statements, "There is a disconnect that has to be taken seriously--our research show that attendance has been decreasing while the number of organizations have been proliferating. That's a discussion nobody wants to have. Foundations and agencies like the endowment should perhaps reconsider re-allocating their resources, perhaps giving larger grants to fewer institutions. There may to many resident theatres. At least we have to talk about it".

Republicans, not all, recently called for the elimination of the N.E.A. and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Landseman said that. "I think we have to see what comes out in the way of actual legislation but I'm optimistic that the N.E.A. and the N.E.H. are going to be okay".

An interesting article. My belief has always been that those who want to spend money for things they enjoy should go ahead and fund them themselves. If the rest of us want to view these "arts" charge us a fee to see. Many of us resent asking the federal government to fund any non-priorities while the country is going bust.

Not just the arts. I am opposed to governments funding sports stadiums for the "sporty" groups, etc. At least other groups seeking money are not displaying "art" such as Piss-Christ. I read it was recently defaced.


And I'm still waiting for the artsy group in Peoria is complete the funding and the endowment of the PRM with THEIR money. Not more of our money which they have already tapped 72% for the Peoria Riverfront Museum funding.

The building is underway. What's the continued delay in collecting the pledges and the endowment? Most anyone can guess. They are still waiting for the tax-payer to add more to the 72% of the project they are already paying.

My projections, which are as good as most, say the PRM will be short approximately $2million in operating costs a year starting in year 2015. Or sooner. Especially, if the museum is constantly bringing in new displays as PRM administrators said they plan to do so they are different than the tax-payer money sucking Wichita, KS., "Exploration Place". The PRM will have a growing deficit over the projected 50-60 year estimated life of the building.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City of Peoria - Another Reason For The City's Large Deficits

Pensions plans are costing the city $2.1 million more over 2010. IMRF costs amount to an increase of $320,000 with the rest of the $2.1 million supporting the police and firefighter union pensions..

The city has more than $145 million in unfunded liabilities. Either the budget for the city will be cut or or people's pensions will dry up. Unless changes are made in the pension system in the public sector, expect these figures to skyrocket over the next 10 years.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Senator Dave Koehler Quotes on Unions

Koehler is quoted as saying "Look at the contrast of how we deal with the issue (of education reform) and how Illinois deals with the issue. In Illinois, (unlike Wisconsin, etc.) we sit down and talk."

Koehler, who is identified as the biggest spender of public tax dollars in Illinois, should be asked, "if that is true, where have all the unionized businesses that once made Peoria a leading manufacturing center, gone and why? Or, why is our city and #150 School District in such serious financial trouble with only one solution, raising taxes or raising fees?" Or in #150, laying off the 'last in' even if they are the best. (seldom true in the private sector unions) Yes, I've always recognized the incompetence of some businesses and some both private and public boards. And also with union members a sitting majority on both sides of the table during negotiations. (Peoria County Board??)

Laying off or firing in the public sector? Not much. Has everyone forgotten that Governor Quinn once threatened to layoff 2500 state employees? "Not over our dead bodies, said the unions". And now look at the financial situation of our poorly regarded state in comparison with all but two other states in the union.

The quick settlement of the Caterpillar union contract, Dave? The union did not have much to talk about with Cat moving jobs to "right to work" states, modernizing through innovation, and powerful enough to relocate any part of their business wherever they want to.

Including headquarters. And, if it happens, it won't be from lack of museums and "other circuses".

Public/Private Sector Unions - Some Comparisons

First, some statistics. Public sector union members have increased approximately from 11% to 36% over the past 30 years. Private sector union members have have decreased from approximately 33% to just 7% today. There are now more American workers in unions than in the private sector despite the fact that the private sector employs 5 times as many people.

This shift has created some tensions between the the public and private sector as I have often written on this site. The private sector is dominated by competition with performance pay being the norm. The public sector is a haven of security and stability. Many employees have life-time jobs and performance measures are rare. Public sector union workers are often better paid than the people they serve. Pay and benefits in the public sector have grown approximately twice as fast as the private sector.

Public sector unions have tremendous power with large memberships and fat wallets. The ANEA, the main teacher's union has an annual budget of over $300 million. On October, 2000, a weak Peoria Public School District #150 school board approved a 5 year teachers union contract that put the district $59 million in red in by January of 2006; red ink the district has never recovered. Andy Stern, the head of the SEIU was the most frequent guest of our new president in the first few months of his inauguration. His union donated member dues to the tune of $29 million in 2008 to get union sup[porters elected with President Obama being the chief recipient.

Not enough people saw the film by a liberal film director, "Waiting for Superman", calling Randi Weingarten, head of the AFT union as 'something of a foaming satanic beast' as described by a Variety reviewer. The film described the teachers union bosses as perpetuating a broken' system.

Some of the credits for this article come from the January 8th issue of The Economist which finished their article as follows:

"It would be a mistake to write off the public-sector unions. They are masters of diverting attention from strategic to tactical questions. Undoubtedly these unions will lose some of their privileges over the coming years; the scale of the debt Cris makes this inevitable. But will governments have the courage to tackle the root causes of the problem (such as pensions) rather than deal along with secondary problems (such as wages)? And will they dare to tackle the questions of power rather than just pay and perks? To claim any victory in the battle, they need not just to restore the public finances to health. They also need to breathe the spirit of INNOVATION into the Leviathan".

Some change is in progress as witnessed in Wisconsin and other states, even the mayor of the City of Los Angeles recently was quoted, "Somewhere along the way, the schools in which we invested so much time, though, capital, slowly begin to crumble--figuratively and literally...Why, for so long, have we denied denial and indifference to defeat action? I do not raise the question lightly, and I do not come to my conclusion from a lack of experience. I was a legislative advocate for the California Teachers Association, and I was a union organizer for the United Teachers of Los Angeles.... I deeply believe that the teacher's unions can and must be a part of our efforts to transform our schools. Regrettably, they have yet to join us as we forged ahead with a reform policy."

Public sector unions have tremendous power. (in Wisconsin they bullied businesses to support their desperate battle against the Republicans and Governor Walker by threatening to boycott businesses who did not openly agree to support the unions impossible demand for the status quo while the state and nation were heading for bankruptcy) They help people to sit on the other side of the bargaining table, elect pro-union people to public office especially in smaller communities like Peoria.

In Detroit, unions and bad management combined to make General Motors into "General Government" and make Detroit practically a ghost inner city. In Peoria, after the unions finally saw the "writing on the wall", the UAW signed a five year contract with our still major employer, Caterpillar, with a few "whines" rather than the violence of my not too distant memory.

Incompetence plagues the public union sector. In Peoria, we have what is called "the dance of the lemons" - the practice of assigning the worst teachers to new schools rather than not renewing their contracts. Maybe things are changing with the recent hiring of a new superintendent. We will see.

Brazilians joke that public sector union workers "turn up the first day, hang their jackets on the back of their chairs and are never seen again". In Peoria, we send thirteen city public workers and thirteen vehicles to do a job that could be done by 6-7 people and vehicles by the private sector. I witnessed it on the street where I live. Why, other than the weather, of which we in Peoria are not virgins, do we have some of the worst streets, curbs and sidewalks in Illinois?

Changes are on the horizon. Maybe our president has realized that he must change himself if he is going to be reelected for a second term. I still fear he is a demagogue and Lord help us if he IS reelected to a second term no matter what few concessions he makes in the later part of of his first term.

And, oh, yes. In the private sector unions it's usually "you get the job done as expected or start looking". Yes, I know too many in the private sector are subsidized with your money but at least they can't raise taxes to cover deficit. And if the raise prices too high to compete, everybody, including the unions. lose.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) And Caterpillar

Passage of a FTA with Colombia and Panama would greatly benefit Caterpillar but many business people in Colombia are worried that concessions will be made to strengthen unions in the Colombia private sector. Senator Aaron Schock is part of a delegation heading to Columbia and Obama himself is meeting with the president of Panama.

Some politicians from Colombia were pleased with the deal but then got the bad news that Obama was running for president again in 2012. They realize that Obama can not offend big labor in the U.S. Colombia business fears rising costs of labor that they already feel are too high. U.S. unions support of the giving more control to unions in Colombia have led the opposition to these FTA agreements. Union political pressure on Obama has been the largest stumbling block to a deal that would benefit both countries greatly.

In the meantime, both Argentina in South America and Canada's Champion undercutting the Cat's U.S pricing are making inroads in both Colombia and the the U.S.

Caterpillar and the Republicans are making an all out push both to get these FTA's signed. Caterpillar in advertising and lobbying, which they should be doing, to open free trade with Colombia, Panama and also South Korea.

Peoria Tennis USTA National Champions

Members of the Peoria Tennis Association recently won the USTA National Mixed Doubles Championships held at growing Surprise, Arizona,

Members of the team on the female side were Joyce Hughes, a frequent Tri-County Champion, Vickie Poirot, Sue Chelikas and Mary Gschwend. On the male side were Tom Nevilda, Bill Carey, Jeffrey Young and Steve Tockes.

What a nice honor to the the players and the club.

For more information about Peoria social and competitive tennis, contact

Join up and experience and participate in Peoria tennis. Drop in tennis is available at different times at Glen Oak Park; Sunday evenings and Illinois Central College after work.

Other adult drop in tennis is held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Glen Oak Park; two groups, one meets at 8 A.M and advanced meets at 9 A.M.

Governor Walker - My Type of Politician

I agree with ex-governor Palin, though I do not think she can win the presidency of the United States of America.


Palin: Wis. gov doing the right thing with unions
(AP) - 1 day ago

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Sarah Palin defended Wisconsin's governor at a tea party tax day rally Saturday, telling hundreds of supporters that his polarizing union rights law is designed to save public jobs.

Braving snow showers and a frigid wind outside the state Capitol building, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate told tea partyers she's glad to stand with Gov. Scott Walker. Hundreds of labor supporters surrounded the rally, trying to drown Palin out with chants of "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Recall Walker!"

"Hey, folks! He's trying to save your jobs and your pensions!" Palin yelled into the microphone. "Your governor did the right thing and you won! Your beautiful state won! And people still have their jobs!"

Walker, a Republican, signed a bill into law last month that calls for almost all public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health care coverage, changes that amount to an average 8 percent pay cut. The plan also strips them of their right to collectively bargain on anything except wages.

Walker has said the law will help balance a $3.6 billion hole in the state budget and give local governments the flexibility they need to absorb deep cuts in state aid. Democrats, though, think Walker wants to weaken unions, one of their strongest constituencies.

Tens of thousands of people descended on the Capitol to protest nonstop for weeks against the plan and minority Democrats in the state Senate fled to Illinois to block a vote in that chamber, drawing national attention to the controversy.

Republicans eventually passed the plan without them and Walker signed the measure in early March. Democrats managed to win a temporary court order blocking the law from taking effect, but tensions are still running high over the measure.

Capitol Police estimated about 6,500 people converged on the building Saturday, but said it was impossible to tell how many were tea partyers and how many were labor supporters. The Capitol Police is a division of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, a Walker cabinet agency.

The tea partyers appeared clustered in front of the building, waving "Don't Tread on Me" flags and signs that read "Public workers - the party is over," ''Thank you, Scott," and "Tax and spend brings the end."

Counter-protesters surrounded them, banging drums, bellowing into bullhorns and ringing bells. Bitter arguments broke out along the edges of the two groups over everything from the size of government to corporate power. At one point conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart took the stage and told the labor supporters to "go to hell."

"I'm serious!" he screamed. "Go to hell! You're trying to divide America!"

The tea party crowd cheered and the counter-demonstrators booed as Palin stepped to the microphone. She said she was proud Wisconsin conservatives prevailed against union "hatred and violence" - even though none of the protests in Madison ever became physically violent and only one person was arrested Saturday, for disorderly conduct, police said.

Palin said Walker is working to solve Wisconsin's long-term budget problems so it can honor pension commitments to public workers.

"This is where the line has been drawn in the sand and I'm glad to stand with you in solidarity," Palin said.

She segued into attacks on President Barack Obama, accusing him of failing to control the nation's burgeoning debt, leading the country into war in Libya on fuzzy pretenses and ignoring rising gas prices.

Jeff Kuhn, 62, of Chenequa, Wis., carried a "Walker Rocks" sign to the rally. He said Palin's speech galvanized him.

"We're not giving up," he said. "The government union workers shouldn't be entitled to more benefits than us."

Kathy Abel, a 51-year-old nurse from Madison, held a sign that said, "I hated Sarah Palin before it was cool" and wore a button that read: "Proud to be a union thug."

"They make me giggle," Abel said of the tea partyers. "Their values are so topsy-turvy. They had to come because this is where it's happening. This is the flashpoint for democracy."


The Myths of Standardized Testing

If you read my blogs, I have always said that the conception of standardized testing as the benchmark in determining a students education came from people who live in "ivory towers".


The myths of standardized testing

By Valerie Strauss

Are the following statements true or false?

*Students' knowledge and skills can be assessed by a sample of content that makes up a 45-question test.

*High test scores of students at any particular school prove that there is high student achievement and quality teaching at the institution.

*Punishments or rewards to teachers or students based on test scores motivate them to do better.

*A standardized test score is a better reflection of student learning any any other form of assessment.

*If the stakes to a test are high enough, people will work harder and improve their performance to meet the challenge.

These are common myths of high-stakes standardized tests, which have become the focus of modern school reform and used to evaluate schools, students and, increasingly, teachers.

Plenty of people believe these to be true, though they are not, as explained in a new book, appropriately called, "The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don't Tell You What You Think They Do," by Phillip Harris, Bruce M. Smith and Joan Harris. [ ]

The book explains, using a load of research, why high-stakes standardized tests are less objective than many people believe, why they don't adequately measure student achievement, how the results distort the validity of the assessment system, how these tests "inadvertently" lead young people to become "superficial thinkers," and much more.

The easy-to-read book does not only look at what's wrong with tests but also discusses what "genuine accountability" looks like.

This is all especially important today as Congress considers whether and how to rewrite the 2002 No Child Left Behind law, the major education of the former Bush administration that ushered in the era of high-stakes testing. Thus far, the Obama administration's policies have done nothing to change the dynamic, and in some cases, have even encouraged states and school districts to raise the stakes by linking test scores to teachers' evaluation and pay.

Here are a few excerpts from the book:

"As psychometrician Daniel Koretz puts it, scores on a standardized test 'usually do not provide a direct and complete measure of educational achievement.' ... Tests can measure only a portion of the goals of education, which are necessarily broader and more inclusive than the tests could possibly be.... Here is Gerald Bracey's list of some of the biggies that we generally don't even try to use standardized tests to measure: creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity

"Surely these are attributes we all want our children to acquire in some degree. And while not all learning takes place in classrooms, these are real and valuable 'achievements.' Shouldn't schools pursue goals such as these for their students, along with the usual academic goals? Of course, a teacher can't really teach all of these things from a textbook. But, as Bracey points out, she can model them or talk with students about people who exemplify them. But she has to have enough time left over to do so after getting the kids ready for the standardized test of 'achievement.'

"In fact, there are more problems associated with the impact of standardized testing on 'achievement' than simply the fact that the technology of the testing cannot efficiently and accurately measure some vitally important attributes that we all want our children to 'achieve.' Alfie Kohn put it this way: 'Studies of students of different ages have found a statistical association between students with high scores on standardized tests and relatively shallow thinking....'

"So by ignoring attributes that they can't properly assess, standardized tests inadvertently create incentives for students to become superficial thinkers--to seek the quick, easy and obvious answer...."


"Tests drive instruction. They will continue to do so as long as anyone cares about the scores, and merely publishing the results for each community school in the local newspaper is enough to give the scores weight and cause people to worry about them. So we need to stay alert to the direction in which the tests are driving instruction. We think it is clear that the current frenzy of accountability testing is driving instruction away from long-term projects and investigations whose outcomes aren't known and whose evaluation depends to some extent on direct human judgment. The outsized emphasis on test scores has driven instruction toward items with one clear, right answer, in an attempt to prepare students for what really counts--the standardized test.

"You'll often hear someone say that a good test is one that teachers should be pleased to teach to. But this proposition concerns us. When it comes to whether teaching to the test is a worthy goal, we don't worry so much about the items on the test.... We think that a far more important issue is almost always overlooked in policy discussions: what's not on the test."


[This passage refers to the deadline written in No Child Left Behind that calls for most students in U.S. public schools to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, a goal that is expected to lead to virtually all schools being labeled failures because of the complex rules associated with meeting it.]

"Now we have a new federal administration, and it has proposed doing away with the 2014 deadline for proficiency. Surely, that's a good thing, no? To which we reply, "Yes, but...." The big 'but' is that the 'blueprint' set out by President Obama and [Education] Secretary [Arne] Duncan adopts the same approach to accountability as its predecessors did. The 2014 deadline has been replaced with a 'target' (they say it's not an absolute deadline) that by 2020 all students (here we go again with 'all students') will be 'college and career ready.' But the same misunderstanding of accountability plagues the new proposal. That is, 'college and career ready' still relies on annual testing in grades three through eight and once during high school; still relies on rewards for success (i.e., high test scores) and 'interventions' for persistent failure (i.e., low test scores), and still fails to address the fundamental social, cultural and familial issues that strongly influence students' performance. But 'interventions' are so much nicer than 'sanctions,' don't you think?"


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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Social Security - Some "Inconvenient" Truths

Forwarded to me from my daughter, Nancy Ann Cripe.


And, yes, I'm back from Arizona and will start posting again.

Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what's what and it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and
card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.

An old Social Security card with the "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION" message. Our Social Security
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social
Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
1.) That participation in the Program would be
Completely voluntary,

No longer Voluntary

2.) That the participants would only have to pay
1% of the first $1,400 of their annual
Incomes into the Program,

Now 7.65%
on the first $90,000

3.) That the money the participants elected to put
into the Program would be deductible from
their income for tax purposes each year,

No longer tax deductible

4.) That the money the participants put into the
independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the
general operating fund, and therefore, would
only be used to fund the Social Security
Retirement Program, and no other
Government program, and,

Under Johnson the money was moved to
The General Fund and Spent

5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed
as income.

Under Clinton & Gore
Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are
now receiving a Social Security check every month --
and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of
the money we paid to the Federal government to 'put
away' -- you may be interested in the following:

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the
independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the
general fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically
controlled House and Senate.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax
deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social
Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the
'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the
Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -

Q: Which Political Party decided to start
giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A: That's right!

Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65,
began to receive Social Security payments! The
Democratic Party gave these payments to them,
even though they never paid a dime into it!

------------ -- ------------ --------- ----- ------------ --------- ---------

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA),
the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want
to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of
awareness will be planted and maybe changes will
evolve. But it's worth a try.
How many people can YOU send this to?

Actions speak louder than bumper stickers

Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what's what and it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and
card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.

An old Social Security card with the "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION" message. Our Social Security
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social
Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
1.) That participation in the Program would be
Completely voluntary,

No longer Voluntary

2.) That the participants would only have to pay
1% of the first $1,400 of their annual
Incomes into the Program,

Now 7.65%
on the first $90,000

3.) That the money the participants elected to put
into the Program would be deductible from
their income for tax purposes each year,

No longer tax deductible

4.) That the money the participants put into the
independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the
general operating fund, and therefore, would
only be used to fund the Social Security
Retirement Program, and no other
Government program, and,

Under Johnson the money was moved to
The General Fund and Spent

5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed
as income.

Under Clinton & Gore
Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are
now receiving a Social Security check every month --
and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of
the money we paid to the Federal government to 'put
away' -- you may be interested in the following:

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the
independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the
general fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically
controlled House and Senate.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax
deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social
Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the
'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the
Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -

Q: Which Political Party decided to start
giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A: That's right!

Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65,
began to receive Social Security payments! The
Democratic Party gave these payments to them,
even though they never paid a dime into it!

------------ -- ------------ --------- ----- ------------ --------- ---------

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA),
the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want
to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of
awareness will be planted and maybe changes will
evolve. But it's worth a try.
How many people can YOU send this to?

Actions speak louder than bumper stickers

Monday, April 04, 2011

Obama's Were Omitted? Really? Maybe They Can Pose As Paparazzo?

Reprinted from and email sent to me.



*The American people can now more readily 'understand' why the Obama's
were omitted from the guest list to the Royal wedding in April!*
This is worth reading. We know how other countries feel about us.
Hopefully we can change all this. Now we will see why some of the other
'friendly' nations really don't like us now.


*This is a very sobering article.* Our handling of relationships with the
Britons over the oil spill won't help either.

From The London Daily Telegraph Editor On Foreign Relations


"Let me be clear: I'm not normally in favor of boycotts, and I love the
American people. I holiday in their country regularly, and hate the tedious
snobby sneers against the United States. But the American people chose to
elect an idiot who seems hell bent on insulting their allies, and something
must be done to stop Obama's reckless foreign policy, before he does the
dirty on his allies on every issue."

One of the most poorly kept secrets in Washington is President Obama's
animosity toward Great Britain, presumably because of what he regards as its
sins while ruling Kenya (1895-1963).

One of Barack Hussein Obama's first acts as president was to return to
Britain a bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office since
9/11. He followed this up by denying Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on his
first state visit, the usual joint press conference with flags.

The president was "too tired" to grant the leader of America 's closest ally
a proper welcome, his aides told British journalists.

Mr. Obama followed this up with cheesy gifts for Mr. Brown and the Queen.
Columnist Ian Martin described his behavior as "rudeness personified." There
was more rudeness in store for Mr. Brown at the opening session of the
United Nations in September. "The prime minister was forced to dash through
the kitchens of the UN in New York to secure five minutes of face time with
President Obama after five requests for a sit down meeting were rejected by
the White House," said London Telegraph columnist David Hughes. *Mr.
Obama's "churlishness is unforgivable*," Mr. Hughes said.

The administration went beyond snubs and slights last week when Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton endorsed the demand of Argentine President Cristina
Kirchner, a Hugo Chavez ally, for mediation of Argentina's specious claim to
the Falkland Islands, a British dependency since 1833. The *people who live
in the Falklands, who speak English, want nothing to do with Argentina*.
When, in 1982, an earlier Argentine dictatorship tried to seize the
Falklands by force, the British -- with strong support from President Ronald
Reagan -- expelled them.

"It is truly shocking that Barack Obama has decided to disregard our shared
history," wrote Telegraph columnist Toby Young. "Does Britain 's friendship
really mean so little to him?" *One could ask, does the friendship of
anyone in the entire world mean anything to him?

"I recently asked several senior administration officials, separately, to
name a foreign leader with whom Barack Obama has forged a strong personal
relationship during his first year in office," wrote Jackson Diehl, deputy
editorial page editor of the Washington Post, on Monday. "A lot of hemming
and hawing ensued." One official named French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
but his contempt for Mr. Obama is an open secret. Another named German
Chancellor Angela Merkel. But, said Mr. Diehl, "Merkel too has been
conspicuously cool toward Obama."

Mr. Obama certainly doesn't care about the Poles and Czechs, whom he has
betrayed on missile defense. *Honduras* and *Israel* also can attest that
he's been an unreliable ally and an unfaithful friend. Ironically, our
relations with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have never been
worse. *Russia* *has offered nothing in exchange for Mr. Obama's
abandonment of missile defense*. Russia and China won't support serious
sanctions on Iran. Syria 's support for terrorism has not diminished
despite efforts to normalize diplomatic relations. The reclusive military
dictatorship that runs Burma has responded to our efforts at "engagement" by
deepening its ties to North Korea.

And the Chinese make little effort to disguise their contempt for him.

*For the first time in a long time, the President of the United States is
actually distrusted by its allies and not in the least feared by its
adversaries*. Nor is Mr. Obama now respected by the majority of Americans.
Understandably focused on the dismal economy and Mr. Obama's relentless
efforts to nationalize and socialize health care, Americans apparently have
yet to notice his dismal performance and lack of respect in the world
They soon will.

--London Daily Telegraph editor -- Alex Singleton

Governor Rick Perry and Novelist Susan Hasler

Interesting books to read by Governor Perry, "FED UP" who tells it like it is and why this country, at least 60% of us, are heading in many wrong directions and Susan writes a novel about the CIA that is a lot more fact than fiction, "Intelligence".

Both books should cause you to think and perhaps act.

Widmer is Taking a Short Hiatus

I've written 75 blogs in the last 30 days. If you wish you can read older blogs for awhile why I'm on spring break.

Thanks for reading me.

Peoria - City and County Have 122,000 Registered Voters

Expect less than 25% to vote. 22/5% voted four years ago and we had more issues.

"Throw the bums out", that got us in the financial straits we're in? Yeah, maybe the wrong bums are being thrown out. A lot of "wind" in this county and a lot more hypocrisy. If just the 9% unemployed and the other 7% (probably a lot more) who are no longer looking for a job would vote, they alone would add almost 20% to the tally.

But then, maybe I read the community wrong and they are so confident their candidate will get elected, they feel they don't need to vote.

Or maybe they know that "change" just means a nameplate exchange.

Koehler on Caterpillar Letter

First, understand Koehler is a Democrat who never saw a taxpayer dollar he didn't try to spend. The National Taxpayers United of Illinois denounced Dave Koehler of Peoria as being the worst spenders followed by Republican Dave Leitch tied with Don Moffitt of Galesburg for years 2007-2009. Who got all this money in the Peoria area? Why not take less and let the communities determine where the priorities are to spend it before it is laudered by politicians?

Second best friend of taxpayers was Aaron Schock. Now Darin LaHood wrote a LTE stating that he want to work closely with Koehler. I reminded Darin that the way our Republic was set up was intended to take less from the taxpayers and therefore return less "laundered" and fewer dollars to the community they represent.

Leave more here. Don't let Springfield and D.C. get their greedy hands on our money. Problem is the lobbyists for the special interest groups including farm corporations, large corporations in general and unions who contribute large amounts of money to their respective campaigns, good old boys and girls club types, quickly change cause the newly elected to change their election promises into "everything the special interest want is a priority". And quietly ask staff, "how much money did they contribute to my campaign".

I recall giving a $100 bill to a prominent candidate and he laughed as he stuck it in his pocket and said he just got a donation of $10M from my friend. Which one of us is he going to listen to??

Back to Koehler, who, after helping drive businesses out of Illinois says "Cat's letter is bipartisan and its important because improving the state's business can't be a partisan issue. We want to TRY to take this opportunity??? to TRY to turn around the image of Illinois not being business friendly".

Dave, it takes a letter like this to say we need to "work together"? Fat chance with the Democrats in total charge of Illinois but Dave will listen to Caterpillar because they helped finance his campaign.

After trying and succeeding to drive business out of Illinois, Koehler and his Democrats want to use this letter to create a new image of the state??

Get real, Dave, but of course, that is not going to happen because the State of Illinois is broke and politicians will get the money somewhere from some of us who only have the power of the printed word. And vote, of course, but fewer and fewer are voting these days.

Read everything I've ever written about Koehler on my "Search This Blog" site or start with my blog of February 10, 2010.

Illinois State Employees Receive $336 Million in Pay Raises in 2010

While the state increases taxes, fees and everything they can legally or even non-legally get away with, the bureaucrats who run the state get raises to build their retirement pensions. Sick leave, excessive Workman Comp payments, personal days, sick leave 10-11 holidays while the state is going broke.

In the meantime, the Federal Government keeps building new monster buildings including a new USDA building in St. Louis. Add more people to hand out the subsidies to the corporate farmers like ex-Bull, Scottie Pippen who never came close to farm until he heard about the gravy trains.

In Peoria, drive around, if you don't work for the government and can afford it, and look all the empty commercial buildings, 5 on Pioneer Parkway that I noticed.

Government is bloated even if some cuts have been made. Someone suggested today in the media, that the government should take over airlines. Bureaucrats and elected officials, mainly Democrats should be exported to the countries the Democrats are denying free trade with our country; Columbia, Panama, South Korea.

Fannie and Freddie Executives Pay Themselves $35 Million

Friday, 01 Apr 2011 01:52 PM

By Jim Meyers

Top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were paid more than $35 million in the past two years while the two bailed-out mortgage finance giants were receiving $153 billion in support from taxpayers.

The huge payouts came to light in a new report published on Thursday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General.

“Although the Enterprises [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] have lost billions of dollars and continue to depend upon federal support to remain in business,” the report states, “their senior executives continue to receive multi-million dollar salaries.”

At Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association), its chief executive officer received $9.3 million in total compensation in 2009 and 2010, the report reveals. The CEO is Michael J. Williams, who joined the company in 1991.

At Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association), CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr., former head of Putnam Investments, made $7.8 million in the two years since the company was taken over by the federal government.

Fannie Mae’s chief financial officer made $4.6 million, and its chief accounting officer/general counsel received $4.5 million.

At Freddie Mac, the CFO made $3.9 million, and the general counsel/secretary received $5.1 million.

In all, the top six executives made $35.4 million. Meanwhile, total losses at the two companies could reach $363 billion through 2013, according to government estimates.

The pay was approved by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is charged with conserving the assets of Fannie and Freddie on behalf of taxpayers, The New York Times noted on Friday.

The FHFA “has a responsibility to Congress and taxpayers to efficiently, consistently, and reliably ensure that the compensation paid to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s senior executives is reasonable,” said Steve A. Linick, the newly appointed inspector general of the agency.

“This is especially true when you realize that the U.S. Treasury has invested close to $154 billion to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” and they “are spending tens of millions of dollars for executive compensation.”

The report pointed to a “lack of standardized evaluation criteria, documentation of management procedures and internal controls” at the oversight agency.

It also noted that the executives were paid far more than their counterparts at other federal housing agencies. The top executive at Ginnie Mae, for example, received an annual salary of less than $200,000.

The inspector general recommended that the FHFA “should establish written criteria and procedures for reviewing performance data, and conduct independent verification and testing of the basis for executive compensation levels. These factors may warrant lower compensation for Enterprise executives.

“Also, to improve transparency, FHFA should post on its website information about executive compensation.”

Brian Foley, a compensation consultant, told the Times that a “fair portion” of the executives’ compensation is paid “without regard to performance.

“If anybody needs to have good long-term performance, isn’t it Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?”


Saturday, April 02, 2011

AFSCME Is a "Play Dirty Union"

These union bosses, especially the AFSCME bosses and thugs, try to win their desperation efforts to increase their stranglehold on the public sector by intimidating businesses in Wisconsin.

Read this shocking news article from the Journal Sentinel in Madison.


WSEU circulating boycott letters
e-mail print By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2011 |(1357) Comments

Members of Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, have begun circulating letters to businesses in southeast Wisconsin, asking them to support workers’ rights by putting up a sign in their windows.

If businesses fail to comply, the letter says, “Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members."

Jim Parrett, a field representative of Council 24 for Southeast Wisconsin, confirmed the contents of the letter, which carries his signature. But he added that the union was also circulating letters to businesses thanking them for supporting workers’ rights.

Parrett said that since the letters were sent out, he has received threatening phone calls as well as calls from people supporting the state workers.

"I've gotten a lot of threatening phone calls," Parrett said.

Parrett said he believed the letter campaign was going on in other parts of the state. His region includes Racine and Kenosha counties, as well as parts of Waukesha and Walworth counties.

“It’s going on in other parts of the state,” he said Wednesday.

Parrett referred questions to Marty Beil, the head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union. Beil was not immediately available for comment.

In the letter from Parrett to some businesses, he says that, “It is unfortunate that you have chosen ‘not’ to support public workers rights in Wisconsin. In recent past weeks you have been offered a sign by a public employee who works in one of the state facilities in the Union Grove area. These signs simply said, ‘This Business Supports Workers Rights,’ a simple, subtle and we feel non-controversial statement gives the facts at this time.”

Parrett said a number of WSEU locals in his region represent more than 1,300 union workers who have a combined yearly income of more than $56 million.

“The recent actions taken on the governor’s budget repair bill have taken more from workers than dollars. It took away our right to bargain things such as: sick leave and how it is used, vacation and how it is used, overtime and how it is ‘fairly’ distributed. Our grievance procedure has been virtually destroyed. These are things that make life working in a 24/7 facility tolerable,” Parrett wrote in the letter.

Parrett adds in the letter: "State employees fully expect to take some lumps financially in these tough economic times, we have offered and we will. But don't take away rights to what has kept workplace peace for half a century and has worked well."

Terri Gray, executive director of the Union Grove Chamber of Commerce, said she had received many calls from member businesses about the union-led effort. She said most of the calls came from businessmen and women who preferred to remain neutral in the dispute between Gov. Scott Walker and organized labor.

"They don't want to pick a side," she said. "I told them, 'I believe you can choose to not choose.'"

Gray said the campaign appeared to have started a day or two ago. She said she didn't know whether the sign campaign was having an impact.

Asked Wednesday about the boycott effort, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said "that any nonviolent tactic used to get attention to the steamroller tactics it seems to me are reasonable. I encourage people to remain nonviolent and disciplined in their protests."

Asked if he supported boycott efforts in Wisconsin, Jackson did not directly endorse them.

He said: The best way to resolve conflict is when everybody is at the table and they can negotiate through some rational institutional process."

Friday, April 01, 2011


"From the very fact that people are very different (as are countries, states and ethnic groups and religions, my comment) if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently.

Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other: or we can achieve one or the other, but not both at the same time." (F.A. Hayek)

Progressives see "equality" as a cultural and moral leveler, as a statement that there can be no "better" or "worse" nations or people---but that is not at all what the Founders intended. John Locke, who perhaps influenced the Founders more than anyone, said that equality simply meant that the government was 'respecting people as equals'. (Glenn Beck's book "Broke".

Of course, that is not true. Those with the most money, the best access to people of power usually do not receive the same equal treatment. That is and always has been, a sad situation with little possibility for an honest cure. Although some people with access to power and with money have been made examples as witness Enron executives.....etc.

Kasich , Ohio Governor Signs Union Bargaining Bill

"It makes no sense that we have public employees unionizing to negotiate against the public....It's time (way past time) we start negotiating with federal employees the way we negotiate in the private sector when the company is facing bankruptcy."(Glenn Beck in his book 'Broke')

I agree in what the states of Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin are doing and sincerely hope other Republican governors join in. The Democrat governor too, if they also sincerely want to save this country from bankruptcy.

No, I don't want the unions to bear the full brunt "hatchet" (scalpel surgery may not be enough) cutting and neither do any governors of any state, Republican or Democrats.


Thursday, 31 Mar 2011 07:58 PM

By Newsmax Wires

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a controversial collective-bargaining bill Thursday evening, a measure similar to the Wisconsin bill that spurred protests from coast to coast and that dramatically limits the bargaining power of unionized state workers, including firefighters and teachers.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich
The Senate voted 17-16 for the measure yesterday after the House of Representatives passed it earlier in the day. Kasich has backed the bill, which also would require government workers to make minimum payments for health-care coverage and pensions.

Ohio Democrats have pledged to ask voters to repeal Senate Bill 5. That would require more than 231,000 voters to sign petitions within 90 days of passage to prevent it from taking effect until the public vote, according to the secretary of state.

The measure and a similar bill sought by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have spurred nationwide labor protests.

“These folks are not numbers on a page or lines on a graph,” said Representative Matt Szollosi, a Democrat from Oregon, near Toledo. “They do not deserve to be slapped in the face and put further into harm’s way, because the liberty groups or Tea Party groups or whoever is pulling the Republican strings right now have demonized public workers.”

The measure is likely to set off a statewide campaign that promises to be one of the biggest ballot battles in recent memory, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The campaign, called We Are Ohio, will coordinate efforts to write a ballot issue, gather signatures to place a referendum on the November ballot and raise money to persuade Ohioans to throw out SB 5, the newspaper reported.

"This is going to be a very big campaign," We Are Ohio spokesman Dennis Willard told the newspaper, noting that that the collective bargaining debate is drawing attention from supporters and opponents from other states as well as from numerous interest groups here.

A competing website has also been launched by supporters, called

Ohio Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Doehrel told the Plain Dealer he'd be shocked if either side spent $20 million.

"You can do a heck of a statewide campaign for $6 to $8 million dollars," he said.