Friday, December 26, 2008

Who gets bailed out?

There are two bankers with opposing facts.

One banker, from Chicago, said that bailout money was going to banks that were in control of their assets, banks that made the right decisions that kept them stable enough to survive the current banking crisis, allowing them to take over management of banks that failed.

Another banker, from Springfield, who sits on the board of trustees at a local bank, said that bailout money was going to banks that were struggling so they could pull themselves out of the current crisis by shoring up their defaulted loans.

One of these opinions is correct. The truth is that Treasury Secretary Paulson gave money to some banks, and those banks in turn bought out some banks that were struggling, and also bought banks that were not struggling.

As the title of the program implies, the Tangible Asset Recovery Program (TARP)appeared on the surface to benefit home owners who were lured into sub-prime adjustable rate mortgages. They, and other defaulting borrowers have yet to receive a dime.

The first $350 billion was dolled out and the results were not as congress expected, so when it came time for Secretary Paulson to ask for more, congress thought they could open the books and question him about what was done with the first half of the money.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apartment living is becoming dangerous

The big three most dangerous apartment complex neighborhoods are the buildings surrounding Ladley Court north of Stevenson Drive, The MacArthur Park Apartments, and now, just graduating from burglaries to violent robberies, the apartment buildings on Seven Pines road just east of Chatham Road.

Ladley Court is surrounded by Stanton, Taylor, and Stevenson, and holds the record for the highest number of gun related crimes in a small area.

The MacArthur Park Apartments are bordered by Maple Ave., West Iles, S. Lincoln Ave., and MacArthur, and had the widest variety of incidents requiring police, but not nearly as many gun crimes in the same period.

The Seven Pines area is bordered by railroad tracks to the north , Westchester Blvd to the south, Chatham road to the west, and eventually turns into Shiloh Drive to to east. This area had a few burglaries until a man was robbed and beaten in his own apartment by people who came to visit him. The incident was reported on today.

Oddly however, other crime reported over the rest of Springfield seems to have somewhat of an even distribution. Vandalism and burglaries on the north and west appear to happen outside the main perimeter of apartment complex neighborhoods, with vandalism occurring the closest, and more heinous crimes graduating outward. It's just a guess. comments are always welcome.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sock and Awe! is a hilarious game with morbid beginnings.

I first discovered this on

I only heard about it because I now have time to listen to Kramer on WMAY from noon to 3pm.

Palm's Dirty Little Secret

If you go to Staples or Office Depot, don't be fooled into getting a Palm Tungsten E2.

If you look closely on the top left edge, you will see an expansion slot for an SD memory card. It will have a piece of plastic where an SD memory card will go. Don't be impressed by it. The Palm Tungsten E2 is only capable of reading an SD memory card no bigger than one Gigabyte.

Not only that, it has Bluetooth, and so does my stupid Sony Ericsson phone, so I thought I would see if I could link the two together, Nope.

You would be better off splurging on an iPhone, unless you wanted nothing more than a calender in your pocket.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lisa Madigan Speaks

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan held a press conference today discussing a motion to have the IL State Supreme Court remove Governor Blagojevich and replace him with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.

The press conference was carried by all the cable news networks except for ABC, and CBS and CNBC. All the cable news networks cut off the press conference, while WGN held its cameras steady.

The A.G. filed a temporary restraining order against Blago. She also said that the state has nearly one billion dollars in Medicaid payments that need to be made to providers, and without a signature from the acting governor, the payments cannot be made.

The temporary restraining order keeps Blago away from his ink pen regarding any actions with the Tollway Authority, and other potentially costly decisions he would otherwise make.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Into Infamy

There's more at my VLOG on YouTube


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Science Education

The introduction in Clair T. Berube's book "The Unfinished Quest: The plight of progressive science education in the age of standards," divides students into categories of motivation. students had different reasons for working toward the goal of finishing school.

Many had been trained by modern society to seek was expected and to deliver exactly that, nothing more, nothing less. Many only wanted to know what I wanted, so they could make me "happy" and therefore acquire a good grade. Indeed, grades were what made their worlds go 'round. Sometimes I would assess their understanding with no grades attached. Most of them did not like this at all, and wanted to "get something" for their troubles, and that something was a grade. But there were also some students who argued with me, came up with new ways of solving problems, who were actually delighted when they were given something to figure out, and who displayed their teenage rebelliousness through their intellect, which is the very best kind of rebellion indeed. My goal as a science educator became then, and still is now, to uncover each student's sense of rebelliousness and authority questioning (critical thinking skills) hidden deep within them. The best scientific discoveries were achieved through this mindset, instead of the current educational sheep herding mentality, which is rewarded and is so prevalent in the United States today. Our schools reflect the society we live in, and we are being led around by our necks like sheep in the dark.

After the author divides the students into the above described categories, she divides "modern educators" into two sides of the argument that science education is going in the right direction, and those who "fear that it has gone tragically astray."

The author reaffirms my experience and suspicions about American Education.

Do we already have creative brilliant minds in America? Of course we do. Do we already have good schools that employ progressive teaching and learning pedagogy at the highest levels of learning? Yes to that also, but many of these schools are limited to the wealthiest suburbs or to private prep schools.

I can name two of them: Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois. and Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri. There are countless schools like these across the country. If you never heard of them it's because they won't advertise in your choice of reading material, television or radio.

Perhaps you should reconsider the value of your favorite newspaper, magazines, or television and radio stations.

But my personal beef is with that camp of educators who believe that science education is just fine the way it is, or they relegate it to the last item on their education budget behind sports.

Cuts in public education budgets forced many schools to seek corporate sponsorship, but corporate sponsors compete for only the most publicly visible spaces, the sports arenas.

The Unfinished Quest raises the issue of the September 11, 2001 Attack on the World Trade Center, and our lack of creative solutions to problems, instead of our current method of only reacting to crises.

Another quasi-solution was placing vending machines in the school cafeteria. What ever profits there were may go to programs, but the money would be coming from the students. A hidden form of socialized funding, because the students that can't afford anything from the vending machine would still benefit from the students who can afford to make vending purchases. Socialism disguised as free-market capitalism.

I was inspired by the article in this morning's Illinois State Journal Register

Just an FYI: This morning's headline in the State Journal Register, "High schools failing science," has been changed online to "High schools lack science equipment."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Using Digg on your blog

Go to and set up an account. It's free. What's so great about If you look at the bottom of my blog page you will see a window with stories from that I clicked on while browsing interesting news articles.

Digg allows you to create that little window for your blog, but it also frees up your blog space to write about more than just a couple of interesting news stories.

The two top diggs in my window down below right now are actually not news items, but postings on the Rants and Raves for Springfield, Illinois. Normally, those wouldn't even show up as "Diggs" unless you manually add the web address.

Now that they are on, they will be more visible and more likely to spread virulently on the Internet. If you add Diggs to it it will move higher on the list of popularity, and be read by more and more people.

You should try to add your own posts to too.