Monday, December 27, 2010

Real estate and employment on PBS News Hour

It looks like Real estate investors are turning over foreclosures of larger homes and making them rentals for the new class of permanently temporary employees.

If you live in a nice subdivision with a lot of distressed real estate, prepare for the renters.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Addiction stimulates the economy in Illinois

The Chicago Tribune on November 11, 2010 published an article Gambling our way to prosperity? in which the lame duck session of the Illinois Legislature is "expected to push through legislation expanding casinos in the state" following on the heels of recent legislation that legalized video poker.

Meanwhile, another issue reported about, but kept carefully apart from the gambling issue by time and/or space is the fact that the Illinois Department of Human Services seems to be suffering the most when the state's budget is being cut. The World Socialist Web Site focused on this issue in an article titled Illinois budget cuts gouge education, social services back in July of 2010. This article pointed out that mental health was primarily targeted:

The largest of the detailed spending cuts was made to the Department of Human Services, which is to lose $312.6 million, or nearly 8 percent of its funding. Although these cuts are expected to impact a wide variety of programs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that programs for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled were particularly targeted. -- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/illi-j09.shtml

When these two issues are kept at a distance from one-another, it's easy to overlook their engineered interactivity. When considering the reaction of the business community to the state-wide smoking ban, one can get a sense of the motivation and back-room influence the business community has on the state's decision to most severely cut the budget of the Illinois Department of Human Services in the area of addiction, whether it be substance or behavior.

Mental health services deal with such economically influential addictions as gambling, over-indulging in consumption of mind-altering chemicals, food, and even hoarding. The Department of Human Services particularly deals with people who can't afford to pay for private assistance in these matters.

So it's easy to conclude that providing such services has a two-fold negative effect on the state's economy. First, it costs the state to help people fight their addictions, and secondly it costs the economy to have people gain control of their addictions and rein-in their spending habits, thus reducing the state's tax revenues through sales taxes on such things as cigarettes, alcohol, the state lottery, and even the revenues gained by law enforcement seizing drug money.

So when wondering about half-hearted attempts at law enforcement, national border security, the war on drugs, and the poor treatment of the good people at the Department of Human Services, just follow the money.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Craigslist has a serial "Flagger"

The site Craigslist.org, specifically the site for Springfield, Illinois [ http://springfieldil.craigslist.org/ ] has a section called "Rants and Raves" where people usually post general complaints or compliments about anything.

The problem is that some users indiscriminately "flag" posts, not because they are offensive, but simply because the user wants to feel some sense of power. This comes from a sense of inferiority, or perhaps the user feels powerless over his or her own life and feels the need to lash out, much like a serial killer of online posts.

Another problem is that Craigslist.org automatically removes the posts that are flagged, without reviewing the posts first, then they send an email stating "98% of posts flagged are removed legitimately...but feel free to re-post if you feel...." Actually, the opposite is true. I can say this because my posts that were flagged were all perfectly acceptable for the forum, because you see, I am not only a college graduate, my degree is in communication.

There's really no way to deal directly with the serial "Flagger." Some users actually attempt to get back at the flagger by posting insults and complaints about him or her, but this just validates the flagger, making the flagger feel more powerful.

I propose a solution for this problem. Instead of allowing a post to be removed because it was flagged by only one other user, a post should be flagged by no less than 10 separate users before it can be removed. This way, either a consensus about the offensiveness of a post must be created, or the flagger will need to have ten separate computers with ten different IP addresses from which to flag a post for removal at Craigslist.

I hope the administrators over at Craigslist.org take my suggestion seriously.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Epson Stlus CX4200 printers and Windows 7

... i.e. No Windows 7 support for the Epson CX4200. Time to get a new printer. But still never get an HP.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Panasonic BL-C230A Network Camera. The most frustrating product on the face of the earth

There was never a more frustrating first-time installation and trouble-shooting experience. The first time I tried to install it I gave up for about a week and a half. The directions came on three seperate tabloid sized sheets instead of a step-by-step saddle stitched manual.

If that wasn't bad enough, they combined instructions for different model numbers. There were vague references to an SD card memory, which is typically removable, but there was no diagram showing exactly where it was or if it actually existed on the model I was using

When I finally got it working I tried to set it up so I could watch via the Internet. There is supposed to be a free site where you register your camera and create a page where you can link up to your camera, but it never successfully launched and I could never find the right section for trouble-shooting my camera because the Panasonic website is a total navigational disaster.

If you insist on using panasonic network cameras, I suggest dividing the steps up in very short intervals over several weeks just to keep the frustration to a minimum.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tim Bagwell's site is up!

John Shimkus' nemesis, Democrat Tim Bagwell, running for the 19th congressional district in Illinois is a press conference at 11:00 am on Wednesday September 29th at the State Capital Blue Room in Springfield.

Quoting from the site http://www.bagwellforcongress.com/ :
The news conference will be directed at issues of Congressional oversight of the Save-A-Life-Foundation (SALF), a Chicago area non-profit that has been the subject of numerous media exposes. Bagwell will raise concerns whether millions of Illinois and Federal taxpayer dollars were improperly administered.
 For more information about Tim Bagwell you can now safely visit http://www.bagwellforcongress.org/ or http://www.votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=33472

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bagwell site hacked

Democratic congressional candidate Tim Bagwell's website http://www.bagwellforcongress.com/ was slow loading at first, but then an old nemesis popped up.

The old "Your computer has many viruses and we'll scan your computer for free" popup window showed up.

Of course there's no getting out of that exept by pressing "Ctrl-Alt-Delete", going to the Task Manager window and forcing the browser to shut down. Then you must load a program called C-Cleaner that clears out all the garbage before you launch your browser again, because you will still have all of that crap in your temporary folders.

Democrat Tim Bagwell is competing for the 19th congressional district in Illinois, with John Shimkus. Dear John Shimkus. You better track down the little thug hacker on your staff and give him a slap on the wrist. I don't think that's good politics, Mr Shimkus, I would prefer to judge Mr. Bagwell's position on the issues than make my voting decision based on who wins some Internet Tech War.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quinn's pick for Illinois private lottery management

The following are exerpts from the sites belonging to Northstar Lottery Group, the private organization selected to take over management of the Illinois Lottery system.

Original story in the Illinois State Journal-Register:
Gov. Quinn picks private company to manage lottery --
http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x718562495/Gov-Quinn-picks-private-company-to-manage-lottery



GTECH is a leading gaming technology and services company, providing innovative technology, creative content, and superior service delivery. Lottomatica S.p.A. is one of the world’s largest commercial lottery operators and a market leader in the Italian gaming industry. GTECH and Lottomatica together create a fully integrated lottery operator and gaming technology solutions provider – a combined company with worldwide scale, considerable financial strength, and industry-leading customer solutions. Lottomatica is publicly traded on the Italian Stock Exchange and has approximately €2.2 billion in revenue and 7,500 employees in over 50 countries. GTECH and Lottomatica operate under Gruppo Lottomatica, which is majority owned by De Agostini, which belongs to a century-old publishing, media, and financial services group.

With 7,500 employees in over 50 countries when combined with its parent company Lottomatica Group, GTECH provides innovative technology, creative content, and superior service delivery to effectively manage and grow today’s evolving gaming and lottery markets. If you have what it takes, a career at GTECH can be highly stimulating and rewarding. We keep our people focused, challenged, and proud of their work.


GTECH Corporate Headquarters
GTECH Center
10 Memorial Boulevard
Providence, RI 02903

Main switchboard: 401-392-1000
Fax: 401-392-1234
Media line: 401-392-7452


****

Contact Us
Scientific Games Corporation
750 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-754-2233

Scientific Games International
1500 Bluegrass Lakes Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30004 USA
Phone: 770-664-3700

Media Inquiries
Aimee Remey
Scientific Games
Phone: 212-318-9152
International Business Inquiries
John Walsh
Scientific Games
Phone: 770-664-3821


****
Northstar Lottery Group is a fully integrated consortium of best-in-class companies that have come together to respond to the State of Illinois’ Request for Proposal for a Private Lottery Manager. Northstar includes:

•GTECH and Scientific Games, the world’s leading providers of operations management, technology solutions and innovative lottery products
•Chicago-based Energy BBDO, one of the world’s leading consumer marketing
and advertising companies
With over 50 years of combined experience in Illinois, Northstar will responsibly drive Illinois Lottery growth and returns to benefit Illinois residents.



Guiding Northstar Lottery Group’s operations is a distinguished six-member Board of Advisors, comprised of civic and business leaders from around Illinois.

Dick Devine (Chairman): Partner at Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP; Former Cook County State’s Attorney
Sharon Gist Gilliam: Former Principal, Unisom Consulting; Former Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Housing Authority
David Gupta: President, System Development Integration LLC (SDI)
Karen Hasara: Former Mayor of Springfield
Manny Sanchez: Partner at Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP
Rufus Williams: CEO, Olympus LLC; Former Chair of Chicago Public Schools Board

*****

ENERGY BBDO
410 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
312-337-7860
http://www.bbdo.com/worldwide


*****

http://www.northstarlottery.net/about-northstar/

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Google Gmail accounts hopelessly hacked

The Google help forums are rapidly filling up with frustrated users complaining about "Unknown" contacts mysteriously showing up in their Gmail account contacts list.

Users have reported changing their passwords multiple times a day, only to find the "Unknown" contacts still appearing.

Users are also resorting to deleting their Gmail contacts lists entirely just to keep their friends and familiy from receiving spam.

Google's response has been the standard link to old instructions on how to change your password.

Digg has changed!

Digg.com has changed. It now allows you to add a feed from your own blog so that you can automatically have your own posts dugg.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lack of mowing becomes a traffic hazard.

Geese feeding on grass seed behind County Market on White Oaks Drive
The grass along White Oaks Drive is going to seed and the geese are loving it. It might be a good idea for controlling grass and possibly some species of weed, however, goose poop and roadkill are the inevitable side-effects of not mowing the lawn behind the shopping center on White Oaks Drive.

Several vehicles, including my own were forced to stop for a gaggle sauntering across the road. They were totally oblivious to my car's horn.

The city of Springfield does fine for not mowing the lawn, and this incident serves as a perfect reason for such measures.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Barack Obama Is Scamming Review | Rip-off Report #311553

Ripoff Report [www.RipOffReport.com] is faltering in its ability to manage false and malicious reports. Cred-o-meter has now zeroed out for RipOffReport.com

Here is an example of a current report at their website:

Barack Obama Is Scamming Review | Rip-off Report #311553

Friday, August 13, 2010

snopes.com: Charley Reese - 545 People

snopes.com: Charley Reese - 545 People

GPS Protection from theft

If you own a Tom Tom GPS device, by now you've plugged it into your computer to update it with the latest maps and voices. You probably also noticed that you can access Tom Tom like you would an external data storage device.

You can find the images that pop up when you first turn on your Tom Tom and edit them to show your ID photo and phone number, in case some idiot steals it. Then the idiot will have no choice but to see your smiling face every time he turns it on.

But that's not enough is it? No, you want your Tom Tom to accept only the IP address of your personal computer for updates, and to wreak havoc on any other computer that some thief tries to use to update the maps.

Actually, when you bring home your GPS, you must hook it up to your computer, register the device and open an online account with the company, just to be able to update the maps or download voices.

So the moron who stole the GPS out of the truck (Reported in the State Journal-Register) will never be able to update it, never be able to pawn it, or sell it to someone else.

That GPS is one hell of a hot potato. If you steal one of those, you not only completely wasted your time, you ruined your future.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Furlough days are economic suicide.

You run a government that depends on tax payers for support. You're running out of tax payers because businesses are closing or moving away, laying-off consumers who then must further depend on your government. The only real source of tax revenue is from the remaining consumers who have discretionary income above housing, food, transportation, insurance, energy, clothing, and taxes.

Those consumers that remain, who have the extra discretionary income that provides the necessary tax revenue for the survival of your government, are the highly paid government employees who are receiving systematic cost-of-living raises every year, while the private sector employees receive no such raise or are laid-off, and are consequently dragging your government down due to social program needs.

Who is at fault?

You are, for allowing the activities of indifferent anti-social and predatory business practices that have plundered the community you govern.

Now lay-off all of your union workers and start hiring non-union members, because you will never get the tax revenue you need to sustain such an expensive opulent workforce.

Or sue the businesses that laid off your tax-payers, and sue the businesses that refused to raise the wages of your tax-payers so that you could sustain your government.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Outsourcing

Whose bright idea was it to outsource?

Someone said "hey, it's cheaper over there," and the bosses fell for it.

The money for production went over there.

That money, over there, circulated down to people who acquired resources and manufacture products.

They pay taxes over there. They buy clothes over there. They buy food over there. They rent over there. They drive over there.

It's happening over there.

Not here.

So, who is the moron whose bright idea it was to outsource?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The old woman in the Scooter

Today I was at work and I walked passed a door. Glancing out I saw an old lady at the far end of a parking lot sitting on one of those scooters for the walking semi-impaired.

A harsh wind was blowing. I could tell by the whipping of the American flag on the back of her mode of transportation which itself was red.

She was out there by herself, her face was down, protected by her arms. I couldn't tell if she needed help. I wondered if the battery was dead in her scooter.

I continued walking a few feet, then thought that I should at least see if she was okay. Maybe she was merely waiting for a ride, but I wasn't sure. Maybe she really was in distress. I sighed, turned, and started to push open the door. It was particularly difficult. The wind was very hard at that moment.

She tilted her head up and I saw the cigarette dangling in her mouth. She was out in the far reaches of the parking lot because the hospital has a rule. No smoking on the property.

I walked away wondering if those scooters served to extend the smoking habits of people who can no longer walk because they smoked so much.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Springfield needs a 12-step program.

Even the State-Journal Register seems to deny the truth about Springfield by focusing on the score.

Springfield needs to stand up and say "Hi. My name is Springfield, Illinois, and I'm an alcoholic.

A multitude of voices will cry out in the darkness.

Opening a bar in this town is impossible. There's too much competition.

Two Springfield officers among top 15 in state for DUI arrests - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rod and Judas

Reading the article this morning at the SJ-R website about the trial of Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who was impeached after being arrested on corruption charges. [ http://www.sj-r.com/carousel/x1932554589/Blagojevich-awaits-testimony-of-FBI-agent-ex-aide ]

I was suddenly struck by thoughts of Judas Iscariot. I have to break down why I thought of Judas while reading about the former governor.

While being raised a Christian I was taught that Judas betrayed Jesus to the Romans which eventually led to Jesus' crucifixion. I hated Judas. I think everyone else did too. But logically the dividend of the betrayal of Jesus was allegedly the salvation of everyone, so Judas really wasn't such a bad fellow after all. So what does this have to do with Rod Blagojevich? Not what you think.

The metaphor I'm going for here is that Rod Blagojevich is Judas, not Jesus. Jesus in this metaphor is actually the state of Illinois, but not literally. The Jesus metaphor here is the public perception of the Illinois government.

Judas (Blagojevich) is betraying Jesus (the public perception of Illinois) to the Romans (the reality of Illinois government).

Ultimately, since the Rod Blagojevich trial is tearing the veneer from Illinois government, I think we should give our former governor a little credit. Sort of like Judas, because Illinois government needs to be crucified, and it looks like this trial is starting to get that ball rolling.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monetary machinations and media sorcery.

I was browsing through the tv listings at tv.yahoo.com and came across an advertisement that claimed that The Wall Street Journal reported the end of Walmart. Since the ad was a graphic image and not actual text I figured it was bogus, so I thought I would check it at wallstreetjournal.com. When I got there it was a page that requires a user to subscribe for a fee.

I almost considered paying for a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, but I was reminded of my experience taking economics and accounting in college. The books were old, and I was taking economics and accounting in the spring of 2008, during the worst recession since the great depression. What part of ironic is missing from that? If enough people who studied economics and accounting actually got the correct information, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So I wondered how many people read The Wall Street Journal. They appear to be the authority on financial news. The publication has been around since 1889 and has a reputed circulation of 2.1 million copies and nearly half a million online subscribers. So, why are we in a huge recession?

Wait a minute. The subscriptions and circulation don’t cover the entire population of the United States, around 307 million people. So now the question is this: Did everyone who subscribed to The Wall Street Journal come through the recession smelling like roses? How many people who took college economics and accounting survived the recession?

Every day I opened my books I wondered if the information I was learning was any good at all because of the recession. Now that I thought about it for a while, those who participated in the marketplace deserve all the credit for the recession. Two million or so people out of three hundred million read The Wall Street Journal, and very few people are studying for their MBA degrees. I imagine that they weathered the recession very well indeed, but businesses failed, so there are those among the financial experts who know something more than just the old economics and accounting textbooks.

I studied communication too, so I recognize that certain information is for public consumption, and other information is deliberately convoluted. Should you get all your investing ideas from watching CNBC or reading the Wall Street Journal, or should you go to the trouble of looking up a company’s annual or quarterly financial report using EDGAR at www.sec.gov?

I figure most people regard the mass media with such validity and credibility that they don’t question the sources and dig themselves a recession, while others analyze the mass media to predict the behavior of the public reaction to it for financial gain.

Such examples of public behavior to media would be the “Oprah Effect.” [http://www.cnbc.com/id/29961298/ ] Oprah Winfrey one day might mention a product and the next day the person who created it could be a millionaire. That example is one of the clearest. Another example is the recent jobs report put out by the White House on Friday that showed most of the recently created jobs were temporary census workers. That information combined with the BP oil spill and Hungary being added to the growing list of European countries in financial trouble, caused a massive sell-off of stocks in Wall Street, which in turn dragged down the stock market.

Monday, some traders on Wall Street will swoop in like vultures to buy up stocks that suddenly became cheap, causing the market to go up, but less. The trend from February through April was a steady increase in stock values, but ever since, the industrial averages are stepping down. Two steps down, then one step up. Some bit of information keeps changing the game week to week.

To find out what happened I went to Google Finance and looked at the index timeline. [http://www.google.com/finance?q=INDEXDJX:.DJI,INDEXSP:.INX,INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC ] Google saw fit to place news releases along the timeline and one source that looked appealing was found at Bloomberg.com published April 28, 2010 ” S&P 500 May Drop After ‘Ultimate Squeeze’: Technical Analysis”. [http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-28/s-p-500-may-drop-after-ultimate-squeeze-technical-analysis.html ] The headline itself predicted the current trend, and it doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.
The uptrend appears to result from slightly improving earnings reports, while the downtrend follows news from Europe, employment numbers, or some other news related to government, like new regulatory legislation in the works.

One might think that the stock market is punishing the country for having elected a Democrat President of the United States. Either that or deregulation throughout the eight years of the Bush administration is meeting its karma in the form of bank failures, financial bailouts, E-coli and Salmonella outbreaks, coalmine and oil rig explosions, lead and cadmium in consumer products, and who knows what else lurks on the horizon. Either way, the layoffs started soon after the election of Barack Obama.

When I look at a news story, I wonder it was published literally for its own value, or intended to move the public or some audience to a certain action. Real stories about events concerning individuals aside, news about trends, numbers, or groups of people have the potential to be falsified or distorted to motivate the public.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

REVOLUTION

Massive layoffs in government. Politicians relieved of all authority. Government buildings closed permanently. There's no longer a need to vote between two evils or between the good, the bad and the ugly. For the new full-participation democracy, just go to http://www.godofradio.com/ It's the new government.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Computer TV Conspiracy Theory

I was up late one night and noticed that my Windows media player had a new function that streams television programming online. I shook my head and thought 'there go the broadcasters and cable distributors,' now I don't need them to see the shows I want. So I tracked down an old episode of Twilight Zone, the one with Burgess Meredith in "Time Enough" where all he wants to do is read books. I'm not going to spoil it for you. I sat down and began to watch the episode on my laptop. Gradually, a strange feeling crept over me.

As I was sitting there watching this character on the screen in his wildly magnified eye-glasses trying to make change for a customer in his role as a bank teller, my thoughts drifted toward my own imaginings of what I might do to show someone that my laptop was now a T.V. I imagined myself speaking in a twang characteristic of someone severely educationally deprived: "Hey! Look whut I diyid! I turnt my laptop into a TeeVee.!"

My first reaction was to hit the 'Esc' key, and then I went for the 'x' icon with my cursor and closed that window. I never want to see that again! I was filled with horror, not from the content of the video directly, but because of the distraction it represents from the relevant information I need to survive and compete in Western society.

I was given the book Freakanomics for Christmas 2009 and I'm still reading it. It's taking me so long because my life is filled with information input from other sources, but a key point the authors make is the subject of "information asymmetry," the difference of information between the "experts" and the "consumers." While studying communication at UIS, I discovered the secret information war being waged since the railroad barons in the 1800's hired journalists to write propaganda. The authors point out that the Internet has so severely narrowed the informational advantage of "experts" over "consumers" that it is costing businesses billions of dollars a year in profits. The playing field of information is becoming level thanks to the Internet, and now AT&T and Verizon seek to capitalize and control the flow of information to regain the advantage, but that's another story for www.safetheinternet.org.

For the businesses most affected by the closing information gap, the remaining tool is distraction. Newly relaxed rules on advertising alcohol and sexual aids on television during prime time, newly relaxed rules on profanity and obscenity, the treatment of political reporting on television as if it were a sport, more programs containing unscripted or real violence, more advertising of sugar, salt, fat, and caffeine aimed at children, NASCAR, and myriad other appeals toward baser instincts and emotions that trigger wasteful consumerism, heaved up into the main-stream media information flow like Mount Saint Helens. Internet search results are returning ever more frustrating useless results. Somewhere, kids are graduating from high school and going to work for the corporate media vomit machine, spewing such bullshit as the Pepsi ad where everyone is showing printed posters of green grass and plants in their little video squares.

It's Sunday, May 23, 2010. I'm going to get my camera and my Tom Tom, pick a nice scenic spot using Google Earth, and go take some photos today.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Non-tourism and non-entertainment related businesses should move from downtown.

When Springfield was smaller, downtown was the primary draw, but now with sprawl, the places one visits for entertainment are scattered all over. The venues should be centrally located so they offer a full range of stimulating activity within walking distance.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MOST LAW BOGUS

This blog is in response to the article "Dove proposes less-severe noise law" in the State Journal Register

In the comments at the SJ-R website I continue to suggest ad nauseum that the products with no other purpose but to generate loud sound, interfering with the peace and tranquility of the community, be taxed. I will therefore make a direct appeal.

The lack of response will indicate that some laws are aimed at symptoms rather than causes, which means that the intent of those laws is to retain punishment and its related bureaucracy, instead of aiming at a problem that might result in no longer needing that bureaucracy. In other words, some laws are created for the benefit of making busy-work to keep someone in a job that might otherwise be eliminated because a problem was solved by dealing directly with a problem rather than its symptoms alone.

A high recidivism rate, for example, is symptomatic of certain laws benefiting bureaucratic perpetuity rather than solutions.

This noise ordinance serves as a perfect example, focusing at the act of public nuisance rather than the key components that instigate such nuisances.

All crimes are symptoms of greater problems, but the laws of the land are fixed in a psychological medium of stone solid dogma. This dogmatic approach to the law is known in communication circles as "argumentum ad antiquitatem" or an appeal to tradition, a logical fallacy rationalized under the wildly conservative and blatant term "precedence."

The worship of precedence should be a determining factor of failure to pass the bar exam or denial of public service employment. In other words, anyone who refuses to question old law should not be allowed to serve as a judge. That includes the bible. Preachers who do not engage in questions or debate about old laws in any ancient tome, are unworthy of the pulpit, just as any judge is unworthy of the bench, who refuses to doubt a law on a regular basis.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mayor and Aldermen should tie their income to the economy, the local economy, not the Chicago economy.

This is in response to Mayor, aldermen may tie their raises to economy in the Illinois State Journal-Register:

Mayor and Aldermen should tie their income to the economy, the local economy, not the Chicago economy.

According to the Illinois Workforce Info Center, Sangamon County ranks at number 9 of the top ten highest average wages in the state of Illinois. The average weekly wage is $861.00 and the average annual salary is $44,772. T he mayor’s salary being nearly $120,000 places the position so high that reality is just a bad dream fading over coffee in the quiet morning light.

This business about tying wages to the consumer price index has nothing to do with the unemployment rate or average income based on current taxable income. If they are going to talk about adjusting their income based on the performance of the economy, they should start thinking of their income in terms of percentages of current tax revenue. They need an incentive to raise the standard of living for everyone so they can reward themselves with the increased tax revenue that results from the increase in everyone’s disposable income in the community.

So fix the ceiling of public employee salaries at the average annual salary or average weekly wage of everyone in the community, and get busy finding a way to raise that average, or find someone who can.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Illinois has top-heavy over-paid government bureaucracies.

The Illinois State Journal Register didn't post the following editorial on the Internet for reasons you may determine for yourselves, so I saw fit to take care of that for them.

district186_illinois
Source -- The Illinois State Journal-Register

Friday, May 07, 2010

Civilization cycle nearing bottom

German Parliament agreed to bail out Greece, but Portugal may be left twisting in the wind. It's been said that a retired banker from Chicago fears the economic situation in Europe is contagious and will spread to the United States within a few months.

According to Marketwatch.com, Citi is predicting a market correction down by 20%. There seems to be no other direction but down, however, I plan on holding my stocks for at least a couple of years, and I plan to trade my shares manually, not setting a trailing stop to sell, because the market is too volatile.

Employment is up over 200K jobs, but those jobs are very low paying jobs that cannot sustain the economy because the lowest housing rates are still well over 50% of median income. Notice that nobody in the news ever mentions this fact? This, plus fuel and utility costs will reduce disposable income to bare essentials such as food and clothing. People who recently purchased a new car or mortgage will soon find themselves upside-down and desperate for someone to purchase those goods.

The local economy is supported by business owners, government workers and health care professionals. Springfield is somewhat shielded from the rest of the state because of such a high concentration of these kinds of workers, however, finding help at a retail store or other private service will be extremely difficult and time-consuming because the merchant labor class has been reduced to mere skeleton crews, rendering the workplace unbearable for the few workers who remain.

Managers are finding themselves sneaking into work off the clock to play "catch-up" out of fear they may be accused of poor management, while in reality the shortage of staff is entirely to blame.

The sudden increase in income for the newly employed creates a temporary surge in frivolous spending that leads into indebtedness. The celebration of getting a job by eating out and buying new clothes will be very short-lived. For those who do not have debt and find themselves with a slightly larger amount of disposable income may be tempted to upgrade their housing, and then find themselves trapped by future increases in utilities and fuel costs.

The solution is simple: Create a solid foundation of disposable income at the bottom of the economy. Bring profit margins down to ten percent and pay your workers enough to stimulate the economy from the roots up. You will have a much safer society with fewer people in prison or otherwise draining the economy through taxation.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Illinois has a banking problem

Illinois seems to have too many problems.
Ranking in the top three of bank failures?
*States not listed are those with only one bank failure in the last ten years.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Illinois has a tax problem

Ten states exclude all federal, state and local pension income from taxation.  These include … Illinois...

Many states exclude Social Security retirement benefits from state income taxes.  The District of Columbia and 27 states with income taxes provide a full exclusion for Social Security benefits -- … Illinois....

States with the highest sales tax are:…and Illinois (6.25%). 

Illinois and Mississippi exclude income from qualified retirement plans.

Source: http://www.retirementliving.com/RLtaxes.html

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More mobile

I'm more mobile now. Right now I'm using this post as a test of Microsoft Word 2007's blog post program. I already crashed it once by adding a bunch of accounts and then closing the blog post file without saving it. Don't worry, I won't be blogging and driving.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tea Party Express comes to Springfield

TeaPartyExpress2010

The Tea Party Express came to Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois tonight. I took a few photos. I started to look for ant-tea party protesters but I couldn't see any. I assumed from the main-stream media that the Tea Party was strictly Conservative and run by the Republicans. I was duped by false propaganda.

The Republicans would love everyone to believe that they are the power behind the Tea Party, and the Democrats would love everyone to believe that the Tea Party is made by right-wing wackos.

These two political parties do not want you to believe that the Tea party is unique and a threat to both Power Bases of Republican and Democrat parties, which have ruled this country as a duopoly that excludes such independent thinkers as Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, and other political parties such as the Libertarians, Green, and Independents.

The Republicans and Democrats point fingers at each other in front, while willfully passing the baton between them behind their backs, and playing "Keep-Away" from anyone with a notion of balancing the power between the people and the government.

The revolving door between high government staff positions, and corporate boards of directors on Wall Street is a chief indicator that politicians have only the interests of their closest advisors, which happens to be strong-arming more money out of the pockets of workers and into the pockets of government contracted industrial complexes.

Unfortunately, the podium tonight at the Illinois State fairgrounds was populated with speakers who chose to target Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, when they should have been targeting Henry Paulson, Ben Burnanke, Alan Greenspan, Tim Geitner, Paul Wolfowitz, and others involved in financial advice that resulted in the current economic situation.

While the speakers at the Tea Party activities continue to mislead the public away from the cause and place blame on mere actors and rodeo clowns in marble rings, not much will become of them.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Product Failure - Wire shelves

This product was purchased at at Target in Springfield. You will need to open the package in the store and check the pipe threading to be sure you do not have a defective product.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Proactive or Reactive government

A government is illegitimate if it is reactive instead of proactive. A proactive government will plan ahead, while a reactive government will plunder the coffers and then make excuses.

Here is a partial example of how a proactive government works:

During good times, when unemployment is at least below five percent and most businesses are thriving; raise taxes, cut spending and save enough money so your government will have an emergency fund to stay fully operational for at least three years.

During bad times, when a recession hits, spend the emergency fund, lower taxes, increase the ranks of the social service and workforce development workers, and freeze salary increases.

Here is a partial example of how a reactive government works:

During good times, when unemployment is at least below five percent and most businesses are thriving; hire more workers because there’s more money for it, give regular salary increases, hire employees at three times the rate of the private sector, create new jobs for political patrons, and spend money on beautification projects.

During bad times, when a recession hits, layoff line-level workers, increase taxes, cut funding to social services and education, keep the high-salaried political patrons on the job. Cut firefighters, police, teachers and other line-level workers.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

GOV 101

Today I’m playing the role of the bad magician who gives away the secret to probably the biggest illusion in human history, Government.

Most of us know what’s really going on but it’s a problem we can’t articulate. Conspiracy theorists and paranoids in general continue to voice hatred and fear of the government, and people are still lining up at the polls every election season. These indicators serve as a barometer that the government still appears to have teeth and influence with the public. It’s well beyond time to stop this illusion.

Year after year, president after president, governor after governor, nothing changes. Everyone is wondering why they have to scrimp and scrape their way through life along the precipice of life while a few people or entities are dolling out five and six figure salaries and pensions.

One key element is that government has become a tool of industry. Government on its own merit is merely a decoration behind which a handful of bankers and other industrial oligarchs hide and push buttons like the Wizard of Oz.

Legislation, without fail, distorts from its original intent and public promise, into a cash cow for an industry special interest group, or distorts into a tax-funded bureaucracy to be populated by political patrons and their cronies, who then take revolving doors into industries that benefit from that bureaucracy.

Another point of evidence is the disparity of priorities that local state and federal governments have regarding taxes.

Municipal, State and Federal budgets rely on taxes to stay afloat, but businesses treat employees as an expense they try to keep as low as possible or cut entirely, not realizing that by doing so, businesses are reducing the volume of tax contributors, causing governments to increase the tax rate.

In other words, there are less people able to contribute taxes, so the tax rate is increased to compensate. There are more people dependent on social programs that require tax expenditures because they are unemployed.

Municipalities that depend on sales taxes are doomed unless they do away with sales tax and shift to only an income tax.

If government was interested enough to increase the volume of tax contributions (increasing the number of people who contribute more to taxes) rather than increasing the tax rate, governments would reform education so individuals could be self-sufficient instead of learning to become dependent on an employer in the future.

This is bad for business because it would inject too many competitors into the marketplace. Education has long been dampened and controlled by dysfunctional mandates and curriculum to maintain a certain level of control in the marketplace.

So, government served its purpose as a distraction for terrorists and mentally unstable gunmen long enough. You can stop giving government credit for anything and treat it like the tool that it is. Start looking behind the curtain folks.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Computus Interruptus

You get frustrated when you have to do work, especially when you have one of those really boring jobs at a state agency and you don't feel like quitting in the middle of computer solitaire or World of Warcraft, The solution becomes old-school.

You write your assignments long-hand on paper and pass them to an office clerk to type for you. It's that simple! You can continue your awesome hand in Solitaire, position in chess, or battle whatever. You and your computer can while-away the hours until theclock strikes three-thirty, then off you go to enjoy the rest of the sunny day.

So what if the office clerk has assumed more responsibilities due to budget cuts, or that even your own boss and everyone else types their own memos because they have computers! It's your life to take by the reins and galivant.

The problem is you are wasting valuable taxpayer dollars, and wasting paper. Ruining the environment by using excess paper and performing redundant tasks adds up to serious waste over time.

So stop it!

Stop tearing off a sheet of paper, writing something that should be typed by you, then handing it off to someone else to repeat what you just wrote, on their computer. Type your own damn Shit!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Consequences of laying off employees.

People are getting laid off so they can be replaced by entry-level low wage workers who will have absolutely no spending power, and from whom the city and state won't be able to extract tax revenue.

Businesses are collectively sinking their own ships to try and economically reduce government.

The timing is different for each business, between the time a business cuts it's costs by laying off employees and when the negative consequences occur, but in every case the delay is long enough for the cause of those negative consequences to be vaguely blamed on "the economy," rather than the businesses own practice.

The state and city cut a tiny bit deeper into it's own throat by laying off highly paid government workers. The tax loss won't be felt for a while, but it's inevitable.

The shock to the local private sector economy is three-fold for every government worker laid off, by virtue that most government employees are paid at least twice the private sector average wage, even more if you include benefits.

No customers, intermittent fire and police protection, utilities rendered unreliable, If you own your own business and you own the building too, you've doomed yourselves.

My advice is to continue to hype the local economy long enough to sell your business. Oh, sorry about giving away that secret.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DEPRESSION CONTINUES ADVANCING, lets look at the end.

Dave Bakke's column in the State Journal-Register is a testament to my previous blog post.

•Illinois State Journal-Register 2/21/2010 [ http://www.sj-r.com/bakke/x723437528/Dave-Bakke-I-like-living-here-but-why ]
•SPFLDnet.blogspot.com 2/10/2010[ http://spfldnet.blogspot.com/2010/02/depression-advancing-at-imperceptible.html ]

The downward spiral of the economy is self-sustaining.

Laid-off private-sector workers = less consumerism = less tax revenue = laid-off public-sector workers = less consumerism = laid-off private-sector workers.

The cycle repeats. This cycle will continue to repeat until there is nothing left but land owners with natural resources that are still in demand. That is unless those who control the government begin to arbitrarily seize land so they can pay their own ridiculously high government salaries and pensions.

Government salaries in the upper levels will increase drastically because they can see this coming. Once they retire they can sit back and just let the money flow into their coffers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DEPRESSION ADVANCING AT AN IMPERCEPTIBLE PACE

The business news media keep reporting claims that the economy is slowly climbing out of a recession. It is for a few companies that managed to cut their costs temporarily enough to report an upward trend in their profit-expense ratios; just enough to get more investors the same way Enron did shortly before its fraud was discovered. Unfortunately, this is more than just Enron, it’s the few businesses that are used in calculating the gross domestic product (GDP) for the entire country.

Several stories published in the Illinois State Journal-Register (SJ-R) combine to foretell the doom of our economy, more so than any temporarily distorted PE ratios; a tale of greed so strong that long-term consequences are ignored for instant gratification and knee-jerk reactions.

Public universities are depleting financial reserves in order to make payroll, according to a story by Deanna Bellandi of the Associated Press. “the state isn’t giving them the money they’ve been promised,” Twelve public universities are in trouble, even after raising tuition, the state owes the universities nearly three quarters of a billion dollars.

The souring economy and consequent layoffs, increased temporarily the number of enrollees at colleges for re-training, but for some reason, the increased enrollment and tuition combined still has the universities operating at a loss. The universities apparently are not self-sustaining. The income from tuition is going somewhere, but where?

It was reported February 3, 2010 that enrollment was up at the University of Illinois at Springfield, however, one commenter online referenced the economy and stated “More kids are staying home and commuting rather than going away. SIU-C is taking a pounding for the same reason.”

The state of Illinois is running a deficit, climbing toward thirteen billion dollars.
Sean Driscoll of Gatehouse News Service reported today that without help from the U.S. Congress, sixty five thousand Illinois residents are slated to lose their unemployment benefits in March and two hundred and thirty five thousand by June. Tim Landis reported a twenty eight percent increase in the number of unemployment claims between 2008 and 2009, in Springfield, to about sixteen thousand claims. The unemployment rate is the second lowest in the state behind Bloomington-Normal, according to Landis.

Springfield is not a microcosm of every medium sized town across the state because it’s the state capital, has colleges, a major medical district, and international historical notoriety.

On February 4, 2010, Dean Olsen reported that the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the cap on medical malpractice claims for constitutional reasons, making Illinois very unattractive to medical practitioners because malpractice insurance premiums will skyrocket, consequently so will health care and general health insurance costs in the state.

On February 9, 2010 it was announced in the SJ-R that the local power and water company, City Water Light and Power (CWLP), issued six pink slips to employees, with the promise of fifty four more pink slips if the union rejects concessions for furlough days and pay or benefit reductions.

On February 5, 2010 it was reported in SJ-R that another twenty-one layoff notices went out to other city employees who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) if they don’t concede to furlough days and smaller pay raises.

On February 6, 2010 it was reported that The Springfield Police Benevolent and Protective Association Unit 5 announced that ninety seven percent of its organization voted against conceding to furlough days and lower salary raises. According to SJ-R the police union rejected the proposal because there was no guarantee that if accepted; no police officers would get laid off.

On February 8, 2010, it was reported that approximately half (two of four) of Springfield, Illinois City Clerk employees were issued notices of “possible layoffs.”

On February 4, 2010, it was reported that Springfield city alderman approved a spending budget that closed all but one of the city’s public libraries.

On February 3, 2010, Chris Dettro wrote in SJ-R that in Central Illinois Foodbank’s twenty one county area, over a hundred and five thousand people, including thirty-nine thousand children already receive food assistance annually, over seventeen thousand in a given week.

While all this is taking place, management at state and municipal levels are being promoted so they get higher pensions when they retire, often as an incentive to retire early, such as the outgoing Springfield, Illinois police chief, as reported on February 10, 2010 in the SJ-R.

What does this mean? Well, remember the promise that a lower prime lending rate would translated into lower credit card interest rates for customers? Remember that it never materialized and that all the profits were pocketed instead of being passed on to customers?

The same goes for your taxes. You aren’t going to see a dime of tax savings because management will be enriched further at the expense of laid-off labor. They are currently gorging themselves on what little is left of federal, state and local money.

Soon there will literally be nothing left, and they will be long gone. The baby boomers are gutting the economy and hoarding cash. I hesitate to suggest electing a new generation because it will be another generation of the same people, and the same type of people.

If you look at all the hoops you need to jump through to get elected, it’s not much of a stretch to conclude that the whole system is completely rigged.

Looking on the bright side, Scheels super sporting-goods store will be coming soon to compete with Gander Mountain and Dick’s Sporting Goods. This could mean that tents and sleeping bags at K-Mart, Target, and Shopko will be even more affordable for the rest of us.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Give the Green Party a chance.

The Democrats and Republicans have been around long enough. It's time to give them layoff notices. Let's see how the Greens do.
http://www.ilgp.org/

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Massachusetts Voters

What were the people of Massachusetts thinking when they elected Scott Brown on Tuesday? CBS News reported that Senator Elect Scott Brown denied that his election was a referendum of political gridlock in Washington. Is it true? Could health care reform have passed long ago? The Democrats have sixty seats in the senate, but now only until Brown gets sworn in.

The TV pundits claimed that the Democrat Martha Coakley, running against Brown, was disinterested in the obligatory campaign functions herself, but Politico blogger Ben Smith presented a memo from a Coakley adviser stating that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and “other Dem organizations” failed to contribute early in the election, and “didn’t engage until a week before the election.”(i)

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show exclaimed “The Kennedy legacy is going down to a naked guy that owns a truck?” Referring to a long-ago nude magazine photo of Scott Brown and a campaign commercial where Brown introduced his truck. Later Stewart asks “how does the Democratic candidate, a one Martha Coakley, state attorney genera, lose to this cat?” proceeding with a series of clips.
CNN: “Martha Coakley may have made a big political gaff here in Boston when she referred to Kirt Shilling, the former Boston Red Socks Pitcher as another Yankees fan.”

Stewart: “That doesn’t sound like much but let’s put it in some perspective here for non-sports fans. Uhh, that would be like saying that John Lennon’s favorite Beatle was Mickey Dolenz” [of the Monkeys].

The Boston Globe reportedly once asked Coakley if she was being too passive in campaigning to which she replied “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?”

More damning clips followed, but the point is the Democrats either thought they were going to get a landslide victory or they had no interest in maintaining the majority votes necessary to pass health care reform. The Democrats have a bigger majority in the senate than the Republicans had since 1923, yet the longer health care legislation lingers in limbo, the more it continues to mutate and deform into a cash cow for the insurance industry.

“The people of Massachusetts already have a more progressive health care system than anything in the current health care bill” Stewart said.(ii) One could conclude that voters typically don’t see beyond their own state borders when they vote for someone who is supposed to make decisions that affect the nation as a whole.

It’s not surprising because most senators and representatives are lauded for “bringing home the bacon.” Earmarks are okay when it’s your own state, but if it’s another state, it’s called “pork.” The short-sightedness of the voters should not be further exploited by politicians, but the voters have a responsibility to the country as a whole too.
-----
i. Ben Smith, - Politico.com – Coakley adviser memo: D.C. Dems 'failed' Coakley 01/19/2010 [ http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0110/Coakley_adviser_memo_DC_Dems_faled_Coakley.html?showall ]

ii. The Daily Show – Mass Backwards – Video air date 01/18/2010 – [ http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-january-18-2010/mass-backwards ]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The News Problem

Since long before the founding of the United States, the printing press was the primary means by which literate people decided their vote for a politicians and public policy referendums.

People have come to depend on the news media so much for their daily lives that owning a major newspaper meant you had more power than the government because you could make or break politicians.

The newspaper’s original free market model was entirely based on the quality of the product. There were no advertisers and the newspaper was allowed to survive based on its pure appeal to subscribers. Much like the original newspaper model, cable television once upon a time also had no advertising and was entirely subscriber based. Today, Internet service is supported by subscription to the telecommunication companies.

In the free market phase, the media is a product that relies purely on its own quality to sustain itself. A news organization should survive well in a society where affluence and literacy abound.

An appealing product of information should be easily produced in a society which is taught in a regimented and homogenous manner. An audience educated with proper critical thinking skills should require only facts with which to make decisions.

News was produced that only affected the daily lives and futures of its subscribers.

The current trend toward gentrification of literacy, by raising tuition at private schools and state colleges, the closing of public libraries by cash-strapped cities like Springfield, the shielding of teachers and administrators from Freedom of Information Act requests, is changing the course of society’s future.

Once news organizations began to depend on advertising for survival, they began to shift their appeal toward those who would advertise rather than those who would read or watch. The continued positive messages about the stock market and economy leading up to the banking collapse in 2008, and the continued positive messages about economic recovery during the current recession is one example.

The once-respected news organizations by virtue of only their continued circulation, present ideas that are of no real value to anyone, but which are perceived as being valuable merely by their presence on the printed page or television. The use of the word “popular” became more frequently necessary, as does the subtle presentation that someone or some thing is popular.

The perception of integrity and journalism has shifted from presentation of facts, to speculation and hyperbole. Reporters who adapted were kept employed while those who did not were eliminated or rejected. Media personalities who could garner the highest ratings through pure emotional appeal are paid the highest.

The owners of media decided who gets employed. The potential for an editor to gain employment may depend on how close his or her ideological agenda matches that of the owner. One might claim that an editorial board makes decisions, but how is the board selected?

Suddenly, the Internet became declassified and accessible to the public. The media “gatekeepers” no longer control the flow of information. There is no one to edit or censor communication, and everyone can research for themselves, the stories they are told.

But nobody has time. Everyone is too busy to recognize their livelihoods being gradually eroded away through subtle distortions in their values.

Hiring freeze over at UIS?


Shortly after announcing a hiring freezes(1), the University of Illinois posted an employment ad in the classified section of the Illinois State Journal Register.

One may suspend dissonance by taking account of the fact that during an election year, it is wise for incumbents of offices capable of positioning patrons in such employment, to dangle before the public such golden nuggets of aspiration that yield sacrificial political campaign contributions.

Such behavior is common as evidenced by past state and municipal contradictory and illogical actions of a similar nature. The State Journal-Register reported that the city of Springfield once hired 18 new employees despite facing an 8 to 12 million dollar deficit.(2)

Let the race begin.



(1) http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x1689191444/Budget-woes-forces-U-of-I-to-start-furlough-plan

(2) Published on December 18, 2009, State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) Our Opinion: City should implement hiring freeze

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Union Problem

Unions have become big enough to be a problem not only for their employers, but for the economy as a whole, inevitably including unions themselves. The resources used to placate the unions and enrich the owners of production and owners of resources are inequitably removed from the rest of the population which has no political clout.

You may raise an accusatory finger and say, “everyone has a vote” which is true, but the vote has no value because money, not the public, controls who gets publicity and ultimately who gets on the ballot.

Groups who have the most money can prop up all the puppets they want because the money that goes into political campaigns must inevitably put food on the family tables of “credentialed” editors, producers and journalists.

Illinois has a small variety of very good private schools, but the quality of teaching and administration at public schools is now shielded from inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act.

The teachers union worked to protect their own upper echelons from public scrutiny, despite the fact they receive public money. Parents are interested in the quality of their child’s education.

The public can’t scrutinize the quantity and quality of information collected in the minds of students. Students’ grades are confidential. The public can already easily scrutinize unclean facilities, incorrectly prepared food and clerical errors on non-confidential documents, they should have a right to know what kind of teacher or administrator their kids are getting.

The state of Illinois has left itself exposed for criticism that says “Illinois hides the performance records of teachers, principals, and school superintendents. Anyone who can’t send their children to private school should now to find another state with more transparency in their education system.

Months after approving what was billed as a sweeping reform of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, legislators, at the behest of teachers’ unions, on Wednesday barred disclosure of performance evaluations for teachers, principals and school superintendents.

The measure doesn’t affect evaluations of janitors, secretaries, teacher aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers or any other type of school employee, nor, as written, does it have any impact on municipal, county or state workers. – Illinois State Journal Register. 01/13/2010. [ http://www.sj-r.com/education/x1409374740/Lawmakers-exempt-teachers-from-FOIA-rules-on-disclosure-of-evaluations. ]

Unions refuse to look over their own private white-washed fences at the crushing poverty experienced by the rest of us. They have become the very thing they sought to overcome. They seem to have no consideration for the apparent lack of tax revenues caused by the economic collapse in the private sector. Without any acknowledgement of the economic pressure on the rest of us, they continue to fight for more money still, and even suggest increasing fees or implementing new fees on the public, parallel to tax collection.

To suggest new fees or increasing fees is to put an idea in the politician’s mind that he can later easily claim that he did not raise taxes.

Ron Stone, the police union’s attorney, said the union has offered the city a number of alternatives to furlough days, wage reductions and layoffs — from charging a fee to businesses for false alarms to seeking a greater fee or full reimbursement for special events when police presence is required.

“With the city council that’s not willing to increase revenue, it’s going to be difficult,” Stone said. – Illinois State Journal Register 01/13/2010 [ http://www.sj-r.com/local/x1689204972/Union-officials-City-has-ignored-their-savings-ideas ]

Unions have such a tight grip on their states and municipalities that even suggesting to suspend raises for unions brings threats of lawsuits for breach of contract, while non-union labor has no choice but to accept minimum wage increase that is far below the poverty level.

Davlin also is asking employees to accept smaller raises, saving $1.25 million for the corporate fund and $1.1 million at CWLP. All of the city’s union contracts call for employees to receive 3.5 percent raises during the next budget year. Davlin has proposed that all employees receive salary increases of only one-half of 1 percent. – Illinois State Journal register 01/13/2010 [ http://www.sj-r.com/local/x1689204972/Union-officials-City-has-ignored-their-savings-ideas ]

Ultimately, unions will self-destruct simply because they refuse to adapt with the rest of us to ebb and flow of the economy. The first to suffer are services to the elderly, developmentally disabled, public libraries, elementary and secondary education among others, including those of us with no voice and no political clout.

Unions, already paid extraordinarily high wages and whose jobs are protected, are now getting a thank-you gift from the Democrats for helping them get elected, in the form of an exemption from paying a tax on their “Catdillac” health care insurance plans.

The best chance for compromise legislation on health care may be a plan under construction in the Senate Finance Committee that would pay for a public plan in part by taxing some worker health benefits.

But the union workers who helped Democrats win Congress and the White House and whose support will be key in getting a health bill signed into law would not pay the tax.

With cost estimates already as high as $1.6 trillion, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has proposed paying for the bill in part by taxing health care benefits for workers who earn more than $100,000, or $200,000 for married couples, according to those familiar with the discussions.

Baucus is also weighing a tax based on the value of health care benefits that exceed a yet-to-be determined cap. A tax on benefits that exceed the cap by a mere $3,000 could amount to $750 in taxes annually for a worker who earns as little as $34,000, say experts. --  Ferrechio, Susan, Chief Congressional Correspondent - Washington Examiner June 23, 2009 “Union workers would be exempt from Dem health care tax” [ http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Union-workers-would-be-exempt-from-Dem-health-care-tax_06_23-48810402.html ]

When you hear the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow decrying the “Teabaggers” understand that they are talking about people who live paycheck to paycheck, people who are qualified and interested in working at a government agency, but who cannot even get an interview because the city or state is borrowing money to pay union salaries and pensions, the non-union elderly and others unable to afford their taxes and fees for property and vehicles, people who can’t afford to send their children to private school and must gamble on the quality of their child’s education.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Congratulations to INB

I went to http://www.moveyourmoney.info (Move Your Money) and entered 62704 and the list of local banks to which you should move your money was topped by Illinois National Bank (INB).

Congratulations!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

This morning's classified section

Capitol Radio Group is looking for someone to hire so I thought I would look up their address on Google Maps. Nice work.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What is a "Straw Law?" a story you should save for educational purposes.

Luckily I get the actual printed version of the Illinois State Journal Register. I had to do a search to find this story online, even though it was in today's paper. Hmmm...

There's a story about how lobby reform legislation is being cut down by judge in Chicago who ruled it unconstitutional. It's important because it demonstrates what I like to call a "Straw Law."

Basically it's legislation that gets almost unanimous popular support, that works against organizations which are the backbone of political campaign financing. In classic textbook fashion, a quiet little rule is tacked on that will sabotage the law, but only long after the law is passed, when nobody is looking. A lawsuits against it will later be filed, and a judge can easily rule it unconstitutional.

Here now is the glaring example of such a "Straw Law:"

http://www.sj-r.com/news/x1689193760/White-puts-lobbyist-registrations-on-hold