Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Illinois is the Titanic

The state of Illinois is sinking fast. The dynasty that runs the state is not unlike Greece in its current condition. The candidates that get the most exposure during campaigns always win because they can afford the advertising. Most candidates for Governor come from Chicago.

A member of the Illinois General Assembly submitted legislation that would create a separate state for the Chicago area. It seems that every chance the Chicago politicians get, they transfer another state agency from the southern counties into the Chicago suburbs.

The state employees who work throughout the state get paid as if they live in the more expensive Chicago area. The tax increase must continue to pay exorbitant union labor and management salaries. A Janitor at the department of Central Management Services makes over $80,000 per year ("Janitor I")

 People who work for the state for decades are privy to loopholes that allow them to scam the system. Once the public becomes aware of the problems, legislators make a theatrical magnanimous gesture that makes the public think something is being done. As soon as the public has something else to focus their attention, the process of reform is reversed.

Illinois is over $4 Billion dollars in debt to vendors, and in a desperate attempt to repay the debt has now added interest on top of the debt by selling the debt to investors who pay the vendors. The state then pays the investors with interest.

In January of this year the state attempted to start recovering from deficit spending by increasing the individual income tax from 3% to 5% and the founder of Jimmy John's sandwich shop (Jimmy John Liautaud) threatened to leave the state. Recently, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Sears Holding also threatened to leave the state, so the Illinois General Assembly passed a $330 Million dollar tax relief package which will accrue to the state of Illinois already bloated $200 Billion dollar debt.

In 2009, shortly after the Impeachment of former governor Rod Blagojevich, the former Lieutenant Governor-now-Governor Patt Quinn promised to "fumigate" the state government of Blagojevich appointees. We are still waiting as of December 2011.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the voters of Illinois, who continue to automatically and unconsciously vote for their candidates based on name recognition and charisma as they have for decades, allowing in the opportunistic greedy sociopaths to feather their own nests and to treat their elected office as the finish line of a race rather than the beginning of an effort to improve the lives of their constituents. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm stuck in Springfield, Illinois. I was born here and lived here until I reached high school age, then moved away. I graduated from high school elsewhere and came back for a couple of years to attend Lincoln Land Community College which ended in failure, so I joined the military.

After the military I earned a Associate degree then interned at a cable advertising company which turned into an eight year career. I got laid off and moved back to Springfield, Illinois, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and started looking for meaningful, gainful work in this town.

Unfortunately Springfield is full of entrenched dynasties of politics and business. You can't get gainful employment here unless you go to the right church or were born or married into the family business. The rest of us "line workers" earn poverty wages.

Ironically, there are fewer than a dozen people around here who could be considered part of the "One Percent" yet there is a volatile caste system based on the difference in wage of just a few dollars. People who earn between nine and ten dollars per hour have told me that it's unfair to raise the state's minimum wage to ten dollars per hour. This kind of attitude is so pathetic I can no longer speak to people who feel that way. Raising the minimum wage to match or surpass their current earnings somehow shatters their sense of superiority. Really? Someone below you catches up to your earning level by a dollar fifty and you are humiliated? Please!!

Another conversation among the locals is about who got the cheaper gasoline for their vehicle. I know someone who gloats when he is able to purchase gas ten cents cheaper per gallon. He occasionally saves about two dollars more than me, struts and beams with pride with his chest puffed out. It makes me sad to think that one's life is so meaningless that such trivial advantages mean so much.

Most of the people I know have costs related to college loans, credit cards, car payments, real estate taxes, mortgages, schools, daycare, car insurance, food, utility bills, transportation, etc., but on top of that, they must have their extra vehicles, motorcycles, smart phones, cable television, online video game subscriptions, and extra child that was the "accident." The trappings of uneducated, unprotected sex. Thank the brilliant strategy of  creating slaves known as "abstinence-only sex education."

In the cold streets of this town on the endless flat prairie of central Illinois, there are mostly parks, shops, bars, restaurants, movie theaters. I'm sure there are skating rinks and bowling alleys. I know there is one water park, and the state fairgrounds are here. There are a few museums too, but not very much time passes when you have done everything here at least five times.

Maybe it's who you spend your time with that counts most of all, but at forty eight, I still have yet to find that person. I wish I knew who said this first: "You will find the love of your life when you do the things you love." There are plenty of things I would love to do here, but they are locked up in the dynasties that run this town.

The businesses and government here are so infected by politics, nepotism and cronyism that everyone around here has become complacent, but an overcast of malaise and discontent that can no longer be recognized permeates this town. Anyone who has any real sense has already left, and soon so shall I.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Notes for #OccupyWallStreet

Passive resistance and protests are instigated or aggravated by wrongdoers for entertainment rather than for redress of grievances. Do you know any non-violent demonstrations that yielded positive results over the last thirty years?

A Fool's salary lies at the point where the fool believes he is part of the ruling class, but will never achieve it. He's paid just enough to believe he will be protected from underclasses. He is entrusted by the ruling class, to facilitate its enrichment through thuggery and fraud, and he will never experience the pain and suffering of those he bullies and robs, until he retires and realizes too late, the error of his ways.

Police earn a salary just enough to not care about the concerns of the protesters they are called to control. Officers earn just enough to feel like part of the ruling class, but not enough to join the ruling class. They will learn very late in life that they were exploited.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Illinois is pretty much finished as a state. Chicago runs the state like a feudal city-state with the peasants living south of the 80-90 Toll Road. The rest of the state should rebel from the Chicago machine by simply following the political winners of each county.

That's right. Governors instead of Governor. Each county should follow the governor who wins the race in that county. That would castrate Chicago.

So, if you didn't vote for Pat Quinn in the last election and another candidate won in your county, he or she is your actual governor and should take his or her rightful place, where else? Springfield. Since governor Quinn doesn't stay there anyway like he said he would. The governor of Illinois Proper will with the other federal, state and local candidates who won in your county, write a new constitution for the collective opposing counties.

This will effectively represent the people they way they should be represented.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Harassing robo-calls

We can't figure out who this is. I don't know if you can hear it or not. This is test to see if audio can be emailed to Blogger via Blackberry.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wait, there's more than just parks at the park district?

Not too many of us go out much anymore, I sure don't. Maybe it's just my age, or that I work nights and sleep during the day so my free time is during the dark hours of Springfield when nothing but Denny's, Walmart or the grocery stores are open. It might have something to do with having a minimum wage part-time job with no benefits and a schedule that changes weekly so I can't have a second job.

Botanical Garden in Washington Park
At least I can go to the park once in a while when it's not raining. That's pretty much my impression of the Springfield Park District. Occasionally I'll hear about some events like fireworks at the Carillon. There is beautiful indoor botanical garden at Washington Park.

I saw an article in the State Journal-Register "Springfield Park District should broaden movie choices" that astonished my notion of what the park district offered. I had no idea they had movies. What's more astonishing is that I was born in Springfield in 1964 and lived here until High school. My mother actually worked for the park district for a while. Shocking!

We didn't grow up with the Internet. We were limited to radio, television and the newspaper. It seems the Springfield Park District really doesn't have an advertising budget. If they have a section in the newspaper, it's either drowned-out by other events or the events listed don't seem to be associated with the park district. That's just my perspective. There might be an effort at public relations, but it's probably directed only at families with kids.

Families typically have shoe-string budgets. They wouldn't have a lot of money to spend so the Park District might be hard-pressed to get money from the city, especially under the current budget crisis.

If it wasn't for Brian Mackey's article in the State Journal-Register It never would have occurred to me to research the Springfield Park District's website [ http://www.springfieldparks.org/ ].

But since I'm a single man with no children who works nights, I wouldn't fit in at events, but at least I can get some exercise in nature swatting mosquitoes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Potential revivial of BuyLocalSpringfield.com

I've been sitting on www.buylocalspringfield.com for quite a while now. It was inspired by the film Food, Inc., but also the fact that money was literally being siphoned permanently away from local circulation. Every dollar not spent on local payroll is leaving the community forever. There is a slow leak in the community's economic radiator.

There was a significant increase in foreclosures, layoffs, pay cuts, and prices on food, gas, and other goods, which means there is a very large inventory of extra stuff to find at garage sales, consignment shops, pawn shops and flea markets, and storage unit auctions. The cause was mostly man-made until we had severe crop-damaging rain, wind, hail, tornadoes, and drought in Texas. Now food prices will climb higher and faster than ever.

Retail-food prices will jump more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate of 3 percent to 4 percent this year, said Chad E. Hart, an economist at Iowa State University in Ames. Companies will pass along more of their higher costs through year-end, said Bill Lapp, a former ConAgra Foods Inc. chief economist. -- Bloomber.com May 25, 2011.
Potentially, there will be a significant need for websites featuring local products. There are sites featuring local farmers markets, and I hear advertised local meat markets, Turasky, for example which also offers Deer processing. I had Venison sausage once and it was not bad, very interesting. There are more.

It is imperative that we support local food producers because they will be robbed blind if they must sell their products to national food processors at commodity market prices. If commodity prices, or wholesale prices are driven down too far, local producers will lose their land to agriculture conglomerates that build environmentally damaging factory farms. The result will be Salmonella outbreaks in neighboring vegetable producing farms, like the Spinach and Bean sprout outbreaks in recent past.

To improve www.BuyLocalSpringfield.com, it needs only needs links to websites of local product retailers, businesses that repair and refurbish used products, tailors and clothing makers, furniture makers, potters, etc. Leave comments here, or follow @BLSpringfield at Twitter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's day 2 of my 3 days off. What next?

Today I posted to some of my blogs. I have at least 15, but I can't get to them all in the few days I have available.

I'm reading Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. I wish I had that book in the early COM classes at UIS, it would make a perfect accompaniment to Deliberative Argumentation. Of course it's biased toward a liberal social agenda. Alinsky is quite direct about it.

Communication students with any weight will not fear or admonish bias, but will recognize it for what it is and present the proper arguments as balance.

I'm hungry. Today was Taco Tuesday at Schnucks. I'm kind of bummed I missed it, but it's pricey.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Springfield, Capital of Illinois - operating on the backs of the poor.

De-industrialized and with a large income disparity, Springfield, Illinois has some people who have enough money and enough time on their hands to get involved in politics.

The rest are too busy living paycheck to paycheck saving nothing, living on borrowed money and borrowed time until they declare bankruptcy, were never taught how their own lives are effected by politics, or never see any significant political change to their own lives and don't bother to get involved.

Local political candidates go for votes they know they can get so they campaign on the platforms of yard waste pickup, fly-dumping, taxes, government waste, potholes, business related fees, and other topics of interest to local property owners.

Absentee landlords don't care because they can't vote in local elections, so the upkeep on their property is deplorable. The problem is that most absentee landlords started in Springfield then moved away as soon as they could afford it, to communities beyond the reach of the city taxes, utility costs and other fees.

So Springfield is mostly blighted. The illusion that it has nice neighborhoods is created by separate villages that are interwoven like an oddly shaped quilt. Leland Grove, Jerome, Southern View, are a few villages that actually do everything to contribute to themselves, but very little if anything to Springfield except the downtown public spaces and "cultural" centers, and even then it's the bare minimum.

Springfield is riddled with neighborhoods full of dilapidated old buildings, many of them abandoned and boarded up.

These distressed neighborhoods line every major thoroughfare into the city center where the Abraham Lincoln historic sites are located, and contribute nothing to the idea of starting a new business in town or even an inkling of a notion to live here.

Surrounding the historic sites are a few knickknack shops, bars, restaurants, banks, offices, hotels and a convention center. There are some residents who live around the downtown area, but the downtown grocery store that once served them has long ago departed.

The Illinois governor's mansion has been vacant for the last few terms. The majority of the population of Illinois resides in the Chicago area, so we get Governors from northern Illinois who prefer to do most of their business outside of Springfield as often as humanly possible.

The city struggles to recruit and retain the high level professionals needed to maintain a functioning local economy. Salaries for engineers, professors, lawyers, doctors and basically anyone who can be marginally successful in larger more popular metropolitan areas must be exceedingly high in Springfield.

Springfield's economy is supported by some higher wage and salaried employees: State, county and municipal employees, Memorial Hospital, St. Johns Hospital, Springfield Clinic, Horace Mann Insurance Company, Southern Illinois School of Medicine, The University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and a few lesser known companies that pay above minimum wage which is currently $8.25 per hour. These people can afford to live outside of Springfield. They pay county property taxes, shop for groceries and pay sales taxes near their homes in Jacksonville, Chatham, Rochester, Sherman, New Berlin or other bedroom commmunity. Rents are usually $500 or above for these communities, you know, to keep out the "unwashed."

The other economy consists of disabled and elderly on fixed incomes, retail and food service workers, and other workers paid no more than what is legally required, minus the payroll tax-withholding of course. These are the people who can't afford to live outside of Springfield. These people can't afford to support a political candidate, nor can they afford to run for office. They are therefore ignored.

This society is under a structure called "political Darwinism." Springfield, Illinois clearly demonstrates political Darwinism by its obviously distinguishable geographic boundaries between the rich, working class, and poor.

The 2000 Census data showed that one third of the population of Sangamon County earned under $10 per hour. Since then, the population of Springfield alone rose nearly 5000 residents. Let me repeat, five thousand new residents in ten years.

Springfield, being the capital city, is the main hub for processing more Public Aid recipients, who often arrive from Chicago, get their paperwork processed, and then head back north, so I've been told. Some choose to stay.

Politics requires money, and the monied get what they want from their elected officials. Plain and simple political Darwinism. Not Democracy.

So we have higher utility fees, higher local sales taxes, higher cigarette taxes, so the local property owners can have yard waste on their rental properties hauled away by the city, instead of hiring private haulers.

There is a whole lot more to this than I can cover here. More later.

Friday, April 01, 2011

GPS Inside Deal

Once upon a time there was a GPS navigator that gave directions to drivers very efficiently, saving the drivers time and fuel.

One day an executive at the GPS company had a brilliant marketing plan. He called up his contact over at the big oil company and the two of them hatched a scheme that would be unprecedented in human history.

The GPS executive proposed to the big oil company that the big oil company's logo could appear on the GPS navigator device when ever the driver came close to one of the oil company's gas service stations.

The big oil company executive thought that was a pretty good idea and he would agree to buy the advertising space under one condition: that the big oil company have editing rights to the driving route software.

The GPS executive though that was crazy, but then came back with "you can have editing rights so long as you don't make it so obvious that your competitors file a lawsuit against us. Why would you want to control where our drivers go?"

Big oil replied: "We want people to buy more of our gas, but if you insist on limiting our control, then we agree to make only minor changes."

From that day forward, drivers saw the one gas station's logo among the generic logos of gas pumps on their GPS navigator devices, and the drivers found themselves taking inexplicably longer routes with turns that seemed to lead them more frequently to stop signs.

The end.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Springfield Gentrification Plan

Springfield requires an overall gentrification along the main roads coming into the downtown area, just to make a nice facade for tourists. What's gentrification?

Gentrification and urban gentrification are terms referring to the socio-cultural displacement that results when wealthier people acquire property in low income and working class communities... -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification

There's a much simpler and cheaper way to do this. Custom design tour buses with blacked-out windows, and video monitors embedded in the back of each seat so the passenger can be distracted by an informational video about the Lincoln Historic Sites.

This way we don't have to make any changes and the poor people can live in their rotting hovels and there will be enough money left for potholes and leaf pickup.

Unless you want to attract more businesses or professionals, then you can just attract them to Chatham or Panther Creek. Problem solved.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

IL Governor Quinn wants dot coms to pay state taxes. Amazon.com's response:

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of Illinois residents. Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Quinn compels us to terminate this program for Illinois-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by Illinois-based affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We had opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by national retailing chains, most of which are based outside Illinois, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that its enactment forces this action.

As a result of the new law, contracts with all Illinois affiliates of the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated and those Illinois residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, or SmallParts.com.

Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to April 15, 2011 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule. Based on your account closure date of April 15, 2011, any final payments will be paid by July 1, 2011.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Illinois. If you are not currently a permanent resident of Illinois, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after April 15, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To be clear, this development will only impact our ability to continue the Associates Program in Illinois, and will not affect the ability of Illinois residents to purchase online at www.amazon.com from Amazon’s retail business.

We have enjoyed working with you and other Illinois-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Illinois residents.


The Amazon Associates Team

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Springfield Illinois Residency Requirement

I created a discussion topic at the new forum now available at www.spfld.net focusing specifically on the question of how much actual dollars are lost forever from the city's economic cycle, by employees who work for the city, but live and spend their money in other communities?

The question of residency requirement in Springfield, Illinois is especially important because the city has it's own utility company, City Water Light and Power, which generates money from it's private sector customers as a revenue source that helps pay the salaries of city employees.

If municipal employees live outside the city of Springfield, in the realm of other utility companies, merchants and services that have private sector employees that live in other communities, The potential tax revenue that might have been generated for the city of Springfield is lost forever, which means that real money is slowly and permanently being siphoned out of Springfield, Illinois' economic circulation.

Money is already being siphoned permanently away from Springfield when people choose to buy anything that was not manufactured locally. When you look at money in terms of an environmental cycle, like the hydrogen cycle, for example, it becomes clear that survival based on the money cycle is limited and is dependent upon new money flowing in faster than it leaves.

New money flowing in faster than it leaves is entirely up to businesses. If businesses pay wages high enough, the tax revenues generated should produce services and infrastructure that is attractive enough to draw in more businesses. Unfortunately, businesses will only pay employees what the government forces them to pay employees. The government employees have organized and demanded to be paid more than the city is willing to tax the private sector because the private sector can leave.

The consequences is a crumbling infrastructure which becomes so unattractive that the only way to compensate is to pay exorbitant salaries to the professionals needed for the survival of the community, who would otherwise leave, in the fields of academics, health, finance, engineering, etc.

But the habit in Springfield is this: If you can afford it, live outside of the city.

The city of Springfield, much like most municipalities, is becoming an economic crater. The only difference is that inevitability of collapse is slowed by money generated from the city's own utility company, CWLP. The evidence of a crumbling infrastructure can be clearly seen in the architecture of the buildings surrounding the state capitol, and the odor rising up from the open sewers on 13th street and other older areas of the city.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The aim of business

To a business, labor is a pure expense rather than an investment in the quality of the community from which the future workforce is produced.

On the surface this does not make sense, until one considers that there are tax benefits for depreciation, and the more rapid the decline of an area surrounding a plant, the quicker the benefit can be reaped until the next plant is finished where labor is cheaper. Is this true?

Carly Fiorina said in response to a question about outsourcing:, "Americans are not entitled to work for HP."

Americans seem to think they are entitled to a lot lately, like special tax exemptions, free health care, eight hour work days, uncontaminated food and water, wages that allow for housing and raising children, labor that doesn't cost anything at all, free use of government troops for security and commandeering of foreign natural resources, the list goes on and on.

Nobody is exempt from this mental defect called "sense of entitlement." When the Federal government decided it was no longer going to pay for junk food for public aid recipients some people complained that the government was telling them what they can and can't eat.

Nobody told them they couldn't drink soda, they would just need to earn the money to pay for it.

Junk food is a privilege, not a right.

Ultimately, the aim of business is to set an example that entrepreneurship is the most successful method of achieving wealth, and if you can't, the "free market" absorbs your corpse into the protein bank.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin not to become another Illinois

It looks like all the state workers have turned out in droves to prevent the governor from dismantling non-safety related unions.

The state of Wisconsin has come within a couple of million dollars of going into the red, and unlike Illinois which plans to cut social programs and education money for the poor, Wisconsin plans to cut the salaries and power structure of union members.

I would like to have become a union member, but unions have become feudal dynasties that no one who was not born into it can becomes a member, no better than the industries they proclaim their enemies.

They are all riding high on the backs of the disenfranchised minimum-wage earning taxpayers, not knowing or seeing beyond their own enrichment. They have become their enemy.

So, kudos to Wisconsin's governor for taking real fiscal responsibility for the state's finances. Perhaps breaking the back of the unions in Wisconsin will make them see the error of their ways, and they won't in the future be so greedy that they cost the lives of everyone else who won't be allowed in their club.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fudging the unemployment numbers

When the news media reports a drop in the unemployment rate, it doesn't always mean the unemployed found work.

First, those who collect the unemployment statistics must know exactly who the unemployed are so they can be counted. The laziest way to figure that out is to look at everyone who is registered for unemployment benefits, and are actively calling in to collect their bi-weekly unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits run out. So the unemployed who still can't find work, can't collect anymore benefits, so they disappear from the database and are no longer counted.

If an effort is made to keep an account of the unemployed who no longer collect benefits, sooner or later their numbers must drop as they must leave the community to find work elsewhere.

When this occurs, the employed, which is a fixed number of workers can remain the same, and the statistics will still show that unemployment dropped.

So, if you're planning on starting a business in a community that shows a rapid improvement in the unemployment rate, watch your wallets, your likely moving into a trap.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Illinois economy is finished.

Colleges are training nurses, the nurses are doing their time at local hospitals until they can move on to more attractive climates.

One University of Illinois at Springfield professor gets paid a six digit salary, but he doesn't stick around central Illinois. Why the hell should he?

The city of Springfield is desperate to keep the engineers at the local power plant. They have to be paid huge salaries just to stay.

What is it about central Illinois that is so unattractive to the intelligent people?

Is it high taxes? No. that would be a lie.

It's the shitty business practice of only paying minimum wage.

Attractive communities are dominated by highly paid individuals with large disposable income, and little need for social services.

State, county, and municipal governments in Illinois are being forced into raising taxes so they can pay salaries that are high enough to keep smart people around.

There are very smart people who work in the private sector, but you won't find them in central Illinois.