Thursday, January 28, 2010

SOTU - Obama More Loved than Ever

The Democrats were really whooping and hollering it up last night at the State of the Union, weren't they? It's pretty clear that no matter what I have been reading in the press, the President is their guy and simply the best. They love him, that is clear. I was pretty shocked the way they carried on; I know a lot of Democrats that have unhappy economic situation and some do realize that Washington could care less about them, carrying on about health care while they are afraid of becoming homeless. Forget about the one illness from ruin theory; they are afraid they won't be able to pay their bills next month.

I found it particularly touching when the President insulted the Supreme Court. President Obama thinks you are too stupid to figure out when a political ad has been paid for by a corporation or union. I am quite lost how someone who is supposedly such a good constitutional scholar distrusts the First Amendment, or maybe he never bought into it in the first place. Forget all this talk of where President Obama was born or raised; this guy's from another planet.

During the speech I went upstairs for a minute, and when I was coming down the stairs I thought someone had switched to an old WWII movie from the sound of the speech. Turned out I was wrong and the channel had never been changed, but the fact that I thought I was hearing something from 60 years ago in Berlin was troubling indeed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cook County Property Taxes Leave Me Screaming

YES! That is me screaming again. I hear you too; you also must have gotten your Cook County real estate tax bill in the mail. How are you doing? My tax bill has far more than doubled in less than ten years. With the recession here, and pennies-in-the-purse looking more valuable by the day, I'm proud to say I'm not choosing between any candidates in the upcoming election who say there is no road other than higher taxes.

Well, I'm off to a bracing cup of tea. Perhaps it will take my mind off the fact that, coming from a family that has been middle class since they dreamed up the classification, I might be the first to slide down the slippery slope to poverty.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Proft Speaks Sense on Schools

Hope you are voting for Dan Proft for governor in the Primary! Here's one of many reasons I am.

Thanks to Washington, All Taxpayers Have is Debt

Figures on US government spending and debt (last six digits are eliminated). The government's fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Total public debt subject to limit Jan. 22 12,245,872
Statutory debt limit 12,394,000
Total public debt outstanding Jan. 22 12,302,465
Operating balance Jan. 22 142,454
Interest fiscal year 2009 383,365
Interest fiscal year 2008 451,154
Deficit fiscal year 2009 1,417,121
Deficit fiscal year 2008 454,798

Receipts fiscal year 2009 2,104,613
Receipts fiscal year 2008 2,523,642

Outlays fiscal year 2009 3,521,734
Outlays fiscal year 2008 2,978,440
Gold assets in September 11,041

Friday, January 22, 2010

No Recession Here: Plenty of Wilmette Taxpayer Money Being Spent by Park District

Thank Goodness the Wilmette Park District is doing its part to ensure Wilmette taxpayers are spared the pain of living among people who have been adversely affected by economic times! The Wilmette Park District has unveiled its new budget with tons of new spending! There seems to be no shortage of people in Wilmette who want those who might be adversely impacted by high property taxes to leave promptly. And permanently. Is there any greater downer than having a neighbor who complains about property taxes, or--even worse--is suffering due to increasing taxes? No! Having an economically diverse community would never do! Best to ensure that any of those tea party types who might live in town head elsewhere.

Now that the teardown pace has slowed, new and more clever ways need to be dreamed up to rid our fair village of the peril of living among tax complainers. We are lucky that the Park District is doing its part.

The appearance of the municipal spending elves, pictured above just greedily waiting with their wheelbarrows to be filled with taxpayer money, is strictly coincidental.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Scott Brown! Thank You, Massachusetts

" . . . to let these smug moonbats and the Beautiful People and Obama’s tax cheats and the freeloading illegal aliens know that they don’t own this country - not yet anyway.

"Health-care “reform” dead for a generation? Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Two generations would be even better. As several callers to my radio show said yesterday, paraphrasing Michelle Obama: 'For the first time in my adult life, I feel proud to be a Massachusetts resident.'"

-Howie Carr on the election of Senator Scott Brown, in the Boston Herald

From the people of America who have been treated over the last week to the horrifying spectacle of how the U.S. government has been running the relief operation in Haiti, thank you Massachusetts for choosing Scott Brown as your US Senator. God only knows what the fate of the American patient might be if the federal government takes over health care. And don't let anyone convince you that Scott Brown ran on any platform other than mainstream Republican issues, because that is exactly what he did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti: Fully Staffed Hospital Begs for Patients

UPDATE, January 25, 2010: The hospital is now very busy, and serving the medical needs of the earthquake afflicted.

From the Internet (and very current):

"I am sitting at Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti, 75 miles north of PAP waiting for patients that have yet to arrive. I have a 7 member trauma/ general surgery team that arrived from the States earlier this afternoon and have received only 4 people from PAP. Those that made it by USCGS helo were so septic that they would have died had they not been transported to us early this PM. We have 6 Orthopedic surgeons arriving at noon tomorrow and we have no patients for them. We have created space for one hundred people and have differed all non-emergency cases until we have handled the crisis. I am told that within three to four days all those injured in the quake will be dead and the extraordinary efforts accomplished by these generous doctors will have been wasted. What in the name of God can we do or who can we talk to in an effort to alleviate the misery and keep this tragedy from turning into one of the biggest calamities in our time." More info - click here

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When Will the People of Haiti Get Help?

Good God, can anyone get any help to the suffering people of Haiti? Time is running out. Despite the best of intentions in the relief effort-- now directed at the Port au Prince airport by the U.S.-- the news is horridly grim. This is not the way to make friends or support a people.

President Obama's remarks on Thursday included these words "To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you." It looks as if those words will rank in history with those engraved on the memory of Americans after Hurricane Katrina "Brownie, you're doing a helluva job."

As relief supplies languish at the airport as if there were 10,000 tomorrows, Haiti thirsts.

UPDATE (1PM): Another night and another morning has passed, and the only reports of aid received are sporadic and very limited. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about being the only doctor who didn't leave his patients in a field hospital overnight, and the US government continues to talk about a long term commitment to Haiti which won't mean much to anyone who is dead. The media carries stories of people who will perish without water or food or medical care growing desperate, looting food and other items that can perhaps be used for barter, and becoming angry and prone to violence. These peoples lives are at stake and this is the best they can say? The word is that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in haiti, and let's hope she can do something. It's 3AM and that crisis phone call is waiting.

A couple of items seen around the internet:

Please send insulin to: Baptist Mission Haiti Hospital of Fermathe 62 Route De Kenscoff - People r dying by the minute (via Twitter)

"We haven't seen any government help here, nobody from the U.N., nobody . . . Tell people what is happening here in Haiti." (via ABC News)

8:00 PM Update: "HELP the God's Littlest Angels Orphanage in Port-au-Prince needs WATER! Children since 4 days without assistance! Thks!" (via Twitter)

And finally, we see some good news via Twitter:
"Dominican Red Cross set up hospital in Jimani border town; seeking medical staff; and

"The german urban search and rescue team working on the groung in Haiti."

11:00 PM Update: This Youtube video--posted today--features a story about an experienced 24 person Columbian Trauma team, complete with surgeons, who are skilled in amputations and treating traumatic injury. While they are capable of helping 120 patients per day, they have been unable to treat anyone since their arrival Thursday because they can't get clearance to leave the airport to set up their field hospital.

Questions Raised About Wyclef Jean's Yéle Haiti Relief

Questions have been raised about rapper Wyclef Jean's Yéle charity, founded four years ago, which has been very successful in raising funds via text message following the earthquake in Haiti. At issue are high administrative costs, accounting practices, and payments to companies owned by Jean. Among examples of "bad accounting" cited are filing three years worth of tax returns in one day, expenses exceeding revenues in 2007, and the involvement of Jean's music business partners in his charity. Questions have been raised by a number of publications, including the Washington Post, Washington Post, ABC News,and the Smoking Gun.

Do note that some of the big-name charities in the world do not always meet all the standards for charity accountability for example, a very famous charity Doctors Without Borders USA does not pass on the charity accountability standards according to the Better Business Bureau. Neverthe-less, a quick look at the returns, the Yele website, and the news articles would suggest caution, and limiting oneself to a very small contribution, if at all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Can I Help People in Haiti Today?

"Think how you would feel if you lost everything? You were wandering around streets at night, they were all dark; you were tripping over bodies, living and dead, and you didn't have water to drink or food to eat. That's what we're facing now. That's what we've got to get through now." -Bill Clinton, speaking about Haiti

Are you frustrated in seemingly being unable to give something to the Haitian people that would take immediate effect today? There is no shortage of aid to Haiti, promised or ready to deliver, sitting in airplanes on runways, on ships, in US warehouses. Lists of trustworthy charities are easily found, but how long until they get aid to the people? Meantime, reports indicate that almost nothing has been distributed to the people in Port au Prince, in a post-crisis fog of war. The problem is sheer logistics: limited runway space, no fuel for return flights, a destroyed port, a government which was fragile at best before the quake now mostly missing.

While we have all have heard reports on TV how NGO's are having problems finding local partners in Haiti to help with relief, we have found 2 very different local institutions whose story might interest you enough to make a donation that might just be put to work today. While I am sure there are many more, the sheer time involved in locating them and researching them is enormous.

First is a hospital Haiti run by the Knights of Malta, who have a history stretching back about 1,000 years in serving the poor and injured. Hôpital Sacré Coeur, located in the town of Milot, in nothern Haiti (across the country from Port au Prince) is undamaged and serving Haitians right this very minute. The hospital is open, operating, and ready to provide care. They will serve as a triage site for Project Hope and will be (or already are) accepting patients from Port au Prince via helicopter. The hospital is accepting online contributions which are received by the Crudem Foundation which has a US location so that donations are tax-deductible for US taxpayers. You can learn more about the Hospital's mission and work on their volunteer blog. Do click around a bit on their website where there is a fair amount of information.

The second choice to help the effort in Haiti is though the Lubavitch Chabad located in the Dominican Republic. At their blog, you can learn more about their mission in response to the Haiti earthquake. You can read about how a group led by their rabbi have arrived safely in Haiti after taking off from the Dominican Republic in a jeep in order to help. Donations are made to the Chabad in Puerto Rico, so that contributions are also deductible for US taxpayers.

If you have favorite charities, do consider supporting them. The Haiti work is huge, and most charities are involved.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti in Trouble: Post Earthquake Help Can't Get on the Ground

Great news that Wilmette student Paul Tyska is safe following the earthquake in Haiti, but that is one of the few bright spots following Tuesday's earthquake. Today, the airport in Port au Prince has been closed for much of the day; there is no jet fuel for planes that land; no air control for larger planes; and no government first responders. Despite global efforts to help, due to the airport situation, simply getting to Haiti is proving an enormous problem. The UN online coordination website is offline, likely overwhelmed by traffic; on-site NGO's have delegations missing, trapped, or dead;, and Haitians living in Chicago and other places are beside themselves with worry about family and friends. There is no electricity, no telephone, roads are out, and there is no one to lead the dazed citizens who are not injured to action. There are reports of looting, gunshots, and people with no place to go, and without food and water. In short, the situation is a nightmare.

While the next few days should solve many problems, by then it may simply be too late for many of the trapped. Many citizens of Haiti, which has a 50% unemployment rate, have existed largely on charity and imported food. Before the earthquake, gangs had a huge presence in the capital, and the drug trade was thriving.

The world feels a terrible sense of helplessness as relief teams stand by ready to deploy and help the small country. Of the few reports emerging from Haiti, prayer is requested. At the moment, it seems about all that can be done.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Early Voting 2010 and Republican Endorsements

Early voting for the 2010 Primary begins today, January 11, and will continue in Wilmette Monday through Saturday through January 28, 2010. Voting hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The the location for early voting for all Wilmette will be at Centennial Park, 2300 Old Glenview Road.

The primary election will be held on February 2.. but who knows what the weather will be like then? Why take a chance, especially since it looks as if there will be some fairly warm winter weather later this week. If you have made up your mind who you are voting for, on the first day when you have time and the weather is to your liking, do go vote!

The Wilmette Blog is making the following endorsements in the 2010 Republican Primary:
(* denotes only one Republican candidate has filed and the office is uncontested)

US Senate - Mark Steven Kirk

Governor - Dan Proft

Lieutenant Governor - Jason Plummer

Attorney General - Steve Kim*

Secretary of State - Robert Enriquez*

Comptroller - Jim Dodge

Treasurer, - Dan Rutherford*

Representative, 9th Congressional District - Joel Barry Pollak

Representative, 10th Congressional District - Robert Dold

State Representative, 17th District - Hamilton Chang*

President, Cook County Board - Roger A. Keats

Cook County Clerk - Angel Garcia*

Cook County Sheriff - Frederick Collins*

Cook County Treasurer - Carol A. Morse*

Cook County Assessor - Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall*

Cook County Board of Review - Dan Patlak

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of McCarthy) - Michaela Nolan Ryan

Cook County Commissioner (14th) - Patrick O'Donoghue

Township Committeeman - Tolbert Chisum

Referendum, New Trier: Vote No (Info: 1, 2, 3)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Open Government

Generally speaking, it has traditionally been the Democrats that have taken up the cause for greater openness in government, and this old speech given by President Kennedy is a reminder. Times change. The Democrat led House and Senate, goaded on by a Democrat president, now press to pass a healthcare bill that The People neither understand nor want. Suddenly, this bill is more important than the people whose trust was placed in them, and they want to do their work in secret. At best, that is a shame.

"Your chiefs have gone against the Lord, they have become friends of thieves; every one of them is looking for profit and going after rewards; they do not give right decisions for the child who has no father, and they do not let the cause of the widow come before them." -Isaiah 1:23

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Roll Tide, Roll!

Rammer jammer yellowhammer, give 'em hell, Alabama!

And so they did; although the second half of the BCS Championship football game in Pasadena started to look like those Texas longhorns might hook 'em. But, seriously, how can you argue with a team that has an elephant for a mascot? Roll Tide!

Census 2010 - Let's Get Prepared!

I am wondering whether it would be a good idea for as many Tea Party people, Conservatives, and Republicans to apply for those part time census jobs. If we don't, who is going to get the job done, and do you trust them?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Democrats and Global Warming

Chilly out this morning! The above commentary on the Democrats is an old joke, but I liked the new format.

h/t to MB via email.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb sent the below letter regarding opening Congressional health legislative discussions between the House and Senate to Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader Boehner on December 30.

December 30, 2009

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
United States House or Representatives

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate

The Honorable John Boehner
Minority Leader
United States House or Representatives

The Honorable MItch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate

Dear Speaker Pelosi:
Representative Boehner:
Senator Reid:
Senator McConnell:

As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.

The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.

Since the initial introduction of the America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate

C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, mark ups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives.

President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system. Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.

We hope you will give serious consideration to this request. We are most willing to employ the latest digital technology to make the cameras, lights and microphones as unobtrusive as possible.

Please contact me if I can answer any questions.


Brian Lamb

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Wishes for a Happy 2010!

The blue moon is shining brightly, with hopes for a wonderful 2010!
Happy New Year!
May health and prosperity be yours this coming year!