Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Decline and fall: ILL-inois state colleges may face accreditation issues

University of Illinois-Chicago
street banner
More decline and fall.

Perhaps the University of Wisconsin system can better manage Illinois' state colleges.

From the Southern Illinoisan:
The regional accrediting agency responsible for assuring the quality of colleges and universities, including Southern Illinois University, sent a letter this past week to the governor and legislative leaders warning them that there could be "accreditation consequences" if a budget deal is not reached in short order that provides adequate financial support for Illinois institutions.

The Higher Learning Commission is the regional accrediting agency responsible for ensuring universities and colleges are making the grade, so to speak, in 19 states, including Illinois.

Barbara Gellman-Danley, president of the Higher Learning Commission, noted in her most recent letter, dated June 22, that she had previously written to the governor and legislative leaders, in February of 2016, with many of the same concerns about how the budget impasse could affect the quality of state's higher education institutions. "…however, these concerns have grown exponentially since that time," she wrote.

"Sixteen months after my initial memo there remains no sustainable funding for higher education in Illinois. The continued lack of such funding places the higher education system of Illinois at considerable risk and is injurious to the very students the system purports to serve," the letter reads. "As the accrediting agency tasked with assuring quality, I must warn you about the accreditation consequences of the failure to provide sustainable funding for Illinois higher education."

Decline and fall: ILL-inois may delay big-money lottery payouts again

The rot is settling in.

From CNN Money:
State lottery officials announced Tuesday that if Illinois doesn't reach a deal to fund the government by the start of the fiscal year on July 1, it won't be able to make payments on time to those who win more than $25,000.

The delay in payouts would take effect on Saturday.

"The General Assembly needs to approve a truly balanced budget that includes Lottery funding in order to ensure all prize payments will occur," said Greg Smith, the acting director of the Illinois Lottery, in a statement.

It's happened before. In 2015, the Illinois Lottery didn't get the funding it needed until December -- meaning the holders of 3,900 winning tickets had to postpone collecting more than $112 million in spoils.
Then why buy lottery tickets?

Related post:

ILL-inois: Powerball pulls out of state, roadwork may end in two weeks

(PragerU Video) JFK: Democrat or Republican?

Who is this popular president? He was a lifetime NRA member who supported a strong defense policy. This president favored tax cuts too and was against racial quotas.

That president was Democrat John F. Kennedy.

Larry Elder explains.

As Ronald Reagan would love to say, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the party left me."

Junk City: Short-term loans costing Chicago Public Schools $70K a day in interest

Penn School, West Side
The bonds of Chicago Public Schools have been rated as junk for a couple of years now.

How much does junk status cost?

A lot.

The Chicago Tribune explains:
Two expensive loans that Chicago Public Schools secured over the last week will cost roughly $70,000 a day in interest for the cash-strapped district under the terms of the deals.

The district's borrowing agreements with JPMorgan require CPS to hold $387 million in loans until at least Sept. 29. That means CPS will likely pay a minimum of roughly $7 million in interest, according to a Tribune analysis based on current interest rate forecasts and the terms of both deals.

The two loans are to be repaid with pending Illinois education grants that are delayed as state government appears to be on the brink of entering its third consecutive fiscal year without a budget while accumulating billions of dollars' worth of past-due bills.

As of June 19, when the district completed the initial loan of $275 million, the state owed the district about $467 million in grants that weren't paid during the just-completed school year. On Monday, the district borrowed an additional $112 million through JPMorgan, also backed with education grants.
If Illinois doesn't approve a budget by the end of this week it will likely have its bond ratings downgraded to junk too.

Decline and fall.

The Five: Trump’s travel ban vindicated

President Trump's travel ban from six-failed states in Africa and the Middle East was partially upheld by the US Supreme Court yesterday. The court will decide the entire case in the fall.

It's a big victory for Trump. Fox News' The Five discusses.

CNN exposed again as fake news on Russia story

Project Veritas' James O'Keefe strikes again!

From Veritas' web site:
Project Veritas has released a video of CNN Producer John Bonifield who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that there is no proof to CNN's Russia narrative.

"I mean, it's mostly bullshit right now," Bonifield says. "Like, we don't have any giant proof."

He confirms that the driving factor at CNN is ratings:
"It's a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss... All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you're just like, that's adorable. That's adorable. This is a business."
According to the CNN Producer, business is booming. "Trump is good for business right now," he concluded.
Repeat after me: Russia didn't alter the 2016 election returns. President Trump didn't collude with Russia.

Over the weekend the First Name in Fake News was retracted a phony story on that so-called Trump-Russia collusion.

Tucker Carlson has more.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Chiraq: 4 dead and at least 42 wounded over weekend

McKinley Park
Pride Week ended in Chicago yesterday and as I wrote that same day at Da Tech Guy, because of its corruption and crime problems, the city really needs a Shame Parade.

Perhaps next year.

Pride or no pride, shame or no shame, the bloodshed in Chiraq continued. Four people were killed over the past weekend. Two on the South Side--in McKinley Park and South Shore. And two on the West Side--in Austin and West Garfield Park.

At least 42 others were wounded.

3 people ejected from Dyke March Chicago for holding Star of David pride flags

Sunday the 48th Pride Parade was held on Chicago's North Side. But for people looking for something more political, meaning more leftist, the action was in the Little Village Neighborhood on the Southwest Side, where Dyke March Chicago was held.

Three people were ejected from the parade by organizers because they were carrying a Jewish pride flag--which has the rainbow colors with a Star of David in the center.

From the Windy City Times:
According to one of those individuals—A Wider Bridge Midwest Manager Laurel Grauer—she and her friends were approached a number of times in the park because they were holding the flag.

"It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag," she told Windy City Times.

She added that she lost count of the number of people who harassed her.

One Dyke March collective member, asked by Windy City Times for a response, said the women were told to leave because the flags "made people feel unsafe," that the march was "anti-Zionist" and "pro-Palestinian."
Does anyone seriously believe that a Dyke March is held in Gaza or the West Bank?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

From DaTechGuy: Pride Parade? Chicago needs a Shame Parade

Yes, Chicago, the murder and corruption parade needs something else, as I write today at Da Tech Guy: Pride Parade? Chicago needs a Shame Parade.

Schiff criticizes Obama admin lack of response to Russia actions during 2016

Adam Schiff (D-CA), the hardened leftist who is the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, criticized the Obama administration's silence last year on instance of Russian hacking attempts during the 2016 election season.

We only heard about "hacking" until after Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Elvis Costello: I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

Elvis Costello and the Imposters are touring the United States this summer. Here is The King with the Attractions performing an old Sam and Dave B-side, "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down."

Trump Weekly Address 6/23/17

In his weekly address to Americans, Donald J. Trump again turns to ObamaCare.

"It really is a disaster," the president says. "The American people are calling out for relief, and my administration is determined to provide it. And we are working with Congress to get a bill on my desk so we can rescue Americans from this catastrophe."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Coal giant sues HBO's John Oliver over "Last Week Tonight" segment

Smug liberal John Oliver, the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight, is being sued for libel by the CEO of America's largest privately-owned coal company, Robert E. Murray.

From Time:
Part of the case focused on Oliver's discussion of a Murray-owned mine's collapse in Utah that killed nine people. Oliver said during the segment that Murray publicly claims an earthquake was to blame, though a government investigation concluded that the collapse was caused by unauthorized mining practices and there was no evidence of a natural seismic event.

"Because Defendant Oliver omitted any mention of the other reports he was aware of that evidenced that an earthquake caused the collapse, as Mr. Murray correctly stated following the collapse, Defendant Oliver's presentation intentionally and falsely implied that there is no such evidence," the lawsuit says.
CBS News has more:

PragerU Video: Why Is Healthcare So Expensive?

Why is health so expensive? Part of the problem of course is ObamaCare, the so-called Affordable Care Act.

Prager University explains.

Suburban Chicago alderman questions effectiveness of local convention bureau

The level of financial mismanagement in Illinois is staggering. Take for instance small town suburban convention and visitor bureaus. These sinecures are fed by collecting taxes from hotel room bookings. But do these bureaus fulfill their mission? Which is supposed to be attracting new business.

An alderman in St. Charles, a far-west suburb of Chicago, wants to know.

Here are two questions from me: If the convention bureau tax was less or completely eliminated, would that mean more people would come to St. Charles or any of these other places with convention and visitor bureaus? Hotel rooms would be cheaper.When are the efforts of these agencies, if ever, deciding factors for groups or travelers to make a booking decision?

As Illinois teeters towards bankruptcy-in-all but name, now is the time to start weeding. Convention and visitor bureaus are a good place to start. And besides, why can't hotels and restaurants create their own advertising and marketing? Why does government have to get involved?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Black exodus from Crook County, Illinois accelerating

Abandoned factory in Dixmoor
African-Americans have been voting nearly exclusively Democratic since the 1930s. So you think blacks would be flocking to that deep-blue Valhalla of Cook County--Chicago is its county seat--in droves.

But the opposite is happening.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Cook County in 2016 again recorded the largest black population of any county in the U.S., but it carries that title with less conviction than previous years as more African-Americans move to outlying suburbs or warmer states in the South and West, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Between 2015 and 2016, more than 12,000 black residents left Cook County, an increase from the previous year when about 9,000 residents left. The greater Chicago area, which for the census includes parts of Indiana and Wisconsin, has lost nearly 46,000 black residents since 2010. That exodus is larger than in any other metropolitan area in the country.

"I've noticed people have been leaving the city of Chicago, absolutely," said Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago's predominantly black Woodlawn neighborhood. "Families, especially, and some single-parent households with young males. I think those two factors are contributing to the numbers you're seeing."

Some of those who left Chicago and Cook County relocated to other parts of the state, but Illinois still recorded a population drop of about 10,000 black residents between 2015 and 2016, more than any other state. Experts say it is an indication that the majority of the state's black flight is occurring in Chicago.
Rather than pointing out the differences between blacks and whites, I prefer to dwell on our similarities. Namely, blacks, like whites, Hispanics, and Asians, abhor crime, failing schools, and inept government.

Decline and fall.

Newt: "Maybe Trump's doing a lot better in America than he is in the news media"

Of our president, two days after the Republicans won in another congressional election, Newt Gingrich says, "Maybe Trump's doing a lot better in America than he is in the news media."

Projection: Chicago Police pensions to be broke by 2021 without bailout

I wonder how poorly Chicago's other pension funds are doing?

From Chicago City Wire:
Without a taxpayer bailout, Chicago's police pension fund won't have enough money to pay benefits to retirees in 2021, according to a projection by Local Government Information Services (LGIS), which publishes Chicago City Wire.

At the end of 2020, LGIS estimates that the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago will have less than $150 million in assets to pay $928 million promised to 14,133 retirees the following year.

Fund assets will fall from $3.2 billion at the end of 2015 to $1.4 billion at the end of 2018, $751 million at the end of 2019, and $143 million at the end of 2020, according to LGIS.

LGIS analyzed 12 years of the fund’s mandated financial filings with the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI), which regulates public pension funds. It found that-- without taxpayer subsidies and the ability to use active employee contributions to pay current retirees, a practice that is illegal in the private sector--the fund would have already run completely dry, in 2015.
Oh, those other funds are doing very poorly, as US News and World Report told us recently: Chicago gets worst pension rating among 15 largest cities.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bruce Rauner ad on a property tax freeze: The Number 1 Change

Illinois--and I know this seems like hyperbole, but it's not--just entered its most pivotal two weeks in its nearly 200 years as a state. The Land of Lincoln is broke--residents are overtaxed and politicians still manage to overspend.

The last best hope for Illinois is reform governor Bruce Rauner. The political newcomer demands a property tax freeze.

Phony ride share drivers robbing passengers in Chicago

Such behavior will hurt their review score.

From Fox Chicago:
Fake Uber drivers are the cause of a community alert on the Near North Side. Chicago police say they’ve struck at least four times in the last month, robbing unsuspecting passengers who’ve entered their vehicle.

The places those robbers targeted are busy areas like at Dearborn and Illinois, with hotels, restaurants and bars where people can easily get distracted. Police advise you if you're going to take a ride share, always be alert.

Fake Uber drivers are the cause of a community alert on the Near North Side. Chicago police say they’ve struck at least four times in the last month, robbing unsuspecting passengers who’ve entered their vehicle.

The places those robbers targeted are busy areas like at Dearborn and Illinois, with hotels, restaurants and bars where people can easily get distracted. Police advise you if you're going to take a ride share, always be alert.

Sun-Times columnist rips Boss Madigan

Blogger Laureate of Illinois
guarding his realm
Sure Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, takes a few knock in this Chicago Sun-Times column, "Living in Illinois teaches people to hate government," by Phil Kadner, but he really unloads on Democratic boss Michael Madigan.
Madigan has been a legislative leader for more than 30 years, the longest serving legislative leader in the history of the United States, and therefore has had a hand in everything that is wrong with this state.

A brief list would include a pension debt of more than $114 billion, a public school funding system that is one of the most discriminatory in the nation, a budget that is chronically out of balance, one of the most underfunded mental health care systems in the country and one of the worst states to raise developmentally disabled children.

Property taxes in this state are highest in the nation because of the state’s failure to adequately fund schools as required by the state Constitution.

Despite all this bad stuff, which has disproportionately hurt minority communities (the voting base of the Democratic Party), members of the House keep electing Madigan their speaker.

GMA: After Dems invested millions & their hope In Ossoff, Handel’s victory has made Trump stronger

Once again liberals invested millions into a congressional race as part of their "resist" strategy against President Donald Trump.

And the Democrat, in this case a pajama boy named Joe Ossoff, lost in a runoff election against Karen Handel in Georgia's 6th District. The Dems are 0-4 in these "resist" races.

Ossoff outspent Handel by a 2-to-1 margin and nearly all of the money he raised came from outside Georgia.

It's so bad for the Democrats that even a mainstream media program, ABC's Good Morning America, says "the president is a little stronger this morning."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

(PragerU video) The Least Diverse Place in America

What is the least diverse place in America? It's an expensive place that leaves millions of Americans in crippling debt.

PragerU has more.

Laughable: Madigan's spokesman says bankruptcy "would damage the reputation of the state"

Blogger at the border
"Oh, you guys are nothing if not entertaining over there," then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a 2011 interview about Illinois with a Chicago radio station. "It's like living next door to The Simpsons, you know, the dysfunctional family down the block?"

This week Steve Brown, the mouthpiece for media-shy Michael Madigan, had this to say to Fox News:
Nobody here in Illinois is considering bankruptcy--first of all, it's not allowed. Second of all, it would damage the reputation of the state and it's just not necessary.
Damage the reputation? Illinois' reputation is already an abysmal one. As for The Simpsons, hey at least Homer is entertaining.

Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who has been House speaker for 32 of the last 34 years, is the midwife of Illinois' financial debacle. The disaster has been decades in the making and Madigan of course has been in power for decades.

While Brown is right on one thing, states cannot declare bankruptcy, Illinois has been functionally bankrupt for years. And the Puerto Rico experience teaches us that bankruptcy is possible if Congress gets involved and you call it something else.

Chicago Public Schools borrow at sky-high rate to pay for pensions

Even though Illinois law currently doesn't allow municipalities or government agencies to declare bankruptcy--that law needs to change--it's hard to see how some sort of bankruptcy isn't coming to CPS.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The Chicago Public Schools will pay 6.39 percent — an extraordinary interest rate by short-term lending standards — to borrow $275 million it needs to make a mandatory payment for retiree pensions before a June 30 deadline.

That's more than four times the interest rate a typical government would pay on the same borrowing deal, financial experts say.

It’s yet another sign of the dire financial condition of the nation’s third-largest public school system, which for months has had a "junk" credit rating from Wall Street financial institutions.

CPS officials secured the $275 million on Monday from J.P. Morgan. It's the final chunk of cash needed to make the $721 million payment for teacher pensions that's due at the end of the month, senior vice president of finance Ron DeNard said in a statement.
Cronyism, overly generous salaries, pension holidays, and utter incompetence have created this mess. For years CPS--and of course that means taxpayers--have been paying for the teachers' portion of the pension contributions.

Monday, June 19, 2017

(Video) Trump-Russia probe getting too political: Alan Dershowitz

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz is a liberal--not a leftist. Which is why it's not surprising that he views the investigation into so-called ties between President Donald J. Trump and Russia as being too political.

Of course the Democrats' witch hunt is only about politics and not the law.

PragerU Video: When Transparency Really Means Tyranny

Is transparency a good thing? Within government, yes. But people who contribute to organizations who fight for causes and to not-for-profits are facing reprisals from progressives, such as the theater director who lost his job after the Los Angeles Times released a list of donors to a group who favored traditional marriage.

The National Review's David French discusses the left's latest tyranny in this just-released PragerU video.

Chiraq: 9 dead and at least 50 wounded over Fathers Day weekend

Chicago's Gold Coast
Father's Day weekend saw much bloodshed in Chicago. Nine people were murdered and at least 50 others were wounded, which is worse than the same weekend last year.

In Austin on the West Side a son discovered his parents stabbed to death. Also on the West Side, in North Lawndale a 16-year-old and a 25-year-old man were fatally shot in separate incidents. On the Northwest Side, a 33-year-old was shot to death in Humboldt Park. On the Near North Side, which is usually quiet, a 25-year-old was fatally gunned down in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

On the South Side, there was a murder each in Englewood, Chatham, and Back of the Yards.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dire Straits with Eric Clapton: Romeo and Juliet

One of the most timeless of all tales is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Yet Dire Straits made it sound fresh in the 1980s. Watch as they perform their "Romeo And Juliet" with special guest Eric Clapton.

This rendition comes from 1988 at the 70th birthday celebration for then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela.

Trump Weekly Address 6/16/17

In his Weekly Address, a somber but confident President Donald J. Trump spoke of the assassination attempt of US Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Wednesday.

"Though we have our differences, what unites us is so much stronger: our love of country, our devotion to its people," Trump says here. "Now more than ever, these values must guide us – and bring us closer together. Let us always remember that our job is to serve and represent the whole American People – and that we are all children of the same God."

The president also spoke of his apprenticeship initiative.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bruce Rauner ad: The Choice

This is the best ad from an Illinois Republican in years. Well, the competition is weak, true.

On the other hand, unlike the Democrats, the GOP has a clear message. Save the Land of Lincoln.

The copy:
Mike Madigan will do anything to keep power, even take down Illinois.

Madigan's puppets blocked the budget, stopped property tax relief and now want to raise taxes by billions.

Madigan and his cronies reject reform, and let Illinois crumble.

We elected Bruce Rauner to reform Springfield. That's why Rauner's pushing a balanced budget and long-term property tax freeze to grow jobs. It's a new path to save Illinois, because Rauner means reform.

It's time we rebuild Illinois.

Boss Madigan, the Democratic Despot has destroyed this state.

As I wrote two weeks ago at Da Tech Guy, "Madigan would rather rule a collapsing Illinois than share power in a prosperous one, which is the same governing philosophy Russia’s last Czar used."

CBS News: Could Illinois be the first state to file for bankruptcy?

Not too bad of an article about Illinois and the "B" word, although the one man who is responsible more than any other person, state House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) isn't mentioned.

Madigan of course as you know--unless you are a CBS reporter--has held that job for 32 of the last 34 years. He's also the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. His chamber didn't even bother to vote on a budget this spring.

From CBS News:
Illinois residents may feel some solidarity with the likes of Puerto Rico and Detroit.

A financial crunch is spiraling into a serious problem for Illinois lawmakers, prompting some observers to wonder if the state might make history by becoming the first to go bankrupt. At the moment, it's impossible for a state to file for bankruptcy protection, which is only afforded to counties and municipalities like Detroit.

Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection could be extended to states if Congress took up the issue, although Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell noted in an article last year that he believed the precedents are iffy for extending the option to states. Nevertheless, Illinois is in a serious financial pickle, which is why radical options such as bankruptcy are being floated as potential solutions.

Ratings agency Moody's Investor Service earlier this month downgraded Illinois' general obligation bonds to its lowest investment grade rating, citing the state's growing pile of unpaid bills and its mounting pension deficit. Illinois, by the way, has the lowest credit rating of any state. Lower ratings mean higher borrowing costs, since lenders view such borrowers as riskier bets.

Exclusive: Ron Paul's letter to Trump and Sessions on online gaming

Here's a Marathon Pundit exclusive, a letter from former US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to President Trump and Attorney General Sessions over online gaming.
June 15, 2017

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Jefferson Sessions
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear President Trump and Attorney General Sessions,

On behalf of Campaign for Liberty's almost half-a-million members, I am writing to urge the administration to uphold the 2011 Justice Department Memo rejecting claims that the 1961 Wire Act authorizes a federal ban on online gaming.

The claim that the Wire Act authorizes a federal ban on online gaming does not survive serious scrutiny for a number of reasons. First, the law was passed more than three decades before the Internet was widely used. In fact, when the Wire Act was debated, the idea that average Americans would someday carry devices more powerful than the era's super computers was too fanciful even for science fiction.

Furthermore, numerous statements show that Congress' sole intention in passing the Wire Act was "to assist the various States in enforcement of their laws pertaining to gambling and bookmaking." In other words, this law does not create any new federal crimes; instead, it authorizes the federal government to assist states in enforcing state laws. The use of the Wire Act to create new federal crimes is the type of "creative" interpretation of the law that you, I, and others have properly criticized when done by other federal agencies and federal courts.

Restoring the flawed pre-2011 interpretation of the Wire Act will overturn laws in the three states -- New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware -- that have chosen to legalize online gaming, as well as the many states that allow their citizens to purchase lottery tickets online. Some argue the federal government has a duty to criminalize online gaming to ensure state laws outlawing online gaming are not undermined by laws in other states legalizing online gaming. But that does not justify nationalizing the issue. The United States Constitution does not give the federal government any authority to ban Internet (or any other form of) gaming.

Furthermore, using federalism to justify new federal power turns the Tenth Amendment on its head. The argument also sets a precedent that could be used to undermine other state laws, such as those protecting the right to keep and bear arms or the right to work without paying union dues.

A federal ban on online gaming will not stop people from gambling online. Instead, it will ensure that the online gaming marketplace will be dominated by criminals and even terrorists. In contrast, allowing the states to decide for themselves makes it more likely that individuals wishing to gamble online will patronize legal casinos that comply with all relevant state laws and regulations.

Outlawing Internet gaming not only usurps states’ rights, it also usurps the role of churches, families, and other voluntary institutions in promoting moral values. Trusting any part of government -- especially the federal government -- instead of voluntary community-based institutions to provide moral guidance and help people avoid the harms associated with excessive gambling is a strange position for a conservative administration, especially one elected on a promise to drain the swamp and not to give D.C. more power over our lives.

In conclusion, I urge the Department of Justice to continue adherence to the 2011 memorandum that the Wire Act does not authorize federal criminalization of online gaming. Overturning this memo would put the Justice Department in the position of ignoring clear Congressional intent and would authorize the federal government to usurp state authority and violate individual rights in a futile attempt to outlaw online gaming.

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

cc: The Honorable Robert Goodlatte, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable John Conyers, Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Charles Grassley, Chairman, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'm still wondering: Will there be a Father's Day lockdown at Chicago's Cook County jail?

Last year on Mother's Day there was a lockdown at Chicago's massive Cook County jail--where 9,000 inmates are incarcerated--because too many of the Teamster guards called in sick.

As there was this year.

Mom didn't do a good job raising these guards.

Sunday is Father's Day. Last year there was a lockdown at the jail because 317 staff members, mostly guards, played hookie. That night Game 7 of the NBA Finals was played, which won't be the case this time because the Golden State Warriors finished off the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games.

What steps, other than fixing this year's NBA Finals--okay, that's a joke--has Tom Dart, the Chicago Democrat who is Cook County's sheriff, taken to prevent another lockdown?

Last month I asked the same question.

And if there isn't a lockdown but there are barely enough guards to keep an eye on the inmates, will the prisoners try something malicious? One commodity that is never in short supply for inmates is time Which means of course they have plenty of time to scheme.

Why is it just me asking these questions?

Anyway, I'm predicting another Father's Day lockdown at Cook County Jail. You heard it here first.

GOP shootings: Ted Nugent vows to tone down his political attacks

Ted Nugent, the Motor City Madman and a great patriot, is turning over a new leaf.

From The Wrap:
Rockstar and conservative activist Ted Nugent has promised to tone down his hateful political rhetoric on the heels of accused gunman James T. Hodgkinson opening fire on the GOP congressional baseball team in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday. Some lawmakers and media members have blamed hateful political rhetoric for the incident.

"I'm not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore," Nugent said Thursday on "Curtis & Eboni," a political talk show on WABC Radio in New York.

Curtis Silwa and Fox News host Eboni K. Williams grilled Nugent on "hateful" rhetoric, which the rock star is no stranger to. Nugent has made threats against former President Obama several times in the past, including telling Obama to “suck on my machine gun.” He also made inflammatory remarks about Hillary Clinton, calling her a "devilbitch" who "hates everything good about America."

Nugent said the subject has reached a critical stage and said he "re-evaluated his approach" to the tough-guy language he learned growing up as a “street fighter” in Detroit.
Related posts:

Crook County: Tax hikes for pensions but some traffic violations won't be prosecuted due to lack of staff

Connecting to pensions for
government workers? 
Last year a one-percent sales tax increase was forced upon Cook County residents such as myself to bail out the county's woefully underfunded public worker pension funds. Next month a huge soda tax goes into effect to pay for, you guessed it, pensions.

Is Cook County a retirement program? Or a government that provides services to citizens? It seems that "Yes" is the answer to my first question.

The Chicago Tribune explains, but let me point out some media bias to you. The article mentions "lack of personnel." That's technically correct, but lack of money is the cause. Remember what those tax increases will be paying for.
Citing a lack of personnel, the Cook County state's attorney's office plans to stop prosecuting certain traffic offenses, a top county official said.

Under a policy expected to take effect later this year, the state's attorney's office will not prosecute people accused of driving on licenses that have been suspended or revoked for financial reasons — such as failure to pay child support, tolls or parking tickets.

Instead, individual cities will have the option to prosecute those violations.

"We are in a triage mode, and we can't continue to do what we were doing 10 years ago with 30 percent less resources," Eric Sussman, the first assistant state's attorney, told the Tribune on Wednesday.
Recipients of SNAP benefits, what used to be called food stamps, who amount to an astounding 873,000 in Cook County, will not have to pay the soda tax.

The "N" in snap stands for nutrition.

There has not been a Republican president of the Cook County board of commissioners for nearly 50 years.

Bankruptcy is Cook County's only hope.

ILL-inois: Powerball pulls out of state, roadwork may end in two weeks

Like a hypothermia victim, Illinois is losing appendages. Because the state hasn't had a budget in two years and one has not been passed for fiscal 2018, Powerball is rolling out of Illinois.

There's more. The Illinois Department of Transportation, which a few years ago had enough money to illegally hire Democratic political cronies, announced today that state road repair work will end if no budget is passed by July 1.

While the super-majority Democratic-controlled state Senate passed a budget bill--with a massive income tax hike, in the House, where state Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan has been speaker for 32 of the last 34 years, no budget was voted on. Madigan, thanks to his nationally-renowned gerrymandering talents, has a near-super majority in that body. But the Chicago Democrat does not want to have his members run for reelection next year with a "Yes" vote on a tax increase that he can't blame on Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the General Assembly are proposing a budget compromise. Will it matter? Illinois is burdened by $14 billion in unpaid bills and over $100 billion in unfunded pension obligations.

UPDATE 6:15pm Illinois Bankruptcy Time: Mega Millions is cashing out of ILL-inois too.

Geraldo: GOP baseball shooting "attempted partisan mass murder"

Fox News' Geraldo Rivera, who is of course a liberal, laid out the case to his colleague Sean Hannity last night that the mass shooting during a baseball practice when the Republican congressional team was on the field, "This was attempted partisan mass murder."

But before Geraldo's comments, Hannity played a clip of President Trump's call for unity that he gave yesterday afternoon. Of those remarks, Rivera said, "That's the president we need right now to guide this country. That's the tone, that's the message, he's the president for all Americans."

Rivera then went on to condemn the bile. "In terms of the hatred that's out there," the longtime broadcast journalist said, "we have gone from partisan rancor to an unbelievable profound hatred of the other party."

He added, "The miracle is that we don't see more of this."

Geraldo mentioned the Julius Caesar "Trump assassination play" and Kathy Gifford's ISIS pose with the president's severed head.

"They didn't cause this, but they are the symptom of a division where this kind of festering hatred has been allowed to metastasize to a place now here anything is possible, anything goes."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Washington Post says Mueller is investigating Trump on obstruction of justice

Calm down liberals. Obstruction of justice--if it did occur--is very difficult to prove.

From AP:
The Justice Department’s special counsel investigation Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now also reportedly examining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Robert Mueller, the former FBI director now leading the DOJ probe, is looking into whether the 45th president is guilty of a federal crime, The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.

Citing unidentified "officials," the Post reported Mueller's probe has taken a dramatic turn. No longer is he merely focused on Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, meaning Mueller appears also to be zeroing in on Trump’s actions since taking office on Jan. 20.

The special counsel, who has moved quickly to take full control of the investigation, is reportedly interviewing what the Post described as "senior intelligence officials" as part of what suddenly also is an obstruction of justice investigation.

Dead congressional shooter was a Trump-hating Sanders supporter; letters show leftist bent

James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois died of his wounds after shooting House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), two Capitol police officers, and a congressional aide at a baseball practice early this morning in Alexandria, Virginia.

Based on his Facebook posts, it's clear that Hodgkinson despised President Donald J. Trump. He was also a supporter of Bernie Sanders.

Today is Trump's birthday.

The Belleville News-Democrat posted some letters-to-the-editor from 2012 that he wrote to that paper. Belleville is in the Metro East part of the state, adjacent to St. Louis and it's a reliably Democratic area, an anomaly in downstate Illinois. In the letters the shooter railed against the rich, called the book Aftershock by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich "the best book I read in a while" and he said that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show was one of his favorite television programs.

But why did Hodkinson  become a potential murderer? Of course I don't know but the toxic environment of the hard left might provide some answers.
Yes, that Tweet, from a California Democratic congressman, Ted Lieu, reads, "President" @realDonaldTrump: You truly are an evil man. Your job is to help Americans. Not intentionally try to destroy their lives."

Evil? Yep. "President," as in illegitimate?

 Democrats don't want to cooperate with the 45th president of the United States--they speak of resistance. And the entertainment world, much of it, is along for the ride. Last month so-called comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a photo of herself with a bloodied head resembling Trump. And a New York rendition of a Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ends with an orange-wigged emperor getting stabbed to death.

Yes, today is Trump birthday. Coincidence?

Surely most Trump-haters go about their lives in a non-violent manner.

But can the left tone down its rhetoric a bit? And Democrats, can you end the "resistance" and work with the president of all Americans?

GOP majority whip and three others wounded at baseball practice

Please pray for the victims.

From the Daily Mail:
Four people including the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise were shot at a GOP baseball practice on Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire in a targeted attack on the group.

The shooter - described as a white, middle-aged male - fired up to 100 rounds from the third base dugout at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, as the group practiced batting at around 7am.

He was eventually brought down by Capitol Police officers who were accompanying Scalise. The shooter is now in custody and is believed to be undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

A congressional staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams and the two Capitol Police officers were shot. Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene but was not injured, described it as a "killing field."
Information is still flowing in but it's believe that two of the other victims are Capitol Police officers and the is a staffer to a Texas Republican member of the House.

The GOPers were practicing for the annual congressional baseball game.

The shooter is described as a white male in his 50s.

Happy birthday, President Trump

Our 45th president turns a year older today. And appropriately enough Donald J. Trump was born on a patriotic day, Flag Day.

And for all the talk of New York City being a center of power in this nation, interestingly Trump is only the second president born in America's largest city. The first was Theodore Roosevelt, he was born in Manhattan. Trump was born on this side of the wall in Queens.

Make Birthdays Great Again!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chicago property taxes going up 10 percent to pay for pensions

Abandoned home, Chicago's
South Side
And still Chicagoans blindly vote Democratic despite all of the damage it does them.

Chicago and the rest of Illinois is a place where people like myself without a pension plan pay for the few--government workers--who have one.

Chicago is the only large city losing population and Illinois is one of the few states with negative population growth.

Today's news will only accelerate the exodus.

Depending on who you talk to Illinois has either the second-highest or highest property taxes in the nation.

Decline and fall.

From ABC Chicago:
A big property tax increase is coming to Cook County. And those bills will start showing up in your mailboxes soon.

While homeowners in the Cook County suburbs will see an increase, it is not as high as the hike in Chicago. But, city taxpayers should have seen this coming. The property tax increase passed last year for Chicago teacher pensions are now showing up on the tax bills.

If you own a home in Cook County, especially Chicago, you're about to experience some sticker shock on your next property tax bill. After completing its calculations for bills due August 1, the cook county clerks office warns city residents about a huge tax hike.

"The average Chicago tax payer is seeing a 10-percent increase in property taxes over last year," said Tanya Anthofer, Cook County Clerk's Office.
Illinois' reform governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, supports a statewide property tax freeze. Democrats oppose him.

Judge Napolitano: Trump dropped biggest bombshell on Loretta Lynch

I am one of those people who is calling for President Trump to keep tweeting.
And Fox Business News' Andrew Napolitano, a retired state Supreme Court judge, believes Trump may be on to something.

(Bruce Rauner video) Timeline

If Illinois has any hope of avoiding a quasi-bankruptcy it lies in Governor Bruce Rauner. The old way, the failing way of Democratic despot Michael Madigan, drove this once great state into a ditch.

Oh, this blog enthusiastically endorses Rauner for reelection. Click here to contribute to the governor's campaign fund.

#FakeNews: Hannity exposes Rachel Maddow's conspiracy theories

Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin calls the loony bin that is MSNBC something else, "MSLSD."

Considering some of the fake news drool that has been emitted from its most popular host, Rachel Maddow, that Sean Hannity called attention to last night, Levin may only be exaggerating just a bit about "LSD."

In April Maddow falsely claimed that Venezuelans were "enraged anew" because of a Donald Trump FEC filing as riot footage played. Last summer she surmised that Trump could be a "gateway drug" to the Ku Klux Klan.

And also in April she compared the Trump administration to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

And one more: Maddow wrongly claimed that while a congressional candidate Vice President Mike Pence called for funding shift from fighting AIDS into gay conversion programs.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Yearbook photos at NJ high school altered to remove Trump reference

Two students, who were within the dress code of the New Jersey high school they attend, had the word "Trump" Photoshopped from their shirts.

A pro-quote Trump was also removed.

Remember, Donald J. Trump is the president for of all Americans.

I can only imagine the uproar if this was done to someone wearing an Obama shirt.

Chiraq: 7 dead and at least 37 wounded over weekend

Back of the Yards
Hot weather aided hot tempers in Chicago over the past weekend. Seven people were murdered and at least 37 others were wounded.

In a nine-hour stretch from Saturday night into Sunday morning thirty people were shot, including nine people who were wounded in a mass shooting in North Lawndale on the West Side.

Of the fatalities, one of those happened less than a mile from the mass shooting two hours later. As for the rest, two occurred in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side, one at Belmont-Central on the Northwest Side, a suburban man was shot to death in Austin on the West Side, and in another West Side fatality, a man was killed in Humboldt Park.

In what is being described as a domestic disturbance a 12-year-old girl was fatally stabbed in Uptown on the North Side.

On this day 30 years ago: Reagan says "tear down this wall"

The great Ronald Reagan made more history on June 12, 1987 when standing near the Berlin Wall, he declared to the ruler of the USSR
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall![
Two years later the people of Berlin tore down that wall.

Related posts:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

#FakeNews analysis from Politico on Illinois

Madigan graphic courtesy of
the Illinois Policy Institute
A so-called reporter from Politico, Natasha Korecki, offers up a so-called analysis of ILL-inois, the story's headline offers promise, "How Illinois became a failed state."

It's downhill from there.

Oh, Politico is the fake news provider that used to employ a colluder with the Hillary Clinton campaign, Glenn Thrush. Was he fired? No, he received a promotion of sorts--if you are hack, that is--by taking a job with the New York Times. Another so-called Politico reporter is Kenneth Vogel, he was caught colluding with the Democratic National Committee.

Korecki presents the Illinois budget battle, which is really a battle for the soul of Illinois, as a standoff between Republican governor Bruce Rauner and state House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

But she omits a lot--which qualifies her article as fake news.

Korecki throws a lot of yellow cards at Rauner and perhaps he deserves a couple. But his inept predecessor, Pat Quinn, another Chicago Democrat, was given a well-deserved red card for lying to voters about a 2011 "temporary" income tax that he immediately labored to make permanent as Illinois remained in the doldrums of the 2008-09 recession. It's still there.

But Madigan's sins--which are many--are largely overlooked by Korecki.

Sure, she mentions that Madigan is the longest serving House speaker in Prairie State history, but Korecki should have added that he has been at that post for an astonishing 32 of the last 34 years. Also missing from that so-called analysis is that nothing--and I mean nothing--ever makes it on to the floor of the state House without Madigan's blessing. No other state gives its speaker so much power.

Anything else? Sure, if this Politico article was your only source of Illinois' budget battle you wouldn't know that Madigan is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party--he's held that job since 1998. Madigan is a master gerrymanderer, a fact that a better Politico reporter declared earned the Boss "his ticket to the partisan hall of fame." Illinois is not as blue as you think. It is partly drawn that way.

Every Democratic member of the General Assembly owes Madigan a favor--as the party, which he controls--offers contributions to their campaigns. And of course the despot controls the House committee assignments.

If you don't like the way Illinois is being run you can perhaps complain to the state attorney general. Oops, that won't work, Madigan's daughter holds that office.

Korecki does mention that as part of Rauner's Grand Bargain for a tax increase the governor is calling for a property tax freeze. But she "forgets" to mention that Madigan is a partner is a tiny Chicago law firm that likely makes a fortune in property tax appeals.

Other than that Korecki's story is accurate.

Rauner has been governor for two-and-half years. Madigan, as I mentioned earlier, has been House speaker for 32 of the last 34 years. Rauner inherited a dire mess from Madigan and several governors, including Republican ones.

Illinois' bonds are rated just above junk--no other state has ever reached that millstone. Its public-pension plans are among the worst funded among the 50 states. And Illinois is one of the few states losing population.

Rauner was hired to Brink Back Illinois. Madigan is part of the old guard, the failing guard.

Here's a much better description of the Illinois debacle, from Reuters: The man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.

That man is Michael Madigan.