In the time lapse between the presidential debate of Tuesday, November 22, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute with Wolf Blitzer as the debate moderator, only now do I have time to consider and arrive at a reasoned response to Newt’s proposal about dealing with illegal immigration in regard to this question directed to Gingrich by Blitzer:

 

“Speaker Gingrich, let me let you broaden out this conversation.  Back in the ’80 — and you remember this well, I was covering you then.  Ronald Reagan and you — you voted for legislation that had a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as you well remember.  There were, what, maybe 12 million, 10 million — 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now.  Some called it amnesty then, they still call it amnesty now.  What would you do if you were President of the United States, with these millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for a long time?”

 

In a nutshell, Newt called for humane treatment for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who have been in the US for decades and who have established deep family and community ties, with a pathway to legal residency, but not citizenship.

 

But is Newt Gingrich’s voice really one of reason?  Might he be playing to the Republican Establishment which has been softer on undocumented immigration than the grass-roots wing of the party?

 

Gingrich does has a checkered history on topic.  According to Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, while in congress Gingrich voted for amnesty for undocumented immigrant in 1986 and for smaller, more specific amnesties throughout the 1990’s.  NumbersUSA gave Gingrich a “D” for his time in Congress.

 

Newt’s stance of Nov. 22, however, was not a new one.  He’s been saying the same thing in town halls and in forums and its clearly laid out on his Web page.

 

But what about the rule of law, Newt, which Republican likewise embrace, that without its enforcement will lead to chaos?  Can we pick and choose which laws we are going to enforce?  Maybe we should cut drug dealers, wife beaters, pick pockets, etc., some slack, as long as they have families, have paid their taxes, work hard?  And by the way, how can undocumented immigrants be obeying the law when being in the country is a violation of the law?  How can they be obeying the law when working in this country is a violation of the law?   If they are paying taxes, whose stolen social security number are they likely using?  Oops, there goes another law broken where Newt is comfortable in looking the other way.  Staying past your visa date is also a crime.

 

When we allow people into this country with no concern about the law, it is like leaving the faucet open to allow an additional influx of individuals into this nation.

 

According to Newt:  “Einstein came here as an immigrant.  So let’s be clear how much the U.S. has drawn upon the world to be richer, better and more inclusive.”

 

You are right on, Newt, in naming Einstein as a valued immigrant, but those immigrants of Einstein’s era had sponsors to ensure that they were not a drain on society.  When entering through Ellis Island immigrants were also checked for disease and were sent back home if they did not have a clean bill of health.  Undocumented immigrants have brought into this nation (mostly from Mexico) a strain of TB that is resistant to treatment, among other diseases that were heretofore rare or nonexistent in this nation.

 

Also to be considered, Newt, is that states are suffering under the burden of paying for local costs for services siphoned by illegal aliens and their anchor babies.  The Center for Immigration Studies reports that South Carolina has suffered a 337% spike in illegal immigration since 1990 costing $391 million a year; Alabama a 287% spike at a cost of $289 million; and Arizona a 206% spike at a cost of $2.6 billion.

 

In an article written by James R. Edwards, Jr. in Human Events in the week of 11/14/11, Edwards reports how Obama’s Justice Department is launching outrageous lawsuits against South Carolin, Alabama and Arizona as political hammers to deprive them from acting within their own broad police powers.

 

And what about Newt’s suggested worker program?:  “You need something like a World War II selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here.  If you’re here — if you’ve come here recently, you have no ties ties to this country, you ought to go home. Period.  It you’ve been here 25 years and you’ve got three kids and two grand kids, they’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law they should be granted amnesty without citizenship.”

 

A question to be posed of Newt:  “How can it be determined how long the illegal immigrants have been in this country in order to decide whether they meet the qualifications to stay.”  Like teaching students the facts needed to do well in their ACT tests, illegals will be tempted to build up a history of time here in the U.S. to qualify for the illegality without citizenship program?

 

Does it not mean anything that even an undocumented individual living here for 25 years and meeting all requirements is not law abiding according to law?

 

Also, isn’t amnesty really about legality and not citizenship.  Illegals are really given amnesty when you make them legal. Citizenship is not required.  Not that this matter anyway, for citizenship would surely be next on the agenda.  It would be heartless not to allow an 80-year old grandmother to obtain her citizenship.  How can she be expected to assimilate and embrace the American culture if she isn’t allowed to vote!

 

Those who think that Newt’s legal-but-not-citizen status wouldn’t eventually turn into full amnesty are living on another planet.  It would be a simple matter for a future congress, after the leg work has already been done to classify and identify the “legal” residents, to simply grant them full citizenship, complete with suffrage rights.  Future congresses or presidents are not bound to carry forth with decisions made in another era.

 

Newt’s proposal, if elected an implemented, would open the door 80% of the way.

 

Another question Newt needs to address:  “I thought you were promoting yourself as a small government person, yet hundreds of government agencies would need to be formed to decide who is the good undocumented immigrant and who is the bad?”

 

It is premature to ponder over what to do with those who are already here.  It amounts to a show of counterfeit compassion and concern.  Does this nation really need more compassionate conservatism?  How well did it work in 1986?

 

The most important issue regarding undocumented immigrants should center on the defense of our nation which includes the defense of our borders.  In border states, in addition to those entering from Mexico, there are large numbers of Chinese, and more troubling, people who are coming from the Middle East.

 

Presently the Mexican government is outsourcing its poverty to the U.S.  Mexico’s #1 source of wealth comes from Mexico’s own oil company.  Its second source of wealth comes from the remittances sent by illegal immigrants to their families back home.

 

Why isn’t the Conference of Catholic bishops, in the name of Social Justice, working to help Mexicans reclaim their own nation.

 

Building a fence continues to be controversial as to its effectiveness.

 

Even so, much can be done to deal with the 20 – 30 million illegal aliens that are presently residing in the U.S.

 

We can require proof of legal residency for every student; proof of legal residency for every public benefit; proof of legal residency and permission to work from every job applicant; and a valid I.D. and a voter registration card at the polls.

 

E-Verify must also be allowed to work for employers to check on the status of prospective employees.  It is shameful that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has gone to court trying to undo the E-Verify.

 

As far as mass deportation, Presidents Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower all ordered mass deportations of illegals during the depressions after WWI and WWII so Americans could have jobs that illegals were filling.  Today the construction trade is employing huge numbers of illegal immigrants at a time when American citizens need good paying jobs.

 

But even in a perfect world there is no way all of the illegal residing in this nation could be found and deported.

 

By actually enforcing the laws on the books, undocumented immigrants will leave of their own accord.  If they can’t get a job or a place to live they’ll be forced to go back to where they came from.

 

Consider what happened in Arizona and Alabama when laws were passed to discourage illegal aliens from living there.  They left in droves, as they did in Prince William County, VA.

 

Another thought for consideration.  Families need not be separated.  When did it become unacceptable for families to take their American-born children back home to the country they emigrated from when illegally entering the U.S.?  The children can decide for themselves where they wish to live when of age.

 

On Sunday, November 27, it was reported that Bill Clinton is now praising his old foe Newt.  Fox News on the same day reported that the largest newspaper in New Hampshire was planning to endorse Newt Gingrich.  It was speculated that endorsement of Newt by the Union Leader could be a major blow to Romney as a former MA governor and as Romney’s chief rival to the party’s nomination.

 

Mitt Romney who has been tough on undocumented immigrants while running for president did challenge Gingrich’s proposal of legalization without citizenship as a magnet for foreigners to enter the country without documents.  While Romney took an approach nearly identical to primary rival Newt Gingrich in a 2006 Bloomberg interview, some strategists close to Romney have noted that he switched his stance in 2007 after traveling to Iowa and hearing the depth of anti-immigration sentiment there.

 

While I have yet to decide on a candidate, Newt Gingrich, despite his brilliance and his ability to debate, fails to grasp the consequences of many of his spoken thoughts.  I’m also wary over Newt’s stance on global warming, another issue that must be faced before rules and regulation further erode the fragile financial health of this nation.

 

A caution to Newt and to all other Republican candidate vying to face President Barack Obama as the Republican candidate in November of 2012:  Our borders must be protected first to close the open faucet, or the same issue will surface 15 or so years down the road when this nation will have to deal with an additional influx of millions of undocumented individuals.

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 16, should have sent shivers down the spines of all Americans.  For it was at the close of Business that the total debt of this nation surpassed the $15 trillion mark for the first time in its history (scope of borrowed federal spending), the precise figure being $15,033,6097,255,920.32.

If this figure is too large to engage in thought, then consider this Census Bureau estimate: With approximately 76,089,0945 families in the U.S. in 2010, the federal debt equals approximately $197,479 for each American family.

Other facts for consideration include:

 
1. The U.S. Debt has increased approximately $700 billion since the appointment of the super committee in August.
 
2.  Overall the federal debt has risen $4.41 trillion (4.5%) since Obama took office and $6.36  trillion (73%) since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.  
 
3.  Today’s GDP is significantly over the average of 20%; unless spending is reigned in within a generation it will reach nearly 35% of our GDP.
 
4.  Taxing the rich would not even begin to raise the revenue necessary to cover the deficit.  The top 1% already pays 36.7% of federal income taxes, even though they only earned 16.9% of all income.  
 
5.  The U.S. debt ranks the fifth highest among the world’s largest economies in debt as a percentage of GDP, 95% in the first three months of this year.  Nations ranking higher are Japan, Greece, Thailand and India.  
 
Facing an unprecedented $15 trillion of debt with future projections foretelling an even more frightening scenario, what are we to make of the dithering of the super committee set up in August as a condition that the debt ceiling could be raised at that time?
 
By Thanksgiving the 12 members of the congressional super committee are required to reach an agreement on a plan to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reducing measure, a mere drop in the bucket when measured against this nation’s total and ever growing debt level.
 
With little time left before the Wednesday, November 23rd Thanksgiving deadline, it boggle the mind that super committee members, of which there are six from each party, cannot manage to deliver the required $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.  
 
Triggers inserted in the bill to reduce defense spending by $600 billion and domestic spending by the same amount, should committee members be unable to reach a bi-partisan agreement of $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years, were meant to inspire committee members to reach a bi-partisan agreement, but there is a catch 22.  Even if the two triggers were enacted, none of the defense cuts (opposed by Republicans) or the domestic cuts (opposed by Democrats) would take effect until January 20, 2013, conveniently after the 2012 elections.
 
Republican committee members seem unwilling to fight for real reductions in government programs and departments.  Why should they when Republicans in Congress are about to approve an Agriculture spending bill that raises spending on Food Stamps to an unfathomable $80.4 billion, double its funding level from just t three years ago?  Some Republicans members have even been amenable to tax hikes.   
 
Democrat committee members, in defying logic, are intractable on entitlement reform.  The nation’s major entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — already comprise 40% of all federal spending.  It’s not difficult to imagine what will happen when the 78 million baby boomers retire.  Eventually baby boomer retiree payments will crowd out all other spending.
 
Entitlement reform should be more urgent than any other deficit reduction priority for super committee members, yet Democrats stand against increases to the Medicare retirement age and making changes in the measure of inflation used to calculate entitlement benefits including Social Security.
 
On Friday, November 18th, Democrats openly displayed their lack of seriousness in curbing their impetus for spending when a Republican House proposal  to require annual balanced budgets fell 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the proposal, arguing that such a requirement would force Congress to make devastating cuts to social programs.
 
So far not even warnings by economists of dire consequences, should an agreement not be reached, been able to provide the urgency to bring both sides closer to an agreement (The $1.2 trillion called for amounts to just 0.7% of the gross domestic product in 2013.).  A Morgan Stanley analyst predicted earlier in November that failure to act could potentially provide S & P with a pretext to downgrade the U.S. further from AA+ – AA.  
 
In the meantime this nation is facing perennial trillion dollar deficits, massive unfunded liabilities from entitlement and burgeoning growth in future interest payments.
 
The Heritage Foundation has called upon the super committee to drive federal spending down — including fixing ever-expanding entitlement programs — toward a balanced budget, while preserving our capability to protect America, and without raising taxes.
 
Heritage vice president David Addington contributed the following on November 18th in the Morning Bell:  America’s $15 Trillion Nightmare:  

 

“The super committee has a chance — one chance — to get it right.  More taxes means more government and a worse economy.  The super should recommend legislation that rests on three pillars (1) cut-non-security spending, (2) maintain defense capabilities, and (3) do not hike taxes. . . But getting there will require serious leadership, action, and an understanding that doing business as usual will not bring this nightmare to an end.”   http://blog.heritage.org/2011/11/18/morning-bell-americas-15-trillio <http://blog.heritage.org/2011/11/18/morning-bell-americas-15-trillio> …

Sensible and serious leadership is definitely lacking.  Those with their hands on the wheel in Washington, D.C., rather than rectifying the problem, seem content to ignore the crux of the problem — SPENDING!   
 
As a campaign issue, shamefully it is a plus for Democrats if the super committee should fail to reach its goal, for failure becomes yet another arrow in the Democrat’s quiver in their on-going game plan to blame Republicans for the failure of their own policies to recharge the economy and create jobs in the elections of November, 2012.

A special meeting of the Lake Forest School District 67 Board of Education meeting was held Sunday, November 20 at Lake Forest High School, West Campus at 5:00 p.m. to deal with the revelations recently brought to the forefront, but which took place back in 2009, about the behavior of Deer Path Middle School Principal, John Steinert.

The meeting was attended by concerned parent of students enrolled in the Deer Path Middle School and interested citizens of Lake Forest. Channel 7 and Fox News had cameras and reporters present. There were also numerous reporters from local media publication.

I missed the opening part of the meeting because of another obligation. Late on Sunday afternoon and as a cellist, I was involved in playing an all-Mozart program at Gorton Center in Lake Forest as a member of the North Suburban Symphony. Arriving around 6:15 p.m. with my cello in hand, I discovered that the 5:00 p.m. meeting had been adjourned to a closed Executive Session meeting not long after it had first been called to order at 5:00 p.m., and after only two citizen responses had been heard.

During the time of the closed two-hour Executive Session, many returned home, only to return to West Campus at 7:00 p.m. when the “adjourn to open session” was slated to begin.

At the appointed 7:00 p.m. hour, board members entered and took their assigned seats. Seated left to right at a long table facing the front of the meeting room were: Rick Schuler, Jeff Pinderski, John Julian (Dr. Harry Griffith) Julia Wold, Bill Anderson and Laurie Rose.

Julia Wold as Board 67 president called the session to order and took the roll call. She also informed those present of decisions made by the Board while in its closed Executive Session.

Among the decisions agreed upon was the formation of a task force to review district policy of how to handle situations like the current one and the suspension immediately of the Youth Officer Program.

Ms. Wold then announced that Andy Henderson would be the permanent principal replacement at the Deer Path Middle School for John Steinert.

Also announced by Ms. Wold were two additional scheduled community meetings to discuss the John Steinert issue: (1) Monday, November 21 at 5:00 p.m. at West Campus and (2) Tuesday, November at 5:00 p.m. prior to the regularly scheduled District 67 Board Meeting, also at West Campus.

Julia Wold then entertained questions from the assembled, fielding all of the question by herself. Rules for speaking: Comments would be limited to five minutes; redundant statements would call for moving along; and all speakers must speak from the podium giving their names and addresses before commenting.

There was an angry tone to the questioning. Superintendent Griffith, while taking notes, kept his eyes averted downwards most of the time.

President Julia Wold appeared to be fluttered with little of worth to say, either not willing or unable to address questions that pertained to Superintendent Harry Griffith.

Following are several of the pointed and astute questions directed to 67th District Board Member and Superintendent Griffith, about which many involved the fitness of Superintendent Griffith to remain at the helm.

1. Julia Wold was asked if Harry Griffith shouldn’t be answering the questions posed, as many dealt with the superintendent’s fitness to remain in his position?

2. When asked if Superintendent Griffith would be investigated, Wold suggested that it would be taken under advisement.

3. Insistence for a response to question two led to another inquiry dealing with the same issue, whether or not there would be an investigation into Griffith’s involvement which the questioner perceived as a cover up? Answer by Ms. Wold: “Will discuss with the rest of the board.”

4. Following, a citizen asked when a response to question three could be expected?

5. Upon receiving a non-answer, the next questioner inquired whether the board had ever requested the resignation of Harry Griffith in its closed Executive Session?

6. One extremely angry citizen spoke of Superintendent’s Griffith’s unbelievable parachute of benefits when he retires at the end of this year: Five years of free medical care; gift of a car that Griffith now uses paid for by Districts #67 and #115, and house mortgage payments continuing? The citizen then said of the superintendent: “Harry Griffith has bamboozled the taxpayers for two years in a total cover up. Is this how my tax dollars are being spent?”

7. Another upright Lake Forest citizen compared the Lake Forest situation to the current Penn State scandal where both involved were fired, the coach and the one who covered up an incident that might have prevented more sordid behavior from escalating.

8. The board was then reminded that had the Steinert incident been treated differently two years ago and rectified, none of this would be happening today.

9. The idea of a task force being formed was ridiculed. Retorted one questioner: “You mean those who erred (the board) will decide who will be on the Task Force!”

10. Another citizen thought too much time was being spent by the board to correct school policies through the proposed establishment of a task force, etc., to deal with future issues that might present themselves, with not enough thought being given to dealing with the issue at hand.

11. By far this was the most potent remark of the evening: “I don’t think we need a task force; we need leadership. A true leader would have done more in 2009. A true leader would resign now. The board should have asked for Harry Griffith’s resignation at its closed Executive session.”

12. Julia Wold refused to comment whether the board had asked for Superintendent Griffith’s resignation.

13. As to the admission that three of the present board members were on the board back in 2009 and were aware of the Steinert situation but didn’t act at the time, all three were asked if they planned to resign? Julia Wold answered “no.” There was no comment from either Laura Rose or Jeff Pinderski.

The last order of business was that the resignation of John Steinert was accepted.

The meeting was adjourned around 9:00 a.m., but the evening was not yet over for many in attendance. There was much mulling around with discussions among the attendees both in the meeting place and outside the room in the hallway.

The general mood was that a cover up had been initiated by Harry Griffith and that Superintendent Harry Griffith’s explanation (or spin) that the redacted police report he had received back in 2009 didn’t give him cause to remove Steinert from his position as principal of the Deer Path Middle School did not sound credible. Was there no curiosity by Superintendent Griffith to find out the nature of the redacted information which told how Steinert repeatedly sent sexually explicit messages and a lewd photo to a woman after she ignored him or told him to stop? After all, Steinert WAS ARRESTED back in 2009.

All in all, this is the first time Superintendent Griffith has come under fire. He will have to defend himself, if he is able to. Without doubt Griffith’s image is now tarnished and this image will follow him into his retirement whatever the final outcome may be relative to his lack or curiosity or his his willful decision not to take responsible action back in 2009.

There certainly will be more to come about this unfortunate saga about which the citizens and taxpayers of Lake Forest must demand and receive answers that meet the standard of credibility.

Flag as inappropriate

Thursday, Nov. 12, was set as the final day of a two-week fall session where pension reform, approval of Chicago casinos and tax changes to aid businesses were to have addressed.  Shamefully Illinois lawmakers fled Springfield for their homes leaving the crisis issues unaddressed and in limbo, but with an agreement to return for a one-day session on November 29th to survey what they failed to accomplish on multiple fronts. 

The worst crisis by far in Illinois is the potential collapse of the state’s pension system that is already the most underfunded in the nation.  Illinois has racked up an estimated $139 billion in obligations — $85 billion it can’t pay — and it will keep growing.  

To add to the out-of-control situation, while Illinois Lawmakers have been underfunding pensions, they have been sweetening the pension benefits of public employees which remain out-of-sync with happenings in the private sector.  Illinois state retirees also get an automatic 3% annual pay increase regardless of the rate of inflation.

It is highly unlikely that pension reform will be addressed when legislators meet for their one-day session on November 29.  Strong and intense Union opposition exists to any pension reform that seeks to raise public employee pension contributions.  As it was, Unions brought hundreds of their state workers, teachers and police officers to Springfield during the fall legislative session to shout down legislation that would have forced them to pay more toward their pensions. 

Beside the issue of increased pension fund contributions, the issue of constitutionality also looms large between those supporting pension reform and labor-led opposition.  Unions use state law to back up their claims that pension benefits cannot be reduced from the moment a worker is hired through his retirement. 

Nearing the end of November pension reform seems to be in limbo, but is it really?  Proponents of pension reform are attempting to get around a clause in the State Constitution that defines a pension as a contractual commitment which can’t be altered, through amending the bill so workers would have three choices from which to select.  All of the choices would focus on contributions rather than on benefit cuts.  The arguments being:  1)  Volunteered changes by the worker, and 2) Increased contributions are not technically the same as benefit reductions.  To be expected, Unions are not buying into the arguments.

It might surprise many to hear that the Teachers’ Retirement System in Illinois ranks #4 in the ten funds that top the list of state funds with “risky” investment strategy, meaning the lion’s share of investments are in in fixed income or cash holding.  There is a risk factor of 81.5% with total assets of $31.3 billion.   

The Teachers Retirement System is also the largest and costliest of Illinois’ pension programs.  In March of this year the system was nearly $40 billion short of what is needed to cover future benefits — the deepest financial hole in 20 years of state records.

Another surprise is that despite Union ads which tell of teacher’s paying their fair share into their retirement funds, a study by the Illinois Policy Institute — “Teachers’ Pension:  Who’s Really Paying” — found that many teachers contribute nothing, instead taxpayers shoulder the burden:  

“In nearly two-thirds of districts across the state, teachers don’t contribute the full ’employee share’ toward their pensions.  In fact most of these districts don’t require their teachers to contribute anything toward their own retirement.  Instead, the contributions are paid for or “picked up” by school districts — and by extension, local taxpayers.”  http://illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=4457

Ultimately it will be Democrat House Speaker Mike Madigan who will decide whether to call the pension reform bill for a vote.  And why shouldn’t Speaker Mike Madigan delay calling a vote until the spring session convenes in January?  In this way he would spare his Democrat legislators from making potentially troublesome vote just before their constituents go the polls on March 20th.  I will let you decide whether Speaker Mike Madigan and his House Democrats can be pegged as cowards or are they just shrewd?

According to the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago a delay into the spring session would tack on an additional $7 billion in unfinanced liabilities and interest on pension bonds. 

Meanwhile, Democrats in control of the House and the Senate advocate taxing as the way out, along with borrowing more money.  Can Illinois afford to borrow more money?

In February of this year Illinois borrowed $3.8 billion.  At the time, and because Illinois was perceived as the state most likely to default on its obligations by the financial markets, the state had to pay a higher interest rate spread than any of the other 49 states (Paying the highest interest rates of any states indicates a heightened risk of lending markets closing to Illinois.)  The state’s default interest rate can be attributed to the insolvency of its pension system.  Reducing the default rate is possible only through reform of the pension system.

It’s also unfair to private sector citizens here in Illinois who are worried they will outlive their own savings, only to have to pay more in taxes for the lavish retirement packages of government workers.    

Unless pension reform is enacted the $5.8 billion spent this year — more than $1 of every $6 of the state’s operating budget — will rise to $6.3 billion next year, to $7.7 billion in five years, and to $8.2 billion in 10 years.  In time the public pension system will be devouring all the state’s money with nothing left over for schools, care for developmentally disabled, payment of overdue bills, etc. 

All of us have the opportunity to make a difference in supporting and voting for candidates who don’t have their heads buried in the sand.  A change of rule is a must in Springfield.  Until then Unions will hold the feet of the elected Majority to the fire by demanding that employee pensions for their workers out pace those received by private sector employees.   

Illinois cannot continue on its current path.  Its pension system insolvency is jeopardizing the future of the “Land of Lincoln.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honoring Veterans  –  The photo:  Bill Dobbins, WW II veteran and member of Lake Bluff Post 510 and Guest Speaker, Colonel Todd Garlick, U.S. Army from Great Lakes

Veterans Day might be a once-a-year declared and celebrated federal holiday, but its importance in honoring all veterans whether or not they have served in combat or not should not and CAN NOT be forgotten by the American people.  For to become indifferent to the sacrifices of those who have given us the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness by taking up the nation’s cause in its time of need would signify that the American people have chosen to believe that there is no cost connected with the preservation of liberty and our nation.

Veterans Day (2011) 010

This year’s Veterans Day Ceremony in Lake Bluff, IL (directly south of Great Lakes) was held on Friday, Nov. 11 at 9:00 a.m.  It was hosted, as in years past, by American Legion Lake Bluff Post 510 at the Gazebo on the Lake Bluff Village Green.  David Cimarrusti is commander of Lake Bluff Post 510.As in years past it was a must attend event for me, even knowing beforehand that the Sequence of Events would remain unaltered from years past, except for some name changes in those carrying out the scheduled events.
 
It was on a rather cool and cloudy morning that I bundled up and walked the several blocks from my Lake Bluff home to celebrate Lake Bluff’s Veterans Day 2011.
 
I was somewhat disappointed in the number of Lake Bluff citizens who availed themselves to the memorable occasion.

Hopefully  the less than usual attendance might have been due to the morning’s rather nippy temperature.
 
Swelling the attendance were students from Lake Bluff’s Middle School who walked the short distance to the Village Green accompanied by their teachers.  I applaud Lake Bluff District 65 for understanding the importance of exposing young people first-hand to a lesson in history, at an age when so many young people are consumed with thoughts about themselves and how others perceive them.
 
Noticeable, however, was that the number of proud-looking veterans in attendance for whom the occasion was all about seemed sparser than in 2010.  Perhaps this could also be explained away due to the weather.  As least I hope so.
 
The Lake Forest High School Band deserves special mention for its performance at Veterans Day 2011.  Being a clarinet player myself, how well I remember the problems faced by brass and wind players when performing out-of-door with temperatures that cause hands and instruments to freeze up.  Brian O’Conner, assistant band director at LFHS, led the Lake Forest High School Band, replacing Jenine Kessler who is on medical leave.              
 
The ceremony opened with a welcome from David Cimarrusti, Commander of Post 510, at which time he graciously thanked the many individuals who had helped organize the event.
 
Henrietta Pigg, president of the Lake Bluff Women’s Club, whose husband Edgar Pigg is a member of Post 510, led the “Pledge of Allegiance.”  Mr. Pigg, a WW II veteran, served in the Navy and was stationed in the Philippines and Shanghai, China.  Edwin was one of the lucky ones who got his wish to serve in the Navy when drafted at age18.  He went through training at Great Lakes Naval Base.

The Lake Bluff Women’s Club is a big supporter of veterans and holds several event each year for their enjoyment.  Post 510, in turn, lends its support to the work of the Club.
 
Sally Lape of LFHS, accompanied by the Lake Forest High School Band, was this years soloist, nor did she disappoint with her renditions of the “National Anthem” and “American the Beautiful.”
 
The Flag Raising by Lake Bluff Scout Troop 41, Mike Fried, Leader, seemed to go off without a hitch, at least I was able to observe how “Old Glory” rose to the top of the flag pole to flutter in the breeze.
 
Selected to read the Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” was Wyatt Verlen, Student Council President of the Lake Bluff Middle School. 
 
As in past years the “Salute to Fallen Comrades” was performed by the Marine Air Control Group 48 Firing Detail with NCOIC SSgt. Michael L. Albers, USMC, resplendent in their dashing uniforms.  Unfortunately one of the members of the Firing Detail Group, while standing at attention, fainted and had to be led away before the rendering of the “Salute to Fallen Comrades”, which went off flawlessly minus one.
 
The Necrology was read by State Senator Susan Garrett, D-29th District and State Representative Karen May, D-58th District.  This will be the final year that both of them will be taking part in Lake Bluff’s Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veterans Day celebrations.  Both are retiring at the end of their present terms.  As noted in the Necrology, Lake Bluffers answered the call to service:  4 died in the Civil War; 2 in WWI; 5 in WWII; 1 in Korean War; and 3 in Vietnam.
 
Both the Invocation and the Benediction was given by Syler Thomas, High School Pastor of Christ Church in Lake Forest.
 
To me the most meaningful part of the ceremony were the remarks made by Guest Speaker Colonel Todd Garlick, U.S. Army (also last year’s Guest Speaker), that were to linger in my mind in the days following Lake Bluff’s Veterans Day Ceremony and now as I write my reflections.
 
Prior, however, to Colonel Garlick’s remarks which so struck a nerve with me, Garlick acknowledged the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marines celebrated the day before on Nov. 10th.  These remarks led into a brief presented of the history of Veterans Day, established initially as Armistice Day in 1919 through the Treaty of Versailles marking the end of WW I. 
 
It was on May 13,1938 that a Congressional Act was passed which designated November 11th the legal Federal date for observing Armistice Day,  A much needed change took place in 1954 when the 1938 act was amended by the 83rd U.S. Congress under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The word “Armistice” was struck out in in favor of “Veterans.”  Since then November 11th has become the day to honor American veterans of all wars, and not just the Great War (World I).
 
In an extension of his mini-history lesson, Colonel Garlick told how Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th.  Continuing, Garlick related how the wearing of artificial poppies in this nation dates back to and is symbolic of World War I.  Red poppies symbolize all the blood spilled at Flanders Field as was depicted so well in the poem, “In Flanders Fields”, by John McCrae.   Missed this year was the presentation of this beautiful poem read by Lake Bluff resident Esther Fetherolf in past years.
 
Colonel Garlick’s reflections next centered on the last WW I Doughboy, Frank Buckles, who died this year at 109.  In 1917 Frank Buckles, all age16, fudged his age, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was sent to France where he fulfilled his wish to become part of the “Great War.”  As an activist late in life, Buckles lobbied in 2009 for the construction of a WW I memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served during WW I.    http://www.parade.com/news/2010/05/30-the-last-doughboys-final-figh…
 
Most fitting were Colonel Garlick’s remarks following his story of WWI Doughboy Frank Buckles.  It was at this point in the ceremony when Garlick’s reflections, in acknowledging that these were different times from those who had lived during the era of WW II, meshed with my own thoughts and experiences as having grown up in a different age during WW II. 
 
Seniors like me are still around who remember air raid drills where total darkness was required; News of the Week reels in movie theater (before TV!); stamps for food and gas rationing; going out in fields with my dad to collect milk weed pods to bring back to my elementary classroom to use for the war effort; no chocolate available for Easter treats; the push to buy war bonds, etc.  In terms of years, it won’t be too much longer before newer generations will take over for those of us who are in our sunset years.   Then what?
 
Might the lack of identification with those serving today account for the decrease in patriotism and indifference to honoring our fallen heroes and all veterans who have served in war and in peace time?  After all, WW II seems far in the distant past for many of the younger generation.
 
According to the Veterans Association, WW II veterans are passing on at the rate of over 1,045 a day; Korean War vets at 305 a day; and Vietnam vets at 200 a day.  This is huge combined number!
 
Colonel Garlick cited how one out of every 10 Americans knew someone who was serving in WW II.  Today, less than one out of 100 Americans know someone who is serving their nation in uniform.
 
Winston Churchill perhaps best summed up what his countrymen owed those who served when he made this much quoted Tribute to the Royal Air Force in front of the House of Commons on August 20, 1940:  http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/quotations

“The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. ”

This nation will always face those who wish to destroy us and all this country stands for.  Our current enemy is not a nation, but Islamic jihadists who are waging war all over the globe to install a world-wide caliphate under Islamic rule.  This might sound far-fetched to those who believe what they are being instructed to believe, that Islam is a peaceful religion and that Islamic law is compatible with the laws which govern this nation. 
 
Andrew C McCarthy in what was a national bestseller, “The Grand Jihad”, exposes government’s active concealment of the Islamist ideology that unabashedly vows to “conquer America.
 
9/11 might only have been a preview of what Islamic jihadists have in store this nation if and when they succeed.  And it will only be a matter of time before Islamic terrorists do manage to strike once again at the beating heart of this nation, whether they be home-grown domestic terrorists or the planning of Islamist jihidists living abroad.
 
Pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan might sound good, but doing so prematurely will possible mean the need for more blood to be shed in the future.  
 
As Mark Steyn states about his New York Times bestseller, “American Alone: the End of the World as We Know it”,  What will a world without American leadership look like?  It won’t be pretty — not for  you and not for your children.”
 
Few Americans realize that the jihadists of today have Nazi connections that can trace their literal historical origins to Nazism and its genocidal ambitions.  Hitler’s Germany may have been defeated in WW II, but not its ideology.  It lingers on in the philosophy of leaders of Islamic countries such as Iran.
 
Enough of those who say this nation is expected to act more civilized in the way it fights wars so we don’t degrade ourselves to the level of those who are waging war against us. Water boarding has been declared off limits as torture when terrorists impose hideous acts like be-headings on those they capture.  
 
My biggest concern is that political correctness has taken over this nation’s instinct for survival.  Yes, we did win WW II, but what about the wars that followed?  Shouldn’t winning wars in which we are committed be the goal of this nation?
 
This nation no longer seems willing (even though it is able) to do what is required to win wars.  This does not bode will for the survival of our sovereign nation.
 
For unless we are willing to fight with conviction and fortitute to eliminate the threat, instead of merely nibbling around the edges, there will be no chance to fight back, for the terrorists will have won, having killed and destroyed us first.

 

 

Unknown to many residents of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff is that in March of this year the State of Illinois Board of Education listed District 115 as one of 61 school districts out of 900 that qualified for placement on its financial “early warning” status list for the past three years because of dwindling reserve funds and steady declines of fund balances. Meanwhile, Lake Forest District 115 continues to spend more than it is taking in with deficit spending of $2 million in 2007 and 2008; $500,000 in 2010, and a projected $1.5 million in 2011  

It matters not that Illinois code requires school districts to maintain reserve fund balances of 20 percent of their operating expenses. The policy at District 115 is to maintain a reserve fund of only 10 percent. Even more disturbing is that the projected and current reserve fund balance of District 115 is a meager 2.5 percent.

Just how might the on-going deficit spending in District 115 dovetail with my felt anger as I drove along McKinley Road past Lake Forest High School around 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4? At the time I had the urge to roll down my car window to respond to the picketing Lake Forest High School teachers as to the foolishness of their actions and the outlandish messages displayed on their sign calling for salary increases.

Were teachers at Lake Forest District 115 attempting to mimic the picketing action of Zion-Benton High School teachers who have been working without a contract since July, as reported in the Lake County News-Sun on Thursday, Nov. 3: “Zee-Bee teachers picket to protest contract talks.”  

It was during the third mediation session on Oct. 31, that the school board of Zion-Benton High School District 126 declared an impasse and walked out on talks with the Lake County Federation of Teachers. At issue is a proposal by the board to adjust the salary schedule – downward. 

I was aware that contract negotiations had likewise come to a stalemate between the union representing Lake Forest High School teachers, whose five-year contract expired on July 1 of this year, and the school board of District 115.  According to attorney Anthony Ficarelli who is representing teachers in District 115, “bargaining talks between representatives of the teacher union and the school board have stalled over issues on salary, benefits and professional development.” 

To illustrate how irrational-sounding and ashamed Lake Forest teachers should feel with their grievance against the board of District 115 for failing to grant what they feel is their due, consider how LFHS teachers ranked second in salary in a statewide analysis released on May 31, 2011. The only high school district in 2010 to top Lake Forest District 115 with its average $101,648 salary for teachers, was Highland Park/Deerfield Township High School District 113, whose teachers averaged $104,737.

The already generous salaries of District 115 teachers do not even reflect additional compensations which could include special bonuses or compensation given for extra duties performed.  

Who among us who work in the private sector wouldn’t relish having their employee (Lake Forest School District 115) pay between 90 percent and 100 percent of individual premiums and between 80 and 100 percent of family premiums, including dental? Yet this agreement was in place during the tenure of the now expired five-year contract. 

Included in the same expired District 115 contract was a negotiated agreement between the board and the union representing teachers to pay for term (benefit = 2x annual salary) and long term disabilities (benefit = 66.7 percent of salary) that a teacher might experience while teaching. 

Other extremely and generous perks awarded to Lake Forest High School teachers stipulated in their expired July 1 negotiated contract were: (1) the payment of their share of TRS contribution and (2) A post-retirement lump sum payment ranging from $12,000 to $34,000 to compensate for legislation passed that no longer allows the spiking of teacher salaries by more than 10 percent in the final years of a teacher’s career. Heretofore, spiking salaries was common practice to build up even fatter teacher pensions upon retirement. 

Of significant note is that teachers can retire after only 30 years of service with full pension benefits. Those of us on Social Security should be so lucky!

Out of my need to know how Lake Forest teachers are really faring in relationship to basic average teacher salaries in other Lake County high schools, I consulted the 2011 Illinois Interactive Report Card, Northern Illinois University, with support from the Illinois State Board of Education, updated on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011.  At the site, a separate Interactive Report Card can be downloaded for every school district in the state of Illinois. Not only are average teacher salaries given, included also are Average Teacher Experience, Instructional Expenditure Per Pupil, Operational Expenditure Per Pupil, Low Income, Demographic Information, and the PSAE assessment of how a school district has measured up to meeting or exceeding state education standards from 2002 through 2011. 

According to the Interactive Report Card issued for Lake Forest High School, its own eight-year school evaluation met and exceeded all subjects with a percent average of 81 percent, yet LFHS received a “no” when judged on having made adequate yearly progress.

Below is a list gleamed from the Illinois Interactive Report Card of the average teacher salary at eight Lake County High Schools. I selected the largest and the best known high school districts in Lake County for comparison.

Lake Forest School District 115 – $106,457; Highland Park/Deerfield District 113 – $106,030; Adlai E. Stevenson District 125 – $97,531; Barrington High School District 220 – $77,655; Warren Township High School District 121 – $70,153; Zion-Benton Township High School 126 – $69,151; Libertyville High School District 70 – $62,884; Waukegan High School District 60 – $56,253.

The figures tell the story. Lake Forest High School teachers now top Highland Park/Deerfield average teacher salaries by a smidgen, yet Lake Forest High School teachers had the audacity to picket for benefits which would most likely exceed those they received during the tenure of their  expired five-year contract! 

Do Lake Forest District 115 teachers have no shame? Having the privilege to teach in such a magnificent, country-club-like high school, which to me seems grossly out-of-bounds as wasteful spending and unnecessary to the process of learning, teachers should be overjoyed with the privilege of teaching in Lake Forest District 115, perhaps even agreeing to a slight pay cut, etc., recognizing that enough is enough for tax payers even in the upscale communities of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff who must foot the bill for their seemingly apparent greed.

Zion-Benton High School District 161 teachers might have had some cause to picket with its average teacher pay of $69,151, believing that a downward schedule of pay would harm the district’s ability to attract and retain good teachers.  

According to a new report from “The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis,” far from being underpaid, the typical public-school teacher makes out very well. While some may be underpaid, the typical public school teacher makes about $1.51 for every dollar made by a private-sector employee with similar skills.

Co-authored by Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Jason Richwine and Andrew G. Biggs, a recent scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the 16-page report issued on Nov. 1, 2011 concludes “that salaries for public-school teachers generally are comparable to those paid to similarly skilled workers in the private sector. However, the generous fringe benefits offered by public schools raise teacher compensation 52 percent above the going market rate. That’s the equivalent of a $120 billion overpayment charged to taxpayers each year.” http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/10/Assessing-the-Compensation-of-Public-School-Teachers

Concerned taxpayers and citizens need to contact the following Lake Forest District 115 board members demanding that they hold the line on their negotiations with teacher union representatives: Nicki Snoblin at  nsnoblin@gmail.com ; John Scribner at jas@twg.com , Jim Carey at JimCarey536@aol.com ; Todd Burgener at trburgener@gmail.com ; and Dick Block at blockoflf@yahoo.com  

 

 

 

On Sunday Nov. 20 at 4 p.m., The North Suburban Symphony will feature music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a “Mostly Mozart” concert at Gorton Community Center Auditorium, 400 E. Illinois Road in Lake Forest.

The concert will be lovingly dedicated to the life of long-time principal violist, Heidi Kuhnke, who passed away unexpectedly before the season began and is greatly missed. Heide’s enthusiasm for the arts, for music, and for the North Suburban Symphony was steady and impassioned, making it most appropriate to dedicate the Nov. 20 concert in her honor. Heide was also of German descent and especially loved the time-treasured musical gifts of Bach and Mozart.

Perhaps you’ve heard a song or opera on the radio composed by a person called Wolfgang (minus his family name of Mozart) who was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756 and died in 1791 at the age of 35, and as custom had it at the time for all Viennese except those of noble or aristocratic birth, was buried in an unmarked grave. Wolfgang’s life span overlapped the same period that saw the birth of our own nation with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Just why did the North Suburban Symphony select the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the sole composer of the second concert of its 24th season?

The reason is found in the extraordinary life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who as a child prodigy was a virtuoso performer on both the keyboard and the violin. By age five Mozart had already begun to compose original compositions. Over his lifetime Mozart composed over 600 musical works, excelling at every form of composition he attempted, whether opera, symphonies, violin concertos, piano concertos, chamber works, string quartets, and others.

Little wonder is why so many individuals rate the music of Mozart high on their list as a must-have to accompany them if ever marooned on a desert island. Additionally, selections on concert programs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are time-tested “audience-pleasers.” It matters not that Mozart died over 200 years ago. His music still lives on and holds every promise of continuing its musical appeal for centuries to come, as new musical forms gain attention, only to fade out as short-lived flavors of the time.

The Nov. 20 concert of the North Suburban Symphony will spotlight three area of music at which Mozart excelled in his composing: Opera, featuring the “Overture” from Don Giovanni; Chamber Music, with “Serenade No. 12 for Winds in C minor”; and the Symphony, with “Symphony No. 41 in C major” (Mozart’s final symphony before his untimely death, nicknamed the “Jupiter” by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon). Come and experience the uniqueness of all three selections performed by the North Suburban Symphony Orchestra, a non-professional community orchestra based in Lake Forest, under the sponsorship of the Lake Bluff Park District, which draws its members from as far away as Chicago. You will find the music pleasing to listen to and in no way boring!

Woody Allen once said that “Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 proved the existence of God.” Certainly a symphony of such grandness and scale had, until the summer of 1788, never before been seen in the music universe as worthy to share the name of the most powerful god of the Roman world, Jupiter.

In composing the “Serenade No. 12 for Winds in C minor, Mozart took the standard serenade form, which before Mozart was many often associated with outdoor entertainment, and turned the piece into a major work with four movements. Eight top-flight NSS players will be featured in a composition that will prove its mettle as a piece for your listening enjoyment.

Rounding out the trilogy of Mozart’s compositions to be featured on Nov. 20 is the “Overture” from Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni. Although the “Overture” take its theme from the opera, it also stands apart from the opera worthy of a composition to be performed by itself. As proof of the musical genius inherent in Mozart, he composed the “Overture” in just one day, and that day happened to be the day before the premiere of Don Giovanni on Oct. 29, 1787 in Prague.

Tickets are adults $18; seniors/students $10; and children under 12 free with adult ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the concert at the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest. For advance purchase of tickets call the Lake Bluff Park District at (847) 234-4150 or Nancy Thorner at (847) 707-5421.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the NSS, please contact the above telephone numbers. Be sure to check out our newly designed website at http://www.northsubsymphony.org

 

 

Primary Elections for Illinoisans are scheduled for March.  Soon Republicans of all stripes will be asked to vote for the candidate they wish to challenge and hopefully defeat President Barack Obama in November of 2012.   
 
As states are affected by policies enacted at a national level, Illinois, with its 20 electoral vote in 2012 (21 in 2008) will reap what is sows.  Will Illinoisans finally decide that they have had enough of one-party rule and the misery that has resulted from their failure to see beyond the pre-election promises made by crafty and deceptive politicians.    
 
Regarding the issue of electability vs. ideological purity, do newspapers ever hand wring over whether Democrat candidates are too liberal, as is common practice when Republican candidates are routinely judged to be too conservative? Many times the press is loathe to characterize candidates in the Democrat field as Democrats. 
 
I can’t speak for all conservatives, but for me the question of ideological purity has become more important since the election of President Obama over Senator McCain in 2008.
 
At that time just as now, conservative Republicans were being told that they needed to pick a candidate of moderate views for broad electoral appeal.  Conservatives did so against their best instincts, nominating one of the most moderate members of our Senate famed for his crossing the aisle to get things done and for his long and distinguished military and political career.
 
McCain lost the election to freshman Illinois senator, Barack Obama, who had no legislative accomplishments and whose success in the private sector as a community organizer appears to be limited to having (but not all) asbestos removed from one building.  Candidate Obama was also on record as saying that he was not at all ready for the job of the presidency.
 
Flash forward to 2012 and once again there are rumblings that Republican voters must back a moderate establishment candidate if they hope to have any chance of defeating Obama. 
 
As an unapologetic, optimistic conservative, I believe that a candidate with solid conservative views, one who is able and willing to articulate why conservatism is the best path to prosperity for the most people, would be able to strike back against any amount of Obama’s class warfare.  
 
It is not surprising that Herman Cain is now being bombarded with allegations of sexual harassment upon becoming the Republican top-tier candidate and the perceived standard bearer of conservatism.  Given Herman Cain’s unequivocal denial at a November 7th news conference, Cain has presented an open invitation for an already conservative-hating media to prove that Cain is all that he insists he isn’t.   
 
Cain has likewise become the worst nightmare of both the Left and the Right.  To the Right Herman Cain is an unconventional candidate with an unconventional campaign who rose unexpectedly to the top of the polls, much to the chagrin of those who represent the Republican Establishment.  It doesn’t take long to discern how Karl Rove, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Brit Hume rate Herman Cain as a candidate in their Fox News appearances. 
 
Then there is Newt who carries along with his candidacy baggage that many Republican conservative voters find unacceptable.  Granted, Newt Gingrich is brilliant and is a seasoned and informed debater, but Newt is also unpredictable, as when he cut an ad sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi discussing global warming as one willing to compromise with the other side. Newt seems not to realize that there is no room for compromise when compromise to Democrats means that Republicans must come over to their side to join them. 
 
And how is compromise even possible with Democrat Keynesian-economic-based policies that fail to produce jobs or restart the flailing economy which only the utilization of free market economic principles could remedy. 
 
Dorothy Rabinowitz in her “Wall Street Journal article” of November 9, “Why Gingrich Could Win,” basis her premise on Newt’s rise from near zero in the polls to the third slot in some polls.  Rabinowitz attributes Newt’s rise in the polls to his  command of  subjects and the sheer power of his ideas and words in debate situations.
 
Although Perry experienced a steep drop in his poll numbers — having been the flavor of the day for conservatives before his ill-fated debate statement that seemed to say that those he did not agree in giving illegals breaks in college tuition lacked compassion — many still believe Perry will “rise like a phoenix from the ashes” (to pick himself up, dust himself off, and rebuild himself bigger and better) to capture the golden ring on the spinning merry-go-round of candidates, all of which are attempting to frame themselves as the true conservative and the one who could defeat President Obama in 2012. 
 
Mitt Romney seems to be holding his own and has remained at a consistent level of support.  It could be said that Romney looks and acts like a Hollywood parody of a President.  Unfortunately, Romney also looks and acts like a Hollywood parody of a politician.   
 
In all honesty, at this point Mitt Romney seems to be the most electable candidate in a head-to-head match up with President Obama.  Romney is definitely the choice of Republican Establishment types such as Karl Rove, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Brit Hume who are trying to convince conservatives Republicans that they should jump on the band wagon and go the way of MItt.
 
If this should come to pass, it is certain that a bulls eye will be placed on the back of Mitt Romney by the mostly liberal media who has too much invested in President Barack Obama to have him fail.
 
Will the media care that Obama has a record to defend and an economy to own and that many of his supporters are demoralized and scattered. Will members of the press again hail Obama as “a kind of a god” or giggle and swoon “you’re killing us!” while talking cell phone pictures as Obama rocks his pelvis back and fourth in tight jeans in the faces of female reporter? 
 
Will Obama be privy to questions from the press regarding the level of truth Obama employed to sell the American public on Obama Care, why he expanded the Government secret wiretaps which once upon a time so incensed editorial staff in another administration, why he expanded the war in Afghanistan he once called “immoral”, why he keep Gitmo after saying that it was one of the biggest terrorist tools being employed against us . . . right?
 
Conservative Republicans are doubtful whether Romney would stand firm on conservative principles if he thought it expedient and explainable to shirk them.
 
Conservatives have also been righter than they had ever dreamed possible in predicting that Obama would not be the transcendent political figure that his supporters believed him to be.
 
John Kass in his commentary in the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, November 9, “Cain fights, Romney flatters, others gasp for air,” aptly described Mitt Romney:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-1109-20111109,0,5070332.column
“And there sits Romney, the candidate of the corporate establishment.  He sells himself to conservatives as if he were one of them.  Any moment now. he’ll put on a tricorn hat and throw tea into Boston Harbor. He knows that conservatives are increasing worried that President Barack Obama’s faults are being ignored with all this Cain business in the news.  So Romney doesn’t need media oxygen now.  The other candidates need it.  And they are up in Michigan, waiting for Wednesday’s debate (11/9) gulping for air.” 
All conservatives can hope for is that whoever the Republican nominee is will be someone who can defeat Obama and will then be able to get this nation back on track, not only here at home on matters of domestic policy, but also on issues of foreign policy which are proving to be problematic and dangerous to the survival of Israel, this nation’s long-standing friend. 
 
Only time will tell.  May God help us if President Barack Obama receives the nod of the American people for another four-year term as president.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to supporting free market principles and liberty-based public policy in the state of Illinois, located at 190 S. LaSalle, Street in Chicago, hosted futurist and author, Joel Kotkin, on Wednesday, November 2nd.

Left: John Tillman, CEO, Illinois Policy Institute. Right: Joel Kotkin, futurist and author of “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050″

Joel Kotkin, in his profile, describes himself accordingly:

“I cover demographic, social and economic trends around the world. I am a distinguished presidential fellow at Chapman University in California and an adjunct Fellow at the Legatum Institute in London. I have published seven books, including “The Next Hundred Million; America in 2050 (Penguin 2010) and “The City: A Global History (Modern Library: 2005). I am also the executive editor of http://www.newgeography.com.

Kotkin’s presentation at the Illinois Policy Institute was based on his book, “The Next Hundred Million; American in 2050″, in which which the author claims how the addition of one hundred million Americans by mid-century will preclude this nation’s long-term economic success and will at the same time transform the way people live, work and prosper. Recent projections by Joel Kotkin about the future of IL were likewise shared.

According to Joel Kotkin, overpopulation isn’t the problem, it’s too few babies, as published at Forbes on October 27, 2011:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2011/10/27/overpopulation-isnt-the-problem-its-too-few-babies/

Links to numerous articles published by Joel Kotkin can be found at: http://www.joelkotkin.com/content/004-biography

The Illinois Policy Institute described Kotkin’s presentation on November 4th in this released e-mail report to its members:

“Kotkin discussed the importance of good public policies that will allow people and businesses to thrive. When bad public policies are enacted, people vote with their feet — which is why population trends provide a glimpse of how society with change over the next few decades. For example, when it comes to Illinois the high taxation and corruption in government has contributed to the state having the second highest out-migration in the country during 2010, he told a packed house at the Institute event.”

Kotkin might had crunched figures to add credence to his hypothesis, but they were abstractions only not based on reality.

Joel Kotkin was certainly at odds with my view of the present world, which recently reached the seven billion figure, and that of Illinois in the year 2050. In that Kotkin equated his surprising optimistic portrait of this nation’s long-term economic strength on the addition of 100 million individuals, boggled my mind.

Noted throughout Kotkin’s presentation were facts that contradicted his optimism about America’s future. To Kotkin’s credit he did mention such doomsday scenarios as global warming, peak oil, and moral decay. On the other hand, Kotkin continued to assert that the bedrock American values can lead to greater opportunity and upward mobility for the the next hundred million citizens in an America of 2050.

Where has Kotkin been over the last 50 years of his life during which there has been a transformation of basic values in the American society, where right and wrong means what ever feels good to an individual? How, too, does Kotkin propose to do away with the on-going indoctrination of school children over global warming, and how they are being taught to perceive America as no better than any other nation? As far as basic values are concerned, too many young people have lost the can-do spirit that existed fifty years ago, instead believing that government owes them a living, thus they are entitled to take from those who have more without first proving that their contributions to society merit monetary reward.

When speaking about IL, Kotkin failed to embrace realistically the corruption that exists here in Illinois under one-party rule, the harboring of illegal immigrants in Chicago, and especially in collar communities, who are welcomed, supported and protected, while we lose individuals and businesses that produce good and services here in Illinois to other states.

Joel Kotkin reminded me of a school superintendent who has been removed for many years from the reality of actually teaching, who then tries to tell his teacher how they are to teach, knowing nothing about the problems they are facing in their every day classrooms.

As before noted, most of Joel Kotkin comments had a somewhat negative tone to them which were not consistent with his optimistic outlook for this nation and Illinois in 2050.

Following are remarks made by Joel Kotkin from which you can arrive at your own conclusions as to the validity of his number crunching. Also how Kotkin can dismiss a future of doom and gloom for this nation and for Illinois to one that offers hope, economic growth and development.

  1. In the big picture, U.S. for now has healthier demographics than the rest of the world with its fertility rate about its replacement rate.
  2. Chicago should be the hub of the heartland. Competition is now coming from Dallas and Houston, Texas.
  3. Chicago has the advantage of water which will prove more valuable than energy.
  4. Natural gas is looked upon as the game changer of the future, if the U.S. will allow it to happen. This nation has a tremendous amount of natural gas. With it this nation could turn around its economic situation.
  5. Manufacturing in the U.S. has been pretty stable over time. This nation has held up better than Japan or the EU. Biggest growth in tech jobs has been in Michigan.
  6. Many journalists are clueless as to what is happening today. There opinions reflect a group of individuals. mostly young and unmarried, who have no connection to the middle class.
  7. Whichever state can retain its bright young people and create jobs for the middle class will win out.
  8. This nation is producing on the average of 110,000 new jobs a month (It was only 80,000 in October.), only about half of what we need. 250,000 jobs a month must be added to keep pace with population growth.
  9. Through a series of charts, Kotkin displayed how Illinois is doing worse than CA. Illinois had the slowest state job growth and Metropolitan area growth from 2000 to 2010. Illinois ranked 49th out of 50 in domestic migration. We are losing Illinoisans to Florida, Teas and Arizona in the Sun Belt area. Indianapolis, IN has become a major threat to Chicago in the long term.
  10. In 2010 the City of Chicago shrunk, but the suburbs grew.
  11. The environment is gaining in importance with a shift in public opinion. “Green is very good.” Indoctrination is happening at the elementary school level.
  12. Fear that in 2012 voters will seat a Republican Congress and Senate; Obama will win and rule by decree.
  13. New Orleans saluted for its charter schools; Nashville for its good transportation system; and Houston for a positive business climate to promote economic growth.
  14. When referring to a stable population, it meas an older population. This is not good and will result in slow growth because energy exhibited from the young is needed for growth to occur. An older population will also produce policies that benefit their age group.
  15. The large number of lawyers in this nation is leading to even more regulations that will curb growth. An extreme environmental stranglehold is being placed on entrepreneurs through litigation.
  16. Illinoisans are realizing that the Chicago-way no longer works for them, although those in power will talk about making fake reforms. Political revolution will happen when things are right, when Democrats, Independents, and Republicans recognize what the problems are and work together to fix them.

The latter remark by Joel Kotkin created extreme pessimism within me. To believe that the political situation in Illinois will change by 2050 to lift Illinois above the status of a failing state to one where businesses and people can thrive economically with a sense of pride, seems beyond the realm of possibility.

Kotkin’s remarks sounded way off the charts to me, but with unbridled optimism some might deem them possible? 

Print Friendly


 My feathers were ruffled in a big way when the “Chicago Tribune” targeted Herman Cain with its editorial on Tuesday, November 1st, “Face the questions, Mr. Cain”.

I am not suggesting that Herman Cain should not face questions over long-ago sexual harassment claims.  My felt anger had to do with the double standard that exists at the Chicago Tribune which many on the staff would be loath to admit. As with matters that are based on opinion, how something is perceived is in the eye of the beholder.    

Had the Tribune been as diligent in investigating the background of candidate Barack Obama — a home-grown Chicago candidate who was all too familiar with the Chicago-way of doing things, honed from his time as a community organizer with roots dating back to his youthful, professed Communist mentor, to his twenty-year association with the church of Rev. Wright whose rants should have alerted all to what candidate Obama was all about (and it was not about positive hope or positive change) — most likely this nation in 2011 would now be experiencing an economic recovery with substantial job growth as the bi-product of free-market principles in the private sector, in contrast to Obama’s erroneous belief that spending billions of dollars to stimulate the economy, with taxpayer monies, will result in anything but absolute failure.

The “Chicago Tribune’s” endorsement of Barack Obama for president in 2008, precipitated, in part, the self-inflicted current dilemma facing the newspaper as it attempts to reach a plan to resolve a Chapter 11 bankruptcy issue that has been unresolved after nearly three years in court. 

Having canceled my subscription to the “Tribune” at the time, I was one of a minority who re-subscribed as a concerned citizen who admits to being a political junkie. 

Meanwhile thousands of “Tribune” subscribers (viewing the “Trib’s” endorsement of Obama as “the last straw”) decided to remain “Tribune” less in their knowledge of what Obama represented, if elected, and the lasting impact his election would portend for this nation.

Might it have been that candidate Barack Obama in 2008 was a card-carrying, ultra left-leaning liberal, while candidate Howard Cain in 2011 is an unabashed conservative Republican and a pastor as well? 

It pains me to see how some Republican pundits are giving Cain a difficult time, but I’m not surprised. Herman Cain was not expected to rise to the top of the crop of presidential candidates.  After all, Cain is not a Republican Establishment candidate choice   He was to be a flash in the pan, a seven-day wonder. 

For Republican Establishments types this is perplexing predicament.  How did this happen when the Establishment’s winning horse in the race had already been determined in the candidacy of Mitt Romney?

In the days ahead Herman Cain will face intense over-the top scrutiny from both Republicans and Democrats.  Cain is feared by both parties for different reason.  Even so, it is refreshing to see Americans rally behind Cain as a non-politician, an outsider. 

May the current blip in Herman Cain’s campaign be nothing more than what it seems to represent at the present time, a desperate attempt to take Cain down a few notches from his campaign high and also to discredit him in the eyes of the American people who find Herman Cain refreshing, smart, and articulate.