Thorner

Chicago’s Heartland Institute, Joe Bast, CEO, sponsored its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change from May 21 – 23 at the Chicago Hilton. I attended the two-and-a half days of discussion and debate.

This year’s program (Real Science/Real Choices) featured approximately 60 scientists and policy experts discussing the most important and controversial topic of our time — the causes and consequences of climate change. 

While more than 30 “warmists” were invited to defend their position, all declined, to which Joe Bast had this to say:  “It is fair to judge a scientific theory as to whether its advocates show up to defend, then the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a failure.”

The debate over climate change is charged with partisan fever because if affects important public public policies, as in the recent EPA regulations on coal-fired plants.

On the final day of Heartland’s conference, Wednesday, May 23, Panel 10 was all about Communicating Climate Change.

As one not trained in the sciences, presentations that required a knowledge of physics were a bit over my head.  Not so with the three Panel 10 presenters whose down-to-earth messages spoke to the issue of climate change that could be understand by the average layman. 

One of the presenters on Panel 10 was Jay Lehr, Ph.D., a senior fellow and science director of the Heartland Institute and an internationally known speaker who is on the road on behalf of Heartland as a skeptic of Global Warming/Climate Change.  Jay Lehr is also an author and has testified before Congress on more than there dozen occasions on environmental issues and has further consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. 

Jay Lehr encouraged all attending the Panel 10 session to go out and spread the word that mankind has an insignificant impact on the climate on Planet Earth.

As one who never ascribed to the position held by global warming alarmists that CO2 is the cause of Global Warming, I thought it important to arm you with the same facts that I now have in hand by sharing the excellent scientific evidence compiled by Jay Lehr in his presentation handout.

May you likewise go out armed with these eighteen facts to educate others as scientific truth is based on hard evidence, not “consensus.”    

SIGNIFICANT EVIDENCE THAT MANKIND HAS AN INSIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE CLIMATE OF PLANET EARTH  by Jay Lehr, Ph.D., Science Director of The Heartland Institute

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
1- Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant.  On the contrary it makes crops and forests grow faster.  Mapping by satellite shows that the earth has become about 6% greener overall in the past two decades, with forests expanding into arid regions.  The Amazon rain forest was the biggest gainer, with two tons of additional biomass per acre per year.  Certainly climate change does not help every region equally, but careful studies predict overall benefit, fewer storms, more rain, better crop yields, longer growing seasons, milder winters and decreasing heating costs in colder climates.  The news is certainly not bad and on balance may be rather good.

2- Someday the world will wake up and laugh when they finally understand that the entire pursuit of economic ruin in the name of saving the planet from increasing carbon dioxide is in fact a terrible joke.  You see it is an unarguable fact that the portion of the Earth’s greenhouse gas envelope contributed by man is barely one tenth of one per cent of the total.  Do the numbers your self.  CO2 is no more than 4% of the total (with water vapor being over 90% followed by methane and sulpher and nitrous oxides).  Of that 4% man contributes only a little over 3%.  Elementary school arithmetic says that 3% of 4% is .12% and for that we are sentencing the planet to a wealth of damaging economic impacts.

3- The effect of additional CO2 in the atmosphere is limited because it only absorbs certain wave lengths of radiant energy.  As the radiation in the particular wave length band  is used up, the amount left for absorption by more of the gas is reduced.  A simple analogy is to consider drawing a curtain across a window – a large part of the light will be shut out but some will still get through.  Add a second curtain to the first and most of the remaining light will be excluded.  A point will quickly be reached where adding more curtains has a negligible effect, because there is no light left to stop.  This is the case with the absorption of energy as more carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere.

4- If greenhouse gases were responsible for increases in global temperature of recent decades then atmospheric physics shows that higher levels of our atmosphere would show greater warming than lower levels.  This was not found to be true during the 1978 to 1998 period of .3 degrees centigrade warming.

5- 900,000 years of ice core temperature records and carbon dioxide content records show that CO2 increases follow rather than lead increases in Earth temperature which is logical because the oceans are the primary source of CO2 and they hold more CO2 when cool than when warm, so warming causes the oceans to release more CO2.

6- While temperatures have fluctuated over the past 5000 years, today’s earth temperature is below average for the past 5000 years.

7- A modest amount of global warming, should it occur would be beneficial to the natural world.  The warmest period in recorded history was the Medieval Warm Period roughly 800 to 1200 AD when temperatures were 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today allowing great prosperity for mankind, and Greenland was actually green.

8- Temperature fluctuations during the current 300 year recovery from the Little Ice Age which ended around 1700AD, following the Medieval Warming Period , correlate almost perfectly with fluctuations in solar activity.  This correlation long predates human use of significant amounts of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

9- The National Aeronautic and Space Agency (NASA) has determined that during the time the Earth was warming so was Mars, Pluto, Jupiter and the largest moon of Neptune.

10- We know that 200 million years ago when the dinosaurs walked the Earth, average Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was 1800 ppm, five times higher than today.

11- All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley UK, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, University of Alabama Huntsville, and Remote Sensing Systems Santa Rosa) have released updated information showing that in 2007, global cooling ranged from 0.65C to .75C. a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one years time.

12- NASA satellites measuring Earth atmosphere temperature found 2008 to be the coldest year since 2000 and the 14th coldest of the past 30 years.  US climate Monitoring Stations  on the surface show greater warmth, but  pictures of most of the 1,221 US temperature stations show 90% to be located near human sources of heat (exhaust fans, air conditioning units, hot roof tops, asphalt parking lots and so forth).  the conclusion is inescapable: The US land based temperature record is unreliable.

13- While we hear much about one or another melting glaciers, a recent study of 246 glaciers around the world between 1946 and 1995 indicated a balance between those that are losing ice, gaining ice and remaining in equilibrium.  There is no global trend in any direction.

14- On May 1, 2007 National Geographic magazine reported that the snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro were shrinking as a result of lower precipitation rather than a warming trend.

15- Never mind that the overall polar bear population has increased from about 5000 in the 1960s to 25,000 today, and that the only two populations in decline come from areas where it has actually been getting colder over the past 50 years.  Also ignore the fact that polar bears were around 100,000 years ago, long before at least one important interglacial period when it was much warmer than the present.  Clearly they survived long periods of time when the climate of the Arctic was much warmer than today.  Yet they are not expected to survive this present warming without help from government regulators.  They must be kidding.

16- No computer model ever used to compute climate change has been able to calculate our recent past earth temperature though all measured data inputs were known and available.

17- The inability of current computer hardware to cope with a realistic climate model projection was put in perspective by Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard Smithsonian Institute who calculated that to run a 40 year projection using all variables across all spatial scales would require 10 to the power 34 years of supercomputer time.  This is 10 to the power 24 times longer than the age of the Universe.

18- Nobody believes a weather prediction 7 days ahead but now we are asked to reorder our economy based on climate predictions 100 years hence which are no longer supported by current evidence.

CONCLUSIONS

1- While the most extreme environmental zealots may be relatively few in number, they have managed to gain undue influence by exploiting the gullibility of many ordinary and scientifically illiterate people, who are only too willing to believe that the planet needs saving from man’s excesses.  Perhaps it is a psychological throwback to those earlier civilizations that offered human sacrifices to the gods, to assuage their sins and spare them from punishment in the form of drought, flood, famine or disease.  There are certainly many parallels between modern environmentalism and religion.

2- By focusing our priorities on future generations we focus less on improving the lives of people who are alive today.  These future generations bear no closer relationship to us than those now living in developing countries whose lives we disdain to save.  Why are we not feeding people in the world who are hungry? Why are we not giving clean water to the almost one billion people who don’t have clean water? The greatest source of environmental degradation is poverty.  Why aren’t we helping eliminate poverty?  One answer is that perhaps it is a lot easier worrying about future generations than trying to fix present day problems.

3- Global warming is a major industry today.  Between 1992 and 2008 the US Government spent $30 billion on climate change research and now contributes $6 billion a year.  This finances jobs, grants, conferences, international travel and academic journals.  It not only keeps a huge army of people in comfortable employment, but also fills them with self righteousness and moral superiority regardless of the fact that real science did not support it.

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Presently Senate Democrats are moving to seek ratification of the United NatIONS convention on the Law of the Sea, known simply as the Law of the Sea treaty, with approval sometime in June.   

The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) has been lurking in the shadows for decades and pretends to be an effort to protect the world’s oceans from environmental damage and remove it as a cause of potential conflicts between nations. 

First proposed in 1982, Ronald Reagan refused to sign the treaty out of fear of what it might do to American sovereignty.  In 1994 President Clinton did sign a revised version of the bill, but the Senate never ratified it.  Although President George W. Bush endorsed the treaty in 1997, Senate Republicans vehemently opposed it.

Just what would ratification of the treaty mean for our nation?   The International Seabed Authority (ISA), a global body located in Kingston, Jamaica, would have the power to regulate 70% of the earth’s surface, placing seabed mining, fishing rights, and deep-sea oil exploration under the control of a global bureaucracy.

Article 81 of the treaty would require the US. and all nations to pay a portion of royalties from the use of the sea’s natural resources to the International Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica.  If ratified this nation would be required to transfer part of any royalties realized from the drilling of oil resources found on the U.S. continental shelf — defined as 200 nautical miles or more from shore — for redistribution to poorer, landlocked countries.  This could amount to billions of dollars.

If the treaty should pass, Hugo Chavez’s CITGO could potentially steal our oil by setting up oil rigs ten miles off our coast. 

Even activities of the U.S. Navy would be under the control of the ISA.  The ISA could presumably tell the U.S. Navy where it could and could not go.  Freedom of navigation has always been a given for the U.S Navy!

So far161 countries have signed on to the LOST.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, John Kerry, has determined that this is the time to push for the treaty’s ratification while there is little attention being paid to legislative action. 
 
LOST is supported by the Obama administration and is in keeping with Obama’s progressive dream of farming out our national sovereignty to the United Nations.  LOST would further nurture and further Obama’s philosophy that this nation has too much power and wealth and that redistribution of wealth is not only fair but that it is also called for. 

There was a delay in bringing the LOST treaty to the Senate floor out of consideration for Sen. Richard Lugar (IN-R) who, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, believed that knowledge of his firm support of LOST would hurt his re-election chances.

As it was, Indiana Republican voters were wise to have handed Lugar his walking paper and to deny him his 7th term in office.  As a 35-year veteran of the Senate, Lugar was touted as a leading voice in foreign affairs.  Not well known is that Lugar throughout his career promoted a globalist agenda.  This accounts for why Democrats were so displeased when Lugar lost his senate seat to a solid Republican conservative, Richard Mourdock.  

Presently Kerry, backed by Lugar, is working behind the scenes to recruit Republican votes needed to ratify the treaty.  Kerry is seeking to sway the usual RINOS in the Senate, Maine’s lame duck senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, along with Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.  Once treaties are ratified and signed, they are even more difficult to get rid of than a newly created federal bureaucracy!  They have the impact of a constitutional amendment. 
 
Also working to pass LOST is former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, now a lobbyist with his partner former Democrat U.S. Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana.  Together they have formed the Breaux Lott Leadership Group.  According to lobbying reports filed this year, the firm is being paid $80,000 by Shell Oil company and another $30,000 by Pike Associates LLC to promote passage of the Law of the Sea Treaty.
 
While Trett Lott was Senate Majority Leader in 1997, he was opposed to the Law of the Sea Treaty having said that ratification “would put a number of our entities, including the private sector and the military in my opinion at the mercy of the U.N. bureaucracy.”  
 
On May 9th top defense leaders in the Obama administration joined the choir to ratify the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty.  Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believes ratification “will strengthen America’s strategic position in Asia.” 
 
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta dismissed objections from treaty opponents that the treaty would restrict military operations and limit intelligence collection in territorial waters.     
 
Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is urging his Senate colleagues to join him in opposing the Law of the Sea Treaty.  A May 10th article indicated that DeMInt has so far gathered 24 signatures on a letter he is circulating which is addressed but has not yet been sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).  
 
Those signing the letter have agreed to oppose the treaty’s ratification when it comes to the Senate floor.  So far there are two dozen signatures, ten votes short of the 34 needed to kill the treaty.  They include:
 
Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona; Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma; Roy Blunt of Missouri; Pat Roberts of Kansas; David Vitter of Louisiana; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; John Cornyn of Texas; John Boozman of Arkansas; Rand Paul of Kentucky; Jim Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho; Orin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah; Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions of Alabama; John Barrasso of Wyoming; John Thune of South Dakota; Richard Burr of North Carolina; Saxby Chambliss of Georgia; Dan Coats of Indiana; John Hoeven of North Dakota and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
 
Even though our senior senator, Richard Durbin, is likely to vote for the Law of the Sea treaty, maybe somewhere deep inside Durbin is a sense of patriotism that will urge him to do the right thing.
 
Senator Durbin must be called and urged to vote “yes” on the treaty, as well as other Democratic senators who perceive it’s politically wise to drape themselves in Reagan’s cloak.  Tell Democratic senators to prove their new found Reaganesque by vowing to vote againg the treaty when it’s brought to the floor of the Senate as early as next month.
 
Retiring Republican Maine senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, along with Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, must likewise be contacted and urged to sign Senator Jon Kyl’s pledge letter, as well as other Republican senators who have not signed on to Kyl’s pledge.
 
A listing of all U.S. senators can be found at this website:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_United_States_Senators

Following is contact information for U.S. senators:  http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/general/one_item_and_teasers/contacting.htm

Because of Senator Mark Kirk’s on-going recovery, unless he is back in Washington, D.C. in time to cast his vote, his vote either way would not be included . 
 
Even if Obama is not re-elected he hopes to have as a legacy a treaty that would give a U.N. body veto power over the use of U.S. territorial water and to which we’d be required to give half of our offshore oil revenue to third world countries. 
 
This underhanded action must be stopped!

 
Arie Friedman Lori Diversey shows some of her nutritious cookies.  

Illinois is not exactly a bastion of new business and economic development. Between our low bond rating, high corporate tax-rate and overall reputation as being one of the least business-friendly states in the country, new business ventures are not commonplace in the Land of Lincoln.

Even in Illinois there are exceptions, and we must remember to never underestimate the entrepreneurial fortitude of the American spirit.

Park Ridge resident Lori Diversey is a wife and a mother. Recently she added business owner to her resume. Diversey is the brains and beauty behind CaveChick, Inc., a company that specializes in making cookies that contain only “nutritious ingredients.”

“I’m a woman that cares about the health and quality of life of everyone. A labor of love, the recipes for these perfect cookies is those that I developed in the mid ’90’s for my children and family in response to their health needs,” said Diversey. “Conventional ingredients were making my family sick. By changing to minimally process ingredients, heirloom grains, more nutritious sweeteners and by eliminating food allergens my family regained health and eliminated common chronic ailments.

The “nutritional foodie,” is what the 51 year-old refers to herself. Currently her cookies are available at stores as Whole Foods in Schaumburg and Tea Lula in Park Ridge. Additional outlets can be found online at www.cavechick.com.

Diversey is working tirelessly to gain wider distribution which takes times, but she has found a special fan in Highland Park pediatrician and candidate for State Senate, Dr. Arie Friedman (R-29).

Besides being concerned with the pension crisis, reducing the state debt and repealing the job-killing tax increase, the father of five is always looking for a healthy snack for his kids.

“I could go on and on about how healthy these cookies are. However, I am most impressed with how delicious they are! I mean it; these cookies are some of the best I have ever eaten,” said Friedman.

In an effort to support small businesses, the Friedman for State Senate campaign has adopted CaveChick cookies as the official cookie of the campaign. That is how I became acquainted with the new business and the CaveChick lady herself.

Last week, I attending a cocktail reception for Friedman’s candidacy at Lovell’s of Lake Forest. The packed room was treated to wonderful food and wine as well as a great speech by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, appearing in his role as citizen. When Dr. Friedman addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support, he concluded by introducing Diversey and informing the crowd that CaveChick was the official cookie of the campaign.

Attendees were treated to a goodie-bag of the vegan and allergen-friendly snack. Dr. Friedman’s favorite, Cave doodle, was the featured flavor of the night. Diversey wrapped her product and placed her corporate logo as well as a Friedman for State Senate sticker on each bag that was presented to the crowd in a patriotic decorated wicker basket.

Earlier during the event, I heard the crowd whispers acknowledging the basket of cookies and the pretty lady who brought them. It was apparent these supporters were already fans of the CaveChick.

It was at this point that I struck up and conversation with Diversey and learned about her business venture and the support she received from Dr. Friedman, the campaign and its supporters.

Lori wrote her shelf-ready business plan in September of 2008; it took four years to market her CaveChick cookies. Finally in February of 2011, a company was found to produce Lori’s CaveChick cookie recipes in accordance to her strict standards. This month CaveChick cookies finally reached the shelf at Whole Foods Market Schaumburg.

I can attest to how delicious CaveChick Cave Doodle cookies are. I sampled my own pack of cookies and was pleasantly surprised that cookies made with such healthy ingredients could be so pleasing to my taste buds.

The relationship between CaveChick, Inc. and the Friedman for State Senate campaign is a natural fit. As a small business owner and managing partner in his practice, Dr. Friedman understands the struggles that Illinois business owners face.

Like Friedman, Diversey has not given up on the state of Illinois and wants to bring prosperity back to the Land of Lincoln and work hard to change Illinois, so businesses like CaveChick can thrive, grow and hopefully one day provide jobs in addition to healthy snacks.

Both CaveChick cookies and Arie Friedman deserve your support.

In April of this year Governor Pat Quinn proposed ending the state’s practice of paying the “employer share” of teachers’ pensions and shifting more of the burden to the school districts.

Immediately a firestorm of protest was heard statewide from Illinois school leaders claiming the change would result in program cancellations, increased class sizes, properly tax increases or even “destroy public education.”

Lake Forester readers, not unlike other Illinoisans, are not well grounded in how their schools systems are financially funded. Most residents do realize that local property taxes are the main funding source for District 67 and 115 in Lake Forest and District 65 in Lake Bluff, but there is also a state funding program designed to ensure that a base amount of money is available to educate every student in Illinois. Known as General State Aid (GSA), its goal is to counter inequalities in local property tax wealth through the dollars it routinely sends to school districts in less affluent communities where property taxes are unable to generate the designated base per student funding amount.

But there is also another state funding program which represents the second-largest education expenditure after GSA. It involves the contributions made by the state to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Because TRS “employer” contributions made by the state are based on how much local school districts pay their teachers, wealthier districts like here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff do very well as salaries paid are on the high end of the scale state-wide.

Illinois Policy Institute findings indicate that in 555 out of 867 Illinois school districts teachers pay little or nothing into their pensions. In Lake Forest School Districts 67 and 115, full pension pickup is a negotiated perk and a sweet deal for teachers. Most health benefits are likewise picked up.

Quinn’s proposal to require school districts in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff to absorb some of the “employer” TSA contributions could be a blessing in disguise for Lake Forest/Lake Bluff taxpayers. For if citizens and taxpayers were informed that a property tax increase would be necessary to pay for a portion of TRS employer pensions now paid in full by the state, it could be done through cost-saving measures instituted by our school districts which would provide more than adequate financial resources. Without question, teachers and administrations are benefiting the most from our ever-increasing property tax bills here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. Shouldn’t it be the students?

One obvious way would be to have future contracts written that would require our teachers to pay at least some of their TSA retirement fund pensions and healthcare benefits.

Other options might include:

1. Freeze teachers’ salaries for one year. On average, teacher salaries have increased by more than 7 percent per year since 2000. In District 67, 35 teachers make in excess of $100,000 per year. In District 115, 92 teachers are members of the $100,000 club.

2. Limit teacher salary increases to 3.65 percent for three years.

3. Eliminate the two-year sick-leave credit available for retiring teachers. Current law allows teachers to accrue from 10 to 15 days per year, which can then be credited as two years of work. These two years then counts toward their pension  calculations at no cost to the teacher.

4. Eliminate the automatic 25 percent salary increase over the last four years for retiring teachers.

5. Eliminate the number of administrative positions and their cost. Illinois school administrators make 67 percent more than Wisconsin’s.

 

In April Governor Quinn released his reform pension plan. Five basics tenets were noted, but the one that seems to be generating the most controversy among educators is Quinn’s number four agenda item: “Gradually shift the payments for retirement system back to the local taxing bodies over a 3-year period.”

The proposal remained a proposal until May 2nd when the Illinois Policy Institute released a study which was in sync with Quinn’s reform proposal and which immediately created a fire storm of protest by the head of the Illinois Education Association and a spokesman for the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

The May 2nd IPI study, entitled Playing Favorites: Education pension spending favors wealthy, suburban schools, found that teachers in two-thirds (555 out of 867) of the school districts outside of Chicago pay little to nothing toward their own retirements. Instead, their local school districts pick up some or all of the teachers’ “employee” TRS pension contributions — a luxury that those in the private sector are rarely if ever accorded –negotiated at the local level by teacher unions. The TRS spokesman, in a counter attack, did concede that education pension spending does favors wealthy, suburban schools.

Not only do sweet “employee” TRS pension deals exist in two-thirds of the school districts outside of Chicago, but the state of Illinois is on the hook to pay for the entire Teacher Retirement Service “employer” pension contributions. Employer contributions are based on how much local school districts pay their teachers. When wealthier local school districts submit their bills to the state for payment they do very well, as their teacher salaries are at the high end of the pay scale.

Consider my own Lake Forest School District #115 where 93 teachers make over $100,000 per year and many more earn over $90,000. And this doesn’t include added bonuses and negotiated health care coverage.

Pension costs should never have been at the state level to begin with. Why then is our state obligated to assume the responsibility as the “employer”? The Teacher Union pushed for the plan knowing that if employer pension obligations were shifted to Springfield, unions could negotiate much higher pay for teachers locally than they would have been able to do otherwise. For who cares what effect large salary increases have on pension costs if the state is assuming them!

Illinois has only so many dollars available to fund education. Because of the state’s negotiated obligation to pay in full the employer share of TRS pension payments, the state has less money available for its General State Aid (GSA) funding program which was set up to counter inequalities in school districts where property taxes are not sufficient to generate what is considered the base amount needed to educate each student.

Quin’s proposal to require school districts to absorb some of the “employer” TSA contribution could be a blessing in disguise, despite claims by Illinois school leaders (locally and at the state level) that the change would result in program cancellations, increased class sizes, property tax increases and even the destruction of public education, with threats that property taxes would need to be raised.

Should property tax increases be suggested as a remedy in your local school district, they must be countered with attendance at your local school board meetings where public comments can be voiced. There are many cost saving measures open to school districts which would provide more than adequate financial resources to handle TRS employer payments should they revert back to local taxing bodies.

One obvious way would be to have future local school contracts written that would require teachers to pay at least some of their own TSA retirement fund obligations (9.4%) and health-care costs.

Other options might include:

1. Freeze teachers’ salaries for one year.

2. Limit teacher salary increases to 3.65% for three years.

3. Eliminate the two year sick-leave credit available for retiring teachers.

4. Eliminate the automatic 25% salary increase over the last 4 years of retiring teachers.

If Illinois were to follow the lead of Wisconsin, with its much lower K-12 education costs for salaries and pensions, our state could save $5 billion a year:

1. Full retirement age is not reached until age 65 in Wisconsin. It’s 55 in Illinois.

2. The maximum that can be received is 70% of final salary in Wisconsin compared to 75% in Illinois. The lower Wisconsin benefit is calculated against a much lower salary to begin with.

Dr. Harry Griffith, of Lake Forest District 115, is the poster boy for overpaid school employees. When comparing the top 10 administrator salaries in 2011 in Illinois vs. Wisconsin, Superintendent Harry Griffith ranked first in Illinois at a salary of $362,335. Superintendent Nerad ranked first in Wisconsin with a salary of $198,500, a difference of $163,838. Add perks and benefits to Dr. Griffith’s salary and the amount mushrooms to over $400.000! Superintendent Nerad oversees a school district with 40,00 students compared to Griffith’s 4,000 students. So Wisconsin tax payers gets schools with 10 times as many students supervised for $164,000 a year less.

Dr. Harry Griffith will be retiring as of June 30, 2012. Taxpayers in Lake Forest School District #115 seem unconcerned that the beginning salary of the superintendent hired to replace Harry Griffth on July 1, 2012, Michael Simick, is set at $250,000. Michael Simick’s final salary in a similar shared superintendent position at the Berkley Schools in Michigan was far less.

3. In Illinois the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is always 3% a year even if the Social Security is zero. In Wisconsin pensions only increase if investment returns are above a certain amount. For the last few years there has been no increase in Wisconsin.

4. There are no retirement or sick-leave credits in Wisconsin. In Illinois teacher and administrators can accrue up to two years of sick leave and then apply those two years when calculating their pensions upon retirement. In Wisconsin pensions are based upon years actually worked.

If educators in local school districts are still averse to taking upon themselves the employer obligation for their own teachers, might they be reminded that every unit of government is responsible for paying the ’employer share’ of pension costs. Only in K-12 education outside of Chicago is this not done.

One of the gimmicks used by teacher unions is to convince the public that the state taxpayer is somehow unrelated to the local taxpayer when they are one in the same.

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 Moms of the North Suburban Symphony wish all moms a Happy Mother’s Day
 
 
The North Suburban Symphony, Lake Forest’s community orchestra with sponsorship by the Lake Bluff Park District, will present a Mother’s Day Celebration Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday (May 13) at Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Road. 

The concert will provide an outstanding way to treat your mom on her special day. Provided will be a pleasing afternoon of music performed by the North Suburban Symphony, followed immediately in the portico area (south entrance) of Gorton Center with a complimentary Champagne and Rose Reception to honor all mothers. 

The theme of the North Suburban Symphony’s Mother’s Day Celebration Concert is Beloved Beethoven led by Music Director and Conductor Ron Arden. Beloved as Beethoven’s music was during his lifetime, so it remains today. 

Born in 1770, many in the musical world have concluded that Ludwig van Beethoven was the greatest composer ever to live. Even though Beethoven’s hearing began to deteriorate in 2000, he continued to compose music, 849 separate items in all, until his death in 1827.   

Many people are familiar with a few of Beethoven’s works. The “Moonlight” Sonata comes to mind and “Symphony No. 9,” known as the choral symphony because of the famous “Ode to Joy” performed by four vocal soloists and chorus in its last movement. Beethoven was completely deaf by the time he composed “Symphony No. 9” in 1824.

To open the program, the “Overture” to Beethoven’s ballet score, “The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43,” will be featured. Commissioned in 1800 and first performed in 1801, the ballet was initially a great success. Although the ballet is seldom staged, the overture has remained a staple of the symphonic repertoire.   

The driving rhythm, energy and excitement of the “Overture” to “The Creatures of Prometheus” is sure to capture your attention, as the crowd-pleaser that it is, as you settle in to enjoy the rest of the concert.

The second featured Beethoven composition will be his “Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op.68,” also known as the “Pastoral Symphony.” Although the “Pastoral Symphony” was completed in 1808, only eight years after Beethoven completed the “Overture” to “The Creatures of Prometheus,” listeners will notice a definite change in the sound and composition of the music. 

Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony is recognized as one of the main compositions that bridges the Classical and Romantic era in music history. As is prevalent in the Romantic era, the “Pastoral” symphony is geared largely around nature. 

This is fitting, for Beethoven’s loved nature and enjoyed waking in the countryside. The five movements offer musical portrayal of scenes depicting an arrival in the country, at a brook, a gathering of country folk, a thunderstorm and a Shepherds song. 

If you have never head Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony, Gorton Center is your place to be on Sunday, May 13th. Through Beethoven’s instrumental scoring, you will hear a story unfold through musical notes making the addition of words unnecessary. Very evident is the sound of a cuckoo in the woods portrayed by our principle clarinetist, Scott Schappe, Associate Professor, Department of Physics at Lake Forest College.

Rounding out the program will be the winner of the James Glacking Young Musicians Competition held on Friday, February 3rd of this year. Scott Greene, a sophomore at Highland Park High School, will perform the “Allegro” movement of Carl Maria von Weber’s “Clarinet Concerto in E flat.” 

While Beethoven’s music bridged the Classical/Romantic eras of music, Carl Maria von Weber, born 16 years after Beethoven in 1786, is considered one of the most significant composers of the Romantic school. Unfortunately, Weber died young at age 39 from tuberculous in 1826. 

Not only will Scott Greene dazzle you with his superb clarinet playing, but the movement finishes with a virtuosic clarinet part that extends to the very limits of the clarinet range. 

Tickets prices are $18 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and children under 12 are free with an adult ticket purchase. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day of the concert.

For more information, visit the website: www.northsuburbansymphony.org.

ot only will Scott Greene dazzle you with his superb clarinet playing, but the movement finishes with a virtuosic clarinet part that extends to the very limits of the clarinet range. 

Tickets prices are $18 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and children under 12 are free with an adult ticket purchase. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day of the concert.

For more information, visit the website: www.northsuburbansymphony.org.

“Fakegate,” as it has become to be known, was developed through the chicanery of one of the leading voices among global warming advocates, Dr. Peter H. Gleick, whose work in the the field of hydroclimatology catapulted him into the top ranks of the scientific community. Gleick was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003, elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2011, and is currently president of the Pacific Institute located in California.

Recently, The Heartland Institute of Chicago, recognized as a climate change denier, became a target of climate alarmists. It was Heartland’s worldwide recognition as a climate change denier of merit that Dr. Gleick found intolerable, which prompted him to allegedly impersonate a Heartland Institute board member as a means to acquire confidential budget and operations information and the donors’ list.

In February, Dr. Gleick confessed to stealing electronic documents in an attempt to discredit Heartland for disagreeing with his views.

The Fakegate global warming scandal has not been put to rest with the confession of Dr. Gleick. The environmental propaganda spin machine is still in active pursuit to slander and discredit Heartland.

Recent Fakegate developments follow:

– Heartland issued a written response to attempts at discrediting the organization on April 14. The announcement read in part:

“For the past several weeks, a front-group calling itself ‘Forecast the Facts’ has been contacting donors demanding they publicly commit to withdrawing their financial support. The letters and emails being sent by this group contain false statements that are plainly meant to defame and harm the Heartland Institute.”

“Key points about Forecast the Facts include:

“Forecast the Facts is a front group created by the same individuals responsible for politicizing the science and polarizing the debate over climate change.

“Forecast the Facts has no scientists on staff, no history of participating in the climate change debate, and no credibility.

“Forecast the Facts is promoting the results of a petition that is fraudulent, based on false claims contained in a forged memo. It is grossly misrepresenting The Heartland Institute’s positions on climate change.”

General Motors’ spokesman, David Barthmuss, has already been bullied by Forecast the Facts into withdrawing all of its company’s foundation support to Heartland.

– On May 1, a Heartland news release conveyed new evidence concluding that the two-page strategy memo leaked to the press by Dr. Gleick did not originate on the Heartland system. The memo was not present at the site prior to its Feb. 13 posting on line, and its source of origination was likely from the Pacific Institute over which Gleick presides.

– The “new” Fakegate evidence resulted from a computer forensics report commissioned by Heartland and conducted by Protek International.

Overseeing the forensics work was Protek’s co-founder Daniel Bellich, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, and Keith G. Chval, former chief of the High Tech Crimes Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

A month earlier Juola & Associates, a provider of expert analysis and testimony in the field of text and authorship, likewise found it was more likely than not that Dr. Gleick was in fact the author/compiler of the document entitled, “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.”

A call was made by Heartland’s CEO Joe Bast on May 1 for Dr. Gleick to make a full confession. Bast further asked Gleick’s allies at the Pacific Institute to stop defending Dr. Gleick and his conduct.

Heartland does not deny that climate change is happening, but believes its scope is quite limited at the present time, if at all. Most importantly, global warming is not due to man’s perceived transgressions against “Mother Earth.”

As a world leader, The Heartland Institute is bringing together scientists and economists to study climate change from May 21 – 23 in Chicago for its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change.

Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, will deliver the first dinner speech on Monday, May 21.

Day to day changes don’t only happen with the weather, but they also happened on May 4 and 5 at the Chicago-based The Heartland Institute, Joe Bast, CEO.

In a news release dated Thursday, May 3, Heartland sent out a media advisory to the Chicago media of a one-week experiment Joe Bast described as the “edgiest” Heartland had ever done on climate change.  Following was my posted article at Illinois Review on Friday, May 4: “Do You Still Believe in Global Warming?” 

Digital billboard were scheduled for placement along major Chicago thoroughfares depicting the photos of rogues and villains who still believe in global warming, which further questioned whether viewers were in agreement. 

Regarding the fate of Heartland’s first digital billboard, Joe Bast issued a media announcement late in the afternoon on of Friday, May 4, with the following quick facts and talking points:

  • The Ted Kaczynki Unabomber billboard was the first and the last digital billboard ad.
  • It ran for 24 hours, starting at 4:00 p.m. on May 3rd and ending on May 4th at 4:00 p.m.
  • Being digital, it could be shut off with just a phone call.
  • The cost of the ad was only $200.
  • The ad was taken down.
  • The ad’s website — www.heartland.org — featured a 2,000-word essay that makes a strong and logical case against global warmng alarmism.

The ad was taken down quickly after it proved its point:  That radical environmentalists get hysterical when global warming skeptics dare to use the same tactics they use.

With a billboard that was meant to provoke an emotional response, it did work in getting people to visit heartland’s website.  More tha 10,000 people visit Heartland’s page devoted to it Seventh International Conference on Climate Change.

But what about the edginess of the billboard idea and the apparent controversy created all because of Heartland’s efforts to introduce sound science and economics into the climate change debate? 

Might Heartland’s move been a gutsy one in light of how Heartland continues to gain influence in the world as a denier of man-made Global Warming?  Heartland’s message is out-of-step and feared by Global Warming alarmists?

Kudos to The Heartland Institute for fighting back against a major episode in its 28-year history after Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and a MacArthur fellow, allegedly broke the law to engage in a smear campaign against Heart… and which resulted in “Fakegate”.

Dr. Gleick may also have created a phony forged two-page strategy memo which grossly misrepresented Heartland’s mission, which Gleick shared on February 14, 2012, with fifteen allies in the environmental movement and the mainstream med

Even though Dr. Gleick confessed to the initial stealing of electronic documents from Heartland on January 27, 2012 in an attempt to embarrass and discredit Heartland for disagreeing with his own view, “Fakegate” and the environmental propaganda spin machine is still in active pursuit to slander and discredit Heartland.    

Important April Heartland Institutes landmarks: 
 
1.  Heartland released its first updated news report on Tuesday, April 14, 2012:  Heartland Institute Responds to ‘Forecast the Facts’ Attack on Organization, Donors.  The announcement read in part:
 
“For the past several weeks, a front-group calling itself ‘Forecast the Facts’ has been contacting donors demanding they publicly commit to withdrawing their financial support.  The letters and emails being sent by this group contain false statements that are plainly meant to defame and harm the Heartland Institute.”
 
Key points about “Forecast the Facts” include:

“Forecast the Facts is a front group created by the same individuals responsible for politicizing the science and polarizing the debate over climate change.

‘Forecast the Facts’ has no scientists on staff, no history of participating in the climate change debate, and no credibility.”

Forecast the Facts’ is promoting the results of a petition that is fraudulent, based on false claims contained in a forged memo.  It is grossly misrepresenting The Heartland Institute’s positions on climate change.” General Motors’ spokesman, David Barthmuss, has already been bullied by “Forecast the Facts” into withdrawing all of its company’s foundation support to Heartland.  

2.  On May 1st a Heartland news release conveyed explosive new evidence concluding that the two-page strategy memo leaked to the press did not originate on the Heartland system.  The memo was not present at the site prior to its February 13 posting on line, and its source of origination was likely from the Pacific Institute over which Gleick presides.    

3.  The new “Fakegate” evidence resulted from a computer forensics report commissioned by Heartland and conducted by Protek International.   

Overseeing the forensics work was Protek’s co-founder Daniel Bellich, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, and Keith G. Chval, former chief of the High Tech Crimes Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  Both men, in signing the report on April 20, 2012 certified they would swear to their findings in a court of law.  

A month earlier Juola & Associates, the premier provider of expert analysis and testimony in the field of text and authorship, likewise found it was more likely than not that Gleick was in fact the author/compiler of the document entitled, “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.”
 
A call was made by Heartland’s CEO Joe Bast on May 1, 2012 for Dr. Gleick to make a full confession.  Bast further asked Gleick’s allies at the Pacific Institute to stop defending Gleick and his unethical and illegal conduct.   

Legal action is being considered by The Heartland Institute against Dr. Gleick, as it should be.  Gleick’s crimes were serious ones. The documents he admits stealing contained personal information about Heartland staff members, donors, and allies.  Their release violates Heartland’s privacy and has endangered personal safety. The Heartland Institute deserves much credit for fighting back in such a vigorous fashion against the blasphemy of the Left.   

Heartland does not deny that climate change is happening, but believes its scope is quite limited at the present time, if at all.  Most importantly, Global Warming is not due to man’s perceived transgressions against “Mother Earth.”

Don’t forget to check out Heartland’s Seventh International Conference on climate Change in Chicago from May 21 – 23.  And do plan to attend!

As with previous conferences, Heartland’s Seventh will feature an impressive group of scientist and other who have graved the kink of slander heaped on Heartland by Green organizations and groups whose purpose is to mislead the public regarding the science of climate change.  

On May 3rd a media advisory was sent out to Chicago media by The Heartland Institute of a one-week experiment that CEO Joe Bast admit is the “edgiest” that Heartland has ever done on climate change.

The Heartland Institute has paid for billboards pointing out how some of the world’s most notorious criminals “still believe in global warming” and if viewers do too.

According to Joe Bast: “The object is to ‘delegitimize’ belief in global warming by identifying some of the crazy people who believe in it. We think it works on billboards because people only see them for a few seconds, and there has to be very few words. A billboard advertising the upcoming international conference on climate change, for example, would be much less likely to get people to visit the Web site to learn more about it.”

Billboard2-620x229

Heartland first digital billboard is along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in Maywood and features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber.  Other global warming alarmists to be featured in Heartland’s billboard series are mass murderer, Charles Manson and tyrant Fidel Castro.  Future Heartland billboards may include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010.

CEO Joe Bast goes on to explain how the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists: The rogues and villains selected all made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis that requires mankind to take immediate and drastic action to stop it.

The Heartland Institute, a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., is widely recognized as a leading source of science and economics questioning claims that man-made global warming is a crisis.  The following site provides answers to question about the billboards.  http://climateconference.heartland.org/oro-billboards/

Readers wishing further information are asked to contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org/.  Telephone:  312/377-4000.

The Heartland digital billboard experiment lasted for 24-hours until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4th, when it was shut down by a telephone call, but it worked by directing the attention of motorists to The Heartland Institutue.  The link on the digital billboard directed curiosity seekers and others to what follows below.

The Heartland Institute will host its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change from Monday, May 21 through Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

The theme of this year’s conference, “Real Science, Real Choices,” will feature approximately 50 scientists and policy experts speaking at plenary sessions and on three tracks of concurrent panel sessions.  The following will be explored:  What real climate science is telling us about the causes and consequences of climate change, and the real consequences of choices being made based on the current perceptions of the state of climate science.

Heartland’s ICCC-7 is open to the public.  Registration is required.  More information is available at the conference homepage.   http://climateconference.heartland.org/

A YouTube promotional video for Heartland’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change is available for viewing. http://youtu.be/cbz

The Social Security Act was signed on Aug. 14, 1936, as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” When speaking about the proposed Social Security program during his 1935 State of the Union message, Roosevelt added this ominous message:

“The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America.”

President Lyndon Johnson added Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 in his Social Security Act of 1965 as part of his “Great Society” program.

The urgency to reform Social Security and Medicare was brought home in stark reality to readers in a government report on Tuesday, April 24, in the Business Section of Lake County News-Sun by Stephen Ohlemacher. His article, “Aging workforce strains Social Security, Medicare”, told how this nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are siding toward insolvency.

Medicare alone faces an unfunded liability of $38.6 trillion. Unfunded benefits over the next 75 years will equal $328,404.43 for each household, as formulated by the number of American households by the Census Bureau in 2010.

Social Security faces an unfunded liability of $8.6 trillion. The $8.6 trillion of unfunded Social Security benefits equals $73,167.83 per household, which is, as in the Medicare projection, based on the Census Bureau’s number of American households in 2010.

One of the least known facts about Social Security is that, although the government does have a moral obligation to pay Social Security benefits to those who have earned them, the government does not have a legal obligation to do so. Will legislators continue to push Social Security and Medicare reform down a roadway which will soon lead directly off a cliff? The Tuesday. April 24, dismal forecast should increase pressure on the White House and Congress to tackle these entitlement programs, but will they?

What the American people should fear more than any reforms made to Medicare and Social Security which might potentially affect their benefits is the impending financial crisis that is leading this nation toward the fate of Greece and other failed European welfare countries.

Will legislators have the courage to do what must be done to save Social Security and Medicaid for further generations of Americans, or do they care more about being re-elected?