September 29, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
In any school district superintendents come and go. Some stay longer in a position than do others; however, the position often offers a very generous salary plus a sizable compensation package.
Consider Superintendent Dr. Harry Griffith (at right) who retired on June 30, 2012, as superintendent of Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115. Hired by Lake Forest District 67 in 1994 from a school district in Texas to become superintendent, Griffith’s shared service superintendency arrangement began in 2004. A year before retirement Dr. Griffith was already the highest paid superintendent in Illinois with a total compensation package amounting to $430,000, more than that of the Chicago and Milwaukee school chiefs and the governor of Illinois.
Upon retirement Griffith’s basic salary mushroomed to $363,000. Now in retirement Dr. Griffith was listed as number 58 in the top 100 state pensions covering the entire state of Illinois in 2013, with an annual pension of $231,109. Not to be overlooked is that Griffith will receive an automatic guaranteed increase of 3% per year until his death from the Teacher Retirement System (pension fund) in Illinois.
To replace Dr. Griffith as superintendent of Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115, a search was conducted outside both school districts. Michael Simeck was chosen and assumed his position on July 1, 2012. Prior to his hiring Simeck was superintendent at Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan. Simeck’s basic salary during the 2009 – 2010 school year in Michigan (the last school year available) was $165,000. (FOIA request, Feb. 38, 2012). Lake Forest’s contract awarded Michael Simeck a starting salary of $230,000, with an extra $30,000 thrown in for good measure because Simeck was managing two districts. But in Michigan’s Bloomfield Hills Schools Simeck had likewise been superintendent over two school districts. Simeck’s very generous contract also included a $500 a month car allowance, a $30,000 annual contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System, a $750,000 life insurance policy, plus an agreement to share moving expenses of $15,000.
The price to hire superintendents to manage Lake Forest’s two micro (small) school districts did not come on the cheap, even for an upscale community like Lake Forest in Lake County, considering that Simeck will oversee approximately 4,000 students with the aid of assistant superintendents and other directors. On the other hand, the NYC Chancellor of Schools oversees 1.1 million students and earns less than $130,000. To be fair, many superintendent salaries are quite generous in northern Cook County and in its collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will.
It was Highland Park resident, Carl Lambrecht, who informed me that only after a short time David L. Behlow, Ph.D. is retiring as superintendent of North Shore School District #112. Lambrecht regularly monitors the school districts that serve his community. District 113 includes Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools, while District 112 has 12 schools located in Highland Park and Highwood serving 4,609 students in grades PK through 8th. Both school districts are located just south of Lake Forest.
Mr. Lambrecht suggested that it would be prudent for the District 112 school board to evaluate its personnel to select one among them who could assume the role of superintendent. In Lambrecht’s opinion, it is not likely that an administrator chosen outside the school system would do any better than one chosen within the ranks of the district. Among the hundreds of teachers in District 112, there are a number of principals and assistant superintendents, and even teachers, who would be qualified to take on the superintendency position.
Continuing with his thoughts Carl Lambrecht opined: Why not open the position of superintendent to all staff members in Districts 112 and 113? After all it is a given that those hired to work in Districts 112 and 113 have fine credentials in keeping with the fine quality of teachers and administration located by the search firm employed to fill positions. And let’s not forget the many fine executives in Highland Park who could competently step into the administrative job. Even a member of the school board might fill the position?
Although North Shore School District 112, like Township High School District 113, is doing an excellent job for some of its students, for others it is failing. According to the school report card of North Shore School District 112 two of its schools are failing. (Read pages 17 and 18).
Regarding School District #113, Highland Park High School has received a failing grade for about nine years. Its report card can be read on pages 11,12, and 13. Although Deerfield High School does fail from time to time, it is not at this time.
Might teachers and students who are doing well be having success in spite of the administration and the Illinois School Code, and, if so, why might this be so?
In the past twenty years there has been an increase in the cost to operate school systems in this nation, yet the quality of education has not improved. Consider how Ron Clark came to New York City as a new, young teacher, taking a position at one of the worst schools in the city. Being the new teacher that he was, Mr. Clark was given the worst class in his school, only to be recognized as having one of the best classes by the end of the school year.
As a new teacher in a bad New York City school, Ron Clark made a real change in the performance of his students. In so doing Ron Clark proved that credentials, salary and tenure do not automatically make for a fine teacher or superintendent. If you want more details about how Ron Clark outperformed teachers with tenure and many years of experience, there is a DVD and books in the Highland Park Public Library to check out. If the material isn’t available in your library, request that it be purchased or read the amazing success story of Ron Clark at “The Inspired Teacher.”
In no way is Carl Lambrecht implying that a superintendent shouldn’t receive a decent compensation; however, there are many superintendents with salaries of less than $100,000. The Regional Superintendent of Lake County Schools, Roycealee Wood, makes a salary of $120,000. Governor Quinn’s salary is $170,000, and he is one of the highest paid governors in this nation!
Why is it that despite the decrease in school populations, the number of administrators continue to increase relative to the number of students and teachers? At a time when computers have reduced administrative work in the private sector, it makes sense for schools to follow suit. After all, the key person in a school is the teacher. In a medical office it is the doctor, not the administrator.
Two questions are in order: 1. Why should a supeintendent for District 112, or any school district in Illinois, earn more than the governor of Illinois? 2. Why does a micro district such as District 112, as compared to a mega school district as found in Chicago and New York City, need so many high paid administrative positions?
Wouldn’t it makes sense to fill the open position of superintendent in District 112, and within other school districts, from within the ranks of its administrators and staff, rather than bringing in an outsider with a compensation package far grander than is called for and which must be funded by taxpayers?
Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 06:30 AM | Permalink
September 28, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
On September 24th The Heartland Institute held its final conference call in a series of exclusive Tuesday noon (CT) calls previewing Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science. This Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report resulted from a collaboration among three organizations — Science & Environmental Policy Project, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute.
Presented by The Heartland Institute Tuesday, September 17th, the NIPCC report was co-authored and co-edited by Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer. The report represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date review of climate science available from scientists. Free of the bias caused by political interference, Climate Change II provides the scientific balance that is missing from alarmist reports released over the years by the United Nation’s sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC), which is highly selective in their reviews of climate science and controversial with regard to projections on future climate change.
Although the United Nation’s report was leaked last week, its official release will happen today, Friday, September 26th. The report is sure to provoke climate policy battles as the White House parries GOP efforts to block planned carbon emissions rules on power plants and curbing other administration plans to reduce the level of atmospheric CO2.
Expect there also to be renunciations and repercussions directed against the NIPCC September 17th report, and especially The Heartland Institute, who was called by the Economist on May 26, 2012: The World’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change. NIPCC will be highly criticized and disputed in the weeks ahead by those who accept the IPCC United Nation’s AR5 report as settled science. Attempts will be made to sully The Heartland Institution and its fine world-wide reputation.
In anticipation of today, the Heartland telephone conference call, with expert Dr. Robert M. Carter, did serve as a prelude to the findings promoted in the U.N. IPCC report. Without a doubt the report will be embraced by the mainstream media beginning today and will target man as the bully by filling the atmosphere with CO2.
To set the stage for what is to come, here is what Climate Depot’s Marc Morano had to say about the new UN IPPC report:
You have to pity the UN. The climate events of 2013 has been one of the most devastating to the UN’s political narrative on global warming. Both poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking all time records, global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, global cooling has occurred since 2002, polar bear numbers are increasing, wildfire’s are well below normal, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are at record low activity, Gore’s organization is flailing and losing donors amid layoffs, former climate believers like Judith Curry are growing more skeptical by the day. I doubt many will be frightened by the UN IPCC, simply a political body masquerading as a scientific group. The thrill is gone.
Below is a compilation of thoughts expressed by Dr. Carter during his presentation and during question and answer time. Shared is how scientists responsible for the UN IPCC and Heartland’s NIPCC reports, even when exploring the same issues, arrived at conflicting opinions.
1. The charting of temperature is relatively new with a history of only 150 years. This amounts to 5 data cycles of 30 years each. Although thermometers are good for charting short term temperature, they fail in the long term.
2. The way scientists work is by having ideas that form a hypothesis. The hypothesis of the United Nation’s-sponsored IPCC is that global warming is man-made and that CO2 is the responsible agent. Accordingly, IPCC scientists look for and examine data that supports a hypothesis that man-made global warming is happening and will result in catastrophic happenings on Mother Earth unless checked.
Science, however, does not progress by proving a set hypotheses. Reports are fine, but they must do more than just examine facts that fit a preconceived narrative. After all, we do live on a dynamic planet. A “null” or alternative hypothesis was set up by NIPCC scientists for the purpose of determining whether global warming was based on natural factors (outside sources) rather than CO2 emissions. In so doing, scientists at the NIPCC concluded that outside natural factors were responsible for any changes that might be occurring and not an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.
3. The released draft of the United Nation’s AR5 IPCC report has toned down predictions from those reported in its 2007 AR4 report. AR5 now concedes that in many areas the global warming fear is not quite as alarming as it was when its former report was issued in 2007. The IPCC specifically admitted that the warming trend from 1998 – 2012 was smaller than any trend since 1951. There would seem to be lots of backtracking that must be done in light of today’s report to explain such a pronounceddifference between the 2007 and 2013 IPCC reports.
There is this one sentence, however, that the IPCC hopes the public will latch on to. The AR5 report cites a 95% probability that human activities — chiefly the burning of fossil fuels — are the main cause of warming since the 1950s, while in the 2007 report the probability of human action as the cause was assessed 5 points lower at 90%.
How could there exist a toning down of alarm over man-made global warming in the current AR5 report, when in the same report IPCC scientists have raised the certainty level of man-made global to 95%, a five percentage point increase over the probability level in the 2007 IPCC report? The selected probability level of 95% in today’s AR5 report was not in any way based on facts. The 95% “probability” represents what IPCC scientists think will happen. It is the opinion of IPCC scientists that there will be more storm and severe weather of all sorts in the future, so up goes the probability level. This projection of opinion could be called “hocus-pocus” science. Scientists talked their way up to 95%. It’s not based on statistical evidence, just a certainty that temperatures will rise with no real data to back up.
4. According to Heartland’s NIPCC report here hasn’t been a rise in the ocean temperature since 2003, which contradicts the rise in temperature called for by the IPCC hypothesis. Noted was that only since 2003 has there been a sufficient amount of data on which to measure ocean temperature, and this data is based on only 1/3 of one climate data point of 30 years. Data used prior to 2003 is highly suspect.
In measuring the amount of greenhouse gas in the ocean, neither in the ocean or in the atmosphere has there been an increase of temperature for the last 15 years or so. This despite an 8% increase of CO2 in the atmosphere during the same time.
Through research an excellent review was found of a paper which notes that the heat content of the ocean has not increased since 2003. A key point cited:
The Ocean Heat Content measurement starting 10 years ago became much more objective with automated sampling systems which furthermore systematically surveyed layers of the ocean down to 700 meters. Prior to this point the surveying was using both less systematic and not consistent methods.
5. While the UN IPCC hypothesis indicates that CO2 increases before any temperature change occurs, NIPCC peer review studies and research take the opposite view that CO2 levels occur after and not before temperature change. The discrepancy exists because of faulty climate models used by IPCC in its predictions. Research in Antarctica shows CO2 following temperature by a few hundred years at most.
6. The UN IPCC tries to explain away the observation that the temperature has been flat for the past 16 years by the fact that there has been less volcanic activity. There have been no major eruptions over the last 20 – 50 years. Major volcanic eruptions inject high amount of CO2 into the atmosphere; it stays in the atmosphere from 1-1/2 to 2 years. Because of less volcanic activity, less CO2 has been injected into the the atmosphere to form a protective shield to prevent heat from reaching the earth. As heat from the sun should be reaching earth because the C02 protective shield is less dense, it makes no sense for the IPCC to use less volcanic action as the reason global warming hasn’t happened in16 years as predicted by its models. Even so the IPCC continues to say with a 95% probability that global warming is happening.
7. To a question asked of Dr. Carter about how to deal with contradictory media reports which support the IPCC hypothesis that carbon sequestration is called for and other drastic measures to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, Carter expressed being uncomfortable in answering political question, although he did relate how cracks are starting to form in the carbon catching process. The recent Australian election resulted in a climate disaster and talk of abolishing the carbon tax. Dr. Carter was hopeful that a new administration would follow the lead of Australia and Norway.
Obvious is that the IPCC and the NIPCC have a vastly different hypotheses on how to handle or treat science. IPCC treats global warming by collecting facts telling them that cyclones, tornadoes, hurricane and droughts are increasing due to global warming, when they have not. Good science doesn’t go out looking for facts to support a hypothesis, but instead looks for data that proves a “null” hypothesis such as was used used by NIPCC scientists.
As related by Joe Bast, CEO and president of The Heartland Institute, the NIPCC report is not on the fringe. It represents the consensus of many scientists based on peer review studies.
On Friday, September 26, the public will have the opportunity to see the truth as presented in the NIPCC report, in contrast to the opinions arrived at by IPCC report scientists.
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 08:00 AM | Permalink
September 25, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
By Nancy Thorner –
After more than 40 years of liberal Democrat control, Detroit declared bankruptcy. Some define insanity as continuing the same behavior and expecting different results. Yet, that is exactly what Democrat politicians are advocating as a solution for Detroit, more bailouts! Capitulating to ridiculous union demands, generous welfare spending, high taxation, excessive government interference and political corruption brought Detroit to destruction. More of the same won’t save it.
A must read is this bleak account about Detroit in the aftermath of an August visit by Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, and his friend and colleague, Paul Kersey, a Detroit native and Director of Labor Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. The story ends with these words: The city [Detroit] relied on state and federal subsidies to keep its broken program afloat Detroit is now about reforms it could’ve andshould’ve passed. Illinois needs to avoid that ending [Detroit’s]. It has to avoid the temptation to pass fake and meaningless reforms that perpetuate its crisis. Instead, it needs to go for the big bold reforms that will keep our state great.
The fall of Detroit is a story that must be told to prevent Chicago from following the same course as Detroit. On July 18th the city filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history after decades of out-migration, economic stagnation and urban decay.
The Illinois Policy Institute met this challenge on September 18, with an event held at the Union League Club in Chicago. Three experts from Detroit and Chicago discussed the policies and economic factors that led to Detroit’s bankruptcy and what Chicago and other cities can learn from the Motor City.
- Henry Payne, an editorial cartoonist, editorial writer, and weekly columnist for The Detroit News
- Jim Luorio, Managing Director, TJM Institutional Services and CNBC Analyst
- Bill Johnson, former Director of Administration & Budget, Wayne County Commission
- Moderator, John Tillman, CEO and President of the Illinois Policy Institute
Jonathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations at the Illinois Policy, introduced the three distinguished guests. Prefacing his introductions, Greenberg reiterated what has become a dictum of the Illinois Policy Institute: “Policy changes Lives – Just as good policy improves communities, bad policy destroys families and communities.”
While Detroit was once an industrial power house and home to millions, two-thirds of its inhabitants have left. Remaining is a city desperately poor and where for entire blocks there exists a waste land of nothingness.
Moderator John Tillman initiated the discussion with his account of having grown up in Detroit by first providing the following “food -for-thought-what- if” statement as a backdrop for what was to follow: “Think of dialing 911 for a family member who has had a heart attack and waiting 60 minutes for an ambulance to show up.” Of course this would be unacceptable and perhaps fatal. Fundamental services must be provided for city dwellers or they will leave. Tillman spoke of going to Tiger Stadium in 1978. It was pretty rough then, but when returning in 1979 he found that the hotel he had stayed in had become a Salvation Army facility. The death spiral had begun.
It was then that Bill Johnson spoke about a sequence of four events which led to Detroit’s downfall. According to Mr. Johnson, the downfall of Detroit was a long process. After World II Detroit was the destination for many blacks, as was the city of Chicago. While Detroit was once known as one of the wealthiest cities, it is now one of the poorest. The same applies in measuring Detroit’s record of safety.
- The 1967 riots, which were about looting and burning and nothing else, scared the hell out of white people initiating a stampede to the suburbs.
- The forced school busing of 1970 enacted to segregate both blacks and whites, which went on for a number of years, forced more whites out of Detroit.
- The election of Mayor Coleman Young in 1974, mayor for twenty years until 1994, bought into office policies aimed at creating a level playing field. Once again white people were scared and more exited to the suburbs.
- Coleman vs. the U.S. in 1980 gave Coleman the authority to impose a 3-1/2 % income tax in the city of Detroit. The accumulated tax burden to live in Detroit was more than many residents were able to pay, so they moved to greener pastures.
Being a black himself, Johnson made this observation: Voters kept electing individuals who are too ignorant or who have had little experience in running a city or anything. During Mayor Coleman’s time a business group did bring a plan for revitalization of Detroit, but Coleman wasn’t going to allow a group of white people living in the suburbs to tell him how to run his city.
Johnson noted how in 1960 Detroit had 200,000 school children. Today there are 50,000 or less students, and the schools are in shambles offering little hope or opportunity. There is not enough money in the state to fix Detroit’s schools.
Chicago and the entire state of Illinois, not unlike Detroit’s mismanagement, are papering over deficits year after year. African-Americans also have left Chicago, 200,000 strong.
Detroit stayed afloat instead of collapsing years earlier because of the anti-poverty programs enacted by the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, which included a whole host of programs. Detroit could no longer afford to keep the programs going after the money dried up. As to Johnson’s anti-poverty programs, they didn’t rid Detroit of poverty or even reduce it. The poverty level remained the same as it was prior to Johnson’s Great Society programs.
With a question about Common Core, Johnson spoke about his involvement with the monopoly that is Common Core as the provider of educational programs and services. Teacher unions was described as the most radical union in this nation. The only way to improve education is through competition. Johnson likes charter schools where money follows the child. A bright spot in Detroit is that there is a lively charter school movement. Young people are moving back, from which will develop young families who will feel comfortable to call Detroit their home.
Adding to the discussion, Henry Payne expressed his insights. Mr. Payne moved to Detroit in 1999, so he qualifies as a relative new-comer. His move was prompted by a natural fascination with the city as home to the auto industry. Payne described Detroit as the most dysfunctional city in America. “It is folly to think that cities are not immune from what happened in Detroit.” There was expressed reservation by Payne in feeling optimistic about Detroit.
The tipping point came for Detroit when its middle class was lost. With it went the inability to sustain Detroit financially. Without a taxing body, money wasn’t available to provide adequate fire or police protection for Detroit residents. Detroit’s murder rate crept up to 52 per 100,000. In 1980 New York City was likewise facing severe problems and on the verge of bankruptcy, with a murder rate of 24 murders per 100,000, but Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s policies saved the middle class from moving out of the city. Now New York City’s murder rate is 6 per 100,000.
Although difficult to believe when Chicago is commonly referred to as the nation’s murder capital, Chicago’s per capital murder rate, although lower than in other cities with populations above 40,000, in 2011 — the last year records were tabulated comparing cities — the FBI ranked Chicago behind over three dozen other American cities with a per capita murder rate of 15.98 per 100,000 residents.
As safety is paramount to the middle class and for the wealthy, more of these individuals might be convinced to flee Chicago? Also, as pension obligations continue to grow they will begin to squeeze out financial support needed to provide fundamental services. The same is being experienced in most large cities.
Henry Payne suggested writing Letters to the Editor or showing up at meetings with Mayor Emmanuel and the City Council. Indicated by Payne is that Chicago has had pretty good leadership over time. Detroit is now being forced to do with pensions what it should have done years ago. Regarding its valuable three billion art collection, the city refused to put its collection into a non-profit foundation. Detroit’s art collection could now be on the chopping block.
Jim Luorio had far less to say than did the other two experts, Bill Johnson and Henry Payne, but his comments were just a pertinent, and maybe even more so, because they dealt with the subject of why fund markets matter. Although a somewhat difficult subject to understand, the main thrust of Luorio’s comments were two fold: 1) Anticipated revenue of pension fund investments many times fall below expectations, thereby creating a further shortfall of funds available for distribution. 2) The downgrade of Chicago’s credit rating three times over has created a reluctance to loan Chicago money. This has resulted in a higher borrowing rate for money, with an increased burden to pay off bonds carrying the higher interest rate. This is money that could be put to better use in Chicago.
In rounding out the discussion, John Tillman expressed optimism, as he is prone to do. While admitting that Chicago’s financial crisis is worse than Detroit’s, he countered by saying that Chicago has not yet lost its middle class.
Three articles posted recently on Illinois Review, one by Yahoo Finance and two by Ted Dabrowski, has not given me the confidence expressed by John Tillman.
1. Illinois has the most threatened state pension plan and is the most poorly funded state in the U.S., as Yahoo Finance reminded in a post on Monday, September 23.
2. According to Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois is on the hook to pay out $620 billion in pension benefits over the next 32 years.
3. A second article by Ted Dabrowski spoke of Illinois as having the nation’s 2nd highest unemployment for six straight months with a figure remaining above 600,000. The U-6 rate, which includes not just unemployed, but also people working part time while seeking full-time work, as well as unemployed people who haven’t looked for work in the past four months but have sought employment in the past year, sets the figure at 16.1 percent. More than 1 million Illinoisans are underemployed or underemployed.
You must now be the judge. Can Chicago be saved?
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 05:51 PM | Permalink
September 25, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
In Part 1, published Monday, September 23, titled, Thorner: Global warming debate emphasizes vast scientific opinion differences, details were related about the nature and scope of a debate about global warming held on Monday, September 16, at the Wilmette Public Library between Kent Taylor, Al Gore trainee, and Steve Goreham, author and researcher on environmental issues.
In Part 2 the “nitty gritty” (or the “nuts and bolts”) of the Wilmette debate are documented. The comments made by each debater are accordingly noted as they relate to one of three question arbitrarily written by me. The first name of Mr. Taylor was used not to confuse Kent Tayor with James Taylor, J.D., who is a Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute and Managing Editor of Environment and Climate News.
Question 1: If no action is taken now what will happen?
Kent Taylor: If we wait until all is certain, it will be too late. We can’t just sit it out and hope that global warming doesn’t happen. We have to listen to the “smart” people. Every major scientific body agrees with my position. It’s a matter of physics. Two things must be taking place for global warming to be denied: 1) Something unknown is suppressing the greenhouse effect. 2) Something unknown is causing the global warming that mimics its effect. As for a leveling out of temperature over the past 16 years, this can be true only if data is cherry-picked. 1998 produced the hottest temperatures in history. It is a matter of physics that as CO2 increases in the atmosphere, temperature go up. Dr. James Hansen, a climate scientist who recently stepped down from his NASA post after almost 50 years, agrees and suggests that global warming has not stalled and is but a “diversionary tactic” from “deniers” who want the public to be confused about climate change.
Goreham: There is no evidence that we are in danger. Empirical evidence shows that climate models are wrong and are not good predictors of temperature changes. As the rise of CO2 levels lags temperature rise, this results in rises of temperature that are observed centuries later. In refuting the remark that 97% of scientists accept man-made global warming, noted was the return of a much larger mailing by the IPPO which requested a two-question response. While 3,000 responses were returned, only seventy-seven were selected to calculate the 97% consensus figure of scientists who accept man-made global warming. Global temperatures have been flat for the last 16 years, contradicting the 44 climate models used by IPCC that called for a temperature rise.
Question 2: How do CO2 levels affect temperature change?
Kent Taylor: Atmospheric CO2 has been steadily rising since the Civil War, and its increase has been solid since 1960. Since the Industrial Revolution greenhouse gasses are up by 40%. During the 20th century the Earth’s average temperature rose one degree Fahrenheit, faster than at any time since the end of the last Ice age 11,300 years ago. As far as the future: Our living atmosphere is only 6 miles deep. As we are producing 90 million tons of CO2 a day, we could easily fill up our living atmosphere with it. With no place to go, as more and more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, the earth will heats up. Both daytime and nighttime temperature records are being broken, but more records are being broken at night because greenhouse gasses aren’t assisting in making nighttime temperatures less severe.
Goreham: Changes in temperature have occurred in regular cycles for millions of years. During the Medieval Warm Period (900 – 1300) the temperature was warmer than it is today. Consider Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period when trees flourished and farming was productive. In the Little Ice Age (1300 – 1850) temperatures cooled, resulting in shorter growing period and a shortage of food, while In Europe Frost Fairswere held on the Thames River. Just described were but two of the natural cycles of temperature fluctuations. Antarctica ice is expanding, and with 90% of the earth’s ice, it’s also getting thicker. Ice in the Arctic comes and goes. Consider the story of the “Glacier girl” where a WWII P-38 Lightning lay buried under arctic ice for 50 years when it crashed trying to cross Greenland in1942. The plane was finally pulled piece by piece from under 268 feet of ice on October 26, 2002.
Predicted by Al Gore and Dr. James Hanson was that should all the ice melt in the north and south poles, sea levels would rise as much as 20 feet by 2,100 to flood coastal cities, etc. This, however, is based on circumstantial evidence only, which is consistent with the hypothesis embraced by global warming believers. The global average sea-level continues to increase, but only at its long-term rate of 1-2 mm/year globally.
Question 3: Is CO2 the main culprit of climate change?
Kent Taylor: “Red herrings” are being used to convince people otherwise that global warming is not CO2 produced. Using slides to present examples of red herrings, U. S. Representative Dana Rohrbacher was seen stating that solar activity was a cause of global warming. (Denied by Taylor: Solar forcing has a negligible effect to climate change); Speaker John Boehner was seen blaming volcanoes because they emit large quantities of CO2. (Denied by Taylor: Volcanoes emit only a pittance of CO2); Glen Beck was shown making fun of CO2 as a source of global warming when he exhaled repeatedly emitting CO2. (Dismissed by Taylor as an example of sheer nuisance on the part of Beck, for, according to physics, CO2 traps heat and lots of it!)
In Taylor’s view these are individuals trying to discredit the consensus that CO2 is the cause of global warming by attacking the messenger, the “smart” people who are in the know. Two scientists were cited who likewise have concluded that CO2 is the culprit for global warming: 1) Svante August Arah found that temperatures rise as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect of trapped CO2 can generate a temperature increase of 5 or 6 degrees. 2) Roger Revelle began measuring CO2 in the atmosphere in the 50’s and likewise found that as CO2 goes up temperature has to follow. On our present course it will be by 3 – 10 degrees.
In Taylor’s words: “To deny global warming is to deny the Carbon Cycle, a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life.” Humans are impacting the Carbon Cycle. Our desire to extract as as much oil from the ground as possible shows intent to put CO2 into the atmosphere with no natural place for it to go. If we don’t change our habits we will see CO2 rising, coupled with the rising of both ocean levels and temperatures. I doesn’t matter about the CO2 spewed froth from volcanoes or other natural source, because we are overwhelming our natural resources.
Goreham: CO2 is only a trace gas. The IPCC U.N. models predicted hot spots in the atmosphere, but none were found. What natural sources produce CO2? 75% of CO2 release is from water vapor. Consider that the Pacific Ocean covers 46% of the earth. Other natural sources of CO2 emissions come from Methane and other gasses and volcanoes, yet a small trace of CO2 in the atmosphere is being blamed for causing global warming Then there is the sun. The lack of solar activity and observed cycle patterns suggest planetary cooling could occur over the next few decades.
Another thoughts to ponder: Despite an increase in atmospheric CO2 by 8% — representing 34% of all extra CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution — the Earth has not warmed significantly for the past 16 years. Instead, temperatures have remained flat, despite published IPCC projections since 1990 that a doubling of CO2 could cause a rise in temperature by up to 6 degrees Centigrade by 2100. In reality, the doubling of CO2 from natural sources would only raise the temperature by one degree. Temperatures are described from 2000 to 2009 as the warmest.
The media picks this up and runs with it, without noting what has happened in the past. Short term variation of temperatures (dips and rises) can be seen within a longer straight line which indicates that a recovery of temperature has taken place from the Little Ice Age. This is indicative of a 60 year-modulation cycle of temperature which corresponds to the warming/cooling induced in the ocean. About violent weather, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes have not been more frequent in this nation or have the number of tropical storms.
Presently there is a 40 year low in hurricanes, and it’s been 23 years since a category 3 hurricane has hit the US. Furthermore, over the last century there have been no decisive trends showing an increase of droughts or floods in the U.S.
The Wilmette debate demonstrates the passion on both sides of the global warming argument with this question remaining paramount: “How much do humans contribute to climate change?” Although Steve Goreham believes that climate change has happened and will continue to happen in cycles through natural causes with no reason for concern, Kent Taylor believes that global warming is man-made, that it’s happening, and that drastic steps must be taken to curb the amount of CO2 released into the air to save mankind and civilization.
Even so the debate ended with a cordial hand shake.
CO2 has become increasingly vilified since that fateful day on December 7, 2009, when it was declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Even so, the Heartland Institute considers it a badge of honor to have been called by the Economist on May 26: 2012:, The World’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.
All throughout the month of September The Heartland Institute has been conducting a series of phone calls about Climate Change Reconsider II. The final call took place on Tuesday, September 24, at 1:00 EST/Noon CST. It’s topic: Response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. Thorner will listen to the call and will follow up with a writeup for Illinois Review.
With the United Nation’s IPCC AR5 report due to be released at the end of this week, the already released NIPCC report of a week ago by The Heartland Institute is certain to come under fire for its stance against the IPCC’s claim that dangerous global warming is occurring, and will keep occurring, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions. A summary of the NIPCC report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, can be read at climatechangereconsidered.org.
It would be wise to listen to what Apollo moonwalker Dr. Buzz Aldrin, NASA Astronaut has to save about climate:
I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said.
“If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favour of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.
“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.
What should the temperature rise a few degrees due to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, would this be the end of the world? To the contrary, among the benefits would be an increase in the quantify and quality of food produced to meet the rising food consumption needs of a larger, future population.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 09:07 PM | Permalink
September 24, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
On Monday, September 16th, a debate took place in the Wilmette Public Library on the topic of Global climate variations: A looming crisis or natural changes. The debate was between Steve Goreham, a speaker and researcher on environmental issues and author of two books, the most recent, The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania, and Kent Taylor, a long-time resident of the Chicago area, a 20-year volunteer at the Shedd Aquarium as a lecturer on coral reef ecology, and now an Al Gore-trained presenter through Gore’s Climate Reality Project to spread Gore’s message of anthropogenic (manmade) global warming.
Of interest was how Ken Taylor became an Al Gore global warming presenter. It all started when Taylor and his wife visited St. John’s National Park. A year later, when again exploring the same reef formations, they found that over a period of just one year 50 to 60 percent of the reef had been lost, prompting Mr. Taylor to conclude that if nothing were done St. John’s coral reef formations would be lost. In 1996, learning that Al Gore was seeking volunteers to be presenters for The Climate Project, Taylor applied and was chosen to participate in a three-day training session in Nashville, Tennessee, to master Al Gore’s global warming slide presentation.
The Wilmette debate was a timely one given the release a day later, September 17th, of the newest volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series by the Heartland Institute and members of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), which challenges the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC – AR5) report scheduled for release tomorrow, Sept. 24, in Stockholm, Sweden. The U.N. IPCC AR5 is supported by governments in almost every county in the industrialized world, including the Democrats in America and the Obama administration.
Despite leaked conclusions of the 2013 IPCC report to The Daily Mail in England contradicting many of the doom and gloom scenarios projected in the lauded 2007 U.N. IPCC report, what might the odds be that the new findings will throw a monkey wrench to alter the thinking of alarmists who believe that the science of global warming is settled — that the debate is over — as physics tells them so?
No chance, as the leaked 2013 IPCC report, although admitting that most of its major conclusions in 2007 were incorrect, still holds firmly to the belief — with a certainty of 95% or more — that human action was the cause of half of the warming occurring from 1957 – 2001. Kent Taylor wavered very little in the debate as the presenter of Al Gore’s position on global warming.
The rules of the debate were set by Robert Armbruster, President of Armbruster Company, specializing in new works and restoration of historic concrete. Taylor and Goreham were each given 30 minutes to advance their positions on global warming, accomplished through detailed slide presentations. Following the presentations, a 10-minute rebuttal period was allotted each to counter the facts presented by their challenger. The event ended with a question and answer period.
Robert Armbruster cautioned those in attendance that he expected the debate to be civil in nature, which left no room for rabble rousing in keeping with Wilmette’s image and its people.
For the most part Armbruster’s caution was heeded, although the announcement to end the event to honor the closing time of the library did bring some vocal protestations from those who still had questions to ask of Goreham and Taylor. Evident was that the index card system used to note questions, which were then screened, was not well received by all.
For those present at the Wilmette debate who had knowledge of the global warming debate and all of its twists and turns, and who likewise have experienced the animosity and name-calling that goes along with being a skeptic who doesn’t accept the “science is settled argument” spewed forth regularly by the media, the debate was a no-brainer.
For readers who are less knowledgeable about global warming and the arguments used in trying to convince the public that global warming is either happening or it isn’t, the views expressed by Kent Taylor’s and Steve Goreham will be noted below each other in Part 2 so the two divergent and opposite viewpoints can readily be observed and evaluated.
Part 2 will explore three question through contrasting the global warming statements made by Kent Taylor (a believer) and Steve Goreham (a skeptic) during the course of the debate.
Monday, September 23, 2013 at 09:00 AM | Permalink
September 22, 2013
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Property taxes, of which a large percentage is used to support our local school systems, are getting out of hand in many districts across Illinois and throughout this nation. While a large percentage of assessed property taxes go to fund school districts, unfortunately the extra spending to operate schools has not improved the quality of education in the past twenty years. Why? For in looking at any school budget the majority of spending goes for salary and administration costs, not particularly to benefit students.
Although taxes are high in my own school district, Lake Forest #115, the issue hasn’t been bought front and center as it now has been in the Barrington School System #220 in western Lake County by Thomas Banfield, a resident of the Garlands Retirement Community and Chairman of the Garlands Members Advisory Committee.
Having first met Mr. Banfield when I attended a lecture sponsored by the Barrington History Museum in Lake County at the Garlands Performing Arts Center in Barrington, Illinois, on August 26, Banfield was introduced as a retired Commander U.S. Navy and Nuclear Submariner. Subsequently, Mr. Banfield spoke about the U.S. nuclear submarine program under Admiral Rickover and the tragic loss of the USS Thresher over 50 years ago. My two-part writeup of Banfield’s lecture was posted at Illinois Review on Friday, August 30th, and Sunday, September 1st.
Recently I had contact with Thomas Banfield in a role that was a new one for me. As Chairman of the Garlands Members Advisory Committee for The Garlands of Barrington, Mr. Banfield shared with me the concerns of Garland residents over the escalation of real estate taxes as they apply to Barrington School District #220.
The Garlands of Barrington
September 17, 2013
My name is Thomas Banfield. I am a resident of the Garlands Retirement Community and I am the Chairman of the Garlands Members Advisory Committee.
I would like to preface my comments by stating that we at The Garlands understand the benefits of the fine Barrington school system. We are proud of it. As taxpayers we pay for the cost – which is fine—as long as we think that the expenses are cost efficient and that the tax is fairly distributed.
When we received our real estate tax bill this year we saw that it was about 15% higher than last year. In looking into the reasons, we found that it was because the Lake Co. Tax Rate went up 15.3 %. So we examined the tax bill to see how much of the Lake Co. increase was attributed to each of the taxing bodies. We found that the tax rate for the Barrington 220 School District went up 17.2 %.
This caused us great concern, so we met with the Superintendent of Schools and the President of the Board of Education. They were very helpful in explaining the multiple elements making up the tax calculations and how the Board operates in preparing the budgets.
We found that School Districts are allowed to increase the Tax Levy each year by the amount of the CPI-U and new growth. This then allows the Board to increase costs by similar amounts each year.
The planned increases in total expenditures as detailed in the 220 District 2012-2013 Final Budget as of 4/13/2013 are: FY 2012 $2.0 million, up 1.6%; FY 2013 $4.7 million, up 3.7%; FY 2014 $5.5 million, up 4.2%; FY 2015 $5.8 million, up 4.2%; and FY 2016 $6.7 million, up 4.7%.
This brings me to the main thrust of our comments. Being able to increase costs each year creates what we call a “mindset” that it is OK to increase costs each year by 1, 2 or 3 %. This is an inflationary mindset that, in view of the troubling overall forecasts of assessment evaluations and government funding, is not a sustainable mindset.
The total assessed valuation in Lake County decreased last year by as much as 10% in some areas. One out of seven households in the area suffered loss of employment or under-employment in recent years. School District 220 did not reflect any recognition of these two facts. According to the US Government, wages and salaries increased by 1.7% last year. Thus the income of our citizens is not keeping pace with inflation and is not able to afford the rate of increase in taxes of School District 220.
We believe that instead of increasing costs each year by 1, 2 or 3 %, the School Board should be looking to decrease costs each year by 1, 2 or 3 %. How can the Board bring this about?
Changing the mindset:
1. When someone wants to adopt a new and necessary program costing $1,000, $10,000 or $50,000, they need to eliminate an existing program(s) that is no longer vital to the school that costs $1,000, $10,000 or $50,000.
2. When the Board first meets to work on next year’s budget, ask each Board member to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
3. Ask the Superintendant to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
4. Ask the PTO to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
5. Ask the teachers’ union to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
6. Ask the teachers to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
7. Ask the Student Advisory Council to come up with 5 ways to cut costs.
8. Put out a suggestion box asking the students to come up with ways to cut costs.
If carried out, these suggestions have the further benefit of stimulating all the named parties to become more cost-conscious than before.
In summary, we are concerned that the current mindset of the School Board is inflationary and unsustainable. While we have presented ways in which the private sector would try to cut costs, we ask the School Board at least to hold expenditure increases below the cost-of-living.
This concludes my comments. Thank you for your consideration.
Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 04:34 PM | Permalink
September 21, 2013
On Wednesday, September 18, Fox News ran a special two-hour program hosted by Brett Baier that covered a wide range of topics, including The Heartland Institute’s release of the Nongovernmental International Panel of Climate Change (NIPCC) report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, a massive 1,018-page report explaining why global warming is not a crisis.
Although the NIPCC report was released formally on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at a 10:00 CST news conference at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, the conference was poorly attended despite its promotion by Heartland.
I searched the media for reports following the news conference, but could find none. That’s certainly not surprising in a city where the media unconditionally supports Global Warming and refuses to give the “other” side the time of day, as the Chicago-based Heartland Institute has experienced time and again over the years. Fox News Chicago was the one shining light — the exception — and a most welcome one.
Featured on the Fox News two-hour special was footage videotaped in Fox’s Chicago studio of Dr. Willie Soon, astrophysicist and geoscientist and lead author for CCR II, and Joe Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. The clip is posted on YouTube.
Joseph Bast and Dr Willie Soon left a special luncheon in progress at the headquarters of The Heartland Institute to share their remarks at the Fox Chicago studio. Other notable scientists speaking at the luncheon but not traveling to Fox’s studio were Dr. S. Fred Singer, Director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project and a lead author and editor of CCR II, and Dr. Craig D. Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, likewise a lead author and editor of CCR II.
It was fitting that the Fox News account of a hearing held by House Republicans and attended by the Obama Administration’s chief Climate Change people, served as a perfect segue into the comments made by Joe Bast and Dr. Soon about the NIPCC report release.
A summary of the seven-chapter Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science can be found HERE.
In an e-mail update sent out by President Joe Bast on the morning after the Fox News presentation, Sept. 19, Bast shared these thoughts about the posted You Tube clip from Heartland’s Fox News appearance:
The You Tube clip cuts through all the propaganda and hype to explain why man-made carbon dioxide is not causing dangerous climate change. The clip is something you can share with family and friends to start a conversation.
At one point in the You Tube clip Heartland president, Joe Bast, is seen laughing because Dr. Soon (who is a brilliant astrophysicist and a very entertaining guy) was doing a riff on how ridiculous it is for the IPCC to claim to be ever-more confident in its predictions, even as every climate model the IPCC has relied on FAILED to predict the 16-year lull in warming.
Climate models used by the IPCC assert that temperature should rise in concert with carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. That connection may be stronger or weaker for a few years, as other factors temporarily alter global temperatures, but it can’t just disappear for 16 years without the theory coming under serious challenge. The IPPC has no answer other than appeals to authority (and you surely trust the United Nations) and personal attacks on the scientists who are brave enough to speak out.
Even as the world await the release of the IPCC AR5 report next week in Stockholm, Sweden (195 governments fund the IPCC), and despite a leaked draft of the report where “top climate scientists” have admitted that their global warming forecasts are wrong and the world is not heating up at the rate previously reported, the IPCC still insists that it is more confident than ever – 95% certain — that global warming is mainly human’s fault and that C02 is the culprit.
Regrettably, climate change has become a major political issue. Hence, some individuals and groups with political agendas ignore or ridicule the scientific study of climate change when it doesn’t support their political views. One frequently used technique to disparage the science of climate change is to select a few bits of superficially contrary data and claim that they negate the whole body of work in support of climate change.
With a sparse amount of truthful and thoughtful reporting on this latest development, it will take effort to understand Global Warming, but it is necessary and worthwhile.
Friday, September 20, 2013 at 07:43 AM | Permalink
September 19, 2013
ObamaCare has been described as a “Train Wreck” of which ObamaCare architect Max Backus (D-Montana) warned back on April 17 of this year.
Twenty-somethings who backed Obama’s health care overhaul could well be the slowest to comply with its provisions. As they rarely use medical care, it may prove cheaper to take the penalty rather than get health insurance for the first year or two when the tax is 1% of their salaries. Penalties, however, do increase to 2.5% by 2016.
Ready or not, the state exchanges mandated under ObamaCare will open for business on October 1st unless funding is delayed for a year through the Graves proposal in the House. Recent reports have cited incomplete exchange websites, less an adequate security, and bugs in the system.
Dr. Benjamin Caron, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Children’s Center, has worked in health care long enough to know whether Obamacare is right for this country. Recently his quote on Facebook hitting ObamaCare became the most popular graphic ever:
We keep delaying things. Why don’t we just delay the whole bill permanently and come up with a real solution that really is affordable and that really will take care of everybody.
With already 10,500 pages of regulations comprising ObamaCare in the Federal Register, this is only the beginning. The implementation of the law will call for who knows how many more thousands of pages of regulations? Already the regulations add up to eight times as many pages as there are in the Gutenberg Bible. With these thousands of pages of regulations there won’t be a single area of our life that is not regulated.
Wasn’t it Harry Reid who said in August that ObamaCare is just a step toward an eventual single-payer system, and that this country has to “work our way past” insurance-based heath care? Reid further said of ObamaCare:
What we’ve done with ObamaCare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever.
The final kicker: ObamaCare is all about government control. It’s also a slush fund to pay off Obama’s political activists to carry out a massive invasion of privacy that dwarfs the NSA’s collection of personal data on American citizens.
Don’t delay in making calls to our six Illinois Republican congressmen insisting that they 1) Pass a defund bill (Graves Bill) that says the U.S. Government will spend no funds (mandatory, start-up-salary, IRS expansion, discretionary or imaginary) on ObamaCare and then 2) attach (via the Meadows Letter) a rider to the must past continuing resolution bill to fund government, thereby preventing the Democrat-controlled Senate from having the option of discarding the defund ObamaCare option as would occur with the Cantor proposal.
Just because Speaker John Boehner is now open to defunding ObamaCare, be wary and don’t allow him to maneuver a deal if the going gets tough. Republicans are know to recapitulate at an sign of opposition by Democrats. We must be the watch dogs to keep those on board who might begin to waver or get cold feet
John Shimkus – 217-446-0664 – 202-225-3635
If you feel ObamaCare is bad for this nation and for the American people, you have an obligation to act. Once the exchanges begin their operations on October 1 and other aspects of ObamaCare kick in, it is unrealistic to believe that ObamaCare can be tinkered with except by President Obama who has already done so in an unconstitutional way. Entitlement programs have a way of sticking around once enacted and firmly in place.
Time is of essence. Don’t delay. Make your calls today.
Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 04:58 PM | Permalink
September 18, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Why is the Graves plan supported by The Heritage Foundation and other stellar conservative advocate groups while Cantor’s plan is unacceptable? Simply because the Graves plan offers two specific parts:
1) It passes a budget amendment (a rider) that funds the ENTIRE GOVERNMENT EXCEPT OBAMACARE and then
2) It attaches this amendment to the continuing resolution (CR) to fund government which expires midnight on Sept. 30. The entire government would get funded, soldiers, Social Security, air traffic controllers, food inspectors, etc., but not ObamaCare.
Should the Graves bill reach the Senate, members could vote only on the proposal itself and would be unable to add anything into it as the House originates spending bills. The theory goes that if Harry Reid prevents a vote on an ObamaCare-free Continuing Resolution by Oct. 1st, in effect it would be Democrats who would be guilty of shutting down the government and not Republicans.
But woe be to House Republican leaders who think that any government shutdown would be spun by the media as the GOP’s fault, with the media enlisting individuals crying on TV that zoos will be shut down, soldiers won’t be paid, Social Security payments won’t go out, and food inspectors can’t do their jobs, etc!
A word to Republican leaders: Even though a recent poll indicates that just 7% of Republican voters want Congress to take steps to defund Obamacare according to a Kaiser Health Track Poll for August, 2013, over four in ten Americans are unsure whether ObamaCare remains law.
Furthermore, since 51% of the American people are still in the dark abut ObamaCare and how it will work (not surprising as the government doesn’t know either!), wouldn’t this be the ideal time for House Republican leaders to stop being “fraidy” cats and instead show some gumption by supporting the Graves plan. Perhaps by arguing the issues Republicans could actually start winning the debate of ideas in this country from time to time.
Pitfalls of Obamacare
- ObamaCare will hasten Medicare’s demise, as it siphons away $716 billion from the struggling Medicare fund and gives it to a new board of 15 unaccountable bureaucrats who will have the power to control Medicare spending through cuts to health care providers, which is a sure prescription to rationing care. http://www.conservativeactionalerts.com/2013/09/coming-obamacare...
- Your future under ObamaCare is for big medicine to get even bigger. Three major components to Big Medicine are already happening: 1) A wave of hospital mergers driven primarily by economic pressure, 2) Shift of doctors away from independent practice and toward becoming hospital employees so they can lower their costs and meet government mandates on electronic health records, and 3) Encouragement of hospitals and doctors to band together into largo ACO’s to contain Medicare health costs.
- ObamaCare fails to reduce health costs for employer-sponsored health coverage. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey illustrate how premiums will rise for many workers and firms next year due to the new benefit mandates imposed by the ObamaCare law.
- Higher health costs don’t presume that Americans will get to keep their health plans, but tell this to those individuals who are being dropped from their health plans, either because their insurance company decided to leave the marketplace or because their coverage does not meet “government-approved” requirements. On August 21 UPS announced it was dropping coverage for spouses of employees if they are offered coverage through their own employers. Dropping spousal coverage will likely become a trend among employers due to continually rising health care costs.
- An independent survey in August by Investor’s Business Daily broken down by states, indicates that 250 employers have already cut work hours or jobs or have already taken other steps to avoid ObamaCare costs. With the ObamaCare employer mandate penalizing employers that do not provide the government-dictated level of insurance to their employees, penalties can be avoided if businesses have fewer than 50 full-time employees or if their employees work less than 30 hours a week. Announced on August 30 is that Trader Joe’s is cutting health care benefits for anyone working fewer than 30 hours a week. Almost daily occurrence are announced in the media of other companies doing likewise.
- ObamaCare is one of the largest tax increases in American history. There are 24 new or higher taxes that will pay for ObamaCare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients. ObamaCare taxes everyone, even those earning under $250,000 a year! Announced in September was that ObamaCare’s Medical Device Tax (a new 2.3% excise tax) resulted in a Grand Rapids, Michigan company (Kalamazoo based Stryker) laying off over 1,000 people.
- Obamacare navigators will have access to all sorts of personal, confidential information about the citizens they interview, but because Team Obama was in a hurry to get the ball rolling, they have waived criminal background checks for these workers. Combined with the fact that Obamacare is moving full speed ahead on mining huge amounts of such data, and that the “Hub” where all this information will be stored has not been tested for security, it could be that Obamacare will prove to be a bonanza for identity thieves and computer hackers.
September 17, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
Following the wishes of their constituent who sent them to Washington, D.C. to repeal the scourge known as ObamaCare, Republican House members have voted 39 times to straight-up repeal ObamaCare, with all measures dying in a Democratically controlled Senate.
A critical window of opportunity exists to stop the flow of funding for ObamaCare from now until October 1st when the new fiscal year begins. During the same window the President must pass bills to fund the government for the coming year.
Although Obamacare is scheduled to go into effect on January 1st of the year ahead, it is on October 1st when many things regarding ObamaCare start getting paid for such as leases for building space and salaries for investigators (not doctors). Most importantly people can voluntarily sign up for the exchanges, meaning that an estimated 41 million people will get a new benefit from the government. Have you ever heard of trying to take away a benefit or any part of one once firmly in place?
Regarding ObamaCare and the defunding of it, there has been much talk among Republicans over the last several weeks about using a Continuing Resolution to accomplish this deed, but what is meant by a Continuing Resolution? Because an annual budget hasn’t been passed for a number of years — Democrats insist on tax increases and Republicans insist on spending cuts and neither side has a majority — the government is running on a series of temporary budgets called Continuing Resolutions. The Continuing Resolution to fund government must be passed on or before September 30.
Cantor’s Plan supported by House leadership
In an effort to appease House conservatives and their wish to defund ObamaCare, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) devised a House plan that amounted to a ruse (trick) out of fear that should a government shutdown occur it would be spun by the media as the GOP’s fault.
Typical of how things work in Washington, D.C. when Congress can vote on something yet the vote doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, Cantor’s plan was to have House members vote on a bill that would fund the government without funding ObamaCare, enabling congressmen to claim they did the right thing when reporting back home to their constituents.
Tucked within Cantor’s bill was a plan stipulating that in case the Senate didn’t pass the first proposal to defund ObamaCare, the second proposal would present a backup budget that would include ObamaCare spending and further set spending at the same rate as before, essentially giving the power of the purse to the Senate. Just a small overlooked detail: By law all spending bills MUST originate in the House.
Obviously Cantor’s plan (really the leadership plan) didn’t go over well with House conservative Republicans resulting in an overwhelming backlash. Cantor’s plan was to be brought to a vote on Thursday, September 12th, but Speaker Boehner, unable to get the 217 votes he needed, had to pull Cantor’s plan and delay a vote on his proposal.
Introduction of Graves House Plan
Meanwhile on Thursday, September 12, another proposal was introduced by Representative Tom Graves (R-GA) and 42 of his colleagues as an alternative to Cantor’s proposal. The Graves plan would defund ObamaCare while funding the government. But time is of essence as October 1st is quickly approaching when ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges open and the overhaul of our health care system takes root.
The number of House members co-sponsoring the Graves proposal constitutes a significant block in the House who outright oppose Cantor’s plan. It also creates a big problem for GOP leadership who can only afford 16 Republican defections on any bill that is solidly opposed by Democrats.
Regarding our six Illinois Republican congressmen, not one of them has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Graves proposal.
Already the new Graves proposal to defund ObamaCare has attracted conservative advocacy groups, among them, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, For America, and Tea Party Patriots.
Brent Bozell, For America Chairman recently said in a statement: “Congressman Graves’ proposal to defund ObamaCare through 2015 is the best plan we have seen to prevent this law from taking hold.”
Additionally, the chief executive officer of Heritage Action, Michael A. Needham, has encouraged all members of the House to support the Graves Plan ASAP!
The Heritage Foundation has pulled out all stops to convince the American people that now is the time to defund ObamaCare. A six-story billboard has been erected in Times Square in New York with a clear warning, ObamaCare may be hazardous to your health, where tens of thousands of people view it every day.
Part 2: Merits of the Graves Plan and the pitfalls affecting all if ignored and ObamaCare is left in tact.
Monday, September 16, 2013 at 03:00 PM | Permalink