Posted by – July 27, 2009
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has scheduled a rally to send a message to the U.S. Senate that cap & trade legislation is not wanted.
Quincy business people plan to gather at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the 48th and Broadway County Market.
“We are calling all small and large businesses in the Quincy area … to stand together and send the message to Senators (Dick) Durbin and (Roland) Burris to vote ‘no’ on any cap and trade legislation that will come before the Senate,” said Mike Nobis, president of JK Creative Printers and an active NFIB member.
HR 2454, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, was approved by the U.S. House on June 29. The 219-212 vote sent the bill to the U.S. Senate.
The legislation is widely known as cap & trade because it would place a cap on carbon emissions and establish a system that allows manufacturers and others to trade emissions credits. The federal government would receive billions of dollars in fees or taxes each year. Most electricity in the United States would cost about 40 percent more under the legislation as any coal-fired generation facilities would pay hefty fees.
Cap & trade also would increase fuel costs and the cost of products that must be transported to stores.
Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the NFIB, said business owners will tell how the legislation would affect local consumers and the overall economy.
Posted by – July 24, 2009
I would not have chosen the television show, but my oldest son, James, knew all about the man who ate a 72-ounce steak in an episode about eating challenges.
“The trick is, you have to eat as much as you can in the first 20 minutes, because after that your brain gets the signal that you’re full and it’s hard to get any more down your throat,” James said with conviction.
I realized at that moment why the Democrats and President Obama have made it a priority to get health care reform passed so quickly. Obama knows that presidential popularity is seldom as high as during their first few months in office. Democrats in Congress know the longer they wait to pass a big tax or major expansion of government, the greater the price they’ll pay with voters.
They also realize the American public has already swallowed a $787 billion stimulus package that was short on stimulus and long on red ink and pet programs.
Both groups worry that their 20 minutes is almost gone.
Sunday’s column on health care has a long list of options being discussed in Congress. I also spoke with a pair of local people about their perceptions and hopes.
Gene Mann, who was administrator of the Adams County Health Department from 1970 to 1995, made a telling comment. He said the first Medicare check received by the department was for $0.00.
“We had a good laugh about that and framed it,” Mann said.
If members of Congress pass a health care reform bill without reading it and create a government-run system that requires frequent fixes like Medicare, nobody will be laughing.
Posted by – July 22, 2009
It seems that every pollster in the world wants to delve into people’s opinions about almost every topic.
So on this blog spot I’ll share my opinion about how opinion polls are overdone and tend to distort, rather than clarify things, in many cases.
First it should be noted that there are situations where polls are helpful. If respondents have a part in deciding an outcome, polls are appropriate. In cases where all respondents can do is give uninformed opinions, the polls are worthless or even dangerous.
Election polls are valid — if the questions are framed well — because the respondents are telling how they will vote. They have knowledge of which candidate they favor. (One of the most important questions in one of these polls is “Will you definitely vote in the upcoming election?” and those who respond in the negative should be left out of the results.)
I would include consumer confidence surveys and even the “is the United States government headed in the right direction” polls as valid — because they probe how people feel about their pocketbooks or their government.
Where the pollsters cross the line is when they ask for an opinion on issues which respondents don’t have any special knowledge or ability to affect a situation.
“Is Sen. John Doe guilty of treason?” How should the respondents in a general survey know? Unless someone is an eye witness to wrongdoing, the opinions of the masses are not worth gathering in that instance. The only possible use for those results is in a political attack by the opposing party.
Anyone have an opinion about this?
Posted by – July 17, 2009
Illinois is using a $3.5 billion pension obligation bond program, a “promise” that up to $3.2 billion in vendor and service provider pay will be held over into the next budget year and billions in federal stimulus dollars to pretend the state budget is balanced.
Experts debate exactly how far out of balance the spending plan will be, but they say the spending plan may be $5 billion higher than the income.
If average folks operated this way, they would go bankrupt. If businesses operated that way, they would face criminal charges.
I do not believe the budget has been settled with the passage of at least five bills this week. It appears likely that one of the first tasks for lawmakers in January will be to consider tax increases.
The timing is important, because starting in January the Democrat majorities will only need to surpass the 50 percent threshold by one vote. Right now they would need a three-fifths vote, which is barely possible in the Senate with Democrats alone and not quite possible in the House.
January also will arrive well after the August election filings have occurred. So incumbents seeking re-election will be in campaign mode without the fear that major party challengers will jump into the race due to any unpopular tax increase votes.
If no tax increase is approved, it looks like Gov. Pat Quinn will have to cut thousands more jobs, even after his planned elimination of 2,600 jobs under the current budget.
It’s also possible that my grim scenario will look absolutely rosy, when compared to the budgetary state of affairs that may emerge.
Posted by – July 14, 2009
One of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s bodyguards captured an escaped prison inmate on Monday.
Daley has a vacation home at Grand Beach, Mich. The bodyguard was at the home when he observed escapee Charles Smith and another man in the vicinity. The guard drove up to the men, who fled. He chased down Smith and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Daley, who opposes gun rights for Chicago residents, and Illinoisians in general, is getting some heat from people who want to know why Daley should be protected by someone with a gun.
He probably won’t get as much heat from people wondering why he does not vacation within Illinois.
Posted by – July 10, 2009
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris’ announcement that he won’t run for the Senate in 2010 has created a chain reaction of announcements by others interested in that office.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk is interested in the job. Several Democrats also have expressed interest, including Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Christopher Kennedy, a Chicago businessman and son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and Cheryle Jackson, president of the Chicago Urban League and a former communications czar for the ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Others may join that race as well, now that they know Lisa Madigan is going to run for re-election as Illinois attorney general. Madigan had been weighing bids for governor and for the U.S. Senate.
One interesting wrinkle in the past week was the quickest smear sent by the opposing party. A caller and e-mailer named Colin even labeled his “attack video” against Rep. Kirk as such.
Early political announcements are important for candidates who need lots of help raising money. Those with lots of money don’t have to worry as much about getting in early. So we should expect this list of candidates to grow with time.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that she will run for a third term in that office.
Madigan had been courted to run for the U.S. Senate. She also was known to be weighing a campaign for Illinois governor.
Madigan’s decision has already become a topic for discussion among Republican gubernatorial hopefuls.
Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, was asked about Madigan’s decision on the campaign train, and he said it will be an easier run for whoever wins the GOP nomination if they are running against Gov. Pat Quinn instead of Madigan.
Dan Proft, a radio commentator and GOP candidate, was quick to send out a press release commenting on Dillard’s “endorsement” of Lisa Madigan.
Dillard raised the ire of his fellow Republicans last year when he did an endorsement advertisement for Barack Obama’s campaign for president.
Lisa Madigan’s decision to stay in the office of the attorney general may have to do with her young children and quality of life issues. However, commentators have noted that such speculation is seldom floated about men in similar political jobs.
Only Madigan knows for sure what led to her decision.
A patriotic rally at the Women’s City Club was a good way to start a weekend shift on Saturday.
The tentative headcount exceeded 220 attendees, who sang patriotic songs, heard speakers and generally celebrated the nation’s birth.
At noon the Tom and Becky contest got under way at Hannibal. Looking to the west from the bandstand in Central Park, there was a sea of faces.
It has been several years since I reported on the Tom Sawyer Days celebration. Never had I seen such a crowd or seen parking at such a premium. A Saturday holiday intersected with a cloud-covered, comparatively cool day.
The financial downturn also seems to have lots of people taking shorter vacations, day trips in many cases. Hannibal is close enough to cities like Springfield, Ill., St. Louis or Kansas City to make travelers consider it.
Beyond all that, I’d like to wish everyone a “Happy Independence Day.”