Local Stories, Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
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Health Care & Environment
07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]
07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]
07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]
07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]
07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]
07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]
07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]
07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]
07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]
07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]
High Crimes vs. Human Rights
07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]
07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]
07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]
07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]
07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]
07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]
07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]
Thinking About Schools
Does Springfield really put education first? Can property taxes continue to rise while underlying property values continue to decline? Can the FEDs and the State continue to place special demands on the districts without providing the funding?
I’ve been thinking about schools. Actually I’ve been thinking about the economy, my state, baiting and switching, “significant,” politics, class sizes, four days, and education. Last week schools in Illinois took over the headlines and lead-ins to the nightly news TV programming. Illinois is not alone in this situation, but national coverage is on the wider and broader issues/difficulties. This state of affairs is considered local, and is not reported nationally. The situation has been brewing for a long time in the Prairie State (and elsewhere); but it is the economic downturn, declining state income tax revenues, and diminished “rake” the State makes from legalized gambling which have accelerated the mess.
You see funding for education has pretty much been dumped in the laps of the local real estate tax payers. Traditionally 73% to 75 % of the total cost of my property taxes goes to the local grade school, the local grade school’s pensions, the local high school, the local high school’s pensions, the local community college, and a rollover of the college’s bond issue. This breakdown applies to virtually every property owner statewide. Education has gotten a free ride until now. Yes, you heard me... Many school districts have even accumulated a SURPLUS, or a “SURPLUS RESERVE,” by dinging the locals for more money than they actually needed (year after year) by raising the assessment rates and/or the property assessment base by a maximum allowable amount each year. This by the way is not illegal.
I should state how as long as the increase is below a “certain” percentage, a referendum for this annual “increase” is NOT required. How conveeenient....! Now that the hand writing is on the wall financially, such school districts do not want to wipe out these accumulated reserves, knowing full well that the money shortfalls will continue for years. To balance their coming budgets, or to at least decrease the coming deficits; we saw the lay off of teachers, teachers helpers, and even administrative personnel for the school year beginning in fall. Statewide over 20,000 will lose their jobs in the education sector.
State revenues raked in from racing, casinos, the lotto, the lottery, and now poker machines are supposed to go to education. This was “marketed” to the public by the “legislative slick willies of Springfield because these sin taxes “were for the children.” Give me a break... this was nothing but a colossal bait and switch. It’s true that “ALL” state gambling proceeds go to education, but every dollar so generated means that one less dollar needs to be transferred from the General Revenue Fund to the Common School Fund. Looking at only a couple of journal entries shows that it is the General Revenue Fund which truly benefits. The hundreds of MILLIONS raised by these “sin taxes” have not provided the schools with ONE additional buck of funding since they went on the books. We are also now learning that the teacher pensions’ collections are following the plight/ blight of the Social Security System. Collections are growing, but so are future funding deficiencies. We pay more: yet we get less.
By law... State Government is to provide a “SIGNIFICANT” portion of the funding needs for public education. This does NOT mean 51%, 40%, or even 32% in the current state of affaires. It is true that funding for education is the single largest state expenditure; so that when the revenues decline, education takes a hit by the cuts. Politics is about finger pointing, skirting the real problems, and passing the buck (but not to education). Like in virtually all other spending areas, the state is presently not meeting its promised obligations on what they said they would pay. Just over 200 schools districts are in deficit situations this current school year alone solely because the state has closed its checkbook.
To “remedy” (as in defer problems forward) classes will be consolidated raising class sizes to 19 to 22 “instructional units” (all kids are not counted equally), teachers’ helpers will be curtailed, and titles of administrative personnel (I don’t have a clue what they do) will be furloughed. God forbid that program cuts (don’t you dare touch football or basketball) and a four day school week are now on the table. I should point out that my class in grade school at 32 to 36 students is still the largest one to ever go through our system. Each year we had one teacher, no teacher’s helpers, no program planners, no psychologists, no information technology specialists, and classes were taught in one language --- ENGLISH. No child was ever left behind! And... I got a very good education. Ahem!!!
Does Springfield really put education (elementary, secondary, and university) first? Can property taxes continue to rise while underlying property values continue to decline? Can the FEDs and the State continue to place special demands on the districts without providing the funding (more unfunded mandates)? Will any true remedial action be taken? More same old, same old? Remember... “it’s for the children.”
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Read more: Click on our map to check taxes in your state
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on March 29, 2010.