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Health Care & Environment

01.18 Learning From Cuba’s ‘Medicare for All’

01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

01.17 Studies Show Ice Melting and Ocean Warming Both Happening Much Faster Than Previously Thought

01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.16 Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [charts]

01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]

01.15 Australia could hit 100% renewables sooner than most people think

01.15 Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

01.15 Barclays on wrong side of history with climate policy, says Greenpeace

01.15 'One fish at a time': Indonesia lands remarkable victory

01.15 Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total  per-capita costs]

01.14 Saudi Arabia Increases Solar Targets To 20 Gigawatts By 2023 & 40 Gigawatts By 2030

01.14 Solar + Storage Half The Cost Of Gas Peaker Plants — 8MinuteEnergy

01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]

01.14 Air pollution 'as bad as smoking in increasing risk of miscarriage'

01.09 Dutch eco initiative halves energy bills in first UK homes

01.09 'It's a nightmare': Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]

01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less  Great Again]

News Media Matters

01.19 How conservative media became a “safe space”

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

01.19 The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?

01.19 Donald Trump Has Never Cared About Workers, and Never Will

01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]

01.19 Arizona: Four women convicted after leaving food and water in desert for migrants [morality is against the law]

01.19 Mueller breaks silence to dispute parts of bombshell report on Michael Cohen

01.18 “Are We Really Where We Are?”: Trump, Putin, and Washington’s Unbelievable New Normal

01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]

01.18 The Right’s Case Against Soaking the Rich Is Dirt Poor

01.18 Trump Worsens the Border Crisis

01.18 Impeach Donald Trump

01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]

01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don't be fooled by their progressive veneer

01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]

Justice Matters

01.15 The US apparently kept no detailed notes of Trump-Putin meetings for the past 2 years

01.15 California’s largest utility just declared bankruptcy. Hello, climate change.

12.28 Mueller closes in: what will the Trump-Russia inquiry deliver in 2019?

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]

International & Futurism

01.19 The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.

01.19 Ahead of Third Annual Women's March, Group Releases Far-Reaching 'Intersectional Feminist Policy Platform'

01.17 +++ Brexit crisis: Germany and Europe react — live updates +++

01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]

01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]

01.16 How Governments React to Climate Change: An Interview with the Political Theorists Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann

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  Thinking About Assistance

COMMENTARY:

Thinking About Assistance

by Fred Cederholm
Der Spinmeisters have been out working their magic, “informing” us how well we are progressing out of the the recession. But I don’t see anything to write home about. Locally we are being hit, and hit very hard.

I’ve been thinking about assistance. Actually I’ve been thinking about the economy, unemployment, the equity markets, oil, School District 161, community agencies, and Rod Blagojevich. So much has surfaced since I wrote about schools just a week ago. Der Spinmeisters were out working their magic in full spin mode “informing” us how well we are progressing out of the cooled economy, the recession, or the depression. Call it what you will, but substantively I don’t see anything to write home about. Locally we are being hit, and hit very hard now.

You see last week the trumpets were sounded that 162,000 jobs were “created.” You’d TH*NK that the MILLIONS of jobs (with benefits) lost in the past two plus years were all reinstated and that happy days are here again! Nice try, but the lion’s share of the “created jobs” reflected the impact of the 1,200,000 TEMPORARY jobs “created” by Uncle $ugar to follow up on the 2010 Census. These will last, what, a month of so? Will the June unemployment figures reflect the lay offs which will fall like some guillotine when the follow up and door to door interviews cease to continue? I’d suspect those terminations will not make the reporting because they were “only temporary” besides they’re negative.

In a similar reporting to that of the parting of the Red Sea, we have watched the equity markets edge upward. The DOW, for example, fondled the 11,000 benchmark ceiling on Monday. Other markets progressed in regaining the losses since 2008. WOW! To these gains I reiterate --- where are the substantive reasons and explanations for these current rises? Have I missed something in the fine print?

In like fashion, crude oil is back at $87 a barrel. The increase is being spun as the result of our growing economy and greatly increased consumption of oil and distillates. Russia’s Putin was in Caracas making “nice nice” with Venezuela’s Chavez Frias. Deals and joint ventures will undoubtedly be coming. It's doubtful we will learn any of the details in the near future. Our mainstream media looks the other way and doesn’t report any developments in our THIRD largest oil/distillate provider. We will soon learn that energy, distillates, and water have become new strategic weapons of choice. Don’t worry... President Obama just rescinded the ban on offshore oil drilling here along the US coastline!

The big news for me (and the other Creston locals) was that our beloved Creston Grade School District 161 made the State Board of Education’s “WATCH LIST” of the 29 most financially troubled districts in the whole state. The “LIST” is mostly comprised of the truly financially blighted in minority districts. This is a patently absurd state of affairs as our school district is consistently ranked in the TOP ten grade schools for performance based upon standardized test scores. I point out that 161’s district has one the highest ratios of equalized assessed valuations (the property tax base) per student in the entire state. Yeah... go figure. I can guarantee that we are NOT getting a tax pass on our real estate property. Creston’s score was a 1.95. I looked at the reporting of the complete listing of all districts. There were two with ZERO, and one with 1.85. So, does that make our school district FOURTH from the bottom?

From 1981 thru 1986, I spent my summers in Springfield working on the audit of the Illinois State Board of Education. The WATCH LIST is a big deal The “Honorees” are pretty much given the choice of passing a property tax referendum, being consolidated into another nearby school system, or having the State come in a say “your property taxes will cover the deficit and will increase to...” I’d be willing to bet that Creston’s sudden financial mess is due to the state’s closing their check books to the schools months ago. Last night, I learned that my cousin’s son David was terminated from his teaching position for fall along with 700 other school employees in his Chicago suburban district. This is gruesome.

At last thursday’s State of the Community Dinner in Rochelle, the 70 attendees listened to presentations from Sinissippi Center, Rochelle Child Care Center, Hope Domestic Violence, and Focus House. Those in the area are well aware at how important these service agencies are to their client base. Each talked about the increasing request for assistance and services. The number of clients is growing. Last year these agencies failed to receive 10 to 15% of their budgeted revenues. It would appear that the coming year will be more of the same. Last year, salaries were frozen, there were no replacement hires, and there were days off without pay to meet the shortfall(s). Next year, how will they cover more hits?

Sunday night, we saw “the Donald” issue his “YOU’RE FIRED!” to impeached Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich. The Guv’s celebrity value had clearly run out and his criminal trial will begin shortly. (YES!!!)

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.


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 asklet@rochelle.net.

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This story was published on April 5, 2010.

 

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