Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deconstructing GTCR



 The tax savings shenanigans of gubernatorial candidate billionaire Bruce Rauner are getting curiouser and curiouser. The Sun-Times has revealed that not only has Bruce's personal investments in the Cayman Islands saved him mucho tax dollars at the public's expense, he's also used the Caymans for his private equity firm GTCR. Their sleuthing reveals GTCR set up a dozen investme...nt funds there between June, 2009, and July, 2011, when Rauner chaired the firm. GTCR wouldn't answer The Sun-Times inquiries about how much is invested collectively in those funds, why they are based in the Cayman Islands, whom those funds are open to, and if there are minimum-deposit requirements.

Illinois voters would normally not give a hoot about some billionaire who uses clout and power and wealth to game the tax codes to become richer and richer. They should care mightily when one of those one hundredth of one percent of the wealthiest wants to become governor to funnel more and more of badly needed state resources back to the wealthiest Illinoisans.

Maybe GTCR is a cipher that stands for Got To Conceal Rauner holdings.

Gregory still needed on Meet The Press

We still need Gregory hosting Meet The Press, not just dumped David Gregory who was simply a shill for the war party and the 1% wealthiest Americans, but political satirist Dick Gregory, who is still more insightful (and inciteful) at 81 about what is true in politics and foreign policy than David or any of his fawning corporate media clones could ever be. Besides being truly informative, Dick Gregory hosting Meet the Press would be more entertaining than Howard Beale, the mythical anchor of Union Broadcasting System's Evening News from the movie Network

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Breen anti-choice much more than reproductive health, marriage equalty

Tea Partier Peter Breen, candidate for Illinois state representative in District 48, sure has a strange view about the precious concept of citizen and voter choice. As Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, Breen's primary mission is to deny choice to folks: reproductive health to women, especially tho...se of little or no means; and the sacred right to marry for persons who don't share Breen's sexual orientation. Diametrically opposed to moderate Republican Sandy Pihos, who has represented him for the past twelve years, Breen decided she's just too inclusive and accepting of citizen choice that deeply offends him. So he decided, in his own words, to go "RINO hunting", to dislodge Pihos who he charges is "Republican In Name Only." Well funded and fueled by the fundamental zealotry of his Tea Party followers, Breen pulled a stunning upset to defeat Pihos in the GOP Primary.

Breen isn't content to limit his anti choice mindset on just reproductive and marriage equality issues. When the moderate and inclusive district citizen Marian Tomlinson obtained nearly 1,000 signatures to challenge Breen in the November election, Breen's anti-choice antenna started crackling. He participated in a coordinated effort to remove Tomlinson, as well as other local candidates, from getting on the ballot after the Primary, as allowed by law, to give voters the most precious gift of our democracy: voter choice. Their first effort, claiming over 500 of Tomlinson's signatures were invalid, which would have kept her under the 500 signature requirement, failed. Folks who believe in choice reviewed the challenges and found a majority was specious, certifying Tomlinson's signature requirement with hundreds to spare. Sadly, the Breen anti-choice forces were determined and they successfully knocked her off the ballot on a technicality flimsy enough to horrify a decent proponent of voter choice.

But District 48 voters will have a choice this November. Ms. Tomlinson has launched a Write-In Campaign for state representative in District 48. She is reaching out to all 73,000 registered voters in the district to let them know that the district in not ready to be taken over by the Tea Party and its candidate who disdains reproductive choice, marriage equality choice, and the most important choice of all: that of the voter. When District 48 voters enter the privacy of the polling booth November 4...the choice is theirs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WRITE IN MARIAN TOMLINSON; WRITE OUT THE TEA PARTY

It's official. Marian Tomlinson has been certified by the DuPage County Election Commission to be a Write-In Candidate for state rep in IL District 48. Tea Partier Pete Breen went RINO (Republican In Name Only) hunting and knocked off moderate Republican Sandy Pihos in the GOP Primary. Then Tea Party Pete knocked Marian off the Democratic ballot ...on a technicality, frustrating choice in District 48 so he could coast into the IL Legislature without breaking a sweat. Start sweating, Tea Party Pete.

Marian has decided to give the 73,000 registered voters in District 48 a choice by running as a Write-In candidate. She will wage a vigorous grass roots campaign which involves a dedicated team of precinct workers contacting every District 48 voter in the 102 precincts in Milton, York, Lisle and Downers Grove Townships. We will have campaign material ready for the first precinct canvass to begin after Labor Day, 60 days from Election Day. It will inform voters of Marian's splendid record of community service, and her willingness to listen to and represent fairly, the district electorate, in stark contrast to her opponent. It will also educate voters how to write Marian Tomlinson in on the November ballot to send a sensible, inclusive voice to Springfield.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Et tu, Hillary?

Hillary Clinton has joined the bandwagon of neocons, war lovers and American exceptionalists piling on President Obama for the 'restraint' he's shown in foreign affairs. Clinton senses that it's good politics for her upcoming presidential bid to project bellicose toughness whether expanding NATO to Russia's doorstep in Ukraine, arming and enabling Israeli genocide in Gaza, supporting Syrian rebels, and now resuming the bombing and destruction in Iraq.  Her recent cheap shot at Obama: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” should make us all tremble at her getting control of our out of control war machinery.  Clinton voted for our criminal, failed Iraq war and never repudiated her vote or apologized for helping create millions of dead, injured or displaced Iraqis, as well as hundreds of thousands of dead and damaged American canon fodder. While the neocons, war lovers and American exceptionalists would still prefer a more bloodthirsty war monger like every GOP presidential hopeful except Rand Paul, they take heart that a likely Hillary presidency will keep the money pouring into war party coffers and the blood pouring out of the people they hate. Clinton doesn't have the courage or the humanity to repulse the war party on her quest to be the first woman president. It's ironic that her quest involves channeling the worst impulses in the male species.    

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Iraq: The crimianl war that keeps on killing

The war party may be morally degenerate, but they sure are smart. They smashed Iraq to smithereens and then installed a Shi'ite dictatorship to look after America's imperialist interests. But in the process they had to arm and train the Sunnis to push back Al Qaida which found an opening in the chaos we created. When our Shi'ite puppet Maliki disenfranchised and excluded the Sunnis from governance and the economy, the Sunnis used our training and weapons to combine with Sunnis in Syria, also using our training and weapons, to create a Sunni state in a large swath of both utterly divided and artificial countries. Now the war party has an excuse to start bombing and killing Iraqis again based on trumped up 'humanitarian' concerns. The bodies blasted to bits by our bombs will keep piling up along with the profits the war party reaps from this endless and senseless warfare. America is long finished as a moral force for good around the world. We lost in Vietnam, we lost in Iraq, we lost in Afghanistan, we lost in Libya, we lost in Syria, we lost in Gaza, we lost in Ukraine, we lost in in the Court of World Public Opinion. Yet the war party grinds on, firm in their mission of using every failure as a reason to keep on bombing and killing. And the American public just shrugs and tries to keep up with the Kardashians.

Music Pick: Buddy Holly



Rare clip of Buddy Holly performing one of his best songs, 'Rave On'. Holly (1936-1959) was one of 3 top rockers killed 'The Day The Music Died', February 3, 1959, in Iowa plane crash on Midwest concert tour. Though he had a short 20 month career as a top performer, Holly was likely the most influential American music artist in the fifties, inspiring the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, among others. Compared to the gaudy showmanship of later rock acts, Holly projects a straight ahead simplicity perfectly suited to letting his enormous talent pour out to his adoring audience. Just 13 and already a fan when Holly's plane went down, I still remember the shock of 'hearing the news' to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04E24MKU3yU

Friday, August 08, 2014

Oberweis locks up the 1% vote

Leave it to GOP senatorial candidate Jim Oberweis, one of the most tone deaf politicians ever, to cop top prize in the 'stupidest political statements of the campaign' award with 87 days to go. After his rival, Senator Dick Durbin, was instrumental in shaming Walgreens to rescind their threat to practice tax inversion, incorporating off shore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, Oberweis accused rbin of "bullying" Walgreens. While millions of Illinoisans are rejoicing over Durbin's and the Peoples' effort to stop this despicable action by Walgreens, Oberweis thinks he's making political hay shilling for the corporate slackers lusting to add even more billions, at taxpayer expense, to their vast financial wealth. Maybe Oberweis thinks everyone is like him, a fabulously wealthy business owner who spends his days and nights agonizing that a pittance of his wealth goes to help those to whom he is incapable of showing compassion. Maybe Oberweis idolizes Texas Congressman Joe Barton, who castigated President Obama for forcing Gulf destroying polluter BP Oil to earmark $25 billion for compensation, and remain a hero among Texas Neanderthals. Oberweis sure makes good ice cream. Alas, his political wisdom is indigestible.
Book Pick: 'Turning The Black Sox White', by Tim Hornbaker

Sports historian Tim Hornbaker has given us White Sox fans a long overdue re-evaluation of the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal and the role therein of demonized owner Charles A. Comiskey. The clever title refers to the near century long 'whitewashing' of the eight 'Black Sox' who threw 1919 World Series for a quick five figure payday from gamblers seeking to snag six figures via an underdog Cincinnati Reds triumph. Rumors of the fix surfaced after Sox ace Eddie Cicotte plunked the Reds leadoff man in game one signaling to the fixers, 'game on.' The fix succeeded but the Black Sox were double crossed, getting far less than they expected. When the conspiracy unraveled a year later, the culprits were disgraced, and took full blame. But when brought to trial for fraud in 1921, the narrative changed to hard working baseball stiffs being swindled out of fair salaries and bonuses by rich, tightwad Comiskey. The trick worked and all eight were acquitted. Though banned for life by new Baseball Czar Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the Black Sox were still treated as heroes by the fans. Comiskey's portrayal as the real villain in the fix was cemented first, by Eliot Asinov's 1963 best seller 'Eight Men Out' and especially the 1988 movie version. Hornbaker demolishes legend and myth by showing Comiskey consistently paid the highest salaries in the majors and frequently awarded unsolicited bonuses for good play, such as winning the 1917 World Series and defeating the crosstown Cubs year after year in the post season 'Chicago World Series.' Generous Comiskey even coughed up $1,500 per man to the clean Sox after the 1919 series to make up the difference between the winning and losing share. While many clubs fought holdout battles with their stars prior to the 1919 season, nary a White Sox held out for more dough, signing the first contract mailed out pre-season.  Truth is duller than fiction which simply involved three ringleaders with money and marital problems, and five dolts, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who were too stupid and gullible to say 'No.' Ninety-five years on, Charles A. Comiskey, the 'Old Roman,' is finally getting his due. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Vote of shame

NEWS ITEM On July 23, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favor of launching an international, independent inquiry into the possibility that Israel violated international humanitarian law and international human rights during its assault on Gaza. Of the 47 members of the Council, 29 nations voted in support of the inquiry, passing the resolution. Seventeen countries abstained, mostly European nations. The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The odd, bizarre candidacy of Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner could be the strangest Illinois gubernatorial candidate I've observed in this, the 15th Illinois gubernatorial election I've followed. Near billionaire Rauner affects an $18 watch while forking over a cool hundred grand for a fourth parking spot at his luxury downtown penthouse.  Fabulous public school New Trier wasn't good enough for his daughter who didn't qualify for a more prestigious magnet school, so Rauner places a call to an educational big shot and voila, daughter of Bruce bumps Miss Nomoney for a coveted spot. A year later six figures of Rauner wealth is attracted to the magnet school door.

But becoming a member of the exclusive one hundredth of one percent wealth club wasn't good enough for Rauner. Hundreds of millions may not buy happiness, but they might be able to buy the governorship. He spent millions to barely edge his main GOP rival in the Primary. Now he's parlaying his fabulous insider wealth for a chance to practice 'his way or the highway' on the 13,000,000 of us who will become guinea pigs for his heartless version of fiscal austerity. How heartless? Rauner was against the recent Illinois Medicaid expansion under Obamacare even though it offers health and life saving benefits to hundreds of thousands. Rauner favored lowering the Illinois minimum wage back to the unconscionable federal level. Rauner disparages teacher union bosses (his term) which is nothing but class warfare against those who give more back to society than Rauner could ever imagine. How about massive layoffs and even possibly shutting down the state government? That is not hyperbole. Here is Rauner at a recent GOP county gathering:
 "We may have to go through rough times. We may have to do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers. Sort of have to do a do-over and shut things down for a little while. That's what we're gonna do."

If peoples' needs don't involve the ever glorious dollar, Rauner is clueless and heartless. To placate the homophobes who virtually all reside in his party, he refused to support or even acknowledge the need for Illinois' half million gays for first class citizenship. He thinks giving folks full citizenship should be put to a referendum. He'd have made a great Southern governor during the civil rights era.

Calling gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner strange is kind. He's dangerous.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quotes from Israeli genocide in Gaza



 "Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life. What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely? … Anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilians. If po...litical leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?"

Yochanon Gordon, Times of Israel columnist

"This is our country – our country exclusively, including Gaza." Israel must complete "conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters. "

Moshe Feiglin, duputy speaker of the Knesset

"Don't ever second guess me, again."

Israeli President Netanyahu criticizing the Obama administration for trying to broker a Gaza cease fire

"Hating Palestinians isn't racism, it's values."

Sign held up by Israeli girls on a Facebook page calling for a war of revenge against Gaza

The US cannot stop Israel's ongoing military destruction of Gaza. We cannot make Israel end its blockade which inexorably degrades Palestinian life in Gaza. We cannot force Israel to negotiate fairly and substantively for a Palestinian state. But we can withdraw our annual $3.1 billion aid which facilitates these crimes against humanity. We can stop vetoing UN measures designed to achieve justice for the Palestinians. And we should refrain from high-fiving conduct that should repulse us.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Music Pick: Louis Armstrong

August 4, 1901, and not July 4, 1900, is the real birth date of Louis "Pops" Armstrong. He spent his entire career wrapping himself into an iconic 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' and it stuck till a diligent researcher unearthed his Aug. 4, 1901, birth certificate long after Pops' July 5, 1971 death. To celebrate the birth of this musical modernist, West End Blues, from June 28..., 1928, is the feature. . After finishing their gig at Chicago's Lincoln Gardens, Louis and his Hot Five consisting of Earl Hines, piano, Fred Robinson, trombone, Jimmy Strong, clarinet, Mancy Carr, banjo and Zutty Singleton, drums, headed for the Okey Studios and laid down this track for a measly fifty bucks and no royalties, standard fare for exploited, scuffling jazz musicians during the twenties. There is something magisterial about their conception of this King Oliver tune that transcends even great recordings. Many have tried to duplicate Pops' opening intro in the last 86 years but they've all come up short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eEVHfrrj7o

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Cowardice on display

If you want to see political cowardice at work 24/7/365, just observe the president and the Congress grovel before the Israel Lobby to support their crimes against humanity in Gaza. They accept every lie and false narrative offered by Israel to justify their continued devastation of the world's largest open air prison, whose inhabitants they keep just above the subsistence level in 'peaceful' times. While this unholy alliance of war crime enablers can never fully redeem themselves for their actions, they can begin the process by cutting off all aid to Israel, much of it used to wreck the devastation, till Israel ends their military incursion, ends the blockade of Gaza and negotiates in good faith with Palestinians for a Palestinian state.  Alas, it's true that there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Every day is 4th of July in Gaza

The only difference to an American 4th of July is that the Israeli fireworks are going off among Gazans. Open the link and ask yourself, why is woman at bottom smiling? And why is US financing these crimes against humanity? Here is the full story:

"The world has reacted with outrage after journalist Allan Sorensen posted a photograph of the so-called “Sderot cinema”, which showed Israelis flocking for a good view of the bombing, with one woman winking at the camera and giving the thumbs-up as deadly rockets light up the night sky.

Sorensen’s newspaper, Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad, reported that the event attracted more than 50 people who had turned the hill into something that resembled “the front row of a reality war theatre”.

It said people were celebrating the deadly light show by cheerfully sharing popcorn, smoking hookahs and applauding the bomb blasts."

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BsICixqCQAAT17z.jpg

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Existential threat to Israel? Israeli crimes against humanity

Israel always trots out the imagined Palestinian existential threat to Israel's existence for "mowing the grass," their periodic destruction of Gaza's pitiful infrastructure and pitiful people, mainly civilians, to keep the Palestinians In Gaza and the West Bank terrorized. Both the US government and mainstream media promote the false narrative that Gazans woke up one day and decided to precipitate self destruction by lobbing a few rockets into Israel. Bunk. An honest review of the facts reveals that Israel used the June 12 killing of three Israeli teens, never linked to Hamas, to launch attacks and inflict terror against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. These consisted of 110 bombing raids, a military incursion, 17 killings, mass arrests -- all before Hamas fired its first rocket on July 7. Part of Israel's terror campaign involved whipping up Israeli citizens to rampage against Palestinians, including burning alive one Palestinian.

But this latest grass mowing in Gaza is causing world wide revulsion in the civilized world, increased impetus to boycott Israel, and even greater instability in the Middle East and hatred against the US for being Israel's chief enabler of its inhumane subjugation of the Palestinian people. Now Israel is facing an occupied population which is increasingly ready to die quickly with human dignity by fighting back when no nation will take up their cause, rather than die from the slow genocide practiced against them. Ultimately, Israel's refusal to end their policy of extending their one state solution of a Greater Israel with no room, no food, no resources, no jobs and no humanity for the Palestinians will be their undoing. That, and not ineffective rockets fired by the doomed in the world's largest open air prison, is the existential threat to Israel.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Pick: The Arsenal of Democracy, by A.J. Baime

Subtitled 'FDR, Detroit, and An Epic Quest to Arm an America at War', this book reveals the astonishing story of the Ford Motor Company's 1,500 acre Willow Run plant which churned out 8,685 massive four engine B-24 Liberator bombers between 1941 and 1945. Willow Run was the largest and most complex symbol of how American manufacturing, led by the automotive industry, turned Detroit into the 'Arsenal of Democracy', producing 30% of all US military equipment during WWII. But 'Arsenal' is also a saga of the Ford family and the battle for the soul of Ford Motor Company which nearly collapsed under aging and debilitated founder Henry Ford, a virulent anti-Semite, idolater of Adolf Hitler who presented him with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle Medal, and ardent foe of FDR. It was Henry's brilliant son Edsel and chief of production Charlie Sorensen, who, early in 1941, devised on a sheet paper the concept of a nearly mile long plant to build the giant B-24's on an automobile style assembly line at the scoffed at target of one per hour. The B-24's were being ground out virtually hand made like Rolls Royce cars by their developer Consolidate Aircraft. FDR called for an "Arsenal of Democracy" to crank out 60,000 planes to win the war. Willow Run was Edsel and Sorensen's answer. The obstacles to building Willow Run, 27 miles from downtown Detroit, the adjoining airfield, and Bomber City, the 400 acre facility to house many of the 80,000 workers who toiled on the B-24 assembly line, were herculean. While all this was going on, Edsel literally worked himself to death in 1943 fending off both the opposition of his now delusional father and the machinations of Henry's security chief Harry Bennet who commanded a thousand strong security force which terrorized auto workers and executive alike, including Edsel and Sorensen. As a War bird fanatic who has flown on one of the two remaining flying of the 18,462 B-24's produced (47% by Ford), I have an even deeper appreciation of this magnificent airplane and the visionary folks who made its mass production possible.

Did Ford hit the promised one B-24 per hour? Who backed down when Bennett and John Bogus (the Ford family's opposition security chief) drew guns on each other the day Bogus came to fire Bennett? Read for yourself. 'Arsenal of Democracy' is more exciting than any fiction that can be imagined. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A valid parallel

Not sure what is worse...Israel's crimes against humanity in Gaza, or US funding and supporting it out of cowardice to the power of the Likud wing of the Israel Lobby. Watching the slow extermination of the Gazans reminds me of the doomed in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pro lifers forcing distressed women to 'Do It Yourself'

Poor women seeking an abortion in conservative states are caught in a TRAP - Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama, among others, have enacted laws that either close abortion clinics or make the procedure so expensive and time consuming that women without means are reverting to the Bad Ol' Days of do it yourself. They are increasingly going back to the back alley for an unlicensed, unregulated provider or seeking misoprostol, an abortion inducing drug up to 88% effective if taken in the right dosage. Unfortunately, the TRAP police have dried up the supply of this drug, highly popular in Latin American countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances. They've even forbidden the few abortion and reproductive clinics surviving in a hostile political and religious climate from giving instructions on identifying counterfeit misoprostol pills and proper usage of the good ones. While their strategy has partially achieved their goal of preventing all abortions, they've mainly induced untold needless misery for the poor, including death and mangled physical and mental health. Do it yourself should be reserved for building that new backyard deck, not matters of life and death.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Allies don't let allies commit crimes agaisnt humanity

As we watch in horror Israel's latest "mow the grass" bombing and invasion of the world's largest open air prison in Gaza, we should note that much of Israel's weaponry is courtesy of Uncle Sam's $3.1 billion in annual aid, most of it for military resources. America pretends to be a neutral broker working for Palestinian and Israeli peace, and creation of a Palestinian state. But a true neutral doesn't fund the weapons of terror that Israel rains down on the hapless Gazans and stand aside as Israel keeps gobbling up Palestinian land and resources with new settlements, keeps the 1.8 million Palestinians near starvation from a cruel and debilitating blockade, and keeps the peace process sabotaged so Israel can continue their endless march to the sea. It should be as offensive to us peace lovers to prevent our tax dollars from funding such inhumane conduct as it is to fund America's criminal Middle East wars. Sadly, the US Congress and the presidency are themselves imprisoned by the Likud wing of the Israel Lobby which alternately provides campaign funding for them or their opponents, depending on who will be more loyal to Israel's endless expansion on the backs and well being of their Palestinian hostages. Cutting off aid to Israel till they end the carnage and truly work for peace and a Palestinian state should be simple. Allies don't let allies commit crimes against humanity.
 
 

Monday, July 21, 2014

COD's Breuder, Birt shoot the messengers...figuratively



College of DuPage President Robert Breuder and COD Board Chair Erin Burt fired back at 14 critics at the COD Board meeting July 17 over charges of improper lobbying for a $20 million dollar grant from the state, and general financial mismanagement, including a gourmet public restaurant that lost $546,000 in 2012. Unfortunately, neither Breud...er nor Birt used facts, logic or in Breuder's case, good English, in their puzzling defense. After the 14 critics spoke out against Breuder and the Board, Chairwoman Erin Burt launched an attack on Board member Kathy Hamilton, the sole June 26 vote against the proposed $50 million building, which blamed the entire Grantgate and financial mismanagement matter on Hamilton's publically speaking about it. That's simply stifling a whistleblower who invoked her First Amendment rights to bring these shenanigans to the light of day. Burt, was shocked, shocked that Hamilton voted against the new $50 million classroom building after she agreed to the agenda containing the building request and allegedly didn't voice opposition till the vote. Horrors! Someone should explain to Chair Birt that finalizing approval or disapproval of a project is the purpose of the vote. Otherwise why take one?

But Dr. Breuder topped Birt in the ludicrousness of his defense. He claimed the 14 speakers were a "coordinated and orchestrated" attempt to discredit him but offered no evidence to support that charge. He implied that COD is "the finest community college of its kind in the country" simply because some unnamed folks say it is. The only one I know who says that is Dr. Robert Breuder. Then the corker. Breuder claimed that "It's a tragedy to sit here and be bludgeoned, literally bludgeoned, ... by people to find fault with every dimension of this institution and every dimension of this leadership." Gee, if Dr. Breuder was literally bludgeoned, he'd be walking around in bandages and the 14 speakers would be trying to make bail. 




 Maybe it's time for both Birt and Breuder to walk the plank....figuratively, of course.

Friday, July 18, 2014

College of DuPage Board meeting fireworks better than July 4th's

Just returned from the best show in town: the first COD Board meeting since "Grantgate" (President Breuder's May 9 email detailing his slimy machinations to scarf up $20 million from the state which resulted in the Governor cancelling it and all future
grants pending due diligence). After 45 minutes of the COD administration VP's and President Breuder touting their accomplishments, the public got their chance to speak and they didn't disappoint. One after another after another the "little" people stood up and called for Breuder's resignation or firing; for the Board to investigate "Grantgate"; for the Board to rescind their June 26 vote to build a $50 million classroom not needed as enrollment has dropped from 34,000 to 28,000 the past few years; for the Board to address the monstrous $469,000 compensation package to President Breuder and the $2.5 million pay package for his top 9 Administrators (called 'Millionaires Row'), and on and on for an hour. Everyone who spoke acquitted themselves well especially the student speakers. Again and again the Board was asked, begged, challenged and demanded to address the spiraling financial shenanigans plaguing the College of DuPage, hurting the COD taxpayers, faculty and students. Let's hope the Board gets the message. It's clear that President Breuder never will.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

COD VP doesn't address Board member's building criticism

College of DuPage Executive VP Joseph Collins, in his rebuttal letter, didn't address the substance of COD Board Member Kathy Hamilton's letter explaining her June 26 vote, the only one, opposing the new $50 million classroom building at COD. Three weeks after the vote, Wilson argues the building is necessary because COD enrollment is up. He then goes on to say that "for all intents and purposes" COD is out of space for scheduling classes in the prime morning and evening times. That phase, of course, means nothing. It is a rhetorical trick to justify doing what is not substantiated by a thorough study of all existing classroom space in an already overbuilt campus when many students are switching to online classes from their "home" classroom. The absence of a thorough study, and not the undisputed fact that enrollment is up, was the substance of Hamilton's argument and vote. She argues that the taxpayers and the community are not served when such justification is not provided. President Breuder is proud of stating he runs COD like a business. As one who just retired from 42 years in business, I can assure President Breuder and Vice President Collins that a sound business never spends $50 million on a building that has not been thoroughly researched and vetted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A tennis gem in Glen Ellyn

Tucked away in the western edge of Glen Ellyn's scenic Lake Ellyn Park is possibly the oldest recreational facility in all of Glen Ellyn: nearly century old clay tennis courts. Upon entering the gated facility with a membership key, one is transported back to a bygone era when tennis was played on clay or grass instead of the hard surfaces developed in the modern age. The packed green clay forms a subsurface topped with a gritty material which gives the courts their soft, natural feel. The ball bounces higher on the clay slowing down the game and extending rallies well past those possible on hard surfaces. Surrounded by abundant trees and shrubs one forgets about the fast paced modern world lurking just yards from the old time tennis action. The feet and knees take less of a pounding and if you fall you're more likely to wind up with dirt stains rather than cuts and abrasions. No matter how exhausted one is after a couple of hours of competitive tennis, both players must take up the rollers and brush implements to smooth out the now gouged court surface and clean off the white court lines. That is part of the special ambiance experienced with the opportunity to play the game as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Waterleaf or waterfall: COD priorities all wet


The DuPage community is rightly abuzz over the Governor's office cancelling a $20 million grant for a new classroom building at College of DuPage. It resulted from publication of President Robert Breuder's May 9 email to the COD Board detailing his machinations to get the $20 million that would make Machiavelli proud. But this is just the first publi...c airing of a number of issues regarding spending and governance at COD that have been percolating during Breuder's five year tenure. One involves Waterleaf, the professionally run, French cuisine restaurant Breuder installed on campus. What business does a community college have using tax payer and tuition dollars to compete with local eateries? Why should anyone support such an un-educational enterprise that lost $576,000 in 2012. Waterleaf is so desperate it's reduced to advertising in the local church bulletin. Then there is The Waterfall installed by Breuder and the Board to beautify the campus. We're not talking about any waterfall, but a two million dollar extravaganza. Assuming the water is recycled it's not a waste of water, but sure is a waste of money. Meanwhile, last May, COD severed its 27 year association with the Buffalo Theater Ensemble, over its $80,000 annual shortfall in ticket revenue. This long time theatrical gem provided wonderful art for the community and good training for student cast and crew members.

A wise aphorism states that when looking for mis-management, 'just follow the money'. At COD it's 'just follow the water.'

Friday, July 11, 2014

Roskam job growth plan: government help only for the rich


All you need to know about Congressman Peter Roskam's (IL-6) bogus job growth plan is his platform position stated at www.roskam.house.gov:

America should always be a place where hard work, success and achievement are rewarded. But for too long, the economy has been stuck in neutral, causing stifled growth and shrinking opportunity for many individuals. It’s clear that the current playbook isn’t working: an expanding... federal government, with more taxes, more debt and more regulation is not the answer.

That's simply the Republican anti government screed which demonizes any government intervention to rebuild American infrastructure crumbling from decades of neglect. It makes no mention of raising the near poverty level minimum wage to one that provides a decent living in which every additional dollar is immediately returned to an improving economy. It ignores the need extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed, a badly needed, humane initiative, which will also return every dollar to a re-stimulated economy. There is no mention that the deficit has dropped from a staggering $1.4 trillion in Bush's last fiscal year to an estimated $649 billion this fiscal year, and down to an estimated $564 billion next year. Roskam ignores the catastrophic harm that an unregulated economy does to our citizenry. In his economic world preventing Deepwater Horizon explosions or the manufacturing millions of cars with faulty ignition systems is not factored into the trashing of all governmental regulation as an economic commandment. If regulations upset the very wealthy, they've got to go. But to create a few hundred or a few thousand jobs, Roskam champions gouging the Heartland with a foul pipeline to placate the fossil fuel industry, as long as it doesn't snake it's way under his house. On taxation, Roskam opposes any and all fairness for the unconscionably greedy rich who use their wealth and their economic clout to pay little or no tax at all while working stiffs get socked. The billionaires have a loyal friend in Illinois' Sixth.

Congressman Roskam knows, like everyone else, that our economic system is rigged: the poor stay poor; the rich get richer. But don't fret. Congressman Roskam is hosting his annual District Jobs Fair at Harper College July 21. Maybe a few district residents will get jobs that someone will get regardless. Every job seeker who attends should inquire of Congressman Roskam when he'll support substantive job bills, raising our pitiful minimum wage, extending benefits to the long term unemployed, sensible legislation to prevent more human and environment harm, and an end to the great tax holiday for the 1%.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A COD Board member to be proud of


On June 26, the COD Board approved 6-1, President Robert Breuder's proposed new $50 million dollar classroom building, $20 million of which was to be funded by a state grant. That state grant was just cancelled due to embarrassing revelations of Bueuder's scheming to get the state grant, including thanking the Governor publically for it in front of 3,500 people at commencement even though the grant had not yet been made. This state grant / classroom issue publically reveals that President Breuder's $550 million building and landscaping extravaganza has virtually no oversight by a compliant Board seemingly enthralled by the garish opulence of Breuder's endless expansion. Fortunately, we DuPage residents who truly care about educational excellence, reasonable tuition for our children and wise use of tax dollars have one reasonable voice on the Board. The other six Board members would do well to read Kathy Hamilton's op ed and decide when they will exercise the same common sense, fiscal responsibility and true concern for higher education in DuPage County.
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Stop expansion for expansion's sake - DAILY HERALD, JULY 8, 2014

Because of board policy restricting member speech, I must assert my First Amendment right in this letter as a citizen.

We all want to meet the educational needs of our community. I take that goal very seriously as the vice chairman at the College of DuPage. Recently, the COD board voted on a $50 million building for new classrooms. I was the only board member that opposed that investment. I felt the project warranted further analysis and definition of scope in terms of funding.

The $50 million project was to be funded by existing COD cash of $30 million and $20 million from the state. The state funding was uncertain and the appropriateness of linking the $20 million to the building project has recently come into question.

The scope of the funding should not determine the scope of the project. The request for additional classroom space should have included a complete assessment of current and future needs. Investments should be measured against a defined business model and strategic plan and should be an open and transparent starting point for decisions. The impact of any investment on a strategic plan should be clear or made clear. This was not done.

It is your money: your state income taxes, your property taxes and your student tuition. It is in the best interest of the community, the college and its students that board decisions as well as the circumstances under which they are made see the light of day. We need to stop expansion for expansion sake. Our community deserves better.

Kathy Hamilton
Vice Chair
COD Board

Monday, July 07, 2014

COD students go on line; President Breuder builds to the sky

Talk about two groups going in opposite directions, consider the COD student body and the COD Board, led by irrepressible building builder Robert Breuder. While many COD students, following a nationwide trend, have gravitated to online classes, COD President Robert Breuder touts his five year, half billion dollar building empire that has turned the COD campus into a veritable city within a city. While most of the dough has gon...e for brick and mortar as students go for pixels in the comfort of their homes, a near fortune has gone for landscaping that would make Harvard or the University of Chicago proud. In his now infamous May 9 email to the Board agonizing over the need to hastily approve a new classroom building to justify getting a $20 million grant from Governor Quinn, Breuder told the Board they should trust him because, "in the last five years, I have led a $550 million transformation of our physical plant. By now I hope all Board members have confidence in my judgment. But, then again, this may be about something else." You bet this is about something else. It's about constructing a Xanadu of a campus on the backs of taxpayers and students with ever increasing tax levies and tuition, while COD has squired away $72 million in the bank for a 'rainy day.' Breuder told the Chicago Tribune, which editorialized against his machinations to acquire the $20 million grant without a firm construction project in place, 'he was doing what ever college president does: chasing funds.' His last comment tells all we need to know: 'he runs the college like a business.'

The Board and the community need to remind Breuder that COD is not a business, it is and educational institution. And when students are forced out because their tuition is constantly raised to build a permanent legacy for their president, that represents a business that is failing

Sanguinetti not ready...for Prime Time

Novice candidate for high office, Evelyn Sanguinetti, Republican Bruce Rauner's running mate for Lt. Governor, has a lot to learn about politics. In an interview for Hola America TV, Sanguinetti said she'd be Rauner's partner "and whenever he's not, I will be able to make decisions in his stead." The only problem with that statement is the Lt. Governor has n...o gubernatorial decision making powers. Then, Sanguinetti's Facebook profile page suddenly disappeared. One reason may be that Sanguinetti "liked" the movie '2016: Obama's America," a scorched earth irrational attack on President Obama. She also "liked" the page 'I will NOT vote for Obama in 2012' containing childish, gratuitously insulting posts about the president. Sanguinetti may already have worn out her welcome with the Rauner campaign which likely encouraged her to get off Facebook and gave her a crash course on the duties of the Lt. Governor. No such controversy surrounds Paul Vallas, Governor Quinn's running mate who has a long, distinguished and scandal free record of public service. We know Paul Vallas, and it's apparent that Evelyn Sanguinetti is no Paul Vallas.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

COD Prez weaves a tangled web

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder is in well deserved hot water for his May 9 email to the Board of Trustees strategizing how to wrangle $20 million in state funding for the college. His opening line is a classic: "I'm in a bit of a quandary." Then he laments how he's been working with the Governor's Office "seemingly forever" to get "our" $20 million. The quandary Breuder quickly identifies is that the two projects originally floated, building a Homeland Security building and demolishing unneeded buildings, have already been funded. What to do? Breuder suggests slam-dunking a new classroom building, and, in the interests of urgency, wants the Board to rubberstamp his suggestion so he can gobble up the $20 mill before someone else gets it. To cement this maneuver Breuder plans to thank Governor Quinn publically for the loot in front of 3,500 people when he addresses commencement before the money is committed. Breuder implies that with 3,500 votes on the line, Quinn won't dare renege giving COD the money. If that is not bad enough, Breuder surmises that in the event the new classroom building is not approved, "there is always the option of telling the Governor we want the money, will bank it until we figure out how to use it, and then build something." That translates roughly to "Governor Quinn, show COD the money and we promise to build something really, really good."

This email sat dormant for seven weeks till public watchdog group For The Good of Illinois acquired a copy of it under the Freedom of Information Act. The resulting publicity of Breuder's duplicity caused Governor Quinn, in a stinging rebuke to Breuder, to withdraw the $20 million grant. Additionally, COD Board Vice Chair Kathy Hamilton stated the Board has a responsibility to investigate possible wrongdoing by Breuder. He closed his email with this prophetic comment: "Bottom line: I need some room to breathe on this matter so I can enhance the likelihood we get the $20 million, soon." Alas, the oxygen has just been snuffed out in Breuder's obsession to secure $20 million using extremely dubious machinations. His conduct reminds me of the wise aphorism:
                 "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Back to Iraq, Congressman Roskam?


At his 2006 debate with challenger Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Sixth District congressional candidate Peter Roskam had this to say when asked what his strategy was to win the Iraq war? "I don't have a strategy to win in Iraq; I have a goal, that it end well, so we don't have to go back." That response was politically brilliant. Roskam, like anyone remotely informed about that failed, criminal war, knew it was unwinnable. But he also knew that as long as we stayed there we could never be pushed out in defeat. So instead of answering the unanswerable, he offered a bromide sure to soothe his conservative base who tend to mindlessly support senseless American military interventions. It was also a nod to the war party that Roskam wouldn't be a pesky war critic like Republican congressmen Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC). Those truth tellers become quickly marginalized by the war party.

In the following seven and a half years, Roskam parlayed that war party support to become House GOP Chief Deputy Whip, the No. 4 House GOP leader. And while the Iraq war gobbled up trillions of dollars, killed 4,489 GI's, physically injured or or mentally damaged hundreds of thousands more, and devastating Iraq, Roskam offered not a peep of criticism. When he did speak up it was to cement his allegiance to the war party with statements like, "The Sixth District is not a 'cut and run' district," or "We didn't go into Iraq with full force." Roskam made those egregious statements early on and has since been quiet as church mouse. Visit his website www.roskam.house.gov, search Iraq war and see what pops up:


•65 YEARS OF (ISRAELI) INDEPENDENCE (4-15-2013)

•IRON DOME A GAMECHANGER, BUT WE MUST DO MORE (10-24-2013)

•WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIAL: WHY DOES NANCY PELOSI FEAR AN OBAMACARE INSPECTOR GENERAL? (3-10-2014)

In all three old citations Iraq is only mentioned tangentially. These links deal with Roskam's real interests of supporting Israel's foreign policy over those of the United States, and his relentless opposition to providing decent health insurance for the 40 millions uninsured. Roskam's avoidance of dealing with the Iraq catastrophe is back on the front burner now that Iraq is in collapse from the war his slavishly supported. But don't expect Roskam to champion our return to Iraq anytime soon. Unlike unrepentant war criminal Dick Cheney and warmongering senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, ginning up a return to Iraq on every news show, Roskam has learned his war party lessons well: vote the war party line but pretend these failed military incursions don't exist.

That is my congressman Peter Roskam: paid to represent the Sixth District; functioning as a lobbyist for the war party.

Friday, July 04, 2014

238 YEAR OLD EXPIRES...LOOKS LIKE WE DID IT


The body of a 238 year old, affectionately known as Uncle Sam, was found on Capitol Hill in Washington DC today. Crime Scene Investigators placed police tape around the body believing foul play was involved.

Given his age, Uncle Sam showed signs of extreme elder abuse. Most of his assets had been siphoned off to engorge the money belts of the very rich, and fund criminal wars that have killed hundreds of thousands. His eyes had been taped shut to prevent him from seeing the damage being done and his ears were plugged to ward off cries of the unemployed and the untreated sick and the poor. His jaw was wired shut to prevent his screams for help. His arteries - the highways and bridges that carried the commerce so vital to his economic well being - were clogged and crumbling, not from old age but from senseless neglect. His cholesterol level had topped 14 trillion. The paid public servants responsible for his well being were seen imbibing a strange brew of tea and sophistry that drove them into a frenzy of unprecedented meanness towards their benevolent Uncle. As they danced around the corpse they were heard chanting: "Government is not the solution: government is the problem".

Police broke up the mob but made no arrests.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Don't fret ladies; Barack's got your back

It only took a week but the Supreme Court crafted a decision even more dreadful than McCullen v. Coakley, which allowed fanatical abortion protesters to exercise their fiery free speech by piercing the 35 foot buffer zone Massachusetts wisely enveloped around harangued women entering abortion clinics. Yesterday's dual judicial abortion in Burwell v Hobby Lobby, and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell consigned nearly a third of working women to the potential for having a boss, claiming to be a Christian, dictate they can't get the proper reproductive health care mandated by government health care reform, simply because it offends the boss's so called religious beliefs. The ruling leaves those tens of millions with a Hobson's Choice: forget about getting urgently needed relief from reproductive slavery or go deep in debt to pay for it. A popular IUD can cost up to a month's pay for a minimum wage gal.

But the same guy who fought for and willed into law that 21st century health care law lifting American's less fortunate out of the health care basement, will likely display more Christianity toward those now endangered women than the folks at Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Specialty Cabinets could only dream about. The president will surely counter this heartless move by the companies and the Court by extending the provision already in place exempting religious organizations, by requiring contraceptive services to be paid for by the insurance provider, or partially by the government itself through tax credits.    

An army of outraged ladies and their male supporters, including this one, are surely checking the veto box when considering any 'chatch' from Hobby Lobby or a Conestoga cabinet. And if Jesus would descend to the Heartland, he'd probably pick up a picket sign and stand outside a Hobby Lobby joint till arrested for looking like a crazed hippie.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Attacking Iraq; leaving Iraq - a false equivalency

Bob Schieffer, on Sunday's Face The Nation, parroted the war party's disgusting false equivalency that our December 31, 2011, withdrawal from Iraq may have been just as bad as the original March 19, 2003, Shock & Awe attack. That is the new narrative the Bush war criminals and their fellow war mongers in Congress and the media have teamed up on to salvage their reputations over their heinous promotion of criminal war. Schieffer interviewed several hard line conservatives all moaning about the breakup of Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni and Shi'ite sections, which they claim, with no substantiation whatsoever, presents an direct threat to the Homeland. They all blamed the president's ending of the war as a mistake which brought us to the current crisis. One guest even demanded we postpone our December 31, 2014, pullout from Afghanistan. Schieffer, in his closing comment, said the war was wrong but the pullout was wrong. Without of word of criticism of the war starters, he wondered if Obama didn't try hard enough to ink a deal with Iraq to keep a residual force under US control, something Iraq wouldn't allow. He conveniently ignored the fact that Bush's criminal war splattered Iraq like Humpty Dumpty, never to be put back together again. What Schieffer and his neocon guests don't understand is that folks who start a criminal war deserve to be condemned and jailed. Folks who end a criminal war should be applauded and revered. Face The Nation certainly didn't face up to the neocons' false equivalency.