Monday, January 30, 2012

Just a little clarification on my post

Now I dare you to look at this photo and tell me the man does not look like a little light in the loafers. I mean, come on, Aaron, did you get dressed in the dark or do you just not have a mirror in your house? I personally don't care if the man is gay, straight, bi, or a relative of E.T. What I do care about is his "Party Line" politics and his voting record.

Remember the TIGER II funding Aaron railed against in 2010? This is what Rachel Maddow had to say on Meet the Press when Aaron appeared on the show:

"If you vote against the omnibus bill, if you complain about the omnibus bill, if you tout your vote against the omnibus bill, it is hypocrisy to then go to your district and go to a ribbon cutting ceremony for something that is funded by the omnibus bill that you voted against."

Hypocrisy - noun: insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have. Sort of like when you say one thing to get the votes of the people, then do something else to benefit your rich supporters, even if you know it will end up screwing your constituents. I believe that is a character flaw, and while those are sometimes reversible, I wonder just how corrupted Mr. Schock is under the guiding wing of his predecessor and mentor, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood?

Friday, January 27, 2012

More time, but not Southtown TIF Funds

Now and then, I am pleasantly surprised by the Peoria City Council. Not often, but now and then.

Being unable to attend Tuesday's City Council Meeting, I had to wait for Beth Ball to send me the minutes and read them over. It was a pleasant surprise that, while the council did give the "Wonderful Development" an additional six weeks, it did not give them the funding originally to come from the extended Southtown TIF. The pleas of Councilman Gulley, and the comments of many citizens from the Southtown area, not only pointed out that those funds would be much better used where they were collected, but that many of the projects originally intended for Southtown were never completed. Hmm, and I thought the purpose of a TIF was to rebuild the area. Sounds to me like very little rebuilding is going on there at all.

None of this should surprise anyone here in Peoria. Even when the City Council claims to be helping its citizens, they are actually hurting the current residents by "planning" for the future. Despite all its actions for community improvement, crime is up 36% in Peoria, according to the reports found on the City of Peoria website, and if you look at the stats for 2011, you'll notice the South end of Peoria is one of the hardest hit areas. After all these years, you would think that some of that TIF money could have been used to make safer neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, the East Bluff is also among those areas where crime is high. I wonder how much of the EVGC TIF funds will be used to help the residents who will be paying for that?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aaron Shock Defends His Voting Record in Congress???

"A recent Chicago Tribune report shows Schock as ranking among the top four congressmen who have skipped or missed roll call votes."

I just got this off the CI News website and just had to share it with you. Schock's defense is that he chose to do "constituent work" rather than attend roll call votes that are "routine".

Gee, Aaron, I think we hired you to do just that. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure we hired you to represent our district in Congress, rather than be back here in Peoria to do favors for your cronies.

Guess I was wrong. I was thinking you cared more about this district and the people in it rather than just your buddies who forked over the big bucks to get you in office. What is that election war chest worth? A little more than two million dollars? And how about that new residence in the 18th? You know the one I am talking about, the one with the circular drive around the fountain, the huge living area, and all those bedrooms? Hey,I guess if I owed so many rich folks my seat in Congress, I'd be back here at their beck and call as well.

Too bad the rest of us don't rate. And by the way, the work you are doing for your constituents? How many new jobs out of the ones Obama's administration have come to Central Illinois in the 18th District? How do you plan to help the President improve our schools, work with our educators, rebuild our infrastructure? Exactly how do you plan to help your constituency? Probably not by being there for anything that doesn't go along with your mandate to serve the rich and the corporations. Hey, what the hell, you only need the rest of us every two years, right?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the State of the Union

Obama hit all the right chords last night, and his plea to the Congress was simple. Let's quit acting in the best interest of our party and start acting in the best interests of the people. Not a hard concept to grasp, is it?

This nation is in trouble, deep trouble, and holding on to the status quo is not going to get it. Clinging to the old ways is simply clinging to the anchor that is slowly and inevitably pulling us under. We need serious changes to the way we operate the system.

Equalizing the tax codes and eliminating shelters will create an influx of income to the government that will allow us to create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, and restore our economy. Strict and enforceable regulation of the financial institutions and Wall Street, not to mention the practice of insider trading by members of Congress, will help to restore the confidence of the American people and force those institutions who received bail out money to repay it to the American people and not stuff their own wallets and accounts with money they did not earn.

A favorite of mine the President did not mention is reforming the Social Security System to restore the rightful benefits to people who have paid into the system all their lives. Rather than raise age limits and reduce benefits, the Social Security System could be saved by removing the employee wage cap on Social Security deductions. Persons earning more than $108,000.00 a year would continue to contribute at the established 6.4%, while employers would contribute their share up to that amount.

Our education system is broken, and we cannot fix it with mandated tests that lead schools to forsake real world education in favor of required scores. Our teachers and school administrators need our support in turning education back to the purpose of preparing our children to succeed in the modern world. Our students and parents must be actively involved in maintaining discipline in our schools and ending the distractions of drugs and violence that serves only to alienate and sway us from the true course. We must work with our educators to build a system of support that provides the finest education we can give, and if we apply ourselves, we can give the finest education in the world.

In short, we must restore the ability of America to provide the American Dream to every man and woman who wants to participate in the economy. We must restore the faith of the American people in the vision of America conceived by our forefathers and their legacy, a nation where discrimination and separatism are never tolerated, where people of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and genders are treated with respect and dignity, a nation where a man is truly free.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Depleted Uranium, Bobby Shilling, and Veteran's Rights

Several months ago, a woman named Kim Schisler wrote to me and asked for my help in making a very disturbing situation more public. It involves Depleted Uranium, a substance being used by the U. S. Military in armor, weapons, and ammunition. "My son died today - August 24, 2011. His name was Aaron Barnes. He was 26 (years old) with a wife and two young children. He died of a very rare and extremely aggressive cancer called Sacromatoid Renal Sarcoma. Aaron was a soldier, serving two tours of duty in Iraq. During his 26 months there, he was exposed daily to depleted uranium. This is believed to have caused his cancer and many others. Depleted Uranium is everywhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, leftover shrapnel from previous wars. Veterans of current wars are coming home and getting sick with rare diseases with much higher percentages than the general population." I looked into these allegations and found quite a bit of evidence to support these claims. While not directly radioactive in the sense of the elements we commonly associate with nuclear weapons, Depleted Uranium poses some unique and deadly health risks that could lead to many cancers and other issues for veterans who have been exposed. Of course, the Department of Defense and the Veteran's Administration are denying any culpability or liability for this exposure, claiming the exposure is not sufficient to cause such problems. Yet the scientific studies I read state there is a substantial risk, since the particulate contaminants are in the air, and therefore in the food and water these soldiers ingest. These particles, once in the system, tend to react with the residual radiation (like X-Rays or Gamma Rays) and can cause cumulative effects in the system. Like any claim, this is subject to debate and there are as many articles that proclaim the substance safe as their are that support my findings. Ms. Schisler continues to fight for the protection of the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, with a campaign of letters to congressmen and senators, and others as well. She appealed to Rep. Bobby Schilling from Illinois, and this is the careful and thoughtful consideration he afforded her: "After months of phone calls, emails, and letters to Rep. Schilling, we finally received an answer. He sent a letter to my son thanking him for his service in the Armed Forces----my DEAD son. Followed by a bunch of crap on all the bills pertaining to veterans' rights that he voted on. I am beyond angry and disappointed. I feel like I've wasted the past five months." Perhaps the reason we are in a state of denial in this nation when it comes to Veteran's Rights is because of the insensitive and uncaring way our representatives respond to their needs. Perhaps they are uncaring and insensitive because, unlike many of their constituents, they have not served in any capacity other than to represent corporate interests instead of their constituents. Whatever the reason, the cause of Depleted Uranium exposure and treatment needs to be addressed. And it doesn't seem it will be a priority for Representative Schilling or his office. Frederick Smith.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Update on the Woodmancy Campaign

Matthew Woodmancy is on the primary ballot for March 20th, running against a very able opponent who apparently stands for absolutely nothing.
I mean, I understand that some politicians like to keep their politics close to the vest, but Steve Waterworth's blog reads like a third rate Dear Abby. And I have yet to read one bit of information about the man other than he has unsuccessfully run for office twice. Not once. Twice.
Matt Woodmancy, on the other hand, has made full disclosure on his facebook page and now on his website. His platform is posted for all the honest world to see and he doesn't back down. He's participated in reddit discussions with constituents, has agreed to participate in the League of Women Voters Debate on February 29th in Macomb, and will continue to speak out against the corporate owned politicians that are ruining this nation.
Can anyone tell me the appeal of Waterworth? I'd really like to know.