Saturday, February 28, 2009


the dirty little secret.

Is There Life After Death?

Paul Harvey now knows. Stand by for news! And now,for the rest of the story.

How My Grandfather Got The News -- Hard Copy

Breakfast at Denny's

In recognition of the single mother of the octuplets and her six previous babies, all by "in vitro fertilization", Denny's Restaurant has introduced the "Grand Scam"......... You get 14 eggs, but no sausage, and the guy at the table next to you has to pay the bill..........

This Is About So Much More Than Signs....

Read this

Thursday, February 26, 2009

About Those Signs.....

Recommended reading, here's a preview:

Do I have an "agenda?" Yes. To put it bluntly, I do have an agenda. My agenda is to look beyond the surface and not merely accept everything the City of Springfield tells me in their news release or white papers at face value. My agenda is to challenge information provided by the City.

You see, I'm not the only one who has an agenda. The City of Springfield has an agenda, too. The City of Springfield has a paid staff to push through their agenda, an asset the public does not have. The public's elected representatives are not even paid, for heaven's sake!

We have no paid staff looking out for our best interest!

Ash Wednesday Trail Ride Pictures

Sara and her friend went trail riding yesterday. You can read all about their excursion on her blog 5 Acre Dream.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Orleans

The Highwaymen

Jerry Reed

John Denver

Johnny Cash

Steve Goodman and Jethro Burns

Willie Nelson

Arlo Guthrie

Bobbie Jindal

Jesus Still Loves The Little Children

Even If These Guys Don't.

David Brooks on Bobbie Jindal's Response To The Obama Speech: A Disaster For The Republican Party


A Short Note To Missouri's Unemployed Workers From Your Lt. Governor, Peter (It's My Bike Race) Kinder:

Terribly sorry you are unemployed, that is just too bad. Standing up for all the unemployed workers in Missouri and fighting to keep your unemployment benefits is a tough job.

These are tough economic times. Even as you are reading this note, there are Missourians who are losing their jobs, Missouri factories that are closing, Missouri homeowners who are having their homes foreclosed, their cars being repossessed, Missouri children and families are without healthcare.

Gotta go now, there's a bicycle race to run.

Chad Livengood has the story here.

(Cue the theme song.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Four Day School Week....


"The lowest bid was 80 percent higher than the engineering estimate."

From the SN-L story about the signs:"The lowest bid was 80 percent higher than the engineering estimate.

Nah, I ain't EVEN goin' there.

I ain't goin' here either: (Oh heck, I will, but just for a little bit)

From the SN-L story:"Citing state economic development statistics, he (Deaver) said Springfield generated $4 billion in sales for a city with 69,000 homes."

And the signs will increase this amount?

Then let's direct signs to Car dealers, appliance showrooms, furniture stores.

I am sure the Thompson boys would be interested in having a sign, paid for by the city, directing travellers to their Cadillac dealership. Especially seeing as how "The City" took care of them via eminent domain

How does the number of homes in Springfield causally or even casually relate to the amount of sales in the city?

Where does that $4,000,000,000.00 come fro? Does all of that $4,000,000,000.00 in sales generate sales tax revenue?

If there are no signs, will that amount decrease?

I'm betting it will--but the decrease in sales tax revenue for the city will not be because of the signs.

Why, even with the signs up I predict sales tax revenue will decrease. I don't have to be a city manager to know that.

And this tidbit from the CVB: Springfield is expecting 10,000 visitors in March for the National Home School Basketball Tournament.

WHAT? A Home School Basketball Tournament? Where do they practice? In their driveway? Where do they hold their games? At the park?

The signs may be a good idea but now is not the time for them. Councilman Chiles echoed my sentiments when he said ", health care, energy and availability of food will become more pressing issues for the community."

Carlson, Deaver, Collette and Wylie will be off the Council in April. Why did they attach so much importance to this project that it couldn't have waited for the new council? Perhaps because those four and others knew that it wouldn't fly with the new council.

There is no way to measure how many people the signs will draw to Springfield, just as there is no way to measure how much of our sales tax revenue comes from out of towners.

The only tax we know out of towners pay is the hotel/motel tax.

Council's track record--remember the parking garages?

Here's An Idea ---

Wes Johnson, of the SN-L, files this report:

A Springfield citizens group will ask the new city council to let the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) sales tax sunset in February, and instead use the quarter-cent tax for the ailing police/fire pension fund.

The Save Our Springfield coalition proposed leaving the tax in place for five years, which would generate about $50 million for the pension fund.

Projects that would have been funded by the CIP tax likely would have to be put on hold.

The plan was detailed by Missouri State University political science professor Darren Chappell and former state representative Mark Wright.

“I realize the citizens of Springfield have supported the CIP for the last 10 years,” Chappell said during a morning news conference.

“But when the economic situation changes our priorities have to change as well. We hope the citizens of Springfield will encourage their elected representatives to take this seriously.”

The plan evolved after Springfield voters narrowly rejected a one-cent sales tax on Feb. 3 that would have gone solely into the pension fund.

Chappell said a quarter cent sales tax would generate enough money to meet the state requirement that the police/fire pension plan be funded at 60 percent or higher.

The pension fund currently is at about a 33 percent funded level.

After learning of the plan, City Manager Greg Burris said the proposal likely would be one that the new pension fund task force would review.

The city is about to begin taking applications from people who want to serve on the task force, which will look at various ways to bring the fund into financial health.

“As we form the citizens committee to look at options, this could be one of them to consider,” Burris said.

The task force likely will meet for several months before making a recommendation to city council.

It's Getting Crowded In Here....

This Washington blog has Nodler in, KY3's Political blog has Billy Long in.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lame Ducks Duck

Four of the five council members who voted NOT to table the controversial sign ordinance are lame ducks and won't be on Council after the April elections.


Will Our Trash Rates Be Going UP? Find Out Tomorrow!

Trash Flow?
This just in from "The City":

Feb. 23, 2009

Media Advisory

The City of Springfield will host a news conference at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 24,at the Household Chemical Collection Center, 1226 W. Nichols St.

The news conference will outline the outcome of negotiations with Springfield's two largest solid-waste companies on "put-or-pay" agreements for the Springfield Municipal Landfill.

The Citizen's Solid Waste Committee recommended that the City and the solid-waste companies attempt to negotiate an alternative to implementing "flow control" in Springfield. Under a "flow control" system, the City could require solid-waste companies operating in Springfield to use the Springfield Municipal Landfill.

Is He Moving Out Of Town?

808 Moorland Cir Mascoutah, IL 62258
View Larger Map

IF You Are A

Young male driving in from Chadwick with your date sitting next to you in your pickup Wednesday night.......You are probably going to get pulled over.
From "The City"

Nearly one in four Missourians still fail to regularly wear their safety belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.

Among those least likely to buckle up: young males, pickup truck drivers and their passengers, people who live in rural areas, and nighttime drivers.

Members of the Springfield Police Department are joining with law enforcement February 25th for an aggressive "Click It or Ticket" mobilization to crack down on Missouri’s safety belt law violators in an attempt to reduce highway fatalities.

Failure to regularly wear a safety belt can be deadly. In 2007, a driver in a Missouri traffic crash had a 1 in 32 chance of being killed if they were not wearing a seat belt. In cases where the driver wore a seat belt, their chance of being killed was 1 in 1,294.

Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.

For information on Missouri seatbelt usage, visit

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Take You A Ride In My Car-Car

Here are some of the vehicles I have owned over the past 41 years:

1967 Truimph Spitfire
1973 Chevrolet Vega
1973 Cheverolet Chevelle
1972 Ford F-250
1976 Ford F-250
1972 Chevrolet C-30
1978 Ford F-250
1975 Ford F-500
1971 Chevrolet P-30
1975 Ford CL 9000
1982 Chevrolet C-30
1988 Ford F-350 Centurian
1976 Dodge 200
1956 Volkswagen Sedan
1959 Volkswagen Sedan
1960 Volkswagen Westfalia
1960 Vokswagen Sedan, Canvas Sunroof
1964 Volkswagen Sedan
1966 Volkswagen Sedan
1968 Volkswagen Sedan
1969 Volkswagen Sedan
1970 Volkswagen Convertible
1972 Porsche 911
1993 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
1986 Ford Taurus
1958 Chevrolet Pickup
1986 Volvo Station Wagon
1992 Volvo Station Wagon
1972 Chevrolet Suburban
1966 M151A1
1976 M886
1968 M715
1968 M725
1953 M100
1973 Volkswagen Type 181 (Thing)
1953 Chevrolet 3600
1954 Chevrolet one ton
1954 Chevrolet one ton bus
1953 Ford F-600
1954 Chevrolet one ton dump truck
1948 Chevrolet one ton
1998 S-10
2001 S-10
1999 Chevrolet Astro Van
1998 Honda Accord
1960 Crown Highway Coach
1972 Mobiluxe Motorhome
1976 Chevrolet C-30
1986 Chevrolet Suburban
1985 Chevrolet C-20
1951 Jeep Station Wagon
1947 Jeep CJ2A
1978 Kountry Aire travel trailer
1978 Airstream Sovreign
1978 gooseneck horse trailer
1978 Southern Body Trailer

My little brother John did a post on teh VW Show in Daytona Beach this weekend (link here).

That's what got me to thinking about the VWs I have owned:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Random Stuff On A Saturday Night

Bizarre crimes from Atlanta Police Department reports.

Barack Obama wrote a book titled Dreams From My Father Obama also recorded an audio edition of his book. You can hear excerpts of the audio version here

“I woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates.”

Hey Longrooffan, you think you got troubles.

Don't you just hate it when this happens?

Here are some easy links to funny stuff on Google maps street view sightings.

I received the following in an email from a recovering thinker:

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone - “to relax,” I told myself - but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.” This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won’t have any money!”

“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors… they didn’t open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed… easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.


Friday, February 20, 2009

2008 Golden Plunger Awards Cancelled

The judges (Mr. Belvedere, the Grey Goose, Chopin, this guy from Finland, the Jewel of Russia, Effen, McCormick, Bak Zubrowka, Van Gogh, Van Hoo, Pan, Gordon, Cristall, Gilbey, Oliphant, Ketel 1, me and many Mor) decided to cancel this year's Golden Plunger awards and focus instead on the Springfield St. Patrick's Day parade.

We have the props for a girl to gorilla illusion and were going to perform it on the back of one of our old trucks in front of the judges' stand.

Then that dang rampaging chimp went beserk and tore that woman's face off in Connecticut. We thought it would be in poor taste to do the show --especially the part where the gorilla chases the crowd and attacks the trainer.

For last year's winners, click here.

About Those Wayfinder Signs......

From Mike Brothers, City of Springfield Public Information Office:

Background on Wayfinding Signs Detailed
City Manager Greg Burris sent a white paper about the wayfinding system (1.4 MB PDF) to City Council today. City Councilman Gary Deaver requested the white paper at Tuesday’s Council lunch to provide background to Council on the project. (A white paper is a document that summarizes the background and details of a particular issue.)

Council will revisit this topic at Monday’s City Council meeting because Councilman Denny Whayne asked for reconsideration of the Feb. 9 vote to accept the bid for fabrication of the wayfinding signs.

At Monday’s meeting, Council will first decide whether to reconsider the bill. If that is approved, Council will reconsider whether to approve or reject the bid for fabrication or refer the issue to one of its standing committees for further review.

Read the white paper, read all of it. Here are a couple of teasers from it:
The Community Physical Image Plan Element of the Vision 20/20 Comprehensive Plan, adopted in August 1998, specifically listed an action to: “Design and install a citywide pathfinder sign system to advertise and make more visible Springfield’s major facilities and attractions.”

Some of the motorist information signs on the freeway system are scheduled for renewal/replacement within the next few months. MoDOT follows national standards for spacing of signage in advance of each interchange. There are a limited number of locations available for standard motorist information signs and there is often space available for only one sign to provide directions to special attractions. Currently some of this space is occupied by signs for the American National Fish & Wildlife Museum/ Bass Pro Shops. These attractions have agreed to give up six individual signs on the freeway to provide the needed space for the citywide wayfinding program.
MoDOT charges attractions for signage. It is not known if MoDOT will charge the city for the signage.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Golden Plunger Awards Update

Everything is the same as last year except it is 2008 instead of 2007. Except for that, nothing has changed. Well I mean it is the award year of 2008 not 2007. It is 2009, I mean we got a new president and everything.

First, to all our readers out there, from the bottom of our pea pickin' hearts, we say to you: "Thanks for riding the bus!" Now, down to the bidness at hand:The Yellow and Black Plungers Awards are little different from other awards, which are determined by the casting of votes by one's peers. Winners of the Yellow and Black Plunger Awards are determined by me and a selected by me group of judges (don't you wish you could do the same Darrell?). The list of judges is at the bottom of this post.

The winner (or winners, if there happens to be a tie) in each category will receive a wonderful Yellow and Black Plunger with "2007" tastefully attached to the same. The Yellow and Black Plunger is suitable for framing or displaying on a mantelpiece.
Additionally, the Yellow and Black Plunger is made of a time tested design and is completely functional should you desire to use it for its intended purpose.

I can't not stress enough that the awarding of the Yellow and Black Plunger awards will strictly be impartial. There will be no favorites played, no back room deals, no politicin', no bribery, no chicanery, no solicitin'. No nothing but straight shootin' and the cowboy way!

Judges include (and this list is not absolut): me, Mr. Belvedere, the Grey Goose, Chopin, this guy from Finland, the Jewel of Russia, Effen, McCormick, Bak Zubrowka, Van Gogh, Van Hoo, Pan, Gordon, Cristall, Gilbey, Oliphant, Ketel 1, and much Mor! (Upon request, stuffed pimentos and Three Olives will be included with each judge's packet.)

While the Yellow and Black Plunger awards may be seen as sort of similar to other stuff, it's not, neither are they intended to distract from other stuff. The Yellow and Black Plunger awards are yellow and black plungers. Any similarity to current or previous stuff is purely coincidental. For a complete list of winners send $25.00, via paypal, to the email address listed in the blog author's profile. This offer void where prohibited. Decisions of the judges are final. As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This recording will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.

For last year's winners, click here.

The Joke's On Us.....

Roy's In

PS---how does he do this?

What The Stimulus Package Could Buy

Say The Secret Word.....

Survivor's Just A TV Show.....

Ben Wade, the former SBU women's soccer coach may have been canned for appearing on the faux reality television show "Survivor"---and that's just what it is -- a contest designed to be entertainment for the masses.

Then there is this contest.

And this reality TV show planned from Great Britain.

"My Bicycle Race"

Tyler Hamilton and Peter Kinder display a yellow jersey from the Tour of Missouri.

Chad Livengood is reporting today that

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said Thursday that his re-election last fall was proof Missourians endorse the Tour of Missouri bicycle race, which he called "my bicycle race."
Kinder's remarks came during the Missouri Press Association Day at the state capital in Jefferson City.

Livengood's story is here.

This year's race will bypass Springfield. Springfieldians will lose out on the opportunity to see Peter and Tyler Hamilton together.

Truck Nutz

Truck Nutz

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saturn's Going, Can Uranus Be Next?

back when I was kid, my brothers and I used to go to new car showrooms to watch the introduction of the year's new models.

I could tell you the make and model of just about every car I saw.

Now, all the cars look alike to me. Honda, Toyota, Fusion,
Saturn---oops, not Saturn! GM is phasing it out, it will be gone by 2012.

Remember when Saturn was introduced? It was supposed to be a new type of car company, down south--an alternative to Detroit's motor city.

It's going fast.

Meanwhile, how about
fast trains?

At The Daytona 380

My little brother John David had all access passes (well, almost all access passes) to the Daytona 500.

He has a good blog post about his experience on Sunday. You can read it here or link to his blog, By The Numbers, from the links on the right side of this page.

BTW--today would have been our Dad's 85th birthday.

A Year Ago

this is what the Bus was saying: Something's Happening Here, What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear. Everything, including happiness (yawn), runs in a circular motion. (I like this one better.)
Remember: The 3rd largest city in the state is governed by volunteers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Not always John, not always.

Oratorical Contest Winners, May 1965

This page was scanned from the May, 1965 edition of "The Crux", the St Louis Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Council newsletter of which I was the co-editor. Mrs. Alois J. Cepulka was the adult advisor. She owned a 1961 Pontiac Tempest and she was a lousy driver. The teenage boy winner, Joseph Badaracco, is a Harvard professor.
In 1965 I was the co-editor of this newsletter.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

You're My Best Friend....

Some day we will live in Costa Brava (if I squint my eyes, the picture almost looks like Tablerock.)


A Face In The Crowd

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ain't Got No Snappy Title...

Nadya Suleman eight days before giving birth to the last eight of her fourteen kids.

Dotting The "i's" And Crossing The "t's" --- I've Been Busy!

Posting have been light lately, I'm working on a project.

Hey, how about those signs!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading!

How Did Salmonella Get Into Our Peanut Butter And Then Into Everything Else?

From a leaking roof.

oh, yeah, greedy bosses too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Buffalo Springfield

Where In Springfield?

I thought this might be on Sunshine, west of National.
My wife thinks it might be on Kansas and West High
What do you think?
Bonus points for identifying the year, the make of automobiles and make of the AAA ambulance.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

After 36 Years....

Michael Brendan Dougherty,excerpted here from an article in The American Conservative, nails it:

On Jan. 22, the March for Life turned 36 years old. In that time, Republican presidents have appointed eight Supreme Court justices, but Roe v. Wade remains law.

The annual demonstration attracts nearly 200,000 abortion opponents to Washington, where the atmosphere on the National Mall shifts between hope and outrage, occasionally tumbling into the macabre. Ray Miller, who drove in from Annapolis, Maryland, wore a black robe and carried a plastic scythe in his right hand. In the other, plastic chains with severed doll parts painted red. From behind his Grim Reaper mask Miller explained in a nasal voice, “I found that this costume most concisely gets across the message that abortion kills babies.”

Nearby, the Sisters of Life, a community of nuns dedicated to protecting the unborn, prayed the Rosary. A choir from Liberty University rehearsed their hallelujahs. Some of the homemade signs were splattered with fake blood, others wryly announced, “Technically You’re Just a Blob of Tissue.” One group passed out buttons asking, “What the FOCA?”—a reference to the Obama-supported Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn nearly all restrictions on abortion. Parochial schools like Christendom College canceled all classes to allow students to demonstrate.

But one member of the Supreme Court has made it clear that the march will never influence his decision. In his dissenting opinion in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, which reaffirmed Roe, pro-life justice Antonin Scalia wrote:
I am as distressed as the Court is .. about the ‘political pressure’ directed to the Court: the marches, the mail, the protests aimed at inducing us to change our opinions. How upsetting it is, that so many of our citizens (good people, not lawless ones, on both sides of this abortion issue, and on various sides of other issues as well) think that we Justices should properly take into account their views, as though we were engaged not in ascertaining an objective law, but in determining some kind of social consensus. The Court would profit, I think, from giving less attention to the fact of this distressing phenomenon, and more attention to the cause of it. That cause permeates today’s opinion: a new mode of constitutional adjudication that relies not upon text and traditional practice to determine the law, but upon what the Court calls ‘reasoned judgment,’ … which turns out to be nothing but philosophical predilection and moral intuition.

(P)ro-lifers are stymied by a complicated, perhaps abusive, relationship with Republicans. The putatively pro-life party hasn’t delivered the goods. Shaun Kenney, the executive director of American Life League, complains, “We had a Republican White House and Republican Congress and the government is still funding Planned Parenthood? After Bush picked Harriet Miers, his popularity never got above 40 percent because he promised pro-life judges.” He insists that pro-lifers are committed to only one goal: “The sole issue is this: we want abortion ended. That’s it. All other issues boil down to practical insignificance.”

At 36 years old, the pro-life movement is still energetic and indignant—and trapped. Every year of Republican rule has increased the suspicion that pro-lifers are the GOP’s useful idiots. Planned Parenthood still received federal dollars, and Congress never stripped courts of their ability to overturn parental notification and conscience laws. A human life amendment was ditched for Social Security reform. And just one year of unified Democratic rule in the federal government may undo a generation of small victories for the movement’s incrementalists at all levels. In desperation, pro-lifers may turn en masse to the “Personhood Now” strategy in an effort to impose a “culture of life” that the movement hasn’t built consensus for in the opinions or lifestyles of its fellow citizens.

Celebrate Life!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ignorance In America

Mark Slouka has a rant about ignorance in America ignorance in America in the latest issue of Harpers. Here are some excerpts:

What we need to talk about, what someone needs to talk about, particularly now, is our ever-deepening ignorance (of politics, of foreign languages, of history, of science, of current affairs, of pretty much everything) and not just our ignorance but our complacency in the face of it, our growing fondness for it.

A generation ago the proof of our foolishness, held up to our faces, might still have elicited some redeeming twinge of shame—no longer. Today, across vast swaths of the republic, it amuses and comforts us. We’re deeply loyal to it. Ignorance gives us a sense of community; it confers citizenship; our representatives either share it or bow down to it or risk our wrath.

Seen from a sufficient distance (a decade abroad, for example), or viewed through a protective filter, like film, or alcohol, there can be something almost endearing about it. It can appear quaint, part of our foolish-butauthentic, naive-yet-sincere, roughhewn spirit.

Up close and personal, unromanticized and unfiltered, it’s another thing entirely. In the flesh, barking from the electronic pulpit or braying back from the audience, our ignorance can be sobering. We don’t know. Or much care. Or care to know.

What do we care about?

We care about auto racing and Jessica.

We care about food, oh yes, please, very much.

And money. (Did you catch the last episode of I Love Money?)

We care about Jesus, though we’re a bit vague on his teachings.

And America. We care about America.

And the flag.

And the troops, though we’re untroubled by the fact that the Bush Administration lied us into the conflict, then spent years figuring out that armor in war might be bookstores to lay our money down.

Wherever it may have resided before, the brain in America has migrated to the region of the belt—not below it, which might at least be diverting, but only as far as the gut—where it has come to a stop.

The gut tells us things.

It tells us what’s right and what’s wrong, who to hate and what to believe and who to vote for. Increasingly, it’s where American politics is done. All we have to do is listen to it and the answer appears in the little window of the eight ball: “Don’t trust him. Don’t know. Undecided. Just because, that’s why.”

We know because we feel, as if truth were a matter of personal taste, or something to be divined in the human heart, like love.

I was raised to be ashamed of my ignorance, and to try to do something about it if at all possible. I carry that burden to this day, and have successfully passed it on to my children.

I don’t believe I have the right to an opinion about something I know nothing about—constitutional law, for example, or sailing — a notion that puts me sadly out of step with a growing majority of my countrymen, many of whom may be unable to tell you anything at all about Islam, say, or socialism, or climate change, except that they hate it, are against it, don’t believe in it.

Worse still (or more amusing, depending on the day) are those who can tell you, and then offer up a stew of New Age blather, right-wing rant, and bloggers’ speculation that’s so divorced from actual, demonstrable fact, that’s so not true, as the kids would say, that the mind goes numb with wonder.

“Way I see it is,” a man in the Tulsa Motel 6 swimming pool told me last summer, “if English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for us.”

Friday, February 06, 2009

Austin's Joke

Aside From Bad Hair*, Was The Governor Of Illinois Guilty Of Anything?

From Joe Rauch:

I think that Blagojevich is probably a crook, and so does everyone else, so the question may seem academic. But it's not. Overturning an election is fundamentally antidemocratic and, in a democracy, potentially dangerous. When it needs to be done, the proceedings need to be objectively distinguishable from a railroading.
*voted most likely not to raise taxes in high school.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why Did The Sales Tax Fail, Here's Another Reason.

The SN-L's Kathleen O'Dell is reporting reporting today 46 workers are being laid off from Muellers.

Another story, written by Wes Johnson, relates how "The City" is wanting to find the reasons why the sales tax failed.

In another story under Johnson's byline in today's SN-L, the headline reads "Sales Tax Not Sufficient For City Costs, Burris Says." Johnson's lede is as follows:

A day after city voters rejected the pension fund sales tax, City Manager Greg Burris warned that another financial storm was brewing.
He said revenue from existing sales tax is coming in well below what the city expected.

If the City Manager didn't know about this before today.....then wouldn't ya think that someone ain't doin' their job?

I sorta feel like "W" right now...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Why Did The Sales Tax Fail?

The answer may be contained in this blog post from March, 2008.

Why I Got A Pickup Truck

(click on image to make it bigger)

Monday, February 02, 2009


Springfield Pension Tax: Bloggers Weigh In

First is Jason Wert of LifeofJason weighs in on the issue.

While I am 110% behind police and fire when it comes to them being given what they were promised I really didn’t want to support the tax increase this Tuesday.

However, the critics of the city haven’t given us a valid reason not to vote yes. The city’s given us a concrete plan to fix the problem. All the critics have done is criticize those trying to find a solution without offering a constructive plan to solve the issue.

And this commentator on the SN-L, MarkofGrace, has this to say:
In addition to these three strategies, preserving & enhancing the quality of life for Springfield citizens is also important. Many things make up "quality of life", including clean environment, pleasant neighborhoods, diverse housing and job opportunities, & recreational and cultural opportunities. Where possible, the capital improvement projects which are preferred are those which have a long useful life, benefit the City as a whole, benefit the City's low & moderate income citizens & either protect or have no adverse impact on the environment.

Street Improvements $ 70,948,000 / Sidewalks and Overpasses $ 963,500 /Storm Sewers $ 19,621,000

Park Improvements: $ 84,349,611 /New Parks: $ 1,125,000 /Airport $ 52,243,671
Special Facilities: $100,070,000: Baseball Stadium - JVPCenter City Parking Multi-Purpose Arena – JVP Partnership Industrial Center Development Partnership Industrial Center West Development Railroad Relocation and Grade Separation Study Salt Storage Facility Surface Parking Facilities JVP Municipal Buildings and Grounds $ 34,573,500 Art Museum Addition - Southwest Wing/HVAC Updates Community Tree and Landscaping Improvements Creamery Building Renovation Government Plaza Municipal Parking / Landscape Improvements Phase One Municipal Facilities Improvements Police Headquarters Expansion and Remodeling - Phase I Property Acquisition to Implement Vision 20/20 Recommendations Public Works Operations Center Improvements-Phase I, II, and III Public Works Operations Complex - Expansion Area Acquisition Police/Fire Training Facility - Phase I

All of which have & continue to be considered quality of life priorities by City Council as opposed to basic core service of safety & protection of citizens by maintaining the police & fire department at financially sound levels.
Before passing a new tax some existing sales tax need repealed !

Even Ralph Manley spoke the issue over a year ago. Remember the budget crisis? From LifeofJason City Council Meeting, January 19, 2008: 8:49pm…
Council Bill 2008-017. A resolution adopting the Capital Improvements Program for 2008 through 2013.

CIP program strategies are to protect life, health and public safety, improve existing infrastructure and develop new infrastructure.

21 projects completed in 2007 for just over $48,300,000. The plan for 2008-2013 will be on the P&Z website shortly.

218 projects in 2008-2013 will total over $575,000,000 and will come from various taxes and fees.

There was discussions on new projects like College Station, Crime Lab, Art Museum, park developments and more. (I’ll link the P&Z report when I can get the info so you can review it.)

The Mayor talked about talked about how you need to manage and take care of what you have before you start new buildings and new development.

He also talked about how some funds are restricted in purpose like sewer bills revenue cannot be used to build sidewalks.

Councilman Wylie said that the Mayor painted a picture of what’s happening very accurately and this document shows the nuts and bolts of what’s happening within the city. He said that any member of the public can suggest items to be included on this list.

Councilman Chiles commended the report as being through and very well written.

Councilman Chiles how this document could shift should energy rates adjust that require people to use more public transportation. The answer was that the document can be amended when something comes down the line that requires action.

Councilman Burlison said he was impressed with the work that went into the document but he’s going to be the party pooper. He said some of the priorities in this document that a city under the current constraints would find as luxuries.

Councilman Collette said that it would be helpful for Council if Councilman Burlison provided a list of what he seem is luxuries. The Mayor said if Councilman Burlison wanted to make suggestions they would be happy to table it for two weeks. Councilman Burlison said that would be great but that he’s one Councilman out of nine and doesn’t want to impose.

Councilman Manley said that the people in these departments are experts in their fields and that the Council needs to rely on these people. He said that they’ve had this to review for a week or so and that it’s ready to pass because the experts said it’s important. He said he wants to vote on it tonight and passing this tonight. He said that this is what the people want and that it should be passed. The Mayor agreed with Councilman Manley but that he doesn’t want anyone to feel they aren’t serious about the concerns that someone would raise. He doesn’t mind giving two weeks to Councilman Burlison to raise the issues.

The issue was tabled for two weeks on a voice vote with Councilman Manley voting nay.

Jackehammer (We've Got To Save Springfield) offers her perspective on the ballot issue:
It is very tempting, indeed, to vote no for the sales tax and try to force the City to cut out their ongoing redevelopment plans and change their introverted, "I-want, vision-20/20" from looking in a continued, ill-conceived direction...(but) For now, I believe it is in the best interest of our City to support the sales tax and then, do everything we can to keep ourselves educated and involved in the future actions of our representative Council.

The SN-L weighed in and, judging by Jason's post, it must have been a helluva discussion. The SN-L Editorial, No: Too Much, Too Soon, Too Risky is pretty right on target. Some money quotes:
- The city administration has not fully explained why it chose to dismiss other possible options for stabilizing the fund, including the process of requesting Pension Obligation Bonds. St. Louis recently used a combination of the bonds and a sales tax to address the same kind of pension problem.

- We're not convinced the city has looked hard enough at areas in its regular operations to cut.

The city must do a long-overdue audit of jobs and personnel to see if every job at the city is essential.

Make those personnel cuts. Sell unused city assets. Put settlements from lawsuits involving the telecommunications providers into the pension fund, as soon as possible.

The City Manager writes that a year ago the SN-L said a tax was the only way to fix the pension fund. To quote Burris, 'In the Feb. 21, 2008, editorial, "Tax hike needed to fix pensions," the News-Leader included statements such as: "The only realistic way out of the city's pension mess is a tax increase" and "We suggested long ago that a tax increase would be necessary to buttress the city's lagging pension."'

The problem is that the economic status of this country has changed dramatically since February 21, 2008. Frequent riders will remember that people lost their life savings, lost their jobs, lost their life insurance, heck, even my pension is at risk. Things are a lot different now than they were a year ago, Ralph Manley's opinion notwithstanding. (Councilman Manley said that the people in these departments are experts in their fields and that the Council needs to rely on these people. He said that they’ve had this to review for a week or so and that it’s ready to pass because the experts said it’s important. He said he wants to vote on it tonight and passing this tonight. He said that this is what the people want and that it should be passed. The Mayor agreed with Councilman Manley...)

Aieressera, oi' ne', me ne sagliette,tu saie addo'?
Addo' 'stu core 'ngrato cchiu' dispietto farme nun po'!
Addo' lo fuoco coce, ma si fuie te lassa sta!
E nun te corre appriesso, nun te struie, 'ncielo a guarda'!...
Jammo 'ncoppa, jammo ja', funiculi', funicula'

Ne'... jammo da la terra a la montagna! no passo nc'e'!
Se vede Francia, Proceta e la Spagna...Io veco a tte!
Tirato co la fune, ditto 'nfatto,'ncielo se va..
Se va comm' 'a lu viento a l'intrasatto, gue', saglie sa'!
Jammo 'ncoppa, jammo ja',funiculi', funicula'!

Se n' 'e' sagliuta, oi' ne', se n' 'e' sagliuta la capa giĆ !
E' gghiuta, po' e' turnata, po' e' venuta...sta sempe cca'!
La capa vota, vota, attuorno, attuorno,attuorno a tte!
Sto core canta sempe u taluorno Sposammo, oi' ne'!
Jammo 'ncoppa, jammo ja',funiculi', funicula'!
And that, constant readers, is how I plan to vote.

I Got This Email Message This Evening.....


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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Springsteen Played A Concert Tonight. The

Steelers And The Cardinals Were His Openning Act.
Put down the guacamole dip and the chicken fingers and turn up the volume!

Part 1:

Part 2

Yesterday I went to the funeral of my friend Mark. He was 61 and died of a heart attack. He had the flu and I guess he had a coughing fit and his heart went into an arhythmia and stopped.

I have been around people who died, older folks or sick folks....their demise could be prepared for. But Mark was here Monday and gone Tuesday.

After the funeral mass, --it was held at St. Joseph's church, what a beautiful building...the church hosted a dinner for us.

I don't remember much about the dinner. Among those I sat with were Robert Walsh, Mike Cummings, John Owens, Janice Bannister, her daughter Elizabeth.

We talked about stuff we did 40 years ago ---no need to bring each up to date on our lives, we had keep in contact through out the years.

Mark's death bothered me. Yeah, I know his death is a reminder of my own immortality, of my Glory Days! The best part of us is our kids.

Chevrolet Master Hands 1936