Restoring Wild Habitat Here

Restoration boosting turtles, other wildlife

Nonprofit, scientists work together  to benefit several riverbank habitats

A great blue heron sits on a branch this week at the Skokie Lagoons nature preserve in Glencoe. Friends of the Chicago River worked on 8 acres there. (GARY MIDDENDORF/DAILY SOUTHTOWN)

By Patrick M. O’Connel   Chicago Tribune  11.26.16

A collaboration between a nonprofit group and forest preserve scientists aims to boost the area turtle population, while also benefiting bats, ospreys and riverbank habitats throughout the Chicago region.

While projects to help native species have been ongoing for decades, an effort led by Friends of the Chicago River has led to immediate improvements in turtle nesting areas in Cook County’s wetlands and woods.

“I’m thrilled out of my mind,” said Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

By clearing forest lands of invasive plants such as buckthorn — which choke out native sedges, rushes and reeds and also block sunlight from reaching the ground — the group and the forest preserve have improved soil conditions in wetlands along the Chicago and Calumet rivers, essential land for turtles to lay their eggs.

Transmitters placed on turtles let scientists know that the animals were returning quickly to cleared native habitat. (ERIN HOOLEY/CHICAGO TRIBUNE )
 Turtles, including the snapping, painted, stinkpot and soft-shell varieties, need soft soil in protected, sunlit areas for successful nests, Anchor said. When the riverbank areas are under siege from invasive plants, the turtles are forced to find other open spaces, often along busy roads and trails. Those locations make the nests easy targets for predators such as raccoons and opossums, who lurk to eat the eggs, Anchor said.

Using an anonymous $750,000 gift, the Friends of Chicago River partnered with the forest preserve on a three-year effort to restore acres of land to native conditions. Since 2014, staff and volunteers have cleared about 78 acres of brush at area forest preserves.

Group members earlier this week worked on 8 acres at the Skokie Lagoons, near the East Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River. The Friends also have worked clearing areas of Chipilly Woods south of Dundee Road in northern Cook County, Watersmeet Woods near Northfield, Wampum Lake Woods near Thornton and in the Sag Quarries area near Lemont.

The habitat restoration efforts improve the conditions of woods, prairie lands and wetlands, in addition to helping bats and osprey. As part of the project, the Friends and forest preserve have been building bat houses and platforms for ospreys, which are hawklike birds who often nest atop trees near rivers, creeks and lakes.

“We enable them to reproduce more successfully. That’s the foundation of the whole thing,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “What they’re lacking is actual maternity habitats. These are species that with relatively little intervention, we can help them.”

Berries are seen on a tree stump this week at the Skokie Lagoons nature preserve in Glencoe. (GARY MIDDENDORF/DAILY SOUTHTOWN)

The restoration project also has the trickle-down effect of helping attract butterflies and bees, while aiding storm runoff, Frisbie said.

The forest preserve has worked hand in hand with Friends and has aided the efforts with prescribed burns and additional brush clearings throughout the county. While Friends took part in a prairie seeding effort this week at Skokie Lagoons, Anchor said manual seeding after clearing is usually unnecessary. Many native wetland plants have hard-capsule seeds that can rest in the ground for 40 to 80 years, waiting for the appropriate time to grow.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the wetlands,” Anchor said.

Anchor, who has worked with the forest preserve since 1981, said this was a rare example of an organization following through on its idea, bringing muscle to the project in the form of dollars and manpower.

He said the restoration efforts at Chipilly Woods reaped nearly immediate dividends. Using a pair of turtle-tracking devices, Anchor discovered two female snapping turtles that had been laying eggs along Dundee Road quickly found the newly cleared native habitat in the woods and safely made nests.

“The response was immediate,” he said. “It was fantastic.”

Twitter @pmocwriter

Trump Tax Plan–Guess Who Gains


Who Benefits From Donald Trump’s Tax Plan?

Donald Trump leaves an elevator at Trump Tower in New York City, just prior to delivering a speech in September that outlined his plan for tax reform.  Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Donald Trump has proposed a very detailed tax plan — but his statements on the campaign trail don’t always match what his proposal would really do.

For instance, at a rally in Scranton, Pa., Trump promised to “massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of this country, who built our country.” During a town hall meeting on NBC’s Today show, he said he believes in raising taxes on the wealthy.

And at least half of Trump’s supporters agreed with him on that, according to a pre-election survey by RAND Corp., a research group.

“Just before the election, after the last debate, 51 percent of them intending to vote for Trump supported increasing taxes on high-earning individuals,” says Michael Pollardof RAND.

But Trump’s plan does the opposite, says Lily Batchelder, a law professor at New York University and visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

“If you look at the most wealthy, the top 1 percent would get about half of the benefits of his tax cuts, and a millionaire, for example, would get an average tax cut of $317,000,” she says.

But a family earning between $40,000 and $50,000 a year would get a tax cut of only $560, she says, and millions of middle-class working families will see their tax bills rise under Trump’s plan — especially single-parent families.

Tax Increases Projected Under Trump Plan

Lily Batchelder, a law professor at NYU and visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center, says Donald Trump’s plan would boost taxes for many families, with some of the largest increases applying to single-parent families “because of the repeal of the head of household filing status and personal exemptions.”

  • A single parent with $75,000 in earnings, two school-age children and no child care costs would face a tax increase of around $2,440.
  • A single parent with $50,000 in earnings, three school-age children and no child care costs would also face a tax increase of around $1,188.
  • A married couple with $50,000 in earnings, two school-age children and no child care costs would face a tax increase of about $150.
  • Other married couples would get almost no benefit.

Source: Tax Policy Center

Trump Plan Emphasizes Child Care Tax Breaks

President-elect Donald Trump’s website says working- and middle-class taxpayers would see the biggest tax cuts, in percentage terms, under his plan.

  • A married couple earning $50,000 per year with two children and $8,000 in child care expenses would see a 35 percent cut.
  • A married couple earning $75,000 with two children and $10,000 in child care expenses would see a 30 percent cut.
  • A married couple earning $5 million with two children and $12,000 in child care expenses would see a 3 percent cut.


“A single parent who’s earning $75,000 and has two school-age children, they would face a tax increase of over $2,400,” Batchelder says. That’s if they had no child-care deductions; the increase in taxes comes partly because the Trump plan eliminates the $4,000 exemption for each person in a household.

Steve Calk, a Trump economic adviser, says the loss of the exemption is partially offset by other changes in Trump’s plan. He takes issue with the Tax Policy Center’s analysis and argues that there will be big tax cuts for middle-income families.

Take a family earning $50,000 a year, Calk says, “and their child-care costs are $7,000 or $8,000 a year. They’re going to save 35 percent on their net tax bracket.”

Batchelder says that calculation is misleading because it focuses on tax rate reduction rather than a family’s after-tax income — in other words, how much money they have in their pocket after taxes.

But Calk argues the personal-income tax cuts, as well as the Trump proposal to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, will help taxpayers by boosting economic growth.

“The single best way to help people that are in the low-income bracket or unemployed or underemployed is, No. 1, to get them employed in real jobs with real benefits,” Calk says.

Economists disagree on whether the tax plan would be good for the economy. The Tax Policy Center says that over the first decade, the government would lose $6.2 trillion in revenue, producing huge budget deficits that could hurt the economy.

One other element of the Trump plan is worth noting: It would eliminate the federal estate tax entirely. Only the wealthiest taxpayers — less than 1 percent — now pay that tax. Ending it would lead to an even greater concentration of wealth in the U.S.

Editor’s Note: John Ydstie spoke at length about Trump’s proposed tax plan on NPR’s NewsTime earlier this week. Watch his interview below.

Those Big Boxes

 Image result for photos shipping containers

The Shipping Container    LISTEN at source  (9 minutes)

Listen in pop-out player

Shipping goods around the world was – for many centuries – expensive, risky and time-consuming. But 60 years ago the trucking entrepreneur Malcolm McLean changed all that by selling the idea of container shipping to the US military. Against huge odds he managed to turn “containerisation” from a seemingly impractical idea into a massive industry – one that slashed the cost of transporting goods internationally and provoked a boom in global trade.

Image result for photos shipping containers

Trump U. Racket Costs Him $25MM


New York Attorney General Says Trump Agrees To Trump University Settlement

Donald Trump at a 2005 news conference about Trump University. Now, the New York attorney general says Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement with over 6,000 plaintiffs who said the university had defrauded them.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

A $25 million settlement agreement has been reached in the civil fraud lawsuits against President-elect Donald Trump and Trump University, according to New York’s state attorney general.

Eric Schneiderman called the settlement “a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university” in a written statement. The allegations have been a major point of controversy for the President-elect for years.

“Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university,” Schneiderman added. “Today, that all changes.”

Schneiderman’s office told NPR’s Ina Jaffe that the settlement agreement applies to three separate lawsuits. Schneiderman filed the lawsuit in New York, and there are also two federal class-action lawsuits in California.

“Every victim” will receive a share of the settlement, Schneiderman said. He added that Trump has agreed to pay $1 million in penalties to the state of New York “for violating state education laws.”

Alan Garten, EVP and general counsel of The Trump Organization issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving Trump University. While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation.”

The agreement “does not require Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing,” according to The Associated Press.

Students who purchased classes at Trump University have complained that “the promised Donald Trump investment techniques were mostly stuff that you could find on the internet. They say that the promised mentoring was worthless, that the instructors were unqualified and were not hand-picked by Donald Trump, as he claimed,” Ina reported.

Trump has repeatedly denied those characterizations, Ina said, “and in his deposition, Donald Trump said the students gave the courses a 97 percent approval rating and not even Harvard gets that.

As The New York Times wrote, “The deal, if approved, averts a potentially embarrassing and highly unusual predicament: a president-elect on trial, and possibly even taking the stand in his own defense, while scrambling to build his incoming administration.”

A hearing for one of the lawsuits, in a federal court in San Diego, had been scheduled for today. Ina reported that Trump was requesting that the judge postpone the trial until after the inauguration.

A court document filed by Trump’s lawyers last week requested time to “allow the President-Elect to focus on the enormous responsibility of transitioning to the most demanding and important office in our government.” It also asked for Trump to be allowed to testify by video.

During his presidential run, Trump elicited criticism after he argued that Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is of Mexican heritage and presiding over both California cases, could not be fair to Trump because he has vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Curiel had “urged both sides to settle” in the California suits, according to Reuters.

MORE at N.Y. Times

President-Elect Trump on the Issues


CHARTS: Here’s What Donald Trump Has Said On The Issues

Hand holding bullhorn blocked by cork stopper

Gillian Blease/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Before Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January, there are a lot of questions about how he will decide key policy issues.

We’ve identified the top 10 issues voters care about most according to a 2016 survey from the Pew Research Center and charted what Trump has said about each of them. The issues are, in order: the economy, terrorism, foreign policy, health care, gun policy, immigration, Social Security, education, Supreme Court appointments and the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities.

Where we could, we gave Trump’s stances a simple “Yes” or “No,” but also used the rating “It’s Complicated” in cases where his stance is more nuanced or has changed.

(Trump has given clues on what he’ll prioritize in his first 100 days, which we’ve posted here and fact checked here.)

The Economy

Trump hopes to grow the economy by significantly lowering taxes. Under his plan, he says a middle-class family with two children would get a 35 percent income tax cut. He will also reduce the number of tax brackets from seven down to three, which would largely benefit the wealthiest Americans. When it comes to business tax rates, Trump wants to go from a 35 percent rate to 15 percent.

Trump is also big on infrastructure as a way to create jobs. He says he would grant the permit needed for the Keystone Pipeline despite opposition from environmental activists, as NPR’s Scott Horsley outlined. He also plans to cancel all payments to U.N. climate change programs and put that money toward “water and environmental infrastructure,” as he wrote in his 100-day action plan. Trump would also lift restrictions on the oil, coal, shale and natural gas industries. In addition, he plans to impose tariffs to discourage companies from relocating to other countries.

Relevant stories


Trump made fighting terrorism a central pillar of his campaign and strengthened his hard-line stances with each high-profile terror attack, from the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last December to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., in June.

In his 100-day action plan, Trump promised to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.” During his campaign, he also condoned other extreme counter-terrorism tactics, like waterboarding.

Relevant stories

Foreign Policy

When it comes to foreign policy, Trump’s main focus has been to upend U.S. trade policy. He has promised to renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA, the United States’ free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. According to NPR’s Marilyn Geewax, actually doing away with NAFTA might not actually be feasible, but Trump could undermine it. He also wants to label China a currency manipulator and, per his 100-day plan, “identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.”

Relevant stories


Trump’s main goal for health care policy is to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That feat will be harder than Trump seems to think, as we reported. To completely repeal and replace the act, he would need 60 votes in the Senate, which is the number needed to overcome a filibuster. Though they’ll make up a majority, there will be only 51 Republican senators come January. He recently signaled in an interview that he may be open to keeping provisions of Obamacare that expand insurance to people with pre-existing conditions and to young people.

Trump has also promised to allow tax deductions for child care and elder care and to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts, with matching contributions for low-income families. As we reported earlier this year, that would cost the government $25 billion annually.

Relevant stories

Gun Policy

Donald Trump aligned himself strongly with the National Rifle Association, which endorsed him, and also with Second Amendment protectionists (though no major candidate claimed to want to take away gun rights outright). Trump has said states should be more diligent about putting criminal and mental health records into existing background check systems.

Relevant stories


Restricting immigration appears to be top-of-mind for Trump’s presidency, at least initially. In his 100-day plan, Trump promised to cancel federal funding to “sanctuary cities,” though he hasn’t specified which funds he would cut. There’s no legal definition for this type of city; it’s used to describe places with policies limiting how much local authorities can collaborate with federal authorities on immigration issues, such as detention requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to CNN.

Trump has also promised to undo all of President Obama’s executive actions, which include two on immigration (only one of which is in effect). Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allows certain people brought to the country illegally as children to apply for protection against deportation for two-year periods. That protection would go away, it seems.

Trump has also promised to deport immigrants in the country illegally who have committed crimes, stop immigration from “terror-prone” regions and begin “extreme vetting” of people entering the U.S. He has also mostly stood by his vow to build a wall on the country’s southern border, and make Mexico pay for it. Trump and some surrogates have said recently they would be OK with certain areas of the border having fence, rather than wall.

Relevant stories

Social Security

Trump does not want to privatize Social Security, nor does he want to raise the retirement age or increase taxes. He told AARP he plans to fund the entitlement program through “an economy that is robust and growing,” and he specifically highlighted his tax and immigration plans as key players in that growth.

Relevant stories


Trump has been vocal about school choice, which allows parents to choose to send their child to any type of school: traditional public, private or charter. Critics sayschool choice leads to a gap in equitable school investment. Proponents say it increases competition between schools. In addition to school choice, Trump wants to end the Common Core standards, which are the federal guidelines created for K-12 education across the country. States were able to choose to opt in (some didn’t) — and the federal government encouraged it.

Relevant stories

Supreme Court Appointments

Trump has released two lists, adding up to 21 judges, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy resulting from Antonin Scalia’s death last February. According to NPR’s Nina Totenberg, the lists are very conservative and a lot is unknown about who is helping Trump make this selection. With two other justices over 80 years old, it’s possible Trump will be able to nominate more than one justice during his presidency.

Relevant stories

The Treatment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities

The relationship between police and their treatment of African-Americans was a common topic this election year. Trump ran as the “law and order” candidate and he’s sticking to it: He plans on increasing funding for federal law enforcement “to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.” He also wants to provide more funding and training to local police departments.

Trump has been criticized for his own rhetoric on minorities, most notably referring to Mexican immigrants as rapists in his June 2015 announcement speech and calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Relevant stories

Stephan Bisaha, Alyson Hurt, Clinton King and Lisa Charlotte Rost designed the charts for this post. A version of this story, breaking down where all the major candidiates stood, was published ahead of Election Day.


Image result for photo suspicious face  Heard on the radio today:

There are are more subscribers on Facebook now than there were in the whole world 200 years ago.

Let’s check.

Number of people in the world year 1800:    913,000,000   source

Number of people on Facebook:   As of the third quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.79 billion monthly active users. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed 1 billion. source

Fact-checking is a new industry, and so helpful !  Whenever a politician makes a speech, the checkers are on it immediately.  And they check everything–it’s fun to read.

Here is a list of fact-checking web sites for politics, hoaxes, scams, myths, conspiracies, etc.

Phoney News for Fun and Money


The rise and rise of fake news

Newspaper with 'Liar Liar' headlineImage copyrightISTOCK

The deliberate making up of news stories to fool or entertain is nothing new. But the arrival of social media has meant real and fictional stories are now presented in such a similar way that it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two apart.

While the internet has enabled the sharing of knowledge in ways that previous generations could only have dreamed of, it has also provided ample proof of the line, often attributed to Winston Churchill, that “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”.

So with research suggesting an increasing proportion of US adults are getting their news from social media, it’s likely that more and more of us are seeing – and believing – information that is not just inaccurate, but totally made up.

There are hundreds of fake news websites out there, from those which deliberately imitate real life newspapers, to government propaganda sites, and even those which tread the line between satire and plain misinformation.

National Report front pageImage copyrightNATIONAL REPORT
Image caption     A US election story untainted by fact

One of them is The National Report which advertises itself as “America’s Number 1 Independent News Source”, and which was set up by Allen Montgomery (not his real name).

“There are times when it feels like a drug,” Montgomery told BBC Trending.

“There are highs that you get from watching traffic spikes and kind of baiting people into the story. I just find it to be a lot of fun.”

One of The National Report’s biggest ever stories was a scare about a US town being cordoned off with a deadly disease, and as Montgomery explains they’ve mastered the art of getting people to read and share their fake news offering.

“Obviously the headline is key, and the domain name itself is very much a part of the formula – you need to have a fake news site that looks legitimate as can be,” Montgomery says.

“Beyond the headline and the first couple of paragraphs people totally stop reading, so as long as the first two or three paragraphs sound like legitimate news then you can do whatever you want at the end of the story and make it ridiculous.”

But why go to such trouble? The answer is there is big money to be made from sites by The National Report which host web advertising, and these potentially huge rewards entice website owners to move away from funny satirical jokes and towards more believable content because it is likely to be more widely shared.

“We’ve had stories that have made $10,000 (about £8,100). When we really tap in to something and get it to go big then we’re talking about in the thousands of dollars that are made per story,” Montgomery says.

Empire NewsImage copyrightEMPIRE NEWS
Image captionTrick or treat?

But how much should be worried by fooled by sites that set out to get fake news stories up and running?

Brooke Binkowski from Snopes, one of the largest fact checking websites which fights online misinformation, believes that while individual fake news stories may not be dangerous their potential to cause damage becomes more powerful over time and when considered in the aggregate.

“There’s a lot of confirmation bias,” she says. “A lot of people want proof that their world view is the accurate and appropriate one.”

And that idea of reinforcing people’s beliefs and falsely confirming their prejudices is something that Allen Montgomery says his fake news site actively tries to exploit.

“We’re constantly trying to tune into feelings that we think that people already have or want to have,” he says.

“Recently we did a story about Hillary Clinton being fed the answers prior to the debate. There was already some low level chatter about that having happened – it was all fake – but that sort of headline gets into the right wing bubble and they run with it.”

Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman, who heads a team looking into the effects of fake news, explains just how easily fake news can end up being reported as true by the mainstream media.

“A fake news website might publish a hoax, then because it’s getting social attention another site might pick it up, write that story as though it’s true and may not link back to the original fake news website,” Silverman says.

“From there it’s a chain reaction until at some point a journalist at a largely credible outlet might see it and quickly write something up, because many journalists are trying to write as many stories as possible and write stories that get traffic and social attention. The incentive is towards producing more and checking less.”

ClickholeImage copyrightCLICKHOLE
Image caption      Not the naked truth

And as Anthony Adornato, assistant Professor of Journalism at Ithaca College in New York explains journalists are not only under increasing pressure but in many cases are also not being given sufficient guidance on how to properly verify stories.

“The policies in newsrooms haven’t caught up with the practice,” Adornato says.

“Its commonplace that news outlets are relying on content that folks have shared, but not every newsroom has a policy regarding how to verify and authenticate this information.”

A recent study of local TV stations in the US conducted by Adornato revealed that that nearly 40% of their editorial policies did not include any guidelines on how to verify information from social media, yet news managers at the TV stations admitted that at least a third of their news bulletins had reported information from social media that later was revealed to be false or inaccurate.

So with the fake news floodgates now wide open, has the battle to contain it already been lost?

Allen Montgomery says Facebook has taken steps to reduce the impact of fake sites like his own.

“We were specifically targeted by the Facebook changes in their news feed algorithm. They’ve drowned out our stories from being shared and from being liked, and I have no doubt that they are doing the same to other fake news sites. Really though, if there’s money to be made – and there is – you just have to get more creative.”

Montgomery says he now has nine fake news sites around which he moves content to try to beat Facebook censoring.

So if fake news sites aren’t going away, Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman says that more needs to be done to ensure that people aren’t duped by them.

“Journalists need to get training so that they can quickly spot fakes, and people in school should learn how to read things critically online – they should learn how to research and check multiple sources online.”

Listen to a special edition of BBC Trending on fake news on the BBC World Service.

Veterans Day and Suicide etc.

Today, 20 military veterans will commit suicide.  I heard that on NPR’s Morning Edition.  Our country’s treatment of, or failure to care for, veterans is a long-standing shame.

I’m a veteran though I don’t think of myself that way.  I was in the army for 21 months in the late 1950’s when there seemed to be no war, though the U.S. was active in Viet Nam and dropped paratroops on Lebanon when an election didn’t go our way. My weapon was a typewriter and my battlefield was  the compound of the Corporal Missile (training) Battery in Oklahoma. I drew the veteran benefit for courses I took when I got out.

Who’s a real veteran?  My nephew Jeffrey Nugent who served in Iraq and our new Senator Tammy Duckworth who lost her legs there. My brother John who graduated from the Naval Academy and transferred to the Marines.  And my friend Larry who served in Viet Nam.   And a lot of those people sleeping in a park or on the warm grates of city sidewalks, asking for change on street corners, talking to themselves in public libraries.  Or sitting in jail cells with no hope.

What’s being done for all those suffering as a result of military service? Not enough..

Mental Health Concerns
  • Postraumtic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events, such as military combat, assault, disasters or sexual assault can have long-lasting negative effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, being jumpy and alcohol and drug abuse. …
  • Depression. …
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).






Election–How Do You Feel ?


Image result for photos donald trump

Congratulations to all the Trump voters out there !

To those who feel shocked, embarassed, fearful about the election results, remember that President Trump will enjoy both a Senate and House of Representatives of his own party, as President Obama has not.  You can always feel worse.

What can be done?  SOMETHING !  And you’ll feel better.

( This all begins again in 3 years.  And all House members run again in 2 years.  Who is your representative in the House?  Click here.  )

For a start you can contact your local Democratic organization and offer to volunteer (and/or write them a check if you can). Google on something like “Democratic organization Lake County, or New Trier Township, or McHenry, Illinois. Or inquire at an organization listed in Wikipedia.  Might be interesting to contact Bernie Sanders’  people at Our Movement.  They’ll all be glad to hear from you.




Who Cares About the Cubs?

World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game SevenI remember my mother working in the kitchen while listening to a Cubs game described by Bert Wilson on the radio. I can still enjoy listening to a game on the radio almost as much as watching on television, if it’s narrated by a good announcer who gives what I want to know without jabbering the way Joe Buck has done on television in the Series.  I wonder whether his father, Jack, was a better announcer.

More recently,  Alice discovered a few years ago that she could enjoy watching a game while knitting.  Since then we have followed the team rather closely and cared whether they won,  They won a lot–103 wins in 162 games, the best record in either the National or the American League.

(As people, the players are lovable as someone said on the radio this morning.  Alice  feels annoyed when a competent, lovable guy is traded, and pleased when an incompetent is sent down the road.)

For me, that was good enough.  Win in the playoffs?  Get into the World Series?  Win the Series?  Nice, but not necessary for me to be satisfied the Cubs are the best team and had a lot of fun.   I could enjoy the last game without feeling under  threat of doom,  except in the 6th through 8th innings when I was asleep.

I connect this with the way Olympic athletes are treated in the news.  You earned  a gold medal–aren’t you terrific.  Silver, bronze medal?  What’s the matter with you?  Don’t expect to be noticed except as a failure.  You’re only the 2nd best swimmer in the world by half a second on a given day.

Someone who works into the finals of an Olympic event has achieved something right there.  A third-place medal ?  Good job as far as I’m concerned.

There are some great books about baseball, including books with the writing of talented sports reporters.  Here is one list of many lists online.

And drop into your public library and ask a librarian, not another staffer, to point you to the baseball books.  Keep in mind that a biography might sit in a different place.

Please, if you feel a response to this post, hit the REPLY button below.