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.

RJN

 

 

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.

 

Secretly Sick Presidents

THE SECRET AILMENTS OF PRESIDENTS

A history of illnesses kept from public

By Joel Achenbach and Lillian Cunningham                                                                                       The Washington Post in Chicago Tribune 9.13.16

In his second term as president, Dwight Eisenhower looked like an old man. He’d had a serious heart attack in 1955, requiring extensive hospitalization. He later suffered a stroke. In contrast, his successor, John F. Kennedy, seemed vibrant and flamboyant.

The reality was that Eisenhower wasn’t really that old — he was just 62 when he was first elected. And Kennedy wasn’t that vigorous and indeed was secretly afflicted by serious medical problems, including Addison’s disease*, that his aides concealed from the public.

In his second term as president, Dwight Eisenhower looked like an old man. He’d had a serious heart attack in 1955, requiring extensive hospitalization. He later suffered a stroke. In contrast, his successor, John F. Kennedy, seemed vibrant and flamboyant.

The reality was that Eisenhower wasn’t really that old — he was just 62 when he was first elected. And Kennedy wasn’t that vigorous and indeed was secretly afflicted by serious medical problems, including Addison’s disease, that his aides concealed from the public.

The history of the presidency includes a running thread of illness and incapacity, much of it hidden from the public out of political calculation. A stroke incapacitated Woodrow Wilson in 1919, for example, but the public had no inkling until many months later. And when Grover Cleveland needed surgery in 1893 to remove a cancerous tumor in his mouth, he did it secretly on a friend’s yacht cruising through Long Island Sound.

Presidential history reveals a more subtle trend: Age isn’t what it used to be. American culture has redefined old age, pushing it back significantly as people live longer and expect to be more active into their eighth or ninth decade or beyond.

Hillary Clinton is 68, and Donald Trump is 70. They’re the oldest pair of major party candidates in history. If elected, Clinton would be the second-oldest person to assume the presidency, after Ronald Reagan. Trump would be the oldest.

Health has suddenly become a preoccupation on the campaign trail in the wake of Clinton’s wobbly episode Sunday when she left a 9/11 service in New York City. The Clinton camp initially called it merely a case of overheating. Late in the day, the campaign revealed that, in fact, she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. On Monday, a Clinton spokesperson acknowledged that the campaign could have been more forthcoming on Sunday.

Neither candidate has released detailed medical records.

Clinton’s gender gives her an advantage on one respect: Women in the U.S. outlive men by several years. According to the Social Security Administration’s online life expectancy calculator, a woman of Clinton’s age is likely to live an additional 18.4 years. A man of Trump’s age is likely to live an additional 15.2.

Voters will have to determine if the murky health status of Clinton and Trump should be a factor in the November decision. What’s certain is that the campaign trail can be brutal and that the presidency itself can pound away at the health of whoever occupies the Oval Office.

President Cleveland kept his cancer surgery secret in part because cancer at the time was such a dreaded disease. He also didn’t trust reporters or think his medical condition was anyone’s business, Cleveland biographer Matthew Algeo, author of “The President is a Sick Man,” told The Washington Post.

Algeo makes a broader observation: The desire for secrecy led many American presidents to avoid the best doctors. “With presidents, a lot of times they don’t get the best care. You would expect they would, but they’re so paranoid about anyone knowing what’s wrong with them that they employ old family doctors,” Algeo said.

The public had limited information about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s physical condition and the fact that he used a wheelchair. By the time he ran for a fourth term in 1944, he had heart disease, was constantly tired and had trouble concentrating. Frank Lahey, a surgeon who examined Roosevelt, wrote a memo saying FDR would never survive another four-year term. The memo was not disclosed until 2011.

Roosevelt sailed to another victory and died in April 1945, leaving Harry Truman to close out World War II.

Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease and had to take steroids and other drugs to ward off the symptoms, but he did so secretly. As the Los Angeles Times reported: “During the 1960 campaign, Kennedy’s opponents said he had Addison’s. His physicians released a cleverly worded statement saying that he did not have Addison’s disease caused by tuberculosis, and the matter was dropped.

“Kennedy collapsed twice because of the disease: once at the end of a parade during an election campaign and once on a congressional visit to Britain.”

The history of the presidency includes a running thread of illness and incapacity, much of it hidden from the public out of political calculation. A stroke incapacitated Woodrow Wilson in 1919, for example, but the public had no inkling until many months later. And when Grover Cleveland needed surgery in 1893 to remove a cancerous tumor in his mouth, he did it secretly on a friend’s yacht cruising through Long Island Sound.

Presidential history reveals a more subtle trend: Age isn’t what it used to be. American culture has redefined old age, pushing it back significantly as people live longer and expect to be more active into their eighth or ninth decade or beyond.

Hillary Clinton is 68, and Donald Trump is 70. They’re the oldest pair of major party candidates in history. If elected, Clinton would be the second-oldest person to assume the presidency, after Ronald Reagan. Trump would be the oldest.

Health has suddenly become a preoccupation on the campaign trail in the wake of Clinton’s wobbly episode Sunday when she left a 9/11 service in New York City. The Clinton camp initially called it merely a case of overheating. Late in the day, the campaign revealed that, in fact, she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. On Monday, a Clinton spokesperson acknowledged that the campaign could have been more forthcoming on Sunday.

Neither candidate has released detailed medical records.

Clinton’s gender gives her an advantage on one respect: Women in the U.S. outlive men by several years. According to the Social Security Administration’s online life expectancy calculator, a woman of Clinton’s age is likely to live an additional 18.4 years. A man of Trump’s age is likely to live an additional 15.2.

Voters will have to determine if the murky health status of Clinton and Trump should be a factor in the November decision. What’s certain is that the campaign trail can be brutal and that the presidency itself can pound away at the health of whoever occupies the Oval Office.

President Cleveland kept his cancer surgery secret in part because cancer at the time was such a dreaded disease. He also didn’t trust reporters or think his medical condition was anyone’s business, Cleveland biographer Matthew Algeo, author of “The President is a Sick Man,” told The Washington Post.

Algeo makes a broader observation: The desire for secrecy led many American presidents to avoid the best doctors. “With presidents, a lot of times they don’t get the best care. You would expect they would, but they’re so paranoid about anyone knowing what’s wrong with them that they employ old family doctors,” Algeo said.

The public had limited information about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s physical condition and the fact that he used a wheelchair. By the time he ran for a fourth term in 1944, he had heart disease, was constantly tired and had trouble concentrating. Frank Lahey, a surgeon who examined Roosevelt, wrote a memo saying FDR would never survive another four-year term. The memo was not disclosed until 2011.

Roosevelt sailed to another victory and died in April 1945, leaving Harry Truman to close out World War II.

Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease and had to take steroids and other drugs to ward off the symptoms, but he did so secretly. As the Los Angeles Times reported: “During the 1960 campaign, Kennedy’s opponents said he had Addison’s. His physicians released a cleverly worded statement saying that he did not have Addison’s disease caused by tuberculosis, and the matter was dropped.

“Kennedy collapsed twice because of the disease: once at the end of a parade during an election campaign and once on a congressional visit to Britain.”

 * Addison’s disease is a disorder that occurs when your body produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones produced by your adrenal glands. In Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and often insufficient levels of aldosterone as well.  Read more at source.

“Never expected to see this day”

 

Delegate to Democratic Convention was born before women achieved the national right to vote in 1920.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, 102-year-old Geraldine (Jerry) Emmett excitedly announced that Arizona cast 51 votes for Hillary Clinton, after spending decades in political activism.

Jerry Emmett, Arizona's oldest delegate, announced that the state cast 51 votes for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.
 Read more at source.
___________________________________

After a hard-fought series of votes in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. It states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”  Wikipedia  has a thorough article on women’s long struggle for the right to vote.

Donald Didn’t Do “The Deal”

 

Note:  no one suggests that “ghost writing” is bad–it often results in a good book.  Usually the subject of the book recognizes the contribution of the ghost-writer.  Check the end of this post for more on that.  RJN

___________________________

Product DetailsProduct Details

 

‘Art Of The Deal’ Ghostwriter On Why Trump Should Not Be President

Tony Schwartz (from left), Ivana Trump, photographer Francesco Scavullo and Donald Trump celebrate the publication of Donald Trump's 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, which was ghostwritten by Schwartz.

Tony Schwartz (from left), Ivana Trump, photographer Francesco Scavullo and Donald Trump celebrate the publication of Donald Trump’s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, which was ghostwritten by Schwartz.  Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

In 1987, the book The Art of the Deal elevated Donald Trump from playboy developer to best-selling author.

From the opening paragraph of Trump’s self-portrait as a shrewd and creative dealmaker:

“I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

Trump’s name is on the cover of that book. But there’s another one, too — beneath the portrait and the big golden letters spelling out TRUMP — the name of Tony Schwartz, the book’s ghostwriter.

Schwartz did not weigh in on the presidential campaign until this week in a lengthy interview with The New Yorker.

Schwartz tells All Things Considered‘s Robert Siegel that he is speaking out now because he is extremely concerned about what Trump would be like as a president.

He says the portrait that he painted of Trump in The Art of the Deal is not accurate.

“I helped to paint Trump as a vastly more appealing human being than he actually is. And I have no pride about that. … I did it for the money. It’s certainly weighed on me over the years,” Schwartz says. “Now, since he’s … in a position to potentially become president, it makes my decision back then look very different than it did at the time.”

Schwartz spent 18 months on the book, including eight or nine months sitting in Trump’s office virtually every morning to get the information he needed.

“One of the chief things I’m concerned about is the limits of his attention span, which are as severe as any person I think I’ve ever met,” Schwartz says. “No matter what question I asked, he would become impatient with it pretty quickly, and literally, from the very first time I sat down to start interviewing him, after about 10 or 15 minutes, he said, ‘You know, I don’t really wanna talk about this stuff, I’m not interested in it, I mean it’s over, it’s the past, I’m done with it, what else have you got?’ ”

The idea of a president in an “incredibly complex and threatening world who can’t pay attention is itself frightening,” Schwartz says.

Add to that the fact that Trump is so easily provoked, that what Schwartz calls Trump’s insecurity “makes him incredibly reactive whenever he feels threatened, which is very, very often.”

As an example, Schwartz says, his interview in The New Yorker came out on Monday. On Tuesday, he received “a long and threatening letter from his lawyer designed, I think, to muzzle me.”

“For 25 years, I think Trump has done a very, very effective job of muzzling anyone who has worked for him or with him by signing very, very strict nondisclosure agreements before they start working with him,” Schwartz says. “It just turns out that I started with him so early that he hadn’t thought of it yet.”

“The reason I’m stepping up is because no one else seems to be free or willing to do so,” Schwartz says. “Believe me, it is not fun.”

___________________________________________________________A ghostwriter is a person who is hired to authorbooks, manuscripts, screenplays, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.Celebrities, executives, participants in timely news stories, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. A common form of literature ghostwriters are hired for is a celebrity’s memoirs. In music, ghostwriters are often used for writing songs and lyrics. Screenplay authors can also use ghostwriters to either edit or rewrite their scripts to improve them.  Wikipedia

John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage is a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators throughout the Senate’s history …

Profiles was widely celebrated and became a best seller.John F. Kennedy is credited as the author, although the extent of his contribution has been questioned. In his 2008 autobiography, Kennedy’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen wrote that, while Kennedy provided the theme and supervised its production, Sorensen had written most of the book.  Wikipedia

 

In Case of Shooter . . .

 

Basics on how to survive a shooting

Training focuses on what to do in case of an attacker

The Florida nightclub shooting fits the pattern in recent years that one’s chances of survival depended on initial reaction. ( Spencer Platt/Getty )

By Joel Achenbach     The Washington Post,    Chicago Tribune 6.22.16

WASHINGTON — The mass shootings that have terrorized the country have led to a new focus on how to survive them. Though far from an exact science, these efforts are based on a disturbing amount of data — including case studies, the body counts from these tragedies and the personal narratives of people who somehow got out alive.

A number of private companies now train office workers in how to respond in an active-shooter event.

The experts agree: Following a few simple rules can help boost a person’s chance of survival. Being mentally prepared to take action in a crisis — or simply knowing where a building’s exits are — can make the difference.

The recent massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., fits with the general, horrifying pattern in recent years, in that life and death pivoted to a large degree on how the people there reacted in the initial minutes.

Research shows that it usually takes about three minutes for police to arrive at an active-shooter situation — although the Orlando club had an extra-duty uniformed police officer working security, and he engaged the shooter.

The best move for civilians, as always, was to get out of the place immediately by any possible route. Many escaped through rear and side doors onto a patio. Less fortunate were those who went into the restrooms, a dead end, and became trapped when the gunman came in after them.

“When you go somewhere, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where if you get found, you don’t have any options,” said Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, based at Texas State University.

Blair co-authored “Active Shooter: Events and Response,” which includes guidance for civilians. The book’s mantra is “Avoid, Deny and Defend.”

The Department of Homeland Security has endorsed a similar concept, built around the words “Run, Hide, Fight.”

The latter option gained attention after Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier said on “60 Minutes” last year that people should be prepared to take out an attacker before the police arrive.

Blair said that kind of action is a last resort: “When we do our training, we always stress that it’s ‘avoid, deny, defend,’ and they’re in that order for a reason.”

He said he’s not entirely comfortable with the “hide” concept; killers can find people under a desk, for example.

“Hide is a passive action. As opposed to ‘deny,’ where I try to keep you from getting to me,” Blair said.

The more active response is to barricade a door, or ideally lock it; his organization does not know of a case in which an active shooter breached a locked door.

He also cautioned against playing dead as a strategy: Although news reports have suggested that some of the Orlando victims survived by pretending they were dead, that often has not worked, Blair said.

“When you play dead, we see time and time again in these situations the shooters continue to shoot people who are down and who they think are dead,” Blair said.

Blair’s book warns against people with concealed handguns trying to engage a killer except as a last resort:

“The last thing you want to do in an active shooter event is to pull your gun out and go hunting for the shooter. If there are other concealed gun carriers in the attack location, they may shoot you. If the police show up, and you are running around with a gun, they will probably shoot you. Remember that no one knows who you are. The responders are looking for someone with a gun, and you match that description.”

Research on active-shooter events, as well as other mass-casualty incidents, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reveals the many mental and physical challenges that arise when a person is suddenly plunged into an unfamiliar, unexpected and terrifying situation.

Few people have ever experienced anything like this. As a result, most people are slow to grasp that something terrible is happening.

In the Pulse nightclub, people heard the initial gunfire from the shooter, Omar Mateen, but many assumed it was firecrackers or part of the music.

In a crisis in a confined space, people often instinctively behave in ways that do not boost their survival chances. For example, people typically try to leave a building through a main entrance rather than a secondary exit. That can create a bottleneck.

The classic example, involving a fire and not an active shooter, happened in the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., on Feb. 20, 2003. A heavy metal band’s pyrotechnic display led to a fire in the wood-frame club. At first people thought it was part of the show. The fire spread rapidly and people stampeded toward the main entrance, where firefighters later found 25 bodies. A hundred people died in the fire.

That leads to one obvious tip to increase your chances of survival — know your secondary exits.

As a routine matter, people should understand how to get out of a building through emergency exits or back doors in case some event takes place that demands speedy evacuation.

All buildings have these exits — they’re required by fire codes. The point of fire drills is to train the mind to know where to go, without having to ponder the issue, in a situation that might be confusing and when people might not be think clearly.

A building may have more exits than people realize at first glance.

Consider the case of a food court: There may be only a couple of primary entrances and exits, but the food vendors probably have their own exits, via their kitchens. If trapped in a food court, Blair said, he’d jump a counter and flee through a kitchen.

Research suggests there is little hope of reasoning with a mass killer, Blair said.

The better move, if there’s no way to flee or find protective cover, is for multiple people to swarm the attacker. They should use whatever they have at hand as a weapon — coffee cups, car keys, anything.

“In general, this person has already shown a desire to murder people. To murder a lot of people,” Blair said. “Is there a chance you might be able to talk him down? There might be a chance. That chance is probably small. We just don’t see it happen in these cases.

“But we do know that in about 1 out of 5 cases we’ve seen people successfully stop the attacker.”

– See more at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=b3ed7b5f-03bf-4354-ab90-7be0479b0a87&t=1466607647363#sthash.52w4ZLVU.dpuf

Democrats Must Plan for Illinois

 

The State Journal-Register

 

Daniel BissDaniel Biss is our state senator.  He visited us during his first campaign for election.  He proposed a plan to “solve” the  state’s pension problem by taking money from workers.  Problem was caused by  failing to pay the state’s share over many years while workers were required to pay in full.  We let him know this was unfair.  Illinois Supreme Court said it was unconsituttional.

Daniel Biss: Democrats must articulate reform plan for Illinois     source

On May 20, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that Illinois has the highest unemployment rate in the country. On May 31, the Illinois General Assembly ended its regular 2016 session without passing a budget.

These two seemingly unconnected events actually are related. When the state has no budget, social service providers lay off thousands of people. Universities enact hiring freezes. Those who have the freedom to choose where to live flee the chaos, and businesses don’t want to move here under a cloud of uncertainty.

We must bring this standoff to an end immediately.

But how could it be happening in the first place? Amazingly, for all the work done by advocates and rank and file legislators, the situation hasn’t changed much since early 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is not willing to make a budget deal that doesn’t include parts of his so-called “turnaround agenda,” and Democratic legislators are unwilling to make a budget deal that does include turnaround agenda items.

I could explain why I think Gov. Rauner should change his mind, but you probably don’t care at this point — and I don’t blame you. What we really need is a different way forward.

To chart such a course, we must understand why both sides are stuck. Gov. Rauner’s position is clear: he badly wants to implement his agenda, and therefore won’t pass up this chance to do it.

What about the Democrats?

In our opinion, Gov. Rauner’s proposals would dramatically reshape the Illinois economy in destructive ways. And what are we being offered in exchange for this destruction?

Gov. Rauner’s suggested “give” for Democrats is to enact a tax increase and balance the budget. However, everyone should want a balanced budget, so that’s no concession. Gov. Rauner hasn’t proposed a balanced budget without new revenue — making it clear that he actually wants a tax increase, so that’s no concession either.

In other words, it’s been hard to negotiate constructively within a structure that expects Democrats to give up a lot in exchange for nothing.

This is not going to work. Instead, we should create a level playing field: Gov. Rauner has laid out his economic proposals and since we don’t like them, Democrats should counter with our own ideas.

There are certainly glimmers of such an agenda. Democrats have fought to repeal the state’s bizarre constitutional provision mandating a flat tax — only four states have this, and it’s held back our efforts at tax fairness and budgetary balance.

Democrats have fought to increase the minimum wage, and for other worker-friendly policies like paid sick days and family leave. We’ve sought to reform our criminal justice system and streamline local government. Democrats in the Senate have fought to reform our school funding formula, which is the most regressive in the country and holds our poorest districts back.

These ideas have some common threads: they seek to improve opportunity for the poor and middle class, and to change aspects of Illinois government that are out of line with other states. Most Democrats can proudly unite behind these goals.

However, they’re mostly seen as apparently unrelated bills pushed by individual legislators. That is, while Gov. Rauner and legislative Republicans advocate in one voice for the turnaround agenda, Democrats haven’t assembled our ideas into a single program to put on the negotiating table.

Given the problems Illinois is facing, laying out a reform agenda is essential for any major party. Moreover, in order to find a compromise that respects the values of both sides, we need a negotiation whose starting point includes big ideas from both sides.

It may seem like when your unemployment rate is the highest in the country, you’ve hit bottom. But if we don’t get past this impasse, unemployment will rise, more people will be denied crucial services, and more schools will risk insolvency. To avoid that nightmare, Democrats must come to the table with our own reform plan to fix Illinois.

— Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat, represents the 9th District.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Daniel Biss: Democrats must articulate reform plan for Illinois

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Daniel Biss…

 

  

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Daniel Biss

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Posted Jun. 1, 2016 at 8:08 PM http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20160601/sen-daniel-biss-democrats-must-articulate-reform-plan-for-illinois

On May 20, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that Illinois has the highest unemployment rate in the country. On May 31, the Illinois General Assembly ended its regular 2016 session without passing a budget.

These two seemingly unconnected events actually are related. When the state has no budget, social service providers lay off thousands of people. Universities enact hiring freezes. Those who have the freedom to choose where to live flee the chaos, and businesses don’t want to move here under a cloud of uncertainty.

We must bring this standoff to an end immediately.

But how could it be happening in the first place? Amazingly, for all the work done by advocates and rank and file legislators, the situation hasn’t changed much since early 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is not willing to make a budget deal that doesn’t include parts of his so-called “turnaround agenda,” and Democratic legislators are unwilling to make a budget deal that does include turnaround agenda items.

I could explain why I think Gov. Rauner should change his mind, but you probably don’t care at this point — and I don’t blame you. What we really need is a different way forward.

To chart such a course, we must understand why both sides are stuck. Gov. Rauner’s position is clear: he badly wants to implement his agenda, and therefore won’t pass up this chance to do it.

What about the Democrats?

In our opinion, Gov. Rauner’s proposals would dramatically reshape the Illinois economy in destructive ways. And what are we being offered in exchange for this destruction?

Gov. Rauner’s suggested “give” for Democrats is to enact a tax increase and balance the budget. However, everyone should want a balanced budget, so that’s no concession. Gov. Rauner hasn’t proposed a balanced budget without new revenue — making it clear that he actually wants a tax increase, so that’s no concession either.

In other words, it’s been hard to negotiate constructively within a structure that expects Democrats to give up a lot in exchange for nothing.

This is not going to work. Instead, we should create a level playing field: Gov. Rauner has laid out his economic proposals and since we don’t like them, Democrats should counter with our own ideas.

There are certainly glimmers of such an agenda. Democrats have fought to repeal the state’s bizarre constitutional provision mandating a flat tax — only four states have this, and it’s held back our efforts at tax fairness and budgetary balance.

Democrats have fought to increase the minimum wage, and for other worker-friendly policies like paid sick days and family leave. We’ve sought to reform our criminal justice system and streamline local government. Democrats in the Senate have fought to reform our school funding formula, which is the most regressive in the country and holds our poorest districts back.

 

  • Page 2 of 2– These ideas have some common threads: they seek to improve opportunity for the poor and middle class, and to change aspects of Illinois government that are out of line with other states. Most Democrats can proudly unite behind these goals.

However, they’re mostly seen as apparently unrelated bills pushed by individual legislators. That is, while Gov. Rauner and legislative Republicans advocate in one voice for the turnaround agenda, Democrats haven’t assembled our ideas into a single program to put on the negotiating table.

Given the problems Illinois is facing, laying out a reform agenda is essential for any major party. Moreover, in order to find a compromise that respects the values of both sides, we need a negotiation whose starting point includes big ideas from both sides.

It may seem like when your unemployment rate is the highest in the country, you’ve hit bottom. But if we don’t get past this impasse, unemployment will rise, more people will be denied crucial services, and more schools will risk insolvency. To avoid that nightmare, Democrats must come to the table with our own reform plan to fix Illinois.

— Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat, represents the 9th District.

 

 

Indian Nations of Oklahoma

Image result for photos oklahoma indians

Oklahoma: Reclaiming Native America?

Listen to Radio show (52 min.)    BBC News Hour Extra                           Experts discuss relations among  Indian nations, the U.S., and the state and the  conditions of life for the people.

___________________________________________________________

How did the Indians get there?  They walked!

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native American nations in theUnited States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The relocated people suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route, and more than ten thousand died before reaching their various destinations. The removal included members of theCherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Native Territory.  Wikipedia

See a map of tribal lands in Oklahoma.

Someone might wonder about my using the term Indian instead Native American. For one thing, Indian is easier to say or type.  Further, I have heard Indians on the radio refer to themselves that way in serious conversations.  Also, on the radio show noted above, one Indian, a university professor,  listed acceptable terms, including Indian.  An intolerable term she said is redskin, which refers to a time when there was a bounty for killing Indians.  Killers seeking to be paid would present a red skin.

By the way, Joanne and I lived in Oklahoma in 1958-9 while I was in the army serving at Fort Sill in western Oklahoma.  Once we attended an exhibition of Indian dance in which Joanne noticed a delightful boy about 9 years old.  She wanted to take him home.

Susan was born in the Commanche County Hospital.  It was interesting to see one white baby in the nursery among the Indians.  They all had black hair 3 or 4 inches long.

I remember that rural gas stations had 3 outhouses in back labeled WHITE, COLORED, and INDIAN.

In the city of Lawton, the black people, army or civilian, lived on the other side of the railroad tracks.

Fort Sill was racially integrated–President Truman had fixed that by executive order in 1948, integrating all the armed forces.

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Guns, Concealed Carry, and Care

One of our little boys went missing for part of an afternoon.  Scary.  When he eventually turned up at home, he explained that he’d been playing at a friend’s house–beyond our neighborhood, a friend we didn’t know.

Joanne called the friend’s mother and asked her to call us when our kid was there.  That mother said, “You don’t have to worry.  Our  house is safe.  We have a gun in every room of the house.”  rjn

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Does Carrying A Pistol Make You Safer?

There is a pistol-packing revolution going on in America. Nearly 13 million Americans have permits to carry concealed handguns — triple the number just nine years ago — and that figure is low because not every state reports.

It’s puzzling that so many Americans are choosing to arm themselves at a time when the FBI tells us violent crime and property crime have been falling dramatically for two decades.

In search of handgun permit holders, I drove out to the Texas Firearms Festival, an outdoor gun extravaganza held near Austin where firearms fanciers get to shoot everything they see.

“If you’re in Paris and you see people coming with AKs into your rock concert, that sucks. But it sucks worse if you’re unarmed,” says festival producer Robert Farago. “I’m not saying that being armed is gonna save your life, but at least you have an effective tool to mount some kind of defense.”

High school counselor Janna Delany, who carries a Ruger LC9, is more concerned about crime than mass shootings.“It’s more just for me personally to give myself a little bit of peace of mind, somebody trying to carjack me or hold me up at a gas station or stopped at a red light or something,” Delany says.

Retired Houston homicide detective Brian Foster has a booth at the festival where he sells “politically incorrect” books.

“Police cannot take care of citizens,” he says. “They react after the fact. I spent many years dealing with cadavers.”

How Does Carrying A Gun Change You?

One thing is certain: Carrying around a loaded weapon and being prepared at a moment’s notice to use deadly force changes how people perceive their environment. Of the 20 handgun carriers I interviewed over several months, most of them say they’re more aware of how people look and how they act.

“I pay attention to different people, weird people, maybe stereotype people,” says Sam Blackburn, a diesel mechanic from Georgetown, Texas, who attended the firearms fest in an NRA cap. He carries a 9 mm Smith & Wesson.

What is he looking for, specifically?

“Gangbanger-looking guys, maybe guys that look like they’re up to no good or somebody that may think they’re a Muslim extremist or something like that,” Blackburn says.

Carrying a 2-pound steel appliance around like a cellphone doesn’t only change the way a person thinks, it changes the way they move.

“It’s exciting. I won’t lie to you. There’s some visceral response that you get from carrying a firearm,” says Doug Miller. He owns a small IT company in Austin and teaches Israeli self-defense classes on the side. “But after about 30 seconds, it becomes, ‘Is this gonna be comfortable when I sit down? It’s digging into my hip because my car has upholstered seats. That’s really not that comfortable.’ ”

What Do Women Think About Guns?

 

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A Girl & A Gun is a women’s shooting league that started in Central Texas and has now gone national.

Robyn Sandoval, executive director of A Girl & A Gun, aims a rifle.

Robyn Sandoval, executive director of A Girl & A Gun, aims a rifle.  Courtesy of A Girl and A Gun

Executive Director Robyn Sandoval says carrying a handgun has become an extension of motherhood, a way to protect her children.

“Family situational awareness is a big deal,” she says. “When we go to a restaurant, my 9-year-old [is thinking] who looks suspicious? What are people doing? What’s an anomaly. Let’s point out people in their cars. We make a game of it, of who can find somebody in their car just sitting there.”

The gun girls talk about their firearms differently than men do. Guys speak of them as tools; these women talk about them like pets.

“We name our guns,” Sandoval says, “I have Francesca, Dolly, Gracie. And we talk about ’em like, ‘I’m takin’ Gracie to the mall with us.’

“My small one is my Baby,” says schoolteacher Bettylane Chambliss. “And my dad will say, ‘Do you have your gun with you?’ And I went, ‘Oh, yeah, I got Baby with me. I’m fine.’ ”

When Can You Pull The Trigger?

Despite the pet names, there’s nothing casual about getting a license to carry a pistol.

A gun in the home? The owner may have it primarily for hunting or target-shooting. A concealed gun out in public? It goes with the explicit understanding that the owner may kill someone they feel threatened by.

Michael Cargill, a popular handgun instructor in Austin, had this to say: “You pull that gun out, your life is gonna change.” He’s right.

Of the millions of Americans who get a concealed handgun permit, only a tiny fraction ever use them. Pro-gun folks compare it to a fire extinguisher in the home — you have it just in case.

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But what happens when someone actually fires their weapon in self-defense? I met three concealed handgun permit (CPL) holders in Detroit who pulled the trigger.


Life-Changing And Traumatic: Darrell Standberry

“I was parked at the pump right in front of the gas station. I exited my vehicle and before I could even get to the door of the gas station, the young man was already sitting in the driver’s seat of my vehicle,” says Standberry, who just earned a degree in green energy technology. He’d left his Yukon XL running with the key in the ignition.

Darrell Standberry — from Detroit — shot and killed a 19-year-old who tried to steal his car.  Courtesy of Darrell Standberry

He says he told the young man to get out of his car. The young man told him to step back. That’s when Standberry says he saw the carjacker reach toward his pocket.

Standberry unholstered his Sig Sauer .45, reached through the passenger-side window, and fired one shot. He hit the carjacker in the torso. Gravely wounded, the carjacker drove away, crashed into a tree and died. Police found a pistol in his pocket.

“It changed a lot in my life,” he says. “Matter of fact, in my English class, I just did a report on it. I named it, ‘The incident that changed my life forever.’ ”

Standberry went to counseling. He became fearful of gas stations. And he carried the burden of killing a 19-year-old.

“You know why? Because my son was 19 at the same time. It really bothered me that I had to take a 19-year-old’s life. His life was just beginning. But he was into the wrong things. To this day, I still ask God for forgiveness,” he says.


Caught In A Gunfight: Alaina Gonville

Gonville is a mother of three, a big woman who works as a bouncer at a Detroit bar.

Alaina Gonville works as a bouncer in Detroit. Gonville was shot after being approached by robbers outside a grocery store.  Courtesy of Alaina Gonville

Gonville was coming home from work late at night. She’d stopped at a store for a bottle of papaya juice. A scrawny guy walked up, pulled out a pistol and demanded her money. His accomplices were watching from a car behind him. As it happened, Alaina was carrying her pistol openly on her hip.

“I’m assuming they saw my gun. That’s when they opened fire from their vehicle. I heard the gunshots coming at me. That’s when I pulled my gun and returned fire,” she says.

She doesn’t know if she hit them or not. The robber bolted. His henchmen sped out of the parking lot, spraying Gonville and her car with military-grade bullets.

“I got shot with an AK-47, and it basically blew my arm off. It was dangling. I carried it into the hospital. After four surgeries and a lot of prayer it’s healed about 70 percent,” she says.

Did she think that having a handgun that night saved her life or endangered her more?

“That’s a good question. I replayed the situation in my head over and over. I can’t say, but I’m glad I had it,” she says.


In Trouble For Thwarting Shoplifters: Tatiana Rodriguez

Born in Colombia, Rodriguez owns a small tree-trimming business in a Detroit suburb. Last October, she was outside a Home Depot loading some materials into her truck.

“A lady comes screaming through the door for help, and somebody [was] running,” she says.

A man was running into the parking lot pushing a shopping cart full of merchandise. Rodriguez used to work at Home Depot, and she knows the company policy: Don’t pursue shoplifters. But she says she thought this was more serious because a lady was screaming.

She saw the shoplifters getting away in an SUV. She had her Heckler and Koch 9 mm.

“So I take my gun out and I point at the car when he was coming towards us. I jump to the side and decide to shoot out the tires to stop them,” she says.

In Michigan, it’s illegal for a citizen to use deadly force to stop a property crime. Rodriguez got 18 months of probation for reckless discharge of a weapon and had her gun license revoked. She thinks the punishment would have been harsher, but the cops caught the shoplifters after she shot out their tires.

Her story got lots of news coverage. It turned into a case study of when not to use your pistol.

“It was not my intention to do anything wrong. I was just trying to help somebody who really needed it. And it backfired on me. So what do you learn? It’s like you have to think a lot before you help somebody,” she says.


For this story, I contacted firearms instructors and lawyers who reached out to dozens of handgun carriers who had pulled the trigger in self-defense. To my surprise, very few wanted to talk.

Some had been arrested by the police or sued afterward, and had spent thousands of dollars on legal fees. They didn’t want to be dragged into the media spotlight again. Others were just traumatized by the whole experience.

Gonville urges people to think long and hard before they carry a gun.

“A lot of times I believe people are just playing around and they think it’s cool to have a gun,” she says. “It’s not just about being cool. It’s real life. Life and death is serious. Getting shot is serious. Shooting somebody is serious.”

Is It Safer To Carry A Gun?

An eye-opening Gallup poll released late last year revealed that 56 percent of respondents said they’d feel safer if more Americans could get permits to carry concealed handguns. Jennifer Carlson, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, wrote a book about handgun carriers in Michigan called CitizenProtectors.

“This is what I think is really fascinating,” she says. “It’s not just the idea of if I conceal carry then I’m safer. It’s the idea that if I just imagine there’s people out there who are conceal carrying then the world is safer.”

All the trigger pullers I talked to for this story said the range time required to get a handgun license is grossly inadequate in terms of being prepared to defend themselves from an active shooter. They believe they’re alive today because they did extensive practice on their own.

Mark Cortis, a veteran firearms instructor in Detroit, urges all of his CPL students to get more training. But he says hardly any of them ever do.

“One of my concerns about the [Michigan] state requirements for getting a CPL is they don’t really include the tactics and the strategy that one will need to win or prevail in an actual gun situation,” Cortis says. “A hostile attack by a violent criminal is a fight.”

Not only are most handgun carriers in America totally unprepared for a gunfight, but gun-control activists hasten to point out that more guns lead to more suicides and accidental shootings.

Three years ago, Detroit’s new police chief, James Craig, made a startling public announcement. He encouraged law-abiding citizens to consider carrying concealed weapons as a deterrent to violent crime.

In an interview, I asked Chief Craig if he ever worries about the citizens that he has urged to arm themselves?

“What concerns me, more than anything else, is guns in the hands of criminals, guns in the hands of terror suspects. That’s what keeps me up at night. Not armed citizens,” Craig says.

Meanwhile, Cortis reports so many Detroiters are seeking concealed pistol permits, classes are booked for two months out.

Election Season, “Independents”

 

VOTE this Tuesday,  March 15

This is the entertaining season, we even have a clown, when political  

parties choose their candidates for office in the coming general election, so we have Republicans running against Republicans, Democrats against Democrats.

It used to be that a party’s candidates for president and vice-president would be chosen in a convention of the party by vote of the delegates to the convention.  That was suspenseful entertainment.

There may be candidates from small parties, too, referred to as “third parties”.  There is a short story (can’t find it just now) about an American traveling abroad who is treated with enormous respect when word gets around that he is a presidential candidate.  He has been chosen by the Vegetarian Party!

Are these primary elections important?  Sure, since the winners will run for election to the presidency.

A lot of people don’t vote in primaries, because they don’t like being identified with a party, call themselves “independents”.

I don’t understand that.  One party may have a candidate who is more experienced, who seems smarter or wiser or more lovable and you’d like to vote for him.  But he/she belongs to a party, and a party has a platform of things it is for and against, laws to pass or repeal.

If an admirable person belongs to a party that favors the interests of the wealthy over the needs of working people and the poor, if one party opposes the right to abortion, if  one party opposes government regulations on corporations,  on air and water pollution, promises to kill Obamacare,  how can you be “independent”?   rjn

Democratic Platform  2012

Republican Platform 2012