In the crazy world in which we live, a blog looking to make sense of it all.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Where Were These People 20 Years Ago?

Paul Gordon writes in today's Peoria Journal Star about a new Peoria start up venture called DTK LLC. DTK is about to market a product called After Hours, or referred to as AH. AH is the long, awaited substance to cure and/or prevent hangovers. I could have really used this about 20 some years ago when I was in college.

The idea came to Tom "Mote" Pemble, the CEO of DTK, while he was a graduate student and a certain professor explained the mix of vitamins and minerals that need to be replentished after a hard night of drinking. So while the rest of us only dreamed of this miracle cure, Pemble was out there making it happen.

AH contains Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, electrolytes and some caffeine. Peoria-investor Alexis Khazzam is reported to be the largest investor in DTK and says he knew from the start that this product would be a big seller. No sh*t. You can count every January 1, March 18, Nov 1 and of course the holidays to be big selling opportunities. Not to mention Mondays after the Super Bowl and countless bachelor and bachelorette parties.

I'm impressed of what I've seen of the marketing of this product so far. "After Hours" is a good brand name. There are 2 flavors, Last Call Lemon and Bedtime Berry (not so sure about the name of the later). AH will sell for $2 a bottle which seems to me to be a good and competitive price.

Common Sense of it All: As long as there are people who drink, yours truly included, there will be a market for this product. I wish DTK the best (BTW, any chance I can get in on the action?).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pork Barrel Spending & Mudslinging = Politics As Usual

Today's Peoria Journal Star has a number of interesting stories that exemplify that politics are running as usual.

For starters, the top headline from Dori Meinert about Rep. Ray Lahood defending a $2.5 million earmark for the Illinois Technology Transition Center in West Chicago. This is typical local representatives bringing back money (pork) for their district so as to secure votes and pay back those who paid to put them in office. This is money we as taxpayers have paid in; earmarked for something that may or may not benefit us. From this article:

LaHood said the center has aided the Peoria-based Firefly Energy, an offshoot of Caterpillar Inc., which is developing a new lightweight and longer lasting battery that it hopes to sell the Army.
So will Firefly sell this advanced battery to the Army at a discount since it was developed with taxpayer funds? Probably not; it will probably be sold to the Army for as much profit it will bear. Kudos to Arizona representative Jeff Flake, who has been featured in the news lately for his critism of earmarks and the federal government providing aid for private sector projects.

Also featured in today's Journal Star was an Associated Press story about the negative ads against Judy Barr Topinka in the last couple of months, something I blogged about last week. The article somewhat supports what I eluded to that Blagojevich feels threatened from his low approval ratings.

Polls consistently show Blagojevich with low support for a Democratic incumbent in a Democrate-leaning state, with Topinka not far behind.

He must be feeling a pinch, and his strategy is to slowly beat down Topinka so by Labor Day, she would be "bruised and bloody," so claims the AP story by Christopher Wills. According to the Topinka camp, these short 15 second clips that are being run in semi-heavy rotation, do not give the full story, which sounds like typical mudslinging campaigns.

Lastly, the Journal Star also reported that the Governor's office used politics in hiring a pilot. According to e-mails acquired by the Associated Press, Gov. Blagojevich's office hired a pilot, Brian Keen, who was the son-in-law of Democratic state representative Jerry Costello. While Blogojevich's office stated that he was hired on merit and not politics, it was discovered that he did not have enough flight hours to qualify. Keen later accumulated the required amount of flight hours, he was still not certified.

Common Sense of it All: Politics as usual in what is, nearly-undisputedly, *THE* most crooked state in the land. The more the two political parties differ, the more they act the same. Our elected officials need to learn to work together if they ever hope to get anything done.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

JB Topinka: What's She Thinking?

I been seeing the Blagojevich campaign commercials the past few weeks; some of them are in heavy rotation. Seems a bit early for the mudslinging to start.

But one commercial exposes Topinka as inept as she stood idly by while the state of Illinois, under Gov. George Ryan, succumbed to $5 billion in deficits. By that standard, it begs the question regarding Topinka's actions during the deficits of the Blagojevich years. Oh wait, I forgot, Blagojevich didn't have any budget deficits; he used the teacher's pension fund to fix that.

Common Sense of it All: Blagojevich must be a bit nervous about the election. His approval ratings are low, he's started to run the mudslinging ads very early in the campaign season not to mention Eisendrath took 30% of the democratic vote in the primary. JB Topinka: What's She Thinking? Maybe Arby's!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gambill Dropping Out Of Senate Race

Earlier this week, 46th Senate district Republican candidate Blair Gambill announced he was dropping out of the senate race because of family/medical reasons. Apparently, his father-in-law is battling liver cancer. In addition, his mother is reported to be ailing as well. I wish the best for the Gambills as I too know what it's like to have a family member stricken with cancer.

The GOP is looking to have Ernie Russell fill Gamill's shoes for the campaign. Russell has spent 33 years as a firefighter in the Peoria area and served a few of those years as the state fire Marshall. He was appointed by then Gov. George Ryan, who recently was found guilty on all counts for corruption and other accusations I won't mention. Russell was then dismissed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2003.

What I find most interesting is the difference of opinions between two local bloggers, the Peoria Pundit and Willy Nilly. Bill Dennis, aka the Peoria Pundit, claims that the Democratic challenger, Dave Koehler, will find it a tougher battle campaigning against Ernie Russell. Willy Nilly takes a different view and claims Koehler will find it much easier to claim victory. Of course we won't know until the campaign gets heated up later this year and voters decide on election day.

Willy states that Ernie Russell was one of Gov. Ryan's cronies and that he has not only skeletons in his closet, but an entire graveyard. I don't claim to know everything, but to my knowledge and from what I've seen in the news, I don't have any reason to believe Russell was in cahoots with the recently convicted former governor. Willy doesn't site any instances.

Meanwhile, Koehler's campaign is almost entirely funded by union money. This has me concerned. Who will Koehler answer to should he become elected; the people or the unions? I get the idea that Koehler does not have a strong backbone and would become a whipping boy of the unions. {Note: don't get me wrong, I'm not coming down on unions; that's just where Koehler's money has been coming from. It would be the same difference if most of the campaign money came from, for example, the gun lobby; he would just be someone else's whipping boy.} Candidates usually have to pay back those who pay for them to get into office.

At the moment, I would have to agree more with Bill than with Willy. Sorry Willy.

Common Sense of it All: Blair Gambill to me looked very slick and emitted an image of one I should not trust; kind of like a used car salesman. On the other hand, Ernie Russell, with his years of service on the fire department, evokes a vision of trust and honesty. People tend to vote on image and not on substance; sad but true. Not to mention, firefighters and the firefighter union are pretty tight and would probably support one of their own for office.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dixie Chicks Still Feelin' The Backlash

It's being reported the the country trio, the Dixie Chicks, are experiencing lackluster ticket sales for their latest tour. The tour, which is to support their latest release, "Taking the Long Way," is falling way behind expectations in many markets, especially in the Midwest and South. It is so bad that many show dates have been cancelled.

While their latest CD release sold more than 500,000 units, many country stations refuse to air song of the Dixie Chicks.

The Dixie Chicks, who are from Texas, are still taking heat from comments made by lead singer Natalie Maines at a London concert in 2003. At that time she said that they were embarrassed and ashamed that they were from the same state as that of President George Bush. She then retracted an apology for disrespecting the president by telling Time magazine "I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he (Pres. Bush) is owed any respect whatsoever."

Celebrity and activist Bono goes about things the correct way. He doesn't cut people down; he doesn't insult them; he doesn't disrespect them, he doesn't play politics but rather acts like a mature adult. Bono actually works with them and nine times out of ten, he get results. The Dixie Chicks should have just stated that they were against the war in Iraq. Instead, they go about things like 13 year old girls; I think they hate Bush more than the actual war.

Common Sense of it All: The other chicks are probably not too happy with Maines after derailing their careers.

More TIFs?

To my two devoted readers, my apologies for not posting more regularly. While blogging can be a lot of fun, just finding time to draft quality posts escapes me. Anyhoo...

I've been reading in the Journal Star and other local bloggers about the 2 new proposed TIF districts towards the south end of Peoria. In my opinion, and that of many others, is that the city of Peoria have overused and abused TIF districts over the past decade. Therefore my first reaction to hearing about a new TIF is usually negative. But after reading some of CJ Summer's posts on these TIFs has me rethinking the situation.

Normally I believe the free market should dictate how and what is developed. However, I could be swayed with a TIF for the Eagle View Biotech Business Park. From what is being reported, land and rail line needs to be lifted to reach above the 100 year flood plane. The costs for this can be extremely high, and if free markets prevail, developers will save these costs and just move towards Dunlap and tear up the best farmland in the world to build their plant.

They claim there is serious interest from a major industrial customer, but what odds are there that they will locate and build in Peoria? What kind of jobs are they to bring to the area? Will this new company have any direct competition with other Peoria businesses (i.e. hotels, grocery)? If this large industrial customer brings a couple of hundred good paying jobs to the area, and other Peoria businesses won't have to compete directly with them, this could be a TIF that's worthwhile.

The other TIF being proposed is for the warehouse district on Washington St. It is hoped to foster the slow growth now being seen in the area. It is also hoped to bring a mixed-use residential and commercial growth to the district. This TIF sounds more of the same we've seen with other TIFs over the years, something of which we don't need any more of.

Common Sense of it All: Right now these TIF districts are in a exploratory phase. Now ask yourself the question, "How many consultants and studies is the city council going to hire and undertake to explore these TIFs?" Third District Councilman Bob Manning spoke volumes when he said "TIF is a bad word out there in the public."