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

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Charlie Brown is Right

He may have been called a blockhead on several occasions, but Charlie Brown was right when he said that there is too much commercialism in Christmas anymore.

When I was much younger, it seems that the bulk of the Christmas season would start after December 1; much longer after Thanksgiving because that was a holiday in itself. Not anymore. Thanksgiving is run over with Christmas specials and Holiday sales. You see decorations going up before Halloween at some places. All Thanksgiving is anymore is a pre-Christmas pit stop.

And why is this. It is the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I'm not saying it's wrong to make money, but when making money requires the degradation of tradition, principles and standards, it becomes too much. I like making money just as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to walk over things and people to get it.

And here's a sad observation regarding the commercialism of Christmas. The holiday of Festivus, created from Seinfeld folklore is becoming commercialized. This is a holiday created by the Seinfeld character Frank Costanza, which frowned upon the rampant commercialism of Christmas and is celebrated with a plan pole, void of any holiday decoration. Guess what; for $30 - 50, you can buy yourself a Festivus pole. A pole which would normally cost $5-10 at Menards.

Common Sense of it All: Good Grief Charlie Brown. You talked about this 40 years ago and for once your right and I'll stand behind you all the way!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What Happened?

One of my posts, titled Hynes & Russell Get It Right, just up and went missing. As if it became lost in the Blogger Triangle. So far I haven't had any trouble with Blogger, until now.

Anyway, the post delt with Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes and 96th Senate candidate Ernie Russell making the right call regaring the state's budget woes and holding the line on taxes until our lawmakers can display some fiscal discipline.

And one last thing; I was just reading my last post and I thought I came off a little hard on our new, Senator-elect Dave Koehler. I didn't mean to be. I just wanted to express that during the campaign, it always seemed that Koehler couldn't make a move unless he was with Shadid or got his approval. Shadid was a strong supporter of Koehler, but it just looked a little too much. However, I applaud Koehler for running a positive and clean campaign.

On the other hand, I'm still a bit concerned regarding the campaign money. Anytime a campaign is funded almost exclusively from one interest group or groups with similar viewpoints, it usually turns out that that politician will have to pay them back with influence and favors for "buying" their seat. Bill Spears tried to make this argument about Arron Shock with Ameren's rate increase. But we'll see. I wish Dave Koehler the best of luck!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The People Have Spoken

And I think they have spoken loudly. There is a good amount of fallout from the elections just 24 hours ago. Rumsfeld resigning; Hastert won't run for a leadership position in the Republican Party. Where do I begin?

I have to agree with what many other blogs have commented; that people weren't voting *for* democrats in particular, there were tired of the way things have been running and were voting *against* that. They wanted a change and to send a wake up call to those currently in charge.

That wake up call didn't exactly happen here in Illinois. Mr. Blagojevich was re-elected governor. Of course with 49% of the vote, this guy is never destined to be very popular. Illinois is now a full-blue state. The democrats that are in power really need to solve many of the problems in this state in the next 2-4 years or they risk imploding. As Comptroller Dan Hynes has criticized the governor for withholding the payment of expenses just so he can brag that the budget is balanced, a breaking point will eventually surface. The budget in real terms is not balanced. Pensions have been raided to pay for continued spending. Quick fixes initiated for the short term. Eventually this will build and Illinois will have worst problems that what it now has. And who will the Democrats blame? It will be difficult to blame many Republicans as they are a minority party out of power. The Democrats will blame one-another. Meanwhile, if the Republicans are smart, will regroup, lick their wounds and come out stronger in 2008 and/or 2010.

The real story here is Green Party candidate Rich Whitney getting 11% of the vote. This will strengthen the Green Party in Illinois as a viable party. My congratulations to the "Greens." Thank you for giving us more of a choice for governor in Illinois.

The biggest surprise for me yesterday was the 96th Senate race. Koehler's win was a much larger margin than what I had thought. I though it would have been closer; somewhere around 52-48% with Koehler winning. Good luck to Mr. Koehler. I'm afraid though that George Shadid will be unable to retire now as he'll have to hold Koehler's hand during his term in office, like he did during the campaign. During the campaign, you never saw Dave Koehler without Shadid at least 6 feet away from him. Shadid, along with strong financial support from various labor unions, are the ones who won that election for him. Can Koehler use some backbone and stand up for himself or is he going to do what he is told to do by the people who bought, paid and put him there?

Common Sense of it All: Change is good, and overall I think yesterday's strong turnout sent a clear message to our leaders and would-be leaders. I hope it doesn't end up with the old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Election Musings - Part II

Long time, no post! Not only have I been busy the past month, but also uninspired to write. I find the candidates in this election year to be lacking. While a few of the negative ads are amusing, they are starting to turn annoying. But since there’s only a few day left until Election Day, a few more musings:

Governor’s Race
I wish the Blagojevich camp would quit calling Judy Barr Topinka “George Ryan’s Treasurer.” The Illinois Treasurer is an elected position; not appointed by *any* governor. Blagojevich must think all the voters are really stupid. If we analyze things by this measure, JB Topinka is also Blagojevich’s Treasurer too.

Some of the latest polls are showing a tighter race between Blagojevich and Topinka. I am somewhat surprised, given that Blagojevich has much more money in his campaign war chest and Topinka hasn’t really ran a good campaign. Still, I think Blagojevich will win on Tuesday, but only by a small margin. This man will never, ever be a popular governor. Lastly, I think Green party candidate Rich Whitney has a good possibility to gather 10% or even more of the vote.

Aaron Schock
While the flurry of negative ads run on the airwaves, Aaron Schock’s campaign ads have been mainly positive. This biggest thing that I’ve noticed is that individuals that are endorsing him actually give their name; many of them prominent in the community. I’m not a big fan of Aaron, but I have to give him credit for this category. I don’t think Spears has a chance in this race.

96th Senate Race
The race between Dave Koehler and Ernie Russell has been put into high gear. And I am surprised over the past month with the number of Russell signs and ads everywhere. I think Russell beat Koehler to the punch in ads. I originally believed Koehler had this one wrapped up, but now I’m not so sure. I still think Koehler will win, but by a slim margin; he probably wishes the Republicans were still pitting Blair Gambill against him.

Illinois Democrats
It will be the best of times come Wednesday morning. I predict the Illinois Democrats will have taken all the top elected positions in the state, being the Treasurer’s office, Attorney General’s office, Secretary of State, Comptroller, etc. They will also retain the Governor’s Mansion (figuratively, of course) and have majority control of the legislature. It will be a true, blue state.

It will later become the worst of times for the Illinois Democrats. This state is in poor fiscal shape, despite what Blagojevich and other Democrats say. Illinois is unable to pay its bills right now. What will happen when expenses from Blagojevich’s AllKids program exceed budget predictions? Which pension funds will be raided next to pay Medicaid and other entitlement expenses? How long can these “quick fix” solutions last until the real problems come to light? How soon will it be when the deficit will surpass George Ryan’s balance of $5 billion? When this shit hits the fan, who are the Democrats going to blame? The Republicans do not have a majority in the state legislature. They do not hold any high offices in the state. This will be a time for them to regroup for 2008 while the state Democratic Party will begin to cannibalize themselves and blame one another for the state's woes.

Common Sense of it All: Get out and vote. While our candidates appear to be lacking, we should still perform our foremost staple of freedom; to vote for our leaders. Too many of our countrymen paid the ultimate price to ensure we have this freedom. It does not come cheap. It does not come easy. Please vote on Tuesday, Nov 7.