Saturday, September 28, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
ROSKAM: HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE PREPARING A 15-POINT PLAN TO LIMIT DEBT
Congressman Peter Roskam / Sun-Times photo
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Republicans aren't waiting for the U.S. Senate's "clean Continuing Resolution" legislation to make its way back to them. In an effort to keep the Democrats on the defense, House Republicans are preparing to send to the Senate a debt limit package they're calling The Spending Control and Economic Growth Act which, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) says, will result in significant economic growth and deficit reduction.
“Our nation’s debt and deficits have swelled under the weight of out of control spending and a sluggish economy. Today’s Joint Economic Committee report (HERE) underscores what House Republicans have been saying for a long time—we cannot simply cut our way out of debt, we must grow our economy as well," a statement from Roskam said.
The House plan contains cuts and real reforms that Roskam says will help build a 21st century economy, unleash the nation’s energy resources and put America on a path to reform outdated tax code so businesses can thrive and grow.
"By forwarding a growth agenda that lifts all boats and brings in more revenue, we can reduce our nation’s borrowing and cut our debt,” Roskam said.
The 15 demands Republicans are placing on the table in the proposal they're sending to the Senate this week include:
- Delaying for one year of Obamacare
- Ending the Unnecessary Courtroom Cost of Family Medicine
- Implementing a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code
- Opening to Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements
- Regulating with Small Businesses in Mind
- Making Sure Regulators Consider the Costs They Impose
- Enacting the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act
- Building the Keystone XL Pipeline
- Putting a Magnifying Glass on the EPA’s $1 Billion Regulations
- Responsibly Harnessing On and Offshore Energy Resources
- Implementing Responsible Forestry and Funding Our Rural Schools
- Preventing Drought-Related Hardship and Unemployment
- Developing Our Affordable Coal Resources
- Developing Our Domestic Minerals
- Keeping the Internet Free of Bureaucratic Control
The Joint Economic Committee report says "...Passage of this legislation will lead to increased economic output, higher revenue for the federal government, and less federal borrowing. Using CBO’s own growth-to-deficit reduction estimation, the Spending Control and Economic Growth Act will produce a significant increase in federal revenues and contribute to the Speaker’s goal of reducing federal budget deficits by more than the federal debt ceiling is increased."
In the meantime, the Senate is preparing to vote on a Continuing Resolution that would raise the debt ceiling higher than ever before, with no budget cuts or economy expanding strategies.
Without compromise to limit debt and grow the economy, the House will not accept the Senate CR version, Roskam office says, pushing the threat of a government shutdown nearer.
Debt of every kind, Federal, State and Local, is the biggest problem facing the U.S. Obamacare only adds to it. Either this gets dealt with now or else the piper is coming.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas began speaking at 2:21 PM EST and continues to speak against funding Obamacare in an upcoming Continuing Resolution vote on legislation the U.S. House passed last week. U.S. Joint Resolution 59 funds the federal government while defunding the Affordable Care Act.
Senator Cruz says he plans to continue talking until he can no longer stand - with hopes of getting his Republican colleagues to join him in an effort to stop Obamacare - a "job killer." Now into his seventh hour of speaking, Cruz read "Green Eggs and Ham" to his young daughters from the Senate floor.
Thus far, Illinois' U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has not committed to vote in support of Senator Cruz' efforts. Probably because he identifies closely with certain elements of the democratic party. C-SPAN 2 is carrying Senator Cruz' efforts HERE
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
NOT-SO "AFFORDABLE CARE ACT" TO HIKE FAMILY HEALTHCARE COST $7,450
NEW YORK - Forbes is defying President Obama's promise that the "Affordable" Care Act will save America's families $2500 on healthcare costs. Instead, it will cost the average family of four $7,450 by the year 2022:
"In the interests of fair and honest reporting, perhaps it is time the mainstream media begin using “Affordable” Care Act whenever reference is made to this terribly misguided law. Anyone obviously is welcome to quarrel with the Medicare actuary about their numbers. I myself am hard-put to challenge their central conclusion: Obamacare will not save Americans one penny now or in the future. Perhaps the next time voters encounter a politician making such grandiose claims, they will learn to watch their wallet.
Until then, let’s spare strapped Americans from having to find $657 in spare change between their couch cushions next year. Let’s delay this law for a year so that policymakers have time to fix the poorly designed Rube Goldberg device known as Obamacare. For a nation with the most complicated and expensive health system on the planet, making it even more complicated and even more expensive never was a good idea.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Northfield nonprofit supports LGBT groups for middle schoolers
Programs offered in Evanston, Northbrook
By Alexandra Chachkevitch, Chicago Tribune reporter
6:59 p.m. CDT, September 22, 2013
Joe Tyler Gerber said he realized he was gay in sixth grade but couldn't come out until he reached high school.
"I was feeling trapped," said Gerber, 17, a senior at Deerfield High School. "I didn't really have anybody to talk to."
If a support group had been available to him then, Gerber said, he might have gained more confidence in himself earlier. Such groups are now starting to appear in the Chicago area.
Links, a north suburban nonprofit, provides support to young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or who are still questioning their sexuality. It has begun creating support groups for middle school students.
The Northfield-based organization has been around for 40 years. It launched its first weekly support group for middle school students in Evanston last year, and started one in Northbrook this month. The nonprofit also provides a reproductive health care clinic and health education programs for children and teenagers.
Executive Director Amy Skalinder said she noticed a need in the community after getting several phone calls over the last few years from parents wondering about resources for their younger children.
She said the nonprofit, which provides support to between 150 and 200 teens per year, has been offering pride youth groups for high school students for 20 years. In addition, most high schools offer some sort of gay and straight alliance group and other counseling services.
But the situation is different in middle schools, Skalinder said.
"For middle school kids who are thinking they may be gay, there are very few resources out there," she said.
Skalinder said she hopes the new groups fill that void.
"I was thrilled when I saw that Links started to do this," said Maureen Goldin, president of the Deerfield Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, or PFLAG. "It has been something that I've been hoping for years now."
Goldin's son, now 16, came out when he was 11, she said.
Wanting her child to be as comfortable as he can be, Goldin searched for resources in the area her son could take advantage of. She said she quickly found out there wasn't much offered for younger gay children.
Goldin said her son tried attending a couple of high school pride youth meetings, but he stopped because the age gap between him and his peers was too significant.
As Goldin became more involved in her son's school and in the surrounding gay community, she found out she wasn't the only one in the same situation.
"Kids are coming out a lot younger these days," Goldin said.
The middle school group in Evanston started in October 2012, and it took a while to connect with students. But it eventually gained a couple of regular members, said Erschel De Leon, who runs the pride youth programs at Links. The confidential meetings offer the students a safe place to talk about their experiences and concerns, De Leon said.
"Middle school is a hard time for everyone and especially kids who are gay," De Leon said.
Gerber, who attends Links' high school pride youth group in Northfield, said he was verbally bullied when he was in middle school.
"People poked fun of the way I walked and the way I talked," he said. "At that age you just don't realize how much the language you use could hurt."
Gerber said he hopes the new groups help children learn about homosexuality and who they are earlier on.
Links operates the middle school pride youth groups during the school year in collaboration with Youth Organizations Umbrella Inc. in Evanston and the Northbrook United Methodist Church in Northbrook.
•Evanston: Every Monday from 5 to 6 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 1430 South Blvd., Evanston
•Northbrook: Every Wednesday from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. at Northbrook United Methodist Church, 1190 Western Ave., Northbrook.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC
Sunday, September 22, 2013
click to enlarge
By this time we've seen enough of Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago to know how he does business—that is, how he says he's investing in public education as he guts it, or how he claims to be cleaning up the city's books as he hands out corporate subsidies and puts public assets on the auction block.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Kari Lydersen, a painstakingly fair and objective local reporter, documents these trends in what's the first book on Emanuel's mayoral tenure.
I emphasize fair and objective because the book comes at Mayor Emanuel from the left, as suggested by its title: Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago's 99%. And since I know my share of leftists, I can assure you that most members of this political tribe start foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of the mayor's name.
I for one have entered a 12-step program to avoid working up a lather while discussing theDePaul basketball arena deal.
Yet Lydersen, a prolific writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Reader, remains remarkably dispassionate as she chronicles the mayor's efforts to close schools, fire teachers, bring NATO to town, shutter mental health clinics, and privatize city operations, to name but a few highlights of his first two years in office.
"I really do keep an open mind in my reporting," Lydersen says. "All these issues are really complicated. I didn't want to do a book that was just bashing Rahm. And I don't think it does."
Still, Lydersen says the mayor has earned the nickname in the title because he's shown a disinterest, bordering on disdain, for the vast majority of people affected by his cuts and closings.
She says her own "watershed moment" came during the budget process last year, when Emanuel scrapped the traditional round of public hearings in the neighborhoods. In their place, a group ofprogressive aldermen held their own meetings.
"That was when I truly felt outraged as an individual citizen and human being at the way his administration conducts itself," Lydersen says. "I watched as people with disabilities went to great lengths to make it to the progressive caucus hearings to make their heartfelt points, while Rahm was absent."
Fast paced and well researched, her book starts by revisiting his high school days at New Trier West, where Rahm and his younger brother, Ari, beat the crap out of a kid named Alan Goldsher just because they could.
Incidentally, I believe teachers at every school in America should assign Goldsher's account of the beatings, published in the Forward, as part of the curriculum in teenage bullying.
Lydersen's book then follows Emanuel's career as he rose from Democratic fund-raiser to Clinton White House aide to congressman to chief of staff for President Obama to, finally, mayor of Chicago.
The man has as much determination and chutzpah as anyone alive, yet he uses it all on wimpy policies that largely preserve the status quo.
Most of his political battles foretell his fights as mayor. It's pretty obvious that Emanuel concluded early in his career that since progressives were probably going to vote for Democrats no matter what, he really didn't have to pay any attention to them. And he didn't, as he cut deal after deal with the right.
Lydersen recounts how he helped water down President Obama's national health plan. And then raged at anyone—including his older brother, Ezekiel—who dared to criticize the president for not passing a genuine single-payer plan.
"I'm sure there are a lot of people sitting in the shade at the Aspen Institute, my brother being one of them, who will tell you what the ideal plan is," Emanuel said. "Great, fascinating. You have the art of the possible measured against the ideal."
At the risk of having the Nation terminate my subscription, I must concede that Emanuel makes a pretty good point.
Actually, even lefties have to admit the guy's got a way with words. And Lydersen does a great job of gathering some of Emanuel's greatest quotes, most of which involve the words "fuck" or "fucking."
Throughout her book, Lydersen gets at the heart of the paradox of Rahm: the man has as much determination, will, and chutzpah as anyone alive, yet he uses it all on wimpy policies that largely preserve the status quo. What a waste.
In perhaps the most informative chapter of Mayor 1%, Cashing In, Lydersen writes about the years from 1998 to 2002, after Emanuel left the Clinton White House and before he was elected congressman from a north-side district.
That's when he utilized his "golden Rolodex" to rake in more than $18 million as an investment banker. Among the deals he helped put together was "the purchase of the home alarm company SecurityLink from SBC Communications, then run by his longtime friend and former White House colleague Bill Daley."
That deal also involved investment banker Bruce Rauner, a Republican now running in the primary for governor.
Should Rauner become our next governor, there's a good chance he'll give Emanuel the casino he wants—which the mayor will probably build in the South Loop as part of that DePaul arena deal.
Man, don't get me started.
I was really hoping to read Mayor Emanuel's exchanges with Lydersen, if only because her sharp questions might provoke some entertaining quotes.
Lydersen says she sent the mayor's press office a list of the topics she wanted to discuss, including "the mayor's relationship with organized labor," the clinic closings, and the "allocation of TIF dollars and privatization."
But, alas, Mayor Emanuel declined to be interviewed.
In fact, this book could be subtitled The Book Mayor Rahm Didn't Want You to Read!
Well, that's not 100 percent accurate. But it's definitely more accurate than his ever-shifting explanations for closing dozens of schools.
That just goes to show how things have deteriorated in just two short years. Even I got a five-minute interview when Emanuel was running for mayor.
Of course, he got pissed off at my questions and hung up on me. As far as I can tell, he's not talked to any writer even remotely connected with the left ever since.
Sorry, guys—it's all my fault.
In any event, I urge everyone to read Lydersen's book. Over the last few months, many Chicagoans have told me they didn't realize who they were voting for when they cast a ballot for Emanuel. Thanks to Lydersen, they'll have no excuse in 2015.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Button accordionist Paul Brock and fiddler Manus McGuire are two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians. Performing with respect for traditional Irish music and creativity as accomplished musicians, the Brock McGuire Band uses a blend of instruments to perform mostly Irish music but with a hint of American Old Timey, Bluegrass, French-Canadian, and other Celtic traditions.
This show is a part of the World Music Festival Chicago 2013. Admission is free and tickets can be reserved (limit four per person) by calling 773-445-3838 ext 200.
CONGRESSIONAL CONSERVATIVES UPBEAT ABOUT STOPPING OBAMACARE. THE HOUSE VOTED YESTERDAY. NOW IT GOES TO THE SENATE.
WASHINGTON - Illinois conservatives may be encouraged by comments made on a conference call Thursday with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ).
“It’s time to realize that the power of our government is in the hands of the people,” Salmon said. “The great tsunami, as the Senator called it, or the tidal wave of phone calls, coming in to every congressional office, every Senate office, demanding that their voices be heard, that this atrocity that will kill jobs, that will kill our economy, that has already hurt countless people, and will continue to hurt more and more people, by forcing them out of their jobs. Every fast food chain in America has changed their full time staff to part time staff. That’s not what the president promised everybody.
"So, we’re going to hold the line and I believe that the Senate [GOP] is going to do everything it possibly can to beat Harry Reid on every front on his chicanery and overcome. The most important thing of all is we’re unified. The conservatives in the House and the conservatives in the Senate are united. We’re not going to stop with anything short of a victory.”
Thursday, at another DC meeting with conservatives, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said he is seeing Republicans in Congress unite. “What I’m seeing in this conference and I’ve been here for almost nine months, is a calling together,” Yoho said. “And I think what you’re seeing in members on both sides of the aisle recognize our problems are bigger than Republicans and they’re bigger than Democrats. This is a time in our nation’s history when we need to come together as Americans. I’m seeing that in here. And I’m seeing that cohesiveness develop. And let’s pray and hope that that’s what continues happening for this country to go on forward to make a better stronger America and a more competitive America.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said at the same event that he is excited about the vote’s prospects. “I’ve been here for two years and nine months and for the first time, we’re going to have a vote on must-pass legislation on what most of us were elected on,” Huelskamp said. “And I think that’s a good thing.”