It would be easy to take shots at  But who needs more of that; plenty of electrons have already been killed in that regard.  How about we bring it a little closer to home for government failure.  Yes, we’re Ron Swanson mode.

  • ITEM – Neighboring school district Riverton cut their elementary school art program this year.
  • ITEM – Springfield class sizes continue to grow and at my kids’ school they’re averaging 27 kids per class.
  • ITEM – Even in the neighboring wealthy school district Chatham, they’re dipping into their funds and considering selling some land assets to fun operations.

For Part II of this exhibition we  go to the highways and byways, where rural roads outside the small town of my youth will soon become nearly impassable.  The combination of bad weather and no repairs in years will turn back the clock to Great Depression-like conditions.  Meanwhile, bridges around Illinois age towards structural failure. Continue reading

Stupid Kabuki Theater

2.8%.   This figure is what we keep coming back to.  A 2.8% cut to the FY13 Federal Budget.  As in sequester.

Yes, we all understand now that the sequester doesn’t allow many federal agencies the discretion to cut where it makes the most sense.  Yes, it’s stupid dysfunctional policy designed to force some kind of eventual compromise.

But hold on a second…  The House sent up a bill that would give the President discretion to enforce those 2.8% in cuts.  Cut where you need to, just cut. He didn’t like that, though, because that puts the impetus for this thing on him.

The President’s proposal included another tax increase on the wealthy and the elimination of some tax loopholes.  The classic moving of the goal posts.  No-go for Republicans – they can’t abide another tax increase.  Meanwhile, no one can seem to agree on the amount of chaos and disaster the sequester cuts will truly cause.  Will 2.8% in cuts truly wreck things?  Even if applied stupidly? Continue reading

Chicago Gangnam Style

Somewhere in their prison cells, the two most recent former governors of Illinois are smiling.  President Obama and his campaign team have done it; they’ve taken the body politic of Illinois and especially Chicago and captured the nation’s highest office.  Again.

In Beemsville we’re just grateful it’s all over.  We’re not even in a swing state and we’re tired of the ads and talking points.  And once more, we’re both humbled and intrigued that our home state can provide such a fine crucible for political leadership.

Do you doubt the wisdom of running a Chicago Style campaign?  When it’s so obviously the winning formula?

First off you focus in on the urban centers.  Duh.  That’s where all the people live.  Leave the rubes in the sticks to their grain liquor, bible thumping, and such.  Like this. It’s become more and more difficult for the Republicans to combat due to point #3 (below).   Second, you must raise lots and lots of cash for divisive adds.  Former Govs Blago and Ryan knew this well, and it eventually led to their demise (just imagine what either could have done with Super PAC laws on the books…)  Both political parties were successful here. Continue reading

Random Friday

A couple of random quick thoughts on a beautiful Friday.  Stuff that you might mention on the social media if you were so inclined, in the way of observations, musings, and what not.

  • Parks and Recreation – probably my favorite pure sitcom to watch these days.  It makes me laugh out loud a couple times each week.  Great ensemble and just plain funny.  Check it out.
  • Who’s FIFA-ing?  Enjoying playing FIFA 12 on the PS3 (probably too much).  Particularly glad they made defending and passing a little more difficult.  A good sports game should always be about more than just pressing buttons quickly.  If it involves strategy and technique – that’s a good thing.
  • Book challenge – several times the past couple of weeks, my daughter has complained that she’s read all the books in her room.  That’s a lot of books.  She has informed me she needs more books.  I am very proud.  Luckily, we have a fine library in town.
  • Hermanator X –  Watching Herman Cain, you can’t help but be a little intrigued by the man and his ideas.  His 9-9-9 plan would really level the playing field.  Of course a lot of powerful interests on both sides of the political spectrum would see this as a major challenge to the status quo.  Wonder who Hermanator spooks more:  ultra-Liberals or arch-Conservatives?
  • Hoosier Road Trip – Ron Zook and the Illini hit the road for the first time in search of a 6-0 start and bowl eligibility.  Their objectives:  run the ball, hard and avoid injuries and stupid plays.  If they do this, IU can’t hang.
  • Not my X-Men – Reading the Ultimate X-Men Collection Trades, which compile the first four years of that title.  Written by Mark Millar, conceived as a more contemporary reboot of the X-Men to sort of go with the movies and current sensibilities, I’ve enjoyed some of the stories and new takes on the characters.  But the Post 911 allegory is weak sauce, and Millar’s portrayal of key characters (especially Wolverine and Magneto) is just not effective.  I have enjoyed his take on the Professor X, however.
  • Soccer Season Ends – in Beemsville for the kids.  Another fun season, with the kids improving and learning more about the game.  The boy’s control and coordination are much better, while the girl continues to improve her passing and overall awareness on the field.  And they really enjoy themselves out there.
  • Time for win, Klinsi – The USA Soccer team take on Honduras tomorrow in Miami.  If Coach Klinsmann and Company don’t play well and get a win tomorrow, alarm bells will start to ring.

500 miles

500th post…  500?  Yes, 500. A fair amount of blogging.  Mostly twice a week, sometimes three times.  And yes, I would walk 500 miles (theme music below).  So on this, the occasion of the 500th, how about a round of Q&A to sort of capture the zeitgeist.  Or Something. Because a blog ain’t nothing more than an outlet for ideas after all…

-How cool will The Avengers be next summer?  It looks awesome from the teaser footage.  The two Marvel movies/Avengers prequels I saw this summer, Thor and Captain America, were solid but not spectacular. Expectations for The Avengers are much higher, and here’s hoping they can deliver.

-Will DC take the cue from Marvel’s big screen wins and start combining their franchise characters?  Batman and Superman – the JLA…  There are some pretty great stories there to mine, if Warner/DC only had the vision and talent to make it happen.

-Why does Hollywood subject us to so many formulaic bad, bad films?  Can’t they literally flip the script once in awhile?  I’d like to see a few less sequels and remakes (which are easy to market) and a few more well-made original concepts.  Everytime a studio greenlights another Transformers flick, another Donnie Darko-esque film fails to get made or publicized.

-What’s with all the cheesy teen neo-fantasy horror TV shows?  Watched a little of MTV’s Teen Wolf last week and must have seen adds for half-a-dozen other similarly-themed show.

Continue reading

Stuff breaking a lot

Sometimes stuff just breaks on you.  This may come down to care and maintenance, as in the State of Illinois’ ongoing budget crisis.  You keep plodding along without taking proper care, without checking to see if things are working.  Worse yet, you push it beyond it’s capability, attempt to use something for purposes beyond the original design.  Ask Governors Quinn, Blagojevich, and Ryan about that.  Two out of three in prison…

Sometimes the stuff breaks because of neglect.  Or people try to fix said stuff without really studying the service manual.  They thinker around, and next thing you know, they’ve forgotten the basics, forgotten the purpose of the stuff.  Ask The U.S. Senate and our beloved President about this.  800 days without putting forth a budget, and they really have to wonder why brinkmanship and political grandstanding are the order of the day?   Is that any way to govern?  This is what has happened with our lawnmower.  Now it’s in the shop.

Continue reading

Really, Rod?

from the SJ-R's Chris Britt

…and we’re sure ex-gov Blagojevich won’t mind the familiar reference.  He is, after all, going to make a lot of new friends from so many interesting walks of life.  In federal prison they might call him Rod, or Roddy, or even Blago…  Or something else less wholesome.

The verdicts came in, the pundits had their say, and now we await the sentencing.  How much time will Blago get?  Will he lose his state pension (it might seem obvious, but ex-Governor and current inmate George Ryan held on to his)?  What will become of the Blago children?

Blago’s quotes outside the courthouse post-verdict dealt with “getting home and explaining to his little girls.”  Fortunately for Patti and the girls, her father is a longtime Chicago machine player.  You can bet they’ll be looked after.  Blago’s other quote:  “Frankly, I’m stunned.”

Really?  You’re stunned that you were convicted, even after the impeachment, hearing the tapes, reading the transcripts?  Are you still stunned that you were charged in the first place?   Continue reading

Strange Budgetary Allies

Should someone decide to move Watson away from Jeopardy towards analyzing the federal budget, they could do a lot worse than this little tool right here. Yes, it’s the You fix the budget’ puzzle tool, brought to you by the New York Times and lauded by Glenn Beck  on his TV show.  Now we’re not big fans of either media entity, and the oddball factor of these two unlikely budgetary allies is certainly not lost on us…

But what Beck and the NYT both seem to be indicating is something written about here at Beemsville quite recently:  If you want to make headway on the deficit, start cutting the Big Three – Military, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security.  Don’t believe us?  Try messing around with the puzzle tool yourself.   Continue reading

Win Future? Get cutting…

Let’s be honest, if you’re engaged enough to have looked at the deficit commission’s report a few months back, it made you a little uncomfortable.  You saw stuff on the chopping block that directly affects you in one way or another.  But that’s how we win the future…  By ensuring our kids and grandkids actually have some hope and not a mountain of government-induced debt.

If you listened to the state of the union address, you no doubt heard an uplifting speech by the President with many references to investing in people and programs.  Of course the Republicans quickly countered by labeling this as dem-speak for more spending.  Who has the right of it?  Well, you could look at recent history as an indicator…  And then folks like newly-elected Senator Rand Paul chime in, suggesting major cuts to a lot of programs that don’t meet with his particular social viewpoint (the NEA, Public Broadcasting, etc.).  Not all that helpful either, Senator. Continue reading

2010 Faves

2010 is over and the year-end retrospectives are thick on the interwebs.  Not to miss out, Beemsville presents some favorites of the year in no particular order.

Fave Book: House of Chains by Steven Erikson.  This is the 4th book in the Malazan series and certainly worthy of the epic descriptor.  HofC features Karsa Orlong, one of the most formidable and memorable characters in years.  Favorite book actually published in 2010 would be Ben Percy’s, The Wilding.

Political Faves: The pivot towards addressing the nation’s spiraling debt – whether brought about by noisy outsiders and an angry mid-term election, the continuing trouble economy, failed policies – is our favorite.  It’s past time the debt-spending ratios were front-and-center in Washington.  Least favorite in politics:  the fact that the entire Blagojevich fiasco seems to have had no discernible effect on the Illinois political landscape.

Fave Sports Moment: Could there be any doubt?  This is up there on the all-time list.

Least favorite would also be soccer and World Cup themed:  with FIFA awarding the 2022 tournament to Qatar over the U.S. Continue reading