Friday, January 30, 2009

"Stimulus" $2 Billion for HeadStart; $50 Million For NASA

As more industries continue to beg President Obama for money from the next $819 billion economic plan, NASA was largely left out of the latest stimulus package.

Although Obama said the next $819 billion -- which was approved by the House -- will be another step towards other money packages, NASA was not granted $2 billion for space exploration and Orion development. NASA officials were dismayed to find they were only given $50 million from the House, despite the high costs of developing a next-generation space craft and repairing damage caused by Hurricane Ike.

Despite problems in the House, NASA officials hope to have better luck with the Senate bill, if all goes according to plan. Some politicians are upset there is so much money being granted towards social programs while programs such as NASA are trying to scrape together funding for future missions to Mars and moon.

By the way, the House included an additional $2 billions for Headstart programs. Other than stimulating social programs, what the heck kind of "stimulus" priority is that? When the headstart kids grow up I guess they can become social workers but not NASA engineers.

As an aside, although infrastructure construction and repair creates jobs, what help is that to my unemployed office worker friend, my unemployed banking friend, and my unemployed copy writer friend? Should they all be "retrained" to be union construction workers and move to other states where the pork projects are located?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Review Who Supported This Guy . . .

Top contributors to Blagojevich were overwhelmingly from the labor sector. Unions made up five of his top ten contributors in 2002, three in 2004, seven in 2006 and six in 2008. Unions were also Blagojevich's top four contributors during his re-election campaign in 2006.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union was the only contributor, union or non-union, to appear on Blagojevich's top 10 contributor list every year since he became governor. It contributed a total of $758,200 to his campaign, an amount that was far less than Blagojevich's other labor contributors.

The Service Employees International Union, which contributed $1.92 million
from 2001 to 2008, was the largest overall contributor to Blagojevich. With $931,722 in contributions, it was also the largest contributor to Blagojevich's reelection campaign in 2006.

Education-related unions were the second-largest labor contributors to
Blagojevich, donating $1.89 million.Of these labor organizations, the Illinois Federation of Teachers was the largest contributor at $1.2 million from 2002 to 2008.


Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte/DCCC $925,000
Service Employees/SEIU $821,494
Illinois Federation of Teachers $642,558
Illinois Democratic Party $605,190

Illinois Education Association/I-PACE $536,671

Hull, Blair $459,061
AFSCME Illinois Council 31 $376,000

Unitemized Donations $341,083

CGK Consulting $314,500
Teamsters/IBT Drive $219,000

TOTAL $5,240,557


Illinois Pipe Trades/UA $130,000

Development Specialists $105,000

Clifford Law Offices $100,000
Democratic Governors Association $100,000

Illinois Hospital & Health Systems Association $100,000

National Material $100,000

Illinois Laborers/LIUNA $96,250
Teamsters/IBT Drive $95,000

Illinois Council on Long Term Care $85,000

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association $80,860
TOTAL $992,110


Service Employees Illinois Council/SEIU $908,382

Illinois Federation of Teachers $515,669
Illinois Pipe Trades/UA $462,482
Laborers/LIUNA $350,000

Illinois Hospital & Health Systems Association $300,715
Construction & General Laborers Council of Chicago &
Vicinity/LIUNA $220,000
Clifford Law Offices $204,346

Democratic Governors Association $200,000

Teamsters/IBT Drive $155,000

Illinois Laborers/LIUNA $152,250
TOTAL $3,468,844


Illinois Pipe Trades/UA $230,000
Illinois Laborers/LIUNA $150,000

Squier Knapp Dunn Communications $105,113

A Finkl & Sons $80,000

Service Employees Illinois Council/SEIU $80,000

Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois/IAFF $60,000

Dream World $50,000

Lakhani, Mansoor & Shamim $50,000
Teamsters Joint Council 25/IBT Drive $50,000

Teamsters/IBT Drive $50,000

TOTAL $905,113 (post June, 2008 $ not yet reported)

So, how do you feel about those union dues now?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is The U.N. Still Holding To That?

Last year the U.N. reported that Iceland was the "best country to live in". You think they will change their minds this year?

updated 11:48 a.m. CT, Mon., Jan. 26, 2009

REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Iceland's coalition government collapsed Monday, leaving the island nation in political turmoil amid a financial crisis that has pummeled its economy and required an international bailout.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

IL State Employee Retirement Pensions Severely Underfunded

From the Illinois Review:

Terry Savage lays out a dire scenario in the Sun-Times for those state lawmakers and Chicago city employees expecting a retirement pension. Here's a look at the dire situation for the retirement plans of state workers ranging from police to judges to university professors to members of the Illinois General Assembly. All are counting on generous state pensions, but may soon wake up to a brutal reality.

A financial war is brewing -- and it's likely to pit these public employees against Illinois taxpayers who are responsible for paying those generous pension promises. There simply isn't enough money in all these retirement plans (see below) to send out the promised checks. If you think Bernie Madoff had a Ponzi scheme going, wait until the wave of boomer retirement hits the reality of pension underfunding.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Illinois Constitution guarantees pensions to be paid before any other obligations. Savage gives the facts on how poorly these expected pensions are currently funded, just as baby boomers are heading towards retirement years:

* State Universities Retirement System (SURS): 58.5 PERCENT

* Teachers Retirement System (TRS): 56 PERCENT

* State Employees' Retirement System (SERS): 46.1 PERCENT

* Judges Retirement System (JRS): 42 PERCENT

* General Assembly Retirement System (GARS): 32 PERCENT