Main Street

Resource Of The Week: StartPage Private Search Engine

I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly concerned about privacy going extinct in America.

Not that I engage in any criminal activity. I just tend to be a private person by nature.

And I think anything that can be done to reinforce and strengthen whatever privacy citizens still have left in the United States is a terrific thing.

Now let me take a selflie.

Enter StartPage, billed as “the world’s most private search engine.”

From their “About” page:

StartPage protects your privacy!

StartPage does not collect or share any personal information!

StartPage offers you Web results from Google- the world’s most popular search engine.

When you search with StartPage the Web results are generated by Google. This offers you the search results and search features you may have grown accustomed to.

A Unique Combination

On StartPage the privacy of Ixquick is combined with the Web search results from Google. The combination of these two features is what makes StartPage so special.

You can continue using the Web results from the world’s most popular search engine but now under the privacy protection of Ixquick, the world’s most private search engine…

At the bottom of the search engine’s home page there’s a box proclaiming:

Take a deep breath. You’re safe here.

Click here to learn the top 10 ways StartPage protects your privacy.

The “top 10 ways” include:

1. StartPage doesn’t store your IP address, use tracking cookies, or make a record of your searches…

2. StartPage protects you from NSA surveillance and spying…

3. StartPage gives you 100% real Google results in complete privacy…

4. StartPage is a Dutch company, so it is not under US jurisdiction…

5. StartPage offers a free proxy with every search…

6. StartPage is third-party certified for privacy…

7. StartPage has been doing privacy longer than anyone else – since way before privacy was “cool”…

8. When it comes to security, StartPage runs the tightest ship on the Internet…

9. StartPage breaks you free of the search engine “Filter Bubble”…

10. By using StartPage, you send a powerful pro-privacy message in the marketplace…

I’ve been using StartPage for a while now ever since my girlfriend introduced it to me some time back. It’s very good.

The only issue I have with the search engine is that it doesn’t seem to bring up as many results as Google does.

Still, it’s a lot more private.

Give StartPage a try here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Must-Watch Speech: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke On Responsibly-Armed Americans

Heading north past the state line, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., is in the headlines again. Sheriff Clarke’s name may ring a bell with regular readers of Survival And Prosperity due to a memorable Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office PSA he recorded around the beginning of 2013. I blogged back on January 27, 2013

North of “Madiganistan,” there’s a new ad being aired on the radio:

I’m Sheriff David Clarke and I want to talk to you about something personal- your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport- I need you in the game. But are you ready? With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal. Hide under a bed. Or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?

This safety message brought to you by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

At a recent United States Concealed Carry Association Open House Event held in West Bend, Wisconsin, Sheriff Clarke spoke of that PSA and subsequent ones, including the support and disdain he received from them. Clarke told the USCCA open house audience:

I got tired of seeing the Second Amendment becoming the bastard child of the Bill of Rights. As far as I’m concerned, the Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment, it’s as important as the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures, it’s as important as the Fifth Amendment right to counsel, it’s as fundamental as the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and on and on and on.

And but for the Second Amendment, the other ones are not possible.

Because what leads to despots in our history- you first disarm people, you gain control of the media.

That gives rise to despots. And that’s the importance of an armed citizenry…

It’s a terrific speech about responsibly-armed Americans, which you can watch in its entirety (less than 15 minutes) below…

“Gutsy Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Delivers Unforgettable Speech at USCCA Event”
(Speech from 2:46 to 17:07)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Seen On The Streets, Part 11

Potholes. Tons of them. Christopher Borrelli reported on the Chicago Tribune website on Monday:

It’s officially spring. We’re deep into pothole season, which, like other holiday seasons, seems to grow longer every year. This pothole season could be the longest yet. Potholes are out of control. The Chicago Department of Transportation said last month that pothole complaints have tripled in the past year; and since New Year’s Day alone, the city has filled more than 350,000 potholes. And because, according to CDOT, which assumes there are at least five unreported potholes for each reported pothole, their conservative estimate of the number of potholes remaining is, well, about 60,000 potholes.

At the very, very least…

Personally, I think the roads have been crap in many places around the Chicagoland area for a number of years now.

One spot in particular that’s incredibly chewed up and which I drive through on a regular basis is that portion of Thatcher Road right outside the Oak Park Country Club in River Grove.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the report of the shotguns being fired nearby on certain days at the Club- in conjunction with the cratered road- reminds some veterans of being in a warzone.

As a high school kid, when I could scrape together several bucks I would buy the latest duPont REGISTRY (magazine of luxury autos for sale) at the old Crown Books on the corner of Harlem and North. Lots of daydreaming would ensue where I’d be piloting some hot sports car around Chicago.

A number of years have passed, and practicality along with fate has left me driving an older, high-mileage Toyota instead.

Still, my lust for a high-performance vehicle has never subsided.

Although, the crumbling streets I’d encounter around the Chicago area made me remark to my girlfriend one day that owning a nice sports car (or even a “regular” one) may not be practical around these parts. For starters, there’s the city traffic. Second, there’s the high price of gas- especially if the vehicle requires the premium stuff. Finally, the increasingly crummy roads will “eat up” the bottom of the vehicle.

Case in point. While watching the local news one day this winter, I spotted a reporter doing a live broadcast about how bad the potholes were in the city. As they were doing the shoot, a hipster’s car went over one of these holes, tearing off a big piece from the underside of her vehicle. I felt really bad for the young lady as she proceeded to talk about what just happened on camera.

Further evidence of just how bad the local streets have gotten can be seen in a Craigslist.org post I saw the other day while taking in some car porn. From March 29:

Porsche 914 (1974) – $10500 (chicago)

Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage…Selling my ’74 914,wide body from Sheridan Motorsports,custom interior,disk brakes front and rear,1.8l engine with double webers(40mm)pulls strong with no leaks,transmission rebuilt less than 500 miles ago,75k miles

Considering trading for a WRX of similar or lesser value…

“Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage”

That trade request for a Subaru WRX makes sense, as things considered.

Still, even that rugged all-wheel drive vehicle may have too low of a ground clearance for some of the “surface anomalies” I’ve been spotting for some time now.

After I told my girlfriend about sports cars perhaps being impractical to own around these parts, I suggested for one to really experience what a sports car is really capable of performance-wise, one would probably have to head out to the back roads.

When I finally get my hands on one of these cars, “Escape to Wisconsin” will take on a whole new meaning for me…


Jamiroquai, “Cosmic Girl” (1996)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Borrelli, Christopher. “Making potholes into art.” Chicago Tribune. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-31/entertainment/ct-pothole-art-20140401_1_pothole-season-mosaic-marble). 3 Apr. 2014.

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Chicago Money Smart Week: Over 500 Free Financial Classes, Events

This morning, I opened up my Sunday paper to find a small booklet- a “special advertising section”- about something called Money Smart Week. From the inside page:

Are You Money Smart?

It’s too bad money doesn’t come with instructions because we all need to know how to spend it, save it and borrow it wisely. That’s why financial institutions, not-for-profits, schools, libraries and lots of others are joining together to help support financial education during Money Smart Week, April 5-12.

More than 500 free educational classes, seminars and activities will take place around Chicagoland and focus on financial topics for people of all walks of life

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Money Smart Week – Public Service Announcement with Jeffrey Brown”
YouTube Video

According to the event website, the program was started by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002.

The hundreds of free offerings are broken down into 22 topics, including Investing & Wealth Building, Personal Finance 101/Budgeting, and Savvy Shopping & Bargain Hunting, to name a few.

Looking to further your financial education? Head over to the Money Smart Week website here to explore what’s available.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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2013 Nobel Prize Winner Warns Of Possible Recession Next Year

Time to talk money. How many readers know who Eugene Fama is? Dr. Fama is a finance professor at the nearby University of Chicago. He is widely recognized as the “father of modern finance,” a champion of efficient markets, and the intellectual father of today’s index fund industry.

In October, it was announced that Fama was being awarded the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, along with Lars Peter Hansen and “crash prophet” Robert Shiller.

Anyway, the reason I bring Dr. Fama up is because the distinguished professor is warning of a possible recession in 2014- one that he believes will be global. Ilze Filks and Mia Shanley reported last Saturday on the Reuters website:

One of the three Americans who won this year’s Nobel prize for economics said bloated public deficits on both sides of the Atlantic meant that recession remained a real risk for 2014.

Eugene Fama, who shares this year’s 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, said on Saturday that highly indebted governments in the United States and Europe posed a constant threat to the global economy.

“There may come a point where the financial markets say none of their debt is credible anymore and they can’t finance themselves,” he told Reuters in the snow-covered Swedish capital, where he will receive his prize on Tuesday.

“If there is another recession, it is going to be worldwide.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

One more thing about “Mr. Efficient Markets.” Shawn Tully of Fortune magazine reported last Friday:

The mere use of the term “bubble” makes Fama see red. He says asset price bubbles simply don’t exist. Fama argues that when stocks crash — as in the dotcom crash or the cataclysm of 2008 — it is caused by a perfectly logical fear that a depression might follow.

Keep the dream alive for Main Street and Wall Street, and the financial house of cards can remain standing longer than most “doomsayers” suspect.

Still, the charade can only be pulled off for so long.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Filks, Ilze and Shanley, Mia. “Nobel economics winner Fama says risk of global recession in 2014.” Reuters. 7 Dec. 2013. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/07/us-sweden-nobel-idUSBRE9B605C20131207). 12 Dec. 2013.

Tully, Shawn. “What can you learn from Mr. Efficient Markets now?” Fortune. 6 Dec. 2013. (http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/06/investing/eugene-fama-markets.pr.fortune/). 12 Dec. 2013.

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Illinois Public Sector ‘Double-Dipping’ Targeted

“Double-dipping.” When public sector public employees draw a public paycheck while at the same time drawing a public pension.

Back when I as a civil servant, not only did I see this taking place, but suspected the arrangement would come under fire one of these days.

As Main Street’s finances eroded significantly after the economic crisis reared its ugly head five years ago, more grumbling was heard over the practice. I blogged back on April 4, 2011:

An employment arrangement I witnessed during my days as a civil servant is coming under increased fire these days. Bloomberg’s David Mildenberg wrote on March 29:

With U.S. unemployment averaging 8.9 percent, so-called double-dipping by tens of thousands of government workers nationwide is drawing increasing scrutiny.

Lawmakers from coast to coast are taking steps to curb the practice as states face combined deficits projected at $112 billion and unfunded pension liabilities of as much as $3 trillion.

Arkansas banned double-dipping by state workers last month, while bills to curb it are pending before lawmakers in Olympia, Washington, and Trenton, New Jersey.

And then there’s Illinois, where double-dipping is still permitted in a state saddled with a nearly $100 billion unfunded public pension liability.

Perhaps for not much longer though.

Enter Illinois State Representative Jack D. Franks (D-Woodstock). Representative Franks has introduced Illinois House Bill 3760, the “Retirement Means Retirement Act,” on November 14. Natasha Korecki reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website today:

[Representative Franks] says the legislation would address anyone — from state lawmakers to school superintendents to those in law enforcement who retire from one public job because they’ve maxed out on their pension, then take another public job as they begin to draw pension benefits.

Franks pointed to school superintendents and police chiefs who retire on a Friday only to return the following Monday with a new title, new salary — and drawing a pension— all while staying in the same office.

“I see a lot of people who retire and just end up in another government job shortly thereafter,” Franks told the Sun-Times. “That’s not what this system was designed for, but it’s a major loophole that they’re able to exploit… We’re going after the abusers — and we know who we’re talking about. Some of these guys make more than the president in retirement.”

Supporters of “double-dipping” argue that someone has to be hired to fill the job opening, so it might as well be the best qualified candidate applying for the position- which in many cases is the new retiree.

Reading over the proposed legislation, “double-dipping” looks to be prohibited only going forward. Illinois public sector retirees who are already participating in such an arrangement appear to be safe.

For now, at least.

You can find out more about Illinois House Bill 3670 on the Illinois General Assembly website here.

Source:

Korecki, Natasha. “Public pension and salary ‘double-dippers’ targeted in new bill.” Chicago Sun-Times. 19 Nov. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/23845706-761/public-pension-and-salary-double-dippers-targeted-in-new-bill.html). 19 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Jim Rogers: ‘Everybody Should Own Some Precious Metals As An Insurance Policy’

The well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers was recently interviewed by the Burbank, California-based Birch Gold Group. I was reading a transcript dated November 12 of the discussion he had with Rachel Mills of the precious metals company when I spotted the following comment the Chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests made about gold and silver and the important role they can play in protecting wealth. From their exchange:

MILLS: So what advice would you give someone who as of yet has no precious metals in their portfolio right now?

ROGERS: Well, everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy. So if they don’t have any right now, I would urge them to go buy something, buy themselves a gold coin if nothing else, and see that it’s not going to hurt. It won’t hurt you to buy the first gold coin, the first silver coin, and from that you start accumulating as your own situation dictates.

First, do your homework, don’t buy gold because you heard me say it or even because you hear you say it. But if people don’t own they should start after they have done their homework. And then they will probably, if they do their homework, most people will then realize, “Oh my gosh, I better have insurance, and gold and silver may get me through serious problems ahead.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In all the time I’ve been following Jim Rogers closely (9 years), I don’t recall him ever being so adamant about gold and silver being used for insurance purposes.

A good interview which you can read/listen to here on the Birch Gold Group website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 70

You may have heard of the following wacky story out of the Nisqually Indian Reservation some 60 miles south of Seattle. Eric M. Johnson of Reuters reported yesterday:

A 93-year-old Washington state man, whose dog returned home with a human leg it had found, buried it in his back yard on an Indian reservation to avoid being suspected of a crime, a local official and media reports said…

Bill Flowers picked up the leg brought home by his dog, Liberty, and thought of calling the police, he told KOMO-TV at the weekend. But fearing they would suspect him of foul play, he buried it in his backyard, where it remained for several days until he told his daughter, who urged him to call the police.

“I was afraid to call. I’m 93 years old. I didn’t want to have to go to the pen for something I didn’t do,” Flowers told the television station.

Many people will probably just dismiss this story as being another one of those weird tales frequently encountered on the Internet.

However, I find it disturbing that a 93-year-old-man is afraid to contact local law enforcement about his pooch’s gruesome find.

“I didn’t want to have to go to the pen for something I didn’t do.”

A case of someone watching too many movies/too much TV, or is this how Americans have come to view the police?

All I know is, what’s shown on the nightly news doesn’t exactly conjure up images of “Officer Friendly” for those on Main Street:

Shemagh Cop

Is that a shemagh that sheriff’s deputy is wearing?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Johnson, Eric M. “Dog finds human remains, owner buries leg in backyard.” Reuters. 12 Nov. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/dog-finds-human-remains-owner-buries-leg-backyard-094716764.html). 13 Nov. 2013.

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Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s New Warehouse Tool Sheds Light On Local Government Fiscal Health

It’s been some time since I talked about Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on this blog. The last time I mentioned her name was back on April 3, 2012, when I blogged about a new Internet tool- The Ledger- that Illinoisans now had available to keep a closer eye on state finances.

Joining the comprehensive online financial database this week is The Warehouse, which lets state residents scrutinize local government finances.

From the Comptroller’s website Monday:

CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday launched The Warehouse, a comprehensive online database that puts Local Government financial information and tens of thousands of records at a single location for taxpayer review.

Each year, the Comptroller’s Office collects financial reports from 5,200 counties, municipalities and special taxing districts across the state. In creating The Warehouse, Topinka has made those records and other pertinent local financial information collected by her office immediately available to residents…

Warehouse visitors are able to search records by report type, unit of government or community name. Once a local government is selected, users will be taken to a landing page where they can view a snapshot of local finances, Annual Financial Reports and Audits. The site also offers a “compare data” feature allowing visitors to see how one government stacks up against another.

I took this new database for a spin last night. You can search by “Report Type” or “Unit Type” along the left sidebar, or enter keywords in a query area at the top of the right sidebar.

All seemed to be working well, until I punched in “Cook County” in the search query. This is the message I got:

Sorry, there is no current documentation required for Cook County. No data is available.

Hmmm. I noticed DuPage and Lake Counties come up fine, so I’m not sure what the deal is here.

I can see The Warehouse being a good tool for researchers and those wanting to check on the fiscal health of the towns and other jurisdictions they reside in, I can also envision prospective homebuyers and renters using it as well should they choose to look into the financial situation of the place they’re considering moving to.

The Warehouse has it’s own web page, which can be accessed here.

And you read the rest of that release from the Comptroller’s site here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 Fiscal Policy, Government, Main Street, Spending No Comments

‘Idyllic’ Naperville, Illinois, Plagued By Residential Burglaries

The City of Naperville, Illinois. Voted the second-best place to live in the United States by Money magazine in 2006. Named the wealthiest city in the Midwest in a 2010 study.

And these days, a town hit by a string of residential burglaries.

Melissa Jenco reported on the Chicago Tribune website on September 14:

Residential burglaries are plaguing Naperville with 12 occurring in less than two weeks, according to police.

In half of those cases between Aug. 29 and Sept. 10, the burglars entered unlocked homes at night while the owners were sleeping, police said. In nearly all of the daytime cases, doors and windows were forced open…

In the nighttime burglaries, the burglars seem to be sticking to the ground floor and swiping items that are easily accessible like laptops, wallets and other items people have left out. In the daytime when no one is around, they are going to other parts of the homes and have grabbed as much as $30,000 in jewelry from one residence, according to [Sergeant Lou] Cammiso.

“The burglars entered unlocked homes at night while the owners were sleeping.”

Unlocked homes at night? As the Office and Management and Budget and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning consider Naperville as being part of the Chicago metropolitan area, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest it’s probably not a very good idea for these Chicagoland residents to leave their doors unlocked overnight.


“Naperville Homes Looted While Owners Sleep”
YouTube Video

Consider what the host of the The Survival Podcast, modern survivalist Jack Spirko, recently said in his August 21 episode:

Do you lock your doors when you come home? Well, no. Well, why not? Well no one’s going to do anything. That’s normalcy bias. That’s normalcy bias. No one will do anything. Well, no one’s ever done anything on my street before. Doesn’t mean they won’t do it tomorrow.

If I was a criminal, and I was looking to break into a house- steal, murder, rape, abduct, whatever- whatever criminals want to do, do you think I would go to a place where people expect it? Or do you think I would go to a place where people are like “nothing like that ever happens here.”

You know, there are stupid criminals. They’ve even made a show called Stupid Criminals. And there are some real dumb ones. But most of them aren’t that stupid or they would be in jail or dead already. They stay alive and are successful because they have a little bit of intelligence going on. And that’s how they think:

“I’m going to go to a place that seems like a lily-white yuppie neighborhood where everybody’s probably afraid of guns. If they do have a dog it’s some little yippy-yappy little dog I can kick in the head and kill it. People don’t lock their doors. Kids are running around in the streets not paying attention to nothing. If I do break in the kid’s probably playing Call of Duty and won’t even notice it, while I beat the hell out of his mother.”

It sounds graphic… This is how these people think. There are people that live within several miles of you no matter where you are in the world that think this way.

All of Main Street U.S.A. should carefully consider what Spirko said.

Life is getting more grittier these days for many Americans. And the criminals appear to be getting more bolder. Now, I don’t think John Q. Public should be squirreling away the family in the suburban house just yet. But doing something as simple as locking one’s doors and windows at night, particularly if you live in the Chicagoland area in 2013, can go a long way in keeping “home sweet home” a reality.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Jenco, Melissa. “Naperville police warn residents about burglaries.” Chicago Tribune. 14 Sep. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-14/news/ct-met-naperville-burglary-folo-20130913_1_recent-burglaries-naperville-police-nighttime-burglaries). 18 Sep. 2013.

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 Crime, Main Street, Security, Self-Defense No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 67

Throughout the years, I’ve heard Chicago-area residents- teachers included- talk about how screwed-up Chicago’s public school system is.

I am not a “product” or employee of the system, so I really can’t pass judgement either way.

However, after reading the following on the CBS Chicago website this morning, a clearer picture emerges as to why critics might think this way about the CPS:

Some people may think a five-year old is too young for sex education.

Administrators with Chicago Public schools do not.

New to the curriculum this year, mandatory sexual and health education for kindergarten classes.


CBS Chicago Video
ANY CHARACTER HERE

Back in September 2012, the U.S. Department of Education found 79 percent of Chicago Public Schools 8th graders are not grade-level proficient in reading and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Perhaps CPS administrators might want to steer their kindergarteners’ focus more towards reading and math instead of sex ed.

Just a thought.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“CPS Mandates Sexual, Health Education For Kindergarten.” CBS Chicago. 29 Aug. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/08/29/cps-mandates-sexual-health-education-for-kindergartners/). 30 Aug. 2013.

Jeffrey, Terence P. “U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading.” CNSNews.com. 10 Sep. 2012. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/us-department-education-79-chicago-8th-graders-not-proficient-reading). 30 Aug. 2013.

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Friday, August 30th, 2013 Education, Main Street, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Chicago Sauganash Attack: ‘Those Kinds Of Things Just Don’t Happen Around Here’

An off-duty Chicago Police Department police officer was almost raped Thursday afternoon close to where I used to live on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

From the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

An off-duty police officer jogging on a path near Sauganash Park and the LaBagh Woods on the Northwest Side was attacked by a man who tried to rip her clothes off.

The officer fought back and yelled, and the attacker took off running. The assault happened about 2:50 p.m. Thursday near Bryn Mawr and Lowell avenues in the Sauganash neighborhood.

The local news media interviewed a couple of Sauganash residents, and one woman said something along the lines of:

Those kinds of things just don’t happen around here.

Regrettably, they do- as demonstrated by yesterday’s incident.

I can see where such violence might have been rare in the past, but with the Chicago Police Department hamstrung by a continuing manpower shortage, and area police districts like the 16th particularly short-handed, the situation nowadays is ripe for exploitation by local and cross-town criminals.

I was reading Second City Cop this morning and stumbled on the following comment in a post about the attempted rape:

Anonymous said…

Why is it that so many white officers who reside on the north/northwest side of Chicago believe that because they reside in that area(s) that these kinds of crimes don’t/won’t occur?

From personal experience, the same can be said of a number of area residents, regardless of color.

I know one thing. If I still lived in the area, I’d take a deep, hard look at the options available to me as it concerns personal safety.

By the way, a different comment on that Second City Cop post claims the off-duty officer that was assaulted is on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “body guard detail.”

Hit a little too close to home, Mr. Mayor?

Now you know how a number of Sauganash residents probably feel today.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Off-duty police officer attacked while jogging.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Aug. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-offduty-officer-attacked-during-afternoon-jog-20130830,0,3164656.story). 30 Aug. 2013.

SCC. “Off-Duty Attacked.” Second City Cop. 30 Aug. 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/08/off-duty-attacked.html). 30 Aug. 2013.

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Friday, August 30th, 2013 Crime, Main Street, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago, Illinois, And Their Gang Problem

While there’s no shortage of Chicagoland politicians these days denouncing what they see as a gun problem here, the truth is, Chicago- and Illinois for that matter- has a major gang problem.

I blogged back on March 19:

Consider the following from the website of Chicago Crime Commission, an independent, non-partisan, civic watchdog organization of business leaders dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of organized criminal activity, especially organized crime and street gangs. Talking about their recent publication, The Gang Book 2012, a comprehensive compilation of data and information concerning street gangs in the Chicagoland area, the Commission said:

There are an estimated 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with a membership of between 68,000 to over 150,000.

“Over 150,000”

Back on March 2, 2011, I blogged about DEA and local law enforcement estimates of there being over 100,000 gang members and 75 to 100 street gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Like I said in the intro of this post- gang violence is not just a Chicago-area problem. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) pointed out in a phone interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that appeared on their website on March 15, 2013:

Illinois is number one per capita in gang membership for population. We have more gang members in our state, it is a long-term economic threat to our future.

Apparently, Chicago now has a higher rate of gang membership per capita than Los Angeles. The state of Illinois has a higher rate of gang membership (8-11 gang members per 1,000 population) than California (5-7 gang members per 1,000 population).

But getting back to the Illinois senator. Earlier this week, a press release from his office noted:

In July, Senator Kirk‘s initiative to curb gang violence was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill.

If enacted, the legislation would provide $19.5 million for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and its law enforcement agencies with directives to locate, arrest, prosecute and convict members of “Gangs of National Significance.”

As part of that effort, $7.52 million in new funding would be directed toward the U.S. Marshals Service to operate anti-gang investigate units to increase law enforcement’s ability to identify, locate and arrest violent gang fugitives, and increase the Marshals Services’ anti-gang training and operations. The U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force is based in Illinois, with a variety of local law enforcement agencies participating. The DuPage County Sheriff currently has two deputies detailed to the task force.

An additional $12 million would be provided to the Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Grant Program, which is also known as Project Safe Neighborhoods. This effort would more than double the current funding for the anti-gang effort spearheaded by local United States Attorneys…

The legislation would also direct $100 million in additional funding to the ATF, so that the agency can employ 160 more agents and enhance enforcement of firearms laws.

Federal funds to fight the gang problem? I can’t see too many people having a beef with that.

But regarding the ATF, the August 19 press release also said:

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today called on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to appoint a Chicago-based anti-gang coordinator for Illinois.

“A Chicago-based anti-gang coordinator for Illinois”

Hmm. Reading the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop yesterday, I get the impression rank-and-file Chicago Police Department officers might not be so hot on adding another chief to the mix as things stand right now. SCC wrote:

And his push for “federal….coordinator(s)” reeks of touchy-feely left-wing nonsense solutions.

What’s that old saying?

“Too many chiefs, and not enough Indians”

I wonder if that isn’t the situation here with the CPD and their lingering manpower shortage.

You can read the entire press release from Senator Kirk’s office here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

SCC. “Senator Kirk is So Street!” Second City Cop. 20 Aug. 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/08/senator-kirk-is-so-street.html). 21 Aug 2013.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 63

I can’t help but think a number of Americans who get wind of the following story will think twice about using Google. Hey, I like their products (wasn’t too thrilled when their auto-fill feature debuted on their search engine however). But I’ve got to wonder what kind of red flags I myself might be sending up with my searches related to my research on financial and personal safety topics and this blog, besides other goofy stuff I happen to be looking for.

I know. Don’t ask. Or is it don’t tell?

From Michele Catalano, former music contributor at Forbes and a freelance writer published in The Magazine, Maura Magazine and at Boing Boing, in a post on Medium.com earlier today:

It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in “these times” now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-year-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided.

Which might not raise any red flags. Because who wasn’t reading those stories? Who wasn’t clicking those links? But my son’s reading habits combined with my search for a pressure cooker and my husband’s search for a backpack set off an alarm of sorts at the joint terrorism task force headquarters

(Editor’s note: Bold/italics added for emphasis)

The rest of Catalano’s account, if factual, is rather disturbing. You can read the rest of it here on Medium.com.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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4 Out Of 5 U.S. Adults Suffer ‘Economic Insecurity’ During Their Lives

Quite a few financial news websites I dropped by this weekend were buzzing about a just-released Associated Press article that said 4 out of 5 American adults wrestle with “economic insecurity” during their lives. From the CBS News website yesterday:

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

According to the AP piece, economic insecurity is defined as “a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line.” The risk is currently at 79 percent, but the current widening income inequality gap suggests that by 2030, close to 85 percent of working-age adults will experience such hardship.

In addition, the AP article talked about poverty America today. According to the Associated Press:

Nationwide, the count of America’s poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession.

Seeing as that this article comes on the heels of Barack Obama’s “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class” speech on middle-class America’s woes last week, instead of it being an indictment of the President’s economic policies as some have claimed, perhaps its real purpose is to provide more ammunition to the White House for a renewed push on economic initiatives they’ve been championing for a while, such as wealth redistribution.

An interesting article, which you can read here on the CBS News website.


“When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” (1:47)
“‘Joe the Plumber’” Becomes Focus of Debate”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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