Main Street

Northern Illinois Bank Robberies Up 35 Percent

Just got done watching the WGN evening news in Chicago a short time ago. One of the segments focused on the alarming number of bank robberies taking place in the Chicagoland area.

According to WGN, bank robberies in northern Illinois are up 35 percent.

101 heists have taken place so far this year.

122 bank robberies were committed in all of 2013.

Just yesterday, a teller was shot at one of these incidents out in suburban Bolingbrook.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get to the point where I need to don body armor whenever I head out to conduct a financial transaction (this already occurs in some countries, from what I understand).

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

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 Banking, Crime, Gear, Main Street, Self-Defense No Comments

CNNMoney Poll: 63 Percent Of Americans Believe Most U.S. Children Won’t Be Better Off Than Their Parents

Long-time readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember this bit about American kids possibly not turning out to be “better off” than their parents. I blogged on September 21, 2011:

Back in 2006 when I was working at a suburban fire department, a battalion chief came into my office, saw the local paper on my desk, and asked, “Did you read that piece about how kids these days might be the first generation who won’t be better off than their parents?” I replied, “Yeah, it was depressing.” The fire officer confided, “That stuff scares me. I’m worried they might be right about that.” I’d be concerned too, especially if I were the parent of a couple of young kids like this chief was.

I was reminded of that exchange when I read the following from Tami Luhby on the CNNMoney website yesterday:

The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country.

So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

Young adults, age 18 to 34, are most likely to feel the dream is unattainable, with 63% saying it’s impossible. This age group has suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, finding it hard to get good jobs.

Younger Americans are a cause of great concern. Many respondents said they are worried about the next
generation’s ability to prosper.

Some 63% of all Americans said most children in the U.S. won’t be better off than their parents. This dour view comes despite most respondents, 54%, feeling they are better off than their own parents…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to Luhby, the poll came from telephone interviews with 1,003 adult Americans from May 29 to June 1, 2014.

I’m really not surprised by the findings of this survey. Besides an ugly employment picture, middle-class incomes are stagnating and the cost of living is rising (despite what the government and its shills say).

Here’s something else I mentioned in that September 2011 post. It’s from Annalyn Censky- also on the CNNMoney website:

It’s official. The first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.

Last week, the government made gloomy headlines when it released the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high…

But the data also gave the first glimpse of what happened to middle-class incomes in the first decade of the millennium. While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.

For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.

And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Are middle-class wages still stuck in reverse today? From a September 17, 2013, post on the Free exchange blog (The Economist website):

THE Census released new figures on income and poverty today… They’re both grim and unsurprising. In 2012 the real median household income in America was flat relative to 2011 and down considerably from the pre-recession level

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So is the American Dream impossible to achieve anymore?

I don’t think so. But I predict many of the kids today and possibly future generations will find it significantly more difficult to realize the Dream due to the self-serving and ill-advised fiscal and monetary policies carried out by the adults of the last few decades to the present time.

By incurring trillions of dollars of debt during this time period, we’ve screwed a good number of our kids and future Americans.

Here’s hoping yours won’t be employed as a servant to the Chinese or whoever the next hegemon is in the coming years…


“Chinese Professor”
YouTube Video

Sources:

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

Luhby, Tami. “The American Dream is out of reach.” CNNMoney. 4 Jun. 2014. (http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/04/news/economy/american-dream/index.html). 6 June 2014.

R.A. “Stagnation for everyone.” Free exchange. 17 Sep. 2013. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/incomes). 6 Jun. 2014.

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36,000 Immigrant Criminals Released Back Onto U.S. Streets Last Year

Soon to be committing a crime on a street near you?

More than likely by me, as I (mostly) run this blog just outside the “Sanctuary City” of Chicago.

Stephen Dinan reported on The Washington Times website earlier today:

Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement.

Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”

The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday. The Washington Times also obtained the data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As someone who used to handle such matters for the Democrats, I fully understand the focus on immigration by the Obama administration is primarily about securing votes.

But to knowingly jeopardize public safety through the release of murderers and other criminals back onto the streets of America in order to woo “minority” votes?

That’s just cold, man.

Couple this fiasco with the Justice Department’s recent move to significantly expand the number of prisoners eligible for clemency (blogged about here) and other instances where criminals aren’t either going to jail or remaining there very long, and no wonder firearm sales remain healthy in the United States today.

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

Source:

Dinan, Stephen. “Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts” The Washington Times. 12 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/12/feds-released-hundreds-immigrant-murderers-drunken/). 12 May 2014.

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Chicago, Northern Illinois Area Residents Should Prepare For ComEd Rate Hike In June

Local utility and energy delivery company Commonwealth Edison is a major provider of electricity to the Chicago and Northern Illinois region. Residents of these areas served by ComEd could see their electric bills jump in the weeks ahead. Steve Daniels reported on the Crain’s Chicago Business website earlier today:

Commonwealth Edison Co.’s residential rates will rise 20 percent beginning in June as a new charge for electricity reflects rising costs to secure supply during peak-demand periods from power plants.

ComEd’s new energy charge of 7.596 cents per kilowatt-hour, filed yesterday with the Illinois Commerce Commission, is 38 percent higher than the 5.52 cents its customers are paying now…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Don’t want to steal the thunder from Daniels and Crain’s, so head on over to the publication’s website here to read the entire story.

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

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 Energy, Inflation, Main Street, Utilities No Comments

ABC7 Chicago Investigation: ‘Schools Across Illinois Still Have Major Security Concerns’

Any Survival And Prosperity readers have kids in an Illinois school?

Ever wonder about how good the security is there?

It’s something you may want to check on. From the website of Chicago ABC affiliate ABC7 last Thursday:

Fifteen years since the infamous attack on Columbine High School, the I-Team uncovers a statewide security concern: major basic security gaps at local schools. For years, school safety experts have warned that basic low cost steps could save lives when seconds count in a potential school attack.

But the I-Team has learned that essential security needs at schools across the state are so great, the state doesn’t have nearly enough money in a brand new infrastructure safety grant program to meet all of the requests

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“I-Team: More school security concerns in Illinois than funding”
ABC7 Video

A transcript of the entire segment is also located on the ABC7 website here.

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

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Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 Crime, Education, Emergencies, Main Street, Security No Comments

More Convicts To Be Released Early Nationwide

Here in Cook County, Illinos, it’s no secret that many bad guys aren’t going to jail or getting out of jail early.

It’s a problem I’ve blogged about time and time again.

In fact, I just watched a ABC7 “I-Team” piece about one aspect of this situation on Tuesday, where investigative reporter Chuck Goudie revealed:

Despite some political rhetoric suggesting that Illinois allows those arrested for gun possession to get off home-free, there is a mandatory minimum penitentiary sentence for gun possession here of one year. But with day-for-day good behavior credit, most convicts are out in 6 months, and some Cook County judges give probation.

The result? According to police, “169 people involved as offenders or victims in last year’s murders or shootings would instead have been behind bars.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now the question I have for Survival And Prosperity readers outside the Chicagoland area is- are you ready for the same thing happening in your neck of the woods? Because from what I gather, it’s a done deal in terms of certain inmates getting out of jail early. From the FOX News website yesterday:

The Justice Department moved Wednesday to significantly expand the number of people eligible for clemency, issuing new guidelines allowing certain prisoners who already have served at least 10 years behind bars to apply for release.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole outlined the changes, which include six separate criteria inmates must meet to be eligible, on Wednesday morning. Among the requirements is that inmates must have served at least 10 years of their federal sentence and not have a “significant criminal history.” They must be “non-violent, low-level offenders” with no significant ties to major gangs, have a record of good conduct in prison and have no history of violence.

Finally, the process will be open to those who likely would have gotten a lesser sentence if convicted of the same offense today…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

What constitues “significant criminal history,” “low-level,” and other criteria?

What kind of oversight will be implemented?

Something tells me there might be some real potential to abuse this new clemency “overhaul,” as it’s being called.

God forbid the rest of the nation experiences what Chicago and Cook County residents have been going through for some time now.

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

Sources:

Goudie, Chuck. “I-Team: New gun laws would save lives?” ABC7. 22 Apr. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=9511420). 24 Apr. 2014.

“DOJ announces clemency overhaul, allows release for some after 10 years.” FOX News. 23 Apr. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/23/clemency-after-10-years-in-prison-doj-announcing-overhaul/). 24 Apr. 2014.

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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


Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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