Arkansas

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Authorizes National Guard To Carry Weapons On Duty

I try to spend as much time as I can at my family’s place in Wisconsin. And it’s my opinion that these days, Illinois could learn a thing or two from its neighbor to the north, particularly as it concerns combatting terrorists- both foreign and domestic. From a press release issued today from Wisconsin’s Office of the Governor:

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today issued Executive Order #168 allowing Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Governor Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves. I am also directing Adjutant General Donald Dunbar to evaluate longer-term plans to ensure the safety of our service members.”

A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order is attached.

I’ve read similar directives have been issued in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As for Illinois?

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

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 Military, Public Safety, Terrorism 2 Comments

Chicago Area Threatened By Severe Weather Thursday

There was plenty of talk tonight on the local news about the prospect of severe weather Thursday in the Chicago area and elsewhere in Midwest. Jon Erdman reported tonight on the Weather Channel website:

A multi-day severe weather outbreak, including tornadoes, is underway and will continue through Thursday in parts of the South and Midwest. Some severe weather may continue into Friday along the East Coast and South. This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.

Thursday: More widespread severe thunderstorms possible from the southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley and southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Some supercells with tornadoes possible. There is some uncertainty in how unstable the atmosphere will become in the afternoon after morning thunderstorms rumble through the region. This will dictate exactly how much and where we see the most significant severe storms in the afternoon.

Thursday Threat Cities: St. Louis | Chicago | Little Rock, Arkansas…

“This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.”

Prepare accordingly. A couple of days ago I rounded up a number of items from around the house I might be using during/after a spring severe weather event:

Severe Weather Gear

I made sure this gear was in good working order, and added/replaced batteries as needed. I plan on storing most of these items within a bin in one location in the home going forward.

You can read the rest of Erdman’s piece on Weather.com here. And if you’re just beginning to prepare for severe weather events, Ready.gov is a good place to start.

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

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 Emergencies, Preparedness, Weather Comments Off on Chicago Area Threatened By Severe Weather Thursday

15 Fukushima-Style Nuclear Power Plants Located In New Madrid Fault Zone

“As Japan’s crippled Fukushima reactor continues to leak radioactive water into the sea, Americans are beginning to worry over potential health risks when radioactive particles reach the West Coast of North America next year.

Concern has been mounting after it was reported that subcontractors at the plant had admitted to having under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms that were initially considered safe had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.

There have been unconfirmed reports of higher cancer rates among Fukushima locals…”

-The Voice Of Russia website, December 1, 2013

Enough of blogging about my local scene and financial topics. Let’s turn to preparedness now.

Back when I worked for a suburban fire department a few years back I used to do a good deal of the grant writing. From time to time we would be eligible for funds to upgrade the department’s/municipality’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities. As part of the grant approval process, we would have to identify potential threats to the community. I would always point out the danger (although somewhat remote) posed by earthquakes. Yes, the Chicagoland area does have its share of tremors- the last notable one being a 3.2 magnitude quake on November 4. When putting together those grant applications, I was always more concerned of rumblers originating quite a bit south of the Chicago-area, like southern Illinois.

Enter the New Madrid fault.

The other day, I happened to be reading an article on the “NewsWatch” section of the National Geographic website. Neil Lineback wrote on November 30:

The New Madrid (MAH dred) fault is one of the most dangerous in the world. Located beneath the upper end of the Mississippi delta, the fault extends from Cairo, Ill., to Marked Tree, Ark., a distance of 130 miles (220 km)…

According to an article from ABC News Radio Online (March 2011), a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line today would be catastrophic, potentially affecting more than 15 million people in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The USGS reports that the people most at risk from a quake of magnitude 7.0 or 8.0, however, are the approximately one million people living in the Memphis metro area…

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also predicts that a major quake at New Madrid could displace 7.2 million people and destroy at least 15 major bridges.

Another problem altogether could result from the 15 nuclear power plants around the New Madrid region. All of the power plants are of the same or similar design as the ones that failed after Japan’s recent earthquake and resulting tsunami, according to ABC News.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I checked out that ABC News article Lineback was referring to. What ABC News Radio actually said was:

There are 15 nuclear power plants in the New Madrid fault zone — three in Alabama alone — that are of the same or similar design as the site in Japan experiencing problems.

Not good.

And for any first responders out there reading this blog post, you may be interested in what was also mentioned in the piece:

In September, FEMA’s associate administrator for Response and Recovery, William Carwile, told a Senate panel that FEMA has five regional groups planning for possible earthquake responses, but a major quake along the New Madrid fault line could displace 7.2 million people and knock out 15 bridges. The response would require 42,000 first responders from local firefighters to the Pentagon.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

42,000 first responders!

Located in the “Geological Survey Program” section of the Missouri Department of Natural Resrouces website is a page entitled, “Facts about the New Madrid Seismic Zone.” From that resource:

The NMSZ appears to be about 30 years overdue for a magnitude 6.3 quake because the last quake of this size occurred 100 hundred years ago at Charleston, Missouri, on Oct. 31, 1895 (it was a magnitude 6.7). A magnitude 6.3 quake near Lepanto, Arkansas, on Jan. 5, 1843, was the next prior earthquake of this magnitude. About 75 percent of the estimated recurrence time for a magnitude 7.6 earthquake has elapsed since the last quake of this size occurred in 1812.

The earthquake that severly damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city- Christchurch- in 2011 and killed 185 people was a magnitude 6.3 event.

Any police or fire departments in the New Madrid fault region have any funds available for “new hires”?

How about gear to protect against radiation?

Just thought I’d ask.

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

Sources:

“Are Americans safe from Fukushima radiation?” The Voice Of Russia. 1 Dec. 2013. (http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_01/Are-Americans-safe-from-Fukushima-radiation-0907/). 2 Dec. 2013.

Lineback, Neal. “Geography in the News: New Madrid Earthquake.” National Geographic. 30 Nov. 2013. (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/30/geography-in-the-news-new-madrid-earthquake/). 3 Dec. 2013.

“Potential Catastrophe: Earthquake Could Devastate Parts of US.” ABC News Radio. 15 Mar. 2011. (http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/potential-catastrophe-earthquake-could-devastate-parts-of-us.html). 3 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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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 Debt Crisis, Employment, Entitlements, Government, Main Street, Retirement Comments Off on Illinois Public Sector ‘Double-Dipping’ Targeted

AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Usually around this time of year, I commute more often between my pad in Chicago and my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin. While that won’t be happening as much in 2013 due to everything that’s going on around here, I still like to keep on top of gas prices to get an idea of how much I’ll be shelling out to enjoy the open road.

(Editor’s note: Open road my butt. This is the Chicago metropolitan area, where if bumper-to-bumper gridlock isn’t taking place, you’re dealing with drivers who are distracted, in a hurry to go nowhere, or who really just don’t care about the rules of the road. And a “good drive” is one where you don’t lose a hubcap/wheel cover from a pothole that goes all the way to China.)

Venting process complete.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from the “AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook” that’s just been released on the “NewsRoom” section of the AAA website:

• Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
• Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
• The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
• The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

As for me in Chicago? Prices at the pump have not only been brutal this spring, but are expected to go higher. Samantha Bomkamp reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

AAA said Tuesday that motorists nationwide are paying the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, but don’t tell that to drivers in Illinois.

Despite a recent dip, drivers here are paying the highest average price in the lower 48 states. With a statewide average on Tuesday of $3.91 a gallon, Illinois drivers are paying more than every state except Alaska at $3.97 and Hawaii and $4.34.

Costs are even higher in Chicago where the average price was $4.32 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices averaged $4.14 in the suburbs…

While AAA predicts that drivers nationally should see gas prices fall even lower, motorists in Illinois and other Great Lakes states should see even higher prices as maintenance continues on refineries that provide most of the region’s gas supplies.

It’s a good thing I fill up in Wisconsin, where the price of gas is routinely cheaper.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

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

Sources:

“AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook.” AAA. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/04/aaa-monthly-gas-price-report-april-2013-trends-and-summer-outlook/). 1 May 2013.

Bomkamp, Samantha. “Gas prices ease nationwide while Ill. marches higher.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Apr. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-gas-prices-ease-nationwide-while-ill-marches-higher-20130430,0,3861102.story). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Energy, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles Comments Off on AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Quotes For The Week

Two for you this week from state lawmakers down South…

I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine. #2A

-Arkansas State Representative Nate Bell (R-Mena), in an April 19 tweet

I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.

-North Carolina State Senator Tommy Tucker (R-Union), to a newspaper publisher at an April 16 public hearing. Senator Tucker disputes the quote.

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

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Monday, April 22nd, 2013 Ammunition, Emergencies, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Main Street, Quote For The Week, Self-Defense Comments Off on Quotes For The Week

Doomsday Sunday

While watching Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic Channel the other day, the following commercial ran:

Two night event
National Geographic Channel
The Real Doomsday
Starts Sunday 8 PM

Interesting. From their TV schedule webpage for Sunday night, starting at 8 PM ET:

Omens of the Apocalypse: The End is Near

The year 2011 gets off to a disturbing start. On New Year’s Eve, blackbirds die in Beebe, Arkansas by the thousands. Nearby, fish and more birds perish. Then a wave of unsettling animal deaths seems to sweep the globe. Are the deaths connected?

2012: Countdown to Armageddon: The End is Near

Are we three years from the end of the world? It’s the premise of this fall’s feature film “2012,” starring John Cusack. Based on the end of a cycle of an actual ancient Maya calendar that will end on December 21, 2012, NGC asks, “What truths lie behind the fears?”

And on Monday evening, beginning at 8 PM ET:

Doomsday: Book of Revelation: The End Is Near

The most controversial book of the Bible: prophecy or ancient history? The answer lies in the book’s cryptic words. Are they a code waiting to be cracked? To some Christians, Revelation describes a doomsday scenario known as ‘the end times,’ and they believe it’s unfolding right before our very eyes. Most scholars argue that Revelation is a product of its time with a powerful message. Two thousand years after its appearance, the battle over what it means continues to rage.

The Mayan Apocalypse 2012

The countdown to the predicted Mayan apocalypse began several thousand years ago, and time is running out. In this one-hour special, historian and filmmaker Paul Murton travels to America to explore how the phenomenon now better known as 2012 has swept across the Internet, with hundreds of websites featuring frightening predictions.

Enjoy the shows, for what they’re worth.

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Friday, November 30th, 2012 End Times, On TV, Religion Comments Off on Doomsday Sunday
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