Illinois

Indicator Of Illinois Economic Activity Down Third Consecutive Month

Any Illinois readers familiar with the University of Illinois Flash Index? It’s a popular indicator of economic activity in the state. From the website of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at U of I:

The U of I Flash Index was created in 1995 at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois to provide an instantaneous reading of the performance of the Illinois economy. The index has become the most widely used monthly economic indicator in Illinois, appearing in many newspapers and on broadcast news outlets…

I happened to be listening to WBBM Newsradio (780 AM Chicago) earlier today when it was reported that the U of I Flash Index was down again. From the IGPA site:

The University of Illinois Flash Index for November fell to 104.1 from its 104.3 level in October, marking the third consecutive month of decline in the measure of economic activity in Illinois. The index, published by the University’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA), has declined in five of the past six months.

These declines indicate a slowing in economic growth in the state but the economy continues to grow just the same. A Flash Index reading of 100 or below would indicate that the Illinois economy was contracting…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not exactly what the “Land of Lincoln” needs right now.

You can read the entire report on the IGPA website here.

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

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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 Business No Comments

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson On Tackling Gun Violence

Yesterday morning while watching the local news I spotted Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on WGN-TV (Chicago Channel 9) talking about the city’s gun violence. From his exchange with WGN’s Robin Baumgarten and Larry Potash:

BAUMGARTEN: So I heard you mention at the Union Club when you spoke earlier this week that it’s basically about 1,000 gang members or offenders that are causing all these problems. Now when people hear that- why don’t you go arrest those guys? Or are they going to jail and getting back out? What’s happening?
JOHNSON: Well, we’ve gotten real good at predicting who these individuals will be. Unfortunately, we have to work within the framework of a little piece of paper called the Constitution. So we actually have to wait until they do something. So that list that we have is not really for enforcement, but it’s just more of an FYI so we know who the perpetrators are.
POTASH: Lawmakers have been working on a bill to kind of stiffen the penalties for gun possession. What is taking so long with that?
JOHNSON: So we, I’m optimistic that we’ll have it done at the beginning of the year. But in terms of what’s taking so long? I guess they just want to get the language of it right. Because it’s more important to get it right than to rush through it. But we have to do something. Because most of our violence in Chicago is perpetrated by repeat gun offenders. And until we change that culture, that mentality, we’re going to see the same things keep cycling through.
BAUMGARTEN: So ideally what would you like to see, or what is the goal? To have someone who has a gun go to jail for how long? What’s the goal?
JOHNSON: So with this particular piece of legislation, we’re not changing the sentencing years. What we’re doing is giving our judicial partners the wherewithal to be able to sentence them somewhere between the mid-range to high-end of the sentencing guideline, which will be I think the high-end is maybe 14 years. Mid-range will be about 6 years.
POTASH: And why wouldn’t they be doing that already?
JOHNSON: Well, I can’t answer that. That’s a question- that’s a million dollar question. But the fact of it is though we do have to do a better job of holding these individuals accountable for their gun crimes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson on November crime states”
WGN-TV Video

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

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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 Crime, Legal, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago: November Murders Double From Last Year

November saw murders in Chicago double from last year. WGN-TV’s Nancy Loo reported this morning:

The latest number only add to an already deadly year. Likely, the worst in two decades. But the numbers for November alone are alarming. According to Chicago Police, there were 77 murders in November- nearly double from last year. And there was a total of 389 shooting victims- that’s 188 more than last November. The murder total for last month is actually more than that of 2014 and 2015 combined. Police say the current violence is fueled by gangs, largely within five police districts on the South and West sides…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Murders in Chicago more than doubled in November, police say”
WGN-TV Video

According to the Chicago Police Department’s CLEARMAP (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) Crime Summary web tool this morning, the 6th (Gresham), 7th (Englewood), 8th (Chicago Lawn), 9th (Deering), 10th (Ogden), and 11th (Harrison) police districts had the most reported incidents of violent crime in the past 90 days.

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

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Thursday, December 1st, 2016 Crime, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Illinois Gun Dealers Under Legislative Attack

Here’s the latest anti-gun “end-around” being attempted in the state of Illinois. From the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action website Monday:

Last week, state Representative Kathleen Willis filed House Amendment 8 to House Bill 1016, another anti-gun amendment that seeks to over-regulate gun dealers and impose restrictions that could potentially force gun stores to close. House Bill 1016 has been sent to the House floor and could be considered at any time. Your NRA-ILA continues to outright oppose House Bill 1016 and any anti-gun amendment proposed. Please continue to contact your state Representative and politely urge them to OPPOSE House Bill 1016.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) licenses and closely monitors all FFLs and strictly enforces any violations of federal law. HB 1016 goes far beyond federal law in its mandatory regulations and red tape imposed at the state level that it would almost assuredly force the closure of most firearm dealers, and prevent prospective owners from opening new ones. This legislation seeks to create so many department divisions, anti-gun 5-member licensing boards, and licensing fees that dealers would be forced to close through oversight by anti-gun appointees or would be priced out of business…

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of HB 1016 a way to take action via their website here.

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

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Chicago Shootings Increase On Long Holiday Weekends Year-Over-Year

Unsurprisingly, an awful lot of people were shot in Chicago over the long Thanksgiving weekend. From the HeyJackass! website (“Illustrating Chicago Values”):

Thanksgiving Stupidity…
Final Stupidity Tally: 11 killed, 64 wounded
2015 Thanksgiving weekend: 9 killed, 22 wounded
2014 Thanksgiving weekend: 5 killed, 23 wounded
2013 Thanksgiving weekend: 4 killed, 12 wounded

(Editor’s note: Three “kills” over the 2016 holiday weekend were police-involved shootings)

Notice the spike in shootings from just a year ago? Looking at the HeyJackass! data, I noticed year-over-year increases also took place on other long holiday weekends in Chicago, including Memorial Day (75 shot in 2016, 32 in 2015), July 4th (67 shot in 2016, 66 in 2015), and Labor Day (66 shot in 2016, 56 in 2015).

The trend is not Chicago’s friend here.

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

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 Crime, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago Shoots Past 700 Homicides For The Year

After spending the day at the family’s place in Wisconsin getting ready for “Old Man Winter,” I arrived home to learn that homicides in Chicago have shot past 700 for the year. Here’s what HeyJackass.com, “Illustrating Chicago Values,” is showing as I type this Friday evening:

Year to Date
Shot & Killed: 630
Shot & Wounded: 3296
Total Shot: 3926
Total Homicides: 703

ABC 7 Chicago is reporting over on their website:

The city surpassed the 700 homicide total for the first time since 1998.

A total 0f 704 homicides were reported that year, a number likely to be surpassed in 2016 as the city appears on pace for 750 homicidal deaths. That includes 10 people who were shot or otherwise assaulted in prior years, but died in 2016.

Last year the city recorded 473 homicides for the entire year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“704 homicides… a number likely to be surpassed in 2016”

How about “a number likely to be surpassed this weekend“?

A comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop surmised liberals will blame “climate change” for this carnage.

City Hall included among the blamethrowers?

Calls for more gun “control” and outside agency intervention in three, two, one…

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

Source:

“Chicago Sees 700 Homicides In A Year For First Time Since 1998.” ABC 7 Chicago. 18 Nov. 2016. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/chicago-sees-700-homicides-in-a-year-for-first-time-since-1998/1614560/). 18 Nov. 2016.

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Friday, November 18th, 2016 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense, Weather No Comments

Taxing Time For Chicagoans

The elections are over. So it’s time for “higher/new fees, fines, and taxes,” as I routinely point out in Survival And Prosperity.

Chicagoans found out yesterday what kind of impact City Hall’s latest “revenue enhancements” will have on their personal finances. Julian Crews, Dan Ponce, and Dana Rebik reported on the WGN-TV Chicago website Wednesday:

The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $8.2 billion 2017 budget Wednesday…

For taxpayers, the hardest pill to swallow in the budget may be a nearly 30 percent increase on water and sewer bills. The hike will be phased in over four years, and is expected to raise nearly $240 million to help shore up the municipal workers pension fund.

But the big impact to taxpayers will come in the form of a tiered increase in property taxes to fund police and fire pensions approved by the Council last year.

Other new fees include:

7-cent fee for all plastic AND paper bags to encourage people to bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
3.5 percent amusement tax for tickets to concerts, sporting events and musicals…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Crews, Ponce, and Rebik also pointed out coming higher fees with parking rates downtown, around Wrigleyville, and at both Midway and O’Hare airports. More parking meters will be popping up in the Loop and in city neighborhoods as well.

Anyone who’s been paying attention might have observed a disturbing trend lately with Chicago’s fees/fines/hikes. John Byrne and Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The average family will pay nearly $1,700 more a year to the city and Chicago Public Schools than they did before the mayor took office in 2011 once all of Emanuel’s tax and fee increases take full effect. There’s been a series of property tax hikes. There was a water and sewer rate increase, plus a new tax on top of that. Not to mention a new garbage hauling fee, 911 phone tax hike, vehicle sticker fee increase and a tax on cable television…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“$1,700 more a year… than they did before the mayor office in 2011”

Ouch. Byrne and Dardick added:

Even with all of that, taxpayers may be asked for more money in the coming years. Emanuel’s plans for shoring up long-neglected city worker pension funds will require the city to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars more by the early to mid-2020s

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In the meantime, the reporters calculated the “typical” Chicago homeowner ($250,000 residence) can expect to see their tax bill rise another $400 in 2017.

As a former resident of Chicago, I can understand why people would want to live there. That being said, Chicagoans have been required to “pay to play.” And that trend might not be their friend if that Tribune analysis plays out.

For those choosing to remain in the “City By The Lake,” it might be wise for these individuals to take a good, hard look at their finances to figure out if they can keep residing there should the cost of living continue its upwards trajectory.

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

Sources:

Crews, Julian, Ponce, Dan, and Rebik, Dana. “City Council unanimously passes $8.2 billion budget, including new taxes and fees.” WGN-TV Chicago. 16 Nov. 2016. (http://wgntv.com/2016/11/16/chicago-city-council-expected-to-pass-mayors-2017-budget-today/). 17 Nov. 2016.

Byrne, John and Dardick, Hal. “The tab on Emanuel’s series of tax hikes: $1,700 a year for the average family.” Chicago Tribune. 17 Nov. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-chicago-city-council-budget-vote-met-1117-20161116-story.html). 17 Nov. 2016.

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Chicago Water Treatment Plant Breach Worrisome?

Back on August 16, 2014, I wrote on Survival And Prosperity:

Chicago residents and those from surrounding suburbs who get their tap water from the city really should consider setting aside an emergency supply of water if they haven’t done so already…

This was mentioned in light of a Chicago Sun-Times piece about security concerns at Chicago’s James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant- the largest water treatment plant in the world.

Water plant security in the “Windy City” was in the news again right before the weekend. Brad Edwards reported on the CBS 2 Chicago website on November 10:

Clean drinking water is essential for our health, so when a man with a foreign passport is discovered trespassing in a protected Chicago water plant, the FBI and Homeland security are alerted.

Authorities say Shahroon Augustine entered the Eugene Sawyer Water Purification Plant with a duffle bag, containing a passport from Pakistan.

He was charged with trespassing, then vanished…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Was this simply a case of criminal trespassing, or something more sinister? Regardless, unauthorized parties having access to a portion of Chicagoland’s supply of drinking water isn’t a good thing.

Once again, those potentially-affected really should consider socking away an emergency supply of H20 if they haven’t done so already. And it’s something that can be done relatively inexpensively.

You can read the entire article on the CBS 2 Chicago site here.

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

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Illinois Bullet Serial Number Legislation Going Before House Committee November 15?

Earlier today, an article with the headline “Gun-Controlled Chicago Approaches 4,000 Shooting Victims For 2016” caught my attention on Breitbart.com. In it, AWR Hawkins wrote:

The Democrats in Chicago and the state of Illinois are pushing to squash this mayhem with more gun laws and regulations. One Chicago leader is pressing for a “declaration of a state of emergency” for the city, and state Representative Sonya Harper (D-6th) wants to require serial numbers on every bullet and bullet casing.

Harper told Fox 32, “We just want to know how the guns and the bullets are getting into the hands of our youth and causing senseless harm and murder on our streets.” She did not address that attempts at ballistic fingerprinting have repeatedly failed to solve crime when implemented in other cities, nor did she mention that such regulations drive up the prices law-abiding citizens have to pay for ammunition

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Later, I learned about this proposed ammo serialization program in Illinois on the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website:

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear House Bill 6615, legislation that seeks to create a serialization system of “handgun ammunition” in Illinois. While HB 6615 claims to only encompass handgun ammunition, the language would also go so far as to include most popular pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition.

Sponsored by state Representative Sonya Harper, HB 6615 will cost millions of dollars to implement and maintain, and is easily circumvented by criminals who seek to commit their criminal acts without care of another law on the books. Even common household tools could be used to distort or deface the serial number and render it illegible.

Not only would it be ineffective at preventing crime, this anti-gun bill would create a de facto registry of gun owners in Illinois. Every serialized cartridge would need to be registered to the individual that purchased it. This legislation would also criminalize the millions of cartridges that are currently lawfully owned by Illinois gun owners for target shooting, hunting and personal protection. Those who reload their own ammunition would not be allowed to do so anymore because it would be impossible to match the serial numbers on used cartridge cases to new bullets…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If readers haven’t figured it out by now, Illinois gun “control” supporters never rest.

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of HB 6615 a way to take action via their website here.

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

Source:

Hawkins, AWR. “Gun-Controlled Chicago Approaches 4,000 Shooting Victims For 2016.” Breitbart.com. 14 Nov. 2016. (http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/11/14/gun-controlled-chicago-approaches-4000-shooting-victims-2016/). 14. Nov. 2016.

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Chicago Tallies 37 Shot, 5 Killed This Weekend Amid Police Crackdown

The Chicago Police Department reported at least 37 people were shot and 5 killed in Chicago this past weekend, despite a well-publicized crackdown by the CPD and other agencies. Elizabeth Matthews reported on the FOX 32 Chicago website last night:

Over the weekend, Chicago police teamed up with state and federal officials in an effort to crack down on an explosion of violence in the city.

The crackdown comes after an especially deadly October. Already this year, more than 680 people have been shot dead in Chicago.

Police targeted three areas: Auburn-Gresham, Lawndale and Austin. A Chicago Police spokesperson told FOX 32 Chicago that they had made multiple arrests, and had taken one of the city’s most dangerous offenders into custody on the West Side…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Well, casualties keep mounting. Still, this initiative seems like one more step in the right direction. CBS 2 Chicago added over on their website earlier today:

Police said they made headway in the fight against gun violence with some important arrests…

The officers who made the arrest were part of the department’s “Strategic Anti-Violence Mission,” which began Friday night. The effort involved traffic stops, police serving arrest warrants, and officers visiting people they believe can leave the gang life if provided the proper resources

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Could it be the City of Chicago is actually acting on intelligence Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson reportedly has on about 1,400 individuals behind 85 percent of the gun-related violence?

It will be interesting to find out if this “Strategic Anti-Violence Mission” is just a one-off or something sustained.

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

Sources:

Matthews, Elizabeth. “CPD teams up with FBI, Cook County Sheriff and Illinois State Police to fight violence.” Fox 32 Chicago. 13 Nov. 2016. (http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/217319466-story). 14 Nov. 2016.

“Chicago Police Team Up With Feds To Target Violence Crime.” CBS 2 Chicago. 14 Nov. 2016. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/11/14/chicago-police-team-up-with-feds-to-target-violent-crime/). 14 Nov. 2016.

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Monday, November 14th, 2016 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments
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