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Articles Archive for June 2015

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

The Washington Examiner reports:

The Export-Import Bank is down.

At the stroke of midnight Tuesday night, Ex-Im’s congressional authorization will expire. The federal agency, which subsidizes U.S. exporters and lenders through taxpayer-backed financing to foreign companies and governments, officially enters liquidation.

Legally, Ex-Im’s officers, employees and board members must cease their typical work of subsidizing Boeing, J.P. Morgan and Chinese state-owned enterprises. Instead, under the law that authorized it, Ex-Im is allowed to exist only “for purposes of orderly liquidation, including the administration of its assets and the collection of any obligations held by the bank.”

U.S. taxpayers are exposed to more than $100 billion in outstanding Ex-Im loans, guarantees and credit insurance, and agency employees are allowed to administer and collect the outstanding money and fees. But, if the words “orderly liquidation” hold their normal meaning, Ex-Im is also supposed to sell off its assets — that is, it should dump its loans into the private sector, and hand the cash over to the Treasury.

The rent-seeking Ex-Im will try and make a comeback, sadly, this summer on a continuing resolution. We hope we are wrong.

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

Your big boost for human climate-changing will hurt freezing poor people.

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

Originally posted on Berkeley on the Prairie:
Returning to the October 2013 gathering of eagles, at Oak Park’s Percy Julian Middle School . . . A CLAIM mother asked about the funding of mandates, what the state requires and the district pays for. “It depends on how you define mandate,” said Sen. Lightford. It had…

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[30 Jun 2015 | Comments Off | ]

The Belmont Cafe Quietly Opens, But Clarke's Diner Sign Remains

Clarke’s Diner closed in early June, and the Belmont Cafe opened over the weekend with little fanfare.

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

Last week was amazing for civil and human rights–Obamacare was upheld, same-sex marriage became law, the Supreme Court put teeth in the weak 1968 fair housing act and ruled states did not have to put the Confederate battle flag on license plates if requested. Then came South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s call to remove that flag from state grounds–followed by other states taking similar action and major retailers announcing they would no longer sell paraphernalia displaying it.
A mere hundred and fifty years too late, southern officials finally got the message …

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

I remember a George Carlin comedy skit about “pre-boarding.” How does one pre-board an airplane? You either get on, or you don’t, he joked. You can’t pre-eat, pre-vote, pre-drive, pre-sleep, or have pre-sex, he said.  (The latter is an interesting concept, but let’s not go there.)
But one can, however, pre-pay at the gas pump.
In Cook County, the Democrats have pioneered “pre-slating.” That means getting slated before you’re slated.  Almost magical. That occurred June 25-26, when the 50 Chicago and 30 suburban township committeemen convened a dog-and-pony show, wherein prospective 2016 …

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

With the state out of budget time and Chicago Public Schools short of cash for pensions, Springfield Democrats late today offered a one-month “essential services” budget to keep much of state government temporarily running.

But it’s uncertain whether the move really will buy time or merely escalate the political and public-relations battle between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

At a Springfield press conference, Madigan said that tomorrow, the first day of fiscal 2016, the House will vote on a $2.26 billion plan to fund key state staffers and agencies through July.

Related:
A whole lotta black smoke over the CPS pension deal
Rauner extols the virtues of pain—government shutdown pain, that is

Though $109 million for corrections officers is included, most of the money is for agencies that tend to serve more Democratic than Republican constituents—$93 million for child care, including $1.57 billion for Medicaid, $127 million for the developmentally disabled, $93 million in child care spending and $67 million for group homes and foster care.

Such items, Team Madigan implied, should not be held hostage to Rauner’s demand that Democrats first agree to portions of his “turnaround Illinois” agenda, including reductions in workers’ compensation benefits, term limits for lawmakers and an end to paying the prevailing union wage in government construction jobs.

“This is a one-month budget. This is a reasonable budget,” Madigan said. “I would hope the governor would see the merit of keeping the government functioning.” He’s not alone: Senate President John Cullerton’s spokeswoman, Rikeesha Phelon, said Senate Democrats are on board, too.

Rauner’s office had no immediate response, other than to refer reporters to previous comments. That appeared to be a reference to the governor’s veto of all of the non-education budget bills sent to him by Democrats on grounds that they created a $4 billion hole and failed to address needed structural changes to help the state’s economy.

Meanwhile, Madigan said—and other sources confirmed—that CPS is expected to make its full $634 million pension payment. The speaker said “by the end of the day,” but I hear it could be a day or two more.

Doing so would drain CPS’ reserves and credit line, and potentially risk its ability to meet payroll and keep schools open this fall.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had been hoping for passage of a bill to give him 40 more days, but much of Madigan’s Democratic caucus failed to support it a week ago, and today Republicans reportedly pulled their backing, too.

5:50 p.m. update — CPS indeed now has made its full $634 million pension payment, Charles Burbridge, executive director of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, reports. But officials aren’t saying where they got the money.

Although nobody’s talking, my best guess is it’s a combination of borrowing and budget cuts to be announced soon.

Here’s Madigan’s “essential” budget plan in black and white. Read it and weep (or rejoice, depending on your point of view).

Essential Services

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

* The Chicago Teachers Union believes that mass layoffs are coming to the school system, so they agreed to no cost of living raises in contract negotiations, but stuck firm on their evaluation demands. The Tribune has a very good story about what’s going on…
CPS teachers are evaluated by classroom observers, and are ultimately […]

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | ]

The American Thinker reports:In the near future, all governments — but particularly the federal one — will search for new and enhanced sources of tax revenue. Churches, called upon to pay their fair share, will have less income as the charitable dona…