Opinions/Editorials

McCombie Pushes for Property Tax Reform

McCombieJacketState Representative Tony McCombie stood with fellow House Republican Legislators from Northern Illinois, in denouncing the missed opportunity and failed effort of the partisan-controlled Task Force, to consider and recommend meaningful short- and long-term property tax relief.  Video from the Press Conference and more information about this and other State issues are available at Rep. McCombie's website repmccombie.com.

"The current draft report was put together by a handful of insiders and is a collection of one-sided thoughts with no real recommendations.  There was no reconvening of the committee to actually discuss, debate, or vote on the report at the committee level," said Rep. McCombie.

She said her District has sent her the message, to "lower our taxes, educate our children, and stop political corruption.  That all ties into what we're talking about today.  Lowering our $31.8 billion property tax burden, educating our children by letting our teachers teach, and stopping political corruption, which is certainly tied to taxes."

Bustos Announced $3.8 Million in Federal Funding

HUDLogoOn Friday, January 17, 2020,, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced $3,866,478 in Federal grants, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Continuum of Care (CoC) program. CoC is designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness and to provide services necessary to help such individuals move into transitional and permanent housing, with the goal of long-term stability.

Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations, State and local Governments and public housing agencies.  CoC funds may be used for projects under five categories:  permanent housing; transitional housing; supportive services only; homeless management information systems (HMIS); homelessness prevention.

CoC is designed to promote community-wide planning and strategic use of resources, address homelessness, improve coordination and integration with mainstream resources and other programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness, improve data collection and performance measurement, and allow each community to tailor its programs to the strengths and challenges in assisting homeless individuals and families within that community.

From Russia With Love...Sort Of

Editor's note:  This essay was written by Blair Bess.  He is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist.  He edits the online blog Soaggragated.com, and can be reached at BBess.soaggragated@gmail.com.

FlatteryAmericans who lived through the Cold War were taught that the Soviet Union was not our friend. They possessed weapons that could obliterate us with "the push of a button," as President Trump would say.  They were the scourge of Democracy who ensnared Eastern Europe in an Iron Curtain.  They brought the United States to the brink of nuclear war during 1962's Cuban Missile Crisis.  They were, in the words of former President Ronald Reagan, "the Evil Empire."

So, why is it that in the past year, Russia--the Soviet Union's successor nation--has suddenly become our new best friend?  How is it that a former KGB spymaster named Vladimir Putin has become a role model for the President of the United States?

Why is it inconceivable that a brutal dictatorship--which, in fact, is what the Government of Russia is--could be responsible for an attack on our democratic system of government?

The Real Refugee Problem--And How to Solve It

babyLast week Europe saw one of its worst crises in decades.  Tens of thousands of migrants entered the European Union via Hungary, demanding passage to their hoped-for final destination, Germany.

While the media focuses on the human tragedy of so many people uprooted and traveling in dangerous circumstances, there is very little attention given to the events that led them to leave their countries.  Certainly we all feel for the displaced people, especially the children, but let's not forget that this is a man-made crisis, and it is a Government-made crisis.

The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that U. S. and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized, with no hopes of economic recovery.  This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing "democracy" at the barrel of a gun.

Governor Jindal's Stand Against Religious Freedom

FreeSpeechI'm a free speech extremist. I believe the Government has absolutely no business regulating or censoring speech. Of course, commercially popular speech doesn't need protection. It's only unpopular--racist, sexist and vulgar--speech that requires it. So, as a free speech extremist, ironically, I often find myself on the same side as those I believe to be abhorrent, disgusting human beings.

Like the Westboro Baptist Church, for example. When their charismatic leader, Fred Phelps, was alive (may his gentle soul rest in peace) he referred to me personally as "a filthy whore," after I lumped him in with things which make Christianity look bad (him and the Inquisition, just to name a few.) His cult of Protestant fanatics is odious and gross. Their practice of picketing soldiers' funerals, victims of violence, and gay pride events is opportunistic, ghoulish, and grotesque. They're publicity hounds who put themselves in the public eye, in hopes of furthering their cause of 19th century vintage bigotry. The best thing I can say about them is they're cynical. The worst thing I can say is they're Christian.

Affluence Apartheid in America

classwarAnd now for a few choice words concerning my recent demotion to the status of second-class citizen. The amazing thing is how quickly my metamorphosis into Cockroachlandia occurred. One minute, I'm walking around like an ordinary human; the next minute, I'm an insect, an unwanted stiff, a bum, a vagabond, a jamoke. About as popular as feet in a punchbowl.

It seems America is splitting into two different categories:  first class and...wherever I am. Which is as far from prosperous as Kathmandu is to Kansas. Tiffany's and the Dollar Store. A 3-star Michelin restaurant on the banks of the Seine and a Fresno Jack in the Box.

And, on the off-chance I might contract amnesia about my proper position in the big picture, a conspiracy of swells has assumed responsibility to remind me of my new station. And [they] found a primitive, but effective, tool to keep my in my place. [I am t]alking about the ubiquitous, red velvet rope used to separate the VIP's from the hoi polloi. The universal symbol for exclusion.

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