What I've been thinking about lately.

Pension reform in Illinois

My only source of income at present is a modest pension with no COLA.
I was against pension reform in the state of Illinois until I read this. After experiencing the unprofessional and unethical behavior of the local Fire Department I think it is obvious that these people are over compensated
and living off of the backs of the citizens of the city and county now and after retirement. Their compensation and benefits are severely out of proportion to the contribution they make to the community and risks they face. They are, no doubt, representative of their peers across the state. Read the information at the link above and you will agree. I now support a reasonable tax on existing pensions which would also impact me. PENSION REFORM NOW!!!! Don't bankrupt your children and grandchildren!!!

Greek societies

Why am I strongly opposed to Greek societies on university campuses? In my academic and professional careers, I routinely observed people with Greek society affiliations consistently violate their ethical, moral, professional oaths and responsibilities, and often just common decency, instead putting their affiliation with these organizations first, to the detriment of their employers, coworkers and those who they were sworn to serve. These organizations are often in the news because of moral and ethical violations which, in general, calls into question the need for, and actual purpose of, such "societies". Whatever "good deeds" such organizations loudly proclaim themselves to the world as doing, the unadvertised liberties taken with whatever power they have certainly negates those deeds. The universities I have attended do not benefit from the existence of such societies on their campuses, nor does any university. One thing that any university could do to improve the reputation of their university is to ban such societies from their campuses.


Let me start by saying that I support some form of reparations. But reparations for what? For slavery? I don't think so. There is no question that slavery is a stain on our nation's honor, but it was legal, if not ethical or moral by any standard. And... Everyone who was a slave is long dead and before long anyone now living who knew someone else who even knew someone who was an ex-slave will be dead, too. I don't find any logic in the argument that present day descendants of slaves deserve some form of compensation for the work their ancestors did to build this nation before slavery was ended. BUT..... Once slavery was legally ended, freed slaves and their descendants were due the same opportunities that every other citizen was entitled to. Black people, in general, including descendants of non-slaves and post Civil War immigrants, were denied those opportunities. Actually, those opportunities were stolen from them using institutional racism at the local, state and federal levels. Therefore, I support reparations for the institutional racism that all black people in the US
(not just descendants of slaves) have experienced since 6 December 1865 when the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution was ratified. What made me come to this conclusion? I was largely skeptical of the need for some type of reparations until I discovered that black soldiers returning from World War II were denied the veterans benefits (good article) that white soldiers received. As a veteran who used some of these benefits, I know how life changing they can be, and this began to put this injustice into perspective for me. Learning about this injustice caused me to take a closer look at this and other examples of institutional racism since 1865. Our government certainly owes all black Americans who need it compensation for that discrimination. There are many questions, though. What form reparations should reparations take? Should there be some form of means testing (Ta-Nehisi Coates, Henry Gates, and their families, etc., are doing just fine, thank you)? Should DNA testing be used to confirm ethnic ancestry? And...?

The Dumbing Down of Public Radio

For the past 20 years I've gotten much of my national and world news and information about society from National Public Radio (NPR). The local radio station, WGLT, has always been very light on news and education, being more focused on entertainment. So, though I have lived in the town where WGLT is broadcast for over 20 years, I have never listened to it after an initial sampling of their content. Why? Aside from the fact that I like to learn versus being entertained, I have never been impressed with the quality of music programming on this station, though it purports to present styles that I listen to. Therefore, even when I am in my car and can only get WGLT, I would rather listen to nothing or to CDs until I am in range of a better station. I actually did not remember how poorly WGLT performs as an information/learning platform, until my public station of choice, WCBU, was evicted from its home on a college campus in the town where it was being broadcast about 50 miles distant. The building that housed it was demolished. Sadly WCBU was forced to form an alliance with WGLT and apparently had to cede some of their control over programming. For example, BBC world news was moved form core evening listening hours starting at 9 pm to MIDNIGHT(!!) to make way for two-three hours of fluff music programming. As a result, WCBU is becoming a clone of WGLT (Fluff Radio) with music programming (very poor music programming) in core hours where there was once news (BBC World News, for one) and educational programming. Very sad and a comment how WGLT views the intellect and needs of their audience. Before, Central Illinois had one mediocre and one excellent public radio station and now has two mediocre public radio stations. I am looking for something I can stream over the internet. WAMU  looks promising.

The First Immigrants (AKA Native Americans)

Coming soon......