Friday, January 30, 2009


Pat Quinn is a genuinely good guy, even if a little self-righteous from time to time. He's the Governor now. What does he do first?

If he wants to rescue this State, he first reverses the hijacking of our state capital that started under Jim Thompson and has proceeded like wildfire since. Require Insurance, Banking and Licensure Regulators to hold their hearings and meetings in Springfield for downstate matters. Require Department Heads to be in Springfield at least when the legislature is in session. Actually have cabinet meetings in Springfield. Reestablish the press office at the Governor's downstate facility.

A citizen of the Basin with a matter before, say, Professional Regulation, should not have to go to Chicago (650 mile R/T) to obtain due process when the established seat of government is 100 miles away in Springfield.

Living in the Governor's Mansion is not very tough duty and it's good Pat is going to do that. First emphasis should be restoring the government to the seat of government.

Oh, and Pat, that DOT facilities move to Little Egypt, reverse it. Do not do anything to dilute the seat of our government in the Town of Lincoln for the Land of Lincoln.......While I'm at it, your official vehicles should be Lincolns.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Ah, those heady days of "Dick Nixon.......Before He Dicks You" (Probably my all time favorite bumper sticker). We had a little inflation going on and the Dickster was worried about it. So he and his housepets in Congress (This was still the first term) decided to do a "Stabilization". For those of you scoring at home, that would be a wage and price freeze.

While kind of appreciating it (GI Bill, Wife, Baby), I thought it was stupid for two reasons. First, it simply masked what was happening in the "real" economy. The value of a dozen eggs didn't change just because the price was artificially frozen. Thus, the one measure of how the economy was actually doing was edited and nobody could really know. The second reason was it had the effect of the government picking winners and losers. A small, full service pharmacy had no chance to compete against a high volume, more automated pharmacy (remember, in those days, we just bought our drugs. There were no "copay" issues). I could choose to buy my baby's medicine from the pharmacy who explained carefully exactly what it was, how to use it and what to watch out for, maybe even suggested an OTC product that would work well with it. With the freeze, value added competition was out the door. So I mocked it while I benefited from it.

Now we have a less direct governmental incursion into the economy. Picking winning sectors (Oh yeah. In the TARP we actually picked the winning banks but that's another story) and influencing job creation by spending government money. It's not as ham-handed as the Dickster but it's a whole lotta disbelief in the "unseen hand of the Market Place" (Thank you Mr. Smiff).

Our democrat friends may think this is my Republican evil twin coming out but maybe I just bought all this propaganda growing up about competition and innovation being good and the market place (give or take a few necessarily regulated industries) being the best regulator of success and failure. I get sweaty palms about more than a trillion dollars of tax money flying out the door because real estate is settling on a new price point and unemployment is up. I get that we have reeducation of the work force issues. I get that we have access to medical care issues. I don't quite get why that means we have to get out this big a shovel.

My previous post was about the politics of it and I still think Tanning Bed screwed that up.

But I'm not for a Trillion Dollars in givebacks and public works projects. Barry deserves more respect than the Dickster, just for style points. Still, at the end of the day, the government is picking winners and losers and that's not what my gov't is supposed to be doing.

Barry, let my people compete! You're for an NCAA Football playoff, so I know you like competition. Don't be the Dickster.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Prez Barry makes two overtures to the GOP leadership re stimulus package. Before the sandwiches were served, the GOP leaders are mike-in-face saying this dog won't hunt.

Here's what Tip did. When Ronnie wanted something, he turned his discipline loose and told people to vote their districts. He was not then seen as an obstructionist and Ronnie was left with responsibility for fun things like the Laffer Curve (Which Laffer, hisownself, disclaims).

By telling the world they are not going to play ball, Tanning Booth and Mitchy are giving Barry a cheap win. He either gets bi-partisan support or gets to say that the lack of purpleness in government is not his fault.

Hard to tell whether this is bad staff work, hear-headedness or both. Watching Boehner's style, my money's on both.

Kind of fun to watch, though. On this exchange, Barry can't lose.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


.......extend unemployment compensation.

Recipients will spend every dime, guaranteed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Maybe my all time favorite kid


.....Spiro Agnew, Alcee Haistings, Edwin Edwards.

I just thought Rod's list of persecuted heroes was incomplete. These names give it a little balance.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Been seeing a lot of advertisements about insurance and protection for identity theft.

Haven't seen one yet that pays back money lost. Several will spend "Up to a Million Dollars" to fix the problem, but no payment for the loss itself.

There is no foolproof solution and the problem is no joke. Still, the basics aren't too difficult.

Most Stats involving stolen identities make it clear that at least half of id thefts are not cybercrimes. Of the low tech half, half of those are by people with whom the victim is acquainted. In other words, dumpster divers and misdirected family members. Translation: buy and use a shredder and keep your private papers private.

About half of the other half are based on "click on" schemes. If your e-bank wants you to know something, you can get the information by ignoring the email and going to the same web portal on which you usually bank/trade/bill pay.

Whether to buy protection or insurance is a very personal decision but a good start would be a micro cut shredder, a lock on your file cabinet and not having your personal numbers on any computer with an internet connection.

I actually know a person who bought a protection program, has no shredder, and has his browser remember his passwords on a laptop he carries on business. Odd Combination.

Friday, January 23, 2009


So many good people on the far left, with the purest of hearts and intentions, many my good friends, are crying out for war crimes and civil liberties inquiries (read: Cheney's head on a stick). Please, folks, give it up. We had an election. That zeitgeist, all wrapped up in the "Bush Doctrine" (Yes, Sarah, there was one) was repudiated. Let it be.

Talented but new people are working very hard on saving our country (and, not incidentally, the world) from several pandemic diseases, possibly dangerous global climate change, global economic meltdown,restoring mutual sovereignty of the organized countries of the world, ending two wars, effectively restoring habeas corpus and, right or wrong, saving the American Auto Industry. Do we really want to take the time to do a retrospective of a foolish and squandered time? Does anybody really need affirmation that we need a new direction? Do we really want to run the risk of making public the secret things upon which we based our decisions. Do we really want to show what methods and techniques we used to obtain sometimes useful intelligence.

Yes, I'd like to see Wolfy and Perle further publicly embarassed. Maybe even Cheney and that slam-dunker but the price is too high and the outcome won't be justice. The outcome will be squandered opportunity.

Give it a rest, pure-hearted people. 1968 called. It wants its themes back.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


While we're on the baseball track, John Roberts just created his legacy as the guy who gagged on the Prez Oath. He can write 152 lucid, constitutional opinions, teach and lecture, cure aids and feed the world. He's still gonna be the guy who screwed up Obama's big day.

Fred Merkle.....well you know that story: a bonehead for all time when in fact the whole thing was perfectly innocent. And...he was a good ballplayer.

Interesting that someone gets identified as a bonehead as Bush is Leaving town.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


If Obama's 44, he's got the same number as Henry Aaron. Henry is the greatest righthanded hitter of all time. Obama's dexterity is left handed. Henry's number is retired, that is, not available. It must be skipped.

As a consequence, even though Bush was 43, Obama's 45. It's only right.

(Oh, and for you baseball historians, yes, I know Aaron began by wearing number didn't last long.)


Not close. Number one attribute is that he's "Not Bush".

Works for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


One of my best friends from here in Quincy is at the inaugural. My cousin from another town is there. My cousin needs another ticket. My friend has another ticket. They can't all out of the area, but we can call in. Right here in River City, problem solved.

Doesn't happen often enough to be a career track.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Let me get this out first: I know BObama. I like BObama. I voted for BObama in the general election.

But I'm not sure I know the President-Elect. The PE is talking about shared sacrifices and service. Good, Noble Stuff. No problem with most of that.

Here's the problem: This is the same guy who actually ran a TV ad directing voters to a web page to put in their income and family size numbers so they could see HOW MUCH MONEY THEY WOULD GET.

So, is it "vote for me so we can go forward together?" or is it "vote for me so you can get some money?" Maybe I'm missing something but it seems to me like "That was then. This is now."

Friday, January 16, 2009


Circuit City is liquidating. I'm sorry for the landlords who will have empty big boxes and for the employees who will be displaced, but this is a company that richly deserved to die.

I guess this means they will no longer be charging their repulsive restocking fee, huh?

Sun doesn't shine on the same dog's tail every day, big retailer.

CC, you were the greatest. You got big. You got out of touch with the customer. Na-na-na-na, hey-hey, Goodbye.


In my constitutionally protected opinion, an internet service has just behaved in am egregious upsell, bait and switch.

The service "Jott" is a wonderful, layered, premium and free site. The subscriber calls the service from a pre-agreed phone and the service records the caller's notes and "To-Do's". It is amazingly easy to use and amazingly accurate on the voice transcription. I have been using it for some time and would certainly have bought one of the available premium layers.

Then these folks got their name in a national magazine as a hot, free basic product with available premium upgrades. They laid in gobs of new subscribers for the "free" service.

A month later, they send us all "Exciting New Information." Yeah, you guessed it. The free service is being abandoned but we have a swell chance to buy into one of the other tiers.

Even though I love the service and would gladly have paid for one of the premium upsells anyhow, I don't like to be hosed. There are others who do what these folks do. I'll be finding them and gladly paying fo their premium services. These folks didn't learn much from the Googs.

Thank you for Jotting by, creeps.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


What's up with the former director of the Abe Lincoln Museum in Springfield? Click here

Financial Counselor and Motivational Speaker Larry Winget says, in his experience, there's a high positive correlation between being broke and owning a lot of DVD's. He doesn't exactly know why that is but he suspects they spend money they don't have and then waste valuable time watching TV when they could be working or improving themselves.

Maybe this guy was trying to break the cycle on the spending part. Coupons mighta been a better option.

The ties? maybe he just likes to look nice while he's watching House and Seinfeld. It's important to the general welfare of this country that we have better dressed thieves, I guess.

Nice he's outta there. Not too comforting that a thief was in charge of such a treasured asset. To be fair, though, it appeared the place thrived while this guy was in charge. Maybe he just got his video-dressup fix while the workers did their jobs. What a concept! Let workers so their jobs and the place works well.


click here

Somebody's committing a technical foul here.

Bulls' trade looking somewhat better.

Monday, January 12, 2009


We all have a lot to do. Imagine if you could have fifteen additional minutes each day. You could make more money, cut your nails or get your eyeglasses adjusted.

We here at the Basin are going to give you those 15 minutes. Simply skip Pat Quinn's daily press conference because we are going to translate it for you.

First you need to know that it's a groundhog day event. The same thing happens every day. Second, you must realize that, while it sounds like English, it's actually Selfrighteousspeak, a melifluous, seductive form of Celtic communication. Here is the English translation:

"Rod Blagojevich is a bad man. I am a good man. I should be Governor. I should be Governor NOW. I should have been Governor yesterday. I'm that good. Even if Rod Blagojevich is not a bad man, you think he's a bad man. Therefore, he can't continue to serve as your Governor. You don't know who the Hell I am but, if I tell you I'm a GOOD MAN every day, pretty soon you'll believe it and somehow that'll make me Governor.

So, in closing; Good man, Bad man, Me Governor, Him Evil."

So, use your 15 minutes wisely.

Important endnote: Pat Quinn really, really is a good guy but there's something about this Blago arrest that causes everybody involved to utterly lose his or her poise. His panicky behavior is the very best evidence of that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well, kiddies, it's come down to this.

Our lawfully elected Governor appointed a new Senator. Our Sec'y of State, who says he had a deal with Senator Durbin that he wouldn't sign any appointee refuses for attest the Governor's signature. Our Supreme Court says that, not only is the Sec'y of State's signature superfluous, but the appointment is valid and complete. For those of you scoring at home, the Illinois Supreme Court is final arbiter of all matters involving State of Illinois Law.

At least one Senator says there is a "longstanding Rule" requiring both signatures and therefore, we will ignore the Illinois Supreme Court and the Senate will interpret what is a valid appointment in Illinois. This is necessary because the Governor is not a good guy.

This argument is makeweight, at best for at least the following reasons.

1. There is no Rule in the Senate--at least nobody can produce one. Rather, it is somebody's interpretation of custom and practice;

2. If the U.S. Senate is going to perform the Supreme Judicial Function for Illinois, there is no point for having one--we'll just refer all of our State Law Disputes to the U.S. Senate;

3. The argument that the Governor "taints" any appointment he might make is a very nice moral point and I'm sure goes over just swell in Sunday School class or WCTU meeting but he was Governor when he made the appointment, the law gave him the power of appointment and it has now been judicially ajudicated as a lawful appointment;

4. The "Bad Guy" argument is the slipperiest of all slopes. Accepting for the sake of argument that the Governor is a guilty of corruption, mail fraud, jock itch and bad breath, all the more reason to follow the law. When we have two classes of folks and we only apply the black letter of the law to situations involving folks we like and we make up special rules after the fact for situations involving folks we don't like, we really have no law at all.

5. This is really a question of States' Rights. Illinois and her citizens either have the right to have a Senator selected through the process that was created by law or they don't. If they don't, then the citizens of Nevada or North Dakota or South Carolina are in the same boat. The minute leadership doesn't like your appointee, Nevada, North Dakota or South Carolina, they just decide to declare his or her appointment invalid and their legislative federal power outweighs your State's right to select a Senator by whatever lawful process you have engaged. We'll just kind of decide whether the appointee or the appointor is a good guy or a bad guy and then make rules accordingly, on the fly as we go.

For those of you who have some grasp of history, you will have noted some irony here. States' Rights arguments have frequently been used to disadvantage black people. Note that, while no mention of race has been made in the foregoing points, here the the States' Rights argument and the expressed African-American Representation Issue merge.

Isn't that special?

Friday, January 09, 2009


Cover corners don't go
Where they could play in snow.

Cover corners matriculate
where it doesn't freeze and precipitate

Thursday, January 08, 2009


.....was put in play by somebody named Durkin who battled valiantly to actually ask a question capable of human understanding.

Note to Jimbo, don't fool with things you don't understand.


Apparently there is a citywide pool tourney this weekend. I'd like to watch a friend play in it but its at multiple locations. Anybody know where I can go to look up who plays where and when? Got a URL or even a phone number.



So the White House has a "Chief Performance Officer"?

Silly me, all this time I thought OMB did that stuff.

Anyhow, my crusty engineering/construction friends tell me that there are three aspects to any project--Good, Fast and Cheap. On any given project you can have two of the three.

Wonder if the the new CPO knows that. Wonder if she has already identified which two of three she is going to champion.

When it comes to, for example, Centers for Disease Control, my vote would be for "Good" and "Fast". When it comes to Missile Defense, I would go for "Good" and "Fast". Same for Veterans Affairs. Department of Commerce, maybe "Good" and "Cheap".

Anyhow, the basic point is to note that just making Departments "Better" is doomed to fail. PEBO and and CFO will have to decide what they are after: Good, Fast or Cheap, pick any two.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


In an interview with WGN radio Jesse White says the US Senate leadership was using the absence of Jesse's signature to "Play Politics" with Roland Burris. This is:

a Unbelievable Cheek

b Unbelievable Naivete

c. Unbelievable "Whoops, I just pooped in my own base" fear; or

d. All of the above

Sunday, January 04, 2009


UDN was already on this a little, so a tip of my "Blue State" "don't blame me" Illinois Ball Cap to him.

There's this TV ad floating around, it's about some guy running a restaurant and bar in downstate Illinois (one of the cross streets is "Taylorville" but that doesn't mean the bar is in Taylorville--There's a Quincy Street in Chicago). Anyhow, the guy's talking about how he thought the smoking ban would ruin him and it turns out he's making more money and more people are enjoying his food. He's real happy with the smoking ban. His customers are real happy with the smoking ban and the viewers are all supposed to be real happy they're real happy.

If some charitable organization wants to put on those ads, it works for me. Free speech is a nice thing.

My problem is the credit (or responsibility) for the ad is a little tough to read on the "credits". They kind of duck and weave and I can't tell whether my tax dollars are paying for what amounts to a political ad or not. If they are, I'm pissed.

Now you might say, "This is no different than the DUI warning ads." You would be wrong. Those ads are trying to get you conform with a law that has public safety and harm to others implications. This ad is nothing more (assuming it is government-funded) than my government telling me how smart they were a year ago. It's not trying to get me to do or not do anything. It's just telling me big brother knows best.

This is different from the DUI ads, The Turkey Fryer Fire ads (my personal favorite) or even the tire pressure ads. This is just "See, we told you it would be better!"

The ad doesn't run that often but I'll try to catch who's actually ponying up for it. The circumstantial evidence is that it is our State Gov't.

Am I the only one who has that ripped off feeling when he sees it?

Friday, January 02, 2009


We live in the information age. Shutdown Cover Corners no longer go to their State University. They know what a rare commodity they are so what do they do can best be described as follows:

"Cover Corners don't go where they might have to play in the Snow".

Give or take a Rocky Top, doesn't snow much in the SEC and not at all in Gainesville. Florida by ten.