URBAN PHILOSOPHER
Conscience Laureate

Thursday, April 30, 2009

ART NORMAN IS LEAVING THE BUILDING

ART NORMAN IS LEAVING THE BUILDING When I read the news in Stella’s column in the SUN TIMES about Art Norman retiring, I called his cell phone (it was about 6:45 a.m.) and I expected to leave a message. Instead I heard his powerful voice answer the call, with his signature greeting of, “Art Norman here,” and I wanted to cry because Art Norman won’t be here anymore. I have known Art for about 20 years and I cannot remember his ever turning me down on a story idea that had to do with children. He was a fixture every year at the Holiday Party I organize for inner city children at Dick’s Last Resort and the kids always crowded around him, waved at the camera as he tried to calm down their enthusiasm to get the interview. This past week he came to Doolittle School to do a story on the Young Guitarist Program I had put together with VanderCook College of Music. As always, when Art walked into a room, the students became all excited and he had to tell them not to wave at the camera. He interviewed the “grown ups” for the background of the story, but it was when he was talking to the children that he really lit up. The children were why he was at Doolittle; they were who he cared about. (You can see the footage at http://www.nbcchicago.com/around_town/the_scene/VanderCook-College-of-Music-Collaborate-to-Host-Free-Guitar-Lessons.html) Art has won numerous Emmy Awards, a national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, an Associated Press Award, a Wilbur Award, an International Radio and Television News Director Award, a School Bell Award—if an award exists, he has won it! But Art is not about the “physical awards” that he has won, he is about the “emotional rewards” he has given others as he featured their stories on television and let Chicagoans hear about the “good news” in town. Television news cannot be totally about the investigative stories and what the politicians are plotting, it needs to include segments that give us an “aha moment” (now Oprah will sue me for using that phrase!) where we can feel good. Without “Art Norman here,” who will tell us those stories?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

IT’S MY PARTY, I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO

IT’S MY PARTY, I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO “If somebody wants to change parties, they can do that. But that kind of instability is not good for governance of the country and the Senate,” said Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen Specter in 2001 when Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. A Republican believes that one should not kill babies and a Democrat believes that is okay to kill babies. A Republican believes that there should not be much gun control and thus make it easier for people to kill other people and a Democrat believes that there should be tough gun control laws to make it harder for people to kill other people. While the dichotomies of those diametrically opposing views are practically unfathomable, it is also astounding that a person could one day be a Republican and the next day become a Democrat. The party designations are not just labels, they are a philosophy. Senator Arlen Specter (R or D, Penn.) chose to leap from the Republican Party to the Democrat party, not because he had a change in heart in the philosophies he believed in but because he, according to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, “acknowledged that his defection decision had far more to do with a calculated assessment of polling data—which showed him being trounced in a Pennsylvania Republican primary—than any major agreement on policy issues. Policy stances on issues did not come up during negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.” Negotiations?? Is that how one decides what side of the aisle to embrace? Go with the side that will give you an extra slice of pie? Of course the fact that President Obama, Senator Harry Reid and others have offered to campaign for Specter made his decision easy. Expect to see Blueberry stains around Specter’s mouth as the juice drips from his slice of gluttony for re-election. The people of Pennsylvania who have voted for Specter to be their Senator FIVE TIMES in his 29 year reign as a REPUBLICAN will not be tricked just because he changes his affiliation to DEMOCRAT. They have been betrayed and should be outraged. I hope they don’t vote for him as a Democrat or they will deserve blue stained teeth as well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

GRANDMA GRAMS

GRANDMA GRAMS When I first read a story about how a company had been set up to receive e-mails and pictures, print them up and then snail mail them to people (www.sunnygram.com) I was astounded that people would be so lazy that they could not snail mail the e-mails themselves. Then I did some research and the idea is really quite clever. The company is targeting senior citizens who do not use e-mail. Their children and grandchildren are used to communicating through e-mails and don’t use snail mail. This is a perfect way to compile e-mails and pictures and easily get them to Grandma. Plus the grandchild can scan their “refrigerator pictures” and send them to Grandma for her to hang up. Sunnygram gives the subscriber a dedicated e-mail address. The subscriber can share that e-mail address with as many family members and friends as they want to. The company retains all the e-mails and pictures and creates a colorful newsletter that they mail to Grandma. Each newsletter can contain an unlimited amount of e-mails, but there is a limit of 20 photos per newsletter. How often does the newsletter go out? That depends on what service you subscribe to. A daily subscription is $29.95/month; weekly subscription is $18.95/month; twice a month mailings are $12.95/month and a monthly subscription is $9.95/month. When one considers the cost of mailing a letter and printing photos, this is really a cost effective way to communicate. Matt Ahart, co-founder of Sunnygram said, “It’s sad but true that people are a little lazy. This service makes sending letters to your grandparents as convenient as writing an e-mail.” Since there is no limit on the amount of e-mails in a single newsletter, this service could also be an interesting way for someone to chronicle their own life. One could sign up for the once a month newsletter, send e-mails and pictures to that address and then once a month receive a newsletter about their own life. They could save these newsletters and then when E! True Hollywood story did their bio, there would be a neat stack of newsletters as background reference! It would also be a clever and inexpensive way for a company to produce a newsletter. Once they received their monthly edition, they could photocopy it and send to clients. Sunnygram might just be targeting seniors, but I think there could be many more applications for this service. I am going to sign up for a one month free trial and see how it works. I will keep you all posted—by snail mail!

Friday, April 24, 2009

LIFE IN REWIND

LIFE IN REWIND Terry Weible Murphy, a close of friend, who is a veteran television executive, has written the most incredible non-fiction story about what happens when Ed Zine, a promising young athlete, suddenly spirals into mental illness so profound he actually believes he can stop the progression of time by living his life in reverse - including walking, talking, and reading. When I started the book and read about Ed Zine’s obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, I was scared because I have some of the same compulsions. I called Terry immediately and told her I was scared that I too could spiral out of control. (Linda Shafran goes batty when she hears about my obsession of counting out words and syllables to make them mathematically come out “even” instead of “odd.) Luckily, Terry assured me that my few foibles were not anywhere near the level of Ed’s! Trapped in his father’s basement for more than a year, refusing all human contact, Ed Zine sits on the edge of his bed naked, except for the plastic garbage bag tied around his waist, hands spread like the claws of an eagle, sleeping upright for fear an accidental touch of his own skin will trigger tens of thousands of excruciating rewinding rituals. Ed’s salvation lies in the honor of world-renown OCD expert Dr. Michael Jenike, a maverick psychiatrist from Harvard and distinguished Vietnam War pilot, recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the long-buried guilt of having suffered the loss of too many young men who served under him in the war. Refusing to leave another good man behind, having exhausting every possible treatment, an emotionally devastated Jenike breaks the rules of traditional medicine, and offers all he has left to give - his friendship, which becomes the unexpected catalyst for healing. You must buy LIFE IN REWIND! Run, whether forwards or backwards, to the bookstore immediately because the story of Ed Zine’s life will impact you forever.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

“EMPLOYEES GET ARRESTED ALL THE TIME”

“EMPLOYEES GET ARRESTED ALL THE TIME” Cook County President Todd Stroger Cook County Board president Todd Stroger, in defense of his Chief Financial officer ( and cousin) Donna Dunning’s bailing out of County Employee Tony Cole said to Carol Marin during an interview on WTTW, when asked why his cousin did not tell him that she bailed Cole out of jail said “I’m sure employees get arrested all the time.” I am a numbers person, so I wondered what “all the time” represented. I did some research. Unfortunately the web site that has arrest statistics stopped being updated in 2000, so I will be using old figures. Web site disclaimer—“The statistics presented here are based on data collected by the FBI as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting Program. These data represent offenses reported to and arrests made by State and local law enforcement agencies as reported to the FBI. These data do not include Federal law enforcement activity.” Anyway, in the year 2000 there were 253,967 arrests in Cook County which had a population, at that time, of 5,345,619. To keep the numbers easy to understand, arrests as a percentage of population are approximately 5%. Tony Cole, the Cook County employee who Donna Dunning bailed out was a Shakman exempt employee. The latest statistics I could undercover on the number of Shakman exempt employees was from the Cook County media reporting site which indicated that in 2007 there were 414 exempt employees. If we go back to our earlier statistics that showed that approximately 5% of a group gets arrested, that would mean that one should expect that approximately 20 Shakman exempt employees would get arrested in a year. How is that “all the time?” I have thousands of friends and acquaintances, and besides the few arrests for speeding, do not personally know anybody who has been arrested. (I am not counting politicians like George Ryan and Blago in my list of friends and acquaintances.) I don’t think I have any friends who have served hard time in prison—but according to the statistics I should! I guess if I follow the Todd Stroger logic of people getting arrested all the time, I need a fresh group of friends because my pals are not holding up their end of the bargain!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TWITTER HAS LOST ITS COOL

TWITTER HAS LOST ITS COOL Once the “grown-ups” latch onto an activity, it is no longer a fad or fun. The BIG news that Oprah has started twittering probably produced the largest registered groan in the history of the world. Worse than a bad pun, her tweet heard round the world has produced more media ink than a leaking printer cartridge! How Ashton Kutcher must have cried when he realized his landmark record of being the first person to have one million Twitter followers was being overshadowed by a fat, 55 year old whose second tweet of her life was asking for a lackey to order her a Rueben sandwich. Pre-teens, tweeners and teens will not participate in an activity once the adults are participating also. What was so “cool” about tweeting was that Mom and Dad did not know what was going on. A child could surreptitiously find out what their friends where doing and where to meet them without the parents being in on the chatter. Snail mail is last century, e-mailing is last decade, texting is so last year-- so tweeting was the latest mode of communication. I say WAS because Oprah has ruined it for the younger generation by becoming a Twitter participant. Her star power might have helped elect our president, but the fire at the end of her comet has burned Generations Y and Z.

Friday, April 17, 2009

SAY IT AIN’T SO ISAAC!

SAY IT AIN’T SO ISAAC! Last year Isaac Mizrahi was hired as creative director for Liz Claiborne. At the time of the announcement, Claiborne Chief Executive William L. McComb said, “It is certainly no secret that the brand has been lacking a clear and cohesive vision and has languished as a result. With this appointment, we are taking a major step towards our goal of creating irresistible product that will provide today's discerning woman with a compelling reason to buy." “It's no secret that the line hasn't been performing," he also said, noting that Isaac Mizrahi is an "incredibly cultural relevant designer, and this is a brand that needed a cultural relevance." (KP note--Hang in there, you will see where this is going in a minute.) Mizrahi appeared last week in Chicago to launch the new Spring line at Carson Pirie Scott. He met face to face with customers at the Carson’s at Yorktown Mall. When asked how effective designers' personal appearances are as marketing tools for a clothing line, Heidi Frank, publicity manager for Bon Ton stores (Carson’s parent company) said: "Face-to-face interactions are very valuable. When a customer meets a designer and sees him in person, it makes a lasting impression. They feel like they're buying a part of [the designer]," and the shopper's purchase "becomes more meaningful." (KP note- Trust me. The killer line is coming!) Ann Gerber, a columnist with the weekly SKYLINE newspaper in Chicago, was one of the people who met with Mizrahi at Tree Studios for a party to herald the new collection. Gerber wrote that Mizrahi has created dresses, separates and coats that look like a million and cost less than $200. She asked Mizrahi, “How can these attractive clothes be so inexpensive? Are they made in China?” (KP note-you won’t believe his answer!) According to Gerber he laughed and tried to run away and then said, “I DON’T CARE IF THE SEWERS ARE NINE OR FIVE. I JUST WANT THE PUBLIC TO LIKE THEM.” So this man who the Chief Executive officer of Claiborne has described as someone who has cultural relevance, does not care if his clothes are being made by child laborers? So this man who the PR manager for the store chain said face to face interactions are important, had the hubris in a face to face interaction with a reporter to reveal his lack of knowledge about how his clothes are being manufactured? Whether the clothes are sewn by child laborers or not (we don’t know) the fact that Mizrahi joked about it is bad enough. As someone who cares about the harsh child labor conditions overseas, I will not buy any of the Mizrahi collection. I beg you to tell this story to all your friends and ask them also not to buy the collection. I beg you on behalf of all the “sewers who are nine or five years old.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Prince William Flying Coach

Prince William Flying Coach In an effort to economize, Prince William, British heir to the throne, sat in the coach section with the “commoners” when he took a recent skiing vacation in Switzerland. The London Daily Telegraph also reported, “William, as the son of Lady Diana, has always shown a smart sense for keeping step with the public. His father, Prince Charles, has also been a substantive good example in his campaign for climate awareness, prioritizing train travel above private jets, and taking his staff out of cars and putting them on bikes (a green effort that also has the benefit of being cost-conscious).” Note to Prince Charles—household staff rode bicycles in the 1880s and then the car was invented! One would hate to think that important information is being delivered to the King by a pedal pusher! What is the point of being the future King of England and the heir to one of the richest fortunes in the world if you do not fly first class? I think it was sacrifice enough that he flew commercial and did not use one of the planes in his Mother’s RAF squadron. Class distinction does matter whether it is where your seat is located on a plane or if you are royalty rather than a commoner! Different levels of privilege would not exist if they were meaningless! My friends always joke about how I always have to have “people.” I have “my people” at Com Ed, AT&T, RCN, Jaguar, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Walgreen’s, etc. and at restaurants all around town. I do not want to be like “regular people” and be kept on hold on the phone to solve problems. I like living in a bubble and being treated special. We all do! Prince William’s decision to be like “regular people” cannot be achieved just by his sitting in coach class on a plane. If he wants to join the commoners, move out of the Palace! Until then, please let me keep my fairytale dream of Prince Charming.

Monday, April 13, 2009

GOVERNMENT TREACHERY BY THE NUMBERS

GOVERNMENT TREACHERY BY THE NUMBERS 11.5 Million People That is the estimate of approximately how many illegal immigrants are residing in the United States. Of course, no one can know for sure because illegal immigrants don’t participate in any government census questionnaires. The illegal immigrants (who are smart enough to have lobbyists) are launching a campaign called, “Get Informed, Get Organized, Get Mobilized.” Groups around the country will hold vigils to protest the conditions in federal detention centers. On the topic of immigration reform, Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said, “President Obama has said that his campaign promises were not just campaign promises, they were real.” Hoyt’s group is targeting legislators who have taken anti-immigration stances. I am NOT anti-immigration! I am anti-illegal immigration. What other group of LAW BREAKING people would have the nerve to lobby to make their crime not a crime after the fact? None! So why are the Democrats pushing so hard to legalize the illegals? Because that would give them the opportunity to register the 11.5 million people who would then become eligible to vote. And, of course, the illegals made legal would vote for Democratic Party candidates! $5 Million That is the sum of money that is alleged that parties in the Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. camp offered to raise for Blagojevich’s campaign fund if Jackson were named to the vacant Illinois senate seat that went to Roland Burris. Jackson has denied asking anyone or authorizing anyone to act on his behalf in offering to raise money for Blago. How can people in your “camp” offer to raise $5 million for someone and you not be aware of it? These “people” just randomly on their own decided to see if this pay for play scheme would work and never asked the Congressman if he wanted them to do it? I can’t remember the last time a group of my friends randomly decided to raise money for me without knowing if I needed or wanted it. I guess I need wealthier friends! $1.1 Million The amount of money awarded MK Communications by the Chicago Housing Authority Board for a two year PR contract. The contract was awarded just a few days after Mayor Daley cancelled $55 million in public relations contracts citing tough economic times. Because the CHA is a separate government body, they did not have to follow the Mayor’s directive and could hire MK Communications—owned by long time Democratic strategist Marilyn Katz—who had just been fired by City Hall in the budget cut backs. According to the PR contract, Katz's firm will "expand positive relationships with government and community leaders and the private sector and will build support for progress of the Plan among key stakeholders, opinion leaders, elected officials, appointed officials and the general public. MK Communications Inc. will accomplish these tasks through developing and maintaining relationships with various media outlets, city agencies, CHA contracted entities and other local, state and federal officials and community and civic organizations.'' For less than $1.1 million, the CHA could buy a lot of ads and just tell their story directly to the people instead of running an over-priced PR campaign. By the way—another client of MK Communications-- The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights. Where did we just read that name? (See blog story one) Interesting how corruption comes full circle.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

PARTY ON GARTH!!

PARTY ON GARTH!! While our country is mired in an economic crisis of epic proportions, the White House is proudly crowing about the entertainment scene at the White House. Desiree Rogers, dubbed the “White House Party Czar,” has coordinated more than 50 events in her first 60 days at her post. That is twice as many parties held by the Bush administration during the same period. Declared “Washington’s Best Dressed Woman,” by the Huffington Post, this Democrat is partying more than the oft criticized socialite Republican Nancy Reagan. Touted also for wearing trendy black nail polish to White House events, this self proscribed fashionista is making Wayne and Garth’s “party on” her signature call. It is incredible to me how much flattering attention the liberal media is paying to Michelle’s clothes and Desiree’s parties, while criticizing any Republican that stands in their way. Desiree says her vision includes inviting ordinary citizens chosen by lottery to join in the Obama’s social life. An ordinary citizen has as much chance of being invited to the White House as they did of winning the lottery Desiree once headed in Illinois. I wonder how Michelle is handling all the encomiums being heaped on Desiree that takes away attention normally being paid to her? We saw Michelle’s meltdown when Oprah got too close to Barack and Desiree is an attractive single woman. Let’s hope this social secretary doesn’t get too social with the President or we will see a meltdown that makes the banking industry crisis seem like a tea party!

Friday, April 10, 2009

WHEN A “BOW” IS NOT A “BOW” (Explaining it the "Chicago Way")

WHEN A “BOW” IS NOT A “BOW” (Explaining it the "Chicago Way") Less than 100 days into his administration, Obama has finally showed his true “Chicago” colors by denying that his bow was a bow. He has learned well from Rahm Emmanuel that if you deny something happened, then it did not happen. “Do you believe me or what your eyes see?” is the trite punch line of an old joke when a man is caught by his wife in bed with another woman. But the bow is not what is most upsetting to me. What is most upsetting is the visit to King Abdullah who is ranked as the 5th most oppressive dictator in the world. According to a recent Parade Magazine article, “Because King Abdullah and the Saudi royal family control the world’s largest reserves of oil; the U.S. government has not acted to oppose the repressive and intolerant actions of their regime. In Saudi Arabia, it still is possible to be executed for witchcraft and flogged for being alone with an unrelated person of the opposite sex. It is illegal for a Saudi citizen to practice a religion other than Islam. According to a 2006 report by the Center for Religious Freedom, Saudi school textbooks continue to be virulently anti-Christian and anti-Semitic. Last year, the U.S. State Department judged Saudi Arabia one of the top eight offenders of religious freedom. Under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia adheres to a punitive justice system in which young teens can be sentenced to death and defendants tortured. Women are more oppressed than in any other country—they can’t even seek medical care without a male guardian’s permission. ” Last year, US oil imports from Saudi Arabia totaled more than $30 billion, so as a country should we be “forced” to pay obeisance to a dictator just because his country supplies us with fuel? What is interesting is that the U.S imports more crude oil from Canada than any other country. In December 2008 the United States imported 2,033,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada far exceeding the 1,394,000 barrels per day from Saudi Arabia. Since Canada gives us more oil than Saudi Arabia, when can we expect Obama to pay homage to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper? It will never happen because Harper is not a Moslem and that seems to be the only religious group Obama supports of late.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

SIN TAXES SHOULD BE FOR SINNERS, NOT REGULAR PEOPLE

SIN TAXES SHOULD BE FOR SINNERS, NOT REGULAR PEOPLE A sin tax is a euphemism for a sumptuary (designed to regulate extravagent expenditures or habits especially on moral or religious grounds) tax. Cigarettes are not an extravagence ( they are a addictive habit) and they are not prohibited on moral or religious grounds. So why do cigarette smokers keep getting taxed more and more when we do not fall into either of those categories? The federal cigarette-tax rate, which on April 1 spiked from 39¢ to $1.01 per pack, is really a regressive tax in nature and discriminates against the lower classes, since those people are more likely to be consumers of tobacco and more likely to consume a greater quantity of it. ( This is not a biased statement, but a fact.) But nonsmokers should beware: If you eat meat or fast food, drive a car, play video games, use the Internet, watch TV or have any other such "sinful" hobby, you too might soon be the target of the sin tax man. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is lobbying for a 10 cent per pound tax on all meat. The Sierra Club has lobbied in New Mexico for a tax on video games and televisions. In 2005, the mayor of Detroit proposed a 2 percent tax on fast food sales. These are all legal products used in legal activities. Why single them out for extra tax? Because they are easy groups to target! I sometimes feel I need to hire a personal lobbyist like the penny has (see earlier blog) to watch out for MY interests. Alcohol once was illegal, but was re-legalized (and, of course, taxed) shortly after. If the goal really were to discourage smoking, tobacco would be declared illegal to possess. In reality, the goal is not to moderate these vices, but for the government to get their slice of the pie. The politicians' ideal sin tax is high enough to pay above and beyond the “negative aspects” of the vice, but not so high that people will actually quit the vice in question. After all, it would be awfully inconvenient for a government that profits from these "sin" transactions to kill the goose laying the golden eggs. Even though we know the smoking will kill those of us soon enough. I have a simple solution. Make prostitution legal in the United States and then tax it very heavily. Then we would have revenue from a REAL Sin Tax!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

THE PENNY HAS ITS OWN LOBBYIST!!

THE PENNY HAS ITS OWN LOBBYIST!!

 Since it costs the U.S. Mint approximately 1.5 cents to produce one penny why continue to mint the penny when it cost $134 million last year to produce $80 million worth of the coin? The situation bothers Edmund Moy, the Director of the U.S. Mint who would like Congress to find a solution. “You can’t sustain losses on pennies and nickels and expect to be a viable organization that benefits the American people,” says Moy. 


 Moy says that substituting a cheaper metal, possibly steel, could save up to $100 million annually. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate currency, and legislative efforts to change our change haven’t gained support.


One would wonder why legislative efforts to change the penny haven’t succeeded until one discovers that the penny has its own lobbying organization!! “Americans for Common Cents” (www.pennies.org) is a lobbying group for the penny and is funded by the zinc industry. Since the penny is comprised of 97.5% zinc it all makes sense. I have included propaganda information from Common Cents’ web site at the end of my blog. 


 “Citizens to Retire The Penny”, (www.retirethepenny.org) “is a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public on the advantages of retiring the penny from general circulation.” They accept no corporate sponsorship of any kind, and are supported entirely by private individuals. Since they don’t have as many pennies in funding as “Americans for Common cents”, they cannot win this battle.


 I will let you put your own two cents in after you read the arguments of the pros and cons below. 


FROM THE PRO PENNY WEB SITE: 


The Penny's Impact: From the Grocery Store to the Gas Pump The penny enjoys overwhelming support from the majority of Americans. Eliminating the penny is a losing proposition because it will result in rounding to the nearest nickel and higher prices for America’s working families. This increased cost to consumers will be felt in everything from the grocery store to the gas pump. Pennies add up to millions of dollars every year for charities across the country. Simply put, the penny plays an important role in our everyday lives and in our nation’s economy. 


 Our Mission: Americans for Common Cents aims to inform and educate policymakers, consumers, and the media about the penny’s economic, cultural, and historical significance. Through coalition building, media outreach, and community partnerships, ACC attempts to ensure that accurate information about the penny is widely disseminated, and that the impact of any changes to the penny’s role in our nation’s monetary supply is adequately understood. The importance of preserving the penny goes well beyond high public acceptance and historical significance. 


 More recently, a February 2006 Coinstar National Currency Poll found that two-thirds of Americans want to keep the penny as legal tender. According to Coinstar, 66% of Americans still want to keep the penny as legal tender, virtually the same percentage (65%) as in 2001. Other findings included: · 84% of females and 74% of males would still pick up a penny off the ground · 73% of females and 58% of males want to keep the penny · 33% of males and 22% females do not value loose change or keep track of it · While more Americans own Piggy banks than in 2002 (67% versus 56%), less are now using them for penny accumulation (57% versus 87%) · Only 27% of Americans want to eliminate the penny, virtually the same level as in 2001 (26%) · To date, Abraham Lincoln is the most favorite president featured on U.S. Currency, just beating George Washington 28% to 25% (from 2004 Coinstar National Currency Poll)


FROM THE ANTI PENNY WEB SITE: 


Myth #1: Elimination of the penny would lead to higher prices. This claim is based upon a flawed study that found a majority of prices would be rounded up rather than rounded down. This would be true if stores did not change pricing strategies (99 cents to 95 cents, for example), there were no sales tax (which randomizes the direction of rounding), and people did not purchase more than one item (which also randomizes the direction of rounding). If these factors are included then, on average, there will be no net change in prices. Indeed, a recent study by Robert Whaples, chairman of the economics department at Wake Forest University, has confirmed that rounding is neutral. 


Myth #2: Elimination of the penny will hurt charitable causes. This is not obvious, because the charities currently asking for pennies will instead ask for nickels. Will the charities receive more or less than one fifth the number of pennies they currently receive? 


 Myth #3: The penny produces a profit for the Treasury. Luckily, this argument is no longer made, as all sides agree that it now costs more than a penny to make a penny. Even if this were not the case, it is a silly argument. The treasury could always obtain an infinite "profit" by printing a trillion one hundred dollar bills. They do not do this because printing bills and minting coins increases the supply of money and causes inflation, thus decreasing the value of all the rest of the money in circulation. This "profit" is therefore really just a hidden tax.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Global warming? It is snowing in April!!

Global warming? It is snowing in April!! The “inconvenient truth” that there is no global warming was proved today when snow fell in April causing the cancellation of the White Sox opener. It has been 27 years since a White Sox opener was delayed. So how is the world “warming up”, if the temperature is falling? I planned on building a snowman in honor of Al Gore to prove the fallacy of the global warming myth, but in the city the snow goes away as soon as it falls. I would ask one of my suburban friends to build this homage for me. Al Gore's global warming philosophy has been debunked by many scientists and studies, and now it has met the same fate at the hands of children, in "The Sky's Not Falling" video/essay contest, sponsored by WND Books, formerly World Ahead Media. The contest was launched early in 2008 and was designed to highlight the absurdities, untruths and downright lies that children are being taught daily about "climate change" in public school. Russell Young, a Minnesota student who captured first place in the essay competition said, “If Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," is suitable for teaching about climatology, then Alfred Hitchcock's film the "The Birds," is a good candidate for teaching ornithology. Here are just a few other films schools might use for their teaching curriculums. 'The Polar Express' could be used for instruction on transportation systems. 'Borat' is a perfect teaching tool for understanding how the Democratic Party uses focus groups. 'Alien,' could be used to teach students about anatomy and homeland security, all at the same time," he wrote. 'Far fetched,' you say. Maybe, but 'Moby Dick' taught me all I ever needed to know about whales, and I'm a marine biologist," he said. Using Young’s theory, I could say that “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels” taught me all about the process of Illinois politics. The movie is about con men. We should check to see the date when Blago rented a copy from Blockbuster, it might give us some insight into his machinations.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

THE QUEEN OF SOUL

THE QUEEN OF SOUL She had us at “Hello.” It was superfluous for her to say her name because we all knew it was Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, who was about to rock us out. In an era where musical performances are highlighted by pyrotechnics, costume changes, back-up dancers and flashing lights, being “simply” Aretha is enough. Talent needs no embellishments. Her performance at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino started on time (no diva walking out late) with her standing on the stage with a small orchestra behind her. No opening act. She did not need one. We were there for only one reason so why make us wait with another act? At 67 years old, her voice doesn’t have the strength it once had, but who cares? Aretha at her weakest is still stronger than any current pop star at their strongest. The first female to be voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the woman who was named by ROLLING STONE Magazine in 2008 as the “Greatest Singer of all Time” and the winner of 20 Grammy Awards with 20 #1 singles on the billboard charts, still has it. I watched the show from a private suite as a guest of Rick Mazer, President of Horseshoe Casino. Everybody was dancing and singing and we did not care how foolish we looked! (I know I looked foolish; but there were some good dancers!) It was an eclectic group in the suite. The friends with me (other friends cannot be mad at me that they were not invited! Patti and Karen lucked out last minute when I had two extra tickets.) —Deborah, Patti, Karen, Mancow and his brother John—mingled with the crowd and we met some interesting people. I think Mancow’s favorites were the lesbian couple who had been married only a month and still had the “newlywed glow.” Men seem to enjoy when there are woman on woman displays of affection; and these two did not disappoint! My favorite lines of the evening were when John complimented me on“my nice looking hose,” and Patti replied, “Thank You.” (For those of you a bit slow John’s line could also be interpreted as “My nice looking Hos,” which would mean my “posse” was attractive!) I forgive her for singing at the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, because last night-- she sang for me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

MICHELLE OBAMA NOT FASHION ICON

MICHELLE OBAMA NOT FASHION ICON (No matter what the media says) The definition of an icon is a representation of a sacred personage. Michelle Obama has been First Lady for less than 75 days and is not deserving of being dubbed an “icon” and categorized with French First lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (a former supermodel like myself) Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana as one of the “Fab Four” of the modern political fashion world. First, any woman who wears clothes from J. Crew can never be on any “Best Dressed” list. I know that statement will bother friends who might shop at J. Crew, but I don’t think any of them would think their wardrobe was worthy of admiration. Second, any woman older than 35 years should NEVER bare her arms in public unless she is at the beach. Michelle Obama’s is 45 years old and no matter how trim and toned one thinks her arms are they are still 45 year old arms. When Jacqueline Kennedy wore a sleeveless gown in 1961 in London she was 31 years old and wore full length gloves to compliment her outfit. Third, I don’t care if Coco Chanel pioneered wearing costume jewelry; it is inappropriate for the First Lady of the United States to make her first world -wide media appearance on a state visit to be wearing a costume brooch. We know Michelle Obama has expensive jewelry because her husband has shopped at my favorite jeweler, The Goldsmith, and purchased his wife pieces there. Fourth, Jacqueline Kennedy was a debutante and spent years forming and reforming her fashion taste. Michelle Obama has had a few months of stylists advising her and has not reached a fashion maturity of any kind. I could keep going on, but the subject of Michelle Obama and her so called meteoric rise to fashion “icon” status enrages me. I am looking forward to Obama’s showdown with French First Lady Bruni-Sarkozy on Saturday when the two will have a fashion face off in a visit at the Strasbourg Cathedral in France. Since the Euro is stronger than the dollar on the world market, my money is on Carla.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MANCOW WANTS TO BE IN MY BLOG

MANCOW WANTS TO BE IN MY BLOG Mancow called me last night at 10:30 p.m. to chat about a dinner he had just attended with Mitt Romney. He apologized for calling so late, but he wanted to share what had transpired during the evening’s conversation. But that was not the only topic of discussion. Mancow also wanted to know why I had not written about him yet in my Blog. I explained that he had not really done anything “blog worthy” and that I wrote about the issues of the day. But this morning I realized that Mancow was an issue “of the day.” The latest Arbitron ratings have come in and just four months after taking over the 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. slot at WLS-AM he is number one in the market for men aged 12 plus which is DOUBLE the ratings of any competition in that slot. PPM results show Mancow with a 6.6 overall 12+ share, and a whopping 8.1 in Men 12+. One can check out Chicago PPM results and all ratings for markets released to date at www.arbitron.com. To most of my readers, the numbers don’t make any sense. But trust me it is huge news!! A few months ago TALKERS MAGAZINE, the “Bible” of the radio industry named Mancow the 9th most influential radio personality in America. (Note- Paul Harvey has died since then, so Mancow has moved up to number 8 nationally.) Mancow is a brilliant “talker.” With the WLS show, he has matured from the crazy “Morning Madness” guy to a sophisticated journalist. The nationally syndicated show he broadcasts earlier in the mornings (we do not get to hear that in Chicago unless we listen on our computers at www.mancow.com) still retains the flavor of the wild guy and his free speech radio network; but I like the WLS Mancow better! The only element to be added that would make the Mancow & Cassidy show even more fabulous would be if I were a co-host! Send in your cards and letters.