Aldermen Briefed on Pension Time-Bomb

[Chicago’s] Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott reminded council members that absent significant changes to pension plans, the city will be forced to drastically cut services, raise taxes or do both to close a funding gap that could reach $700 million in just a few years, aldermen said.  …

…  Lawmakers are looking to fix the state’s woefully underfunded pension system, but the city also needs changes from Springfield to repair its retirement funds.

… Absent a city pension overhaul, the fund for retired city firefighters would become insolvent in nine years, according to a city report issued two years ago.  The police pension would go broke four years later.  Funds for city laborers and municipal workers would be broke by 2030via Chicago Tribune.

These numbers are all wrong.  These pension claim they’re going to earn 8% on their money year after year.  That simply has not happened in a decade and they are tens-of-millions of dollars behind where they claimed they would be be even two years ago.

Kudos to my friend Anthony Curran who suggested we start a Pension Death Watch.  I think it’s a great idea.

Pete’s Update – 09/27/2012

A couple of new things to report on the situation with Pete’s Fresh Market.

As most readers know, the story has now made the local papers and WGN TV News.  Here’s what’s new — and what you won’t read in those papers:

#1
My original story stated that “the ring-leader of the group of thugs who showed up at Pete’s is known acquaintance of Ald. Burnett’s chief of staff.”  I’ve now been told that may or may not be correct.  There was some confusion as to who exactly it was from Ald. Burnett’s office.

What we now know is that it was Ald. Burnett’s assistant chief of staff who was actually on-site and fully participated in the shakedown.  There is a rumor that one of the construction workers actually captured the event on video with his/her cell phone.  It is for this reason that Ald. Burnett has had to come out and acknowledge that his staff was there.

#2
Local community organization HOW United has announced that they will be having a community meeting to discuss the situation with Pete’s.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

HOW UNITED
announces a public meeting on
PETE’S FRESH MARKET

Wednesday
October 03, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:00PM

St. Malachy Church
2248 West Washington Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60612

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Everyone who cares about removing corruption from the system should plan to attend.  A packed house will show the rest of the world that at least there are some people who will stand up to corrupt politicians.

Corruption “Widespread” in Illinois

A new poll finds that a whopping majority of state residents believe that not only state government but Illinois business is plagued by serious misconduct.

According to the survey of 1,271 registered voters by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, 76.8 percent agree that “corruption in Illinois government is widespread.”

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Awhile back there was a long article about why Illinois is so corrupt.  The bottom-line is that the people tolerate it.

Most people won’t tolerate someone stealing from them.  But in Illinois the people do.  My guess is that the school system is so bad that most folks don’t even realize that all the corruption costs them a boat-load of money.

People get what they vote.

Federal Reserve Funding the Entire US Deficit

[Lawrence] Lindsey said that with the Fed purchasing at least $40 billion a month in mortgage debt through QE3, “they are buying the entire deficit.”  …

The central bank’s recently announced bid to stimulate the economy has also taken the pressure off politicians to deal with the U.S. fiscal cliff, Lindsay argued, which could result in destabilizing tax hikes and spending cuts automatically taking effect early next year.

“The Fed, maybe because it can’t do otherwise, has told the Congress: ‘We’re going to buy your bonds no matter what,’” Lindsey said. “I think that’s keeping the pressure off the president, off the Congress.”

The effective of QE3 on interest rates may also keep Congress from reining in borrowing.

“If the (Fed) chairman’s estimates of the effectiveness of QE3 on interest rates come true, we’re going to be down to an average cost of borrowing for the government of 0.6 of a percentage point,” Lindsey said. “Why would any Congress not borrow and spend if they could borrow at 60 basis points?”

via CNBC.

This is all going to come to a screeching halt… and not in a nice way.  The Federal Reserve simply may not exist in 5 or 10 years.  It will have failed.  Congress with throw the Fed under the bus and create a new central bank.

Of course years of financial chaos will ensue and the value of the dollar will collapse.  (Note to self: move all the money you can offshore.)

East Coast Liberals: Smartest Students in CPS are the Gang Leaders

…  Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and former New York Gov. David Paterson — who spoke Tuesday morning about recidivism and racism at a panel hosted by Stroock law firm — say.

During the talk, Paterson observed the smartest students in the Chicago Public School system are the gang leaders because they’re giving kids what they need — structure, a way to make money, and some sense of belonging.

Until society steps up and gives those kids that same sense of security, according to Paterson, this non-stop cycle of people going to prison on nonviolent drug offenses is never going to end.

via Business Insider.

These two guys are real pieces of work.  Newark is quite likely the only city in America worst off than Detroit and East St. Louis.  Why doesn’t he fix his own damn problems before telling us who our smart kids are?

Doesn’t he have any gang leaders smart kids in Newark he can talk about?  Why drag us down to Newark’s standards?

What a jerk.

Obama, Iraq & Afghanistan, Peace & War

There an amazing story about mine clearing activities in the Persian Gulf.  Before we get to it though we really need to consider some history.

Do we remember:

There is no military solution to the war in Iraq. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won’t be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace. In fact, adding more troops will only push this political settlement further and further into the future, as it tells the Iraqis that no matter how much of a mess they make, the American military will always be there to clean it up.

Barack Obama, Podcast, Jan. 3, 2007;

and,

Iraq is sort of a situation where you’ve got a guy who drove the bus into the ditch. You obviously have to get the bus out of the ditch, and that’s not easy to do, although you probably should fire the driver.

Barack Obama, The Daily Show, Nov. 7, 2005?

Do we remember when we were told that Iraq was “Bush’s” war and that it was going to impossible for Iraq to know peace?

Does anyone remember how were told that Afghanistan was the place where we had to really focus our energy?

The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest possible pace – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers.

Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.

Barack Obama, December 01, 2009

Well let’s review how things are going…

An Afghan police officer shot and killed three U.S. Marines after sharing a meal with them before dawn Friday and then fled into the desolate darkness of southern Afghanistan, the third attack on coalition forces by their Afghan counterparts in a week.

via CBS News.

Wow!!  Afghanistan is a mess.  How are things going in Iraq?

Iraq Joins Mine clearing Exercises:

…  Saturday aboard the Ponce one of the countries ship’s came close enough for me to snap this picture with a telephoto lens. It’s the Iraqi patrol boat P-307 sailing alongside the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Gridley.

The P-307 was delivered to Iraq in March 2012, carries a 30mm cannon and is manned by crew of 25 sailors. I talked to a Navy officer who told me if I was able to see it, I could go ahead and report it.

Amazing.
In Obama’s war the people we trained and armed are killing American Marines.
In Bush’s war the people we trained are helping us clear mines in the Persian Gulf.
That’s the fact Jack!!

Pete’s — 09/25/12 Update

The Sun-Times joins the discussion:

The West Side is one of Chicago’s “food deserts,” so named because it lacks full-service grocery stores. Cheers went up from people in the neighborhood when the city sealed a deal two years ago to bring one to Madison and Western.

Pete’s Fresh Market, a South Side-based chain, got the authority to buy city-owned land at the southeast corner and build there. It was hung up in the city bureaucracy for a while, and work on the site, a half-mile from the United Center, finally started this month.

That’s when real trouble started. Two weeks ago, according to Pete’s attorney and other sources, a large group of people arrived at the construction site and threatened the crews. One person allegedly showed a gun.

The grocer’s lawyer, Endy Zemenides, said it was a clear shakedown. “What I would characterize as professional agitators stormed the site and made some very open threats to our construction crew,” he said.

via Sun-Times.

Quick Update:

Something fishy about Ald. Burnett’s story here.

Burnett said he had a staff member on site for one of the incidents because Pete’s called and requested his help. While Burnett backs the development, he said he’s deferring to Fioretti on matters pertaining to the city.

His staff was on site b/c Pete’s asked for help. That makes no sense whatsoever. Pete’s would call the police; how could Ald. Burnett’s guy get there before the police? And Ald. Fioretti was dealing with Pete’s for years… if they needed help they would have called Fioretti’s office, not Burnett’s.

I’m guessing that Burnett’s guy was there as part of the shakedown crew. I’m curious if there’s video of this event on someone’s cell phone. That would be something. Assist in telling what really happened and why Ald. Burnett’s guy was really there.

I will not hold my breath for all those who said I was lying to apologize.