Did you know that TLP provides two meals a day for 36 performers and designers throughout the summer? That’s 5,688 meals prepared by Donna Lessman and her dedicated kitchen staff.
Feeding a family can be expensive, and when there are close to 40 in our family, we know how to stretch a dollar! It costs about $30,000 each summer to keep our troops well fed so they have the energy to pull off a staggering 90 performances in under 110 days.
Your contributions help us make that happen. The cost of one meal is $5. Can you give one or two meals--or more?
We’d like to cover 1/3 of next summer’s meals by the end of 2012! That’s only 5 days, but we think we can do it! If everyone who sees this email, gives $5, we can raise $10,000!
It’s not too late for one more tax deduction this year. Show your appreciation to our talented company and give a meal here: https://app.ticketturtle.com/index.php?contribution=tlp
Thank you for supporting our artists, and have a wonderful finish to 2012!
James Beaudry | Executive Director, Timber Lake Playhouse
Mount Carroll, IL
December 21, 2012
Unbelievable! Last night (Dec. 20, 2012) during blizzard conditions when people are told to stay home, the Morrison Historic Preservation Commission held their meeting. The reason I say “unbelievable” is because a month ago a meeting was cancelled after 5:00 pm with many people present because an allen wrench was missing to keep the front door in an “open” position.
Last night only a few people attended and even one of the commission members, Sharon Moore, and the minute taker, Barb King, did not attend due to the inclement weather. None of the property owners that had applied to “opt out” of the “Downtown Historic District” were in attendance, either.
The meeting was being held in order for the Historic Preservation Commission to decide on their recommendations to the Morrison City Council as to allow or deny these three properties (112 E. Main St. - Judy Zuidema; 101 E. Main St. – Stephen Deckro; 227 and 229 E. Main St. – Masonic Lodge) to “opt out” of the district.
It was a lengthy, confusing meeting. The members of the Historic Preservation Commission stated the ordinance they had to go by was confusing because it covered some of the same issues on several of the criteria they were making their recommendations by. Tim Slavin said the City Council wrote the ordinance – actually it was our legal counsel that wrote ordinance #12-07, #12-08, #12-09. Why are they going by these ordinances when they have not followed previous ordinances pertaining to historic districts?
All in all, the Historic Preservation Commission is recommending to the City Council to DENY all three property owners their right to “opt out” of the district. These property owners have already proven that they do care about their properties. The commission should be more concerned with a block wall building, sitting idle with boarded up windows than buildings that are all in good repair. As a concerned citizen, I worry about the structural integrity of these old buildings on West Main and continuing down Market Street where bricks continually fall.
Back when the Historic Districts were being formed, the entire procedure was not done properly. Why are we moving forward when the ordinance to establish The Morrison Downtown Historic District (#98-03 and #98-04) - required a signed petition containing 24% of the proposed districts’ property owners’ signatures - prior to any consideration of an application to designate the district? I would like to see the signatures of these property owners. No records exist for this. The city should have them on record if this has all been carried out in a legal manner.
We need things to be done in a legal manner and the Morrison City Council should have all information in hand a week before making any decisions for the city’s property owners.
A Morrison Taxpayer
Objects to Dr. Folkertsma’s “Con Game” Commentary
I must object to the Commentary, “American Politics as a Confidence Game,” in “The Prairie Advocate” of December 19, 2012, by Dr. Marvin Folkerstma. We all know what a “con game” is--Dr. Folkertsma’s defines it in this context as “public officials seeking to gain the trust of enough citizens in order to swindle them.” He contrasts this with representative democracy “which emphasizes the role of bargaining among various parties in the political arena for the purposes of achieving the most suitable trade-offs in terms of policy results that redound to the public good.”
Dr. Folkertsma gives three examples of alleged “cons,” and then ends with a sympathetic sigh for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and House majority leader John Boehner.
The examples of “cons” are in fact “cons” by Dr. Folkertsma: health care reform, federal income taxation and the Benghazi episode.
First, on health care reform, he cites figures from Susan Pipes. Ms. Pipes is President of Pacific Research Institute (PRI), an alleged “think tank.” However, most of Ms. Pipe’s research and writing is done by a public relations firm to which PRI pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, Keybridge Communications. Keybridge has many clients in the medical industry, which would stand to lose their inflated profits from the health care reform law’s efforts to control Medicare costs. Further, Ms. Pipes has touted making Lipitor, manufactured by Pfizer, available without a prescription, a move opposed by many doctors, now that Pfizer’s patent on Lipitor is expiring. Coincidentally, Pfizer is a major donor to PRI. Could there possibly be a conflict of interest here?
Second, Dr. Folkertsma raises the horror of the rich bearing a “disproportionate share” of federal income tax; the rest of us are just takers (Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%”) riding along on the backs of the rich or “shills” for these takers. The problem is twofold: a fixation on federal income taxes instead of looking at the total tax burden, and a convenient forgetting that the federal income tax was designed to be “progressive” since its inception. “Progressive” means that those who make more should pay a higher percentage of their income since they have profited most from the legal structure of the United States and the economy benefitted by that structure. Upper income persons today pay a fraction of what they paid in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when we had a stable economy and a middle class. Further, when all other taxes are considered (payroll taxes, gasoline and all other sales taxes, property taxes, state and local income taxes), the bottom 20% of earners pay 20% more of their income on these taxes than do the top 1% of earners. So much for half of us not paying our “fair share,” which Dr. Folkertsma deems so important.
Third, responsibility for the Benghazi disaster has been accepted by the State Department. What Dr. Folkertsma forgets is that the State Department asked for additional funding from the Republican controlled House of Representatives, which funding was denied.
The real “con” is that an intransigent minority of Republican congress people and senators care nothing about the “public good” Dr. Folkertsma seems to value so much, and everything about destroying the government of the United States of America. This Congress has passed fewer bills than any Congress since 1900, because these Republicans control the House of Representatives, and constantly filibuster (formerly a rarely used parliamentary ploy) in the Senate to force a super majority vote on everything they see as increasing government. The result is clear: nothing gets done and nothing will get done if the current situation continues.
Mitch McConnell said that the main goal of Congress was to make Barack Obama a one term president. So much for an elected senator caring about anything resembling “public policy,” which Dr. Folkertsma says he values so much. And now John Boehner cannot even muster a majority of his own party in the House of Representatives to agree on a small tax increase on those making over $1 million annually--notwithstanding that any such “increase” would be just a return to the rates of the Clinton era, that it would apply on income only above the $1 million, and even with ridiculous spending cuts like reducing federal contributions to Meals on Wheels programs for elders--old people are just takers anyway. So much for the “bargaining” Dr. Folkertsma says is characteristic of representative democracy.
Funny, I find it hard to muster a sigh for McConnell or Boehner. It’s a minority of the Republicans in Congress who are the real swindlers. Sooner or later, this do-absolutely-nothing Congress will plunge us into another recession. A sigh won’t do it; a groan will be required.
Carol L. Gloor
Thanks from The Savanna Historical Society
The Savanna Historical Society wishes to thank all the sponsors who helped with the Festival of Trees. We had more trees on display than last year, with several new sponsors bringing their time and talents to our event.
We were pleased to have non profits, a church group, some service organizations and businesses from surrounding towns help make this year’s Festival a great success. We sincerely appreciate the creativity, uniqueness and time spent creating each tree. We thank you for your support.
The SHS has always been fortunate to have wonderful volunteers who work behind the scenes to make the Festival come to life. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone. Not only Board members, but others who were willing to help in many ways are appreciated. Thank you, also, to the media who have always supported and helped us.
Thanks, too, for the kind words from many of you. It inspires us to continue working for the betterment of our area and to help create more cultural and educational programs as well as events like the Festival of Trees.
A huge thank you also to Dorie Steffen, who helped with the Jingle Mingle and Festival. Without her help, it would have been impossible to accomplish all that was done.
Again, thank you to the community for your support. I look forward to another successful Festival of Trees next year.
Festival of Trees
Thanks for Making the Holidays Happy
Christmas can be a difficult time for many-especially those seniors in a nursing home. However, this year the holiday season was made brighter for those at Big Meadows Nursing Home thanks to the help and support of our community. We would like to thank all those who donated their unwanted Christmas decorations. They were used to decorate throughout our building and bring smiles to faces. Thank you to all the community groups that came and preformed Christmas carols for us including New Hope Assembly, 4H group, Baptist Church, West Carroll Madrigal Choir, and many others. A special thank you to the New Spirit Band for taking time out of the busy holiday season to perform a Christmas concert for us and to all those that attended. A big thank you to everyone in the community that donated gifts by taking a name at Sullivan’s for the Santa for Seniors program. A very special thank you to Jeff Johnson, Judy Johnson, Lee Tittsworth, and Patty Moore who headed up the ‘Santa for Seniors’ program and assured that every resident received a gift and that our residents’ holiday was made brighter. These four individuals have continued the holiday tradition of the ‘Santa for Seniors’ program for the past two years using their own funds and the generosity of the community to provide smiles and a brighter Christmas for our residents. Thank you again to the community as a whole for showing your support for Big Meadows and our residents.
Big Meadows Staff and Residents
Fleeing Socialism: French Actor Gérard Depardieu Wants His Freedom Back
By Dr. Sylvain Charat
“I am leaving because you consider that success, creation, talent, anything different, must be punished.”
This quotation from French actor Gérard Depardieu comes from the letter he sent on December 16 to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, explaining why he left France’s welfareship and settled in Belgium.
The actor was heavily criticized. The prime minister called him a “pathetic” character; the minister of labor, Michel Sapin, accused Depardieu of “personal degeneration;” the minister of culture, Aurélie Filippetti, was “totally scandalized;” the minister of relations with parliament, Alain Vitalies, was “shocked;” and the head of the Socialist Party, Harlem Désir, was “saddened.”
The words used by France’s socialists were carefully chosen. They were aimed at discrediting the actor’s fiscal choice.
In truth, however, it is the welfare government’s choices that are on display. Indeed, Depardieu’s case reveals the temptations of the welfare government to violate property rights, entrepreneurship, and freedom of movement. Consider each of these three temptations:
First, the temptation to violate property rights: “I paid $190 million in income taxes over 45 years,” stated Depardieu, pointing out that he is “leaving after paying, in 2012, an 85 percent tax-rate on my income tax.” This is the result of “redistribution,” i.e., the economic system financing French welfare aids and benefits.
The late French economist Frédéric Bastiat warned of such a system: “the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.” France’s socialists today are assaulting the very notion of property. According to Bastiat, property is “the right that the worker has to the value that he has created by his labor,” therefore the income earned by work.
Depardieu was allowed to retain only 15 percent of his property.
Second, the temptation to violate entrepreneurship: Besides being an actor, Depardieu is an entrepreneur. He created and invested in restaurants, wine bars, vineyards. As he says, “80 people are working thanks to me, in companies that were created for them and are managed by them.” Depardieu invested money and created jobs. But when property is plundered, entrepreneurship is discouraged. Indeed, why take so many risks, work so long, and invest so much for the few peanuts that France’s welfare government deigns to leave in the entrepreneur’s bank account?
Furthermore, entrepreneurship and the free market are not understood by members of the French government: In addition to being socialists, all of them are civil servants or members of government-subsidized organizations. Subsidies and appointments have nothing in common with earning a living and being hired. That is another reason why the welfare government “elite” cannot understand businessmen.
Third, the temptation to violate freedom of movement: “I do not have to justify my choice,” states Depardieu. He is right. He settled in Belgium, and so what? He is still in the European Union. Since the treaty of Amsterdam was enforced in 1997, all citizens of the EU’s 27 member-states—the French, the Belgians, the Germans, the Italians, the Irish, etc.—are European citizens. They are so declared on all European passports. Furthermore, the union has been established to create a free-trade zone and allow citizens of any member-state to move freely and settle in other European countries as they wish. Up to now, France’s socialists seemed to heartily agree with this freedom, claiming that they were opposed to nationalism and promoting cosmopolitanism.
Yet, now the welfare government is suddenly condemning this freedom of movement—in Depardieu’s case. Why? Because this freedom could jeopardize the welfare government.
Indeed, what if more French taxpayers decided to leave and settle in Belgium, Ireland, in the United Kingdom, or simply leave Europe? It could be a financial blow to the welfare system. The minister of culture, Aurélie Filippetti, admitted as much when (speaking of Depardieu’s behavior) she declared that “French citizenship is an honor.” And she explained why: because it allows citizens “to pay taxes!”
Mired in welfareship, France’s government is hostile to individual sovereignty. The notion of an open society is accepted as long as it is not too open. That is why when Depardieu declared to the French prime minister, “I give you back my passport and my social security that I never used,” it was like treason. The welfare government could not accept this because, as Bastiat reminded us, “in fact, the state has no resources of its own. It has nothing, it possesses nothing that it does not take from the workers.” And in order to pay its six million civil servants (22 percent of the French workforce), to finance its public spending, to cover its public debt, France’s welfareship needs taxpayers to remain still and obedient.
French taxpayers moving abroad, using their freedom of movement to settle elsewhere to protect their property and business, is the socialists’ worst nightmare.
— Dr. Sylvain Charat is a graduate from the University of the Sorbonne, Paris, was chief of staff for a former French Minister of Finance in the French National Assembly, and is now a public affairs consultant, specializing in the welfare system. He is also a contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College, and his daily analysis can be found at his “Welfareship Explained” blog.
Publisher’s note: A version of this article first appeared at Forbes.com. After reading this piece, Americans should take heed and be careful of what we have wished for - or who we elected.
Obama’s Gun Control Advocacy is Hypocritical
From Tax Payers United of America
President Obama calls for greater gun control and has done so throughout his political career, yet takes great comfort in the knowledge that his daughters are protected by ‘men with guns,’ as stated in interviews with David Letterman and others.
“The president seems to think that, ‘We the Little People,’ need more laws and restrictions and must wait for police to arrive, while he and his family enjoy the protection of their own 24 hour, personal armed guard,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “He has joked about something the rest of us take very seriously: our right to protect ourselves from criminals and psychopaths who wish to do us harm.”
McNeilly stated, “We need to be very careful about knee-jerk reactions to tragedies initiated by people determined to do harm to others -- especially from politicians with an agenda. What other explanation is there for someone who has ordered drone strikes that have killed over 170 children?
“Where are the tears, where is the outrage, and where is the cry for reform of our lethal foreign policies that are draining our finances, killing our troops, and killing the children of other nations?” asked McNeilly.
“We, as a nation, need to be consistent in our concern for personal safety and the safety of the helpless, like children, and we need to expect that from our leadership. If the children of the president don’t have to wait for police to arrive, neither should the rest of America’s children nor any other citizen for that matter.”
“Increasing gun control and further infringing our ability to protect ourselves puts us squarely in the crosshairs of those who don’t follow the law. The courts in virtually every state have told us it is up to us to protect ourselves and that we cannot sue our local police for failing to protect us,” stated Billings, MT attorney, W. David Herbert.
“The state of Connecticut has an assault rifle ban that was in effect when a crazed gunman entered the Sandy Hook elementary school ‘gun-free zone’ to slaughter 26 innocents after gunning down his own mother. How did that gun ban protect any of the victims? How will expanding such a ban protect any citizens?”
“The president and others have been quick to politicize a tragedy that reveals the need to end the government monopoly on schools and our individual security,” added McNeilly. “By limiting or eliminating our right to protect ourselves, we create yet another government monopoly – individual security. Do we really want to entrust, as our caretakers, a government that deems collateral damage of hundreds of innocent lives, including children, acceptable? At what point will American casualties also be acceptable in the effort to protect safety of the chosen few?
“President Obama is right about one thing: he knows the value of being able to protect those you love with guns. He should not seek to deprive the rest of us of that same peace of mind by depriving us of our right to bear arms.”
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
It is not about the gun. Though the horrific events of December 14, 2012 at Newtown, Connecticut haunt us all and leave us asking why? The obvious partial answer is – It’s not about the gun.
The most elementary knowledge of the demented mind is it will seek its satisfaction through whatever means available. Our most horrific terrorist crime in America, the events of September 11, 2001, was caused by airplanes and claimed over 3,000 lives and arguably caused untold economic damage.
The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 was the result of a Ryder truck filled with an explosive mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil. Nineteen children and one hundred forty nine adults died in the explosion.
As of this writing December 18, 2012, 932 have been killed this year in traffic accidents in Illinois.
My point should be obvious – no one called for the elimination of airplanes following September 11. Certainly no one asked to regulate fertilizer which is readily available and necessary for our farmers, and most of you use on your lawn. No one says quit driving cars.
Ah, but Sacia, this was a school. Nothing this evil ever happened at a school. Oh yes it did. Bath, Michigan, about ten miles from Lansing, on May 18, 1927, 55 year old respected school board member and treasurer, a farmer Andrew Kehoe blew the school up with dynamite and Pyrotol, killing thirty eight children and six adults. One of the fifty eight seriously injured children died three months later from injuries received and Kehoe’s wife was bludgeoned to death along with all the farm animals killed. Kehoe killed himself by summoning the school superintendent, whom he hated, to his car then blowing them both up.
I’m grateful we are not in session until the third of January when emotions will have settled some. I can just see the bills and resolutions – get rid of guns. Most will be from my Chicago colleagues whom I dearly love. Whenever I listen to them lecture the rest of us on gun issues I shake my head in disbelief. A city that until a year ago, when ordered by the courts to change, you couldn’t even own or possess a gun yet so many die there from gun violence. The Genie is out of the bottle folks, over three hundred million guns in America. The attempts in every state legislature and our United States Congress will go after good honest people and their guns.
The assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004 was a miserable failure and resulted only in the equivalency of ten years of gun purchases in the two months prior to its inception as Americans bought them as fast as they could.
Like it or not we love our guns. I carried a gun for thirty years of my law enforcement career. I own and respect them. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
Yes, we must do something. Common sense and not emotion must prevail.