Due to everyone’s kindness and generosity, the “Earth Angel” mission was once again a tremendous success. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we were able to reach out and bring a little joy & happiness to 587 children this Holiday. This included 8 families in Winnebago, and all the rest resided in Ogle County. Also included were families from our military, or 62 children! Granny’s Mailbag had 1538 pieces of mail to our soldiers abroad, going to 3 APO’s in 2 countries. Kudo’s!
Thanks to some of our very special Earth Angels … “Highlights Magazines for Children” donated a TON of various magazines and puzzle books, hard cover books, enough that EVERY child had one to go home with. BIG Thank You to Highlights! Additionally there was 4 used bikes and 1 scooter that were donated and gifted out this year. WOW!
Our Earth Angel family grows each year. This year we had Four area Scout troops that got involved and earned points towards community badges. Brownie Troop 3503-Oregon, Cub Scout Pack 81-Oregon that consists of 5 dens;- Tigers, Wolfs, Bears, Weblos 1, Weblos 2, Girl Scout Troop 106–Polo, Girl Scout Troop 5209-German Valley. Great Job Kids!
As usual, we kicked off at Merlins Greenhouse Florist’s annual weekend Christmas Open House (Thank you Merlin & Cindy) in the beginning of November and having 19 drop sites up and running immediately thereafter, which gave most of us a full month for everyone to be able to participate. Once again, we also had recipients and volunteers returning from previous year’s either donating a gift and/or contributing time in helping, or did both. We had new volunteers for wrapping & drivers for deliveries coming & going, each wanting to reach out and help or give back to the community. Isn’t that great? Additionally, this year Rock River Center’s Oregon staff and shuttle bus drivers volunteered their time and use of their senior shuttle buses to pick up from the majority of our drop sites, thus making the job of picking up go soooo much more quickly and were all back early at Earth Angel Headquarters. Whew! Great Job Everyone!
Much appreciated, for once again, this year a lot of the gifts were already gift wrapped, saving a lot of time and being ready for distribution earlier. Mother Nature co-operated during pick up day from our drop sites on Dec. 19th & balance of what needed to be gift wrapped days from Dec. 19th thru Dec. 21st, but slowly became challenging with it’s erratic changes in weather when it came time for recipients to come in on Dec. 22nd thru Dec. 25th. But we managed, and with everyone’s help , we got the job done in time for Christmas!
God Bless. That’s what the Christmas spirit is all about. A community coming together and reaching out to someone when you can and letting them know someone really cares.
Of course no good deed should go unnoticed, therefore I must take a moment to say a BIG thank you to the overwhelming generosity & opened hearts of all my “Earth Angels” donors, sponsors, and drop site locations, volunteers, and all those who contributed or took part in some way, everyone’s assistance, boxes, wrapping paper, brown shopping bags, promotions, deliveries, pick up’s , media publications and the list goes on. Great Job everyone. It was a WONDERFUL Christmas thanks to ALL of you.
Finally, these are tough times for everyone, so please remember to say prayers for those that have lost their jobs and more, and for those that will soon be losing them. The economy is really bad this year, and no one is immune. I pray that the New Year will be brighter and better for us all. We came together once again as a community and family and made a brighter and richer Christmas for us all. God Bless!
Remember: Every time you hear a bell ring, an Angel gets his wings. Each year when we start this project, there is only a single bell ringing. If you listened really hard, on Dec. 25th, 2009, there was a crescendo of bells ringing, making Ogle County once again, the largest group of bell ringing “Earth Angels” this year!
With heartfelt thanks, wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year for you & yours!
I continue to be amazed by the West’s animosity and hate toward Moslems. It’s simply prejudice. Recently one of America’s most respected columnists in an op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune defended the Swiss vote outlawing minarets. She thinks it’s just fine to curtail the rights of some citizens because it might offend Europeans. She is angry that French Moslems dared to build a mosque in Marseille, France, which is bigger than the Catholic Cathedral. And a powerful Italian political party wants to ban the building of all new mosques in Italy.
In this country there is a growing number of Americans who want to keep the “Gitmo prisoners” locked up in Cuba. Many of them should probably simply be released. The US Attorney General thinks that many of them are innocent and were rounded up by mistake. Screaming about terrorists in our midst, some American politicians and commentators are trying to create more and more hate and prejudice with their bigoted attacks on Moslems. The fear mongers sell hate, inflame bigotry and create fear for their own shortsighted political ends.
Instead of war and inflamed hate-filled rhetoric, what we need is a dispassionate discussion about the changing and growing role of Moslems in European society, their growing numbers in America and their role in world politics. We need a more honest assessment of US and Western Europe’s role in world affairs.
We invaded Afghanistan because that country harbored the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. We overthrew the government and installed our own dysfunctional, drug dealing, corrupt, puppet government and helped to destabilize neighboring Pakistan. In the process, we killed far more innocent Afghanis than Americans were killed on 9/11. We’re still there, still fighting and still killing men, women and children who had nothing to do with 9/11. And why wouldn’t an Afghan fight back, after all he is defending his own country from invaders. We are the enemy in Afghanistan. The saddest irony of all this is that in our incompetence we failed to catch our quarry.
Later, for no reason at all, we invaded Iraq and killed ten of thousands of innocent Iraqis who, again, had nothing to do with 9/11. Today, we maintain armies and mercenaries in both countries, killing innocent civilians and combatants who are defending their countries from an outside invader.
This so-called War on Terrorism did not start with 9/11. Western Europe, Russia and the US have been at war with the peoples of Asia and the Middle East for centuries. We drew lines on a map, creating the countries in the Middle East and South Asia, and have either tried to rule them directly, or we have set up puppets to rule on our behalf. When things don’t go the way we want them to, we invade and try to re-establish our rule. When the Iranians, for example, became too independent and wanted to rule their own country, we overthrew their government and put our own puppet, the Shah, in charge.
Instead of spewing hatred toward the Moslem world, we should recognize that we are often in the wrong. We have no right to invade and send our armies or proxy armies into other countries. We were wrong to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. We are wrong to try to re-establish our control over Iran using their development of atomic energy as an excuse and cover for our true motives. This so called War on Terrorism is like every other war, a conflict over power and control.
Let us learn from history and get out and let us remember that prejudice is a poison that in the long run destroys everybody.
Mt. Carroll, IL
Is Anyone Listening?
Mayor Stebbins of Savanna:
Mayor, my original request via Savanna Times Journal of 12-17-09 & The Prairie Advocate of 12-16-09 to your Superintendent of Public Works has not been responded to. Is it possible that he or his associates haven’t taken time to read the local newspapers?? So, I will pose the same questions to you:
1-Is there a written plan for employees to follow??
2-If no written plan exists what procedure do these employees follow?? Do they use their own judgement or follow a verbal orders?? Who gives these orders are they always the same routes from beginning to end??
3-Is there any preferential treatment given to streets where employees or elected officials live??
4-Why aren’t the area of the rural type boxes plowed out?? These boxes are located on city property. Why cant they plow the whole street that is city street, where curb &gutters exists. Those home owners get their street completely plowed. Why aren’t the streets with out curbs plowed to the same width as the ones with curbs???
I would like to remind you & your staff that we taxpayers are your bosses!! Your paycheck & all monies allocated to you for operating expenses comes from us tax payers via government taxation. Another reminder is that bosses have the ability to discharge employees for refusal to do as requested. I will be anxiously awaiting your public answer in this newspaper.
P.S. For you citizens who agree or disagree with me I’m urging to contact your local, state, federal legislators on issues that will have a effect on our lives. The computer is the pen that is mightier than the sword. Please remember we are the bosses. The mayor can be reached by computer www.Savanna-il.Gov/contactus.Htm . When this site comes up click on “ask the mayor,” then you can put your message to him directly. His phone and address is available in the phone book or on-line under Larry Stebbins.
The late Philip Rieff has noted “[t]hat the propertied classes, their lawyers and editorial writers, are self-interested, which is not the same as conservative.” Similarly, there is seldom anything remotely conservative about anything labeling itself “traditional.” This is particularly the case when it comes to “Traditions Investments, LLC,” the actual title of the proposed mega-dairy deemed viable by Judge Ward (See “Judge Rules in Favor of Traditions Dairy,” 12/23/09).
Despite whatever images that readily come to mind regarding “the countryside,” acres of manure-filled lagoons and warehouses filled with large mammals could hardly be thought of as bucolic. Yet this is the imagery the livestock industry trades in and feeds its “ag-ignorant” audiences. Or if red barns and happy cows grazing in green pastures doesn’t cut it, high-tech showcases are offered, highlighting the advances industrial agriculture has made - dutifully ignoring the growing safety and health concerns that seem to be part and parcel of ever-larger operations.
Worse, perhaps, is how so many local civic and business leaders - often one and the same! - sign off on permitting such obvious detriments to their communities. Clandestine investors? Ego enhancements? Short-term gain for long-term pain?
Rieff has also commented that our culture is “constituted by its endless transitionality” and our leaders “have learned to want it that way.” Unfortunately, even Warren and Nora’s self-styled elites, perhaps Mr. Bos’s “strangest of bedfellows,” will have nowhere to run when their neighbor’s limited liability enterprise “transitions” their little utopian dreams of progress and profit into dystopian twin nightmares of aquifer contamination and even worse rural blight.
John P. Jankowski
Wake Up Call
I’ve received several e-mails like the following and hope voters will wake up this time. Of course, I’ve been hopig that for the last 60 years, but they still haven’t. When will enough be enough?
If you think Congress’ performance last year was good for America, then go to the next letter. But if you’re mad, stay mad. Remember it next time you vote, which will be Feb. 2.
Do lawyers who won’t even read 2,000-page laws for us (not them), much less debate them, deserve another term? You wouldn’t hire a lawyer who refused to read your will or some other document you’re concerned about. Why do we continue to do the same, plus give them a raise, when our liberties are at stake? The only exception I would make would be Rep. Manzullo, who consistantly votes against the madness.
Here’s the e-mail:
The U.S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises.
1. They voted to not give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and 2011.
2. Your Medicaid premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years and you will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife.
3. Over 2-yrs they each get $10,000
4. Do you feel SCREWED?
5. Will they make your cost of drugs - doctor fees - local taxes - food, etc., increase? They have a raise and better benefits. Why care about you? You never did anything about it in the past. You obviously are too stupid or don’t care.
6. Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barnie, et al, care about you?
Send the message -- You’re FIRED.
In 2010 you will have a chance to get rid of the sitting Congress: Up to 1/3 of the Senate, and 100% of the House.
Make sure you’re still mad in February and November 2010 and remind their replacements not to screw up.
It’s time for Amendment 28: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”
Pearl City, IL
Norman Borlaug: An American Hero
By Jarrett Skorup
Called “arguably the greatest American in the 20th century” during his 95 years, Norman Borlaug probably saved more lives than any other person. He is one of just six people to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And yet Dr. Borlaug, who died this past September, is scarcely known in his own country.
Born in Iowa in 1914, Borlaug spent most of his life in impoverished nations inventing, improving, and teaching the “Green Revolution.” His idea was simple: Make developing countries self sufficient in food by teaching them how to use modern agricultural techniques that are simple to implement. Borlaug spent most of his time in Mexico, Pakistan, and India, and focused on five areas: crop cultivars (seeds), irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanization. His successes were remarkable.
In 1950, Mexico imported over half of its food. Thanks to Borlaug’s efforts to convince farmers there to try his techniques, Mexican food production increased ten-fold by 1970, and the country had become a net exporter. In India and Pakistan, production doubled. In 1999, the Atlantic Monthly estimated that Borlaug’s efforts, combined with those he trained and equipped, saved the lives of one billion human beings.
Shockingly, the Green Revolution was almost entirely funded by developing countries and private charities (notably the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations), rather than by the governments of prosperous nations. At the time, the overwhelming view of academic and political elites in the wealthy countries was that it was already too late.
Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller “The Population Bomb” typified this attitude. Ehrlich wrote, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.... In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” He later said, “I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971,” and “India couldn’t possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980.” Required reading at many colleges, Ehrlich’s book stated that it was “a fantasy” to think that India could “ever” feed itself.
Ehrlich, who was wrong about several things, was ignorant of what Norman Borlaug was already in the process of accomplishing.
In the introduction to a 2000 interview with Borlaug, Reason magazine science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote, “In Pakistan, wheat yields rose from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 8.4 million in 1970. In India, they rose from 12.3 million tons to 20 million. And the yields continue to increase. Last year , India harvested a record 73.5 million tons of wheat, up 11.5 percent from 1998. Since Ehrlich’s dire predictions in 1968, India’s population has more than doubled, its wheat production has more than tripled, and its economy has grown nine-fold.”
In spite of Ehrlich’s claims, Borlaug had India feeding itself within a mere five years of his book release. Also around the time of Ehrlich’s misguided doom-mongering, Borlaug’s colleagues at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research were spreading his ideas about high-yield rice through Asia, causing another food-production explosion. Towards the end of his life, Borlaug was working to institute his agricultural revolution in Africa.
No good deed goes unpunished, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Borlaug was attacked by proponents of the trendy new faith of radical environmentalism because Green Revolution farming requires some pesticide and lots of fertilizer. Gregg Easterbrook quotes Borlaug saying the following in the 1990s:
“(Most Western environmentalists) have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists in wealthy nations were trying to deny them these things.”
There’s an old proverb: “He who has bread has many problems. He who has no bread has only one problem.” Today, the talk is all about demands for massively intrusive government interventions requiring trillions of dollars to address deeply speculative problems 100 years hence, supported by highly suspicious computer models and data. Much less is said about solving real current problems using proven methods pioneered by Norman Borlaug that require much smaller sums.
More than 40 years ago, Borlaug wrote, “One of the greatest threats to mankind today is that the world may be choked by an explosively pervading but well camouflaged bureaucracy.”
Some things never change.
— Jarrett Skorup is a former student fellow at The Center for Vision & Values and a 2009 graduate of Grove City College with a dual major in history and political science. He is a research associate at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. Mr. Skorup can be reached at Skorup@mackinac.org.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared with the Mackinac Center. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the Center are properly cited.