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Bill Linneman

July 14 2016

Sailing Down To Rio
A great experience in the Navy was spending two weeks in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, in January 1946. I was a member of the emissary sent by President Truman to honor the new president of Brazil. Brazil had been governed for fifteen years by Getulio Vargas who stayed in power by uniting the interests of the sugar barons of the north with the coffee oligarchs of the south. Vargas became the dictator of the “Estado Novo”—the “new state.”
He had been deposed by a military coup in October 1945 and a new president had been elected. Harry Truman, a new president himself, sent as emissary the aircraft carrier “Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Roosevelt had been popular in Latin America, and the huge ship symbolized America’s might and striking power. Besides, the carrier,  on its shake-down cruise off Cuba, was already part way to Rio.
Accompanying the FDR was the destroyer Douglas H. Fox on which I was a neophyte seaman. Rio was 6000 miles away and would take us two weeks to get there. I was quite struck with Rio’s harbor which was nestled among huge oddly shaped mountains.
One was the famed “Sugarloaf” which was accessible by cable car. Another was Mt. Corcovado which was crowned by a huge statue of Christ the Redeemer which overlooked the harbor. Its outstretched arms simulated the Cross. The statue was accessible by escalators and walkways, but none of my Jewish friends would go with me. So I joined a group of Catholic sailors.
Like most dictators Vargas tried to get popularity by public works. One was a street starting at the harbor and going westward through the city. It was named “Avenida Vargas.” It had replaced the red light district. Instead of having houses, prostitutes became street-walkers  and took customers to complying hotels.
Open-sided  trams took us to restaurants and stores like Rexall. There were jitneys which would take half dozen sailors through mountain tunnels to the ritzy beach of Copacobana with its big hotels and fancy restaurants. Sometimes we sailors would not bed admitted because we were not wearing coats like officers.
One night a nice couple driving a new Ford picked up my fiend and me to show us more of Rio. They took us to a hill in a poor district where people were practicing for Carnival. After the new president was inaugurated, Brazilians were occupied with Carnival. Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world.
The gentleman we were with spoke English quite well. He explained that neighborhoods would organize street bands and dancing groups. These groups dressed in lavish garb would dance the samba, the Brazilian national dance. They obviously took the celebration quite seriously. Although there was much drinking, Carnival in Rio was much classier than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Or for that matter, Spring Carnival at the University of Illinois.
One day a group of us were practicing stunts on the beach at Copacabana, like diving over three or four sailors. I cleared them ok but landed on my head, my knee colliding with my nose. Blood on the sand. A first-aid station dressed the wound, and I headed back to the ship.
The sailors who were on watch assumed I had been in a fight. My reputation on board immediately escalated.

Capitol Facts
by Rich Miller

July 14 2015
Governor looks to improve ‘messaging’
Gov. Bruce Rauner has been touring Illinois to talk about his new “messaging.” He’s quite excited about his “messaging” plans, telling one reporter that if he could do anything differently about his tenure so far it would be to improve the way he gets his message out to voters. Yep. That’s really what he said.
One of the things that the governor was apparently counting on during his Downstate tour is few, if any follow-up questions from reporters. For instance, after he completely dodged a question from a Peoria TV reporter about whether he deserves any blame for a year without a budget, the subject was changed and the governor was let off the hook.
Despite this, Rauner actually complained in Champaign last week about how “There’s no substance in the reporting,” before saying he was in the process of creating his own communication platforms to push his messaging directly to Illinoisans.
He’s not wrong about the lack of substance in the media’s coverage. A recent survey of social service providers by the highly respected United Way of Illinois was almost completely ignored by media outlets, despite an eye-grabbing finding that about a million Illinoisans had lost services during the impasse.
And the governor’s contention that he himself had cut $800 million in “wasteful spending” from the budget made it into print and on the air without a single question being asked about what those cuts were.
As it turns out, there are multiple problems with the governor’s list of cuts, which I asked to see. Some of the saved money is due to action by his predecessor, a chunk of the cash is from special state funds with their own dedicated revenue sources, a bunch of the spending was put into the six-month stopgap budget that Rauner signed into law on June 30th and Rauner himself requested some of the “cut” items be appropriated in his own budget proposal last spring.
Let’s start at the very top of the governor’s list: “Medicaid Eligibility Redeterminations,” which he claims saved $53 million. OK, but that was initiated in 2012 with Medicaid reforms signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn. Rauner’s budget office says Quinn may have signed it, but he fully implemented it.
Rauner’s touted savings from cutting $21 million subsidies for disabled mass transit users is illusory because that money comes from the state’s Road Fund, which is funded with motor fuel taxes, license fees, etc. The same goes for his $4 million cut to Amtrak.
Several other programs on the governor’s list also get their money from Other State Funds (OSF), including tourism ($13 million claimed cut), recycling ($6 million), renewable and energy efficiency programs ($8 million), ICC vacancies and transfers ($6 million) and coal programs ($15 million).
The governor’s budget office claims that saving OSF money can help patch holes in the rest of the budget. But these funds (like the Road Fund, which was swept last year for a fortune) are set up and funded for particular purposes.
The governor claims in his list that he cut “Assorted DHS Programs not covered by Court Orders or Consent Decrees” for a total of $91 million. But several of those programs are funded in the stopgap budget that the governor signed into law on June 30th, including The Autism Program, ARC of Illinois, Teen Reach, homeless prevention, addiction prevention, the Emergency Food Program, funeral and burial expenses, immigrant integration services, welcoming centers, epilepsy services, etc.
Rauner also claims reductions to Criminal Justice Information Authority programs including Cease Fire, but that’s in the stopgap as well.
And despite claiming credit for making cuts, the governor actually requested spending for the programs in his own budget proposal from earlier this year, including paratransit and Amtrak. His budget also increased funding for tourism programs.
The governor also claimed $100 million in savings for not constructing the Illiana Expressway, which was in doubt anyway. And his touted $145 million cut to child care programs was reversed when Rauner cut a deal with the Democrats.
And then there’s the claimed savings of $4 million due to a delay in the opening of a veterans home in Chicago. But that delay actually ended up increasing the cost of the project and no money was appropriated by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly last fiscal year anyway, so it’s not really a Rauner savings.
Also, is a veterans home really “wasteful” spending? I doubt many politicians would make that claim.
Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and thecapitolfaxblog.com

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Helen Leake's Gardeners Tips
by Helen J. Leake

July 14 2016
Propagating woody stemmed plants
You can propagate soft stemmed plants fairly easily. You can also propagate woody ornamentals such as roses, holly, etc. Sometimes we want to share or add another shrub that we really like, but can’t find one like the one you have. You can do it by “rock rooting” in mid summer, officially known as layering.
Some plants do better on old wood, and some do better on new wood. Some people think roots seem to form better near the junction between new and old wood. Find a low branch of the plant you want to duplicate, Strip the leaves from the part of the stem that will be placed under ground. Slightly injure the bottom part of the section that will be underground with a pocket knife, in 2 or 3 places. Be careful not to cut through it. You can omit that part if you are uncomfortable doing it.
  Put the wounded stem in a trench about 2 - 3 inches deep. Cover it with some rich soil, leaving a light depression to allow water to collect. Place a heavy rock or brick over the springest part to keep it in place. Also place another rock where the stem comes out of the trench to direct the plant to grow in a vertical pattern. Keep the soil moist to encourage the root growth.
It should be well rooted by the end of September. Gently tug on what will be the new plant.  If there is resistance, there should be well-formed roots. Over the winter protect it with a bit of mulch.
  In the spring, snip the rooted end and carefully move it to a pot. Baby it for about a month and then it can be planted in the ground.

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The Spectator

by Jim Bennett • jwbnnt@aol.com
July 14 2015

2016: The Leap Year of Our Discontent
LEAP YEARS bring us more than an extra day. They bring us, shortly after the summer solstice, a charged atmosphere highlighted by Republican and Democratic national conventions, the election of a president, and the excitement of the summer Olympic games.
This year, however, although there will be no shortage of drama, the glass somehow seems half empty and what’s in it may not be potable.
Less than a month out, the Games in Rio are vexed by uncertainty, economic peril, and corruption. Brazilian officials are frantically racing the clock (opening ceremonies are scheduled for August 5) to finish Olympic venues and the infrastructure needed to access them. A consensus of estimates says Brazil will spend about $15 billion building facilities and engaging in marketing, but can expect to recover about a third of that in actual revenue.
“Zika virus. Pollution. Economic and political instability. Security fears. Doping allegations. Athletes dropping out. One crisis after another is plaguing the Olympics in Rio,” according to a June 26 piece by journalist Hilary Shen. Many athletes worldwide have already chosen not to participate for fear of Zika. The same goes for would-be visitors and ticket buyers.
Security promises to be utterly unreliable. Most Brazilian cops aren’t getting paid, and have gone so far as to picket airport terminals with signs reading, “We simply can’t protect you.”
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is being impeached.
Pollution is a deadly hazard along Rio’s waterways and canals, several of which are slated to host sailing and rowing events. These waterways often run through favelas, a Spanish word specific to Brazil meaning “filthy slums” or “shanty towns.”
Many of these slums have been bulldozed aside for public relations reasons (leaving countless thousands of Rio residents homeless). Nevertheless, the effluent from these widespread shanty towns includes raw sewage, “Car tires, mattresses, even human and dog carcasses,” according to The New York Times.
Happy rowing, boys and girls.

THERE WON’T BE much smooth sailing in the political conventions either. In this unprecedented presidential campaign, marked by boorish personal vilification and tawdry insults, presided over by blowhard Donald Trump, there’s no telling what spectacle might erupt at the RNC, scheduled to run July 18-21 in Cleveland.
Many establishment Republicans, including senators Mark Kirk, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Flake, have refused to endorse The Donald, while others have boarded the Trump train in a manner so tepid it’s almost like they’re holding their noses. Many more don’t regard Trump as a conservative (he’s not) or a “serious” person (he’s not) and have chosen not to attend the convention itself.
Trump’s outrageous remarks and proposals are far too numerous to mention here, but they include the preposterous (building a southern border wall and making Mexico pay for its construction), as well as the deeply reckless and disturbing: Carpet bombing ISIS, reintroducing tortures like waterboarding and “worse,” and killing the families of captured Islamic terrorists. All of which, by the way, are war crimes.
Although Trump has secured the necessary number of delegates to earn the presidential nomination, the “dump Trump” (or “Never Trump”) movement is alive and well. A convention floor fight is highly likely, with many delegates determined to make rules committee changes that would deny him the nomination.
With this onslaught of Republican contempt for their presumptive nominee, do the Democrats even need a full-court press to defeat him?

YES, THEY would be well advised to do so. Their own presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, is not liked or trusted by the majority of the American people. She escaped criminal charges by the FBI over her email controversy, but the issue won’t go away anytime soon. Republicans will see to that. We should all be prepared for GOP committee investigations of the investigations of the investigations to continue well into the fall.
And it may not be exclusively political hatchet work. According to a July 8 USA Today editorial, “The FBI investigation raises legitimate questions about Clinton’s judgment, truthfulness and penchant for secrecy.”
Appearing before a House panel on July 7, FBI Director James Comey “Offered a harsh rebuke of Clinton and her aides for mishandling classified, top-secret information,” according to journalists David Jackson and Kevin Johnson.
But beyond that, Comey’s investigation caught Ms. Clinton in several “inconsistencies.” Johnson reports, “Clinton’s public assertions about her management of classified information did not square with the FBI’s conclusions.
“Rather than the one device Clinton had repeatedly said she used to receive and transmit information, Comey said she used ‘multiiple’ devices. The director said at least three communications were marked as classified when she handled them, a finding at odds with Clinton’s characterizations that no information marked classified was moved through her system.”
And now the State Department has opened its own internal investigation of the tangled affair. I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned. Oh joy.

THE DNC CONVENTION is scheduled for July 25-28 in Philadelphia. The potential for unrest and even violence at these two events—particularly the Republican convention—has not been lost on news organizations. Several of them are training their reporters in combat-zone safety readiness as they head to Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Veteran foreign correspondent Sherry Ricchiardi writes, “Safety training is a lifeline for correspondents heading to Iraq or Afghanistan, where they could face rocket attacks, firefights and suicide bombers. But Cleveland and Philadelphia? It never occurred to me that covering a political beat in the U.S. might involve plugging a chest wound, talk down attackers or survive active-shooter scenarios.
“But Trump has suggested to CNN and others that there could be riots if he doesn’t leave the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as the nominee.”
It may well be a long, hot summer of discontent. Recent polling shows that 61% of American voters find a Trump-Clinton presidential race to be “alarming.” Not merely disappointing or discouraging, but alarming. Some leap year fun, huh?

Classic Colcalsure
The Rest is Still Unrwritten
by John Colclasure of Lexington

June 23 2016
Another Fish Story
Fishing has never been one of my favorite pastimes, but on occasion I will indulge myself in a quiet peaceful morning along the banks of a creek, river, or pond. I have a grandson who is quiet good and fishes professionally as a wounded warrior and competes at a very high level. Additionally, he has routinely placed in the top tier of many more experienced anglers and Mrs. C. and I are very proud of him.
Speaking of which, I have never caught anything much bigger than the bait that I was using. I remember a time that our oldest son and I went out with a large group of tourists/fisher- person(s) in a large deep sea fishing size boat. Both of us were fine until the boat anchored miles and miles away from the shore and nothing but wave after wave was upon us. We (I mean Bob) caught one grouper and the length was one inch short of being a keeper. The captain said that if we had caught it during the morning hours, it would have been a keeper. Oh well, my catch was smaller than the pieces of fish bait we were using.
As the waves picked up, tossing to and fro, I was becoming a little wheezy and about this time, Bob asked if I wanted a soda and I said yes, trying to look as good as one could before actually throwing up. Well, Bob departed below deck and never came back up. Naturally, I needed to go look for him and I certainly needed to lie down. Once below deck, I found Bob lying down, along with several others. There must have been 15 to 20 sea sick folks, of which I now exhibited the same symptoms. However, once I lay down, I couldn’t get up without my head spinning and the sudden urge to deposit part of or all of my noon lunch.
After several hours at sea and with most of the fishermen, sick and otherwise, the crew pulled up anchor and we headed for shore with a very limited catch, despite the best efforts of the captain and his crew.
As I sit here this night I think back to another time of fishing with my dad and both of my brothers at the Lake of the Ozarks. The four of us were fishing off the dock and began catching plenty of crappie. So much so that at one point three of us were baiting hooks and my youngest brother Ron would repeatedly toss out the fishing line, hook, minnow and all and just as quickly reel in pole after pole. We must have caught 25 – 30 that morning.
That story has been told over and over these past 50 years and the fish get larger and the catch gets bigger.
There are other fish stories that I could relate, but the point of these stories and those of other fathers and grandfathers, is that it was and is a time when parent and child or grandparent and child spend time TOGETHER. Memories are made and hopefully never forgotten.

Till next time…john
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