Monday, May 1, 2006

Al Harris: This is For You!

Okay, you’ve been an eloquent critic of this blog; you write well; you charge with great candor that I’m a wimp for asking questions about poetry because I’m too timid to bring up the issues that you list in Comments and call Political Shootout a “garden party” for palsy-walsies. Not so and so I want you to write a tract (200 words max) on one of those issues—just one at this time—and we’ll post it here. Then we’ll take two, three, four etc. I don’t think I deserve that crack, Al Harris, but you’re asked—even ordered—to write the first one here. And as you write it, tell why I am so hesitant to discuss it.

In the meantime for those who you who think I’m not a wimp for talking about literature, let me give you the answer to the last question. Bob in P.F. looked it up; no one answered correctly so—the quotes are from essays by philosopher and literary master Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) who had a rapid career up in politics and a lightening fast trip down.

Born to a prominent family, educated at Oxford, trained in diplomacy in France; studied law, elected to parliament; became one of Elizabeth’s learned counsels; promoted to ordinary council to James I; then solicitor-general, attorney-general; privy councilor; lord keeper of the seal; finally lord chancellor. Then accused of taking bribes, confessed guilt; deprived of office; fined; imprisoned then released; barred from sitting in parliament; barred from practicing law. “I confess,” he wrote, “[that] I have taken all knowledge to be my province.” Working hatless and coatless outside in early April to experiment with the preservative qualities of snow killed him. He was always more concerned with the reasoning process to attain truth than the detailed results.


  1. It is evidence that life exists outside of the political realm.

    You also post information and anecdotes that should be passed along from person to person and generation to generation.

    With all of our agreements/disagreements on politics, we can certainly agree to appreciate the great works of English literature. My favorite is the gem of English language, the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible.

  2. Tom, I love your radio show, I listen every Sunday night but I got busy and missed it last night. Everybody is talking about the exchange between Terry Brunner and Greg Goldner. I looked on the WLS site but I can see and archives of your show. Does WLS stream old shows on the internet, or can you do it on you Blog ? I think you show/site is the place to be for political junkies.

  3. While I don't agree with everything here or on the show (though I do agree with most), I do think this was unwarranted criticism. Your show addresses issues and takes viewpoints that are seldom expressed anywhere by local writers or media on the radio / TV and your listeners and readers are grateful for the fine work you do.

    You are one of the few bastions of conservative thought in the liberal wastelands known as Chicago, Crook County and Illinois.

    Also, your non political blogs are welcome as well and for readers wanting politics only, skip over what you are not interested in.

    Keep up the good work,

    Norwood Park

  4. Al may disagree, but I believe if it was poosible for a society to take the ideas expressed in the poetry you presented, the political problems would be minimal.

  5. Tom thanks for the mention. I do get worked up on political issues because I see this one great state quickly sliding to the left under the political Democratic "Trifecta" of a Democratic Mayor of Chicago, a Democratic Governor, a Democratic House and Senate, and a Democratic State Supreme Court. I firmly believe that Gov. Ryan greased the skids for this takeover.

    Anyway my first issue is ILLINOIS REAL ESTATE TAXES

    Real Estate Taxes in Chicago region are out of control. Just talk to any small business propery owner in Cook County or a home owner in Lake, Cook, McHenry counties, etc.

    The low interest rates put in by the Fed led to an explosion of value which was eagerly taken by the assessors into valuation increases. Especially hard hurt were those in tear down areas from Hinsdale to Highland Park. Teardown values were extrapolated by the assessors to neighbor's homes and resulted in huge tax increases for everyone. For example a friend in Bannockburn saw his house taxes go from $15,000.00 in 1999 to $31,000.00 today. But you say there are tax caps. The tax caps affected the rate only not the assessment. Seniors could only protect themselves by becoming indebted to the state by allowing the taxes plus interest to accumulate on the property until sold which is only a confication of value.

    Did the school districts in the suburbs restrain their take because of the valuation windfall? NO! They grabbed the taxes and dramatically raised teacher and administrative salaries. Cal Skinner showed this on his website district by district. Drivers ed teachers making over $100,000.00. School District adminstistrators like the recently retired on in the Palatine Elementary distric getting over $300,000.00 per year! And yet the education union wanted MORE and MORE and MORE! On the news you only heard about the "poor" areas and not about the tax grabs in the suburbs! The places hardest hit were the Republican strongholds across the Chicago area.

    There needs to be a real estate tax revolution in Illinois. A prop 87 style revolution. AND THE TEACHERS UNION WILL WHINE and cry about the "KIDS"!

    On the other side, if you are a big connected commerical developer donating bucks to the Metropolitan Planning Council you get a TIF in many areas. A TIF is Tax Incremental Financing which was originally intended for blighted areas. It is now being used for places like Oak Brook or St. Charles. Simply put a TIF is like using your taxes to pay down the construction mortgage cost of your home.... or your big development. Walmart in Sandwich got such a TIF and a sales tax rebate from Sandwich. Home Depot demanded and got a TIF from St. Charles. Hiffman developers demanded and got a TIF from Oak Brook for a retail mall. But what does the home owner get or small business owner get as the tax burden grows.... NOTHING. The small business owner without tax breaks or TIFs is asked to compete on an uneven tax playing field with the big boys like Walmart or Home Depot.

    The answer is not the uneven tax swaps that are skewed toward the IEA. The answer is a slash in governmental spending and a slash in school waste and outrageous salaries for the education elite. There must be a change in handling assessments that does not chase people out of their homes.

    Something must be done or most people WILL be taxed out of their home. For many people the real estate tax is their biggest and most HATED tax. It is time this issue was addressed!