By Ricardo Fernandez -
Merry Christmas 2012! I went to my Tinley Park American Legion Post 615 to celebrate Christmas with 34 sailors from Great Lakes Naval Academy. The sailors were from all over the country and there were also sailors from Guam, Moldova and Ukraine. We served an amazing meal for the sailors and were also pleasantly surprised to have a busload of veterans join us from Manteno Veterans' Home.
I brought my laptop so the sailors could use it to Skype, check e-mails and log onto their facebook pages. A magician performed an entertaining performance which left us all wondering where the doves went. The sailors either watched television, played videogames or just sat around talked to their families on our phones. It was a wonderful Christmas to be able to spend it among such fine young people.
Ricardo Fernandez ran as the 2012 Republican nominee for State House in the southwest suburbs.
SPRINGFIELD - Looks like the Democrat leadership is planning a hit and run lame duck session to finish out Illinois' 97th General Assembly. They've cut back the session for the Illinois Senate to just two days, January 2-4 and for the Illinois House, to January 6 -7.
That change suggests there will be no in depth reform or resolution to the state's pension crisis, even though the state's credit rating continues to decline to the nation's lowest levels.
However, many are expecting votes on hot-button issues during those session days, including drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, gambling expansion and same sex marriage.
CHICAGO - Seven people were hurt in shootings across Chicago Monday evening, including a 15-year-old boy in critical condition after he and three others were shot in a single Washington Heights neighborhood attack.
Four people, ranging in age from a 15-year-old boy to a 22-year-old man, were all taken to area hospitals in serious-to-critical condition following the 7:30 p.m. attack in the 9400 block of South Justine Street, authorities said.
“This is a quiet block,” said Christine Haymond, a retired nursing home cook who saw the aftermath from her window. One of the men tried to crawl away after the shooting but kept falling, she said.
“Right before Christmas,” Haymond said, shaking her head. More at WLS 890 AM
ANN ARBOR MI - Tom Monaghan, owner of the Domino's Farms Corporation, is asking a federal judge in an emergency injunction to stop enforcement of the HHS mandate. Monaghan says allowing the federal order to continue will cause irreparable injury to his First Amendment rights, the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor said Monday.
The HHS Mandate requires employers to pay for health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization under threat of draconian fines. It also requires employers to educate their employees about use of those drugs. Tom Monaghan is a staunch pro-life advocate and Catholic philanthropist. His religious beliefs prohibit him from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization.
TMLC attorney, Erin Mersino, asked Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff to hear the Motion "at the earliest possible time" because the HHS Mandate takes effect against Monaghan and his Domino's Farms Corporation on January 1, 2013. If granted, the TRO would permit Monaghan to continue to provide insurance for his employees that does not violate his constitutionally and statutorily granted rights to free exercise of religion, free speech, and free association.
By Matt Barber -
It’s Christmas Eve day. As you stand before the bubbled display case, you gaze, mouth watering, upon the vibrant collection of baked delicacies. You covet the sugar-varnished delights. You admire the skill and creativity behind each work of culinary art, carefully prepared to please both eye and palate.
“What a gifted baker,” you say under your breath.
“There is no baker,” declares the young man in line behind you. “That carrot cake is simply the undirected, material manifestation of random events occurring over time. Mere chance.”
That’s atheism. Everything from nothing. Zero times zero equals the whole shebang.
Reflections on the ultimate conclusion of punitive taxation
Greco was making his rounds, one cool December morning, when he turned the corner and saw an unexpected sight. One of his clients, a shopkeeper who was never late with his protection payments, was sitting on the park bench in front of his shop, covered in bandages, gently rubbing his cheek and temples.
“Giannis!” shouted Greco as he strode up. “What happened? Were you in an accident?”
Giannis looked up. “Yeah, it was an accident, all right.”
“You look like you were hit by a bus!” said Greco. “Will you be okay? Were you driving? Were you just crossing the street?”
Giannis shook his head no. “No, it wasn’t that kind of accident, Greco.”
Greco’s worry turned to anger as he put two and two together. “Somebody beat you up?” Giannis nodded. “Who was it?” demanded Greco. “I’ll take care of it! Everybody in town knows not to mess with my clients! They’ll never walk again!”
A count by The Weekly Standard shows that President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times. Somehow the president thought it was relevant to a pay tribute to Sen. Inouye by talking about his own family's childhood trips to Yellowstone and Disneyland and how wonderful he thought ice and vending machines were when he was a child. I am sure the family of Sen.Inouye must have been enthralled when President Obama shared his own random childhood memories supposedly in a rather odd eulogy to the senator.
Now that Barack Obama has put Joe “What’s the phone number for that website?” Biden in charge of preventing any more mass shootings, we can all rest easy. Or at least he can, since on Friday, Mr. “What Me Worry?” decided he’d had enough of all those annoying issues like the “fiscal cliff,” and jetted off on another $4 million Hawaiian holiday. That was only after he used the opportunity of Sen. Daniel Inouye’s memorial service to drone on endlessly about his favorite subject, himself. Even for a man whose narcissism is legendary, this performance no doubt left other observers as it left me; that is, in open-mouthed shock. You have to hear it to believe it, and today we will.
President Obama promised to make tackling gun violence a top priority of his second-term agenda, despite strong opposition to gun control. A group led by Vice President Joe Biden was asked to come up with specific proposals in January.
The strategy of President Obama and the Democrats is to hurry, hurry, hurry to make a decision, whether on gun control or the economy. We don't have time for debate. Let's take action while emotions are running high. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
It's like trying to have a conversation while someone is beating drums in the same room. Sometime those drums are real, as we see in the news clips of the debates in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan over right-to-work legislation, or in the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations.
Part of this strategy is to gather apparently diverse groups to make it appear as though you have a consensus. We see Joe Biden meeting with police organizations for photo ops in which he told several law enforcement leaders, "The President is absolutely committed to keeping his promise that we will act. And we will act in a way that...if we can only save one life, we have to take action." That statement implies than the ends justify the means, no matter how draconian.
On alternate days, Speaker John Boehner seems to understand that the real issue is over spending but on other days he seems to think the issue is about who pays what taxes. Of all the idiotic notions advanced for House Republlicans to cave on both higher taxes and more spending is the idea that because President Obama campaigned for higher tax rates and defeated Mitt Romney, therefore the nation decided Obama was right. Does that also mean that Republicans in the House should cave on every issue that Obama campaigned on such as his attack on religious liberty? If the election validated every crazy idea Obama has, then why show up for work?
PALATINE - The Palatine High School musical group Midnight Blue sang Christmas songs at the White House Saturday. IR contributor John Di Leo's daughter Mary Ann was among the musicians. Led by choir director Steve Sivak, the group raised funds to make the trip. They'll be back home early Christmas Eve.
HOLLYWOOD - The Christian Film & Television Commission®, an advocacy group in Hollywood, is petitioning the Motion Picture Association of America to change the rating of the ultra-violent new western from Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED, from R to NC-17. The film is scheduled to open nationwide Christmas Day.
"This movie ends with two of the most violent scenes we've ever seen in more than 27 years of reviewing movies," said founder and spokesman Dr. Ted Baehr. "As countless research studies and recent events in Connecticut have shown, some young boys and men like to imitate the violence they see in movies, TV, and video games."
URBANA - American Legion devotees in Urbana must be especially smitten with the Christmas spirit this year, because as a gift to the rest of us, they are generously and voluntarily assuming more than their fair share of Illinois taxes.
Having put more than $1 milion into the five new video poker machines in the month of November alone, the gamblers lost $71,000 in one month. Of their losses, nearly $21,000 went to the state of Illinois. The News Gazette explains why Illinois is so excited about the exponential growth of video gambling locations throughout the state.
Players put $1,066,459 into five machines at the American Legion in November, and they lost $71,193 of it, according to a report from the Illinois Gaming Board.
The state takes 30 percent of what players lose in the machines; 25 percent goes for state capital projects and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to the local government. That is $49,835 for the American Legion, $17,798 for state capital projects and $3,560 for the city of Urbana — just in the month of November.
And the more American Legion gamblers lose, the better the tax haul.
DOWNERS GROVE - The Pro Life Action League gathered at several Chicago area abortion clinics Saturday in 20 degree weather to remind clients of the meaning of the Christmas season - the celebration of the Savior's birth. At the third caroling stop at Access Health Center in Downers Grove, Ilinois, Pro Life Action League reports a record crowd of over 40 stalwart pro-lifers turned out.
Why do they do it? Read "How a Christmas carol saved one baby's life in Chicago" published earlier on Illinois Review.
WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner discusses the looming fiscal cliff, crippling national debt and Obama's refusal to address these issues in their budget negotiations in this week's Republican address.
With Speaker John Boehner's Plan B(as in Bad) having gone down in flames last night, now is the time to look back on Boehner's negotiating ability, or more to the point, the lack thereof.
First up we have the Pledge to America Boehner and crew crafted in the 2010 election cycle. In the Pledge, Boehner and the boys promised to cut $100 billion in federal spending in the first year. By the time Boehner had finished his first round of budget cutting negotiations with Harry Reid he had managed to cut a whopping $100 million dollars. Round one for Boehner ends in "#EpicFail."
Instead of making guns the villains, and by implications punishing gun owners by wanting to crack down on their right to own guns as granted by the 2nd amendment, we would be better off debating two taboo subjects --- the laws that make it difficult to control people with mental illness and the growing body of evidence that "gun-free" zones banning the carrying of firearms by law-abiding individuals don't work.
Although gun-free zones are a wonderful idea, they only work if they are coupled with metal detectors backed up by armed guards. The Sandy Hook Elementary school became a magnet for evildoing because Adam Lanza knew he would be able to murder at will with little threat of being fired upon.
Walter L. Dawkins, D.M.D., 60, of Fairfield, Illinois, was sentenced today in federal court in Benton, Illinois, to one year and one day confinement in the Bureau of Prisons for health care program fraud against Medicaid and illegal distribution of the Schedule III controlled substance hydrocodone, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced.
The offenses involved hundreds of hydrocodone prescriptions written outside the course of professional medical practice, some of which were billed to Illinois Medicaid. The court also imposed three years’ supervised release following imprisonment, a $900 fine, and restitution to the Illinois Medicaid program in the amount of $1,242.68.
Partisan arm-twisting in support of Illinois' Medicaid expansion legislation (HB 6253), which provides increased taxpayer funding for the "uninsured" under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), is getting serious in the Illinois House.
Along with the Democrats, major lobbying interests have joined the roll-call push. In addition to the Illinois Hospital Association, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has weighed in with its "conditional support" for the bill. And it looks like the Illinois Retail Merchants Association will soon follow.
There is growing concern among Illinois center-right organizations that House Republicans may abandon their principles and cave to the Democrats and big lobbyists. Of particular concern are GOP House members who voted for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Cook County this past spring, and those who voted for the tobacco tax hike.
Sources tell Illinois Review that the Illinois Policy Institute has been engaging Republican members on the facts about, and problems with, this legislation. While the Democrats don't need Republican votes to pass the legislation, they understand that doing so provides them "bipartisan" cover while weakening their Republican "colleagues" among the GOP base.
A final wrinkle to this legislation is the fact that the feds recently informed Cook County that its Obamacare Medicaid expansion is now predicated on passage of a statewide plan. With the re-map giving many collar county Republicans portions of Cook County in their districts, expect the Cook County Democrat machine to apply significant pressure to suburban Republican state representatives.
Gun sellers say some buyers appear concerned about self-defense, but many already own guns and appear to be adding to their collections amid talk of tougher restrictions on gun ownership. Semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 used in the school shootings last week in Connecticut are generating much of the interest, sellers said. Those guns are being mentioned as the mostly likely target of tougher laws.
More than 12,500 background checks were done in Illinois between Friday, when 28 people were killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and Tuesday, according to data provided by state police. In comparison, 6,870 checks were done during the same time a year earlier.
The state's Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program is processing about 2,500 requests a day, compared to about 1,370 a year ago. ...More HERE
With the resignation of Rep. Jesse Jackson, D-Chicago, the state could end up without a voice on the House Appropriations Committee for the first time since 1893, when Rep. Joseph Cannon, a Downstate Republican, got on the powerful purse-strings panel. He later went on to become its chairman and Speaker of the House for so long they named one of the House office buildings after him.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, is still trying to get on Appropriations, according to Capitol Hill sources, but a list of pending committee assignments released last week had every Democratic seat on the committee filled with members from other states. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, remains a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. ...More HERE
In response to the forming of the 'Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage', a group has announced the formation of a counter-coalition called 'Illinois Unites for Marriage' that will push for gay marriage in Illinois in 2013.
The gay marriage group is composed of Equality Illinois, ACLU of Illinois, and Lambda Legal. The 'Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage' is composed of the Illinos Family Institute, Eagle Forum of Illinois, Catholics Citizens of Illinois, Thomas More Society, Family PAC, Abstinence and Marriage Partnership, Illinois Citizens for Life PAC, Lake County Right to Life, and Concerned Christian Americans.
State Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans, both Chicago Democrats, last week said they will be seeking to legalize gay marriage in Illinois during the state General Assembly's upcoming lame duck session and described a "yes" vote as "within striking distance." Harris has previously said he would not call a vote on the issue until he was assured he had enough votes for approval.
Auditors in the Department of Homeland Security released the sad findings of an audit showing that one of eight illegal aliens who had been ordered deported were still in the system and could be deemed eligible for government benefits. Overall, the finger-pointing between agencies suggested the problem is a lack of coordination.
The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, better known as SAVE, is intended to be an updated list of aliens who should be deported and barred from government benefits. But those whom the system hasn't found have instead been granted financial benefits or, even worse, access to areas that are supposed to be off-limits to those ineligible, such as airport security. Among those not flagged in the SAVE spot check were criminals who should have been deported after convictions such as extortion, manslaughter and murder. The man in the latter homicide case was made eligible for student aid before finally being removed.
An Illinois county has filed suit against government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming that the organizations failed to pay taxes related to foreclosure sales they conducted in Illinois.
Fannie and Freddie reportedly claimed that they were exempt from paying the taxes because they are part of the federal government, Illinois Watchdog reported.
Macon County, IL, filed a lawsuit in federal court Dec. 4 seeking payment of transfer taxes from Fannie and Freddie. “A transfer tax is an excise tax that has to be paid when a property is sold or transferred to a new owner,” according to foxillinois.com.
Despite their involvement in numerous Illinois foreclosure sales, Fannie and Freddie only paid the transfer taxes on several occasions “under protest,” claiming exemption by virtue of their status as “governmental bodies,” county officials said. ...More HERE
The St. Louis-based holding company said weak power prices and looming costly environmental plant upgrades mean its unregulated power plants aren't profitable enough.
Ameren plans to write off the plants in the fourth quarter, taking an estimated pretax charge of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. The generating business itself will take a pretax charge of $50 million to $300 million in the fourth quarter, the company said, as it will continue to own those assets as it eventually plans to divest itself of that business. ...More HERE
A few days ago on MSNBC Chris Matthews cited statistics that 40% of gun sales were made via the internet without any background checks. I can't confirm or deny the 40% figure, but the internet is the main way to trade used firearms via an auction site like Gunbroker.com). Many retailers also sell firearms via the internet. Matthews' statement regarding the lack of safeguards is completely false however.
All shipments and sales of firearms via the Internet must go through intermediaries who hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Individuals cannot legally ship firearms to anyone other than an FFL holder, and in most cases, an FFL will only accept shipments from another FFL. If you buy a firearm over the Internet, it is shipped to an FFL, and you are required to pick it up in person. At that time the FFL will have you fill out a Federal form called a 4473, in which you answer a list of questions, and swear under oath that you are qualified to receive the firearm.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that Rep. Joe Walsh (IL-08) introduced earlier this year. The No-Hassle Flying Act eliminates duplicative luggage screening requirements for passengers originating from pre-cleared airports.
“I am glad that the President recognized the need to reduce unnecessary hassles for travelers and signed this bill into law,” said Walsh. “Double-security does not equal double-safety and this law will save taxpayer money by allowing TSA agents to focus on high-risk travelers. Washington has already over-burdened Americans and I’m proud that the President has signed into law the No-Hassle Flying Act to eliminate this redundant baggage screening regulation.”
CHICAGO - If you'd like to network with Chicago entrepreneurs, contribute to fighting cancer, and have fun on New Year's Eve, you may be interested in the Entrepreneur Eve at the Adler Planetarium New Year's Eve. Go here for ticket information.
FACT: According to the FBI, since the previous ban on certain semi-automatic rifles sunset in 2004, gun ownership has increased and crime has decreased.
FACT: According to the FBI, twice as many people are killed with an assailant's hands, fists or feet -- and almost five times as many with a knife -- than with a rifle. Furthermore, the gun-death statistics that trotted out are invariably skewed by gang-on-gang violence.
FACT: The murders in Newtown, as well as those in Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine and other places, occurred in so-called "gun-free zones." Politicians are under the delusion that simply posting a sign will make people safe. Estimates are that the sociopathic killer in Newtown broke 20 existing gun laws, including entering a "gun-free zone" with a gun. And murder is also against the law no matter the weapon.
H/T: Patriot Post
WASHINGTON DC - At a press conference Friday, the National Rifle Association announced the formation of national program to place armed security in every school. The program, National School Shield Safety Program, will provide training that will be funded by the NRA and led by former US Congressman Asa Hutchinson.
The new effort is in response to growing criticism of the NRA and law-abiding gun owners in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy last Friday, LaPierre said.
LaPierre refuted the Democrats' proposal to ban assault weapons and effort to create a national data base of mental health patients, he said. All the while, the media refuses to acknowledge the impact of violent interactive video games, slasher horror movies and music videos.
CORDOVA - One Republican Illinois House member is declaring that he's set on opposing the proposed tax on satellite TV in the January "lame duck" session. While AFSCME and the Illinois Federation of Teachers encourage the tax to help pay for their members' unpaid pension obligations, State Representative Rich Morthland of Cordova says the new tax is, at best, an "ill-contrived attempt to distract from the major issues facing our State."
Lots of calls are coming in against the tax, Morthland said.
“Here’s another fee that will prove to be ineffective and irresponsible in our current economic condition. The budgets of hard working families and businesses are already stretched to their limits,” said Rep. Morthland. “To make matters worse, this tax unfairly punishes rural residents and other downstate folks who only have access to the coverage that satellite television affords.”
Maybe to wear tomorrow? After all, you will have survived the Mayan Apocalypse and Illinois' first 2012 winter storm! Only $22.50 HERE.
From Heritage Foundation -
"When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."
President Ronald Reagan’s sound advice rang true yesterday. Grassroots activists and conservative groups, led by Heritage Action for America, derailed a plan to raise taxes on some Americans and
Lacking votes from his own party, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called off consideration of “Plan B” last night, sending lawmakers home for Christmas instead. When the dust settled, conservatives stuck to their principles: to cut spending without raising taxes.
When they return to work, all eyes will be on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-NV). Their failure to act has left the nation on the brink of the fiscal cliff.
The following is a "truism" if there ever were one. Bad things do happen, they have in the past, and they always will.
Too often, as in the hideous situation that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT., emotions rule over facts and demand that a feel good solution must quickly follow to counter the uneasiness and the impact of an evil deed imposed upon society as a whole. As such, the Newtown elementary school mass murder has predictably brought to the fore the ignorance of gun control advocates who perceive the situation as a crisis that must not go to waste.
Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley talked about a lack of “leadership” in Illinois government Thursday as he continued to mull a run for governor in 2014.
“I am thinking about it seriously. We are a way’s off [from the next gubernatorial campaign],” said Daley to applause from a packed house at a City Club of Chicago luncheon. ...More HERE
Calling the Connecticut school massacre a “tipping point,” Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined in the liberal's fight for a state ban on assault weapons and increased criminal background checks before every single gun sale.
As White House chief-of-staff, Emanuel famously talked about never letting a “good crisis go to waste.” Dead children are obviously one of those "good crisis" for Rahm. ...More HERE
A Waukegan physical education teacher and former coach has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a former female student.
Brandon M. Brown, 30, of the 3000 block of Kathe Lane was charged with one count of criminal sexual assault for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a then 17-year-old female student at his home in 2010, officials said. He was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Perhaps we should outlaw teachers.
By Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner -
In 2010, the Illinois Policy Institute reported that Illinois is a high-tax state with a tax burden in the top third of all states. The Institute cautioned that any tax increase would damage the state’s economic competitiveness. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly ignored numerous warnings and used a lame duck session in 2011 to pass a 67 percent personal income tax rate increase and a 47 percent corporate income tax rate increase.
As expected, the tax increases failed to fix Illinois’ fiscal and economic problems. Illinois still has $9 billion in unpaid bills, the lowest credit rating in the nation and a political class that has stalled on passing wholesale fiscal and pension reforms. All these problems, along with the state’s unattractive tax code, contribute to one resident moving out of the state every 10 minutes.
WASHINGTON DC - Congress will vote on House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" proposal allowing tax hikes on those with an annual taxable income of $1 million. The President and the Democrats want taxes to be hiked on those making $250,000 or more. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that no matter what the House votes, the proposal will not be voted upon in the US Senate.
How will your Illinois Congressman vote on Boehner's Plan B tonight? Feel free to share any information you have concerning your Congress member's position - Yes, he or she is for tax hikes on millionaires or "No," he or she is opposed to tax hikes for millionaires - either none at all or because the taxes should apply to those making $250,000.
“Given the example of Illinois, why would any state opt for the same system?” [IL Lottery Director Mike] Jones said. “[Northstar] was only hired because of its ability to meet revenue targets, but it has immediately disputed those.”
He is trying to get the word out to other states not to lock in such long contracts and to make any privatization a truly competitive process in which the state can fire companies that aren’t performing.
We've covered Jones' obsession with injecting himself, unwanted, into other states' affairs where they concern changes to that states' lottery. Mostly, states like Indiana, which instituted a successful private lottery system some months ago, have ignored Jones' suggestions and have instead looked to Illinois' privatization success. The approach makes sense, since Jones' primary objection to Illinois' bidding process when it came to privatizing the state lottery is that his scheme to earn the state's business failed miserably.
SPRINGFIELD - Larry the Cable Guy visited Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Thursday and filmed an episode of Larry's "Only in America" show, with Abraham Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein. More photos on the museum's Facebook page.
MOVIES - The movie "Lincoln" opened in theatres before Thanksgiving and is still drawing crowds. Wednesday night it was shown to members of the US Senate, who were granted special permission to enjoy popcorn with the movie at the Capitol Visitor Center.
Despite being produced and directed by Obama supporter Steven Spielberg, the film earned an enthusiastic thumbs up from conservatives and liberals alike. Daniel Day-Lewis' brilliant portrayal of Lincoln has hoisted him head and shoulders above any others in the running for next year's Best Actor Oscar. Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens added to "Lincoln's" awe.
But far and above the actors' work was the moving presentation of Lincoln's tumultuous last months - from the devastating Civil War to his own intimate family strife and tragic assassination. Screenwriters Tony Kushner, John Logan and Doris Kearns Goodwin stayed focused on presenting Lincoln's amazing ability to handle trials with strength, dignity and grace, and the end results were unforgettable.
That is the film "Lincoln" members of the US Senate and their wives viewed Wednesday night. It was the third time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was to see the movie, which, he said, he "loved."
CHICAGO - Income deductions that benefit those paying home mortgages may be endangered, and for some, the American dream of owning a home could lose its mystique if, via federal income tax reform, interest writeoffs are eliminated. The formally untouchable mortgage deduction is now being mentioned as a possible major change, ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com says, but if it happens, less than a third of Illinoisans will be affected.
But such a dramatic change could hurt the real estate market that's already been devastated with foreclosures and plummeting home values. More HERE.
Only about 29 percent of Illinois residents who filed federal tax returns in 2008 claimed the deduction, reducing their taxable income by an average of $11,593, according to a paper by the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. The foundation does not have more recent figures.
Nationally, nearly 27 percent of taxpayers claimed the deduction in 2008, with claimants receiving an average deduction of $12,221 that year.
Is it time to end the home mortgage tax deduction? Would a tax credit be more fair? Your thoughts ... And "like" if you think the topic should be on Congress' income tax reform table.
Republican congressional leaders have given ground in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and proposed raising taxes on those who make more than a million dollars a year, but most voters don’t think that goes far enough.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters favor House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for everyone who makes less than a million annually. Just 24% are opposed, with 14% more undecided.
From Heritage Foundation -
Later today the Republican-led House of Representatives will vote on “Plan B,” the latest unsatisfactory proposal put forward by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to avoid the fiscal cliff. Boehner's plan would protect most Americans, except for millionaires, from a tax hike. But even this is a poor fix because it ignores the real problem: spending.
While lawmakers from both parties squabble over tax rates, a fiscal crisis is looming on the horizon. Entitlement programs -- Social Security and Medicare to be precise -- have unfunded obligations of $48 trillion. By comparison, the fiscal cliff carries a price tag of roughly $650 billion. As lawmakers talk about another debt-limit increase, they need to think seriously about America's long-term obligations.
So what can our elected leaders do about it?