Typical Anti American Anti US Military Drivel by Cartoonist Ted Rall

When the Ebola crisis struck in West Africa, other countries, like Cuba, sent in doctors. Not the United States. Repeating a worrisome trend we saw in Haiti after the earthquake and in Asia after the Indian Ocean tsunami, the U.S. sent in armed troops to subjegate the victim population. http://rall.com/comic/u-s-invades-ebola

  • I got this from a friend on Facebook.  The cartoon drawn by Mr. Ted Rall is of course an outright lie and outrageous.  President Obama is sending in 3,000 of our troops to help. They are flying in seventeen 100 bed hospitals and a great deal of equipment - far more than any country, as written on the news article below. And of course our troops are at serious risk. And America has had four medical people contract the disease and many more people serving there.
  • But Mr. Rall publishes these lies and judging by the comments and the forwarding it is receiving a lot of admiration from stupid people. And of course brings in more money from his web site via the donations from his admirers and advertising.
  • We have freedom of expression and freedom of speech and Mr. Rall can say and draw anything he wants, regardless of the truth.  And of course we can call him out and expose his lies about our great generous country and our brave troops. And don't support his web site. Mr Rall, you should be ashamed of yourself.  You are a clever cartoonist with no regard for the truth.

I will certainly avoid anything to do with Mr. Rall. I recommend everyone else do the same.


Big Gator in our Pond Today - PONDZILLA!!

Gator in our back yard pond today.  Biggest we have seen yet.  I think he may be 8 feet or more long.

Click to see the video



I called my friend Gator and Snake expert Jim Nesci for an estimate about how big the gator was, but Jim said it was too hard to estimate the length of the Gator from the video. He did say that the head is usually about 1/7 of the body length.

I estimate the head to be between one foot to 18 inches long, so I am saying that PONDZILLA  is 7 feet to 10.5 feet long.

Jim said that his Gator Bubba will be in a couple of movies in the near future.  Will let you know when. More about Jim and his critters at:

Today on CityLab

Today on CityLab

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Romanticizing Rail Is No Way to Save Amtrak

The #AmtrakResidency program bolsters the notion that train travel is a ponderous luxury, not a useful public good.
Share on FacebookTweet

Its Streetcar Stalled, Kansas City Mulls the Best Way Forward

Many cities face a similar challenge finding the money to expand a starter line.
Share on FacebookTweet


Global Warming - Sea Level Rise - Raising City Grade

One of the concerns over global warming is the rise of oceans and flooding of coastal communities.  We hope that we can arrest this problem before it floods, but if not it is certainly not impossible to raise our low level communities.  Here is how Chicago did it many years ago.

Raising Old Chicago

The city of Chicago is just above Lake Michigan. There was little natural drainage. Standing water festered and caused living epidemics including typhoid fever and dysentery.

The crisis forced the city install storm sewers. Much of the city was raised several feet to the new grade. Homes, sidewalks, and streets were raised. Older homes were moved to other lots and new homes were constructed


Fire Hydrant Redesign

The Fire Hydrant Gets Its First Major Redesign In 100 Years

Today's hydrants break, leak, and freeze, sometimes costing people their lives. The tamper-proof and incredibly durable Sigelock Spartan, designed by a former New York firefighter, is intended to work when people need them.

Picture this: Your house is on fire. You call 911, the fire trucks arrive, and the firefighters, hoses hoisted over their shoulders, rush to the hydrant on your corner. The clock is ticking while the fire consumes your home, but there’s a problem: The hydrant doesn’t work.

“It would shock you how often fire hydrants don’t work when you need them," George Sigelakis, founder of a company called Sigelock Systems, tells me.
“How often?” I ask.
“All the time. It’s always in the back of our minds.” Sigelakis says “our minds” because he spent 15 years as a New York City firefighter before retiring in 2000. Now, he's the man behind the first major redesign of the fire hydrant in more than a century.
Click to read the rest of the story.

Thanks to Science Writer Jessica Hullinger for alerting us to this story.

Chicago, St. Louis, & the Heartland

The two largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in Illinois are Chicago to the north and St Louis to the south. But the composite area formed by the MSA's of Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield also form a significant metro area. The cost of doing business in our region is lower, housing is more affordable, and there are very few traffic delays. Small is beautiful.

MSA ______________Population_ Median Household
_____________________________ Income

Chicago–Gary–Kenosha_9,157,540___ __$51,046
St. Louis, MO–IL _____ 2,603,607 __ _ __44,437
Heartland Composite _ 1,056,543__ _ _ _ 42,103
1. Heartland Composite includes non MSA Counties

Bloomington–Normal____150,433_____ $47,021
Champaign–Urbana_____179,669______ 37,780
Decatur, IL___________ 114,706______ 37,859
Peoria–Pekin_________ 347,387______ 42,986
Springfield___________ 201,437______ 43,180

The link below shows the
Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Illinois.


The blog below shows a larger Heartland including Danville and the Quad Cities, with about 1,700,000 people.


Arguing With Grapefruit

I have a close friend who was in the habit of getting into arguments with an older relative, who holds a number of provocative and politically incorrect opinions. Something like Archie Bunker without the pleasant personality.

My friend argues with him. It is hopeless to change his mind, he knows what he knows, and the discussion rapidly turns into a rancorous argument.

I have pointed out to her that she is arguing with a gentlemen who knows what he knows and cannot conceive that there is another legitimate viewpoint. She has no chance of influencing his opinion. And to argue with him also reflects badly on her - Only a fool would argue with a grapefruit. If you argue with someone dumber than a grapefruit, well, then you are also dumber than a grapefruit.

So when the argument starts I just work the term grapefruit into the conversation. This makes her laugh and she see the futility of the conflict. He can't hear well and so does not hear the word grapefruit.

Smooths things over and we avoid having a tedious and disruptive hassle.

A grapefruit does not have to be stupid. In fact, there are a number of very smart folks who are so angry and obsessed about someone or something they don't like that they become grapefruits, albeit smart ones. They know what they know, they cannot accept anyone who has a different opinion, and often become hostile and abusive. This often manifests itself in hatred of political figures, for example hatred of Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

It is not a particular vice of either liberals or conservatives. Grapefruititis can strike anyone of any age and any political persuasion. It perhaps gets worse with age, with hardening of the arteries.

It is easy to see others who are grapefruits. It is hard to see ourselves.

Now everyone should want to avoid being a grapefruit. And it is hard to see if you are becoming a grapefruit. Like alcoholism, many people gradually slip into grapefruititis without realizing.

Some danger signs that you might becoming a grapefruit:

  • You are sure you know all the answers.
  • You have taken to calling other people stupid or liars.
  • You are often outraged when you read things you don't agree with.
  • You constantly demean elected officials, not with well reasoned arguments, but with name calling.
  • You insult people frequently.
  • You attack the man, and not the argument. 
  • You throw out strong opinions without facts.

Best antidote to becoming a Grapefruit:

  • Be tolerant of the view point of others. 
  • Think before you write or speak. 
  • Practice the golden rule. 
  • Use logic, not rants. 
  • Eat and drink sensibly, avoid drugs. 
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Love often.
  • Don't eat grapefruit.


Chicago Videos

  1. What Did Chicago Look Like Before the Great Fire? | History ...

    Aug 27, 2013
    This 1868 pocket map of Chicago shows the city in full-blown expansion, a mere 3 years before the infamous ...
  2. A Walk Through Chicago's Prairie Street Historic District ...

    May 4, 2013 - Uploaded by ChiTownView
    On a recent walking trip through Chicago's near south side we passed through the Prairie St. historic ...
  3. Charles Tillman's Peanut Punch historic for Chicago Bears ...

    4 days ago
    When Chicago Bears cornerback and civic hero Charles "Peanut" Tillman left Sunday night's game with ...
  4. On the Road with Libby O'Connell - History Channel

    Jun 9, 2011
    Dr. Libby O'Connell shows us downtown Chicago's historic water tower, one of the few buildings to survive ...
  5. Walgreens Restores Chicago's Historic Noel State Bank ...

    Nov 21, 2012 - Uploaded by BusinessWire
    Walgreens opens the doors to its newest Chicago Flagship Store in Bucktown Wicker Park ...
  6. Mobile Learning: Exploring Chicago's Historic Cemeteries ...

    Jan 31, 2014 - Uploaded by DePaul Teaching Commons
    In this short video, Jane Baxter, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology at DePaul University, explains how she integrates ...
  7. Faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago Historic Strike ...

    Feb 18, 2014 - Uploaded by Don Villar
    After 18 months of negotiations, UIC professors and faculty hit the picket lines. NABET-CWA Local 41 members ...
  8. Chicago Paranormal Investigators - Chicago Historic ...

    Dec 14, 2013 - Uploaded by Dave Olson
    www.chicagoparanormalinvestigators.com CPI investigated theChicago Historic Home Of Architect Fredrick R ...
  9. Motor Row Historic District, Chicago Locomobile, Hudson ...

    Sep 29, 2013 - Uploaded by ChiTownView
    It looks like a sad ghost town for the most part as serious redevelopment of this area has yet to take place. That ...