May 21, 2017


Time Magazine's new cover shows the White House getting a Russian makeover.
Underneath the red renovation, Time seems to be saying the cover is really a metaphor for a United States democracy that has been hacked and manipulated by another country.
With Russia's 2016 hacking of DNC emails and the overall shadowy nature of their social media use, Time cites a former Pentagon worker saying: "Using these technologies, it is possible to undermine democratic government and it's becoming easier every day."
With the apparent ease of obtaining classified information and promoting cyber propaganda, social media is adapting to the new age of hacking.
Click to read the full article:

May 20, 2017

Diverging Diamond Interchange

Our diverging Diamond Interchange will open in one week.  It should be interesting to see how drivers adjust.

Click on the link below to view of simulation.

I-75 diverging diamond to open this weekend, state says - News ...
4 days ago - The project at the Sarasota-Manatee border is three weeks ahead of schedule. ... I-75 diverging diamond to open this weekend, state says ...

I-75 diverging diamond to open to drivers in early spring - News ...
Nov 10, 2016 - Officials hope the state's first diverging-diamond interchange will be open to ... interchange at Interstate 75 and University Parkway inSarasota.

Diverging diamond at University & I-75 to open on Sunday | Local ...
1 day ago - Coming Sunday morning, the diverging diamond will be ready for drivers to test out. The diverging ... Posted by ABC7 Sarasota - WWSB.

May 17, 2017

EB-5 Visa Investments

The link below explains how big New York developers like Kushner and Trump use EB-5. The program was designed to enable a foreign investor to get a long term visa if they invest $500,000 in a rural or poor area and create 10 permanent jobs.  They can locate anywhere if they invest $1,000,000. The investor does not care much about return on investment - he just wants the Visa. The program was initially targeted for entrepreneurs - now developers are using it for major real estate projects.

The investor only gets about a 1 percent return on their $500,000 investment. The developer uses the 500K investment to borrow more money to build apartments hotel with bars, restaurants, etc, in theory generating 10 new jobs for each 500K investment.

So the rich billionaire developer gets 1 percent money to get richer. And President Trump just extended the program which benefits Kushner and Trump. Kushner's sister was hyping the program to Chinese when Trump signed the extension, telling them to hurry up and sign with them since they were connected.

Is this a great country, or what? Draining the swamp. You gotta love it. And we are played for chumps. And some of us think it is just dandy.

From the New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was the first major piece of legislation that President Trump signed into law, and buried on Page 734 was one sentence that brought a potential benefit to the president’s extended family: renewal of a program offering permanent residence in the United States to affluent foreigners investing money in real estate projects here.

Just hours after the appropriations measure was signed on Friday, the company run until January by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, was urging wealthy Chinese in Beijing to consider investing $500,000 each in a pair of Jersey City luxury apartment towers the family-owned Kushner Companies plans to build. Mr. Kushner was even cited at a marketing presentation by his sister Nicole Meyer, who was on her way to China even before the bill was signed. The project “means a lot to me and my entire family,” she told the prospective investors.
Click to read the full article:

May 16, 2017


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 know all the answers.
  • You call 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.
  • Avoid grapefruit.

May 9, 2017

Tinley Park sues ex-planner in downtown dispute

This is a horrible thing for the planner and the Village. Sure to worry any professional planner.

Tinley Park sues ex-planner in downtown dispute

Mike Nolan Daily Southtown

Tinley Park is blaming its former planning director for getting the village into a costly legal dispute involving now-abandoned plans to build The Reserve apartments in the village.

Saying in federal court papers that she "acted dishonestly" and was an "unfaithful, disloyal employee," the village claims Amy Connolly also "schemed" to alter development rules covering construction in and around Tinley Park's downtown business district, ultimately embroiling the village in two lawsuits concerning the apartment project, one of which was recently resolved.

Tinley Park's federal lawsuit, filed Monday and claiming Connolly breached her fiduciary duties as a village employee, seeks damages in excess of $75,000.

Her attorney, Patrick Walsh said Wednesday that "all of the allegations of misconduct (by Connolly) are false."

Tinley Park officials recently approved a settlement of the lawsuit brought by The Reserve's developer, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, under which the Ohio nonprofit won't pursue plans for the 47-unit building.

Per the terms of the $2.45 million settlement, Tinley Park paid Buckeye $75,392 from the village's general fund, with another $684,608 coming from a legal settlement fund held on the village's behalf by its insurer, the Intergovernmental Risk Management Association. IRMA also paid another $1.69 million out of its own fund toward the settlement.

The U.S. Department of Justice last November sued the village over the project, alleging violations of federal fair housing laws. Attorneys for Tinley Park have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Connolly was suspended from her job, which she'd held since the fall of 2007, about two weeks after the Tinley Park Plan Commission tabled a vote on The Reserve. She had played a key role in reviewing plans for the project and had determined it complied with village development rules in place at the time.

Connolly resigned in May of last year to take the job of city development director in Racine, Wis.

This past January, Connolly filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alleging her suspension by Tinley Park violated federal fair housing laws.

The village contended that the building was, per Tinley Park's Legacy Code, required to have street-level commercial space, while Buckeye maintained that its apartment development had been in compliance with village codes at the time the Plan Commission considered the project.

An amendment to the Legacy Code changed street-level commercial required to street-level commercial permitted — a change since rescinded by the village board — which made it possible for The Reserve to be in compliance with development rules.

Click to read the full article:

May 7, 2017

Congress had to pass the bill so people could see what is in it


Congress had to pass the bill so people could see what is in it. 

We need to fix Obamacare, but this Bill does not do that.

It is a big tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.

Warren Buffett says it is a tax cut for the rich

Forbes says it hurts everyone.

It points out the value in having two houses of Congress.  Hopefully the adult part of the Legislature can unscrew this mess.