Our Country is Depressed

Our country is certainly in a pessimestic mood.  The data above was from an online poll conducted by my Congressman, Republican Buchanan from Florida. I am an optimist and answered that our children will have things better, but obviously the majority of the respondents anticipate things getting worse for our children.

There are many reasons for this pessimism. Part of it is the constant drum beat of "how terrible everything is." The political party that is out of power has an interest in telling everyone how bad things are.  And 1/2 of the country believes it. And the party out of power changes every few years, so the negatives are from both sides.

Our environmental movement folks also believe that our country and the world are headed for environmental disaster, with global warming being a major concern. They also constantly tell us how close to doom we are.

And wars, patricularity the Russian Ukranian War, and challenges from North Korea, China, and the middle east cause constant worry. 

Racial minorities are angry and demanding a better deal. And constantly telling people how bad things are.


Wow, in writing this discussion I have succeeded in making myself depressed. I guess I will change my vote.


But on further reflection, I change back to optimism.  I realize that the political party out of power will always be saying how bad things are now.  Knowing that makes me tend to dismiss their complaints.

We have made tremendous strides in environmental improvements.  Our rivers and streams were badly polluted fifty years ago, and are now much better becasue of the enormous amount of money and regulations that we accomplished.  Our air quality is much better.

We are making great strides in green energy. Renewable energy continues to rise and will continue.

The world is becoming more affluent. More people are leading more affluent lives. Health care continues to improve.

We face rising threats from Russia and China. But nothing so bad as what we faced in World War II and during the cold war.


Ok, I am optimist again.  A pox apon the nattering naybobs of negativity ( A great line by Spiro Agnew.)

Will bad things happen?  Of course they will.  But the trend line is much more positive that what is pushed by our modern day Cassandras.

South Suburban Airport - Chicago


Video Clip of SSA Airport Conference

Please review this clip of the Press Conference for the South Suburban Airport and share this video in your networks.

The Conference supports HB 2531 passed by the State Government Administration Committee and is now headed to the House Floor.  The Bill amends the Public-Private Agreements for the South Suburban Airport Act and provides that the Department of Transportation shall (instead of may) establish a process for the prequalification of offerors. This requires the Department to commence the prequalification process within 6 months after the effective date of the amendatory Act.

Thanks to Participants:
State Rep. Will Davis
State Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca
State Sen. Patrick Joyce
Mayor Rick Reinbold, Richton Park
Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Hazel Crest
Mayor John Ryan, Alsip
Mayor Roger Agpawa, Markham
Mayor Christopher Clark, Harvey
Mayor Bob Kolosh, Thornton
Mayor Joe Roudez, University Park
Mayor James Ford, Country Club Hills
Mayor Jonathan Vanderbilt, Park Forest
Rich Twp. Supervisor Calvin Jordan
Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce 
Chicago Southland Economic Development Corp. 
South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association 
Southland Friends of Labor 
Will Grundy Building Trades Council 
Kankakee County Friends of Labor 
Economic Alliance of Kankakee County 
Southland Regional Mayoral Black Caucus 
South Suburban Action Conference 
Southland Black Chamber of Commerce & Industry 
Coalition of African American Leaders 
Black Contractors Owners & Executives 
South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium 
Illinois Road & Transportation Builders 
The 10x10 To Win 
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 
Please contact me if you would like to contribute to the next step in bringing House Bill 2531 and the Chicago Southland Airport to reality.

Thank You.

Hands Up!!!

 Hands Up !!! - Don't Shoot !!!!

My wife Beth, our former colleague David Ferguson, and I were in Hong Kong in 1993. The three of us had led a Sister Cities trip to Taiwan, flown to Hong Kong, and were decompressing.  We took a bus out to the far side of Hong Kong Island and enjoyed a nice dinner overlooking the ocean.

When it was time to go back I thought be fun to take a sampan back instead of the bus. So I waved a passing sampan down and negotiated a ride back to Kowloon.  The sampan Captain spoke no
English and my Chinese consisted of xiè xie, (shey shey, thanks) but I thought he figured out what we wanted and we did the deal. I hoped he understood that we wanted to go back to Kowloon. This was not a tourist boat, just a regular sampan who happened to sail past.

Beth wanted no part of this risky deal and said she would take the bus back. "You don't want to miss this", I said, and Dave and I each grabbed an elbow and shanghaied her onto the boat as she protested.  We had a lovely boat ride as the sun slowly set and the day turned into night. It was beautiful and I was pleased that I had shanghaied Beth.  But the trip took longer than I thought and it became quite dark.

Then a big patrol boat came out of the night with their searchlight blinding us, with M-16 rifles aimed at us. The sampan Captain raised his hands and we followed suit.  The Captain ducked into the sampan and we wondered what he was up.  I hoped he was not coming out with an AK-47. But he just brought out his papers and they let us go on our way.

I think they were trying to stop smuggling or infiltration but am not sure.  It seemed to me they were acting a bit serious for just smuggling. This happened a total of three times.  Each time the patrol boat came up with searchlights and M-16's aimed directly at us.  

Beth was not overly happy with the rifles and still berates me.  The ingrate - after I took her on a lovely, impromptu, interesting cruise! You just can't please everyone. I figure any time someone aims a rifle at you and you don't get shot it is a good thing. And three times! It made for a memorable story.

I took the photos of sampans from a previous diplomatic trip to Vietnam in 1970. It was another diplomatic effort to win the hearts and minds of the people. The sampans looked a lot like our Hong Kong sampan.

Hot Springs, Arkansas


Only In Your State

Good morning, Arkansas! Whether you love to lose yourself in nature, hit the road for an unforgettable trip, or hang out at the coolest local hot spots, there’s always an awesome new experience waiting for you. If you need a little inspiration, we have you covered! Scroll on to see some of our best recommendations.

The Waterfront Views From Brave New Restaurant In Arkansas Are As Praiseworthy As The Food

The Waterfront Views From Brave New Restaurant In Arkansas Are As Praiseworthy As The Food

In a place as beautiful as Arkansas, it goes without saying that there are going to be some restaurants that have incredible views. One such place that we love is Brave New Restaurant. Despite the novel-sounding name, this waterfront restaurant in Arkansas has been around since 1994! READ IN FULL >

Most People Have No Idea This Abandoned Art Moderne Hotel In Arkansas Even Exists

Most People Have No Idea This Abandoned Art Moderne Hotel In Arkansas Even Exists

Have you heard the rumors that some abandoned places in Hot Springs were playgrounds for gamblers and gangsters alike? One of these hotspots was the Mountainaire Hotel Historic District, which consisted of the twin Art Moderne stylish hotel. Now abandoned for nearly 30 years, these deserted towers are hiding secrets that will never come to light. READ IN FULL >

Spend Some Time At The Vault, A Historic Bank-Turned-Restaurant In Arkansas

Spend Some Time At The Vault, A Historic Bank-Turned-Restaurant In Arkansas

We love it when an old space gets a new life, especially if it involves food. The Vault 1905 Sports Grill may just be the most delicious renovation on Van Buren's historic Main Street. The bank-turned-restaurant is a strong investment for any hungry tummies! READ IN FULL >

15 Gorgeous State Parks In Arkansas That Will Knock Your Socks Off

15 Gorgeous State Parks In Arkansas That Will Knock Your Socks Off

These great locales across the Natural State are excellent for a family day trip. Take some time out of your day for some fun, exploration, and a nice stop off to grab a bite to eat! Make these gorgeous state parks in Arkansas your next destination, no matter where your travels might take you! READ IN FULL >

Order The “3 Napkin Burger” At This Tiny Roadside Stop In Arkansas

Order The “3 Napkin Burger” At This Tiny Roadside Stop In Arkansas

Since 1982, the World Famous Ozone Burger Barn has been serving the 3 napkin cheeseburgers. And once you see the size of this sandwich, you’ll understand why you would need 3 napkins. This small roadside stop in Arkansas serves one of the biggest burgers you’ll ever eat. READ IN FULL >

Feel Like The Only Person In The World When You Wander Within Dry Creek Wilderness In Arkansas

Feel Like The Only Person In The World When You Wander Within Dry Creek Wilderness In Arkansas

The Dry Creek Wilderness Area is an underrated treasure that offers a rugged adventure for anyone near the Ouachita National Forest. Although it's a rather small patch of land (compared to other designated forested areas within the state), Dry Creek has endless opportunities for nature lovers. Let's step into this quiet area for a secluded nature connection. READ IN FULL >


This stunning image was captured at Mount Magazine State Park. Photo Credit: Wanderlust & Arkansas Dust / Arkansas Nature Lovers Page


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Thanks to my high School Classmate Sue for sending us this article.  Very interesting.

Check out the abandoned modern art hotel. There is an interesting video about what Ark. college interior design students have envisioned for the abandoned buildings in Hot Springs - buildings that had once been hotels back in the '20's. Many of these buildings you have seen. I got this from my nephew. I think the two buildings on Park Ave he referred to were The Vault - an old bank turned into a restaurant on the first floor and a jazz bar on the second floor. The other building is The Waters - a restaurant on the first floor and an open air bar on the second floor. Both restaurants are quite pricey for my budget - like somewhere between $100-200 per person, depending on what you eat and drink.

I have not been to the Brave New Restaurant.

Craig, since you were a city planner, I thought you might enjoy the students vision.


Interesting Concept Plan for a Domed Soldier's Field in Chicago

Chicago proposes a major redevelopment of Soldier's Field in an effort to keep the Chicago Bears in the City of Chicago. The Bears plan to build a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights.

Click to view the article and video:



The illustration below is the concept that the Bears are pursuing a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois on the site of a former racetrack. The Bears are under contract to play in Soldier's Field until 2033 so a new stadium will not be built for some time.

Click to read the article:



The discussion reminds me of a proposal I made in a little book I wrote called Dreams & Schemes, Plans to Improve The Chicago Region. The section about a high-rise stadium is excerpted below:


It is widely recognized that a domed stadium is a desirable attribute for U.S. cities. Chicago has long sought an enclosed stadium.  The high costs of the construction of domed stadiums have thus far precluded development.  The purpose of this essay is to outline a new type of stadium that can be constructed in high-density downtown areas.  
As any developer knows, increased density often brings higher revenues.  More units per acre is a basic developmental rule to spread land and infrastructure costs across a higher number of tenants.  This rule, however, is usually ignored in stadium development.  Most stadiums are simple playing fields surrounded by a few stories of seating, which are seldom used. It is, therefore, difficult to develop new stadiums in downtown areas. They are generally constructed in lower-cost areas outside the city central business district, with heavy public subsidies.
The recent construction of sky boxes in Soldier's Field illustrates a simple increase in density. The rental rate of the sky boxes is substantial.  The sky boxes themselves provide a comfortable way of observing events. The initial development of one story of sky boxes was followed by a second story. The success of the sky boxes points the way for future stadiums.
Clustering modern high-rise buildings around a stadium would permit the interior side of the buildings to function as sky boxes.  The buildings would combine traditional seating around the playing field with high-rise office, commercial, or residential development on all sides of the stadium. A hotel and convention center would be an obvious use for part or all of the buildings surrounding the stadium.  Office space in the structure would become the ultimate status address, with commensurate rents.
The building may or may not be enclosed at the roof.  The structure of the roof is also in question. It could be left open, be a dome, a pyramid, or rentable floor space. The surrounding building could be cantilevered toward the center, reducing the size and cost of the roof.
The ultimate height of the structures around the stadium depends on market conditions and on how high the structure can be before the view of the field is compromised. Lower space would be the most desirable since it would be closest to the playing field. All interior tenants of the buildings would have an excellent view of the playing field below.  
In concept, the enclosed stadium is similar to the enormous atriums now in vogue in hotels.  The density derived makes possible stadiums in high-cost downtown locations.  The actual footprint of the development need be no greater than a  conventional stadium, which is little larger than a city block.
The new stadium should be open to the public and function as a park atrium when not in use. Concerts, plays, lectures, etc could be conducted.  The stadium would thus become a focal point for activity in a high-density downtown location.  
A high-rise stadium in downtown Chicago is feasible.  It should be built adjacent to or in the Loop so that the existing parking, transit, and service business are used. The downtown location would enhance the loop and central city. It should be constructed.


Photos on March 27, 2023

  Westminster Point Pleasant Click for more photos: https://17003rdave.blogspot.com/