15 October 2010 PM

Here are some random things:

Factual error: Stephen Hawking is a citizen of the UK. Nevertheless, we’d lose 93 percent of our Academy of Science level scientists (and about 60 percent overall).

This is the candidate I voted for (and met) in IL-18.

White House Science Fair

WASHINGTON, DC — On Monday, October 18th, President Obama will host the White House Science Fair celebrating the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. The President will view exhibits of these students’ work, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, followed by remarks to an audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to our country’s economic future.

The White House Science Fair fulfills a commitment the President made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign in November 2009 to inspire boys and girls to excel in math and science. As the President noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.” The White House event will kick off a week that culminates with the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall and in over 50 satellite locations that is poised to draw more than a million people nationwide.

Way cool! 🙂

Remember all of those mortgage securities? That’s right…it is unclear where the actual notes are. In other words, those greedy bastards may have well screwed themselves!

While it seems that Geithner isn’t in any hurry to consider action on the foreclosure fraud crisis by declaring a national moratorium on foreclosures, saying that “a national moratorium would be very damaging to exactly the kind of people we’re trying to protect,” the SEIU is trying to help people protect themselves to the extent that they can.

They’ve launched “Where’s the Note” an online tool that will help homeowners figure out who it is that is actually holding their mortgage note. The mortgage note is the document homeowners sign when securing a home loan. The original mortgage note with the the borrower’s signature is the only proof that that the borrower owes the debt. Banks need the note to prove that they own the loan and can collect payments, or have the right to foreclose if payments aren’t made. And here’s the rub.

The problem is, banks now buy and sell mortgages up and down Wall Street – slicing them up and repackaging them to sell to other banks. The bank you bought your mortgage from two years ago may not be the bank that owns it today. But, in all the shuffle, the mortgage notes often don’t get transferred along with your debt.

This is where the SEIU’s new tool comes in. With it, you can find out who actually now holds your note. Here’s how they explain it:

The Wall Street banks’ foreclosure system is a mess. Their total disregard for mortgage laws and standards is what created the foreclosure epidemic in the first place. Now, their total mismanagement is catching up to them. As of today, some of the largest mortgage lenders – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and GMAC (now called Ally) – have been forced to halt foreclosures in 23 states and growing. We can’t rely on Wall Street banks to follow basic rules. We have to hold them accountable. At very least, they must provide the mortgage notes.

When Wall Street banks securitized, packaged, sold, and resold our mortgages, they created a system where it is often impossible to figure out who actually owns mortgage notes and therefore has the authority to foreclose on properties. But the big banks are getting tangled up in their own web. Recent events have exposed a handful of banks that are throwing families out of their homes even though they don’t have the mortgage note that proves they actually have a legal right to do so. There have been instances of two banks trying to foreclose on the same home, and in at least one case, of a bank trying to foreclose on a house where the homeowner had never even taken out a mortgage with anyone in the first place.

Whether you are facing foreclosure, have an underwater mortgage, or are just a concerned homeowner, it’s important that you contact your bank and demand to see the original note on your mortgage.

Hey, these reptiles don’t hesitate to use the law against the “little person.” So use the law right back!

Mark my words: the Republicans will start whining about having “compassion” on the banks and the other reptiles …..

October 15, 2010 Posted by | atheism, Barack Obama, dk hirner, economics, economy, IL-18, Illinois, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, science | Leave a comment

IL-18 US House Race

Any Democrat who runs in the IL-18 faces an uphill fight; the district has gone Republican once over the past 100 years or so.

Here is who I am backing:

I don’t understand why she doesn’t explain her own background, which IS impressive. She doesn’t even attack Shock’s actual voting record either:

This attack ad is ok:

But these are pretty lame:

She does say something about the issues here:

Hirner criticized Schock for arriving at some events in the district in a helicopter.

“That’s not how people live,” she said. “He has focused on himself, on his own media and marketability rather than focusing on the needs of the people who he was elected to represent.”

Schock’s campaign did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Hirner said a lot of the discussion around President Barack Obama’s health care was “hyperbole” and said she favors much of the health care bill, particularly provisions that bar children who have pre-existing conditions from being denied health insurance and prevent insurers from dropping people when they get sick.

She also favors Obama’s plan to extend the Bush tax only for families making under $250,000 and individuals making under $200,000 and would vote for more government spending to create jobs.

While many believe government should have to balance its budget just like a household, they also should consider that everyday people take on debt themselves to buy homes and cars, she said.

“That’s a deficit,” Hirner said.

Schock voted against Obama’s stimulus plan, wants all of the Bush tax cuts extended and wants to repeal the health care reform law Congress passed late last year.

This is how I wrote about her:

I’d like to call attention to D.K. Hirner, who is running for the congressional seat in the 18th District.

Ms. Hirner has an unusual mix of professional experiences ranging from two stints as executive director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group to having top jobs for two governors (Mel Carnahan and Bob Holden in Missouri). She is also a member of the Illinois Bar Association.

She is used to fighting for people and understands that while personal responsibility is important, it isn’t always sufficient in these harsh economic times. Her effort is definitely a bottom-up, grass roots campaign; if she wins she will not be beholden to any political or special interest group.

If you think that the answer to our current economic problems is not another tax cut for the wealthiest among us, and if you think that our representative ought to work with the president rather than merely obstruct, she is your candidate!

October 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Aaron Schock, dk hirner, IL-18, Illinois, political/social, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

DK Hirner in the News (brief clip during the Labor Day Parade in Sprinfield)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video Landing Page –, NewsCenter17, …, posted with vodpod

September 7, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, d k hirner, Democrats, dk hirner, Peoria, Peoria/local | Leave a comment

DK Hirner for US Congress, IL-18

I admit that I didn’t know much about DK Hirner when I showed up for a small “get to know” the candidate get together at a neighbor’s house.

The background: she is running against Aaron Schock for the US Congressional seat in Illinois (IL-18)

It is heavily Republican; President Bush won it 57-41 in 2004 and Senator McCain barely won it 49-48 in 2008 (Obama carried Peoria County and the city of Peoria handily)
Also, the opponent is a Mr. Aaron Schock, who does have national name recognition; we will get to him later.

Who is Ms. Horner?
I can say that when I talked with her, she was personable and knowledgeable about the issues; she backs the basic Democratic plans. By no means would she be a bluedog; her stated priorities are jobs, small businesses, mortgages, healthcare and education.
So what are her qualifications?

Though her resume is too long to list (read it here; scroll down the page), I’ll list some highlights:

Education: JD from St. Louis U in 2009(is a member of the Illinois Bar)
Ph. D. from Texas Tech in 1985 (Land Use, Planning and Design)
M. S., B. S. University of Missouri (Columbia) Recreation and Park Administration

Executive Director, 2005 – 2009
Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, Springfield, IL

Deputy Chief of Staff, 2002
Office of Governor Bob Holden, (Democrat) Jefferson City, MO

Executive Director, 1999 – 2002
Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, Springfield, IL

Executive Director, 1993 – 1999
Conservation Federation of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO

Policy Director, 1993
Office of Governor Mel Carnahan, (Democrat) Jefferson City, MO

Chief of Staff, 1991 – 1992
Office of Governor Mel Carnahan, Jefferson City, MO

State Energy Planner, 1990 – 1991
Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson City, MO

Program Director, Outdoor Recreation Assistance, 1986 – 1990
Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson City, MO

Assistant Professor/State Extension Specialist, 1985 – 1986
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Assistant Professor, 1984 – 1985
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Honors and Awards:

Soil and Water Conservation Society, Show Me Chapter, Professional Conservationist Award 1998

Missouri Ruralist Woman of the Year in Missouri Agriculture 1996

Missouri Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Achievement Award 1996

Personal: she is married to Chuck Hirner, a retired Captain (US Navy pilot); he is active in her campaign.

Needless to say, she brings experience and brains to the table.

As far as issues, this is her issues page. What struck me is the following:

Government Assistance

My father was killed in a car accident when I was a young child. My mother then raised me in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood, saving our government assistance checks so that I could go to college. With her sacrifice and my hard work, I earned my doctorate and a law degree. We pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps, but it was government assistance that helped us to get those boots. I will never forget the importance of helping less fortunate families across America, and that is why I am running for Congress.

She “gets it” in a way that her opponent (and most Republicans) do not.

So what of her opponent?

(he is in the white pants)

This is Mr. Aaron Schock. Yes, he is telegenic and yes, he is very good in speeches; I admitted so right here.

But most of what you need to know about Mr. Schock can be seen here:

He is a big money Republican who advocates for the failed economic policies of President George W. Bush.

This isn’t to say that he hasn’t tried to take credit for stuff that he voted against:

He also takes extreme, politically motivated criticism views on the terrorism; he also lied:

Here is the longer version:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about " Roundtable on the Obama ag…", posted with vodpod

He also waffled when asked about President Obama’s citizenship: (about 45-55 seconds into the video)

Yes, this is an uphill fight; IL-18 has gone Democratic once, roughly 80-90 years ago. But, I am high on the DK Hirner. And remember this: we have a tough US Senate race with Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias against economic right winger Mark Kirk. Helping Dr. Hirner will help Mr. Giannoulias. We also have a big governor’s race between Pat Quinn and the extremist ultra-conservative Bill Brady. Walking routes for Dr. Hirner should help Governor Quinn too.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Aaron Schock, Democrats, dk hirner, economy, IL-18, Illinois, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans | Leave a comment