Friday, February 28, 2014

The federal budget deficit fell faster last year than in any year since the end of World War II, according to a Treasury Department report on Thursday. It declined from $1.1 trillion in 2012 to $680 billion in 2013. That represents the smallest deficit since 2008 in nominal terms. It’s now 4.1 percent of GDP, dropping from a high of more than 10 percent during the depths of the recession. It’s less than half of what it was in 2009, when the recession ended. CREDIT: New York Times The good news is that part of the decline is being driven by higher tax revenue as the economy slowly recovers. “Growth in tax revenue from an improving economy accounted for much of the decline in the deficit,” Annie Lowrey at the New York Times reports. Tax revenue increased $234 billion over last year, reaching $2.8 trillion, growth of about 12.9 percent.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

At Least 5 People Were Accidentally Shot In A Single Day This Week By Rebecca Leber and Zack Beauchamp on February 22, 2013 at 10:30 am Travin Varise, who was accidentally shot and killed last month While gun accidents make up a comparatively small portion of American firearm deaths (the vast majority are intentional homicides or suicides), accidental firearm injury and death is still shockingly common, underlining the scale of America’s gun problem. Every day, local media report several cases where someone accidentally shoots himself or a friend or family member, sometimes fatally. We counted at least five gun accidents on Wednesday: 1. A 4-year-old girl was shot in the leg by a family member who was putting his gun away. 2. A 3-year-old boy found a handgun under the mattress in his parents’ bendroom and shot a family friend in the head. 3. A member of the Air Force pulled the trigger on his gun, reportedly thinking it was unloaded, and sent a bullet that hit a 14-month-old baby in the hand in a nearby apartment. 4. A woman reportedly spun her handgun around and pointed it at her head. She died of a gunshot wound to the head. 5. A 3-year-old was fatally shot in what police said appeared to be a tragic accident. Children are especially vulnerable to gun violence, either intentional or accidental. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 129 children between age 1-19 died in gun accidents in 2010 (even more take their own lives using a gun belonging to a parent). A Harvard study linked prevalence of guns to unintentional gun-related deaths, finding that the four states with the highest gun ownership rates had mortality rates seven times higher than the four states with the lowest ownership rates. There’s no real evidence suggesting that family homes with guns are less likely to be victims of crime than ones without deadly weapons.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Effingham County Democrats Host Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and a Very Successful Soup Supper

The Effingham County Democrats held what hopes to be their annual soup supper on Saturday evening, February 22 at the Effingham American Legion.  With a large turnout of Effingham County Democrats along with many of our friends from neighboring counties such as Shelby and Jasper Counties, it was an evening to restate the values that all Democrats hold in common.             

Those who attended were able to meet and talk with Effingham County Board candidate Doug McCain and Effingham County Treasurer Candidate Steve Dasenbrock.  Retired Judge Jim Harvey gave a rousing speech that reiterated what Democrats do stand for and what Republicans don't stand for. 
He was followed by Circuit Judge Candidate Ericka Sanders who discussed her reasons for wanting to run for the position.   She currently holds the position of Associate Judge and wished to continue many of the proactive programs that are occurring here in our own county. 
Dr. Josh Berger, state representative candidate for the 107th district followed.  Explain his reasons for running.  Dr. Berger, a chiropractor who practices in Centralia discussed how the actions or inaction in Springfield is impacting his hometown and southern Illinois.  He stated that he wants to be the person in Springfield who works on behalf of southern Illinois, and not merely the one who falls in line with his party leaders, unlike his opponent. 
Eric Thorsland, candidate for U.S. Representative for the 15th District in Illinois, spoke of his desire to break the continuous run of his opponent's reelection to the U.S. House.  He reminded those present that Mr. Shimkus, when elected the first time, stated he would only serve two terms.  If Mr. Shimkus would be successful, this would be his tenth consecutive term.  Ironically, many statewide candidates of the same party of Mr. Shimkus are calling for term limits.  Mr. Thorsland spoke of his upbringing and how his father was a victim of President Reagan's union breaking action of firing of the air traffic controllers in the early 1980s.  Mr. Thorsland vowed to work for his district rather than being the representative who didn't rock the boat in order to ensure his own reelection. 
Finally the evening ended with special guest, current Illinois Lieutenant Governor, and current candidate for Illinois Comptroller, Sheila Simon. Ms. Simon mentioned her upbringing and the values that her father, the late Senator Paul Simon, had instilled in her regarding holding elected office.  She discussed how important it was as a politician to be honest, hardworking, and to have transparency has a candidate and in the office that is being held.  She remarked how she was working diligently with Illinois State Senator Andy Manar(D)Bunker Hill in reevaluating how school funding works in the state of Illinois.  This would have a profound positive impact on schools in Effingham County and other surrounding counties.  Ms. Simon also discussed how she wishes move the Illinois Comptroller's office from the capacity of an accounting agency for government to a resource for all local government entities to use to evaluate how they are spending tax dollars and where the could be more wisely invested and managed. 
As the evening closed, all of the candidates and speakers remained to meet with all those in attendance.  The Effingham County Democrats will be planning numerous other events throughout the year to continue to draw attention to the issues that concern southern Illinois and the candidates who will speak on behalf on the constituents of southern Illinois.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sarah Palin watching the Olympics
Guns kill a lot of young people in the United States. Not just in school shootings or horrific “accidents” between toddlers that tend to garner the most media attention, but in every day shootings in communities around the country that result in the deaths of thousands of children and teenagers. In 2010, 6,201 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 died by gunfire. Guns were a close second to the leading cause of death among this age group, car accidents, which took the lives of 7,024 young people that year. But, while car accident deaths among young people have been steadily declining over the past decade, gun deaths have remained relatively unchanged. And, as described in a new Center for American Progress report released Friday, if current trends continue, gun deaths will surpass car accident deaths among young people sometime in 2015: How can we explain these numbers? For car accident deaths, these numbers represent a significant victory. Deaths of young people as a result of car accidents have dropped dramatically in the last two decades, from a high of more than 12,000 deaths among this age group in 1990. This decline is not an accident: billions of dollars have been spent on public health and safety research to understand motor vehicle accidents and how to prevent them from becoming fatal. This research has resulted in design innovation, changes to cars and roadways, and new laws that have led to a significant and steady decline in such fatalities among all age groups, including young people. There was no silver bullet for reducing vehicular death: airbags, seatbelt laws, anti-lock brakes, better signage, and tough drunk driving laws all contributed to it. But, in combination these measures have saved tens of thousands of American lives. For guns, these numbers represent an enormous failure. The United States has experienced a dramatic decline in violent crime over the last two decades, yet the rate of gun violence, particularly among young people, has barely moved. Why? We don’t know. Unfortunately, since the early 1990s, very few public health researchers have been trying to find out. Restrictions on such research imposed by Congress have had a substantial chilling effect, which has resulted in the almost total abandonment of this issue by our nation’s public health research institutions. Without this research, policymakers, legislators, community leaders, and parents are left without much direction regarding how to best protect children and teenagers from gun violence. As we approach that morbid milestone next year when gun violence kills more American children and teenagers than car accidents, it’s time to start approaching this problem in the same manner as we addressed car accident deaths. We know how to do this –-through a combination of public health research, technological innovation, legislative change, enhanced enforcement, and transforming cultural norms we were able to make motor vehicle transportation safer while at the same time preserving American’s unique car culture. We can do the same thing with gun violence by adopting laws and policies designed to prevent gun deaths while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Chelsea Parsons is the Associate Director for Crime and Firearms Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Attempting to host a productive debate on climate change policy can be hard when one of the people debating said policy does not believe climate change exists. But that is exactly what NBC’s “Meet the Press” attempted to do on Sunday, with host David Gregory moderating arguments between Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ and Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the vice chair of the notoriously anti-climate change House Energy and Commerce Committee. Gregory did manage to get a few policy statements out of Blackburn, including one in which the Congresswoman stated that EPA regulations on carbon emissions must look at the social benefits of carbon dioxide pollution. From her comments: BLACKBURN: David, one of the things we have to remember is cost/benefit analysis has to take place. … And it is unfortunate that some of the federal agencies are not conducting that cost/benefit analysis. They’re focused on the outcome. … Now, you know, when you look at the social cost of carbon, and there is a lot of ambiguity around that, what you also need to be doing is looking at the benefits of carbon and what that has on increased agricultural production. A lot of good studies out there about that, and scientists and biologists have done that study. CO2 in small doses is most certainly good for plants. But the concentrated levels that are causing climate change do not seem to be boding well for the agricultural industry as of late. The debilitating drought in California — which many scientists, including Nye, link to climate change — has caused production problems for a slew of fruits and vegetables, and water scarcity that has left 500,000 acres unplanted. In August, the Obama administration estimated that the social cost of carbon is $43 per ton of carbon emitted, a figure Republicans have tried to roadblock. The “social cost of carbon” (SCC) is the formula used by federal regulators to calculate how carbon pollution harms public health, the environment, property value, and other issues. Government agencies use that cost to decide how to construct any regulation that touches on carbon emissions — from microwave efficiency standards to infrastructure construction to transportation. The Obama administration does not currently use so-called “benefits of carbon” to construct regulations, however, which is what Blackburn has suggested. The most recent “good study” she is likely citing comes from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity — an industry group of coal electricity producers — and says that energy production from fossil fuels over the last 200 years has doubled life expectancy and improved the quality of life for people around the world. It is not terribly surprising, however, that Blackburn would recommend that regulations move away from solving the climate crisis. Members of Blackburn’s E&C committee last month voted 24-20 against an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring and is caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Those twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room. Blackburn herself has accepted $287,393. “The President should realize that Congress has taken action” on climate change policies, Blackburn said. “We have said no.” Tags:Bill NyeClimate ChangeClimate Change DeniersMarsha BlackburnMeet The PressNBC Close Like Climate Progress on Facebook About ThinkProgress | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy (off-site) | State Notices | Reuse Policy | RSS | Donate © 2005-2014 Center for American Progress Action Fund

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Monhtly Meeting

Next monthly meeting Wed. Feb. 19 @ 7PM. Don't forget about our Soup Supper Sat. Feb. 22 from 5:30 to 7:30PM @ the American Legion Hall. Guests Sheila Simon, Judge Erika Sanders, Dr. Josh Berger, Steve Dasenbrock, Karen Luchtefeld, & Doug McCain.

Democrat Elected Officials

  • Effingham County Board Distric G-Doug McCain
  • Effingham County Treasurer - Steve Dasenbrock
  • Effingham County Board District C - Karen Luchtefeld

Effingham County Democrats Officers

  • Chairman - Audrey Griffith
  • First Vice Chairman - Dan Niebrugge
  • Second Vice Chairman - Allen Wente
  • Secretary - James Hammer
  • Treasurer - Shirley McEvers