Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Congressman Judy Biggert claims credit for bill she fought

Congressman Judy Biggert, according to his allies, is a good person. But of course, like all shaky politicians, Biggert is afraid to answer questions, speak reporters who challenger her on serious politics and assess her record.

Which is why we're not surprised by the headline at Progress Illinois. READ IT? She got a real pass, unfortunately, from the Naperville Sun.

We've tried to interview Biggert, who "represents" Orland Park the way the Soviet Union used to represent Poland -- with little regard to anything that matters to us.

There's talk she might retire and a certain rising star in the Republican Party might take her place.

We like you Judy. But maybe you're not cut out to be a responsive elected official.

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fighting news media bias and my new book Secrets of New Media Networking

I just finished my first edition of "Secrets of New Media Networking" my collection of ideas on how to overcome bias in the mainstream news media.

It's not about putting a check on someone else's opinions that you like or do not like, but about getting your own opinions into the mainstream news media. The mainstream news media, when it comes to "certain topics," is biased. Plain and simple. I know that because I have been in the news media now 32 years, not including six years working in high school and college newspapers.

The reality is that the extremism in the mainstream bias is the primary fuel feeding the extremism that we find in communities like the American Arab community. The bias reinforces the frustrations of the public and that frustration is consumed by anger, emotion and turns into an unreasoned support of the only option they then feel is out there for them, the loudmouthed, extremists who use violence and hatred to 1) keep their followers in a continued state of frustration and 2) provoke the conflict into more conflict and greater violence which gives them a reason to exist.

If we EVER achieved a real and genuine peace in the Middle East, for example, hundreds of thousands of activists on both sides would find themselves out of a job.

I want to put a lot of those biased activists on both sides out of a job and create a new environment where peace creates a new market that creates jobs promoting reason, moderation, understanding and truly free speech.

But my book is not about the Arab-Israeli conflict, although I do use it as an example -- my personal example of how the mainstream news media bias works. My book is about how to take the bias that YOU see in the mainstream news media to motivate you to easily create an alternative using the Internet to get your message, your views and your products out to the public. It's not hard to do using web sites, blogs of different strategic focuses and topics, social media like Facebook and MySpace, and Twitter and even brokered radio and cable TV public access. It all can come together and create a powerful market place for your views.

The book also discusses the moral responsibility of the media and journalism. It's not good to simply replace one biased media with another biased media. You want to add your views to the public discussion not stereotype, slander or discriminate against the free speech of others. You want to make the mainstream news media objective, not biased towards your opinion. You MUST adhere to principle, fairness, and give others the same that you demand, an opportunity to be heard.

The best strategy to fight extremism, terrorism and violence from extremists is to insure that your strategy includes a significant component that truly expands free speech to everyone. Achieving a fair news media system will do far more to undermine the extremists than all of the military conflict that has been launched in our history as human beings on this planet.

We would have won the Iraq War long ago if we had been more sensitive to the moderates in the Arab World who were shut out of the American effort not because of the war but because the American effort never treated them with respect or respected their views.

I hope you get a chance to check out the new books. CLICK HERE TO GET more information on the book.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Commissioner Liz Gorman leads charge to push Stroger Sales tax down

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody "Liz" Gorman may not be very popular with the North Side liberals, nor the extremist wing of her party, nor with the leaders of the 19th Ward who are conspiring to take over Orland Park and the suburbs.

But she has to be popular with taxpayers, not just in her 17th District but in the entire county. Everyone said it couldn't be done, but Gorman pushed ahead and refused to give up the resistance to the 1 percent sales tax increase imposed by the beleaguered Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

The sales tax is repressive. It has chased out more businesses and caused more lost county revenues than it can generate from the over-taxed county residents.

With the support of key members of the county board including Democrats like Commissioners John Daley and Larry Suffredin, the Gorman repeal movement redefined itself after being beat back by Stroger's veto. On Tuesday, much to Stroger's chagrin -- he should get used to it -- the Gorman repeal was approved with 13 votes rolling back the 1 percent increase by half.

It's a major blow for Stroger, who has managed politics ineptly since taking over the helm form his dying father, the popular John Stroger. But while the father led with his experience and brains. Strogers leads by consultant and adviser.

The only commissioner missing in action was Forrest Claypool who would have been there to vote and claim credit had he still been running for Cook County Board president against Stroger. But polls show that Claypool is not as popular as he thinks and his ability to raise funds was questionable enough to force him to withdraw from the contest. So, not running for anything to help himself, Claypool is just MIA.

Stroger beat back two prior efforts to repeal the tax. But this time, things may be different. Stroger has until September to veto the measure, but with the vote and assuming Claypool can manage to get himself back into his seat soon, the Gorman repeal will have the 14 votes to override Stroger's veto. And that will only set Stroger up for more troubles.

The repeal drew more votes because even Stroger's allies including Deborah Sims and Robert Steele switched to support the repeal vote. Stroger's stalwart former Chicago Alderman Bill Beavers is catching flak from voters tired of arrogant politicians like him who ignore their needs and put their own family and interests and power first, so he voted "present." Beaver is a "me-first" commissioner, but he could not stand up to the growing voter anger over Stroger's repressive sales tax.

The victory only reinforces Gorman's voter popularity. The Stroger Sales Tax is on top of their minds in Cook County and any politician who supports the sales tax hike or is silent -- and many including some of her opponents have been deathly silent on the issue -- will face a voter backlash in the Spring and next year in the general election.

As the late Mayor Richard M. Daley once said, "Good government is good politics." That means worrying about what's good for the taxpayers is the best way to reinforce your own interests. Worrying about your interests, Stroger and Beavers style, is not good government at all but Machine politics at its worst.


Even Joan Murphy, who is facing a stiff challenge from Nick Valadez, flip-flopped in the face of voter anger. Murphy is unbelievable, though. While she supported the repeal -- so she can mislead voters into thinking she supporters the interest of taxpayers -- Murphy was the lead sponsor of the proposal to not only pass the 1 percent Stroger Sales Tax. Murphy wanted to increase it by 2 percent.

You'll hear a lot of howling from Stroger and Murphy, who just might flip flop again. That's her style. Lie to the voters and confuse them, as she is trying to do in the water-poinsoned village of Crestwood where she lives and has supported the Stranczek administrations see no poison, hear no poison, speak no poison policies.

Sticking to their guns and voting against the repeal and against taxpayers were Commissioners Joseph Mario Moreno and Jerome Butler.

Give Valadez credit, too. Valadez announced his campaign to unseat flip flopping Murphy in the 6th District last week in Tinley Park, surrounded by 150 of his supporters. Without an election challenge, Murphy would simply do what she always does, ignore the taxpayers and follow the dictates of Boss Stroger.

Here's the vote breakdown on the Gorman repeal:

Yes: Earlean Collins, John Daley, Bridget Gainer, Liz Gorman, Gregg Goslin, Roberto Maldonado, Joan Murphy, Timothy Schneider, Peter Silvestri, Deborah Sims, Robert Steele, and Larry Suffredin
No: Jerry Butler, Joseph Mario Moreno
Present: William Beavers
Absent: Forrest Claypool, Tony Peraica

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pundits say Gorman has trouble but I don't believe it

Going in to every election, incumbents always look vulnerable. There's a lot of big talk and big ambition by officeholders who dream of becoming the next political "phenom" like Barack Obama, who went from relative unknown to president of the United States in less than six years.

The candidates are already dreaming and some of those dreamers have set their sights on one incumbent in the Southwest Suburbs, 17th District Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman.

Gorman is not the darling of the downtown news media which analyzes everything in terms of either Mayor Daley or the Chicago Loop. Most major media, with some exceptions, ignore the suburbs and pretty much follow the pack when deciding who is or isn't vulnerable in elections. So bright stars in the suburbs often are overlooked.

There have been a few exceptions like Media darling Forrest Claypool, who every writer pretty much ordained would become the slayer of the evil tax lord, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. But Claypool discovered in his polling that he could neither raise the money nor could he count on real Democratic Party support. He would have lost to Stroger.

Then there is the other darling of the news media, Mike Quigley. Unlike Claypool, Quigley is made of much more genuine substance. He's more personable and less arrogant. He actually talks to people. Quigley was smart enough to throw his hat into the crowded Democratic primary battle to succeed Rahm Emanuel in Congress. It wasn't that Quigley was a phenom like Obama, but rather that the race for the congressional seat was more like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Some people would luck out and make it through to the end of the race without getting gored, and a few unlucky ones would get gored.

Quigley got lucky. He has but two years to prove himself and he's working hard at showing he can handle the job, now that he was lucky enough to win.

Gorman is off the major media radar screen, except when the negative steamrollers come in to rehash all that deadweight about Ed Vrdolyak. Yes "Fast Eddie" will never leave the news. Ed happened to be friends with Gorman's husband, Gerry. They were business partners, too. But there isn't one politician Ed Vrdolyak hasn't helped, worked with or has not considered to be a friend. And he's done business with a lot of others, incuding a few who are among those being hailed by pundits as possible Gorman challengers.

The least known of the presumptive candidates to challenger Liz Gorman is in fact the front-runner, Pat Maher. President of the controversy-plagued Orland Fire Protection District (in two years its political legal spending went from nothing to hundreds of thousands) Maher is the son of a long time Orland Park village clerk, Dave Maher. Pat Maher has one brother who quietly and unsuccessfully ran for a village trustee post in nearby Lemont. In any other lifetime, the Mahers would be just an ordinary, bland suburban political family. Fat frogs sitting high on lilly pods in small pools. But this Maher family has ties to the powerful family of Tom Hynes, father of Comptroller Dan Hynes, who hail from the legendary 19th Ward where the the 19th Ward Machine stands ready at their beck and call.

Yet Pat Maher is not the name that everyone is talking about when it comes to the 17th District challenge to Liz Gorman. Take this paragraph from a recent column by my friend and capable columnist Russ Stewart (July 23) who looked at the county races from top to bottom:

17th District (Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, then south in a narrow corridor to Lemont, Orland Park and Tinley Park): Incumbent [Liz] Gorman’s husband was a business partner of Ed Vrdolyak, and there is some negative fallout attaching to her. She was first elected unopposed in 2002, and re-elected in 2006 with 55.6 percent. She is the Orland Township Republican committeeman, was briefly the Republican county chairman, and has been feuding with Peraica.
A likely 2010 Democratic candidate for the seat is Dr. Victor Forys, a Polish-American who garnered 11.7 percent of the vote in the 2009 Democratic congressional primary in the 5th District. If Forys can assemble both a geographic (north versus south) and ethnic coalition, he could win. Other candidates include Orland Park trustee Jim Dodge and RTA Board member Dennis Cook. But well-known Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin is also a possibility, and would be favored in a primary. The outlook: Gorman has huge problems.

The first thing you notice is that focus is not on Liz Gorman, who has come out swinging this past year with some major legislative initiatives. Rather, the focus is on her husband, Gerry, a businessman whose family is involved in politics. It's a funny thing. I'd heard a lot about Gerry Gorman that made him out to be some kind of behind-the-scenes T-Rex. Then I had a chance to meet him. Turns out he's just like any other family man who takes his kids to little league practice and spends a lot of time with his wife.

The second thing you notice in Russ Stewart's analysis is the absence of any recognition of Pat Maher. The focus instead is on: Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin; Jim Dodge, who Gorman appointed to the METRA Board; Dennis Cook, a member of the RTA board with the Illinois Federation of Young Republicans. And perennial candidate Victor Forys.

Now, I'm not knocking anyone but I can tell you this:

Dan McLaughlin may covet higher office, possibly lieutenant governor in the Democratic race for Governor in 2010, as the rmor mill is now swirling. But Dan has a big job with the Chicago Plumbers Union that pays well and takes up much of his time. Being president of a village with a great reputation and a high-paid village manager is a second job that pays some money but offers great rewards. Give that up for the undistinguished arena of the Cook County board? I don't think so. Maybe for statewide office, yes!

Dodge, the former Orland Township GOP Committeeman, has ambitions. But in a fight with an incumbent Republican, he'd have a difficult battle. A nice guy, what has he done on the METRA Board and how would the public even know him? Could he raise the money you'd need to run in this fight? And would you backstab someone who went to bat for you when you needed it?

Dennis Cook may want to enter the race simply to give himself higher name recognition because he just ain't too well known with the voters. A nice guy according to Republican insiders who I know. He has a future.

But Orland Park based challengers really have a disadvantage. The 17th District is shaped like the Via Dolorosa, the cobble-stone path that winds its way through the narrow streets of Jerusalem, where Jesus carried his cross before being crucified. In addition to including Orland Township, where Maher may do well, the 17th District runs all the way north to include many areas where names like Maher, McLaughlin, Cook, Dodge and others might not mean so much. Places where building name recognition is not easy like in Park Ridge, Des Plaines, and Mt. Prospect, just to name a few.

I give Liz Gorman credit. She's fearless. I wasn't her biggest fan several years back when she headed the Cook County Republican Organization. I thought she could have done more. But since leaving that party leadership post for others, she has done much. The truth is I don't think any Republican could have done much better with the county or with the state. Illinois House Speaker Mike J. Madigan has the legislature in a vice grip, and despite numerous opportunities to break through the Democratic headlock, Republican leaders have fallen short. The disarray at the state level only gets worse in many prominent Republican bastions. So maybe she did as well as anyone else might have done.

It takes more than party identity. It takes action, someone willing to stand up and fight the fight for the taxpayers. And boy do the taxpayers desperately need someone to standup and fight on their behalf as everyone seems to tripping up all over. Everyone that is, except Liz Gorman.

In the past year, I have seen Liz Gorman stand up and fight, and fight hard for the rights of taxpayers not just in the 17th District, but in Cook County, too. She was the driving force behind the battle to force Todd Stroger to repeal the oppressive 1 percent sales tax hike. If it wasn't for her, the repeal battle might not have been fought. That it was fought has given the county board ambition to push even harder and there is a chance that next week, a compromise will pass that forces Stroger to cut the sales tax by half.

And while everyone else was hissing last year, Liz Gorman was the only county commissioner who stood up and asked why the board was going to give a $190,000 taxpayer funded loan to the regional schools superintendent, Charles Flowers. She fought hard trying to convince everyone that Flowers' office was drowning in mismanagement and wasteful spending. No one listened.

Turns out Liz Gorman was right on the money, where it counts for taxpayers. Gorman protested and last month, a state Audit concluded that Flowers had charged thousands of dollars worth of personal expenses on the taxpayers' credit card. And he couldn't provide receipts for more than 70 percent of those purchases. he also gave thousands of dollars in cash advances to his employees, including to one who is his sister.

Believe it or not, there are politicians like Flowers who think the public trough is their personal ATM machine where they can borrow money whenever they want.

Liz Gorman was the scissor who chopped up Flower's taxpayer funded Debit Card.

Two major initiatives defending the rights of the taxpayers just in the past two months. That has to make even the most seasoned of political challengers a bit wary wondering if Liz Gorman is really worth trying to unseat.

For the taxpayers, right now, the answer is Liz Gorman should remain in office.

I think if Pat Maher breaks from his father's shadow and starts to clean up the mess at the Orland Fire Protection District, he could make a name for himself as a champion for the taxpayer's too. And when Dan McLaughlin retires -- he's been in office a long time -- or moves on up the ladder as some are rumoring he will do in another bid for state wide office, Maher may want to try to run for village president.

And if he can do it without the help or meddling of the foreigners from the 19th ward, he just might make a great mayor. Someday.

By the way, there is one rumor that is worth looking at closely. Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy, the hero who took a bullet for President Ronald Reagan in the assassination attempt in the 1970s, is being rumored to be a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate seat on the Democratic side. McCarthy is a titan. he ran for statewide office once before but with two statewide candidates coming from the same village, it made it tough to win. With Illinois Attorney general Lisa Madigan out of the race, why not McCarthy.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lisa Madigan says she's not a candidate and that's big news: what does it say about those left who are running?

It's big news that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced yesterday that she is not running for either the office of Illinois Governor or U.S. Senator for the former Barack Obama seat in Washington.

If that's big news, what does it say about all the candidates who are running for those offices. Yikes!

Here's what all the players in this drama want:

Mike Madigan, the Illinois House Speaker: Found himself in a dilemma. He wants his daughter to become Governor, or possibly now US Senator -- Senators do become presidents -- but he also wants to maintain his iron fist majority rule in the Illinois House and the battle over the budget could jeopardize that. He's held back on an income tax increase to protect his daughter and to protect the many spineless legislators who don't want to say if they will support an income tax increase until they know for sure no one of substance will be running against them in this Spring primary.

Gov. Pat Quinn: The deer in the lights. He can't balance his promises of reform against the need to play tough politics. Inept in political diplomacy, Quinn's only talent is to lead often but not always losing campaigns for reform. This time, Quinn was able to reverse course and do nothing to push reform while the wolves ripped the reform chicken to pieces. With Lisa Madigan "in" the race, he could blame everything on Mike Madigan. Now that she is out of the race, he has to blame everything on his pathetic lack of leadership and his hypocrisy.

Senate President john Cullerton: It makes it easier for him to take marching orders from Mike Madigan, who is the defacto governor.

Democratic, spineless legislators: They are falling to their knees crying and yelling "Hail Marys" for their great fortune that they don't have to worry about anything any more. no more important decisions. No more possibilities they will get beat and lose all the perqs and clout and jobs they've gotten their families. And now they don't even have to work. Mike Madigan will do all the thinking for them.

State Republicans: They are in total disarray and divided into two messed up camps. Despite some good leaders, they can't get their act together. Lisa Madigan removing herself from the race allows mediocracy to rule again and anyone can run for office to get a good headline, like Sen Kirk Dillard, who has done what in the past decade? At least Dan Proft, the ultra conservative candidate for Governor, has some good ideas.

News media: We wanted Lisa Madigan to run for either office. She great news. And the dilemma it would cause in Springfield over the budget battle only becomes more dramatic as a news story.

Alexi Giannoulias: Who?

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich: With all the reality shows out of the way, he's left with fighting the U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who is out to get him with a vengeance. And all he can do is appear on a morning radio talks how that hammers him when he's not looking.

The public: They are left out in the cold.

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spectacular 4th of July Fireworks, despite dark & gloomy Global Warming clouds above

It was a little shorter this year but the Orland Park 4th of July fireworks celebration didn't let anyone down and lived up to its reign as one of the best in the suburban Chicagoland region.

The crowd was down, mainly because it rained all day -- that's what we get for ignoring former vice president Al Gore's warnings about global warming and allowing former vice president Dick Cheney (the anti-Christ -- although that's unfair to the anti-Christ) to diss the whole concept. But what a night. It was worth it.

Aaron was disappointed only because the rain kept him away from enjoying the handful of carnival rides set up on what last year was where everyone laid out their lawn chairs. We bought two new ones from Dick's sporting goods with the American Flag Design -- I wonder if wearing the American Flag on your chair is any different than someone wearing it on their jeans?

The carny folks wouldn't let us recoup the lost money for the tickets -- no rain check. Still, he got to enjoy a few of the rides. And then we sat and (this year without a picnic basket, and me with no cigar) waited and played catch until the fireworks started. The weather held out just perfectly for us to enjoy the fireworks after an introductory speech and welcome from the bandshell by Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

Here are some videos I took ... there are more on my Facebook page which I think you will enjoy -- not everyone got to enjoy the fireworks so I thought at least this might be the next best thing.

Happy 4th of July and birthday America. (Maybe we can grow out of our anger. Do they give prescriptions for countries with ADHD to calm them down? Or is President Barack Obama our ADHD medication to chill us out and get us focused on our talents rather than on our fears?)

Hey. What's a 4th of July (or a Ray Hanania blog post without some commentary?)

Love it or leave pals!

-- Ray Hanania

This is the finale, which was spectacular.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

An Inconvenient Mess: Who's the idiot who screwed up 159th and LaGrange Road?

It's very obvious that the person who re-designed the intersection at 159th and LaGrange Road either:

A) -- Does not live in Orland Park and doesn't care about the needs of the residents nor the needs of the businesses at 159th and LaGrange Road


B) -- The person is an IDIOT! (Not IDOT, Idiot, although some people think they are one and the same.)

The talk of Orland Park continues to be that the re-designed roadwork at 159th and LaGrange Road has resolved one "problem," but created another problem, an inconvenient traffic mess at the 159th and LaGrange Road intersection.

"We used to have a very vibrant business until they [expletive deleted] this intersection," explained one of the employees at one of the businesses at this important intersection.

"Now, customers coming from one direction can't turn into our business any more. They have to turn and go down the road and then either make a U-turn or go into another parking lot and turn around. We've seen the accident rates go up significantly. And all we get are complaints from customers. We tell them, go talk to the Village."

I spoke to several businesses at that intersection and they all say the same thing. (Quietly and fearing retribution because a village can bring a heap of pain down on any business who rocks the boat or publicly complains.) But they are seeing revenues fall and they blame that in part not just on the economic situation but on the difficulty customers are having getting to their businesses. And the complaints are many.

The Village's trustees and officials don't always talk to their constituents, living high off the hog in the wake of their recent Beautification, or, as some might call it, an "alleged election." I hear some of the officials are going to arrange to have themselves Knighted or Canonized.

But back to the problem. The intersection at 159th and LaGrange Road is an absolute mess. The reason they renovated the intersection was to "ease the traffic gridlock" there, they said. Well, they traded one problem for another.

Yes, they widened the road. But at what expense? Was it the fault of McDonough (which is one of several companies being investigated by the Federal Government that no one cares about?) Or, more likely, was it the result of the incompetent morons who happen to be the village engineers on the project, who can't engineer their way out of a paper bag. They sure do know how to make campaign contributions to cover up that fact.

Our engineers in the village have a serious problem. They screwed up the flooding problems in the village and came up with a half-assed program that alleviated some of the water troubles -- no one wants to talk about that any more or about the millions spent by the village to buy up the WRONG homes flooded by the waters from 13 years ago.

And now our engineers have screwed up 159th and LaGrange Road. With all the problems local businesses face, from the excessive taxes imposed by County Board President Todd Stroger to the oppressive economic downturn that many rightly describe as a recession, the last thing the village businesses need is a traffic pattern that DISCOURAGES customers from patronizing their businesses.

You might almost think that the Village Idiots -- err, engineers -- intentionally designed it so traffic cannot turn in to local business parking lots and forced the motorists to make left turns and then drive down LaGrange Road south until they come to another strip mall where they have to turn in and then make a U-turn to return to LaGrange Road and then make a right turn to get into one business. Every business is the same. Screwed.

But who cares? The village didn't raise our vehicle stickers $5 (thanks to this column publicizing that worthless effort), but they can pay enormous money to an engineering firm that is worthless and that has a poor record of service but that clearly has some close ties to some of our local officials.

Mayor McLaughlin, PLEASE! Don't use those morons again; hire someone else. Maybe new engineers can figure out how to help the businesses at 159th and LaGrange Road recover their losses. Better yet, maybe they can help the village residents who would like to visit those businesses without increasing their chances of getting in to an accident by taking spaghetti-looped routes involving multiple turns and U-turns and anger.

One problem replaced with another. It's truly one of the most messed up locations in this village.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 2, 2009

FOX Chicago News launches a new focus on Chicago neighborhoods & suburban communities

FOX Chicago News launches a new segment called "Road to Recovery" that focuses every Thursday on a different Chicago neighborhood or suburban community. The segment is broadcast at 9 PM.

Tonight's focus is on Beverly in Chicago, with reporter Darlene Hill. She appears on my radio show this morning at 8:30 am (WJJG 1530 AM Radio, or listen online at ... you can also join the Facebook Group on the weekly segment by clicking here.

I remember running in the Beverly-Ridge 10K Run with the late Mayor Mike Bilandic in 1978. It was my first full year on staff at the old and great Southtown Economist Newspaper and the race was big news in the Chicago Tribune that Bilandic was going to run in it. That was considered big news when Bilandic was mayor, until Jane Byrne, whom he fired, ran for mayor and beat him and the Chicago Machine -- before flip-flopping and embracing the Cabal of Evil Men she ran against.

Darlene Hill talks to people in Beverly and gives us some insight into what is happening out there in today's economy. Check it out!

-- Ray Hanania