Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Makes Me Want to Puke"

Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

A pair of articles in today’s New York Times takes a hard look at how campaign donations are changing the dynamics of state high court races, and court rulings, too. The focus of the first is on Ohio , where judges of both political parties vote with their donors over 70% of the time. A sidebar looks at West Virginia and Illinois , where the paper also draws lines between large donations to winning candidates and subsequent rulings in favor of those donors. Justice Larry V. Starcher of the West Virginia Supreme Court sums it up thusly: “It makes me want to puke to see massive amounts of out-of-state money come in and buy a seat on our court.”

Giving by litigants and their representatives has be a growing practice in judicial races. As long as Illinois allows unlimited giving to candidates for the bench, donors will be tempted to use judicial elections as just another way to achieve their policy goals. And it doesn’t matter if the donations sway the thinking of individual jurists or merely wins victories for lawyers who already think the way that donors want, the end result is the same: court rulings that favor donors on the winning side.

There’s another casualty when litigants try to buy results: public confidence in the courts is eroded. A recent survey sponsored by ICPR and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU found that 85% of Illinoisans believe that court rulings are influenced by campaign contributions. As a result, Illinoisans are more likely to think that jurists are “political” (70.4%) than “fair and impartial” (51.6%) or “honest and trustworthy” (53.6%). Even highly qualified jurists are splattered by the mud thrown up by the campaigns that get them on the bench.

ICPR believes that the solution is in ending the arms race and allowing candidates to opt into a clean money program. Legislation has twice passed the Senate with bipartisan support (though, to be clear, it has never been assigned to a House Committee) that would address this problem at the Supreme Court level. This year, there are no Supreme Court seats on the ballot, though we’ll be watching the two contested Appellate Court seats to see if those races aren’t facing the same issues. The Third Branch of government deserves protection from the kind of beating campaign contributors are delivering.


"David Lee of Heyworth is a winner."

I've known that since I met David, but it's nice to see the Bloomington Pantagraph start out an editorial with those words.
David Lee of Heyworth is a winner.

But his triumph is not just a personal one. It is a victory for all voters wanting more choice on Election Day.

Lee never got the chance to run for the Illinois Senate as an independent in 2004. But he won in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down the state’s burdensome ballot laws.

The state shouldn’t waste time or money fighting the appellate court ruling.

Instead, state officials should devote their time to revising Illinois law to give independents a realistic chance to get on the ballot and give voters a wider choice on Election Day.

How could lawyers for the state argue with a straight face that the state’s requirements are not burdensome when not a single independent candidate has been able to meet the burden in 25 years?
Yet, Lisa Madigan's office did just that in Lee v. Keith. They argued and argued and argued that unfree, unequal, and unfair elections are perfectly fine to protect the corrupt nature of both power parties in Illinois. Thank you 7th Circuit for seeing through Lisa Madigan's anti-democratic rhetoric and her dad's unconstitutional rules.

But this editorial's suggestion for a solution doesn't go nearly far enough.
At a minimum, put the filing deadline back to 92 days before the November general election, as it was before 1975, and roll back the signature requirement to 5 percent of the votes cast in the most recent general election, as it was before 1979. Remove any penalties for people who sign an independent candidate’s petition.

Such requirements would protect against frivolous candidacies and excessive factionalism without creating insurmountable barriers.
"At a minimum" does deserve some credit, but I wish the writer had read the Illinois Constitution for guidance on what would be the right choice in changing our unconstitutional election laws.

Article III., Section 3. "All elections shall be free and equal."

If the Democrats and Republicans want unequal election laws then they should have to amend the state constitution that they swore to defend and uphold. Anything short of equal ballot access laws is a violation of the spirit, if not the intent, of our state constitution.

Illinois has been holding illegal elections that violate our 1st and 14th Amendment rights for 26 years now. I would love to find out exactly who still in the General Assembly voted for these unconstitutional election laws. I'm betting Michael Madigan and Emil Jones Jr. both did since they were around when the laws were put in place.

It's funny how many Illinois Democrats are demanding President Bush be impeached for violating the US Constitution, yet I haven't heard one word out of them about their own leaders' violation of the US Constitution. Obviously, they are more interested in politics than they are in the principles of our Constitution. So I'll speak up for them.

Michael Madigan, Emil Jones Jr., and anyone else who has voted for, supported, and refused to reform our illegal election laws should resign immediately for violating all Illinois voters' right to democratic elections.

This isn't the trivial matter that all the apologists will have you believe. Our US Constitution is the core of our republic and truly democratic elections are absolutely essential to choosing our government representatives.

I've been saying this for years now and will continue to until it sinks in. If you can't trust your leaders to hold free and equal elections what can you trust them with?

That answer is being offered everyday in news stories about government corruption, patronage, bribes, kick backs, ghost payrolling, and all the other abuses. Illinois simply can not trust our leaders.

These leaders like Michael Madigan and Emil Jones Jr. do not believe in the principles of democracy or the rule of law offered by both our State and US constitutions. A person willing to ignore and even openly violate such core principles of our country will be willing to abuse us in other ways, or at least look the other way while it happens. The news proves me right.

Did you know 4 Democrats on the State Board of Elections had to be ordered by a court to perform their statutory duties in placing Joe Parnarauskis on the ballot for State Senate last week? A judge had to order them to do their job as spelled out plainly in our election laws. They cared more about "protecting" a Democrat State Senate candidate than they did about the rule of law.

They need to resign or be removed immediately for failing to follow the rule of law. We can not trust the Democrats on the State Board of Elections and they are no longer qualified to do their jobs. It's that simple.

Democracy may not be a "sexy" issue for the media to report on or for the voters to care much about, but how our representatives handle their sworn duties should be of the utmost importance. So today I'm demanding that the rule of law be respected.

Michael Madigan and Emil Jones Jr. should immediately resign. Governor Blagojevich should immediately remove the Democrats on the State Board of Elections. All State Representatives should refuse to support Michael Madigan for Speaker of the House, and all State Senators should refuse to support Emil Jones Jr. for Senate President. None of these so-called leaders can be trusted to defend and uphold our State and US constitutions. And I implore all voters to stop voting for leaders we can not trust to do even the most basic thing as to hold free and equal elections. If they are willing to cheat democracy, they are willing to cheat you.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Why Not 'My Guy' ???

The post over at Capitol Fax got me thinking…

In the primary I was very excited for the state treasurer’s race. Why be excited for a primary treasurer’s race you ask? Well the candidate slated by the Illinois Democratic was my own hometown democrat, Paul Mangieri. I was rather excited to see a native Galesburgian, and someone I know personally, get the chance to hold a major statewide office. I immediately started thinking about the current office holders and candidates running on the rest of the state ticket and though to myself, “he should have a great shot at winning.”

But then Alexi G. decided to join the race… At first, I didn’t mind so much. I naively assumed that because ‘my guy’ had the party endorsement, it would take quite a bit to overcome that. I have always grown up learning about how Illinois is such a political machine and that one ought not go against it. There is a decent analysis of the two men from this spring if anyone has already forgotten this incident.

Well as we all know now, ‘my guy’ lost. Galesburg won’t have a statewide official this cycle at least. But as things unfold with the Giannoulias shady dealings, I can’t help but ask myself what if??? Would the democrats be more secure with a ‘clean’ candidate? Would it make it easier on the party to only have to deal with Rod’s dark dealings? Would Mangieri have been a better candidate on November 7th than Giannoulias?

A poll I found has Alexi up by 7 points. So maybe this is all a moot point. A campaign release gives credit to a poll that shows Alexi up by 13 points. Maybe the dems will sweep the state ticket regardless. Thoughts?


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Judy's Cap

In the ten years that I have served in the Legislature, no issue has generated the grassroots activism (and anger) in my district as has our skyrocketing residential property taxes. And if she plays this the right way, Judy Barr Topinka can get some good mileage out of this in Cook County:

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL. (AP) -- Republican candidate for governor Judy Baar Topinka says she's confident lawmakers would approve the Chicago casino that's a key component of her proposed budget plan.

Topinka was in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights Thursday to promote the proposal, which includes a two-year cap on property taxes.

Under Topinka's plan, the education portion of a homeowner's property tax bill would be frozen and the money to school districts replaced by the increased money she says her budget proposal would generate.

Topinka's plan also calls for increasing gaming positions at the state's riverboat casinos.

Topinka says her plan would provide more than $2.4 billion of property tax relief statewide.

About one-half of our property taxes goes to the schools, so even freezing just this portion would have a noticable impact. But I still have questions about how this would work in relation to Cook County's triennial assessment pattern.

I have repeatedly stated that I am not enamored of the thought of putting a casino in Chicago. And there's no question that this doesn't solve the issue of how we assess property, nor does it resolve the decades-old school funding debate. But I think that dangling the prospect of keeping property taxes in check, even for a short period of time, is a smart political move that will resonate with voters.

I would like nothing more than for the Governor's office to stake out some bold ground on this issue. As he lives in one of the neighborhoods in my district where the current property tax revolt started, he has to be keenly aware of the problem and how important an issue it is to local residents.

If nothing else, maybe Judy's focusing on the subject will help force the related issues further to the forefront where they belong.

On a related note, you can check out this AP article today about the candidates' views on school funding and consolidation.

To read, or post, comments, visit Dome-icile


Be a Legislative Candidate - Part 1

Below you will see the questions legislative candidates were asked to answer by the Chicago Tribune. Saturday, the Sun-Times’ questionnaire will be posted.

This was due September 15th and the Tribune is already running some articles based on its questionnaire.

Just like for the primary election, the Tribune cautions,

Please make this your own work. The newspaper will not endorse you if we find that you have drawn your responses from a master “answer” sheet provided to you by someone else.
Still, you can have some fun trying to figure out how you would answer this year’s Tribune questionnaire.

When I was filling them out, it usually took me a day to do so. I knew I wasn’t going to get the Tribune’s endorsement, but it was an enjoyable intellectual challenge.

Besides the usual biographical information, the Tribune asks 10 questions:
1. Two years ago, the state’s Educational Funding Advisory Board determined that the foundation level for an adequate public education should be $6,405 per pupil. The state currently provides $5,334. How should the state close the gap? Is more money the most effective way to improve student performance? What specific measures would you support to provide more money for schools? What education reforms should Illinois adopt? Please comment specifically on the elimination of tenure, on performance pay for teachers, on reducing class sizes and charter school expansion.

2. The General Assembly last year made changes in the state pension system to reduce its long-term obligations, but also deferred $2.3 billion in payments to the system. The five state pension plans face a combined unfounded liability of $38 billion. That figure will grow substantially in the coming years. What changes in contributions and benefits need to be made to the state’s pension system? Would you support a shift to a defined-contribution system?

3. How can Illinois address its longstanding culture of corruption? Does the state need new rules governing how candidates raise and spend money on campaigns? Does the state need new rules governing how elected officials conduct themselves in office?

4. Do you support the elimination of “member initiatives,” the funding of local projects at the request of legislators?

5. Should the Illinois Toll Highway Authority be sold or leased? If so, how should the proceeds be spent?

6. Should Illinois sell or lease the Lottery to raise revenue?

7. Please discuss the scope of legal gambling in the state. Should the state allow a casino in Chicago? Should it permit new forms of gambling? Should it award casino licenses based on competitive bids?

8. Should Illinois provide government funding for embryonic stem cell research? If so, under what guidelines?

9. Please tell us your top three priorities for the state.

10. Should foes gras be banned statewide?
I never saw a PETA question on a Tribune questionnaire before.

Come on, give at least one of these questions some thought and tell us what your answer would be. (Do them all, if you wish, but please answer one question in each comment.)

Just in case you are interested in ancient history, here’s how I answered the Tribune questionnaire when I ran for governor as a Libertarian in 2002. (You can find all of my 2002 newspaper questionnaire answers by clicking on my name on the upper right of this page and then clicking on the link to the Library of Congress archive of my Libertarian gubernatorial campaign’s web page.)

Saturday read the questions of the Sun-Times at McHenry County Blog. And, if you are into history, you can find out how I becamse a latch key legislator when someone voted my switch for the 1978 40% pay legislative raise Saturday and Sunday.


Political Wasteland

Hello there, I wanted to introduce myself as the newest member of the Illinoize community and provide some background of where I am coming from. I have decided that a good first post is one from my own blog Political Wasteland. I hope that I can provide a fresh voice from West-Central Illinois that everyone enjoys.

Why do I consider myself in a political wasteland??? I feel that way because there seems to be very little political activism in my area. Knox County has been decimated by job loss recently, but the community seems to be apathetic. Because of that, politicians have not been forced to act on the situation. I feel like there needs to be some organizational efforts to create a voice in this area. We are situated between the Quad Cities and Peoria and do very little to move out of their shadows.

Some of the districting hurts us as well. For example, most of Knox County is in the 17th Congressional district. This has to be one of the most gerrymandered in the country. It stretches from the QC to quincy, to Sprinfield, to Decatur. How can I feel like a representative knows my needs when he has to know the needs of people all across the state? Our State Senate district is compact, but unfortunately covers area in the opposite direction. We get the Peoria area in that district. So if I am interested in news for my congressional race I have to look to the QC media, and for state races I turn to the Peoria media. It’s quite unfortunate.

Perhaps it is merely a bad string of candidates that is causing all of this. There seems to be little reason to get excited about the statewide races like governor. Both candidates seem as dirty as possible and neither has really come out with anything to talk about. Our congressional race seems to be totally irrelevant even though it is an open seat going into this election. Similar to the governors race, neither candidate is really that exciting. Our State Senate and Representative races have drawn no attention, though in the Rep. case, that’s because there is no race. The one heated race in the county seems to be the Circuit Judge race. That will be interesting, but even it’s been quiet so far. Judge races are so much less interesting because they can’t talk about a lot of stuff.

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of online community in this area either. I don’t know if it’s the demographics of the area or something else, but there seems to be no technological push that I can find.

So it's for those reasons that I feel like I'm in a political wasteland. I really hope things change because it is hard to want to be involved when there’s nothing to be involved in.


Duckworth, Roskam, and the fear factor

I sat through a sermon Sunday on fear. Ellen in the Tenth has a whole post on fear in this election. The bottom line with this frame (implicit at Church; explicit with Ellen) is Bush and Rove are trying to scare me to vote Republican.

I don't live in fear. On the other hand I respect threats and danger. Drive around Kane County and look at all the white crosses at intersections and you realize stuff happens.

You warn your kids. You worry. And the danger is scalable, from WMDs in the hands of Dictators in Iran, to traffic on Randall Rd. You respect threats and deal with them, but you don't become their prisoner. I like to think I deal with danger that way.

Which brings me to the latest Duckworth and Roskam ads. I watched them back-to-back last night in a restaurant. Unable to hear them, but just looking at the images, and they starkly contrast: Major Duckworth in flight suit, American flag behind her, and then Huey's flying; and followed by Roskam's ad: his kids in front of his suburban home.

I feel a little safer with the Duckworth ads; less fear knowing people like her serve today. With Roskam's ads, I just wondered if he realized there's a war against terror? He needs something new here.

He needs to talk about fears we all have. Fears we should have because we would be naive to ignore them. He needs to tell us how Republicans can do a better job of easing fear by rationally dealing with dangers that aren't going to disappear.

But please don't tell me it's Karl Rove playing the fear card. Not when we get images of Duckworth as warrior and Roskam living in a Donna Reed world.


Bean votes for H R 6166

From WaPo,

The House approved an administration-backed system of questioning and prosecuting terrorism suspects yesterday, setting clearer limits on CIA interrogation techniques but denying access to courts for detainees seeking to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

Bean one of 38 Democrats voting for the bill.

I think captured enemy combatants should sit in Gitmo for the duration. They should wait until UBL issues a Fatwa of surrender. Last thing US should do is extend any rights for judicial review.

So good for Congresswoman Bean. Now what do Duckworth, Hare, Laesh, and Seals think?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fed Up?

I appreciate the e-mails asking me about my lack of blogging, and rather than make excuses for my long-term lack of blogging motivation, let me just try to get back into the swing of things. To facilitate the process, in the short run, I may stick to some short form entries aimed at putting some topics out there in order to at least try to prompt some thought and/or discussion.

I had said initially that the intention of this blog was not solely to be a forum for me to post my thoughts, but rather a place where I could try to give a perspective from the point of view of an elected official.

One of the reasons that my posting has been so scarce of late is that the majority of 'political' news has really focused on scandals, allegations and investigations. And since I don't want to tread in the waters of speculation and/or piling on, I have decided to stay away from this fray.

So rather than get into the individual merits or ramifications of any particular investigation, let's try to look at the issue globally. It is literally impossible to take in the local news on any given day without being buffetted by stories about the actions of the U.S. Attorney's office.

In fact, Federal agents are spending so much time going in and out of government offices these days, they shouldn't need warrants, they should get timecards.

And while all of this activity should help foster needed housecleaning (one way or another), it 's a sad statement about the state of local politics. One thing that it has done however is given the media ample material with which to work, and woken them from their tacit acceptance of business as usual. Gone are the days when a story that would chase an administration out of office in other cities or states merits only p.27 coverage in the local press. These days, the media seems emboldened to break the next big story and stay on the story until fruition (or conviction, whichever comes first). Whether this is a make-up attitude from the late start on the License for Bribes story is tough to determine, but I think that this new media vigilance is here to stay.

What is difficult to determine is what the impact of all of these actions will be on the electorate. It can essentially break one of two ways. Voters can toss up their collective hands out of apathy or cynicsm, or they can decide that they have had enough and use the power of their vote to effect change. Now I realize that, in some races, voters may feel that there is no real difference, and as such, not vote in certain races. But that mentality should not be used as an excuse to forego voting altogether in November or in the municipal elections next February.

Personally, I think that even mildly informed voters will see these two cycles as a unique opportunity to shake up the status quo and try to make their voice heard. That being said, it is still disheartening that the amount of campaign discussion cycle after cycle that is dedicated to corruption related topics drowns out so many other issues (education funding, healthcare, economic development, etc.) that the candidates should really be focused on.

So what say you, do all of these goings 0n help or hurt upcoming turnout?

To read, or post, comments, visit Dome-icile


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Obama family made $1.67 million last year,

I was hesitating on posting this story, until I remembered that Barack Obama accepted the terms of his book deal just before he was sworn in as a senator last year, pulling the same sleazy move Hillary Clinton did with her book deal.

From AP:

According to joint tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service and released to The Associated Press, the Obamas, with their two girls, had $1.67 million in total income last year — about $70,000 more than the total for all of 1998 through 2004.

Book royalties and advances brought in about $1.2 million for the senator-author whose first book, an autobiography published about a decade ago, became a best-seller during his 2004 campaign.

In late 2004, Obama landed a three-book deal worth $1.9 million with publishing houses under Random House Inc. The first book under the contract, Audacity of Hope: Reclaiming the American Dream, is scheduled for release in mid-October and is to focus on his political convictions and how he became the Senate’s only black member.

I'm sure the book will do well. But why the big advance? Obama has a full-time job, and didn't have to leave it to write the book.

To comment, please visit Marathon Pundit.

P.S. Yes, I know Obama got a bill enacted into law today. I have a post on that, too.


At Least No One Is Talking About His Running for President

I think I wrote the first article at the end of summer, 2003, pointing out how Governor Rod Blagojevich’s moves were setting the stage--programmatically and from a campaign fund raising viewpoint--for a run for the Presidency.

Well, we don’t have to worry about that anymore, do we?
Illinois Democrats who supported him in 2002 would pay their own way to campaign against him in Iowa and New Hampshire.

For fund raising, in 2003, I pointed to
· Movie folks;

· SBC, now AT&T (remember how he rolled over and signed—in less than a day--the bill found unconstitutional within, what, two months);

· Electric utilities (Blago appointed ICC commissioners who just allowed them huge rate increases);

· Archers Daniels Midland, which got hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies over a 10-year period;

· Service Employees International Union, the governor’s biggest contributor perhaps because, as a congressman, he voted against making the airport screeners (many SEIU members) federal employees.
And that was just what I saw through August, 2003.

(I did make one wrong prognostication. I thought the governor’s signing of a bill to end the privatization of the Anna Veterans Home would bring AFCSME into his corner. It obviously wasn't enough.)

Looking at the national constituency building moves, I saw
· Gun lovers (think World Shooting Complex) who live in rural Democratic counties that President George W. Bush carried. I pointed out that no gun legislation had made it to his desk at that point.

· Immigrants, especially, Latinos. In his first year, Blagojevich signed with great fanfare a bill to allow illegal immigrants to attend state universities at in-state tuition rates. He followed up with home loans to illegal aliens, plus health care for their kids under Kids Care.

· Advocates of the poor. Anybody but me remember his own “poverty programs” in Pembroke Township, where the Governor cancelled the building of a women’s prison, plus in Cairo, Savanna and Aurora? He also signed bills raising the minimum wage and increasing the income under which families could get the same health coverage as state employees to about $30,000—twice the poverty level.

· And, on abortion, Blagojevich staked out a radical position early.

· As he did on homosexual rights, signing one of the most radical laws anywhere.

· On women’s rights, he signed a state equal pay for equal work bill, one of the first in the nation. That is has done virtually nothing is irrelevant. Think of how it would fit into a presidential stump speech.

· “Taxpayers’ friend” was a label he was after, too. The governor repeatedly stated that he would not raise income or sales taxes. And, he hasn’t. He even vetoed two property tax cap “hole-pokers.” Both vetoes were overridden, of course, and he did nothing to stop that, but he sill has bragging rights.

· Good manager. Remember, this article was written at the end of August, 2003, not this year. 2003 was the year when California’s budget has experienced a “melt down,” Illinois legislators got out of session with what purports to be a balanced budget. Blagojevich even “lucked out” on the sale of almost $10 billion in pension bonds by being able to borrow the money for almost 1 percentage point less than he said he expected when the package was sold to the General Assembly. And, he did cut the payroll substantially.

· Corruption Fighter. This is bogus, of course, but, I pointed out that with the expected trials of prominent Republicans, Blagojevich would probably look honest in comparison. I said he wouldn't even have to claim honesty; he could just point to GOP corruption.

· Pioneer in Helping People Get Cheaper Drugs. Drug manufacturers have traditionally supported the Republican Party. During his campaign, Blagojevich adopted State Rep. Jack Franks' proposal to use the state’s bulk purchasing power to get lower prices. Now, it did not work out as he hoped, but he got all sorts of brownie points for initiating the idea (or at least stealing it from Franks). And, he took it one step further by taking on the Federal Drug Administration in his quest to import drugs from Canada’s government-controlled market.

· My 2003 conclusion was Blagojevich was promoting himself as “Not a Traditional Democrat.”
I concluded my article,
So, what image is Blagojevich preparing to be presented to a national audience?

It is certainly not one of a traditional “tax and spend” Democrat. While he retains the ability to make traditional appeals to traditional Democratic Party constituencies, Blagojevich is positioning himself to differentiate himself from other Democrats, not to mention tax-hiking Republicans.
From McHenry County Blog, where the author has a long memory.


Nina Easton on Rahm Emanual

The final four paragraphs from Nina Easton's profile on Emanual. I like him. I agree with his comments on Iraq and Saddam. I just wish we could drop this Untouchables thing everytime someone outside Chicago writes about us.

On Iraq, Emanuel has steered clear of the withdraw-now crowd, preferring to criticize Bush for military failures since the 2003 invasion. "The war never had to turn out this way," he told me at one of his campaign stops. In January 2005, when asked by Meet the Press's Tim Russert whether he would have voted to authorize the war-"knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction"-Emanuel answered yes. (He didn't take office until after the vote.) "I still believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, okay?" he added.

When it comes to slicing and dicing his Republican foes, Emanuel applies a Chicago pol's sensibility that recalls that famous Untouchables line: "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun; he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro describes Emanuel as a "reflection of Chicago politics, ward politics. It's local, ethnic. You're not in a tea party." Colleague Ed Markey, a veteran House member from Massachusetts, says simply, "He's not a political romantic."

Mostly out of power for the past six years, the Democrats could use Emanuel's comeback instincts. So the match is a timely one. But what's driving Emanuel crazy right now is how little control he has over the party's future-or his own. "Can we get the right candidates?" he asks. "Yes, and we busted our balls recruiting and expanding the field. Can we raise the resources? Yes. Can we help on issues? Yes." But at the end of the day, he asks, "which way will the wind blow on Iraq? On energy prices? On the Middle East?"

"For a type-A personality like me, I hate that. I hate that," he says, his voice trailing off as he spins through a Capitol building hallway. "Your fate is out of your hands."


Monday, September 25, 2006

How Powerful is the McHenry County GOP?

The song

Where did all the flowers go?
Long time passing.
is running through my head as I ask the question:
How Powerful is the McHenry County Republican Party?
The $18,000 McHenry County Conservation District 500-person survey taken the third week of May by American Viewpoint paints a sad picture for the Republican Party in McHenry County.

There are now more people who identify themselves as Independents than Republicans!

30% say they are “Independents,” while only 28% say they are Republicans.

Republicans still outnumber Democrats by 8 percentage points:
28% - Republican
20% - Democrat
but that has to be small consolation to Republican leaders.

Besides the 48% who identify with the two power parties and the 30% who call themselves Independents, what happened to the other 22% of the citizenry?

13% replied, “Other.”

Does that mean Libertarian, Green or just a voter who didn’t want to tell a pollster?

7% refused to answer the question and 2% said they didn’t know.

So, what does “other” mean?

The better question, perhaps, is
Why is a local government is asking for party identification?
If memory serves me correctly, members of the MCCD Board cannot have a partisan affiliation.

First posted on McHenry County Blog.


Seek and Find

Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

Since 1998, Illinois election law has required that candidates disclose the occupation and employer of individuals who contribute more than $500 to their campaigns. ICPR used to issue report cards that graded candidates on their compliance. Initially, campaigns were spotty in their reporting, but after we handed out a few D’s and F’s, they recognized the value of this kind of reporting. We had a few rounds where pretty much everybody got A’s, and then we moved on to other issues.

Occupation and employer is back in the news with Gov. Blagojevich insisting that the Topinka campaign is in violation of the law, as in L-A-W, for failing to report occupation and employer for some of her donors. We took the bait, and sure enough, Topinka’s disclosure reports fail to include occupation and employer for some 85 of the 512 individual contributions to her campaign of more than $500. Then again, Blago’s D2s are also missing this information for a few of his donors; his campaign shows 486 individual contributions that ought to have occupation and employer, and that data is missing for four of them. We hope both candidates will C-O-M-P-L-Y with the L-A-W and amend their reports to include this information.

Some individuals can be hard to find, even after they’ve given you a big check. They must be, or both campaigns would have filed amended D2s with the information. But since they both seem to be too busy preparing for the debates, maybe our loyal blog readers can help us out. Here’s a list of the 77 people who are missing occupation and employer data (some gave more than once). If you know who there folks are, drop us a line and we’ll add it to the Sunshine Database, even if the candidates can’t get it filed with the State Board of Elections.

The whole list is tooo long to cross-post, but read it here.

Note: If you should see yourself on this list, know that a candidate you donated to needs to talk with you in order to fully fill out their disclosure reports. Please get in touch with them.


Laesch on impeachment, Iraq, and Iran

The Reader on Laesch. At least there's some clarity with Laesch.

Laesch would have Congress investigate the Bush case for war. “If that investigation shows that they misled the country or lied, then ‘impeachment’ should be the first word in everyone’s mouth.”

As for the current mess, he thinks we should recognize that the only thing Iraqis agree on is that they want our soldiers out, and we should negotiate a flexible timetable with their government for leaving.
And then on Iran.
The U.S. should be promoting regional disarmament instead of rattling nuclear sabers at Iran, he says, with the caveat that we do need to have a force nearby in case real trouble breaks out.
I'm not optimistic on dialogue with lets wipe the Israel off the map Ahmadinejad, so why Iraq, with an Iraqi Army as ally, isn't a good spot to keep a force should trouble break out, is something Laesch should explain.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

18 Years Too Late the CDC Gets It

I wonder how many thousand lives have been lost because the Centers for Disease Control has waited 18 years to follow the recommendations of President Ronald Reagan’s AIDS/HIV Commission.

That's almost two decades of lost opportunity to inform those with the disease of their HIV-infected and HIV-infectuous status!

Yesterday, the CDC, which I think could be more appropriately be called the Centers for the Spread of Disease, recommended routine testing for HIV for those from ages 13-64.

When Penny Pullen was negotiating the recommendations in the commission report from the public protection side of the issue, she got unanimous approval for routine testing. (I assisted her when she served on the commission.)

How shameful that the CDC delayed almost two decades to implement that sensible recommendation.

I see in the Friday page 3 Chicago Tribune article that Illinois folks who are not on the public protection side of this issue still don't get it:

"What they really want is not so much routine testing as what I call stealth testing," (Executive Director of the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago Ann) Fisher said.
It seems some are still stuck in the age that considered AIDS/HIV a politically protected virus, rather than a disease that needs to be treated like any other.

More at McHenry County Blog, including the state of the GOP, as found in an $18,000 McHenry County poll.


Creepy Pete: How Gigolo Can You Go?

Eric Krol of the Daily Herald lays out some history on Creepy Pete Roskam, a man he describes as "a politician who sometimes comes across as poured from the old 'Leave It to Beaver,' Eddie Haskell mold."

The first plot was The Sir Thomas More Justice League:

[A] campaign fund-raising scheme devised by Salvi and Roskam in the mid-’90s to capitalize on their planned votes against limits on pain-and-suffering damages in civil lawsuits. ***

To some, promising to vote a certain way while simultaneously soliciting campaign checks looked an awful lot like selling your vote.
But that piece of legislative entrepreneurship paled in comparison to this:
The other Roskam wheeler-dealer example comes courtesy of Salvi’s failed 1998 bid for secretary of state.

Roskam asked the Illinois comptroller’s office for a list of the names and addresses of more than 3,600 secretary of state employees. “I just wanted to look at the list to find out about the nature of the office,” Roskam claimed to the Chicago Tribune in 1998.

But Roskam also admitted he gave the list to the Salvi campaign, of which he was chairman. Team Salvi used the list to send numbered $50 campaign fund-raising tickets to secretary of state employees. The numbering made it easy for Salvi to track which employees ponied up and which employees didn’t. One ethics watchdog at the time blasted the move as “classic Illinois political prostitution with a twist.”
And so the choice for the 6th District is clear: An Iraq war veteran or a George Ryan-style political wheeler-dealer.


When Did the Right Wing Become Catholic?

Let's see. I voted for Kerry, Clinton twice, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern. My wife and I got death threats after my oldest was born, because the Pro Life Action League said I was Pro-Abortion (actually what I said was that I was anti-jerk and objected to a really pretty performance by one of their street guerillas at an all school assembly) in 1984. So, as a Roman Catholic I am a member of the Religious Right?

Bishop Bernard Sheil started inner city programs before the Progressives knew what spoons to steal and the Mercy Nuns had been taking care of the poor long before Jane Adams co-opted their work. Most of the New Deal programs which helped create the American welfare state were crafted by Al Smith, the first American Catholic to run for President. Catholics - Religious Right? Come on, Guillermo Munro.

Guillermo Munro is a very talented young artist from the American southwest. I wonder if he is related to the novelist, filmmaker, and artist Guillermo Munro?Maybe his kid. The Sun Times has an eye for talent. Anyway the same guys who contracted Mr. Munro think that Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell are hip and 'edgey, ' Jesus! Boys, those two quarts of milk curdled years ago! Now, these same guys are going to undo the fortune of an up and coming hip young talent by linking him with lame pop culture? Beware - Guillermo! They told you that Roman Catholics are the Religious Right? Why that's lame.

Well, that is what Guillermo Munro and the Chicago Sun Times new trendy lefties ( Not Steve Huntley - he still gets a good supply of oxygen) would have us believe. Guillermo Munro did a composite piece for the 'edgey' Controversy Section - that is like taking Pete Seeger banjo tunes as 'edgey' Dangerous Songs! Pete's kind of a yawn, but then I get drowsey when WTTW and NPR drones on - they use 'edgey' too. Edgey must mean dull.

One Caveat! I do not think that we blogging-Doofi, are allowed to reproduce copy-righted art or photos - like that swell one from Chicago Reader that made Mike Quigley look like Ed 'Too Tall' Jones a couple of weeks back. So I need to post a link to Chicago Sun Times's "edgey" Controversy -this past Sunday: NOPE! Sorry. Can't even get a link up to Guillermo Munro's art work -

Let's try the old word of mouth - from an avowed flannel-mouth - here goes: Scott Jacobs ( an 'edgey writer') wrote a series of book reviews about the power of the Religious Right - nothing new here except that maybe Rosie O'Donnell flapped her gums about the Christian Right being more dangerous than the good folks at Al Queda and Hezzbolah, Inc. on that show with all the fat girls. Ok , Free Speech - Move Along -yeah, I know. Ok; So, to get things 'all edgey,' Cruikshank, Baron, Hayner, and poor Steve Huntley agreed to graphic artist Munro's thematic collage workup:

George W. Bush in a Catholic Bishop's get-up; Gothic Catholic Church Spires, Pre-Rapaelite Cherubs form some kind of Italian Catholic conspiracy, Gothic ( them Goths was Catholic) Columns, Catholic Stained Glass images of Christ the Savior and his Pal the Holy Spirit and some obscurred Saint to the left -Probably Martin Sheen; God the Father is not present in the stained glass representation. On the chasuble of GYB's cassock is the GOP elephant in GWB's left hand -we don't know what the right hand is doing - GWB holds a Crucifix adorned crosier.

We have us an 'edgey' porridge of Popery! Guillermo, like most young 'edgey' artists thinks that he is giving it good and hard to the Powers that Be. Problem is Guillermo, the First National Skank ( waaaaay before Paris Hilton assumed that role), Old Madonna herself, beat you to it and she's just 'sold out' her latest tour that PO'd the Pontifical Plutocrats. Kid, to get 'edgey' you need go after a hot target and here you try to nail a tired target and you get as lame and about as 'edgey' as the endless McDonald's jingle. 'DaDa Dot DaDa! I;m Lovin'It!

Catholics are too easy. We are like the tired old Dad who has come home from a double shift and has his three and four year olds doing Pirates of the Caribbean on him until they get tired of stabbing and hacking at him as he lays in front of the tube trying to get a look at Nesita Kwan and then he gently puts them to bed. Cute -not 'edgey.'

If you really want to get 'edgey,' do what Sun Times cartoonist Jack Higgins did last week or that Danish guy that has a Fatwah issued for his infidel head - That's 'edgey.'

Guillermo, my late wife was an artist and she told me how dense I was because I didn't 'get' the guy who had 'edgey' photos of guys peeing in each others' mouths. I am a DUMBASS! But, I did learn that the 'edgier' a young artist gets the more cache he gets. Kid, you need some more of that there cache.

1. Most Catholics vote Democrat ( most of them are not Progressives because most of them have all of their marbles) so that makes your assumption kind of sadly stale.
2. Catholics are always tied to back room smoke filled rooms Rum Romanism and Rebellion. it's old -hackneyed, been done, cliche, too 'picket fence' - Too Norman Rockwell - we want Norman Bates!
3. GWB done up like a Mullah or a rabbi or a Unitarian or a She BUTCH - like the cover story on the derth of good TV roles for Bull Lesbians -NOW that's 'edgey!'

Try to remember Guillermo to get 'edgey' you need to PO people that get PO'd - true art brings people together and nothing brings people together like a MOB of PO'd people. Roman Catholics are all happy today because ND came back to beat Michigan State. The Church Triumphant! Now, how lame a target is that, Guillermo?

Kid, you're as 'edgey' as Dean's Vanilla or the Empire Carpet Guy. Sorry - hard truths. See above Left - even the old Pope is snoozin'! Yeow! Speaking of dull - Gore, I voted for Al Gore. You see, Guillermo?


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Democrat Mary Margaret Maule Campaigns for McHenry County Board

Mary Margaret Maue, a Democrat running for county board in the McHenry-Johnsburg-Wonder Lake district would have been knocking on doors if it had been August.

But it’s September and people don’t like to open their doors at 7 PM.

So candidates like Maule have to find other venues.

I always thought bowling alleys and bars were great places to campaign at night. Maybe she’s done or will do that.

Thursday night, however, Maule was at the McHenry County Conservation District meeting.

She stood up during the public comment period (fter the MCCD ranger union spokesman told how his union didn’t think the district was really negotiating) and introduced herself.

“I moved here from Virginia 4 years ago. I’m a retired Navy wife.”

She talked about how she was the only candidate who actually decided to live here, rather than having been born in the McHenry area.

Nice twist, I’d say.

Maule did have one substantive suggestion for the conservation district board.

She wished for a dog exercise place. She said she had to go to Lake County and pay, I think, over $100.

I imagine that might appear if she wins her race for the county board over the two incumbent Republicans—Pete Merkel and Sandra Fay Salgado.

When I asked Maule whom she was running against, she said, “Pete Merkel.”

Of course, she is really running against both of them, but probably realizes the advantage that women have over men in McHenry County electoral contests.

I asked if she were the one with whom Jack Franks was knocking on doors and discovered she’s the one.

Maule gave me one of her cards and I found that she lists herself as a “former legislative liaison for Representative Jack Franks.”

That, plus her willingness to knock on doors would probably explain Franks’ willingness to walk subdivisions with her.

I asked how many doors she had knocked on and got an estimate of 5,000. (I think I should have put an exclamation mark. When I ran for county treasurer in 1966 I knocked on about 4,000, maybe a couple of hundred more. The primary was June 13th—last time for that, can’t give challengers that much daylight door knocking time.)

Maule said she had covered Johnsburg, Richmond, parts of McHenry and was now working on Wonder Lake.

This will be a good test as to how effective knocking on doors is today in McHenry County.

It certainly worked for Rosemary Kurtz when she beat me in the 2000 GOP primary.

More that you would not expect at McHenry County Blog, including the first mention of the 5-6 month old Chicago Crime Commission investigation of McHenry County in its dominant newspaper, the Northwest Herald.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Divorce, McHenry County Style

A spotlight has been pointed at divorce, McHenry County style.

In a Union League press conference held this morning, Chicago Crime Commission President Jim Wagner said that a report had been given the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI, which included McHenry County's "family courts."

In a McHenry County Blog interview with Wagner, he said,

Family courts would determine in many cases custody rights, the proper treatment of the child in those situations, where the child could most properly be served.
That sounds like divorce court to me.

When asked about what he said concerning McHenry County this morning, Wagner replied:
We had done a preliminary inquiry in the collar counties, including McHenry County, that bled over into other counties.

As a result of the inquiries, we discovered numerous people willing to discuss criminal activity that they perceived to be occurring in various governmental units, including the court system and including family courts.

As a result of the inquiries, we prepared a report, which we provided to the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI a few weeks ago.

We are hopeful that the information will result in criminal investigations because we believe sufficient information is available to warrant further investigation.

I also said that we have no control over the proceedings from here on out. That it is totally up to the United States Attorney and the FBI. Nor will we know if there is an ongoing investigation because they won’t discuss pending matters.

I’m not able to provide any details because that could taint a criminal investigation.
When I asked him what he meant by "family courts," Wagner added the quote above.

The press conference was mainly targeted at publicizing a public corruption hotline.

Those who would like to drop a dime on crime may do so by contacting the commission by calling 312-372-0101. There is also a way to communicate by email on the web site.

McHenry County Blog first reported the Chicago Crime Commission's probe into McHenry County May 4th. July 23nrd McHenry County Blog reported on State's Attorney Lou Bianchi's letter to county officials. August 4th, McHenry County Blog printed a letter from Barrington Hills' attorney stating the village had not started the probe.

If no one else runs a story on this, how can that hurt McHenry County Blog?


Don't they teach anything in Governor School anymore.

If you can't be sure who the gift was for and what it was for, then how can you be sure that the money even went to your kid?

If you are the Governor of Illinois and some one gives you or your kid a check (or cash) as a gift shouldn't you make a note of that? If for no other reason than just in case something like this happens.

Seriously, don't elected officials do stuff like that for their own protection? My wife does it just for the thank you notes, FYI if you give OneMan, Mrs. OneMan, OneDaughter or OneSon $1,500 you will get a nice thank you note.

More at OneMan's Thoughts


Forget tea bags, how 'bout sending Monopoly money with your state tax returns

Pat Quinn is the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Before becoming Rod Blagojevich's ticket-mate, the Oak Park Democrat was a kind of Prairie State Ralph Nader--a consumer advocate known for using stunts to get his name in the media.

Quinn and Blagojevich are up for re-election this year, and Pat is doing his part by drumming up some media noise. Consumers in Illinois have just been hit by huge rate increases. As a protest, Quinn is suggesting that Illinoisans include empty tea bags with their next electrical payment to show their displeasure with the new rates.

One problem: The US Postal Service is concerned that the empty tea bags could damage sorting equipment at postal facilities.

I have a better idea. If somehow Illinois residents are dense enough re-elect team Blagojevich/Quinn, next April,Illionis taxpayers should enter $1,500 in Monopoly money with their state returns. Why $1,500?

That amount matches the $1500 birthday present check given to Gov. Blagojevich's then seven year-old daughter, Amy, by Michael Ascaridis. Shortly after he sent the check, Ascaridis' wife Beverly obtained a $45,000 a year state job.

When you mail the phony cash, tell 'em you got the idea from Pat Quinn.

Visit Marathon Pundit to comment.


Just Report It

Cross-posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

As the Sun-Times reports this morning, the Chicago Crime Commission has created a statewide hotline for reporting government corruption. (Don’t let the name fool you – Chicagoans apparently care about corruption all over the state). The hotline is (888) EYEONGOV or (888) 393-6646. The Web site is www.888eye [The SJ-R is reporting it, too, but their story isn’t on-line].

The Commission promises to deliver complaints to the appropriate authorities for investigation and possible prosecution. They also say that they will accept anonymous complaints, even though the statewide Inspector Generals and the State Ethics Commission cannot accept anonymous complaints; perhaps the Commission will refer those directly to the appropriate U.S. Attorneys or local State’s Attorneys.

Corruption reporting seems to be a cottage industry these days. Perhaps now would be a good time to review your contact options when you see corruption:

* In August, Jim Burns, one of the Inspectors General at the Secretary of State’s office, announced a website to accept complaints about unethical activities in state government. Burns, a former US Attorney for Northern Illinois, can now accept complaints through the web.

* The Governor’s Inspector General, James Wright, also maintains a webpage, but their procedure is for complainants to download a form, fill it out and fax it back.

* The State Ethics Commission itself is also on-line. The Ethics Commission is the only place to get summaries of all five executive branch Inspector General quarterly reports, which to date are the only reports available to the public about the work of the Inspectors General. These can be downloaded here.


Blagojevich: Seniors and Kids

What's with Gen Y?

Young people just starting out with careers and looking at their futures?

source is Survey USA, 529 LVs, 9/17/09 - 9/19/09


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ten Ways to Avoid Telling Your Parents You’re Pregnant Under House Bill 955 - The "Parental Avoidance Bill"

Tell me why abortion supporters are so upset with the Illinois Supreme Court's activating House Bill 955, a bill passed 11 years ago.

(The map is from Wikipedia. Pink shows where girls can get an abortion without telling their parents. The closest state seems to be New York.)

HB 955 is toothless. If there were ever a fake parental notification law, this is it.

Here was my April 5, 1995, floor speech against House Bill 955, the fake parental notification law that the Illinois Supreme Court is about to consider writing rules for:

This is definitely a “headline bill” without the substance which is promised. There is secrecy throughout this bill.

There is a court bypass I which there is total secrecy. If you read the language in the bill, which I suspect most of us have not, you will see…you won’t even know how many…reporters won’t even be able to go the courthouse to find out how manypeople have requested a judicial bypass. It said that the Governor will sign this bill and I guess the secrecy involved is consistent with Department of Public Health’s refusal to release the number of abortions performed in Illinois.

On November 11, excuse me, November 22, 1989, the Ragsdale Case came down I the State of Illinois—a consent decree.

In that consent decree was the ability, in fact, the mandate, for the Department of Public Aid…Public Health to count abortions. To this date the Department of Public Health has not released any monthly or annual statistics of the number of abortions in Illinois.

The best guess we have comes from the abortion industry, from Planned Parenthood, over 70,000.

But secrecy is consistent with this bill, Mr. Speaker.

All a girl has to do to get an abortion is to go into the abortionist’s office and claim in writing that she has suffered neglect.

Now, I will go back through some of the reasons that she could use I a minute, but I would like to point out that there is absolutely no audit of the abortionist’s records. So, as absurd as you may think, some of the examples I’m about to read are, no one is going to be able to look at the abortionist’s records.

1) Now, if you wanted to get an abortion without telling your parents, under this bill, first of all you would tell a grandparent, maybe a couple of thousand miles away to write you a note of approval and maybe granny or grandfather would do that for you.

2) Secondly, you could get a friend to write and sign the note saying it’s from your parent.

3) Thirdly, you could get some adult to go in…in the abortionist’s office with you and say, “This is my child. I approve giving her an abortion.” They’re not going to have to check on the identity of the person.

4) Fourthly, you could go to the Circuit Clerk’s office and ask for help in getting an abortion. The clerk’s office will tell you how to get a free lawyer. Everything will be secret. I re-emphasize that no one will know you’ve been to court. Your parents won’t know that you’ve been to court. In fact, no one in the entire county will ever know that you’ve been to court or that anyone has been to court.

5) Of course, you could just go to the abortion clinic and ask them to send your parent a certified letter and, then, tell your parent that the sheriff’s department has been trying to serve you a summons. Now, certified letters are attempted to be served three times. If you don’t sign the little form, the certified letter doesn’t get…doesn’t get delivered.

6) Well, you could write down that your stepparent or one of your parents or grandparents had fondled you. You’ll get the abortion and you’ll get that grandparent, stepparent or parent in big trouble with the Department of Children and Family Services.

7) You could write that your stepparent or one of your grandparents or parents has neglected you because he or she refused you enough food or enough clothing. You’ll get the abortion, but you probably won’t get parents in any trouble. The doctor won’t report that to DCFS.

8) You could go to the abortion clinic and write down that you’re…that you had a headache last night and your parent or stepparent refuses to get you an aspirin. Now we all know that a school child can’t get an aspirin without their parents’ permission, but, somehow, I think the abortionist will go with the money, give you the abortion and probably this won’t get you in any trouble at all.

9) You could write that one of your stepparents or your grandparents or your parents has neglected you because she locked you out of the house because you didn’t make it back by curfew time. You’ll get the abortion and certainly you won’t get your relative in any trouble.

10) Or you could just go in and say you’ve in mental anguish, no, you have to write it down, you can’t just say it, you’re in mental anguish because you can’t talk to your parents, you can’t tell your parents you’re pregnant. In fact, you’ve never been able to talk to your parents about anything and you want an abortion. You’ll get the abortion and no one will be told.
This bill may be titled, “Parental Notice,” but it is not parental notice.

Parents can be avoided under this bill so easily that it does not deserve the title.

This bill, it seems to me, will continue the cover-up of abortions in the State of Illinois which the Department of Public Health and, now, this General Assembly that passes this bill and, if the Governor signs it, are deliberately presenting to the public.

It does not deserve to be called “parental notice.”

It is a “parental avoidance bill”

= = = = =
Then a pro-abortion legislator stood up to oppose the bill.

The proponents of the bill did not dispute the loopholes I outlined.

More views you won't read elsewhere on McHenry County Blog.


Politics, Pirates and Cook County Candidates

Cross-posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

Yesterday was the first day for candidates in the 2007 Chicago elections to circulate petitions. It was also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Coincidence? Certainly, that was enough for one day.

So today, ICPR unveils our new Cook County wing of the Sunshine Database. The new Cook County Database does for the state’s largest county what the Sunshine Database does for state candidates: makes it easier to search for donors, lists top donors and vendors for all candidates, and helps the public understand where campaign funds come from and where they go.

Want to know how your Cook County candidates built their warchests? This page will tell you who gave and how they spent it if you know what office they’re seeking. Go here if you know the candidate’s name. And if you want to search for all money given to Cook County candidates by a particular donor, look here.

Pirate talk aside, we hope this resource helps voters to better navigate campaign records of Cook County candidates. And check back in a few weeks for more additions to the database. As attention moves to municipal elections, the Sunshine Database will grow to include a Chicago wing as well.


A case for bi-lingual Gov Forms

From today's Kane County Chronicle,

Two Elgin residents have found their way onto Kane County voting rolls despite not being citizens, officials said.

The two people contacted the clerk's office earlier this week to have their names removed from the list of registered voters, Deputy Clerk Jay Bennett said.

Non-U.S. citizens are not allowed to vote in U.S. elections.
Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said the illegal registrations occurred when the people used their green cards to obtain driver's licenses, then filled out the "motor-voter" application that the Illinois Secretary of State's Office gives with driver's-license applications or renewals.
Secretary of state's office Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Jill Zwick said the motor-voter form was just an application and not a registration. The local election agency actually does the registration.

"In this case, it would be Kane County, Jack Cunningham's office," she said.

Zwick said the current form asked people to check three boxes.

"The first question is, 'Are you a citizen of the United States?'" she said. "It says next to them, 'If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, do not continue.'"

The form is only in English, she said.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cary Grade School District 26 Board Ends “Pay to Play”

Here’s something I have not seen before.

At the initiation of Cary Grade School Board member Chris Jenner, the board passed a resolution last night saying it will not do business with any company that “has contributed to political campaigns that directly affect the district.”

If you don’t think that is a problem, please take a look at Carpentersville District 300 here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Here’s information on Woodstock District 200 and here’s a school superintendent-consultant’s advice and here and here and here.

Here’s a small look at vendor money in District 200 and other districts with tax hike referendums.

Here’s what the Cary School Board passed on Monday:

Vendor/Contractor Conflict of Interest

Any company or individual doing $10,000 or more in business with the District within a fiscal year shall not contribute to any political campaign that directly affects the District while doing business for the District or for a period of two years after completion of business with the District. Further, the District will not enter into significant business with a company or individual that has contributed to a political campaign that directly affects the District within two years prior to commencing business.

Political campaigns that directly affect the district
shall be defined as:
· School board election
· Tax or bond referendum
The vote was 6-0 with one member absent.

Neither the teachers union nor district employees are covered by the language.

You can find out about House Bill 955, the newly resurrected parental notice law, on McHenry County Blog on Sept. 19th and 20th.


Dan Hynes: a billion more each year; and the Hare Zinga debate

Crains on Dan Hynes talking about Illinois finances.

The state faces "a serious crisis" by 2010 unless lawmakers take a long-term view of state finances, Hynes told a business group in Chicago. But a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the administration was well aware of the problems when it came into office and has continued to alleviate them.

Hynes, a Democrat, said the state will have to pay about $1 billion more each year to keep up with growth in the built-in budget obligations. That's just about the amount of new money — through increased tax revenue, for example — the state has gained annually for the past 10 years, he said.

"If current trends continue and the state fails to address these looming issues, the state could face a serious crisis by fiscal year 2010," Hynes told the state finance task force of the Civic Committee.
Is Hynes voting for Blagojevich?

Hare seems out of touch with Democrats too. Here's his response to Zinga in their first debate on Democratic calls for Bush's impeachement.
Hare, an aide to retiring U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, said he doesn't know of any Democrats talking about impeachment.

"I don't know where that one came from. That came from way out in left field," he said after debating Zinga in a forum hosted by WILL-TV.
Here are the sponsers for HJR0125: which
Urges the General Assembly to submit charges to the U. S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States, George W. Bush, for willfully violating his Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and if found guilty urges his removal from office and disqualification to hold any other office in the United States
Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough, Sara Feigenholtz, Eddie Washington, Cynthia Soto, William Delgado, William Davis, Kenneth Dunkin, Wyvetter H. Younge, Arthur L. Turner, Esther Golar, Constance A. Howard, David E. Miller, Annazette Collins, Calvin L. Giles, Deborah L. Graham, Robin Kelly, Edward J. Acevedo, Michelle Chavez, Robert Rita and Lou Lang.

Democrats all I believe.

Update: ImpeachPAC has a list of all resolutions out there. Includes States of Illinoios and California. It's pending in Chicago, and on the ballot in Champaign and Urbana.

Update: And H. Res 635 co sponsered by Danny Davis and Jan Schawkosky.

Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

It's not an obscure effort.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Illinois Gop's Lost Turnout Opportunity

An Illinois Review post led me to a Washington Post analysis of the national Republican Party’s superior voter turnout operation in Minnesota blogger Dreckless.

But no one made the connection between the second sentence in the following Post paragraph about turnout in Ohio and its Protect Marriage Amendment:

Recent history underscores the importance of superior voter-mobilization plans. In 2004, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) thought that if he received 190,000 votes it would be impossible for former congressman John Thune (R) to beat him. Daschle won 193,340 votes; Thune got 197,848. In Ohio -- the central battleground in the race between Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) -- Democrats met all of their projected vote totals but came up more than 100,000 short.
The Washington Post reporters were not swift enough to figure out that it was probably those who supported the passage of a constitutional amendment who hyped the GOP vote totals in Ohio.

Illinois Republicans have, of course, missed their chance to follow Ohio’s example.

Indeed, its spokesman, too, seems not capable of making the connection the Washington Post writers missed.

Associated Press reports,
“The Illinois Republican Party had limited resources," said its executive director, John Tsarpalas. "We chose to put our money and time into our candidates' campaigns."
Just following his national example, I guess.

Posted first on McHenry County Blog.


Corn Correction

Because there is no way to comment on the earlier David Corn/Patrick Fitzgerald post, I'll do it this way.

David Corn does not say in the interview cited by Marathon Pundit that Fitzgerald should be disbarred; in fact, he says just the opposite - that that is the sort of thing that, much to his consternation, conservatives are saying in response to the revelation in the book Hubris that Richard Armitage was Bob Novak's primary source in Plamegate affair, and that Fitzgerald knew that early in his investigation.

Conservatives are using this information to argue that there was no White House effort to slime Joe Wilson and that Fitzgerald needlessly dragged on his investigation.

To the contrary, the reporting of Corn and Michael Isikoff in Hubris shows just the opposite. Their reporting, based in part on eyewitness accounts of events in the White House, show, that there was just such a campaign against Wilson, that White House officials leaked classified information as part of the campaign, and that Scooter Libby was indicted precisely because he told the FBI a story they didn't believe - and one that, according to Corn and Isikoff, didn't turn out to be true.

Aside from the audio cited by Marathon Pundit below, and I encourage everyone to listen to that, Corn has written of this on his own blog,, and said this on CNN this weekend:

"Well, I think there's been a good job from the opposition here in terms of the Bush defenders by pointing to this disclosure in our book and saying that makes everything go away, that Karl Rove wasn't involved. The book that I co-wrote with Mike Isikoff shows that at the same time Armitage was speaking to Bob Novak, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and others in the White House were actively plotting as well to undermine Joe Wilson. And, of course, as has already been revealed, were leaking the same information to other reporters.

"So there was really a two-track process going here. And, you know, Armitage has come forward and disclosed what he's done. Karl Rove still hasn't. And the White House, that once vowed to fire anyone involved in the leak, still hasn't done anything.

"If Scooter Libby and Karl Rove had told the truth and had gotten it right at the beginning, then the Fitzgerald investigation would have been over in five months."

Just to set the record straight.


Illinois Election Statutes Ruled Unconstitutional

Lisa Madigan lost this case and I hope she doesn't waste any more taxpayer money appealing it to the US Supreme Court. They've already said 10% is too high and 11 months prior to the election is too early.

The Chicago Tribune has the story up already here.

A federal appeals court declared Monday that the unusually high hurdles independent candidates for the Illinois legislature must clear to get their names on the ballot are unconstitutional.

"They are the most restrictive in the nation and have effectively eliminated independent legislative candidacies from the Illinois political scene for a quarter of a century," a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its 17-page decision.
Thank you David Lee, Dan Johnson-Wenberger, Richard Winger and COFOE, and Richard C. Miadich. And everyone else who made this a HUGE win over Lisa Madigan's attempts to thwart free and equal, democratic elections in Illlinois along with the entire monopoly Combine political machine.

This win was three years in the making and I've spent a lot of time and energy on this, so I'm celebrating tonight!!!
I'll comment more at my blog later after I read the whole opinion. For background on this case, my Election Laws category has a ton, including the fascinating oral arguments audio from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now let's get something similar to House Bill 758 - introduced by Rep. Boland and supported by Rep. Froehlich and Rep. Franks - passed right away to comply with the US Constitution. It's already written and ready to go. Of course, a bill that lived up to the Illinois Constitution's free and EQUAL requirement would be even better.


Revised: Disbar Fitzgerald, David Corn possibly said in latest Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review

For the second time in four days, I listened to David Corn in a Pajamas podcast.

The latest podcast is Pajamas Media's Blog Week in Review, where Corn joins regulars Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit and moderator Austin Bay--Ed Driscoll produces.

Social-networking sites such as My Space, Wal-Mart's new The Hub, and others are discussed in relation to how such sites might effect the political process.

The fireworks start when Corn and Reynolds discuss "Plamegate." David has a new book out, co-authored with Michael Isikoff, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War. There's a chapter on the Plame-Wilson imbroglio. While talking about the Special Prosecutor (and US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois) Patrick Fitzgerald, Corn says Fitzgerald should be disbarred, because he continued to prosecute the case for two and-a-half years, even though Fitzgerald knew Richard Armitage was the leaker.

It's possible that recently convicted George Ryan agrees with Corn on that one.

UPDATE 7:00PM CDT commnenter has posted that Corn may have been quoting the conservative arguement that Fitzgerald should be disbarred. I'm unaware of any conservative call for that to occur. Still Corn deserved the benefit of any doubt. If I erred, it was out of irresponsibility, since I listed to that portion of the podcast at least five times before I wrote this post.

To commmnet, please visit Marathon Pundit.


Samantha Powers still working for Obama?

Because I wish Obama would talk like Powers does in the final paragraph. Maybe he does, and I just miss it.

Sunday’s rally, and the anti-genocide movement it embodies, is essential. Without it, the Bush administration would reflexively focus on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea and leave Darfur to be managed by its in-house humanitarians. U.S. pressure—applied at a far higher level and in a far more sustained manner—has made a profound difference with Khartoum in the past, leading it to expel Osama bin Laden and to make essential compromises with rebels in the South. But, at this juncture, U.S. pressure is not sufficient to do the job, and other countries must be brought around. And, for that to happen, the burgeoning endangered people’s movement must spread beyond U.S. shores.

Walking away from the rally in Washington, a British friend of mine shook his head and said,“You’ll never hear me say this again, but today made me want my kids to grow up American.”When I asked why, he said,“What happened today could never, ever happen in Europe.” Europeans fond of denouncing both the Rwandan genocide and American imperialism had better prove him wrong.
Update: A comment over at The Plank on Obama's Iowa Speech.
One of the smart regular posters over at Daily Kos observed that Obama made the kind of speech that it has become a cliche for "serious" Democrats to give, albeit one that MSM types judiciously nod in agreement when hearing (which is perhaps why he did it): A self-critical warning to the party that it needs to "get serious" about "national security."

The problem with this is that it keeps Democrats in a defensive crouch, but more importantly, it defers making the ACTUAL "serious" proposals/policies about national security. After all, the specifics are difficult to figure out, and some voters might actually object to them.

If Obama's got something to say about the subject, he should just say it and engender the larger debate himself, rather than banally urging his colleagues to "get serious"--I was under the impression Obama himself was already serious. Well, is he?
Cut-and-Run a pefectly patriotic notion in my book. If the war in Iraq wrong, get out. Otherwise, we have no choice but win. Either choice is getting serious.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Judy, Judy, Judy

If you listen to ads often enough, you may actually hear what they are saying.

I finally caught what Judy Topinka was saying in her TV ad about educational funding in Illinois:

…Illinois-dead last in educational funding…
That’s just dead wrong, Judy.

At minimum, it shows a lack of understanding of educational funding in Illinois; at worse, outright deception.

My gues is you know what you are trying to say is that Illinois ranks low (maybe it is even 50th now) in state funding of education.

But we’re really high in the rankings on local funding for education.

When you combine the two, we rank in the middle of the pack.

Since you are proposing using Chicago casino proceeds to lessen that local property tax burden, it wouldn’t hurt you to tell the whole truth.

When the Senator and Rev. James Meeks said pretty much the same thing (49th), I said it was a half-truth.

You can see my 2005 research on the subject here. You can find more recent data, but it doesn't change much year to year.

A year before I was harsher.

I said it was a “big lie.”

You know, a falsehood which the teller thinks people will believe if he repeats it often enough.

You’re getting that from Governor Rod Blagojevich every day.

I’m sorry you are using the same technique.

Oh, yes, lovers or haters of cats might find the McHenry County Cat Tax Trilogy of interest on McHenry County Blog.


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