Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scary Stuff

During the course of trick or treating with our daughter this evening, I had at least four different neighbors tell me about how sick they are of the incessant onslaught of campaign ads. And not just the campaign ads, but the endless drone of negative messages.Completely unscientifically, it seems that negative ads are comprising about 80% of the ads that we are seeing on the airwaves. What is interesting is that while the consistent reply from the public seems to be against these messages, common sense and empirical data reflect the fact that the ads achieve their intended results.

Case in point, while the majority of Illinoisans are wondering what Judy's thinking, very few people can actually cite any policy differences between Topinka and Blagojevich. And the same thing goes for races at virtually every level. Issues take a back seat to attacks, and at the end of the day, nobody wins.

It would be refreshing to see an election that was driven by issues not spin, but I think it would take an engaged electorate to demand that it happen. For now, it seems that people find it easier to just change the channel.

To read, or post, comments, visit Open House


Onward to Victory

Jon Carson emails me,

Dear Friend,

The election is just one week from today and still Peter Roskam has no plan or position on Iraq. Instead of offering real solutions, he offers empty bumper sticker slogans like “stay the course” and “finish well.”

October has been the deadliest month this year in Iraq and our troops deserve better than these meaningless slogans. Well, real solutions and plans are something they get from one of their own – Tammy Duckworth. Throughout the campaign, Tammy has offered a very clear and achievable plan for Iraq. She wants to tie the train up of the Iraqi forces to the draw down of American troops and believes in setting real benchmarks that would help us reach our goal.

Help send someone to Congress who will offer real solutions, make a contribution of $50, $100 or $200.

If elected, Peter Roskam would not hold the Bush Administration accountable for its management of the war in Iraq. Rather, he would simply rubber stamp the failed policies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Not only has he not offered a position on Iraq, he has actually accused Tammy of wanting to “cut and run.” So I ask you, who is more likely to “cut and run” from a challenge: Tammy Duckworth, a battle-tested Black Hawk helicopter pilot who has served in Iraq or Peter Roskam, a career politician who will say and do anything to get elected?

Let’s elect someone who will hold the Bush Administration accountable for its failed policies in Iraq, make a contribution of $50, $100 or $200.

Peter “Rubber Stamp” Roskam offers more of the same. Tammy, on the other hand, offers a much needed change.

Onward to Victory,
And John Kerry tells me.


It's Not Over Until...

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

If you’ve been watching the A1’s come in, you’ve seen a lot of money changing hands lately. Illinois’ disclosure system provides an almost-realtime viewing opportunity for campaign money. But each report is just one snapshot of one brief set of transactions. Want to keep track of the bigger picture? ICPR and the Sunshine Project have tabulated the biggest races and the biggest donors. They’re posted to our website. Check back for regular updates between now and Election Day.

And if you’re looking for a reason to be glad when it’s over, look no further. Two days after the Election, on Thursday, November 9th, ICPR welcomes former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who will talk about how Patrick Fitzgerald became U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois. If concerns about corruption are motiviating your vote one way or another, you owe it to yourself to come find out how we got the current crime fighter. But let us know soon; reservations are $75, and we need to hear from you by Friday the 3rd.


Gubernatorial Wives' Work Ethics--Now & Then

When Governor Jim Thompson was in office, Jayne, an attorney, would not take any case in state court.

Any legal business she did was in federal court.

Now comes the first Democrat since Thompson and what does wife Patti do?

She does business with now indicted Governor Rod Blagojevich’s fundraiser Tony Rezko and “a woman who holds a longstanding no-bid state contract,” Chicago Tribune reporter Ray Long writes.

Governor Rod “Not Me” says such critics are “Neanderthal and sexist.”

Also on McHenry County Blog today, Blagojevich's direct mail to hard R's.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Dems Lie About Scheurer Financing

8th congressional district anti-war candidate Bill Scheurer has been churning out press releases. McHenry County Blog is probably the only place they get published.

In yesterday's release about anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's endorsement ("Make One Democrat Pay") was a paragraph about a forthcoming negative mailing from the Democratic Party's Congressional Campaign Committee--run by Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel. It must have just arrived because here is what the campaign has to say about what it calls "Slime."

Democrat Mailer Slimes Scheurer
It's official. The Democrats are running scared. Despite their successful efforts to spin the media with false polls that under-report the growing momentum of his campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has now unleashed a desperate attack piece against independent Moderate Party candidate Bill Scheurer.

Among its notable lies, the piece says that Republicans have "propped up" the Scheurer campaign "with hundreds of thousands of dollars." Federal Election Commission reports plainly show that Scheurer has not received a single penny from Republicans.

In fact, over half his money came from major unions that backed incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean in 2004. Scheurer has raised less than $50,000.

"I wish it was true," says Scheurer. "If we had that kind of money to reach voters, we would be winning this thing by a landslide!"

The mailer also oddly attempts to connect Scheurer with George Bush. Bean is widely regarded as a "Bush Democrat" for voting with the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress on nearly every major issue, while Scheurer is a consistent outspoken critic of Bush and agrees with him on almost nothing.

In the height of irony, the DCCC direct mail piece also accuses Republicans of "playing dirty tricks" and trying to win "by backhanded, slimy tricks." The Republicans have no connection with the Scheurer campaign.

However, it was the Democrats who carried out a series of dirty tricks and outright fraud in its efforts to try to keep Scheurer off the November ballot. His Moderate Party had to file a lawsuit in federal court against the DCCC, its chairman Rahm Emanuel, and other leading Democrats for criminal fraud to make them back off.

Asked about the sleazy ad, Scheurer could only laugh. "Abraham Lincoln once said, after being ridden out of town on a rail: 'But for the honor of it, I would have rather walked.' That about sums it up for me."

Welcome, Mr. Scheurer, to the strange and twisted world of big-time politics.
Also at McHenry County Blog, an article about Cindy Sheehan's endorsement of Bill Scheurer.


Hugo(t)Those Machines?

Here's a link to the New York Times


"But after a municipal primary election in Chicago in March, Sequoia voting machines were blamed for a series of delays and irregularities. Smartmatic’s new president, Jack A. Blaine, acknowledged in a public hearing that Smartmatic workers had been flown up from Venezuela to help with the vote.

Hitting my 54th year on terra firma on Election Day - November 8th. Going to start the day off with a stroll up to Kean for coffee and the Daily Southtown, clean the cat-box, and then up breeze east to the Quaker Meetin' House at 106th & Artesian to exercise the public franchise.

The good folks at the 23rd Precinct of the 19th Ward do their best to make the sacred process work ( Republican & Democrat) and leave the BS to Rush the Dope Fiend and Smarter- Than -God Crowd. Only thing is - that we, Chicagoans, are still strapped with Hugo Chavez's voting machines.Take a look at the NYT link above. I was bothered that my ballot needed to be treated like a handicapped blind man hitting icey pavement, by the Voting judges last go round and, not so much, by Hugo's peeing in George's Wheaties at the United Nations this summer.

Could be that Progressive America's favorite democratically elected dictator might be as swell as 'The Beard Himself.' What Chicago elected official helped buy these fine products and helped our Latin American friends?

He probably thinks that Noam Chomsky is a whacking good read, too. Go figure.


JS picks up on weeks-old Schock campaign dirt, buries it below routine coverage

Molly Parker of the Journal Star did get around to reporting on the Carla Grube/Freedom House controversy in the Aaron Schock campaign. That story is at the bottom of today's Word on the Street column I've written about it after having read about it at Willy Nilly's site. I don't believe for one second that they found out about this from the Bureau County Republican.

I have several thoughts:

The article ran below a segment discussing the departure of Eric Lane, who is described as Bill Spears campaign manager and whose salary is paid by the Illinois Democratic Party. Spears says Lane was never his campaign manager and I'm fairly certain from earlier conversations that the party organization wasn't paying his salary. If so, his movement from one campaign to another says nothing about how the party feels about Spears' chances of defeating Schock.

In journalism, the bigger story leads. Why was the tale of the transplanted staffer considered juicier than the other story, which involved possible illegal hiring, possible violation of rules against non-profits getting involved in politics and with sexual harassment by a female employer against male staffers, and this person's involvement in Aaron Schock's campaign. Shouldn't that story be the one greeting reader's first? Schock's campaign manager, Steve Shearer, served on the Board of Directors of Freedom House and once shared a home with Grube.

I'm NOT complaining about Molly writing about Bill Spears in less that glowing detail. This is the kind of story that political reporting is all about -- who's up and who's down, who's coming and who's going and why. I just think the two segments ran in the wrong order, and that the newspaper did Molly -- accused far too often of being overly fond of Schock -- new favors by doing so.

C rossposted to Peoria Pundit


As predicted, JS endorses Aaron Schock, and as predicted, the piece is full of half-truths, omits key details and deliberately misinforms readers

I knew from before he announced he was going to run against Aaron Schock (R.-92nd Ill House) that the Journal Star was going to come after Bill Spears*, both on the news pages and even more so on the editorial page. So I wasn't surprised at the smarmy little comments they tossed his way in today's endorsement for Schock.

Spears is a member of the Peoria City Council, and tends to vote with the council's "essential services first" wing. You know, the people who are in favor of the sort of things the Journal Star editorial board has always been in favor of, such as the downtown museum project, as well as most of the cockamamie taxpayer-supported economic development projects that have come down the pike.

You cannot underestimate how much the Journal Star powers-that-be hate these people and wants to see them punished for opposing their agenda.

Honestly though, while the piece was annoying and insulting, it could have been worse. They could have used the tactics they tried during the last municipal election, and try to make Spears out to be a racist. That was what they did to Mayor Ardis other 'essential services" candidates. There's still more than a week until the election, so we may yet see a few convoluted attempts to make Spears out to be a bigot.

That this piece lacks a blatant race card is the best thing I can say about it. It truly is a hatchet job.

They accuse Spears of having all sorts of expensive goals, but with being "vague on specifics" about how to pay for them. Then, they complain that he doesn't support building more prisons. If Schock mentioned specifics, I didn't see them mentioned.

This paragraph was especially misleading:

He's no fan of Ameren and would freeze electric rates until there's marketplace competition, which makes for a good sound bite but represents a real Catch-22 for the utilities and their customers who desire both affordable and reliable power. Given the God-awful deregulation bill the Legislature passed in 1997, competition may never develop for residential users. A forever freeze is not the answer.

Ummm ... excuse me, but doesn't supporting a freeze "until there's marketplace competition" mean that Spears specifically does NOT support the "forever freeze" that has the editorialists so worried? And Spears' position is misrepresented. He wants a freeze NOW to keep the rate hike from going into effect while a compromise or at least a better bill is worked out. Spears supports a specific bill, Schock does not, although he says he wants a compromise.

And the award-winning (snicker) editorial page leaves out a few important details, such as the fact that Schock has received campaign donations from the energy companies that are benefiting from the high price of fuel. The Journal Star has criticized Spears for "negative campaigning" for daring to mention this fact in his ads. Well, it's a good thing that Spears mentioned it, 'cause that's the sort of embarrassing information that Peoria's one and only newspaper of record doesn't go out of its way to print in regular news articles. Growing up in Peoria, I didn't realize until I left that most newspapers actually actually like it when they get to tell their readers information like that.

And get this:

As a former School Board member, he's knowledgeable on school finance issues and wants to reduce the reliance on property taxes.

(Easy there, stomach. This will all be over soon)

Would this be Peoria School District 150, whose budget collapsed like a house of cards during Schock's tenure as board president? This was the same budget he bragged about during his first campaign? The same budget he told conservative voters he personally went through and cut line item by line item? That same budget he later claimed was 100 percent the fault of Kay Royster? Is that what the JS means by "knowledgeable on school finance?"

And let's discuss this phrase "wants to reduce the reliance on property taxes." Really? Is that what Mr. Schock was doing when he testified to fellow legislators that virtually everyone in Peoria -- including, incorrectly, the Peoria City Council -- was in favor of to Senate Bill 2477, which would allow the Public Building Commission to authorize bonds for construction and levy property taxes on District 150's behalf. Governor Blagojevich vetoed this bill, but if the Senate overrides it, then taxpayers will be forced to pay for the district's unpopular building program -- through property taxes.

I got a kick out of the editorial's description of Spears as "the 49-year-old Democrat, Peoria city councilman, local plumber and salesman." Heh. Spears was certainly a plumber. He seemed to know what he was doing, because Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 63 chose him to be their business manager. Google is filled with examples of the JS describing him as a "plumber turned salesman." Hmmm ... I wonder if the JS ever described their "wonder boy" as a former ticket-scalper turned investor in student rental property.

The editorial says "[n]otably, he has been one of the few legislators to stay above the fray this election season, refusing to go negative." That's not what Spears says, claiming that Schock has been very negative about Spears in face-to-face encounters when there isn't a camera there collecting evidence. What's more honest, a "negative" campaign ad that relates unpleasant but accurate details to voters, or whisper and smear campaigns? The JS editorialists prefer "plausible deniability" when it comes to negative campaigning.

Also, I suggest that it's fundamentally dishonest for any newspaper editorial to praise a candidate for running an honest campaign while ignoring the fact that this same candidate has been using the same campaign tactics he not two years earlier criticized his opponent for doing. Schock complained Ricca Slone was using her franking privilege to send "information" to constituents that were little more than campaign ads. Schock has done the exact same thing this year, but managed to dishonestly imply that he was enjoying the support of politicians and public officials who most certainly were not supporting him.

And finally, there is this:

This is the most hotly contested race in central Illinois, with mind-boggling spending. Spears' record as a councilman speaks better of him than his performance in this campaign. But elections such as these are always a referendum on the incumbent. Aaron Schock has done a good job, and he is solidly endorsed.

First, Schock is solidly outspending Spears. Second, if Spears were running for re-election to the city council against an opponent with a chance to win, they world have absolutely no praise for his record as a city council member. None. Trust me on this. And what's with "elections such as these are always a referendum on the incumbent." Says who? The JS? Hey, we're not hiring an employee. Were electing a a policy maker and a leader. Decisions like this must be based on issues of character and honesty as much as whether they are "hardworking." For this job, you pick someone who's relatively independent and honest and shares your values.

* In the interest of full disclosure: Bill Spears is a personal friend of mine, and my support of his campaign extends beyond just writing favorable articles.

Cross posted to Peoria Pundit


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Amtrak expansion starts Monday: Chicago-Springfield schedule now convenient

In exciting news for our state's economic development, Amtrak expansion is starting tomorrow.

The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Blagojevich get the credit for coming up with the money for the expanded service, and Senator Durbin has done a ton of work to make sure a last-minute monkey wrench thrown by one of the freight railroad companies that owns part of tracks didn't derail the expansion.

Here is the expanded schedule.

To make it easier for the lobbyists, staffers and electeds who might want to take a train from Chicago to Springfield, here's the deal:

There are now 5 daily trains leaving Chicago to Springfield.

There's a 7 a.m. express train that stops in Joliet and Bloomington-Normal before arriving in Springfield at 10:15 am. How cool is that? That's the only express train in the schedule.

Then a 9:15 am that arrives in Springfield at 12:20 pm.

A 2:00 pm train that arrives in Springfield at 5:30 pm (that's the train that goes all the way to Texas).

A 5:15 pm train that arrives in Springfield at 8:39 pm (very convenient for working days in Chicago).

And finally a 7:00 pm train that arrives in Springfield at 10:24 pm, so you can grab dinner before you come back to Springfield. That's a great return train for day trips for fun up to Chicago.

All of these southbound trains will continue to run pretty much on time.

The northbound trains have been a problem with on-time performance, because one of them can run very late. Now with 4 reliable northbound trains, there isn't a problem with northbound Amtrak travel. Here's the new schedule (just Springfield to Chicago -- full schedule available here).

The early morning train leaves Springfield at 6:33 am and arrives in Chicago at 9:55 am. Very good for working meetings -- and memo to all state department heads: please schedule morning meetings for 10:30 am and not before so your Springfield staffers can take the train and get there on time.

The next northbound leaves at two hours later at 8:33 am and arrives in Chicago at 11:55 am.

These first two trains should be very reliable, as they both start in St. Louis.

The next one leaves Springfield at 10:29 am and arrives in Chicago at 2:14 pm. However, the 10:29 am train is the Texas Eagle and that can run very late. A good trick is to check the train status of the Texas Eagle (it's train number 22) by checking www.Amtrak.com or calling 1-800-USA-RAIL as if you want to get a northbound train at noon or 2 pm, sometimes the Texas Eagle is running three or four hours late so it works out perfectly.

The next northbound train leaves Springfield at 5:07 pm and arrives in Chicago at 8:30 pm. This should be a reliable train as well, because even though it starts in Kansas City, Missouri, they build in some time in St. Louis to make up for expected delays. (The track in Missouri is a mess).

Finally, there's an after-dinner train leaving Springfield at 7:28 pm and arriving in Chicago at 10:50 pm. This is perfect for day trips to Springfield. This one starts in St. Louis, so it should be very reliable as well.

To book these tickets, visit www.Amtrak.com

Keep in mind if you are a state employee, you are eligible for a one-way state rate of $17 (unless they raised it a bit), so be sure to call 1-800-USA-RAIL and book your state rate (or ask the ticket agent at the station).

Finally, a commercial. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is a client of mine and a main proponent of this Illinois Amtrak expansion. We're a membership-based organization, so please consider joining. You can do so here. More immediately, we're celebrating the biggest Midwest Amtrak expansion in more than a decade by riding the initial run at 7:00 am Monday morning all the way to St. Louis, having a lunch downtown at the Hyatt Regency and then riding back. Anyone is welcome to join us, particularly for the lunch at 1 pm (that's $50 per person). If you'd like to be a part of the ride, just buy a ticket. The St. Louis lunch information is available here.


Local Income Tax

Imagine my surprise when I went hunting for information about the Rockford School District election and found my idea for a local option income tax appear:

(State Reps. Dave) Winters and (Ron) Wait referenced a local option income tax, which would let voters decide through a referendum to impose a local income tax to alleviate property taxes.
Back in the mid-1970’s Jim Edgar, as a state representative, introduced the local income tax idea.It would give half the new money raised to schools and half to property tax relief.

The idea delivered a mixed message, just as today’s Senate Bill 750 does.

It co-mingles the ideas of giving more money to schools with giving some real estate property tax relief.

I cogitated on Edgar’s idea for a while and finally worked out an idea that met the widely expressed desired to switch income taxes for property taxes.

It would consist of a local option income tax. It could be done school district by school district. Later, I conceived of a county-by-county version.

The way I remember it, a petition would be passed establishing an income tax rate. It would have to be approved by local referendum.

Because people were the ones complaining about property taxes, my bill would have limited the real estate tax relief to residential property.

Statewide, almost half of property taxes are paid by businesses. If you even wonder why businessmen can support a statewide income for property tax swap, keep in mind that business pays maybe 12% of the income tax collected (down from well over 20% during the early 1970’s).

So, a tax swap is a big tax cut for business as a whole.

Whatever money was raised through the local income tax in year one would be subtracted from the real estate taxes on residential property in year two.

Of course, there would be double taxation in the first year. But, I couldn’t figure out how to cut real estate taxes without having money in the bank to replace the taxes being abated.

The referendum debate would be vibrant. I know two local school administrators who live in modest homes. Their tax burden would increase. With no new money for schools, which way would they vote?

One could predict that senior citizens would vote for it, but how would working couples vote?

My guess is that they would do a comparison of both tax schemes and vote accordingly.

And, there would be educators who figured out that the income tax brings in different amounts of cash each year. It depends on the economy. Would they want to chance property taxes fluctuating significantly?

Any referendum increases in tax rates or for bonds would still be based on the old laws.

All of the money would stay local. For most of suburbia, the so-call tax swap being pushed by the Rev. and State Senator James Meeks would take money out of suburbia.

I can’t figure out a way to force landlords to push the savings through to renters. The best answer I have is to trust market forces. Certainly, when real estate taxes go up, rents increase.

Would the reverse happen? Can’t tell you, but theory says competition should play a significant role.

The Hononegah High School event was sponsored by "Fairer Funding for Illinois Schools," a group I have not heard of before.

Always more at McHenry County Blog. Sometime Sunday, a story on Patrick Fitzgerald's sense of humor.


Two Tales -One City: Commitment & Contempt

Committed Protestor.

"Please, Come to Chicago" - we're watching Pimp My Neighbor - It's So Righteous!" Protestor 2006?

Two stories grabbed at me yesterday. One is the story linked below in a fine Daily Southtown feature. It is about the two young guys coming home from Iraq after a couple of deployments as Marines.


The other, a story of a 'merry prankster' without the gonads of an Abbie Hoffman. Old Abbie, say what you will about the old gent, was willing to squirt out a couple of pints of his own claret to protest a war forty years ago. NOW, there is this beauty, A Coalition Guy, who, 'gave a protest but no one came' -SMIRK - causing the City of Chicago and Cook County to re-deploy hundreds of police officers from neighborhoods that can use a couple of policemen to Washington 'Bug-House' Square Area, CTA bus lines to re-route and cause confusion to businesses and neighbors. I wonder how many old people, kids, homeless families, scared tourists, and store owners would have liked to see a police officer - SOMEWHERE? I wonder what this punk's prank cost our City in terms of safety, or possibly human life? Where were you and the Coalition, Robespierre? Or, do you go by- FREE? 'The Revolution will now be a prank- and televised?' Or, was this a planned 'execution' of City of Chicago resources and finances? Sweet.

This story is about Contempt for 'the ordinary citizens' - the ones these coalition builders want to mobilize - like the two kids mentioned up above in the Daily Southtown article? I doubt that.

In fact, the Chicago Tribune's Headline seems to find it 'pretty funny' Our two gelded Chicago papers think that these clowns are just 'all that. '

"Chicago police say protesters stood them up" - Gee, I wonder if that was an eact quote from a Chicago Cop. Stood up - like a, what ?, a geek by a Cheerleader. How Punk'd is that?

Our newspapers are rags. The Limey Times barely gave the protest story any ink in favor of the 'science of Hip-Hop and the Serial Skank from Joliet.'

Here, below, is the Tribune's Tony C. Yang's "hey, no biggie" spin on what happened yesterday.'


' Starting to save another half-a-buck by avoiding the Limey Times as well as The Tribune.

Big local papers valorize contempt and sleaze. Local papers, like the Daily Southtown, print the news. Read locally and get the news. Mobilize.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ordinary Citizens Do Not Have Power?

Saturday's Chicago Sun Times carries an op-ed piece written by Mike Gecan of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF):


Mike Gecan of the IAF implies that ordinary citizens do not have political power. He credits the coalition building team United Power for (Action) & Justice as the key to that. Read Mike's op-ed piece.

Read also IAF Mission Statement:

"The IAF is non-ideological and strictly non-partisan, but proudly, publicly, and persistently political. The IAF builds a political base within society's rich and complex third sector - the sector of voluntary institutions that includes religious congregations, labor locals, homeowner groups, recovery groups, parents associations, settlement houses, immigrant societies, schools, seminaries, orders of men and women religious, and others. And then the leaders use that base to compete at times, to confront at times, and to cooperate at times with leaders in the public and private sectors

The IAF develops organizations that use power - organized people and organized money - in effective ways. The secret to the IAF's success lies in its commitment to identify, recruit, train, and develop leaders in every corner of every community where IAF works. The IAF is indeed a radical organization in this specific sense: it has a radical belief in the potential of the vast majority of people to grow and develop as leaders, to be full members of the body politic, to speak and act with others on their own behalf. And IAF does indeed use a radical tactic: the face-to-face, one-to-one individual meeting whose purpose is to initiate a public relationship and to re-knit the frayed social fabric.

The living reality of the IAF is overwhelmingly present in the 57 IAF affiliates functioning in 21 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany

Regional gatherings of those local groups - IAF East in the northeast corridor and Southwest IAF in the American southwest - also meet, plan, and take action "

Now, the alphabet soup gets more heady. United Power for (Action) & Justice has its website down and under construction but there was a link to the event here in Illinois -


The Lakeview Action Coalition - We have the IAF, UPAJ, and LAC - all using the very same goals and objectives as this link :

http://www.leninism.org/stream/2001/mwg-faq-716.htm The goals and objectives are identical are identical to MWG

Last night, I was with about 2,000 people, all ordinary people, except for a few extrardinarily good looking women ( Hey I'm a widower - Iain't dead.), participating in the political process by raising money for a Democratic candidate. Those People are empowered with the right to vote and to exercise their God given and Constitutionally protected Right to give voice to their political opinions. Most of them seemed pretty smart and talented - it was a real coalition of workers: lawyers, teachers, tradesmen, artists ( BS and otherwise), journalists, academics, reformers, and old-timey cigar chompers. They put together a powerful statement of faith in the American political process. There are many 'coalition building fronts ' with Peoples and Workers and Mobilized and Cadres in their names. God love 'em. Ain't it great that our system of government -with its crooks and phonies and dummies popping up like whack-a-moles - makes room and even sets up microphones for alphabet soup politicos?

I do not know if telling people that they are 'powerless ordinary' folks is the way to get them to mobilize, as Mike Gecan of IAF and all the other acronyms he's fronting, but a local Democratic candidate for office sure had the folks mobilized. Tom Dart told them that they were powerful and they responded.


Friday, October 27, 2006

CQ: Hastert Aide Put the Kibosh on Corruption Investigation

Congressional Quarterly reports:

Two former House committee investigators who were examining Capitol Hill security upgrades said a senior aide to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert hindered their efforts before they were abruptly ordered to stop their probe last year.

The former Appropriations Committee investigators said Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s chief counsel, resisted from the start the inquiry, which began with concerns about mismanagement of a secret security office and later probed allegations of bid-rigging and kickbacks from contractors to a Defense Department employee.

Ronald Garant and a second Appropriations Committee investigator who asked not to be identified said Van Der Meid engaged in “screaming matches” with investigators and told at least one aide not to talk to them. Van Der Meid also prohibited investigators from visiting certain sites to check up on the effectiveness of the work, the investigators said.

Van Der Meid oversaw Capitol security upgrades for Hastert, R-Ill., and worked closely with the office that was charged with implementing them, the investigators said.
There's more?

Yep, more here.


Bollywood Friday - Bollywood in Springfield!

Crossposted from Bridget in the Sixth.

This is what they're REALLY up to in Springfield.

FYI, I have been granted special dispensation from the Illinois-only rule to cross-post Bollywood Fridays at Illinoize. So there.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kids' Docs Back Away from All Kids

Just to make sure that my sick 9-year old, who missed four days of school and an entire weekend, didn’t have a bacterial infection, we were off to one of his pediatricians Monday.

He didn’t have strep throat and is now back in school, but I did pick up something of interest at the doctors’ office.

It was this notice.

Billed as an “All Kids Update,” the notice, "Effective October 1, 2006," basically says if patients have private insurance, All Kids will not be accepted for payment.

“If your child is covered by a commercial insurance carrier AND All Kids (previously Kid Care and Medicaid), Pediatric Specialists of the Northwest will no longer submit claims to All Kids.

“Any balance not covered by your commercial carrier will be your responsibility to pay.

“Please direct you questions to the Billing Department” and the phone number is given.

This was seen in the office north of Barrington, but I assume it is also in the group's Crystal Lake office.

Always more at McHenry County Blog.


Fundraising Update 10/26

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

As the 2006 election season heads into its final two weeks, campaign fundraising by legislative and judicial candidates appears to be hotter than ever. Statewide Democrats enjoy significant financial advantages over their opponents, while Republican donors seem to be focusing on a small handful of contests in the House, Senate, and Appellate Court where they see heightened chances for victory.

Most of the money raised by statewide candidates has come in very large increments from donors who gave more than $10,000. Contributions of this size are banned in most other states and for federal candidates. Because Illinois law places no restrictions on giving, candidates have become reliant on a tiny number of very large donors.

Legislative races are hotter than usual, and have heated up earlier than usual. Only three House races in 2004 saw combined spending of $1 million or more. So far this year, three House races report total fundraising in excess of $1 million, and several more are poised to break that barrier in the next two weeks.

Half of the four Appellate Court races are uncontested. The race in far southern Illinois looks to be a replay of the 2004 Supreme Court race: a proxy war between personal injury plaintiffs on the one side and personal injury defendants on the other. The Fifth District race, stretching from the Metro East area to the Indiana border, already appears to have broken the record for spending in a state Appellate Court contest.

A copy of this report is (or will be) available for download from the ICPR website.


Gonna be an interesting Friday.

From the AP

The Illinois attorney general said Thursday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration is violating state public-information law by refusing to release the subpoenas it has received in a federal corruption probe.

Blagojevich is not required to follow Madigan's directions, as he would be if the ruling came from a judge. But Madigan's office said Blagojevich should pay attention to an opinion from the state's top legal officer.
"We would have every expectation that the office of the governor is interested in complying with the law and will comply," Smith said.
But Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said Thursday evening that the administration disagrees and will "keep all matters that are related to federal investigations confidential."

Also nice how Lisa tosses this one Thursday instead of Friday so it will get some media play along with the plea on Friday.



7 Days at Minimum Wage

I've been hearing about this on this other blog I like to frequent Chicago Carless. He's involved with a campaign through ACORN that hopes to raise the minimum wage from it's current rate which is $5.15/hour federally. I saw the first video. Today there are two videos of a woman named Jessica who's talking about raising four kids at an "unfair wage". I got the link to this video courtesy of Chicago Carless as well.

Now, I'm kind of torn on this issue. If I consider myself an economic conservative and I believe that raising a minimum wage could hurt the job market. In other words, cause employers to cut back on hiring, at the same time I understand the need to raising the minimum wage so that these individuals can get paid more.

I'm of the school however that you are not meant to stay at the minimum wage. That you must progress if you want that raise. What this means is that you have to get an education or somehow add to the work you do or find a way to get trained in doing another job. If you're merely stuck at this entry level minimum wage job or indeed any job that pays better than minimum wage, that's not good. You're pretty much stuck in a rut.

I see where the blogmaster of Chicago Carless was coming from talking about this project he's involved with. He had a tough time moving to Chicago trying to find a job in keeping with his educational credentials. But at least he was able to find something comparable to his education and experience instead of staying at the little odd jobs he had to take to make a living.

Tough call either way. What do you people think out there?

Crossposted @ It's My Mind


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Do These Congressional Candidates Have In Common?

Dan Hynes, Jack Ryan, Joyce Washington, Dennis Hastert, Jesse Jackson, Jr.,
Mark Kirk, Loren Beth Gash, Ray LaHood, Bobby Rush, Tim Johnson, Luis Guetierrez, John Porter, Michael Kelleher, Jerry Weller, Jay Robert Pritzker, Jim Durkin, Dick Durbin, Peter Fitzgerald and Loleta Didrickson.

All of them got money from soon-to-be admitted felon Stuart Levine.

There is a longish article at McHenry County Blog, which was posted on Wednesday, with a link to all of the federal contributions Levine made, plus LaHood’s unsuccessful effort to return the money shortly after he received it.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

And the worst sign award of '06 goes to...

Illinois Comptroller Barbie candidate, Carole Pankau!


Trickle Down Record Breaking

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

The judicial race in Madison County between appointed incumbent Don Weber and challenger David Hylla proves the adage that everything old is new again. What’s old is that the vast majority of the funds come from either personal injury plaintiffs or personal injury defendants, just like the 2004 race between Gordon Maag and Lloyd Karmeier. Indeed, at least 67% of the money raised since July 1 by David Hylla came from donors who gave to Gordon Maag, while at least 81% of the money raised by Don Weber came from donors who gave to Lloyd Karmeier. What’s new is that Weber and Hylla aren’t fighting over a Supreme Court seat. They’re running for a seat on the trial court. So far, they report a combined $533K for the General Election, which is still two weeks away.

Lest there be any doubt that the same pattern continues to play out in other judicial races, witness the Appellate Court race in far southern Illinois. 91% of the funds raised since July 1 by Republican Stephen McGlynn can be traced directly to personal injury defendants and their associations. Democrat Bruce Stewart draws at least 27% of his funds from personal injury plaintiffs; adding the unions whose members are liable to get injured and he gets 44% of his funds from the other side of the tort issue from McGlynn’s donors. The Illinois Republican Party reported paying $567,125 for TV ads on behalf of McGlynn, within a week of receiving $575,000 from the pro-tort reform Institute for Legal Reform. The Party, which now hasn’t enough money to run ads on behalf of its gubernatorial candidate, could not have paid for those McGlynn ads without the infusion from the Washington, DC, based organization. This race just set a record for fundraising in appellate court contests, and it’s personal injury plaintiffs and defendants that are driving the cash.

Personal injury cases matter a lot to tort interests, but that’s not what drives court dockets in southern Illinois, and it’s not the only issue voters need to think about when electing a judge. Circuit and Appellate Court judges are far more likely to hear cases about family law, including divorces and custody battles; criminal law; commercial litigation, including contract disputes and intellectual property; and Probate, including wills, trusts, and division of property. Judges have to be expert at a wide range of legal matters. But the money in these contests increasingly comes overwhelmingly from one area; an area that accounts for a small part of the cases filed in Illinois.


Hare releases first ad

News from the 17th CD race. Phil Hare has released his first campaign ad. A positive personal spot, seems to get the message out about who he is. Certainly an important goal as he has much less name recognition than Zinga. Clicking on the picture will take you to the higher resolution ad while the lower resolution can be found here


Fundraising Update

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

Pres came in last night (or this morning) for just about all candidates, giving us the first full look at fundraising for the General.

Hot races:

In the senate the top races seem to be the 52nd (Myers/Frerichs), where the candidates are evenly balanced financially; the 49th (Demuzio/Richey), where they’re not; the 22nd (Roth/Noland), the 33rd (Axley/Bond), and 46th (Russell/Koehler). In the House, it’s the 107th (Granberg/Cavaletto), the 92nd (Schock/Spears), 91st (Smith/Dagit), 71st (Boland/Haring), 101st (Flider/Cain), and 75th (Gordon/Briscoe). Not counting the 112th, where Hoffman has a ton and Kugler does not.

Not races:

11 of the 39 Senate seats are uncontested, meaning that one out of six voters won’t really have a choice for the state Senate. In the House, 56 of 118 contests are uncontested, meaning that almost half of all voters won’t have any choice there. And it’s worse in judicial races, where fully half of the Appellate Court seats and 36 of 57 Circuit Court seats give voters no choice on the ballot. Some seats are won with money; others, by lack of opposition.

Killer Donor

Killerspin has emerged as a reliable Democratic donor. In the last two years, not only have they sponsored championship table tennis teams (ping-pong to novices) around the globe, but they’ve given $58K to candidates, all of them Democrats, including $27K to Todd Stroger, $15K to Rod Blagojevich, $10K to Alexi Giannoulias, and $2.5K to David Miller.

Check back to ICPR's website in the coming days for updates on the hot races, top donors, and more.


Ever Noticed that Every Paper that Endorsed McSweeney in the Primary Is Now Endorsing Bean?

And, to me, none of this is a surprise.

It was obvious that any pro-life candidate would not receive the endorsement of the Northwest Herald.

Ditto the Daily Herald.

Ditto for the Chicago Tribune.

The Pioneer Press congressional endorsements will not come out until Thursday. Anyone want to bet that Melissa Bean will be endorsed? (I made that prediction on August 20th.)

I’d also be willing to bet that the Chicago Sun-Times will endorse Bean.

All of these newspapers are owned by out-of-district interests. All have editorial boards controlled by liberals.

Repeat after me:

Liberal woman good.

Conservative man bad.
It is my experience that when a female runs against a male in the northwest suburbs, that female has about a 5-percentage point advantage. I can trace this back to 1966.

So, I would assume that male David McSweeney has a 5 percentage point disadvantage from the git-go.

If these papers really wanted Melissa Bean to get re-elected, and they know what I know about gender gaps in this part of Illinois, might they have wanted McSweeney to win the primary to make it easier for Bean to win the general election?

Another reason for not trusting the Left Stream media.

Or am I being too cynical?

For more cynicism, check out McHenry County Blog. You can even find out which Republican House members Illinois Planned Parenthood endorsed.


Monday, October 23, 2006

"The Plan" - Same old rhetoric, same old Rahm

With the 2006 midterm campaign in it’s final stretch, much of the news and commentary is focusing – to an even greater extent than before – almost exclusively on the horse race. I thought I’d try and buck the trend, so on a recent business trip I decided to read The Plan, Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed’s new book that aims to be a sort of Democratic answer to the Contract with America and Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich.

I actually found some of the ideas and proposals interesting and worth exploring further. I will be posting rebuttals to their agenda on my own site throughout the course of the next few weeks, in an attempt to give people a people a place to debate policy as we head towards November 7th. Here, I will simply share with you here my critique of the political credibility of their argument, which goes beyond just the predictable spin (i.e., talking about how Republicans “cynically exploited the post-9/11 concern about security,” while Democrats “responded to legitimate fears” about the economy). Unlike Gingrich in Winning the Future, Emanuel and Reed promote their proposals with uncompromisingly partisan rhetoric that reduces the book’s appeal among voters not already pre-disposed to accept their party’s major talking points.

Emanuel and Reed are both loyal Democrats, and I certainly didn’t expect them to hide that fact or attempt anything resembling absolute objectivity. I don’t decry partisanship – unless it is being practiced by those who do. And so while Emanuel and Reed bemoan the preeminence of “hack” government in Republican controlled Washington – where winning political points is more important than finding real solutions – I find it hypocritical of them to practice it so much themselves. In the course of a 185 page book, they criticize President Bush by name more than 95 times. In contrast, prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who would theoretically play a critical role in helping turn “The Plan” into a actionable legislative agenda – is mentioned only once, and not even in reference to her Leadership duties. And without irony, they assert that “the rules of the road weren’t designed to withstand one-party rule” while giving no indication of which branch or chamber they would voluntarily cede to the Republicans were Democrats ever to be as electorally successful as the GOP in recent years.

An example of their disingenuous commitment to placing policy over politics can be found in the chapter on healthcare, in which they write about “reaching across the aisle” to find answers. But while they make sure to praise Rod Blagojevich for proposing AllKids in Illinois, they simply refer to “Massachusetts’s” innovative mandate on the purchase of healthcare coverage by those who can afford it, without bothering to mention that it was Governor (and potential Republican Presidential candidate) Mitt Romney who introduced it. And in regards to small business healthcare affordability, they write at length about the Durbin-Blanche proposal that was floated last May, but fail to even acknowledge that House Republicans passed, and the Senate Democrats blocked, (as they have almost every session this decade) a small business healthcare bill that was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (over 95% of whose membership is small businesses) and almost every professional and business association that has a legislative advocacy program.

One of the most outrageous points in the book, however, comes in the chapter on security. Emanuel and Reed state that “the Administration jeopardized the success of our mission in Afghanistan by shifting troops to Iraq because it didn’t have enough to go all out in both places. Osama bin Laden got away at Tora Bora in part because we didn’t have the personnel to pursue him.” Now, the Tora Bora incident is one of the few criticisms leveled by John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election with which I actually agreed. But to imply that it had anything to do with deployments to Iraq, which didn’t start until over a year later, is a shameful distortion of the truth.

Emanuel and Reed maintain that “most Americans apply the same yardstick: they vote for what works.” I was questioned whether or not they truly believe that, since right afterwards they say that “there aren’t enough hacks, even in Washington, to sell policies that don’t work – although that never stopped Bush from trying.” And, as it turns out, winning. But those two statements aren’t as contradictory as they might seem when you consider that Bush’s opponents, for the past 3 election cycles, haven’t been asking the American people to vote for what the believe will work, they’ve simply been asking them to vote against what supposedly doesn’t. To their credit, Emanuel and Reed tried to change that. But their unfortunate reliance on Bush-bashing, instead of presenting The Plan on its own merits, makes the whole effort seem small and insincere.


American Thinker puts Obama mania in perspective

After ten days of drippy valentines appearing in the media for Democrat "St. Barack" Obama of Hyde Park, the junior senator from Illinois is brought down to size by Richard Baehr of the American Thinker.

Obama, in his defense, did get his first bill enacted into law last month. Last week Barack appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, and also received a 2008 endorsement from Oprah Winfrey if he decides to run for president in 2008.

It's a pity to excerpt his article, the whole thing is of course is worth reading. And re-reading.

Newsweek, not to be outdone, graces its cover with a picture of Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. now running for the open senate seat being vacated by Bill Frist in Tennessee. Newsweek tells us these Democrats (Ford, as an example) are "not your daddy’s Democrats."

Well, then, what of Republican Michael Steele involved in a close race for the open senate seat in Maryland? Or Lynn Swann, running as a Republican for Governor of Pennsylvania? Or Ken Blackwell, running as a Republican candidate for Governor in Ohio? One might say, if one had any interest in these candidates (or their party), that with three black candidates running statewide, this was not your "daddy’s Republicans" either.

It is far more likely you will see a national news story about the Democratic candidate for Governor in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, also an African American, than about Blackwell or Swann this year.

Why are the Democratic African American candidates of so much greater interest to the national media than the Republican African American candidates running state wide this year? Silly question, of course.

It's hearsay, but I've heard rumblings that as a state senator, Obama didn't have a long list of legislative accomplishments either. Of course, he can't use the excuse that he was a member of the minority party while serving in Springfield, one that Obama defenders use now that he's a US senator.

To comment on this and other posts, or check out my new Breitbart newsfeed, visit Marathon Pundit.


A little help: Hastert + Eagle = ???

While visiting downtown Wheaton over the weekend, I saw this piece of art(?) at the La Spiaza cafe:

I was so stricken by Stendhal syndrome that I have been unable to craft an appropriate caption -- so I am soliciting the assistance of you, the Illinoize readers.

Captions please?


Remember Illinois Veterans with Leo High School - November 3rd

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and Leo High School invites every one to the 7th Annual Leo High School Veterans Observance Ceremony at the Leo War Memorial in the Leo High School Courtyard on 79th Street at 11AM on Friday November 3rd.Leo High School has held this event on the Friday before Veterans Day each year at the Leo WarMemorial dedicated in 1965 by the Leo High School Alumni. The two hundred names of Leo Men killed in the service of their country has been expanded to include all public servicemen ( Police, Fire, Postal, Government, and Charitable). Chicago Police Office, Marine Veteran, and Leo Alumnus Eric Lee's Family was so honored when Eric Lee was killed in the line of duty.Assistant Director for Illinois Veterans Affairs, Rochelle Crump has been instumental in making this annual event a great success. The Windy City Veterans, Leo Alumni Association, The Montford Point Marine Association, The Burbank Marine Color Guard and students of Leo High School welcome the public and honor all who serve their country and their communities. Call Mr. Pat Hickey at ( 773) 224-9600 for more information.Leo High School7901 S. Sangamon StreetChicago, IL 60620


Sunday, October 22, 2006


The Illinois Democrat said he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. He said he would not make a decision until after the Nov. 7 elections...

"I'm not sure anyone is ready to be president before they're president," Obama said. "I trust the judgment of the American people..."We have a long and vigorous process.

Should I decide to run, if I ever decide to, I'll be confident that I'll be run through the paces pretty well," Obama said.
The pundits and the public are sure to dissect the prospect of his candidacy over the weeks and months to come. Many will say that he doesn't have the 'experience' to be President.

A number of people have said that they would rather see him run for Governor in 2010 and then move onward.

But Barack is a clear example of what can result from the right candidate being in the right place at the right time. The same man who got beaten handily by Congressman Bobby Rush has gone on to international superstardom while proving to the public that he had the goods all along.

I believe that he has the intellect, character and visceral traits necessary to re-engage and unify a disillusioned country...and that may be just what the American public is yearning for.

To read, or post, comments, visit Open House


Power Surge (Updated)

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

As of 8 am this morning, electric companies fighting legislation to freeze rates have given at least $201K to legislators’ PACs since July 1, on top of the $1.3 million they gave between January 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. These figures may increase as additional legislators, including the Four Tops, file their Pre-Election reports between now and tomorrow night. And, electric company giving will likely increase further through Election Day.

Senate President Emil Jones and Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson are the top two recipients, at $41,200 and $23,000 respectively. This is consistent with the earlier identified pattern of giving heavily to the upper chamber, which is typically done with an eye to killing legislation.

Two-thirds of the giving to President Jones since July 1 came in the last three weeks, after House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a special session to consider a rate freeze. Likewise, 60% of giving to Leader Watson came after the Special Session call. House Republican Leader Tom Cross got 44 % of his $17,200 after the call; significantly, Speaker Madigan’s PAC received at least $20,000 before the call, but not a dime since. The Democratic Party of Illinois, which he chairs, currently shows no electric receipts since July 1.

Top industry donors to legislators include Exelon and subsidiaries at $98K, Ameren at $54K, Dynegy at $20K, and Midwest Generation at $14K. While some of the funds come from employees, much of this giving would be illegal in other states and at the federal level, where direct corporate contributions are banned.

Other recent recipients of electric company giving include trade associations. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce reported receiving $20,000, while the Illinois Merchants PAC, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and the Illinois Manufacturers each report $10,000. As with giving to Senate Leaders, this non-candidate giving is consistent with an effort to mute calls for modifying the 22% - 55% rate hikes due in January.

Check back to ICPR’s website later this week for fundraising updates in the hot statewide, legislative, judicial, and Cook County races.


Scheurer Attacks MoveOn for Bean Support

After you take a look at this, you might be interested in how the Chicago Tribune got snookered today, on McHenry County Blog.

Here's a press release received from Moderate Party candidate Bill Scheurer. To put this in context, Scheurer opposes the war in Iraq.

MoveOn Supports War Candidate
Chicago--It is now clear. MoveOn is a shill for the Democratic Party that puts party over principle, and will support any Democratic incumbent in a tight race -- even a politician who votes with the Bush administration against all of MoveOn’s purported core beliefs.

People on the MoveOn mailing list who live in the Illinois 8th Congressional District recently got emails asking them to work for the incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean.

The email said: “One of the Democratic House campaigns near you urgently needs volunteers to help reach voters. You can help with just a few hours this weekend.” It then went on to give official Bean campaign contact information for all three counties in the district.

In a continuing bait-and-switch game, MoveOn is shamelessly working its vast mailing list for “Operation Democracy” which they falsely advertise as “A Grassroots Campaign to Fight the Right and Elect Progressives.”

Exactly who are these “progressives” they want to elect?

It appears that these may be any Democratic candidates “in 30 highly competitive House districts.” We do not know who all of these are for sure, because the MoveOn hierarchy is so secretive.

But, it is now a proven fact that these “progressive” candidates include the IL-8th District Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean, who in fact is running in a highly competitive race with Republican challenger David McSweeney and independent antiwar candidate Bill Scheurer.

Issues on the MoveOn agenda for motivating progressive voters include opposition to the war in Iraq and Bush’s “reverse Robin Hood” budget.

Bean is one of several Democrats who have voted with the rubberstamp Congress for these, and a long list of other, Bush policies --
the Patriot Act,
the bankruptcy bill,
estate tax repeal,
tax cuts for the wealthy,
the Sensenbrenner bill,
the energy bill,
the flag-burning amendment,
the Terry Schiavo intervention,
warrantless surveillance,
secret military tribunals,
and more.
Not exactly what you might expect from a liberal MoveOn candidate.

As for being a progressive, Bean has an “F” grade (a perfect 0% score) on the Citizens for Tax Justice report card, and an “F” grade (a dismal 13% score) on the Drum Major Institute report card. On the war, she has an “F” grade (28% score) with The PeaceMajority Report.

In fact, Scheurer is the true progressive in the IL-8th District race. A staunch opponent of the Iraq war, he also is a strong supporter of working families and universal healthcare. His campaign has received financial support from some of the biggest and most politically active unions in the land (SEIU, Teamsters, IAMAW, Steelworkers, UNITE).

In 2004, MoveOn called a similar campaign “Leave No Voter Behind.” Perhaps they should rename this one “Leave No Democrat Behind” no matter how bad.

Such deceitful, behind-the scenes manipulation reminds us of the famous Edwin R. Murrow challenge to Chairman McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tribune Notices South Dakota Aboriton Vote

I figure there must be a chance of passage of the November 7th referendum that abortion proponents forced onto the ballot in South Dakota this year.

Saturday’s Chicago Tribune features the campaign in favor of killing the challenge to Roe v. Wade, of course. The lead is about the “spunk” it takes for a college student to sit on a college campus commons in the most pro-abortion area of the state—Sioux Falls.

Courage to campaign against abortion on a college campus?

Takes about as much courage as it does to deface a sign.

Want to see why the proponents of abortion are even a little bit afraid that they might lose the vote to overturn a law that could be used to challenge the made-out-of-whole-cloth U.S. Supreme Court decision?

Eagle Forum posts a television ad you can view. It features, guess what, a 4-demensional sonogram. My computer isn’t new enough to play it, but yours might be. (I found I could see it here.)

There is, of course, a pitch to help put the ad on TV:

"Help put it on the air in South Dakota--EVERY dollar you give will go to airtime for putting this message on television. And because the South Dakota media market is so inexpensive, a $150 donation can put this on 'Good Morning America!'"
Illinois Chairman of Eagle Forum, Penny Pullen, is even holding a fund raising party the night of October 29—a week from Sunday. If you would like to see the DVD showing the real life stories of women who have undergone hard case pregnancies and have handled them in various ways, email her at ProLifePenny @Yahoo.com for details.

Illinois Planned Parenthood has made two direct mail pitches to its mailing list this fall.

Penny and I traveled to South Dakota the third week of August, where she spoke to a coalition of referendum supporters.

Opportion opponents, who put the question on the ballot, are not wiling to trust the people, however. Planned Parenthood says it will “sue to block it on grounds that it is unconstitutional,” according to the Tribune article.

Two bites of this apple—in the South Dakota legislature and at the ballot box—apparently are not enough.

No matter.

The proponents are well prepared for a court challenge. That’s what they expected before the petition drive to put the question on the ballot.

In a typically Left Stream “balanced” article on abortion, the Tribune manages to avoid any mention pro-life views on its front page, while mentioning the names of three opponents.

15 paragraphs into the story, it does manage to quote Roger Hunt, the law’s sponsor.

The article gives more space to a pro-abortion Republican State Senator who was defeated in his own party’s primary by, guess what, (shutter) “a(n unnamed) conservative Christian.”

The only poll cited is from July showing a blow-out victory for abortion opponents.

Guess those who oppose abortion didn’t want to tell the Tribuen reporter what their more recent polls say.

The article does point out that no businesses in Sioux Falls have pro-abortion “Vote No” signs in their windows.
= = = = =
The top head shot is of former Illinois State Rep. Penny Pullen. The bottom one is for South Dakota State Rep. Roger Hunt.
= = = = =
McHenry County Blog is up and alive again this weekend. What Melissa Bean's volunteers are doing today, plus the series that started Wednesday on the alleged illegalities in the Huntley School District continue today with what the outside auditor did/did not do. The Feds have been notified, although only one paper has reported it.


Cicero and Cops

I wonder why these stories don't generate outrage in the blogsphere. (Two hits on a google blog search on Cicero Cops Beat vs this on Weller Page).

It just goes unoticed. Maybe it's because most bloggers too geeky to feel at risk for getting caught in a circumstance like Mr Wilson's below.

In one incident in 2003, DeKiel is alleged to have broken a victim's nose after a traffic stop, and he and DiSantis beat the man at the police station, with DiSantis striking him with a handgun, the indictment says.

Peslak then allegedly planted cocaine on the man, the federal indictment states, and the man was falsely charged with possession of a controlled substance.

At the end of the incident the officers allegedly ordered the victim, Floyd Wilson, "to use the shirt [the victim] was wearing to clean up his own blood that had run onto the floor as a result of the injuries inflicted by defendants," the indictment says.
xp at Bill Baar's West Side


Friday, October 20, 2006

Beano Bean Attack

Below is a taste of what you might see if Bill Scheurer's anti-war supporters were willing to write checks.

Click to enlarge any of the three impages.

8th congressional district "Moderate Party" candidate Bill Scheurer has folks with good imaginations.

First he rolled out McBeaney, a hybrid elephant-donkey he calls a "donkephant." I can't find it anywhere but McHenry County Blog. (A life size version appeared last Saturday, but I haven't gottne a picture yet.)

It does seem to me that good public relations gimmicks deserve some credit, however, and that's why I am posting this here, as well as on McHenry County Blog.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rich Whitney: 11.3%

He's into double digits now per Zogby: Blagojevich 47%, JBT 33.2%, and Whitney 11.3%.

A lot of people are going to vote for Whitney without a clue about what he or the Greens stand for, and it seems their best strategy is to keep it that way. Attack the two parties and quit getting so specific in places like here and here.


Rockford School Taxers Top $100,000

Following in the footsteps of more-than-amply financed Carpentersville School District 300 tax hikers are the Rockford School District tax hikers.

For years Rockford schools were under the control of the Federal courts.

It didn’t seem to make much difference, except in the amount of money extracted from local taxpayers.

This year’s referendum is to keep a temporarily approved 58-cent tax rate on the books. Loss of the referendum would force paring $14 million from its budget.

Or would it?

McHenry County State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) says the wrong question is on the ballot.

He told the Rockford Register-Star in late September,

They have the wrong question on the ballot if they wanted their rate to be the same for five years in the future because that is not going to happen.
School board lawyers Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP must be the folks who didn’t figure out how to avoid the problems that Huntley went through with a similar referendum, which attracted Tyron’s attention.

To make matters worse, Hinshaw & Culbertson also represents Huntley School District 158, where the problem surfaced.

To make matters still worse, District 158 hired the same law firm to lobby for the passage of Tryon’s bill.

And that law firm screwed royally in Rockford by not correctly advising its other client about how to word this fall’s referendum.

The law firm contributed $2,500 to the campaign. I wonder if that is enough to make up for the mistake. Maybe the firm should just refund its legal fees and suggest other counsel.

And, I wonder how many other school vendors are on the list.

Rockford’s establishment clearly thinks defeat of the referendum would harm its morphing into a Chicago suburb.

So far, I’ve found $101,000 available for the “Kids Win” campaign, which will include TV, radio and newspaper ads, yard signs and billboards, plus literature for door-to-door distribution. The goal is $150,000, which is about what District 300 spent. (District 300 had $41,000 left over.)

At least this school tax hiking political action committee is reporting its contributions. One this past spring in Winnebago County did not.

“Vote for this referendum and your taxes will stay the same,” has to be the message. (Don’t laugh. McHenry County College successfully used that pitch to raise its tax rate when a bond was paid off.)

I can understand how one can spend over a hundred grand in a television district. District 300, of course, had no over-the-airwaves TV advertising.

The biggest contribution--$30,000--is from the Rockford Area Association of Realtors.

The teachers union kicked in $5,000. The same came from the Northern Illinois Construction Industry Advancement Program and Cedric Blazer, President/CEO of Zenith Cutter.

The establishment’s favorite meeting place, Cliffbreakers River Suites Hotel Inc., contributed $5,000, too, as did a retired man named Daniel Nicholas, whose connections perhaps someone more familiar with Rockford than I can provide. $4,100 came from the Title Underwriters Agency.

And, of course, there’s a developer in the mix. Can’t sell many homes if people think the school system is no good. County Homes of Illinois kicked in $2,500.

Compared to McHenry County developers, they got a deal.

Amcore Financial, Inc., contributed $2,000, as did retiree Edna May Taylor.

And there are bunches of smaller contributions from hospitals, the principals association, a Com Ed exec, banks, architects, community influentials, the homebuilders association ($490, hoping not to be identified before the election?), law firms, non-certified employees, even the Boys and Girls Association.

If there is opposition to the referendum, it’s hard to find on the internet.

The Register-Star quotes school board member David Kelley, an active member of the Libertarian Party, as saying,
"If the referendum fails, we will reduce the levy by the 58 cents. We will honor the outcome of the referendum."
Larry Snow, who knows this subject as well as anyone, says if the referendum fails, the school district would have to levy less money, which would result is less state aid to education.

= = = = =
I had to run the picture to the right of Jay Kadakia, one of the leaders of the Sun City anti-tax group, pointing out to State Senator Pam Althoff the importance of getting a legislative fix to the Huntely school tax rate hike referendum debacle.

This is the kind of problem Rockford politicians could face, if things work out as they did in Huntley.

State Rep. Mike Tryon appears in the top photo. The billboard is from the Rockford Register-Star's web site. The head shot at the bottom is of Rockford School Board member Dave Kelley.

Always more on McHenry County Blog. From two days ago through Sunday featuring news on why the Chicago Crime Commission turned over investigative information on the Huntley School District to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Trial Lawyers Inc. Illinois

From the report:

"Trial Lawyers, Inc.: Illinois is the Manhattan Institute’s fourth full-length report examining the workings of the litigation industry and the second such report focusing exclusively on a single state, following Trial Lawyers, Inc.: California, published in April 2005.[1] Illinois is a logical subject for our second state study: the fifth-most populous state, Illinois is home to a plaintiffs’ bar whose aggressive tactics have had a far-reaching national—and even international—impact."

Go read it here.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

There are more options for Governor

From the rough draft of a media release that I thought I would share since the debate is tomorrow. If you are in the area or can get there and want to learn more about your options for Governor, please feel free to attend.

Free and Equal Election Coalition Sponsors Real Gubernatorial Debate

On Thursday, October 19th at 6:30 PM the Free and Equal Election Coalition (FREE) is proud to sponsor the only Gubernatorial debate in Illinois this year where all the candidates have been invited.

The debate will take place at the Fountains Conference Center at Four Points Sheraton, 319 Fountains Parkway in Fairview Heights. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the general public and the media are encouraged to attend. The debate is expected to last one hour.

The candidates confirmed to participate are Rich Whitney from the Green Party, and write-in candidates Randall Stufflebeam and Mark McCoy.

Also invited were Republican Judy Baar Topinka, Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, and write-in candidates Marvin Koch, Jr., Angel Rivera, Timothy Ross Nieukirk, and Luis Soto.

Supporters of all candidates are encouraged to distribute campaign materials at the event, even though they may not have been able to attend due to short notice.

Free hopes to set the tone for this and future elections by being true to the principles of democracy by not discriminating against any candidate. Write-in candidates have also been invited to this debate to give them a voice that is too often silenced by the anti-democratic ballot access laws in Illinois. Everyone should have the same opportunity to be on the ballot and some of the write-in candidates very well might have been on the ballot if they didn't face such severe ballot access requirements.

More than half of Illinois voters say that they would like more choices on the ballot according to a recent poll published in the Chicago Tribune. Those voters deserve to hear more about all of their options for the election on November 7th, and that is why FREE has decided to sponsor this debate.


And in somewhat related news, Lisa Madigan has decided to ask for a re-hearing of the recent Lee v. Keith ruling that declared Illinois Election Laws unconstitutional for independent GA candidates even though the court did so on a 3-0 vote. Lisa Madigan wants the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to re-hear the case.

Aren't there corrupt politicians that need to be tracked down in Illinois where these resources could be better used than trying to defend some of the worst ballot access laws in the world? Is it really wise to waste the 7th Circuit's time and resources by even asking them to re-hear this. My guess is that they will refuse to re-hear the case, and if so, Lisa Madigan needs to apologize to the taxpayers of Illinois for wasting their money on an effort to protect crooked incumbents and prolong the use of some of the worst ballot access requirements in the world. What is SHE thinking? Stu Umholtz and David Black are running against Lisa Madigan, btw.


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