Thursday, July 31, 2008

Which way?

The first time a state legislative panel has gone this far in carrying out a statutory process for closing a state facility isn’t a pretty one. Whether intended or not, one Illinois town has been pitted against another after Gov. Rod Blagojevich in June proposed moving about 140 Illinois Department of Transportation positions from Springfield three hours south to Harrisburg.

It was easy to see the tension during a lengthy public hearing in the state Capitol building Thursday night. A packed committee room literally was divided. Harrisburg residents sat on one side in purple T-shirts encouraging people to visit the southern Illinois town. Springfield state employees sat on the other side in lime green T-shirts saying the move is the “wrong way.” More supporters and opponents overflowed to the floor below, where they sat in folding chairs lined up in two more hallways and watched the committee hearing on giant screens.

The dilemma facing the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, the panel overseeing the process, is muddled. Facts have been complemented, and sometimes contradicted, by politics and emotions in the past few months.

Union-backed employees repeatedly have shared personal stories, including having to leave a grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease in a nursing home, forcing a teen-age son who lives between his mother’s and father’s homes to decide between the two and challenging people with disabilities who have support networks and medical experts in Springfield. The governor's office has said employees can choose to stay in Springfield and take jobs with equal pay and equal benefits, although the employees are skeptical.

Harrisburg officials said they feel left out and overshadowed by Springfield. “We’re depressed, not stupid,” said Harrisburg Mayor Valerie Mitchell.

They’re both victims, one set to lose either way. The motivation behind the move is the most contentious point, particularly whether the idea is rooted in economics or in politics.

GOP legislators representing the Springfield area allege the governor’s proposal was retribution for supporting a measure that would allow voters to recall elected officials, a measure perceived to be directed at the governor. Local officials list various state-owned facilities in Springfield that have space and could house the division. “We can move them a block or two and not 200 miles,” said Rep. Raymond Poe, a Springfield Republican, during the hearing.

The administration refutes the allegation and says the move is intended to give a boost to an economically depressed area of the state.

Sen. Christine Radogno, a Lemot Republican, said this proposal fails to consider economic development through private investment or tourism funding. Having spent the morning in Chicago at a leaders’ meeting about a statewide capital plan that would encourage such development, Radogno said during the hearing: “Guess what. It ain’t happening. It is so dysfunctional, the governance of this state, that we’re reduced to talking about economic development in terms of moving jobs around.”

“I want to help you,” she said to local Harrisburg officials, “but I’m not sure that, just again, moving government jobs around should satisfy us that we’re doing adequate economic development. That’s not economic development.”

Secretary of Transportation Milton Sees testified that it all started because of the need to replace old carpet nearly two years ago. Rather than continue to pay for an expensive lease to a California owner to house the Division of Traffic Safety, the department looked for ways to save money once the lease expired. Shortly after, Sees said the governor directed him to find a division that could serve in a stand-alone facility and relocate to an economically depressed area of the state. The focus shifted from finding space in Springfield to determining whether the Division of Traffic Safety could relocate to southern Illinois, eventually leading to Harrisburg. “They are starving for jobs, literally,” Sees said.

The transportation department already signed a contract to purchase space in the Harrisburg facility for $812,000, using money from the state’s dedicated Road Fund. IDOT’s chief counsel Ellen Schanzle-Haskins added that the department could break that lease at any time with five day’s notice. She also said the purchase is frozen until after the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issues a recommendation, due September 11. The recommendation, however, is not binding. The governor could move the positions, anyway.


Out with a bang

Illinois is closing out July in style and gearing up for more politics in August. The same day Gov. Rod Blagojevich unveiled a “compromise” capital plan to fund road and school construction projects throughout the state, his office was sued along with Senate President Emil Jones Jr.’s office for not releasing budget-related details. And the governor’s idea to transfer nearly 150 positions from Springfield three hours south to Harrisburg is the subject of hours of testimony opposing the idea, although southern Illinois folks like the idea of an economic boost. (More on that in the next post.) And after all that in one day, the condition of state government is unlikely to change any time soon.

I write “compromise” in quotes because there’s no deal on the capital plan without all parties on board. Although the governor’s office made a gesture to compromise by getting rid of the revenue source that House Speaker Michael Madigan ruled out — expanded gaming — it’s clear that the governor’s revised proposal still lacks support from House Democrats. The new version reduces the spending amount from $34 billion to $25 billion. So, yes, the casino-less proposal satisfies three of four caucuses, but those three caucuses were on board in the first place.

House Democrats’ concerns about the first plan still stand. Most prominently, they still don’t trust the governor to fairly distribute the capital funds. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat who represented the speaker in today’s meeting and in previous leaders’ meetings, reiterated Madigan’s stance: House Democrats won’t get on board unless the spending side of the capital plan is crystal clear. Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesman, said specific line items are an “absolute requirement.” In an e-mail after the meeting, Currie echoed: “Assuming we could reach agreement on the revenue side — a big assumption — we would definitely want line-item allocations and some way to guarantee that dollars allocated are actually spent.”

Her kicker: “So I think we continue to be on a very steep uphill climb.”

The governor’s revised revenue ideas still lack consensus. House Democrats repeatedly have questioned the wisdom of the first revenue source: selling off all or part of the Illinois Lottery to the private sector. The state asset generates money for public education and has been estimated to be worth more than $10 billion, leading some to question why the state would sell it rather than revamp it and maximize its value. Proponents say the private sector could be more efficient and aggressive in managing the lottery’s potential.

Currie said, however, that privatization also could negate the original intent and appeal. “The lottery was originally sold as a way to help education, so buying a losing lottery ticket still helped the kids. Take away education, and people may feel they’ve been bamboozled.”

The governor’s proposal does include a “lockbox” for capital investments and lottery proceeds for education. And supporters of the lottery lease say the upfront cash and the ongoing state share of the profits would ensure that public schools would receive at least the same amount under the public-private partnership.

The other funding idea includes transferring higher-than-expected revenues from two state taxes, the motor fuel tax that goes into a dedicated Road Fund and the sales tax on gasoline that goes into the general revenue fund. Currie said her caucus could consider using “excess” revenues from the motor fuel tax (a.k.a. Road Fund) if the administration proves that the money would go directly to capital construction projects. Transferring excess revenues from the state sales tax on gasoline (a.k.a. general revenue fund) is a different story. “Diversions from GRF — which, essentially, is what taking gasoline sales taxes really is — could be a very tough sell,” Currie said. Without support from House Democrats, a capital plan is unlikely to advance.

Another lawsuit
Two nonprofit groups supporting limited government are suing Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones Jr. for denying access to budget-related documents.

The Illinois Chapter of Americans for Prosperity based in Chicago and Judicial Watch Inc. based in Washington, D.C., filed suit in Sangamon County. They allege that both offices repeatedly denied requests under the Freedom of Information Act to release information about how a lump sum of $1.7 billion was spent in fiscal year 2008. In a Statehouse news conference Thursday, the two groups justified their suit by citing newspaper reports about questionable grants doled out by individual legislators. They’re asking the court to require Blagojevich and Jones to release information about specific uses of the money.

They’re targeting so-called member initiatives that distribute state grants to local nonprofits or units of local government, and so on, and the grants aren’t subject to competitive bidding processes or to legislative debates. Projects often are lumped together in a single dollar amount and lack specific descriptions of how that money would be used.

Jones’ office says its attorneys are reviewing the suit and don’t have a comment. I’m still waiting for a response from the governor’s office.

Joe Calomino, director of the Illinois Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said the group did not sue House Democrats or Republicans because they released detailed information about money issued for member initiatives.

The group, which publishes an online blog called Pork Report, also is behind legislation that would create a Web site to track all money spent on all districts, all state contracts, all state employees and all tax credits to improve government transparency. It was intended to serve as a one-stop shop for taxpayers. The measure was unanimously approved by the House but stalled in the Senate.


WellPaying Contributor to Blagojevich Back in the News

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

A couple of years ago, reports in the Tribune, Crain's, and the State Journal Register linked five bundled donations to Gov. Blagojevich's campaign with the All Kids health insurance program and the contract to manage it. New reports out today suggest that pattern may be repeating itself, this time in Florida.

Today's news report indicates that WellCare is "the biggest campaign contributor to Republican state House candidate Will Pruitt " and that "Pruitt received 20 separate $500 contributions, the limit for individual contributions, from WellCare Health Plans Inc. and its subsidiaries: WCG Health Management, Comprehensive Logistics, Comprehensive Health and Healthease."

If that sounds familiar, it should. On Nov. 21, 2005, WellCare made 5 separate $20,000 donations to Gov. Blagojevich's campaign. Those donations, made through subsidiaries including WellCare Health Plans Inc and WCG Health Management, came less than a week after the Governor signed into law his All Kids insurance program.

WellCare also hired Blagojevich protégé John Wyma in August of 2005; in January, 2006, another WellCare subsidiary, Harmony Health Care, hired Wyma, and has retained Wyma ever since.

At the time they hired Wyma and made the $100K in donations to the governor's campaign fund, Harmony Health Care held a $99M contract with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. That contract grew to $110M n FY07, $150M in FY08, and $162M in the current fiscal year. That's almost a two-thirds increase in their contract value in just three short years.

There may be more. According to Forbes, WellCare is under investigation by the FBI for possible Medicare fraud in Florida and Illinois. The company has acknowledged errors in both states.

Is there a pattern of bundling donations through subsidiaries to win state contracts? Either way, it's time to cut the connection between campaign money and state contracts.

To comment, please visit ICPR's blog.


Chicago aldermen: Who's got what

With a hat-tip to Newsalert. The Sun-Times lists the campaign fund totals of all Chicago aldermen. Ranging from between $8 Million to $0. The man on top is Ald. Ed Burke of the 14th.

Last year when I covered the municipal elections on my own blog, I noted in this post at that time...

Why does Burke have over $6.5 million in his campaign fund when he doesn't even have an opponent?
Ultimately he did have an opponent whom he failed to keep off the ballot and that election turned into what might referred to in wrestling as a "sqaush" match. That race was incredibly one sided.

Still I have to wonder why should an alderman have $8 million in their campaign fund? I suppose for a local office even in a city the size of Chicago to be able to either win or hold a seat shouldn't require that much money, unless we go back to that post at Newsalert...
Very interesting.With $8 million that substantially more money than Mayor Daley's got. Alderman Burke has never had a real campaign opponent. Why would so many connected individuals contribute money to a single Alderman? Here is the proof that Ed Burke is the real boss of The Chicago Democratic Machine. He slates the judges and controls Chicago's tax code. Burke passes out the money and it appears many people want to give him some money.
So all that money has little to do with his position as an alderman. Perhaps it might be his role as the chair of the city council finance committee? Perhaps it might be related to his role as a Democratic committeeman?


GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips - July 31, 2008

-- VIDEO CLIP: "Biggest celebrity in the world" TV ad

-- FRONT PAGE WITH COLOR PHOTO OF MCCAIN: McCain ad fights rival's celebrity head-on Campaign swipes at media, likens Obama to pop culture stars - Jill Zuckman,0,4335927.story
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Beyond outrageous lyrics from Obama's friend Ludacris
(FROM THE POSTING: As if Barack Obama, presumed Democratic nominee, weren't popular enough with the kids. A loyal Swamp reader points out that Illinois-born rapper Ludacris has just released a new song about Barack Obama, his favorite politician and maybe Best Friend Forever based on the lyrics. The Obama campaign said Ludacris should be ashamed of the lyrics, which they called offensive, not only to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and likely Republican nominee John McCain (R-Ariz.), but also 'all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear.' A former Clinton aide also quickly got in on the act, calling on Obama to denounce the song. Among the jewels of wisdom: On special perks: 'Said I handled his biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers, well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer. Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president.' On Hillary Clinton: 'Hillary hated on you, so that (expletive) is irrelevant' On Republicans: McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed, Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped The video is sure to ruffle a few feathers, especially among those who are already trying to paint Obama as little more than a celebrity trying to ride his hype to the White House. Lyrics after the jump.)
-- Spotlight's glare bares missteps too - Eric Zorn,0,5439617.column
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: John Kass pulls out all the stops to promote dogs and to promote dog owners,0,1439584.column
(DIERSEN: As a mailman 1966-1969 and as a Republican precinct committeeman and Republican campaign volunteer since 1999, I have walked up to the front doors of homes tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of times. Far far far too often I have been greeted by bored, unhappy, frustrated, and angry dogs who seem to want to escape from their owners.)
-- Mexico farm source of salmonella outbreak, U.S. finds - Annys Shin,0,998469.story
-- Debate over raids widens Study showing a dip in illegal immigrant numbers questioned - Nicole Gaouette,0,3900462.story
-- FROM THE ARTICLE: Wheaton College also ranked No. 1 in the survey for great "town-gown relations." DePaul University is the only other Illinois school to earn a No. 1 ranking, in the category "Great College Towns.",0,6313677.story

-- Gov: I'm still not a target of feds BGA lawyer: Court filing seems to argue otherwise - Dave McKinney,CST-NWS-watchdog31.article
-- Peraica giving back donations Points finger at foe - Eric Herman,CST-NWS-peraica31.article
-- Possible Republican VP pick Tim Pawlenty mum in Chicago - Abdon Pallasch,pawlenty073108.article
-- The silent treatment is childish, Mr. Madigan - Editorial,CST-EDT-edit31.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Mary Mitchell blames all African American problems on whites, again,CST-NWS-mitch31.article
-- Rove's attack on Sen. Obama is rife with misinformation - Vincent Rossmeier
(Not posted as of 8:00 AM)
-- Why is spending others' money virtuous? - Jacob Sullum
(Not posted as of 8:00 AM)

-- Hastert joins DC lobbying firm - AP
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Since Hastert's hiring, some of his former conservative supporters expressed dismay at his joining a firm whose Web site touts a diversified workplace in which "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals enjoy an atmosphere of inclusion and respect," enrich the firm and enhance its service.)

-- Illinois House Republicans outline goals for future - Patrick Ferrell,4_1_JO31_GOPAGENDA_S1.article

-- "Get off your a**, black people, get out and vote!" Ludacris raps - Fran Eaton (Includes video clip)

-- Michelle Obama's College Thesis: An Early Exercise In Blame and Anger - Daniel T. Zanoza

-- Big question: How will older white Democrats react to a young liberal black presidential candidate?

-- Part 1 - Candidates Cruising with Family PAC - Cal Skinner

-- VERY SAD: Nudity Fills San Francisco Streets again as Cops Look on and Do Nothing at ‘Up Your Alley’ Street Fair Police-protected sadistic celebration reveals continuing lawlessness in America’s ‘gay-est’ city - Peter LaBarbera

-- Let It be Romney, Please! - Bay Buchanan

-- Why Obama Should Pick Hillary - Lanny Davis

-- VIDEO CLIP: Obama Lectures Americans to Give Up SUVs, Then Hops in One

-- Obama links McCain to 'reckless' GOP economics - Mike Glover
-- Obama's convention crowd: Biggest phone bank ever - Nedra Pickler and Ron Fournier

-- Freddie, Fannie Funded Jesse Jackson’s Pet Projects - Keriann Hopkins

-- New McCain Ad Mocks Obama 'Celeb' Status - David Wright
-- Did Obama Accuse McCain of Running a Racist, Xenophobic Campaign? - Jake Tapper

-- In fundraising ranks, a gender gap is showing - Fredreka Schouten

-- McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch - Jim Rutenberg
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Because Obama is so outrageously anti-Republican, anyone who does anything to help elect Obama is shouting to the world that they are not a Republican

-- Obama: They're Trying to 'Make You Scared of Me' - Jonathan Weisman
-- Ludacris Provides Obama With More Unwelcome Help - Laura Yao

-- McCain's Savvy Ad Strategy - Andrew Romano
-- The Techie in Chief The terrorists have laptops in their hideouts. Can America afford to have a leader who is just learning how to use one? - Anna Quindlen

-- Ludacris Pro Obama Rap Song Stirs Controversy Another Scary Obama Friend? - Mark Whittington

-- Obama's reparations policy - Michael Gaynor

-- Nets Agitated by McCain's 'Nasty' & 'Childish' Anti-Obama 'Attack' Ad - Brent Baker

-- OUTSTANDING: Tide of illegal immigrants now being reversed Border crackdown and tough economic times in the US are seen as reasons. - Gail Russell Chaddock
(DIERSEN: Illegals and those who exploit them are conflicted. Driving the American economy down helps elect Obama, but it also discourages illegal immigration.)

-- McCain uses Obama’s celebrity against him - Sam Youngman and Aaron Blake
-- OUTSTANDING: Targeted Dems forge deal on immigration - Jared Allen and Jack Kucinich
-- Republicans issue Biggert poll after opponent outraises her - Joey Michalakes

-- Obama notes ‘tragic’ US past American history's "sad" aspects require action, the senator tells cheering journalists - Laurie Au

-- Obama The Patriot - Removes American Flag From His Plane

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Who volunteers to help a candidate, an elected official, or a political party says a lot about that candidate, that elected official, or that political party leader. How that candidate, that elected official, or that political party treats that volunteer says a lot about that candidate, that elected official, or that political party leader.

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Roskam requests the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to "investigate if there are fundamental differences in the treatment of different classes of bonds by rating agencies that cause some classes to suffer from 'undue circumstances'" and to "consider the extent to which retail investors could be disadvantaged by a single ratings scale."

-- Who works against your GOPUSA Illinois Editor? - Dave Diersen
Your GOPUSA Illinois Editor transferred from IRS to GAO in 1980. My anti-conservative GAO superiors wasted my career, stopped me from being assigned to studies of IRS except 1986-1988, and forced me to take early retirement in 1997. Starting in 1990, my anti-conservative GAO superiors assigned me to studies of financial industry issues. Starting in 1992, I took graduate finance courses in the evening at the Illinois Institute of Technology and earned a masters degree in financial markets and trading in 1997. If my anti-conservative GAO superiors had not wasted my career and forced me to take early retirement, they might very well have assigned Roskam's request to me. In 1979, I passed the CPA examination on my first attempt. In 1981, I passed the Certified Internal Auditor examination on my first attempt. I earned a bachelors degree in management from NIU in 1970, an MBA from Loyola in 1976, and a masters degree in accounting from DePaul in 1980. I am one of only a very few Republicans in the 6th Congressional District who have lots of experience working for the federal government -- 3 years with the Post Office, 9 years with IRS, and 17 years with GAO. Sadly, anti-conservatives continue to denigrate me and denigrate my abilities and ascribe bad judgment and evil motive to everything I do -- they work hard to limit my role in political and government organizations and they discourage people from reading GOPUSA ILLINOIS daily emails. Even though I am the GOPUSA Illinois Editor, the Chairman of TAPROOT Republicans of Illinois, served as a steering committee member and officer of the Illinois Center Right Coalition, and I am a member of the American Association of Political Consultants, they continue to argue that I am neither a journalist nor a conservative leader and that GAO was justified in forcing me to take early retirement. Some argue that if they could control the content of GOPUSA ILLINOIS emails, the Illinois Republican Party would be in a much better condition than it is today. They would keep out of the emails anything that does not promote them or promote the individual candidate(s) they are currently promoting. Given my life history and everything I have done, especially everything I have done since 2000, I argue that anyone who works against me is either an anti-conservative or a dupe of an anti-conservative.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Das Bull

I finally got a chance to take a look at the new McCain attack ad that plays on the celebrity status of Barack in an attempt to convey a 'more sizzle than steak' image of our Democratic nominee. Something struck me as especially odd about the piece, but I had to watch it a few times to get at what it was. If you haven't seen it, watch it now and see if anything comes to mind.

It finally dawned on me as if I was hit upside the head with some schnitzel. Despite the gratuitous images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, it is another celebrity altogether with whom the ad attempts to link Obama.

The opening of the piece
- the chanting German crowds, the camera angles, all of it - looked like an updated version of old Hitler newsreel footage. Watch it a couple of times and you realize (at least I do) that this is no coincidence. On its surface, the ad is a routine 'don't believe the hype' piece. But the real subtext of this commercial is to implant a 'cult of personality' message by shamelessly invoking Nazi parallels.

I'll admit to having reservations about my belief that McCain supporters would stoop to such a tactic, but my doubts were quickly allayed when I did a search on the Google for 'Obama Hitler'. It took all of .19 seconds to find a slew of results including this gem by a writer for the National Review. In whining about the fact that McCain simply can't get any attention from the media, she talked about how much attention Barack's acceptance speech at the convention will likely generate. Apparently having no rational way of trying to make a point, she blurts out:
To me, this is evocative of something Leni Riefenstahl might have documented.
For those who miss the somewhat obscure, and inflammatory, reference, Leni Riefenstahl was, among many other things, the cinematographer of the Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will", a film that purely coincidentally contains the rally footage from the 1934 Nuremburg Congress that was evoked by my watching the McCain ad.

But don't think that the vitriol is is limited to your Republican media outlets. Continuing this year's wacky pastor parade comes Pastor James David Manning, who crosses the line of reason and decency by such lengths that the line is just a blur in the rearview mirror of his crazymobile.

You have got to watch this one to believe it.

The fact that one can find so many variants of this message is simply beyond the pale. And given that they're playing the Hitler card and it is only July, who knows what else they'll trot out between now and November. (Can you imagine if they find out about Barack's '666' birthmark?)

But keep in mind, that even in a Presidential campaign, Godwin's Law still applies. And under Godwin's Law, McCain's a loser.

To read or post comments, visit Open House



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

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform urges legislative leaders to insist Gov. Blagojevich accept limitations on pay-to-play contracting as part of any new multibillion-dollar capital plan.

Gov. Blagojevich has called legislative leaders to a meeting Thursday to negotiate a capital construction program, reportedly in the range of $20 billion to $34 billion.

“House Bill 824, now sitting on the governor’s desk, would ban businesses with state contracts from making campaign contributions to the officeholder awarding the contract,” said Cynthia Canary, Director of ICPR. “The governor should sign HB 824 and give the public some confidence the billions of dollars in news spending would be done fairly and would not be directed at the wallets of the businesses contributing to his campaign fund.”

In the first 30 days after the General Assembly passed HB 824, the governor’s campaign committee actively solicited contributions from businesses with state contracts and collected at least $250,000 from state contractors in that short period of time, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation.

“The governor claims he wants billions in new infrastructure spending to create jobs and to guard against a bridge collapse as happened in Minneapolis last year,” Canary said. “But after years of headlines about contracts that look more like pay-to-play than legitimate state business, taxpayers have to wonder whether his top concern is bridge safety or building up his campaign treasury.

“If he would sign the bill to discourage pay-to-play and stop soliciting money from people doing business with the state, he would give the public reason to believe those new construction dollars would be spent fairly,” she said. “Legislative leaders should insist HB 824 is signed into law before giving the governor the ability to award billions in new spending for bridges, roads, and other projects.”


State contractor: Stop me before I give money to the governor again

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

Illinois campaign finance disclosure reports tell who gave how much to whom, and when, but they don't tell why. And “why” is the most interesting question. For Today's Trib story, reporters John Chase and David Kidwell called some donors – all with state contracts -- and asked that question. Some of the answers were surprisingly candid.

One contractor with more than $40 million in road construction contracts said he wished Gov. Blagojevich would sign pending legislation prohibiting contributions by contractors: "I'd like to see it signed because it will save me money. We won't have to contribute anything. I wouldn't even have to entertain the idea of supporting him . . . or her or anyone."

The legislation aimed at pay-to-play politics (House Bill 824) has been sitting on the governor's desk for 30 days. During those 30 days, the Blagojevich campaign committee has collected “more than a quarter of a million dollars from people who do business with the state,” according to that same Tribune story by Chase and Kidwell.

The governor has another month to go before he acts on HB 824, but he may be more interested in a different deadline – January 1, 2009. That’s the effective date of HB 824, if it becomes law with his signature or an override of his veto. He has at least five more months to ask state contractors for campaign contributions and five more months for reporters to ask state contractors why they give. All the more reason to urge him to sign it now , without making any changes.

It also is worth noting that very few people currently give to Illinois state politicians. A few years ago, we estimated the number of donors who give large donation -- $10,000 or more -- at less than one half of one tenth of one percent of all people in Illinois. That tiny pool of donors accounts for most of the money raised by candidates for state office. But why do they give?

To comment, please visit ICPR's blog.


GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips - July 30, 2008

-- Republican National Committee creates Obama Facebook site - Ben Bradley (Includes video clip)
(FROM THE ARTICLE: "I think a lot of Americans don't know a lot about Barack Obama, and legitimately, the Republican National Committee is getting the information out," said Pat Brady, Sen. John McCain's campaign deputy co-chair. Among those listed as "friends" on Obama's fake Barackbook page is convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko. Click on his name and viewers are told that Rezko was among Obama's first political supporters and that Rezko sold Obama a piece of land next to his Hyde Park home. Another click in the friend column, and you'll find an unflattering mug shot of William Ayers, the 60's radical-turned-distinguished professor, who Obama has said is just a casual acquaintance. "There's nothing new here. It's stuff people have known for a long time -- probably some information in there they don't want to be on the Web," Brady said. "Apparently, John McCain picked up on the Internet about as quickly as he picked up on the fact that the economy is going south and the war in Iraq is a complete blunder," said Alexi Giannoulias, (D) Illinois Treasurer. Giannoulias said he is proud to call himself a friend of Barack Obama but isn't thrilled about seeing himself in the "friends" column along with old stories about questionable loans he made before being elected. "They're trying to throw everything they can against the wall and see what sticks," said Giannoulias. "What they're trying to do is an overall strategy to make Obama look like another Chicago politician -- though somewhat different in who he is but not what he is," said Paul Green, political analyst.)
-- OUTRAGEOUS: Sharpton defends Jackson - AP

-- 'Price Is Right' Host Urges Support For Pet Sterilization Ordinance (Includes video clip)
(DIERSEN: I delivered mail for the Park Forest Post Office 1966-1969.)

-- DIERSEN: Needless-to-say, McCain should promise to cut off all federal funds for Chicago if Chicago does not stop promoting illegal immigration
(FROM THE ARTICLE: The hearings are being praised by immigrant rights activists nationwide who have long watched Chicago's approach to immigrants. "It's always been seen as a place that's been more open and friendly to immigrants," said Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and former Chicago immigration activist. "This particular announcement is a further step in making immigrants feel that their rights are going to be protected." Chicago, which was declared a sanctuary to immigrants in 1989, has had the highest participation nationwide in annual immigrant rights rallies. In 2006, more than 400,000 marched in the streets and Mayor Richard Daley addressed the crowd. Last year, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sponsored the failed DREAM Act, a bill designed to facilitate citizenship for young illegal immigrants who planned to attend college or join the military.)
-- Bob Barker Lobbies Council For Pet Neutering Law Barker Says The Movement Is Sweeping The Country (Includes video clip)

-- Blagojevich and bridges: Sincere or Sensationalizing - John Patterson
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Outrageously, Bush let stand all kinds of outrageous Clinton executive orders. But outrageously, Obama says, "We need to review Bush's executive orders."
-- IRS pledges better collection of business taxes
(DIERSEN: I collected delinquent payroll and other taxes for IRS 1971-1980 and I audited IRS for GAO 1986-1988.)
-- FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD: DIERSEN HEADLINE: TRAGIC: Teen and preteen births increase in DuPage County as more people who reject conservative values move into DuPage County to take advantage of the prosperity and safety that conservative values bring forth.
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Navarette outrageously tries to argue that he is a centrist
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Elgin Area School District U-46 wastes more taxpayer dollars promoting Spanish

-- OUTSTANDING: Dave Ressler's love of Corvettes is exceeded only by the depth of his pockets, as logical an explanation as any for his paying $1 million (TO CHARITY) for the very first ZR1, which has rolled off an assembly line into his driveway. (Includes video clips)

-- OUTSTANDING: Corvette still an American classic - Jill Ciminillo,JC072908_corvette.article
-- VERY SAD: Peraica donors include felons - Eric Herman,CST-NWS-peraica30good.article
-- VERY SAD: Ozinga's firms owed $59K in taxes Campaign says tally is small compared to 'tens of millions' paid - Abdon Pallasch,CST-NWS-cong30.article
-- Women voters aren't warming to 'cool' Obama - Carol Marin,CST-EDT-Carol30.article
-- Bob Barker asks Chicago City Council for pet control legislation Retired host of 'The Price is Right' urges aldermen to OK ordinance requiring neutering, spaying - Fran Spielman,pets072908.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Mark Brown shamelessly panders to dog owners and to the dog industry,CST-NWS-brown30.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Chicago Sun-Times shamelessly panders to dog owners and to the dog industry,CST-EDT-edit30a.article
-- Gov may dump Chicago casino It could be dropped to pass capital program passed - Dave McKinney and Rummana Hussain,CST-NWS-gov30.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Those who want to kill Christians and especially to kill American Christians are overjoyed: Greeley calls Bush and Cheney "war criminals.",CST-EDT-greel30.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Democrats say you personally benefited from slavery and from "Jim Crow segregation laws." Yesterday, Democrats apologized on your behalf. How much will Democrats make you pay in reparations?,sorry072908.article
-- Bailouts, feminism, liberal deceit: Where does it end? - Thomas Sowell
(Not posted as of 6:30 AM)

-- Indictment of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens adds to bleak GOP prospects in November - Andrew Taylor,0,522517.story
-- Obama hopium helps you forget several unpleasant facts - John Kass,0,915294.column
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: RNC video clip helps explain a) why all Diersen's ancestors left what is now Germany in 1840s and 1850s, b) why Diersen's grandfather fought Germany in World War I, c) why someone like Hitler could come to power in Germany, d) why Diersen's uncles Paul and Otto fought Germany in World War II, e) why Diersen's father would have fought Germany in World War II if he had not had full blown diabetes since he was 14 years old, f) why so many Germans blame all their problems on America, and g) why no one should support Obama. Diersen hopes that the Milton Township Republican Central Committee changes the name of its "Oktoberfest" fundraiser to "Americafest."
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: McCain and Obama both say they oppose "quotas" but only McCain says he opposes "preferential treatment" on the basis of "race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.",0,346308.column
(REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM: FROM PAGE 75: "Finally, because we are opposed to discrimination, we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender, which perpetuate divisions and can lead people to question the accomplishments of successful minorities and women.")
-- FRONT PAGE: Governor steps up fundraising Contractors' donations flow as reform bill sits - John Chase and David Kidwell,0,5230757.story
-- Chicago aldermen put off decision on pet neutering idea - Hal Dardick
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Chicago Tribune shamelessly panders to dog owners and to the dog industry,0,6221288.story

-- Blagojevich urges (TAX INCREASES TO PAY FOR) state repairs Says there will be room to compromise - AP

-- Sauerberg touts background in medicine - David Gialanella,2_6_2_TC30_SENATE_S1.article
-- DuPage County Election judges get pay raise - Paige Winfield,6_1_NA30_COMMISSION_S1.article

-- Ozinga touts benefits of wind energy - Patrick Ferrell,4_1_JO30_OZINGA_S1.article

-- OUTSTANDING: Sauerberg calls on Stevens to resign

-- Hastert rallies troops for Oberweis 'Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue' - Brenda Schory

-- Let's All Apologize to Each Other for Every Crime - Mark Rhoads

-- Is anyone actually falling for Tom Cross’ latest charade? - Doug Ibendahl
-- July 27 radio program audio clip posted: Guest: Dr. Victor Davis Hanson
(THE POSTING: Last Sunday, Special Guest Dr. Victor Davis Hanson joined John, Cathy and Doug. Dr. Hanson is one of the premier military historians of our time. He has written or edited 16 books, the latest entitled A War Like No Other. He is a Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and Professor Emeritus at California University.)

-- Chicago Weak in Review

-- House Republicans Don't Defend Stevens - Patrick O'Connor

-- The Media 'Swoon' Over Obama's Iraq Trip

-- Obama's Women Problem - Dick Morris

-- FROM THE ARTICLE: The conservative National Review called for Stevens’ resignation. Democrats across the country called on their Republican opponents to return Stevens’ campaign contributions. Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican, used Stevens’ indictment to demand passage of legislation that would deny congressional pensions to members convicted of felonies.

-- CQ Politics’ Top 10: Democrats’ Cash Domination Extends to Open-Seat Races - Greg Giroux
(FROM THE ARTICLE: 7. Debbie Halvorson, Democrat, Illinois’ 11th ($917,000). Halvorson, a state senator, entered the race shortly after Republican Rep. Jerry Weller said that he would not seek re-election in a mildly Republican-leaning district that includes a mix of suburbs, exurbs and rural territory south and west of Chicago. She’s facing a determined Republican challenger in Marty Ozinga, a concrete company executive who has been aggressively raising money ever since he was named by local Republican officials in late April to replace the original Republican nominee, who had withdrawn. In this year’s second quarter, Halvorson collected as much from political action committees as she did from individual donors. She also received some funds from a pair of joint fundraising committees, Blue Illinois 2008 and Women Lead Victory Fund 2008, that distributed funds to her campaign, as well as to others. CQ Politics Rating: Leans Democratic)

-- Obama inspires uncertainty - Richard Cohen

-- Obama lionized across the Pond - Adrienne Washington

-- As a University of Chicago Professor, Obama Enthralled Students and Puzzled Faculty - Jodi Kantor
-- Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Apart - Jodi Kantor

-- Media are shameless sycophants for Obama - Edward B. Harmon

-- How the neoconservatives gave Obama the world - Jack Hunter

-- McCain to stop in Wisconsin's Racine 'bellwether county' Thursday, August 31 - AP

-- Blagojevich urges lawmakers to OK construction plan - Jenny Song and Deanna Bellandi

-- McCain gets an earful A voter asks: Can't you give us conservatives more to get excited about?,0,3412636.story
-- Obama meets with key women The Democrat reaches out, bringing up sexism against Clinton in the primary. McCain vows not to raise taxes. - Peter Nicholas and Mark Z. Barabak,0,2605442.story

-- DIERSEN: Sadly, McCain says he wants to "work closely with Democrats" when he should be saying that he wants to advance the Republican Party platform. Sadly, Bush, America, and the world have suffered greatly because Bush abandoned certain important planks in the Republican Party platform so that he could "work closely with Democrats."
-- FROM THE ARTICLE: On how (McCain) would handle sanctuary cities like San Francisco: "I would push for federal action to carry out a federal responsibility. And a federal responsibility is immigration . . . If you have secure borders and you have a temporary worker program that has to do with tamper-proof biometric documents . . . you address the issue of the 12 million people who are here illegally, and you don't have to worry about all that."

-- Race and gender preference giving: The Obama Principle - John Fund

-- John McCain said that he supports the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative. This is a big deal, and Sen. McCain is to be roundly congratulated. - Editors
-- BAMN v. America: No Power to the People Blocking the democratic process, By Any Means Necessary. - Roger Clegg

-- McCain should pledge to Make English Official Language - K.C. McAlpin

-- McCain casts himself as Washington outsider - Mosheh Oinounou

-- Connerly's Anti (RACE AND GENDER PREFERENCE GIVING) Measure Could be a Win-Win for McCain - Earl Ofari Hutchinson

-- Obama's referendum on White America - Stephan Andrew Brodhead

-- BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: McDonald’s sponsors gay pride parade
(FROM THE POSTING: McDonald's sponsored the 2007 San Francisco Gay Pride parade with a television commercial. In the ad, a McDonald's official (Darwin Choy) brags that it is "a company that actively demonstrates its commitment to the gay and lesbian community." The commercial is available at and was originally posted on YouTube by the McDonald's employee. After AFA exposed it, it was removed by the McDonald's employee. The parade was broadcast on San Francisco Channel KORN-TV4 and sponsored by McDonald's. The pictures below were taken from the parade.)

-- DIERSEN: IF I WERE A HISPANIC, I WOULD TELL OBAMA TO TAKE HIS $20 MILLION RACE BAIT MONEY AND STICK IT: Allen: Hispanics embrace Obama’s $20 million outreach & Mulkem: Dems pursue Latino votes

-- If anyone from the Wheaton area is attending the McCain Town Hall Meeting in Racine tomorrow, Thursday, July 31, please let me know at or 630-653-0462 - Dave Diersen
-- OUTSTANDING: Wheaton League of Women Voters proposal fails - Dave Diersen
(THE ARTICLE: Happily, the Wheaton League of Women Voters motion for a "study to consider the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence" failed at the June 13-18 biennial LWV meeting in Portland, Oregon. Sadly, obviously, individuals, organizations, and countries that want to harm if not destroy America favor the proposal. If America is destroyed, which individuals, organizations, and countries will protect the LWV?)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coroner Candidate Dave Bachmann Ahead of Curve on Pill Disposal

Based on narcotics being left in the house after his mother died, Dave Bachmann, Democratic Party candidate for McHenry County Coroner. came up with the idea that deputy coroners could pick up unused pills after people passed away. (Some are outright illegal to possess after a patient’s death.)

He floated this idea on McHenry County Blog last September.

Since then, the Fox Rive Grove Police have started the practice and the Chicago Tribune had an article by Ray Hood on the idea last Thursday.

The headline:

To avoid water contamination, officials hold medicine-collection drives
Flushing old pills no longer considered safe
“On Saturday, Cook County will hold its first medicine collection drive in the south suburb of Midlothian, joining Will, Kendall and other counties in the Chicago region in providing a safe way for residents to toss out their old prescription drugs,” the story said.

“Chicago officials reacted swiftly in April after testing performed for the Chicago Tribune showed trace amounts of many common household medicines in the water supply, which serves 7 million people in the city and suburbs.”
The Illinois EPA is encouraging such efforts.

Posted first at McHenry County Blog.


GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips - July 29, 2008

-- Phyllis Schlafly Gets Lifetime Achievement Award from Family PAC - Cal Skinner

-- Roskam slams illegal immigration practices - Joseph Ryan
(FROM THE ARTICLE: From the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam said Illinois' lax laws are drawing a flood of illegal immigrants to the Chicago region. "We are becoming a magnet for illegal immigration," Roskam said from Nogales, Arizona in a telephone conference with district residents Monday night. Roskam singled out an Illinois law that bans employers from using the E-Verify system, which is intended to help businesses certify if an employee is a legal resident. "It creates in (illegal immigrants) the expectation that if you make it to Illinois you are home free," Roskam said of the ban.)
-- Cook County state's attorney candidates trade claims of tainted donors - Rob Olmstead
-- DuPage lawmaker Bob Biggins pleads guilty in DUI case - John Patterson
-- FRONT PAGE IN DUPAGE EDITION: U of I a top 20 party school; Wheaton College 'stone-cold sober' - AP
-- Battle over proton cancer therapy center goes to court - Jack Komperda
-- Addiction to wasting money? - Scott Frillman, Antioch
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Tim Belter of Arlington Heights blasts the Bible, Christians, America, etc.

-- Obama's lopsided media coverage - Nancy J. Thorner, Lake Bluff,0,2537900.story
-- McCain steps back from 'no new tax' pledge, gets rebuked by conservative anti-tax group - Charles Babington,0,3911758.story
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, just about all federal employees are Democrats. Doesn't that indicate massive discrimination against Republicans?,0,352289.story
-- Businesses owe IRS $58 billion in taxes supposedly withheld from employees' paychecks - Jim Abrams,0,177540.story
(DIERSEN: I collected delinquent payroll and other taxes for IRS 1971-1980 and I audited IRS for GAO 1986-1988.)
-- State Rep. Bob Biggins pleads guilty to Springfield DUI charge License will be suspended for 6 months; he must pay about $1,200 in fines,0,4148647.story

-- Obama's to-do list: Select running mate, take vacation - Lynn Sweet,CST-NWS-sweetside29.article

-- Michelle Obama Hopes To Attract Clinton Supporters - Dorothy Tucker (Includes video clip)

-- Michelle Obama Woos Women's Vote Obama Outlines Husband's Agenda
-- AS THE ILLINOIS DEMOCRAT PARTY'S STRANGLEHOLD ON ILLINOIS TIGHTENS: State Pays $21M Plus In Unemployment Initial Benefits Sent To 32,284 People This Month

-- Columnist Novak has brain tumor - AP

-- Michelle Obama With Christie Hefner, Jan Schakowsky, and Paula Wolff Court Female Voters Downtown

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Teen births increase in DuPage County as more people who reject conservative values move into DuPage County to take advantage of the prosperity and safety that conservative values bring forth.,6_1_NA29_TEENPARENTS_S1.article
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Jim Ryan blasts money-driven political races, civic ignorance, and No Child Left Behind and praises Ruscitti for advocating more civics education,6_1_NA29_CHAMBER_S1.article

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Democrats constantly shout that "People’s Resource Center food pantry serves 2,000 DuPage families each month." What the Democrats are really outrageously shouting is: "DuPage County voters should elect Democrats because thousands and thousands of people are starving in DuPage County because of failed Republican leadership."

-- Illinois GOP 'Agenda for Action' more wish list than blueprint - Editorial

-- AS THE ILLINOIS DEMOCRAT PARTY'S STRANGLEHOLD ON ILLINOIS TIGHTENS: More people turn to food pantries Even some who have jobs feel economic pinch - John Reynolds

-- While legislators fight, people are losing their homes - Rich Miller,072908miller.article

-- OUTSTANDING VIDEO CLIP: Obama as Messiah - John Ruskin
-- Biggins pleads guilty, sentenced to six-month driving limitations - Fran Eaton
-- McCain's Opportunity to Provide a "Change We Can Believe In" - Dan Proft
-- Forte-Scott mailing takes area GOPers by surprise - Fran Eaton

-- Illinois Senate Republicans and "Priorities of Government" - John Biver
-- When Average Salary Is Not Average – How Teachers Total Compensation Dwarfs Other White Collar Workers - Bill Zettler
-- Top 100 Paid Teachers 2007 Salary and Total Compensation - Bill Zettler

-- Berkowitz w/ Peraica on Daley, Devine, Alvarez and torture cover-ups

-- Do Ask, Do Tell - U.S. Military: Medical Truths, More Reasons To Exclude Open Homosexuality From Military Medical Logical That Cannot Be Denied - Donna Garner

-- Barack Obama’s Chaotic Family Background Could Lead Some to Ask: Who is this Man? Does it Impact on Voters’ Insecurity About Him?

-- Obama Rejects English Language Assimilation - Phyllis Schlafly

-- For Obama, ‘It’s the trust, stupid’ - Sam Youngman

-- McCain gains on Obama in poll - Jill Lawrence
-- HOW MUCH CREDIT WILL THE MEDIA GIVE REPUBLICANS FOR THIS?: Drop in homeless count seen as 'success story' - Wendy Koch
-- Obama and McCain blast White House's economic oversight - David Jackson

-- Obama and the DNC Target Hispanics in Swing States A $20 million plan Obama and the DNC Target Hispanics in Swing States

-- Evangelicals warn against McCain-Romney ticket Huckabee backers least flexible - Ralph Z. Hallow
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, was the favorite of evangelical voters in the Republican presidential nomination contest earlier this year and won more delegates per dollar spent than any other candidate in either party. Other well-placed Christian conservatives say that although many evangelical leaders could accept and work for a McCain-Romney ticket, Mr. Huckabee's supporters tend to be "rabid" in their views against Mr. Romney because of his faith: They do not regard Mormonism as a Christian denomination. The McCain campaign will say officially only that the choice hasn't been made and that the wealthy former governor of Massachusetts is just one of several options for the Republican ticket. In conversations with The Times, several Republican officials close to the McCain campaign also played down anti-Romney sentiment among conservative evangelicals. They cited an online poll of evangelicals by 2000 presidential primary candidate Gary Bauer that found Mr. Romney is the top vice-presidential choice of born-again Christians.)

-- Columnist Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumor - Denise Lavoie
(FROM THE ARTICLE: House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, of Missouri, said Novak's record of reporting and commenting on American elections "has never failed to demonstrate keen insight and a peerless political acumen." "I want to join the many wishing Bob all the best as he confronts this challenge and a speedy recovery as he looks to resume his work," Blunt said in a statement. Cyrus Freidheim, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, said Novak's work has been a "source of great pride" at the newspaper. "Sometimes terse, never dull, always insightful, Bob has been on top of the inside workings of Washington politics for decades. Our profession and his many fans worldwide wish him a speedy recovery. We look forward to his return," Freidheim said.)

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Republican National Committee launches fake Obama Facebook page. Will McCain condemn it?

-- Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession - Michael Boskin

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: "It's the economy, stupid" Democrats and their allies drive America's economy down to elect Obama

-- Did Obama Overstay? - Dan Schnur

-- Barack Obama's religious predicament - Don Frederick
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Obama, speaking to the Unity convention of minority journalists Sunday in Chicago, discussed his campaign's challenge in responding to Internet-fueled rumors that he is a Muslim. "This is a classic example of a no-win situation," Obama said. "I have repeatedly said I'm not a Muslim, but this whole strategy of suggesting that I am is indicative of anti-Muslim strategy that we have to fight against.")
-- Democrats: Bush most reckless spender in White House history
-- Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumor The longtime columnist, known in part for his role in the Valerie Plame scandal, says he is suspending his work and will begin treatment soon. - Johanna Neuman,0,6960764.story

-- The press is in love with Obama - Dan K. Thomasson

-- Affirmative Action Reax - Chris Bodenner

-- What’s Really Eating Obama/Wright? - Julia Gorin

-- Captain McCain - R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

-- Known Unknowns About Obama - Richard Cohen

-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Lifetime Ratings for Illinois Congressmen and Senators
96.17 - Manzullo (District 16)
96.00 - Roskam (6)
93.24 - Hastert (14)
87.97 - Shimkus (19)
86.40 - Weller (11)
72.46 - LaHood (18)
67.89 - Biggert (13)
65.71 - Johnson (15)
56.79 - Kirk (10)
37.02 - Lipinski (3)
33.73 - Costello (12)
27.00 - Bean (8)
13.09 - Emanuel (5)
5.36 - Gutierrez (4)
3.68 - Rush (1)
3.18 - Davis (7)
3.07 - Jackson (2)
1.89 - Schakowsky (9)
0.00 - Hare (17)

6.45 - Durbin
7.67 - Obama


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