Monday, January 31, 2005

Maya Keyes on the street?

Someone named Shiva in the comments area of my last post mentioned that Maya Keyes is "out on the streets." It sounds like Maya attended the counter-inaugural protests -- angering her father, who fired her from her job. Now it sounds like she's out of money and rent is due. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mission Accomplished?

When President Bush declared the Iraqi election a success I became very alarmed -- is this a sign that turmoil is on the way? And how does he really know that voters "firmly rejected the antidemocratic ideology" of terrorists. What if some fundamentalist radical is elected president? If that's the case, I guess that wouldn't be all that different from our own political process. But still, we won't know just how much they've embraced democracy until the votes are counted.

Deere got your tongue?

Possible gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ray LaHood really needs to lose the John Deere photo in the upper right-hand corner of his site, -- given the fact that Deere rival Caterpillar Inc. is actually headquartered in his district and employs thousands of people in the Peoria area alone. There are, after all, better ways of demonstrating your commitment to agriculture than posing with a Deere. Why not show the rolling cornfields, or stand next to a guy in bib overalls and pitchfork or SOMETHING.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Justice delayed...

Yesterday in court, former Gov. George Ryan made his best puppy-dog eyes for the judge of his corruption trial and won a six-month delay in the start of the trial. The reason he needed the delay, Ryan argued, is that his lawyer Dan Webb will be too busy in March with a big tobacco trial to defend Ryan. By granting this delay, the judge is essentially acknowledged that the wheels of justice revolve around Dan Webb's schedule. I have to believe that this delay is bad news for Republicans, given that the corruption trial is now set to overlap the primary campaign season, providing a reminder to voters as to why they voted Democrat in 2002.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Zorn way off on Blagojevich/Mell dispute

Zorn gets petty on the Blagojevich/Mell situation. He writes as if he doesn't know that if the Tribune, for instance, had investigated the dump and saw illegal waste being hauled in, they would be sure to note that the owner is family to Mell and second cousin to the governor’s wife. So let’s not pretend for a moment that the dump had no potential to reflect badly on Blagojevich and give the appearance of scandal.   Calling Blagojevich’s actions an abuse of power is pure exaggeration. As chief executive of the state, he is required to enforce the laws of the state. When he has knowledge that someone is deceiving regulators and breaking the law, I think most reasonable people would agree that he has the obligation to investigate and intervene.   The way I read Zorn, he’s saying the landfill should have been allowed to continue (alledgely) accepting illegal materials, the second cousin should continue (alledgely) in doing so brag about his connections to the governor and Blagojevich should continue kissing up to the Chicago political machine. Where’s the integrity in that?   What’s more odd is that he pointed to Attorney General Lisa Madigan as an example of how Blagojevich should conduct himself. Yet Zorn apparently doesn't see that by her going against her politically powerful father, she is doing the exact same thing and showing the exact same kind of independence and integrity. How is it any different???   I’ll tell you how. When she asserted her independence and integrity, Lisa Madigan’s old man, Michael Madigan, didn’t flip out and berate her through the press like Mell did. That’s the one difference here.

Monday, January 10, 2005

So bummed!

Posted today on is site creator Ron Gunzburger's fond farewell to blogging. Apparently, he's not going to continue to update Politics1, a most invaluable online resource. In fact, for my money, was the resource for who's running for office and who's not. What made Politics1 so unique is that Ron went out of his way to track down and list all of the potential candidates for office, including all of the strange little third parties. He'd even post the occasional news item about, for instance, the Prohibition Party or the Natural Law Party. His series entitled "He's Never Heard of You Either" profiled the eccentric, strange, weird and even scary people who run for president that don't make it onto primetime news (even when they get arrested). Always brief and laced with wit, Gunzburger's columns were a joy to read and never dull. Though Politics1 will be sorely missed, I wish Gunzburger well in whatever he does and will always hold out hope he revives the project one day. Thanks, Ron, and take it easy.

Blagojevich & Mell

The rumor now is that the Blagojevich/Mell spat is staged. There's no way. I do agree that Blagojevich busted his wife's second cousin's landfill in part to look good and independent. But, then, he was also nipping a serious PR threat in the bud, not to mention the threat of a corruption probe. You have to give him credit for doing whatever it takes to be squeaky clean. On the other side of the controversy is Ald. Dick Mell, the father-in-law. Mell, while a good alderman, operates on a quid-pro-quo system of Chicago politics. As in 'I help you become governor, you look the other way when I tell you to look the other way.' Mell can also be a little paranoid and is kind of a hothead. He's not really someone who handles publicity of any kind very well. So in consequence, the minute Mell felt threatened, he went straight for the jugular and spent the week ripping Blagojevich's character and openly wondering, to paraphrase Mell, when his daughter is going to wake up and see the man she really married. It doesn't take a genius to see just how bad this situation is for Blagojevich. Any of the things Mell said can and will be used against Blagojevich in future campaigns. There is no way that Blagojevich planned or desired that kind of response from Mell.

Bush's boots

Did anyone see the front page of Saturday's Sun-Times with the Bush family photo? For those that didn't, Bush was seated in the center of his family. Off to the side was a close up of the President's "shit kickers," which apparently featured a large presidential seal. The headline: "Nice Boots" Look for them in the gift shop of the Bush Presidential Library in about 8 years.

Illinois gobbles more power in Washington

Illinois delegation becomes even more powerful in Washington D.C. Not only was Emanuel named to the powerful Ways & Means Committee recently, but he has now been tapped to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the national fundraising organization for Democratic congressional candidates.   The media reports that he will be aggressive -- he does have a certain intensity about him. Emanuel's new position could lead to more cash flowing into Illinois congressional races. Henry Hyde must be a little nervous. “Chicago Jerry” Weller must be shaking in his loafers.

Gingrich a freedom-hating liberal?

...I only ask, because I heard on talk radio that that’s what people who criticize the president are (from the AP):
    Despite his criticism of Bremer, Gingrich said the official should not be a scapegoat for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush. "Whatever mistakes Bremer made were not corrected by his bosses, who were Rumsfeld, Powell, Cheney and the president," Gingrich said. Those men were apparently too exhausted or focused on Bush's re-election campaign to curb Bremer, he said. Bush recently awarded Bremer the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in Iraq. Had the president stuck with an Afghanistan-style postwar plan, his public approval rating would be sky-high "and the Arab world would be closer to democracy," Gingrich said. "But that is history now, and we must work our way out of it."
Gingrich is also posturing for a presidential campaign or, at least, appearing to do so to sell more books.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Electoral College vote tomorrow

It looks like Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is looking for a senator to sponser a challenge the Electoral College vote, citing allegations of fraud in Ohio that need to be investigated. Of course, no senator is going to go along with this and risk being accused of creating a constitutional crisis.

Say anything

From the AP: Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales is promising senators that he will abide by treaties prohibiting the torture of prisoners, despite deriding the restraints as relics in 2002. Don't worry Alberto, your flip-flops are in the mail.

Monday, January 03, 2005

House GOP decide to have ethical standards after all

Sounds like a deal was made between Republican moderates, led by Rep. Mark Kirk (R) and conservatives, led by Minority Leader DeLay and Speaker Hastert. Mark Kirk was one of the Republicans who broke with the conservative majority and voted no to a rule change that would allow a congressman to retain his/her leadership post if indicted. The rule change was meant to protect DeLay, whose fundraising organization is under investigation. Apparently, the conservatives were shamed into admitting that preserving DeLay's hide was not worth compromising the integrety of the party. Or as Kirk put it:
    "It's a mark of a leader to take a bullet for the team and not for the team to take a bullet for the leader. I'm very glad we decided to stick with the rules."