Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blog moving

This blog can be found at it's new home at:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Would you like some dairy?

I received a phone call tonight asking if I would like to have Oberweis Dairy delivered to my door. Actually, as objectionable Oberweis' politics, nothing beats good, high-quality dairy...and delivered to your door, no less!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thoughts on the 2006 senate races

It's been, what, almost a month? I figure I'd better post something or the legions of Vertebratiacs will lose all hope. So hmmm...what's in the news. I don't know if I've mentioned this on the ol' blog, but the wife and I are expecting our first child in December. His name will be M.V. Jr. (and yes, he is a boy). He's just now starting to kick. When not thinking about or talking about my future son, I've been busy updating various parts of -- not the least of which is my most popular page, the one on the 2006 senate elections. I try to keep the page dry and free from too much opinion, but I need a place to vent. So here is my opinionated analysis: Best opportunities for GOP pick-ups 1. Minnesota 2. Maryland 3. Florida Tied for 4th: Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Wisconsin The GOP reportedly had made Michigan, Washington and Nebraska its top targets for 2006, but I don't think those races will even be on the radar because the party hasn't been able to recruit top-tier candidates in any of those states. In MN, Kennedy is a relatively polished candidate. The DFL's best chance of holding the seat seems to be in Amy Klobuchar -- it will be very close. In Maryland, I don't really get why there aren't more Democratic candidates clamoring for this seat. This should be a three-ring circus, for goodness sake. Instead, the field is basically narrowed down to two candidates -- Mfume and Cardin -- who will have an equally tough time against Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. In Florida, Harris' name will attract attention and $$$, two things any challenger needs to be in serious contention. There is still the possibility big names could enter the races in Nebraska, Washington and Wisconsin, making them more competitive; In Michigan, Keith Butler's grassroots campaign could catch fire, but it's still a long shot. Best opportunities for Dem pick-ups 1. Ohio 2. Tennessee 3. Montana 4. Pennsylvania Tied for 5th: Missouri/Rhode Island/Virginia Given its long history of Republican domination and the recent eruption of related scandals, Ohio very much resembles the Illinois of 2002. Toss in a really good Democratic candidate like Rep. Tim Ryan or Paul Hackett, and DeWine is pretty much screwed. In TN, Ford may appear to be a longshot at this point, but then, so do all of the Republicans vying for the nomination. Of the candidates on both sides, Ford has the most star power, which like Harris in Florida, will bring media attention and cash to his campaign. Montana is probably the state the Democrats should focus on the most. Sen. Burns is beatable, but with the right candidate -- whether that's Tester, Morrison or someone else I don't know. A Democratic win here will make Montana a battleground state in 2008. In PA, Santorum is a polarizing figure in a very moderate state. However, he is a high-ranking member of the senate and national name -- and will be very difficult to beat. I think it was a big mistake for Casey to run for senator so soon after taking office as treasurer. Makes him look like a bit of a bounder, it does. Missouri, RI and Virginia are potentially competitive if big names enter the race -- but at this points, they are all pretty much long shots. Anyway, that's my two cents. Please, feel free to disagree in the comments.

Monday, July 25, 2005

How to sell patronage

j^3 is asking supporters to choose the best among four ads touting his Peotone patronage grab. Think I'm being cynical about j^3? Just read the ads... See, for j^3, the impetus for building an airport has little to do with "reducing flight delays" or "close-to-home convenience." It's all about creating patronage jobs -- that he would control. I personally like option 1. Not only does it have the pretty blue background (sky-like...yah get it?), but it also tellingly captures the true j^3 -- one hand out, looking somewhat stilted as he tries to direct your attention to the 15,000 jobs figure...while the other hand is tucked neatly behind his back. (Patting his wallet?) Wait a he missing a hand? Anyone out there know? The slogan at the bottom of the ad is a little dry. Maybe jazz it up a little, like "Come fly the Rainbow/PUSH skies!!!" or "Give me the land, and I'll show you my other hand" By the way...if the airport is built, I wonder who will get the lucrative concession deals?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Can I just say...

...Patrick Fitzgerald is the shiznit. This man has a passion for taking out the trash, first in NY, then in IL and now in DC.

Memories of a judge

Bush's Supreme Court nominee John C. Roberts apparently grew up along Lake Michigan in NW Indiana. On NBC-5 news tonight, they interviewed a 7th grade classmate of Roberts. The classmate's one recollection of him was that in an assignment in which they had to generate an idea for an invention, Roberts came up with a brilliant idea: to create a self rotating fork that will automatically wind up your spaghetti noodles for you. A few minutes ago, Senator Kennedy issued a statement denouncing the invention. UPDATE: The Illinois Leader's headline story is not about Roberts, exactly, but about how Dick Durbin called Roberts controversial. They also ran a big picture of Dick Durbin next to the article. Do you think the Illinois Leader is secretly in love with Dick Durbin? Is that why everything always gotta be about Dick Durbin? Just out of curiousity, I did search of the Leader's site on "durbin" -- 1092 posts came up. A search on "hastert" revealed only 653 posts. So I ask you, Illinios Leader, who's in your dreams tonight?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ditka vents his frustration on CTA busses

Ditka, in testifying before Chicago City Council on their proposed bar and restaurant smoking ban:
    “Now, I drove down Michigan Avenue yesterday, and I bring this up as a point. I got behind a CTA bus, and I thought I would be asphyxiated,” Ditka said. “Are we going to outlaw CTA buses?”
Damn straight, man. Something needs to be done about those old busses. I thought they were supposed to have gotten rid of those things by now...???!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Morrison barks up the right tree

...for a change. Yes, I'm as stunned as you, but I found myself agreeing with the gist of her latest column, which is basically a book review of Redevelopment: The Unknown Government, by Chris Norby, apparently an elected official in Orange County California. I haven't read the book, but I gather from Morrison's article that the "unknown government" refers to influential real estate developers and the TIFs and tax breaks and other laws that fuel development. Says Morrison:
    "It is time we began to get our thinking straight. Our tax dollars were never meant to be dumped into private ventures such as development. Our tax dollars were meant to provide needs for the public such as schools, libraries, fire districts, police and other civic services. ... "In California, Norby says the “unknown government” is supported by a powerful Sacramento lobby and backed by an army of lawyers, consultants, bond brokers and land developers. Your state no doubt has its own supporters ready to line their pockets. It doesn’t take long to figure out development is not really coming to your town to benefit you, but someone will reap the profits at your expense. It is important to understand this unknown government provides no public services. “It does not educate our children, maintain our streets, protect us from crime, nor stock our libraries,” Norby states. Anyone involved with a TIF district realizes this tax money does not go back to support any of the above public needs as the property taxes stay in the development area for up to 30 years or more.
It's funny how Morrison's conservative populism has gotten so extreme that she's actually boomeranging back into the arena of common sense. Instead of blaming the environmentalists, who are essentially reactionaries to environmental, cultural and economic decay, she now, perhaps for the first time, recognizes one of the true causes of that decay: TIF districts, corporate welfare and politically connected private developers. That is, when big business runs your community, everybody loses. This is part of the reason why I joined the Green Party. The Democrats, like their Republican twins, with regularity, sell out our communities to developers and other private interests. And the Greens are dedicated to making sure communities are governered by the people who live there, not some faceless profiteering entity. Or as the Wisconsin Green Party says it so clearly in their platform (I know other state parties agree, but Wisc. was the first up in the search):
    The Greens believe that government decisions should be made as close to the people as possible. When money comes to a community from the state and federal government, the people of the local community must have greater say in how that money is spent. ... Giving individuals or corporations tax breaks is similar to spending, since it deprives the government of revenue it would otherwise receive. Therefore, special tax breaks should only be granted when there will be a benefit to society to justify the cost. In particular, the Greens believe that the state just crack down on tax incremental financing (TIF) tax breaks, which are often granted in questionable situations.