Friday, October 22, 2004

Bush's legacy goes in Memory Hole

From the Brad Blog (via Kos), it appears that the White House is removing a huge amount of archived Bush speeches and other statements. I have to say, I'm for it. I think this is a positive first step in ridding ourselves of many a bad memory of the Bush Administration. In fact, why not send a little "thank you" note to the White House Web development team for all of their hard work.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pantagraph speaks glowingly of Huckelberry...

...but they endorsed Brady anyway in the race for the 88th state representative district. Their reasons were understandable: Brady, the Republican, has more experience, has more contacts, has a lot of enthusiasm. They did heap praise on the Green Party's Huckelberry, admiring his knowledge and balanced outlook on the issues, but at age 27, Huckelberry, they said, would be great for a lower office with the county or city. Of course, Huckelberry did try to run for a lower office not too long ago, but the Democrats pulled out all of their tricks and got him kicked off the ballot, so what are you going to do. Here's what Huckelberry said in an email to party supporters:
    Friends outside of Bloomington-Normal, I want to emphasize the importance of this editorial. I walked into the editorial board interview and it was obvious that they had no idea what to expect. I felt like they expected me to talk about trees. When I started talking about Abraham Lincoln, how my grandparents were small business owners who always voted Republican, and where those values fit into where I come from and how I see many of them as fundamentally Green values, they were taken aback... and impressed. It would have been easy for them to deride mine as a fringe candidacy from a minor party. But even though they didn't give me an endorsement, they listened, and they liked what they heard.
At any rate, I'm proud of Phil for running and for knocking the socks off the Pantagraph's editorial board. Since there is no Democrat in this race, Phil will bring in a pretty big chunk of the vote, and if he can get the students out to the polls, he just might pull it off.

More congressional endorsements

6th district: Cegelis President Bush said it: You can run, but you can’t Hyde. It’s always hard to tell, but I think he means Hyde has been in Congress too long. Thirty years, in fact. It’s time for new blood. Cegelis is a smart, motivated, successful person who can take a fresh approach and start doing the work of the next 30 years. Cegelis is endorsed. 7th district: Davis Davis does an okay job. And I really tried to get into Davis-Fairman’s vision for his district but it’s kind of tricky when it’s expressed like this (from Davis-Fairman’s web site): “I, Antonio Davis-Fairman have crafted over 10 legislative ideas to help get the 7th Congressional District off the treadmill of no persistent action, off the treadmill of economic & race separation, and off the treadmill of no uplifting constituent goals.” I really don’t know what any of that means, but I think he’s saying his constituents need to exercise more. Davis is endorsed. 8th district: Bean Even people in his own party like Hastert and LaHood admit publicly that Crane went to Washington and never looked back. The man is famous for neglecting his district. Bean, on the other hand, like Cegelis, is young, smart, dynamic, and will serve her district well in the years to come. 9th district: Schakowsky Nothing against Mr. Eckhardt, who I first met at a community meeting where the local Nazi community group was trying to close down a liquor store in Rogers Park so the neighborhood could be gentrified and those people in the community group could cash in on their investment real estate. The whole thing was wrong, and Eckhardt came to that meeting and stood by the businessman, who had done nothing to deserve this attack. Nevertheless, I think Schakowsky is doing a great job. And she’s my congresswoman, so I can say that I had the distinct pleasure of having already voted for her on my absentee ballot. 10th district: Kirk I like Mark Kirk. He has a pretty good environmental record and is an all around upstanding congressman. 11th district: Renner I don’t fault Weller for falling in love with the daughter of a Guatemalan dictator. She is not responsible for the actions of her father. Some people think this is somehow a betrayal of U.S. security because she serves in another country’s legislature. Again, I don’t see it. She’s not the one running for Congress. The one who is running for Congress, however, is pretty lackluster, and that is reason enough to deny Weller another trip to Washington. Renner would be a change for the better. 12th district: Costello Costello is okay, but Zweigart could be interesting, partially because her ability, judging by the photos on her site, to make any Republican look ridiculously big and awkward (or in the case of Karl Rove, sleazy) standing next to her. But Costello is the safe bet. 13th district: Biggert Still pissed at her for that crazy overtime legislation, but other than that, she seems to be doing a decent job. 14th district: Hastert Having the Speaker of the House in your state is a pretty big deal. It means that, while the Republican Congress is going on a record-breaking spending binge, at least Illinois is getting a decent cut of the action. If the GOP loses control of the House, Hastert will probably retire, so Zamora’s time may yet come.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

October surprise!

I'm talking about baseball, not politics. How about them Red Sox. A tip of me cap to ye. I'd love to see a Cardinals/Red Sox series...wouldn't it be eerie if the Astros and Red Sox played? Let me reiterate...the Houston Astros vs. the Boston Red Sox. But I'm still rooting for the Cardinals to go to the Series. That would be a great match-up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More congressional endorsements

2nd district: Stephanie Kennedy Sailor Jesse Jackson Jr. seems to be making a big power play lately. He's running around pretending we need this proposed third Chicago airport in Peotone, which is out in the middle of nowhere -- and the people of Peotone have been fighting to keep it that way. He says it's about jobs, but what it's really about is handing out big contracts. Not only that, Jr. is notorious for proposing new, unnecessary amendments to the Constitution. I think there are already too many Jesse Jackson Jrs. running around, both in Congress and in the Chicago political circles. Sailor, on the other hand, would be an honest representative who would be accessible and accountable to the people. Don't believe me? Check out her web site. It's loaded with info on her positions and even has a blog, complete with love/hate mail. That's a nice touch. Now compare it to Jackson's web site. Since the audio and video messages are dead links, I guess the only thing Jackson has to say can be found in a big yellow box at the bottom of the page. Sailor is endorsed. 3rd district: Krista Grimm I discussed my reasoning for endorsing Grimm's write-in campaign in a previous post. But if you're too lazy to do the write-in thing correctly, at least vote for Chlada. Nobody -- not even a Lipinski -- should get into the capitol through the back door. 4th district: Luis Gutierrez I'm not sure, but I think Gutierrez, translated, means "the flaky one." I mean, saying, as he did, that there is no more corruption in Cicero is about as ridiculous as saying there's no more water in Lake Michigan. Obviously, he was saying that to appease the real powerbrokers behind the scenes. That's just one weird little thing of many that he's done in the past few years as he builds up a lot of favors leading up to his shot at his dream: Running for mayor of Chicago in 2007 or 2011. But in looking over his opponents this time around, I didn't see much potential there. Gutierrez is grudgingly endorsed. 5th district: Rahm Emanuel Emanuel has been in Congress for about two years and has managed to gain a high profile -- he's definitely a rising star who can do a lot of good for his district. So he's endorsed.

Time to fess up

Seein' as I got my absentee ballot in the mail today, what better time to contemplate who I'll be voting for in the Nov. 2 elections. And what better time to make my endorsements for all to ponder and enjoy. Unlike the newspapers, I don't pretend to be objective or measured about this in any way. But I think you'll find my political leanings rather sporadic and unpredictable. I chalk it up to the fact that I really don't care for either of the major political parties, so it's impossible to vote a straight ticket or to apply the same reasoning one race to the next. So anyway, here goes with the congressional districts: 1st congressional district: Bobby Rush Well, it's easy for pundits to marginalize Republican Ray Wardingly by bringing up his clown history, but apparently the man had a pretty honorable life both inside and outside of his clowning uniform, so give the guy some credit, will you? That said, the main reason I'm endorsing Rush is that Rush has more experience and will be more effective. Another reason is that Wardingly puts pictures like this on his Web site. I don't know what happened there. It appears the Wardingly in the photo is not only dematerializing, but has an arm growing out of his chest. I think Fitzgerald's hairline fell victim to the watercolor filter in Adobe Photoshop. Whoever that guy next to Fitzgerald is clearly needs to return to his original photo, and the reporter holding the microphone is positively befuddled, wiping the sweat from his brow with his camcorder, trying to comprehend the mysterious eraser blob that has appeared on his jacket. This is unacceptable abuse of technology. Rush is endorsed.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Proft silent on departing "journalists"

This thread on the IllinoisLeader board is most amusing. It starts out asking why Fran Eaton and Jill Stanek -- two of the Leader's highly ranked employees -- departed just a few weeks before the election. The post by RealGOP sums up the flap:
    I know there are a lot of Fran Eaton fans out there.  But consider this.  What is the true measure of a person who joins in the "good fight" and then doesn't see it through but quits in the middle of the battle. Consider the following facts: 1.  In June, Eaton resigned as Secretary and  Member of the Board of the Illinois Center Right Coalition to devote full time to the Illinois Leader. 2.  In August, Eaton took a leave absence from the Illinois Leader to devote full time on the Keyes for Senate campaign.  3.  In September, Eaton resigned from the Keyes campaign and returned to the Illinois Leader. 4.  In October, Eaton resigned from the Illinois Leader. What's wrong with this picture, people?
Dan Proft, who runs the Leader and is a top Keyes campaign aide, contributed several times to the thread, but prefered to question Leader readers' mental stability rather than give an answer as to why Eaton left. One poster suggested that it may have something to do with the whopping fine that the Keyes campaign was given recently and the accusations that the campaign is inappropriately coordinated with a group that attacks Obama.

A 19th century campaign requires 19th century rhetoric

Dazzling response to the accusation that Keyes and the Obama defamation group are coordinated (via Keyes campaign manager Bill Pascoe dismissed the accusation as "poppycock," saying "To suggest otherwise is to treat the truth as a harlot." Well said, my good man.


Just in case you haven't heard, that whole "liberal media" thing is pure horseshit. If you want proof, check this out: Chicago Tribune endorses Bush Pantagraph endorses Bush In 2000, the Daily Herald endorsed Bush. Now they're realizing what a huge mistake they'd made: Daily Herald endorses Kerry The Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Southtown and Peoria Journal-Star haven't weighed in on president quite yet.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Samuels receives Trib endorsement again; holding out hope for Huckelberry endorsement

Green Party candidate Julie Samuels of Oak Park once again received the Chicago Tribune's endorsement for state representative from the 8th district. Here's the text of the Oct. 13 Tribune endorsement: Rep. Calvin Giles recently was in hot water because he failed for more than a year to meet the requirements that he disclose his campaign contributions. He did finally comply--but after he had safely fended off a challenge in the Democratic primary. He has gone to court to challenge a State Board of Elections demand that he pay more than $80,000 in fines. It's impossible to justify Giles' disregard for the law. Green Party candidate Julie Samuels, an environmentalist from Oak Park, is endorsed. GOP ward committeeman Glenn Harris is also on the ballot. Samuels also received the Trib's endorsement for the same race in 2002 but didn't win. That endorsement, I've heard it said, was the first time a Green was ever endorsed by a major U.S. newspaper. I couldn't find an endorsement from the Pantagraph in the 88th state rep district, which covers Bloomington-Normal, where Phil Huckelberry, a central figure in the state's Green Party, is the lone challenger against Republican Dan Brady. Huckelberry seems to have the support of 11th district Democratic congressional candidate Tari Renner, who I've heard asked the local Dems not to slate a token candidate in the 88th in order to give Huckelberry a clean shot at Brady. Renner, a political science professor, was Huckelberry's advisor at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Damn, just as I was set to endorse Chlada....

Here I was all set to announce my endorsement for the third congressional district, and then this article in the Chicago Tribune throws a wrench into my scheme: "Write-in campaign targets Lipinski" Here's a summary: Krista Grimm of LaGrange Park is staging a write-in campaign against the "coronation" of Democrat Dan Lipinski, who through some backroom dealing was appointed to replace his father, the very powerful Rep. Bill Lipinski, on the Nov. ballot. Dan's other opponent in the race is Republican Ryan Chlada, a man who is widely believed to have been planted by the Big Lipinski on the ticket to give little opposition to Dan. Grimm, like many, was sickened by this situation and decided to do something about it and run a write-in campaign. Based on the Tribune article, she seems like she would make an excellent U.S. Congresswoman. To learn more about her, visit But just in case you were wondering, I was originally going to endorse Chlada, based solely on the amusement factor. See, if Chlada won, being a plant and all, he'd have to resign his seat immediately or else possibly face brutal consequences. Then Blagojevich would have to appoint a replacement. And that replacement would be, you guessed it, Dan Lipinski. So my argument was, since your vote wouldn't have affected the outcome, why not at least make the people involved in this sham election squirm a little. Now, with Grimm in the running, your vote does count for something. And I encourage you to put an end to divine providence in the third district, take a little extra time in the polling booth and write in Krista Grimm.

Fundraising in Congressional races

Archpundit has the fundraising totals for the more interesting congressional races in Illinois. I have a pretty good feeling that Bean is going to dethrone Crane this time around. Archpundit also notes that Renner got the endorsement of the Pantagraph, which could make the race for Weller's seat much closer.

Best alleges lawn sign stolen

Republican congressional candidate Bruce Best, who's running against Rahm Emanuel in the 5th district on Chicago's North/Northwest Side, claims a city worker removed a Best for Congress campaign sign. While there is no hard evidence of any crime being committed, if it is true, it wouldn't surprise me one bit. Here's the full text of the e-mail I received, written by Best: A City of Chicago employee stole the BRUCE BEST (for Congress) yard sign from the front yard of BRUCE BEST who is running for the United States Congress in the 5th Congressional District. On October 14, 2004 at 1:10 PM, a City of Chicago employee drove up to the personal residence of BRUCE BEST. The City of Chicago employee drove up in a blue SUV with the City of Chicago logo on the side of the SUV. The logo said, “Streets and Sanitation”, “City of Chicago”. The City of Chicago employee was being paid by taxpayers to do (only) city work at the time of the theft. The City of Chicago employee approached the personal residence of BRUCE BEST and rang the doorbell three times and pounded impatiently on the big wooden gate near the front door. “I thought he (the city of Chicago employee) was up to no good,” said Bruce Best who watched from inside the house, “so I did not answer the door, and I just watched. My first yard sign was previously stolen by the opposition. Most of my yard signs throughout the neighborhood were stolen by the opposition who OPPOSES this form of freedom of speech for OUR side. The opposition’s biggest fear is that the people hear our message – please visit to read about our goals for the people. The yard sign (that was stolen on October 14) was securely tied to prickly bushes in the front yard, so if the opposition tried to steal it again, they would have a tough time.” Eventually the City of Chicago employee concluded that no one was home. He illegally leaned into the big prickly bushes, grabbed the BRUCE BEST yard sign with two hands, and violently RIPPED the sign from it’s strong nylon rope restraints. The City of Chicago employee who stole the BRUCE BEST yard sign was approximately 5 foot 10 and a half inches tall, had salt and pepper hair, was approximately 205 pounds. Age is estimated in the late forties. He looked like Italian American descent, and he had a sagging chin. A police report has been filed # HK-686475. Police and the Inspector General’s office are investigating. The opposition should CALL OFF the use of City of Chicago employees to do illegal acts. Now, this account makes a lot of assumptions -- that the person was a city employee, that he was on city time and that the police are investigating, the latter being the most implausible. I responded that it would have been a much better story if he had recorded the incident on camera, gotten a plate number or confronted the person. Next time!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kohn interview to come

I had the pleasure of interviewing Libertarian senate candidate Jerry Kohn this evening. I thought he had some very interesting things to say. It's a crime how the Dems and GOP shut him out of the debates. Anyway, I'll have a transcription on the ol' M.V. real soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Morrison lectures us about laziness, and like 50 other things

It's kind of funny to hear a lecture about taking the time to do independent research coming from Illinois Leader rantaholic Joyce Morrison. It's kind of like President Bush lecturing Kerry on sound fiscal policy, or like Tony Soprano, well, you get the picture. In one of her assertions (I usually check her assertions out, just to make sure, but after her opening lecture, I'm just a little tired, so I'll take her word for it), she says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is biased for endorsing Kerry. Well, gee, it is an opinion, after all. What did you expect? Would it more or less biased if they had endorsed Bush instead? The rant really beings when she talks about an encounter with a pro-choicer. She says this about a hypothetical candidate for abortion and her hypothetical male partner: "She made her choice when she slept with the guy." Wow. What simple, ideal times we must live in. Nobody is ever raped. Nobody is the victim of incest. Nobody has any kind of health problem that might become fatal during childbirth. Of course! Morrison also blames U.S. jobs going overseas on "rigid environmental standards." I guess it has little to do with the fact that these companies can get away with paying foreign workers 20 cents a week. It's mostly the environmental laws. Yep. She rants on and on about how great Bush is and how bad Kerry is. At one point she blames environmentalists for blocking the removal of dead trees which create the conditions for massive forest fires. I direct your attention to the San Francisco Chronicle:
    "California officials accused the Bush administration Thursday of ignoring urgent pleas months ago for emergency help to remove beetle-infested trees that experts warned could fuel a catastrophic Southern California fire. "The U.S. Senate passed controversial legislation Thursday allowing the thinning of forests across the West, and another debate erupted over whether dire warnings about a bark beetle infestation were ignored in Washington. In April, Gov. Gray Davis requested $430 million to remove unhealthy trees on 415, 000 acres of forest, but the request for emergency funds went unanswered until last week -- and then was denied."
Under Morrison's logic, Bush must be an environmental extremist, because it was him that blocked the removal of dead trees which created conditions for last year's Southern California forest fires -- one of the worst fires in U.S. history. I guess this is another example of Bush's "common sense" approach.

Jerrykins rebranded

Gerald Farinas, friend of Maya Keyes, has launched a new blog, with a much more conservative spin: I guess we won't be seeing him at the next Ralph Nader rally, huh.

On winning and losing a debate

I've seen it printed/posted in a few places that some people think Keyes won last night's senatorial debate. But let's not forget -- and this goes for anyone who thinks Bush won any of this year's debates -- just because a candidate succeeds in not making an ass out of themselves for once, that doesn't mean they've necessarily won the debate. I think the Alan Keyes that we saw last night -- in contrast to the one we've seen so far on the campaign trail -- was capable of participating in a debate about relevant topics. In that regard, it was a pretty fair debate. Were it not for the issue of abortion, this might have been a tie. But unfortunately for Keyes, abortion is, as Obama pointed out, the one issue Keyes hangs his hat on. Obama's response to the issue was clear, easy to understand, factual, direct and well said. It diminished, if not totally invalidated, Keyes' argument. That tipped the balance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Daley gives away money, in spite of "deficit"

Mayor Daley is working that little casino idea of his from all fronts. The latest, as the Chicago Tribune reports, the city has agreed to purchase Block 37 (the longtime empty lot across from Marshall Field's) from a developer for $35.2 million, then sell it to another developer, Mills, for $12.3 million. Obviously, this is going to cause the city to lose $23 million on the sale -- this during a time when we supposedly have a "$220 million budget deficit." But wait, it gets better. The reason the city is buying land and turning around and selling it for $23 million less? From the Tribune: "A variety of development restrictions and requirements imposed by the city since its purchase [by the developer] has reduced the appraised value to $13.2 million." But when you consider that Daley wants a casino built on that property, one that will generate $17.5 million a year in taxes alone, then I'd say the land is actually worth much, much more. The city's plans for it makes it more valuable. So I think Mills could have paid the $35.2 million, and it would have been a great deal. So my question is, does this $23 million, plus a $42.3 million giveaway that the city is giving to Mills, increase the $220 million deficit, or was it part of it all along. Hmmm.....

Thursday, October 07, 2004

No sleep 'til San Diego

Ever been so exhausted, it's actually easier to stay awake than go to sleep. I'm in that mode right now, having *just* finished a project -- and only four hours to go before my early morning flight. I've calculated my odds of making this flight if I attempt to sleep, and they are not promising. Looking back on my long history of all-nighters (my preferred method of work), and I can't help but remember the time an old pal and myself, when we were about 19 or 20, decided to stay up all night and all through the next day on a lark. Actually, it was partially inspired by a coupon for a free 24-pack of Mountain Dew, which we acquired early in the evening at Omni. And we had both gotten up unusually early that day, so we figured we were already most of the way there. In order to accomplish our goal, we took advantage of every resource the grand southwest suburbs offered us: the Denny's, the 24-hour "BIG" K-Mart, Jewel, Dominicks and the like, all in the name of cheap entertainment and overstimulation. But as we slammed Dews in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot around 5 a.m., exhaustion was clearly setting in. We needed something different. So we decided to do something most in the southwest burbs never do -- drive north. Hinsdale was our destination. Neither or us had ever been, but we heard it was magical. And it was. There were rich folks in jogging clothes walking small, well-manicured dogs. There were hired gardeners pulling out sprinklers. And most remarkable, there was no garbage anywhere. Except for a single abandoned hub cap, which we removed from the road and properly disposed of. At some point after that, we decided we'd done everything -- except go to a junkyard. So we did that too. It was around 8:30 a.m., and we were the only ones there. We sat quietly in a rusted, broken down, half-dismantled car for about 40 minutes, our eyes drifting steadily out of focus as flies and gnats woke up to set about swarming the tiny pools of standing water in old tires, dented hoods, and loose hub caps. Then we decided we should buy pool rafts and sail them down the I & M Canal. Selecting the pool rafts took several hours, of driving back and forth between stores to find the best deal and the sturdiest raft. And just after we set the rafts in water, around 3 p.m., we cracked open what would be our last Dews. We had finally arrived at that glorious moment that had seemed so unlikely at one time, but now was ours to enjoy. The boat ride was our victory lap, it was our spike in the endzone, it was our circling the bases as the lights explode around us. And of course, once our moment in the sun was over, we docked our rafts at Dellwood Park, and two twelve year olds pulled knives on us. Pocket knives, mind you, but they believed the illusion that they were somehow capable of harming us. When they demanded money, we made a rather generous offer of whatever few sips were left of our cans of Dew, but when they pressed the issue, we explained that we had been awake for close to 40 hours and we were approaching very fragile mental states. We explained the gravity of the potential conflict-induced temporary psychosis; they backed off, not really understanding what we just said, probably realizing at that moment they could have been watching cartoons instead of dealing with these weirdos who stank of canal water. And so ends my tale, for it is time to refill my diet coke and take a shower. If I survive the shower, and the drive to Midway, it will be a miracle.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Be a poll watcher

Excellent site set up by the League of Women too can be a poll watcher and make sure democracy happens on Nov. 2.