Saturday, November 20, 2004

Captain Kirk

Got to like this guy...Rep. Mark Kirk this week took a leadership post with the House Republican Mainstream Tuesday Group, a group that, as reported by Thursday's Chicago Tribune, "pushes for stronger environmental regulation and tends to be less conservative on social issues." The 35-member group is, obviously, at odds with the House's hardcore conservative leaders, like Speaker Denny Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay. That means that when it comes to relaxing the ethical standards so that DeLay can continue in his leadership role even if he is formally accused of a crime, Kirk is standing up and saying no. You know, it's about time the Republican moderates started standing up for themselves. Since the Democrats obviously can't kick the ultraconservative nutjobs out of Washington, maybe the moderate Republicans are our only hope.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

City Hall wants it doggie style

City Hall is now hoping to cash in on dog owners.   The argument for it is, well, other cities charge a lot more for dog permits. But that's beside the point. What the hell do we need dog permits for anyway??? Again, I will state my belief that a city should not be so obsessed with generating revenue off of its constituents. In fact, the city should concern itself with generating as little revenue as possible while achieving its goals. If the license fees go directly toward funding dog parks or something, that’s different. But, as you know, that's never the case. The dog permit thing is yet another stupid answer to the absurd question: "How do we plug a budget deficit that doesn't really exist?"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Activist Moseley allegedly tries to blackmail ballplayer

I’d seen this Moseley guy a lot in the news since 2003 and was wondering if he was going to run for alderman in 2007. He seemed to be styled as a starter Rev. Jesse Jackson (although the article notes that he sought to make a name for himself by protesting Jackson). Apparently he's more Jacksonesque than I thought. In that light, it’s no surprise that Moseley would get caught up in trouble, whether or not it’s legit. The questions remain, does the tape really exist, and if so how did he obtain it. But something tells me there ain't no tape.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Why didn't Daley help Kerry?

Great article in the Chicago Reader by Ben Joravsky this week. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it online (do they ever post their articles online???). Anyway, it's about why Daley isn't following that great Chicago tradition of energizing Democratic voters to go to the polls. Joravsky explains:
    "[Daley] probably remembers what happened in 1982, when Alderman Edward Vrdolyak, then the Democratic Party chairman, helped engineer a massive registration drive in an effort to increase his clout. A huge turnout that fall nearly toppled Jim Thompson, a popular Republican governor. But Vrdolyak never expected that a few months later, tens of thousands of fired-up new black voters would help Harold Washington unseat Jayne Byrne, Vrdolyak's city Hall ally. For the only time in Chicago's history the black turnout matched the white -- 80 percent. "The party bosses haven't made the same mistake since."
The article mentions that Sneed reported Patrick Daley, the mayor's son, supposedly voted for Bush. And as for the Mayor, well, he's not saying who he voted for.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Message received

Interesting article in today's Daily Herald about the GOP slipping in the collar counties in which state Rep. Tom Cross ponders the 2006 governor's race. In light of the Keyes debacle, I found this somewhat amusing:
    "We're going to need somebody who's moderately conservative. I don't think we can have somebody who's too far to the right. We certainly don't want somebody to the left of center," Cross said.
Ya think???

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Chicago Aldermen kind of maybe possibly beginning to grow backbones

The Tribune reports same mild, mild anger among members of the Chicago Rubber Stamp about the city's budget and the corruption investigating du jour. From today's Chicago Tribune:
    Aldermen called for changes in the city's vehicle-towing program Frida as the City Council began scrutinizing the long list of tax and fee increases in Mayor Richard Daley's $5.1 billion budget proposal for 2005. Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th) said the city should give vehicle owners more than 15 days to retrieve cars that were towed. "It's just unfair, and it's a vicious cycle, and somewhere it needs to stop," said Coleman....
Calling the city's towing unfair is a massive understatement. Calling it theft is probably more accurate. Basically, the city tows cars and impounds them, demanding as much as $1,000 from the owners. If the car isn't picked up by the owner in just a few days, the car, regardless of condition, is sold as scrap metal for about $125 to a politically connected towing company that turns around and sells the car on the market for its Blue Book, sometimes as much as $13,000. The victims of this scam lose their cars, they still have to pay parking tickets and impound fees, still have to pay their car loans, and they don't get any of the proceeds from the sale of their cars. The city get's $4.3 million from this practice, but pays the towing company $60 million in a city contract, plus whatever it makes from the sale of the cars, according to the Chicago Sun-Times article that brought this to the public eye. In reaction, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. called for a moratorium on the resale of impounded cars, calling the program a "racket." Ald. William Banks (36th) called for extending the 15-day deadline to 45 or 60 days and give profit made off the sale of vehicles back to the original owners, according to the Sun-Times. Aldermen were also almost mildly kind of raising eyebrows at Mayor Daley's outlandish budget proposal, which calls for $76.6 million in ridiculous fee increases. According to the Chicago Tribune, one fee increase for sidewalk cafes, particularly irked Ald. Tom Tunney (44th):
    "And it's a wonder why business is flat," said Tunney, himself a restaurant owner. "There's a tremendous disincentive to do business in Chicago."

Kirk brings home the bacon for VA hospital

Congressman Mark Kirk scored a $13 million federal grant for the North Chicago VA Hospital, part of a $160 million in planned improvements for the hospital, which include a new surgical area and emergency room. In addition to treating some 25,000 North Shore veterans a year, the hospital also serves the nearby Great Lakes Naval Reserve. It's good to see a Republican working to improve veteran benefits, in spite of our anti-veteran president.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Don't send a Democrat to do a Democrat's work

Who are the people who really believe every vote should be counted? Interestingly enough, it's not the two top vote-getters on Nov. 2. Thus, it appears "also-ran" presidential candidates Ralph Nader (I), David Cobb (G) and Michael Badnarik (L) are doing what Kerry doesn't have the matzah balls to do: Call for a recount in several states, including Ohio, where the results are quite questionable. It should be done not so much because it might change the outcome -- because it probably won't -- but to remove any doubt that Bush did indeed win, and to serve as a lesson to Democratic primary voters everywhere that should have been learned four years ago: Personality counts.

M.V. back in action after getting hitched

As much as I would have loved to blog during the election, alas, I was doing something much, much better. I got married on Oct. 30, and we left for the honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta right after that. I was completely cut off from election news except for my one lifeline: CNN Worldwide, a mostly British channel, which was kind enough to switch to U.S. coverage as the polls began to close on Nov. 2. It was a dreadful election, but the bad news goes down easier when you're in paradise. Since I've come back I've been telling people that I don't actually know the results of the election and I'm saving the surprise for Inauguration Day. So don't spoil it for me! But seriously, the wedding was a hoot. As was the honeymoon. So who is this lovely lady, the new Mrs. M.V.? Well, she's a Glen Ellyn native and a graduate of Cornell College in Iowa and the Pratt Institute, a fancy-pants graphic design school in New York City, and she currently works as a graphic designer in Chicago. Her family is quite wonderful. She is bright, creative, beautiful, thoughtful and seems to put up with me pretty well, in spite of my politics habit. So, anyway, that's why I've been so quiet lately.