Friday, March 24, 2006

People in Class Houses

A couple of days ago Yellow Dog Democrat published a post at Illinoize boldly entitled Cegelis Still Has Chance to Show Class.

Sage Observer, a self-described Duckworth supporter, has already addressed how YDD deliberately misused elipses to mischaracterize Christine's concession message. So all I'm going to do is demostrate the proper degree of respect that 6th District Democrats -- or anyone for that matter -- should grant YDD's pronouncements on the subject of "Showing Class." And to do so, I invite you to play this fun game:

See if you can pinpoint the exact moment in Yellow Dog Democrat's 5:15, February 28 posting when he rendered his opinion on all things 6th District and "class" utterly valueless in the eyes of this particular Cegelis supporter.

Did you guess:
S-CAM, you've sunk from mere flakking for your candidate to bald-faced hypocrisy.
Nope. Y'all know it takes more than mere insults and name-calling to get under my skin.

Did you guess it was his bizarre accusation that Cegelis supporters are tools of the GOP:
And you know the Cegelis campaign is desperate when they are quoting the National Republican Committee. *** Republicans are scared of Duckworth, and they've got S-CAM and the whole Cegelis crew out there doing their dirty work for them.
Nah. The idea that the relative weaknesses of the Democratic candidates were not apparent to the Republican party and that Tammy Duckworth would suddenly become invincible if only Cegelis supporters would go away is just too absurd to get bent out of shape over.

So, did you guess that it was when he laid the ground work for his blame-Cegelis theme with this line:
You know Cegelis can't win this March, but in order to make your point, you're doing everything you can to help Roskam in November, all in the hopes that on Election Day in November, you'll be able to say "I told you so."
Not there either. That sentence is based on waaaaaay too many false premises to be taken seriously by anyone with an interest in the fate of the 6th District.

Instead, I withheld judgement on YDD's "classiness" until the last paragraph of his post. It was only then that this 6th District Democrat lost all respect for YDD's opinions on "showing class":
The jokes on you though, S-CAM. If you think the DCCC is going to back Cegelis in 2008 if Roskam wins, you're crazier than Roskam. The DCCC just needs to pick up seats - they don't care if the seat is in Illinois or New Jersey or New Mexico. You'll be stuck with Roskam for a couple decades, and you'll deserve every minute of it.
So, friends and neighbors, I guess you'll have to pardon me if I don't think Yellow Dog Democrat is in any position to lecture Christine Cegelis on how to be "show class".

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The People, Yes

Man is a long time coming.
Man will yet win.
Brother may yet line up with brother:
This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.

--Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes

Saturday, March 18, 2006

11th Hour 6th District Reviews

Friday evening, Lynn Sweet and Dick Kay briefly discussed the Sixth District Democratic Primary on WTTW Channel 11’s Chicago Tonight: The Week In Review.

Sweet said that Tammy Duckworth is the front-runner “just by virtue of the enormous amount of money at her disposal,” but that there will be a battle from Democratic “activists in the DuPage area who have worked for years to grow a party there” who resent the intrusion of the Duckworth campaign. Duckworth seems well positioned Sweet said, but “the democratic turnout here is key, because if it’s a low turnout, it just might favor Cegelis.”

And there was this from Dick Kay (rough transcript):
Cegelis, I think, has a great shot at this -- and it’s going to be a blow to those democratic would-be kingmakers when this happens -- because Cegelis has some foot soldiers. She’s been building an organization. Duckworth does not have an organization built. Lindy Scott is waging a good campaign -- he has a real campaign going out there. But it might favor Cegelis because of the resentment of these people coming in and trying to tell the democrats in DuPage County what to do.
And over at the the Beachwood Reporter, Steve Rhodes considers the source of that resentment (Item the 6th):
How cynical is the campaign of Iraqi war veteran and double-amputee Tammy Duckworth? Well, with Rahm Emanuel (and Dick Durbin) behind it, very. Watching the Democrats pimp an Iraqi war vet is pathetic. "Like the Republicans wouldn't stoop so low," a Duckworth operative told me. How edifying.

This is the race to replace Henry Hyde. Christine Cegelis won 44 percent against Hyde last time out, yet the national party has thrown her overboard. Thanks for your hard work, Christine!

(The operative told me that Cegelis "couldn't put it together." Yeah, I guess 44 percent against Hyde doesn't really qualify as "putting it together." As opposed to Duckworth, who so obviously put her campaign together all by herself.)

There is more here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Nation: Cegelis Understands the Lessons of Iraq

From the Nation:
Most voters won't have a chance to send a signal to Emanuel anytime soon. But, in Illinois's 6th Congressional District, Democratic primary voters will have a chance to choose on Tuesday between the DCCC chair's handpicked candidate, Tammy Duckworth, who does not live in the district, and grassroots Democrat Christine Cegelis, who lives in the district and who stunned analysts by winning almost 45 percent of the vote as the Democratic nominee in 2004.

Duckworth, an Iraq veteran, has a compelling personal story, but she has refused to endorse a clear timetable for bringing the troops home. Cegelis supports a timetable, saying, "I have opposed this war from the start. But revisiting what brought us to this disastrous point does not solve the problem. It is time for us to bring our troops home." Cegelis explains that: "The failures of this war must prevent the United States from making similar mistakes in the future. And the only way we can make sure that lesson is learned is to elect leaders who understand that lesson."

After Thursday night's vote in the House, [i.e., he House approved a $91.9 billion supplemental spending bill, with the lion's share of the new funding earmarked for the Iraq quagmire] it is more evident than ever that the inability to understand that lesson is not merely a Republican infirmity. And it is equally evident that the appropriate response to the crisis will require voters, not just in Illinois but nationwide, to follow their own good judgment – as opposed to the dictates of Democratic "leaders" in Washington.

That's the message of the new group Vote for Peace, which is asking voters to take a pledge before they go to the polls: "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
It's time for 6th District Democrats -- ALL Democrats -- to take a stand.

"Find Out What It Means To Me..."

A friend and I were talking about Tuesday's primary -- yes, that's all I talk about -- when my pal encapsulated why so many 6th District Dems are passionate about the Christine Cegelis campaign.

"It's about respect," he said. "During the 2004 campaign against Hyde, the Republicans didn't take the campaign -- or the 6th District Dems behind it -- seriously. But Christine and her grassroots team worked with dogged passion, and in November 2004, we held Hyde to his lowest total ever.

"And that got the GOP's attention. We got their respect. Republicans nationwide now take the Democrats of this district seriously. Seriously enough to have Tom DeLay sponsored fundraisers even as DeLay is indicted for campaign fundraising violations. Seriously enough to bring Dick Cheney in for a 6th District fundraiser. Serious enough to stockpile a cool million for the race.

"And now, unfortunately, we must demand the respect of the D.C. Democrats," he said. "It's a damn shame and a waste of resources, but that's where we are: Karl Rove respects the 6th District grassroots, but the DCCC doesn't.

"But the Republicans didn't just give us their respect," he reminded me. "We demanded it. We took it. And if that's how it has to be with the Democratic 'leadership' during this primary, so be it.

"We did it before, dammit -- we can do it again."

And we're doing it again here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

These Boots ARE Made For Walkin'

From Reuters
Concerned about politicizing her favorite charity, singer-actress Jessica Simpson Wednesday turned down a invitation to meet with President Bush, a snub that left Republicans dismayed.

The apparent final word that Simpson would be a no-show at a major Republican fund-raiser with Bush and congressional leaders Thursday night came after a day of conflicting reports from her camp and organizers of the event.

The blond star of the film “The Dukes of Hazzard” still plans to visit Washington Thursday to lobby members of Congress on behalf of Operation Smile, a non-profit venture offering free plastic surgery for disadvantaged children overseas with facial deformities.

People close to Simpson said she declined a request to appear that same evening at the gala fund-raiser of the National Republican Congressional Committee — even after she was offered some private face time with Bush — because Operation Smile is a non-partisan group.

“It just feels wrong,” one Simpson insider told Reuters Wednesday, adding that the actress keeps her political views private. “She would love to meet the president and talk about Operation Smile ... but she can’t do it at a fund-raiser for the Republican Party.”
Huzzah for Jessica Simpson!

6th District Candidates Differ on Bush's Tax Cuts for the Hyper-Rich

From your Daily Herald:
While campaigning, 6th Congressional District Democrat Tammy Duckworth rails against what she says are President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

“With a record federal debt, cutting taxes that primarily benefit millionaires is bad fiscal policy,” she states in her position paper on the economy.

But ask Duckworth which of the Bush tax cuts she’d repeal, and the answer isn’t as cut-and-dried.

She doesn’t favor rolling back the income tax rate cuts — even for the wealthy — saying she’d “leave (them) where they are at present.” Duckworth also favors rolling back only half of the Bush administration’s proposed tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, even though she argues they disproportionately help those with the most money.

Those moderate stances on taxes contrast with opponents Christine Cegelis and Lindy Scott, both of whom favor rolling back some of the income tax cuts and repealing the cuts on dividends and capital gains.

“Right now, we are taxing the working class. People who work for a living get a higher tax rate than people who live off of investments. That just doesn’t seem right to me,” said Cegelis, a technology consultant from Rolling Meadows.

To remedy that, Cegelis suggests repealing the income tax cut for the top 1 percent of wage earners, which she identifies as those making $300,000 or more per year
Have you had your fill of Democratic candidates who talk about helping the working class, but who refuse to stand up against Bush's tax cuts for the hyper-rich? After 2004, I'm damn sick of "I'm for it/against it/for it" Democrats. So if you are looking for a candidate who will walk it like she talks it, join me in supporting Christine Cegelis.

"Christine Cegelis : Hitting Her Stride"

From your Windy City Times:
Windy City Times: In 2004, you earned an unprecedented 44.2 percent of the vote against Henry Hyde. Now you are up against Tammy Duckworth and Lindy Scott. What do you feel are your chances?

Christine Cegelis: Well, we’re feeling really good because obviously over 21,000 people voted for me twice last time. And, of course, our primaries are very small out here. We don’t think it will be more than 30-35,000 voters. So, we’re feeling very good. We have a lot of ground support. A lot of people are out canvassing voters and making phone calls. Things are looking good.

WCT: What do you feel sets you apart from the other candidates?

CC: Well, I think it’s my business background. One of the big issues out here right now is the loss of jobs, particularly to off-shoring—just the companies moving out of the area. Because I’ve been in IT and I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, I’ve worked with companies across the country as well as in Canada, Mexico and the U.K. I think people understand that I have a real handle on what’s going on globally, and we need to create better jobs here in Illinois that can’t be so easily off-shored. ***

WCT: What is your position on funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and education?

CC: Well, this is absolutely critical. Education is a very important piece that should be federally funded because obviously prevention is worth something, pending a cure. I don’t believe we are educating our young people well enough on this. But I do feel we should be funding the medication, not just for a cure, but also in Africa and other places to stop this global epidemic.

WCT: And what other healthcare issues are you concerned about?

CC: Obviously for everyone, healthcare is an issue. Many people have lost their jobs here in the 6th District, and when they lose their jobs, they lose their healthcare. Many companies are finding that they cannot afford to offer healthcare as a benefit anymore. We need to move towards a single payer or—a better way to put it—an enhanced and expanded Medicare for all. That is economically the right choice for our country. It helps us be more competitive in the global economy, and it also provides healthcare at a lesser cost than we are paying right now. ***

WCT: Anything else you’d like to add about what you stand for and why people should vote for you?

CC: Because I am from this district and I spent the last two and a half years getting to know the issues of all the people of district—people raising children, people that are retired—that I would be the strongest voice for the people of my district in Washington because I live their life.

The rest is here.

Peter LaBarbera: Bathhouse Sex With HIV Positive Gay Men Is Too Tempting

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - Shakespeare, Hamlet III

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A "pro-family" group wants the Bush administration to revoke its decision to allow HIV-positive foreigners to enter the country for the Gay Games in Chicago this summer. ***

Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Glen Ellyn-based Illinois Family Institute, says the waivers for the Gay Games in Chicago will create a potential public health threat. ***

Specifically, LaBarbera says a gay bathhouse listed on the games' Web site as a sponsor promotes "reckless sexual behavior" that could "pave the way for spreading [HIV]." ***

LaBarbera's group argues that the Gay Games bathhouse sponsor and other "extracurricular" activities show the event is about promoting a lifestyle more than athletics.

"These bathhouses can be very dangerous when you invite HIV in with an exception. The doors are closed, and you don't know what's going on inside," LaBarbera said. "That shows there's much more going on than just playing softball. . . . They're celebrating homosexuality and the more unseemly aspects of it."
Okay, here are a couple of simple tips for Peter LaBarbera and his ilk:
  1. If you don't want to catch something from an HIV positive gay man, don't have unprotected sex with HIV positive gay men.
  2. If you are worried about your family being exposed to the "reckless sexual behavior" in gay bathhouses, don't take your family to gay bathhouses.
This course of action has always worked for me. But then again, I'm not utterly obsessed with "what's going on" behind the closed doors of gay bathhouses.

Update: I took another look at the Gay Games website and couldn't find the gay bathhouse sponsor who's temptations so concern Mr. LaBarbera, but I did find the following extremist sponsors: Exelon, CNA Insurance, Orbitz, The New York Times, GlaxoSmithKline, Walgreens, Fleishman Hillard, your Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Police Department.

And as we all know, events sponsored by the LAPD inevitably end in "reckless sexual behavior."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Stand Up to the Beltway Democrats"

From the Huffington Post:
If you are one of those Democrats like me who is completely fed up with the inside-the-Beltway party hacks who continue to lose elections because they have no spine and no vision, listen closely to a little something you can do this week to rap the knuckles of the Democratic Party machine.

Two years ago, Christine Cegelis took 44 percent from Henry Hyde, the arch conservative congressman and Congressional father of the anti-choice movement, in the suburban Chicago-area 6th District in Illinois. Her race pushed Hyde to announce he would retire. Cegelis, supported by a broad grass-roots network, decided immediately to run for the seat in 2006.

Rather than line up behind a candidate who was poised to capture the district, the Beltway Democrats recruited a primary opponent to take on Cegelis. Why? Because Cegelis is precisely the kind of progressive candidate the Beltway Democrats are afraid of: she is a progressive, anti-war, pro-choice, pro-renewable energy, pro-universal health care and opposes NAFTA-like trade deals. She's called for a quick and safe withdrawal of troops. ***

Arrayed on Cegelis' side are, among others, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America and the machinists union (which represents tens of thousands of United employees who have been screwed by the very pro-business policies promoted by the Beltway Democrats). At a recent rally in the district, 150 activists packed a hall, ready to hit the streets and go door-to-door to talk to voters.

As Molly Ivins writes in the recent issue of The Progressive, "Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don't know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton."

That is precisely what this race is about. With a week left, a little help for Cegelis from every person thirsting for a vibrant party will go a long way to answering the question: will the progressive movement stand up to the Beltway Democrats who will continue to lose elections because they have no vision for our country?
The whole thing is here.

And you can "stand up to the Beltway Democrats" here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

All Aboard!

Get on board -- The train is leaving the station!
But it's still not to late to get involved on the ground floor of the Cegelis campaign.

As a pre-primary volunteer for Barack Obama, I can tell you with certainty that there is a deep satisfaction that comes from knowing that you were part of the campaign from the beginning. You not only know that your actions made a critical difference in the outcome of the election; you also get to look down your nose at johnny-come-latelies and the nay-sayers who didn't believe it could be done.

And friends, looking down your nose like that is a political pleasure like few others.

Six, Six, Six,

The folks over at Team Christine have sent out three little ways that you can make a big difference in the 6th District race:
Want to help Christine win back the 6th district but don't have a lot of time to help? Then just take six! Six minutes is all it will take to help you reclaim your voice in Congress by helping to elect someone for the community, from the community.

1. Vote Early

For the first time ever, registered voters in DuPage County and throughout the state will be able to vote early without waiting until Election Day.


2) Tell Others

Whether you've voted early, or just intend to vote for Christine on March 21st, tell you friends, family, and neighbors why you are supporting Christine by sending this special postcard that Christine's campaign has made just for this purpose!


3. Volunteer on Election Day

Whether you have as much as 6 hours or as little as six-ty minutes on Election Day, your help would be extremely valuable and deeply appreciated in helping to win the 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, March 21.


And here is my recommended fourth way to make a difference in the 6th -- DRINK BEER!
Join other Chicagoland Democrats to support Christine Cegelis' bid for Congress!
Go greeen for Christine at Cactus Bar.
Open bar, build your own taco & nacho buffet.
$35 per person
Contact the campaign offices to RSVP: (630) 693-0500
When: Mar 14 2006 - 7:00pm
Where: Cactus Bar & Grill
Address: 404 South Wells, Chicago
Additional information: Southwest corner of Wells and Van Buren (312) 922-0390
To grassroots activism!

Monday, March 13, 2006

While 5,000 American Women Die of Cervical Cancer Every Year...

From Neil Steinberg's column in your Chicago Sun-Times:
Merck is trying to get FDA approval for a vaccine against the virus that causes cervical cancer and is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country. Lives would be saved by the vaccine, but the politicized Bush FDA will probably deny approval, as the disease -- like all VD -- is a handy ally to the Religious Right in its battle against sex.

I knew that the moral mullahs of this country point obsessively to disease and pregnancy in their campaign for sexual inhibition. But I didn't quite realize -- and it embarrasses me to admit this -- that they are also against curing such diseases, so as not to encourage sin. An anti-HIV vaccine, rather than being celebrated, might actually be denied FDA approval -- in this country, of course. The rest of the modern world, unencumbered, moves steadily into the future without us.
Neal actually understated the anti-science, anti-medicine perspective of the Bush administration.

From the New Yorker article:
Religious conservatives are unapologetic; not only do they believe that mass use of an HPV vaccine or the availability of emergency contraception will encourage adolescents to engage in unacceptable sexual behavior; some have even stated that they would feel similarly about an H.I.V. vaccine, if one became available.

"We would have to look at that closely," Reginald Finger, an evangelical Christian and former medical adviser to the conservative political organization Focus on the Family, said. "With any vaccine for H.I.V., disinhibition" -- a medical term for the absence of fear -- "would certainly be a factor, and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care."

Finger sits on the Centers for Disease Control's Immunization Committee, which makes those recommendations.
Just in case you thought that the Religious Right would limit itself to merely sacrificing the lives of soldiers to bring about their perverse vision of America.

"Bush without the charm"

From the New Yorker:
Cheney is Bush without the charm, the religiosity, the Michael Gerson speech texts, and the Presidential sheen.

What he personifies, above all, is the raw reality of Bush’s signature policies, all of which he has had a strong hand in creating. There are the giant tax cuts for the rich, especially the very rich. (“We won the midterms,” Cheney told Bush’s economic team, according to the journalist Ron Suskind, when another such cut was on the table, after the 2002 congressional elections. “This is our due.”)

There is the related, and enormous, budget deficit, which will necessitate another $800-billion rise in the debt limit by the middle of this month if the government is to avoid defaulting on its obligations. (“Deficits don’t matter,” Cheney once explained.)

There is the strategically and morally disastrous misconduct of the “war on terror,” including authorized torture, defiantly unlawful domestic surveillance, and habitual, self-defeating contempt for allied opinion and international instruments. There is the toxic combination of reflexive secrecy and the political use of secrets, as in the Scooter Libby affair. There is, in place of an energy policy, obeisance to the oil industry—and thus to the petrocracy of the Middle East. (Conservation, according to Cheney, is “a personal virtue.”)

Above all, there is the terrible war in Iraq, undertaken on the basis of faulty, willfully distorted, sometimes falsified intelligence and now about to enter its fourth year, with no end in sight to the bloodshed and chaos. (“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency,” Cheney said last June.)

Against this background, the figure of twenty-three per cent is not shockingly low.

It’s shockingly high.

Mr. 18% in DuPage

DuPage residents -- and anyone else, I imagine -- are invited to gather at 4:30 p.m. at the deli at the corner of Lake & Medinah in Addison to protest Vice President Dick Cheney's visit. In the ongoing effort to shield this administration from any dissent, the Secret Service has cordoned off a seven-block radius around the Cheney/Roskam fundraiser and Lake and Medinah is as close as you ordinary folks are gonna get.

It is believed that the motorcade will turn from Lake Street onto Medinah, going north to the Medinah Country Club entrance.

The fun begins at 4:30 pm.

"The president has broken the law and he must be held accountable"

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is building on his lead in the "My Favorite Senator" competition:
A liberal Democrat and potential White House contender is proposing censuring President Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping, saying the White House misled Americans about its legality.

"The president has broken the law and, in some way, he must be held accountable," Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., told The Associated Press in an interview.

A censure resolution, which simply would scold the president, has been used just once in U.S. history -- against Andrew Jackson in 1834. ***

The five-page resolution to be introduced on Monday contends that Bush violated the law when, on his own, he set up the eavesdropping program within the National Security Agency in the months following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. ***

The resolution says the president "repeatedly misled the public" before the disclosure of the NSA program last December when he indicated the administration was relying on court orders to wiretap terror suspects inside the U.S.

"Congress has to reassert our system of government, and the cleanest and the most efficient way to do that is to censure the president," Feingold said. "And, hopefully, he will acknowledge that he did something wrong." ***

A longtime critic of the administration, Feingold was the first senator to urge a withdrawal timetable for U.S. troops in Iraq and was the only senator to vote in 2001 against the USA Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that expanded the government's surveillance and prosecutorial powers. He also voted against the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq.
If other D.C. Democrats won't stand up to this administration's lawlessness -- even with Bush's approval rating at a new low of 37% -- someone please tell me what in the world are they waiting for?

"When I actually do something, we'll let you know."

Your Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet has been doing her damnedest to make her blog an essential part of my morning routine.

Today she has posted the must-read full text of Sen. Barack Obama's Gridiron Speech:
The truth is, I'm terrified to be here. Not because you're such a tough audience, but because they're serving drinks, I'm standing about 30 yards from the Vice President, and…Mr. Vice President this is too easy!
The whole thing is here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bloodbath and Bank Accounts

What's the GOP plan for the general election in the 6th District? Lynn Sweet got the answer from Rep. Henry Hyde:
I asked what he thought of the upcoming general election to fill his seat. It will be a "bloodbath," he said. I asked his guess for winner of the three-way Democratic primary. He figured Tammy Duckworth would win. In the end, he said the district is just too Republican for any Democratic to prevail and predicted his replacement would be state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) who will be the GOP nominee.
So 6th District Dems might be tempted to think that the only way to combat Roskam's out-of-district-funded fat bank account is with Hyde's pick for Democratic nominee -- the out-of-district candidate with the out-of-district-funded fat bank account.

But let's take a closer look at that account.

The FEC Disclosure Form for Friends of Tammy Duckworth (FTD) indicates that the big cash raised by the the campaign's out of district funders won't be used to fight off the GOP in the general election. Why? Because that money is already being spent right now to combat Christine Cegelis' grassroots campaign.

The Detailed Summary Page of FTD's disclosure indicates that its total receipts for this period were $396,828 (see line 16, column 'A') and the total disbursments for this period were $379,943 (see line 22, column 'A'). By dividing the disbursments by the receipts, we can see that over 95% of the money FTD raised for the campaign in the first three months of 2006 has already been spent -- spent to bump-off the local Democratic candidates.

So at this rate, regardless of who wins the primary, the Democratic candidate will pretty much have to start building up the bank account from scratch -- but some candidates would be building their local organizing for November's "bloodbath" from scratch as well.

You know, I'll bet more people see THAT than the phone book.

"This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need. My name in print. That really makes somebody. Things are going to start happening to me now."
-- Navin R. Johnson

From Lynn Sweet's column in your Chicago Sun-Times:
Just as candidates for office test the waters before making their bid official, I've been making an exploratory run myself -- as a blogger. I've been blogging for a few weeks, posting on a variety of subjects. I'll make an "official" announcement later. Thanks to Austin Mayor, Zorn at the T, Archpundit, Daily Kos, CapitolFaxBlog and others for taking notice.
Ms. Sweet is most certainly welcome.

But my inclusion on that list of bloggers just cries out for an analogy -- but which one? Jimmy Nicol and the Beatles? Susan B. Anthony and Mount Rushmore? Gummo and the Marx Brothers? Willie Lumpkin and the Fantastic Four?

In any case, I hope that being acknowledged in such lofty company doesn't raise the expectations of either of my readers.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Cegelis v. The Machine"

"It's about time for Congressional leaders like Christine Cegelis." -- Cindy Sheehan

From OpEdNews:
Cegelis opposed the war before it started. She supports single-payer health care and a strong transition to renewable energy.

She's pro-choice, and anti-CAFTA. And she has a strong grassroots following in her district. In short, Christine Cegelis is exactly the kind of candidate that the Democratic Party needs.

On top of that, in 2004 Christine took on the thankless task of running against arch-conservative Henry Hyde (R-IL). You remember Henry Hyde—the man whose name is on key right-to-life, the man who led the impeachment fight against Bill Clinton, the man who now chairs the International Relations Committee in the House and routinely buries antiwar Democrats' attempts to investigate the lies that took us into the Iraq War that then took Casey.

Surprisingly, Christine racked up 44% against Hyde, despite being outspent by 4-1. She immediately announced that she would run again, and faced with her continuing strong grassroots opposition, Hyde decided to retire.

What was her reward for this service? Not an infusion of money to help her win an open seat against a former Tom DeLay aide—No! Instead, DCCC head Rahm Emanuel went out and found a candidate to run against her, a woman who did not even live in the district.
There is more here

UPDATE: Some folks question the very existence of a Chicago Democratic machine. As I've said, I'm just a 6th District Dem so I don't know about the mechinations in Chicago.

But Michael Sneed of your Sun-Times may:
It's no secret in Dem circles that a David Axelrod alliance with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) is a powerful tool for getting Dems elected.

*Why? Dave & Rahm are this/close to Mayor Daley, and this/close to former Democratic National Committee chief David "Bigbucks" Wilhelm. They are also this/close to Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who is running against Board of Commissioners President John Stroger in the Dem primary.
That might not be a political machine, but you can see how some folks might mistake it for one.

Friday, March 03, 2006

jux·ta·pose -- to place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

From Neil Steinberg's column in your March 3, 2006, Chicago Sun-Times:
A non-cooperating witness undermines the prosecution's case. What is an hour's ordeal compared to decades in jail? If he's guilty -- and I have no idea whether he is or not -- the victim should do what is necessary to convict him. Too many [violent criminals] go free because the victims refuse to put the culprit away.
From your November 24, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times:
A Cook County judge dismissed domestic battery charges against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg on Wednesday after prosecutors said it appears Steinberg is complying with a court-ordered alcohol treatment program.

Prosecutors also spoke to Steinberg's wife, Edie, who testified that she wanted the case and an order of protection dropped.

"You are no longer in fear for your safety, is that correct?" Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Kenneth Alpert asked Edie Steinberg in the Skokie courtroom.

"That is correct," she replied.

Neil Steinberg was arrested in September and charged with striking his wife during an argument. He also was charged with interfering in the reporting of a domestic battery.
One would hope that after his family's brush with the criminal justice system last fall, Neil would have developed some empathy for the victims of violent crimes and some understanding of their burdens.

But, alas, that does not appear to be the case.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Patriot Action for Civil Liberties

"If Democrats can't stand up on something like this when the president's poll numbers are 34 percent, I just wonder how much right we have to govern this country." -- Sen. Russ Feingold on opposing USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization.

As Sen. Feingold has pointed out, the "compromise" to reauthorize George W. Bush's PATRIOT Act still fails to protect American's civil liberties:
  • It doesn't prevent the government from obtaining the library, medical and other sensitive business records of people with no link to suspected terrorists.

  • It doesn't provide meaningful judicial review of the gag orders associated with Section 215 business records orders and National Security Letters.

  • It doesn't ensure that when government agents secretly break into the homes of Americans to do a so-called “sneak and peek” search, they tell the owners of those homes in most circumstances within seven days, as courts have said they should.
In the 6th District Democratic primary, only one candidate stands opposed to renewing the Bush Patriot Act. From your Daily Herald:
Christine Cegelis, who is running against Lindy Scott and Tammy Duckworth in the March 21 primary, said she’s disappointed in the legislation.

“We need to be more vigilant about our civil rights. Our privacy is paramount, and I don’t think we’re protecting that enough,” said Cegelis, of Rolling Meadows. ***

Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association say the compromise is flawed. The library group contends it’s unclear what rights are protected and that library patrons’ Internet records still could be confiscated by the government.
Like Sen. Feingold, Christine Cegelis understands that the security failures of 9-11 were due to a lack of information analysis, not information collection.
A technology consultant, [Cegelis] argued that the government is obtaining too much data and doesn’t know how to process it.

“The Patriot Act continues the problem of gathering too much unfocussed information and not bringing good intelligence,” she said. “9/11 could have been prevented if there was a better synthesis of information.”
"You've got to show people you believe in something, not just that you're gaming the issues." -- Sen. Russ Feingold on the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Also from your Daily Herald:
Duckworth, a National Guard reservist from Hoffman Estates who lost her legs after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, said she’s torn but would probably vote for the compromise. ***

Scott says he’s taking a “realistic” approach.

“The compromise does not protect all the individual rights it should, but it is a step in the right direction,” the Wheaton College professor explained.

“The Democrats, being in the minority, cannot get everything that would make it a better rule, but it is about as good as we can get right now.”
So 6th District Democratics who oppose George Bush's USA PATRIOT Act will have a stark and simple choice in the primary: Opposition in fact or mere opposition in theory.

UPDATE: "Protecting Americans from our enemies while protecting the civil liberties that the original American patriots fought for and founded our country to establish sounds patriotic to me."

Hiram further explains the significance of Cegelis' position at WurfWhile.

Cross-posted at Illinoize


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