Monday, October 31, 2005

Trib's Rosenthal Calls Out S-T's Novak

In your Chicago Tribune, Phil Rosenthal goes after his former Sun-Times colleague Robert Novak:
Live long enough and you find yourself saying things that once might have been unimaginable.

Like "How about those World Series champion Chicago White Sox!" Or "What did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger say to the California legislature?"

Or "Boy, that will be a must-read Robert Novak column."

With a five-count indictment handed down Friday against I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, in the grand jury investigation of the unmasking of a covert CIA agent that surfaced two years ago in Novak's column, isn't it nearly time Novak came clean in print?
This may expose my own prejudices against those who cover the dismal science, but could someone explain to me why the Tribune insists on hiding Rosenthal's stellar writing inside its business section?

What's an "Alito"?

Think Progress offers this analysis:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito argued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]

With a record like that, you can be certain that this nomination will please Bush's extreme right-wing base.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"Aw, that's just drunk talk...

"Sweet, beautiful drunk talk."

Parade and Rally for the World Series Champion White Sox


The LaSalle Bank float is hung up on the El tracks at Lake and LaSalle


A shower of confetti greets the World Champions of Baseball


Mayor Daley's fancy bus stop shelters are put to the test by White Sox fans.


Unfortunately, the speakers were completely inaudible just 100 feet from the stage.

Fitzgerald: Novak Exposed A Covert Agent

"Valerie Wilson's cover was blown in July 2003." -- Patrick Fitzgerald, in a reference to Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 column.

"Target that Closet... And Fire!"

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in ''Star Trek,'' came out as homosexual in the current issue of a magazine covering the Los Angeles gay and lesbian community. ***

"The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay," he said. "The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."

The 68-year-old actor said he and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

Takei, a Japanese American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.

"It's against basic decency and what American values stand for," he said.
And may the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless America.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Join the Celebration

From your Chicago Tribune:
Friday's events will begin at U.S. Cellular Field at 35th Street and Shields Avenue, officials said. Players, families and front office staff of the White Sox will leave from the ballpark in trolleys and double-decker buses about 11 a.m.

The motorcade will wend through Bridgeport, Chinatown, Bronzeville, Pilsen, Greektown and Chinatown before ending up at noon in front of the Board of Trade Building at LaSalle and Jackson Streets in the Loop.

The motorcade will re-form as part of a parade that will head north on LaSalle. In addition to whatever comes from windows of office high rises, confetti from "cannons" positioned along the street will launch shreds of paper.

The parade will end at a temporary stage set up at Wacker Drive and the Chicago River at the north end of downtown. The stage will face south on LaSalle. Fans will gather on the street and sidewalks east and west along Wacker and south down LaSalle.

At least two Jumbo Tron television screens will be erected along LaSalle so those who can't get close to the stage can see what is happening, said James Law, the city's special events director.

Speakers at the victory celebration are expected to include Guillen, Reinsdorf, Daley and selected players.

Law said the city also was "looking into" possibly having former Journey lead singer Steve Perry as a part of Friday's festivities. Journey was the band that recorded "Don't Stop Believin'" 24 years ago. Sox players adopted the tune as their unofficial theme song for their victorious 2005 season.

The rally is expected to wrap up around 12:45 p.m., CLTV reported.

The specific motorcade route was still being mapped out this afternoon.

Denny's Blog Slam

Wonkette has reviewed Dennis Hastert's new blog:
Here's definitive proof that the GOP is in serious trouble: House Speaker Dennis Hastert has launched his own blog. It's called "Speaker's Journal," and we're reluctant to forward the URL on to you, for the simple reason that your mind will be so thoroughly blown as to never again return. Why, just check out the title of the first entry: "Welcome to my blog." The Speaker proceeds to describe his maiden foray into yon blogosphere in the same dutiful cadence that 7th graders reserve for their book reports...
Yeesh... You've gotta see it for yourself. It's at least that bad.

It desperately needs the Parillo magic touch.

Miers Out

Bush has bowed down to his extreme right-wing masters and has withdrawn the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers.

UPDATE: Mark Evanier nails it:
George W. Bush has "reluctantly accepted" Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw as a Supreme Court nominee. Just as last night, I "reluctantly accepted" delivery of that Chinese Food I ordered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Don't Go All Crazee Now

From your Chicago Tribune:
Authorities are urging White Sox fans to stay home and watch tonight's game on television with friends and families -- and not to come down to U.S. Cellular Field to celebrate if the team clinches the World Series tonight in Houston.

"There's no sanctioned celebration at the Cell, and we're asking people not to come down there," Chicago police Supt. Phil Cline said. ***

Police have said they expected most of the revelry near the ballpark, the Far South Side nightlife corridor on South Western Avenue and the nightclub district centered on Rush and Division Streets on the Near North Side.

"We've gone around to all the bars in those neighborhoods and asked them not to serve alcohol in bottles or cans, to use paper or plastic cups, and to watch their occupancy levels and not exceed the safe occupancy levels for their establishments," Cline said.

Ald. James Balcer, whose 11th Ward is home to the White Sox, urged fans to "celebrate safe. Enjoy the game at home with families and friends."

"We are discouraging anyone from coming down to U.S. Cellular Field this evening if the Sox clinch," Balcer said. "Wait for the city to announce the citywide celebration."

"This is our neighborhood," the alderman continued. "If you are here celebrating at a local establishment, treat the area as you would treat your own neighborhood…with respect."

Rowdiness, disorderly conduct and civil disobedience, he added, "will not be tolerated."

Police are beefing up their presence in three key areas: The Deering District, where the Cell is located; the Morgan Park District, which covers the Beverly neighborhood; and the East Chicago District, which includes North Rush Street, police spokesman Patrick Camden said.

How to Edit a Wing-Nut (If You Must): The Word According to Ann Coulter

The national treasure known as Drink at Work has provided Notes from Ann Coulter's Editor:

  • Please check to ensure that each sentence has a subject and a verb, not simply a target and a racial slur.
  • Contrary to your impassioned statements, James G. Watt's environmental policies did not, in fact, bring back the unicorn.
  • Introductory elements of a sentence typically tend to establish either time or condition, not the author's overwhelming insecurity or need to avenge third-grade taunts.
  • Keep your sentences simple, not your thoughts.
  • The word "God" does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. Neither does the word "genocide."
More Notes for Ms. Coulter here.

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

I am almost certain that this is not what is meant by "attorney-client priviledge."

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A suburban lawyer hid two tiny wireless cameras in the women's restroom of his Wheaton law office and secretly videotaped women using the toilet, according to a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday by a female employee of the firm.

The suit contends attorney Jerald Mangan hid the cameras, which allegedly transmitted images from the restroom to Mangan's computer and to the office's computer server. One camera was discovered in mid-September in a roll of toilet paper, the suit says. A second camera, hidden in a small basket of potpourri, was discovered Oct. 11, according to the suit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Soft on (Republican) Crime

Michael Barone brings the stupid in your Chicago Sun-Times:
It is a general principle of law that when the government wants to criminalize acts other than traditional common law crimes like murder or theft, it must set out with great specificity the conduct that is forbidden. To visit the rigors of criminal indictment, trial and punishment on someone who has done nothing that is specifically forbidden is unjust -- the very definition of injustice.

That leaves the question of whether Rove, Libby or someone else will be indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice or making false statements in the course of the investigation. But why should there be indictments if there was no crime?
"No crime?"

Someone please inform Mr. Barone that "perjury" is a crime... that "obstruction of justice" is a crime... and that "making false statements in the course of a criminal investigation" is a crime.

Clearing the Air

Is Air America Radio failing? Or is it just the latest target of the right-wing noise machine?

Eric Alterman took a close look at the facts and describes "a concerted disinformation campaign to undermine its increasingly effective challenge to the hegemony of the caveman right on the air."

Why 2K?

Over 2000 GIs have been killed since the invasion of Iraq.

In addition, more than 15,000 American men and women serving in Iraq have been wounded.

Iraq had no connection with the 9-11 attacks and had no weapons of mass destruction.

Osama bin Ladin remains at large.

UPDATE: Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the same question.

"A Genuine American Hero"

CBS2 posted this statement from Barack Obama:
Rosa Parks was a genuine American hero. Through her courage and by her example, she helped lay the foundation for a country that could begin to live up to its creed.

Just as important, she reminded each and every one of us of our personal responsibilities to stand up for what is right and the central truth of the American experience that our greatness as a nation derives from seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

We will all miss her cherished spirit but know that her legacy lives on in the heart of the nation.
When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not'. And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.'

This is for real, you've got to want it...

From the Journal Star in the other Land o' Lincoln:

Republican performance in Washington has handed Democrats "an enormous opportunity" to launch a comeback in the 2006 congressional elections, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said Monday.

Recent disarray in the Bush administration "punctured a hole in the sense that this White House is competent and squarely addressing issues," Obama told a news conference.

Democrats next year should offer voters "a contrast as to how Democrats would govern compared to how Republicans have governed," he said.

Obama pointed to a number of issues, including runaway deficit spending, rising health care costs, unaddressed energy challenges and, in later remarks, a brief mention of a lack of planning to deal with the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq.
In the New Yorker, George Packer lays out a game plan for taking advantage of the enormous opportunity identified by Sen. Obama:
[T]he Democrats need to nationalize the elections of 2006 the way the Republicans did in 1994. A Democratic manifesto that unites the Party’s own diverse factions would begin as a referendum on the ruling party: the White House and Congress have handed government over to corrupt interests, and, in so doing, the Republicans have betrayed basic American principles of honesty, competence, and fairness. There is no reason for Democrats to be on the defensive about moral values. On issue after issue, government by cronyism and corruption has sacrificed the interests of the middle class to those of the Administration’s wealthy friends. The deepening inequality in American life threatens families and democracy, and it is neither natural nor inevitable. ***

To overcome these structural disadvantages, the Democrats’ campaign approach needs to be broad and bold.

  • Energy: The Republicans have made America more dependent on foreign oil while gas prices are skyrocketing; the Democrats will push for energy independence.
  • Health care: The Republicans have allowed private companies to eliminate choice while costs go up and millions of Americans lack insurance; the Democrats will enact national coverage that restores choice and holds down costs.
  • Taxes: The Republicans have shifted the burden from the top to the middle; the Democrats will reverse that trend, and will end the Administration’s ruinous fiscal policies.
  • National security: Republican incompetence has squandered our power abroad and failed to make us more secure at home, as the country learned after Katrina; the Democrats will rebuild the armed forces—making it at least possible for the Iraq insurgency to be defeated—and bring competence to homeland security.

Above all, the Democratic Party needs to overcome its own self-esteem problem. Its leaders have to show imagination and take risks, to be confident and aggressive, to proceed as if the current occupant of the White House no longer mattered—as if the Democrats fully intended to win and govern. The Democratic Party has to speak for the common good in a moral language; and it has to believe what it says, so that when the opposition’s attacks come, as they will, it can find the heart and the courage to fight back.

So grab your jocks - if you need one.

It's go-time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Achtung Baby.

"Mommy, where do German babies come from?"

Liz Phair at the World Series

Apparently the White Sox and Major League Baseball were unsatisfied with the thousands of southside women who can sing and decided to bring in a north shore woman who can't.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cegelis Reporting for Bootcamp

A correspondent passed along this update from the Cegelis for Congress campaign:
National Democrats know the sixth congressional district is one of the top races in the country. They know that it will be a hard fight.

And they know Christine can win.

Christine and her top staff will be heading to Phoenix this weekend for an invitation-only congressional campaign boot camp hosted by AFSCME and national party leaders.

Party leaders know Christine can beat the Republican hand-picked by Washington. They are helping Christine this weekend with networking opportunities and important training. Christine will have the opportunity to meet top party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, as well as important union leadership.

The national party knows how important this race is. And they know Christine is the right woman to break the corrupt Republican stranglehold on the sixth congressional district.
You can help out here.

"A different kind of positive."

Maureen Ryan, of your Chicago Tribune, examines the possible effect of strong DVD sales on Arrested Development's future.


"No, no, it’s pronounced a-nal-ra-pist."

"She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

















Get it on!

The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly...

Mark Evanier has a question:
Where are these indictments I keep hearing about?

Okay, there's Tom DeLay. Good start but it's only one and knowing him, he'll probably slip out of that charge... make some kind of plea bargain that admits no wrongdoing in exchange for which he'll do five minutes of community service -- the first and last of his life. (I don't think he'll be so lucky in the Jack Abramoff matter...)

But people keep saying there are going to be indictments. Massive indictments. Shocking indictments. Indictments that are going to shake Washington to its core.

Okay, where the hell are they?

Every morning now when I awake, I hurry to my computer here and log into one of my favorite newssites to see the indictments...and there aren't any. This morning, everyone was talking about another hurricane and I thought, "No... we don't want another hurricane. We want indictments."

Of anyone. I'm not fussy. It would be nice if it were Karl Rove or Scooter Libby...although I have a hard time believing that any special prosecutor is cold-hearted enough to indict a guy named after a Muppet. But I'll settle for an indictment of just about anyone not in my immediate family. Geraldo Rivera would be nice. Or Carrot Top. How about a nice, juicy indictment of everyone currently producing a reality show? And while you're at it, that rude checker at the Whole Foods Market near me. And Bill O'Reilly, just because.

Come on... there are plenty of people out there to indict. Let's get on with it.

Sneed: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
Sad Sox . . .

A sad note: For obvious reasons, the late baseball legends Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray won't be in attendance.
Unfortunately, Sneed does not tell us where the late Sox broadcasters won't be dining while they are not attending the World Series.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Correspondent's Course

A letter to Eric Alterman:
Name: Vince Hill
Hometown: Chicago

What motivated [Slate’s] Jacob Weisberg to trash [US Attorney Patrick] Fitzgerald? Maybe the fact that his mother is a commissioner and confidante of Mayor Richie Daley, whose administration is also in the sights of U.S. Atty Fitzgerald. In Illinois, this guy has the machine Democrats scared as well, which is exactly why the GOP can't dismiss him as a partisan hack.
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer.

Did He Say "Cabal"?

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell:
What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.
ca·bal - A conspiratorial group of plotters.

Didn't anyone learn anything from Iran-Contra?

UPDATE: More excerpts and analysis from Kevin Drum.

Kids, Don't Look at the Dirty, Dirty Cartoons

In a misguided effort to help families decide what to watch on the tee-vee, the Parents Television Council has included bizare descriptions of the programs on its list of the 10 worst shows on primetime television.

L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC:
Families should not be deceived. The top three worst shows all contain crude and raunchy dialogue with sex-themed jokes and foul language. Even worse is the fact that Hollywood is peddling its filth to families with cartoons like The Family Guy and American Dad. These two shows have contained scenes in which characters are shown having sex and topics such as masturbation, incest, bestiality, and necrophilia are routinely discussed.
Here is their summary of the best program on television:
Arrested Development is the story of the Bluth family. The show picks up when George Sr. is arrested for securities fraud and his son Michael is left to pick up the pieces of the family and their business.

Arrested Development is designed to offend. Episodes regularly contain scripted bleeps. This enables the writers to use language, including "f**k" and "s**t," network censors would never allow. Arrested Development also employs some of the most outrageous double-entendres ever to find their way into prime-time. In one episode, for example, Tobias says he was an analyst and a therapist, making him the first "analrapist." Other episodes have delved into the bizarre sexual proclivities of the main characters, such as Lucille's revelation that she and George derive sexual pleasure from being strangled with a belt.
I agree with the PTC, outrageous double-entendres should only be engaged in by adults in a committed and loving relationship -- or under the close supervision of an analrapist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

All About the Benjamins

In yesterday’s column in your Chicago Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet drops a bombshell: In the last campaign reporting cycle, 6th District Democratic congressional candidate Christine Cegelis did not suddenly become a multi-millionaire, nor did she become the darling of the party's Washington D.C. power-brokers.

God bless Lynn Sweet for spelling Ms. Cegelis’ name right, but there is no news here.

Christine Cegelis’ campaign has been all grassroots from the very beginning. She’s not independently wealthy and it’s no secret that her campaign volunteers don’t have gold-plated Rolodexes that can be tapped for $2000 contributions.

And it is not news that Christine Cegelis is not the party leaders’ vision of an ideal candidate, i.e. self-funded and more-of-the-same. Although Christine Cegelis has mainstream Democratic values and ideals, she is independent of any party bosses. She answers only to her own conscience and her grassroots supporters. Sure, the party leadership would prefer to tap a candidate who knows who’s boss and that they can count on to toe the line. But I prefer a candidate who knows the voters of the 6th District are the boss and won’t be afraid to step out of line to act in their interests.

But it just makes sense that Lynn Sweet’s story focused solely on the funding aspect of the Christine Cegelis campaign. Ms. Sweet is based in Washington D.C., where the focus is always, always, always on the money. Out in the district, folks are less obsessed with the pursuit of large donors than they are excited by Christine Cegelis’ ideas and values, her grassroots network of volunteers and building on her unprecedented showing versus Henry Hyde in the last election.

No Christine Cegelis’ candidacy is not perfect.

But I have never seen a perfect candidate yet. No, not even Barack Obama.

So while some of the commentators at the Capital Fax Blog may want Christine to step aside and make way for their imagined perfect candidate – a mythical 6th District messiah who’s wealth is unrivaled and who’s identity is known only to Rahm – I will continue to bang the drum for a real candidate – the candidate who drove Henry Hyde into retirement:

Christine Cegelis for Congress.

Monday, October 17, 2005

CHRISTINE CEGELIS ON "PUBLIC AFFAIRS CINEMA"

Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs, has posted video of yesterday's interview with Christine Cegelis:
[Y]ou might be wondering about what is cooking in the process to replace Cong. Henry Hyde (R-Addison) in the 6th CD, when he steps down in January, 2007, after serving 32 years in that seat. Well then, you should go to the [Public Affairs Cinema] and take a look at Christine Cegelis (D-Rolling Meadows), who is running against Lindy Scott in the Democratic Primary for the right to take on State Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton),who managed to clear the field earlier this year in the Republican Primary of the likes of State Senator Carole (as in Carole Lombard) Pankau, former DuPage County Recorder of Deeds JP "Rick," Carney and State Senator Dan Cronin (who left before he came in, sort of). The Public Affairs show with candidate Cegelis *** will air in the Suburbs the Week of October 24 and throughout the City of Chicago on Halloween (8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21- CANTV).
Berkowitz' Public Affairs Cinema also has video and audio of his interviews with Barack Obama, John Filan, and Forrest Claypool.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"And thank you for the Bottle Rockets. Amen."

There is some great news in your Chicago Sun-Times:
Bottle Rockets with the Siderunners, 9:30 p.m. Nov. 26, Beat Kitchen; $15.
It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so there is no excuse to skip this show. And the B-Rox are recording a new album for Chicago's own Bloodshot Records in October, so this show should feature some great new tunes as well as their Essentials.

IS THIS THE BEST THE RIGHT CAN DO?

As long-time readers of this blog may have noticed, I do my best to avoid using profanity in blog postings.

I find that four-letter words distract from the ideas behind a writing so -- although I sometimes quote others' use of four-letter words -- I have tried to keep them to a minimum.

And it is only in the interests of profanity minimization that I will not attempt to ascribe any adjectives or descriptive nouns to Adam Teiichi Yoshida, the author of the following steaming pile:
Despite the fantasies of more than a few Barack Obama will never be the President of the United States.

To begin with, there are some obvious problems. Leaving aside whether a black man would have specific difficulties in being elected President (and, frankly, I think that most of the disadvantages of skin color would be offset by other advantages), I think that someone whose name is one letter removed from "“Osama"” and whose farther [sic] was a Moslem will obviously be starting with some serious disadvantages.

And, while I'’m at it, I'’ll also ad [sic] that there are (unconfirmed) rumours that Obama himself is secretly a Muslim. Now, I don'’t believe them but, if Obama ever runs for President, I won'’t mind spreading them. There'’s also the more serious matter of his father'’s reported involvement with Mau Mau terrorists in Kenya, something else which would probably come up in a Presidential campaign.

But let'’s leave all of that aside for now: the "“Imams for Truth"” are least four (and more probably eight or twelve) years away. The real thing which will ensure that Barack Obama will never be President is much simpler than that: he'’s an ultra-liberal.

Osama (I mean Obama) is so liberal that he makes John Kerry look like Bob Dornan.
And in an example of conservatives' Orwellian inversion and perversion of language, this cesspool of right-wing slander and lies is posted at a site called "The Reality Check".

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Ubersexual is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Ubersexual SHALL BE the meaning of the earth!

Sen. Barack Obama is on a new list of men deemed "ubersexual," a term fabricated by advertising agency JWT to represent a more macho form of "metrosexual".

Where metrosexual labeled narcissistic pretty-boys, JWT defines ubersexual as "embracing the positive aspects of their masculinity or 'M-ness' (e.g., confidence, leadership, passion, compassion) without giving in to the stereotypes that give guys a bad name (e.g., disrespect toward women, emotional emptiness, complete ignorance of anything cultural outside of sports, beer, burgers, and athletic shoes)."

Sen. Obama was chosen for his demeanor at the Democratic National Convention, where "he managed to marry sentimental love of family with a new face of patriotism," JWT said in a statement. "And he looks sharp in a suit."

Here'’s the full list:
  1. Bono
  2. George Clooney
  3. Bill Clinton
  4. Donald Trump
  5. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  6. Barack Obama
  7. Ewan McGregor
  8. Pierce Brosnan
  9. Guy Ritchie
  10. Jon Stewart
It says something about the universal appeal of Sen. Obama that the nation's largest ad agency would use his name to promote its latest manufactured "trend."

And their cute reference to the German "Overman" is really nice too.

IT WASN'T STAGED!

MediaCitizen:
Reporting on yesterday's Bush-Iraq video-op, the Village Voice's Ward Harkavy finds that it involved an actor from within his own sausage factory. "The soldier on the left side of the front row was actually a flak herself, though she didn't reveal it during the regime's 24-minute infomercial."

The soldier in question is Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo; she works in public affairs for the military as spokesperson to the media. While she's emerged elsewhere in mainstream reports on Iraq, she hasn't always been identified in her role.

A New York Times' story from April correctly cited Lombardo as a "military spokesperson." Another report in the Albany Times-Union merely cited her as a "24-year Guard veteran." In his report, Times-Union scribe Tim O'Brien quoted Lombardo extensively as she praised the hard work of her division and drew special attention to their successful cooperation with local forces to "rebuild Iraqi infrastructure."

"I enjoy what I'm doing over there and enjoy getting to know the Iraqi people," Lombardo tells the Times-Union stenographer.
"You lied to me."

"Wasn't lies, it was just... bullshit."

RUBBING IT IN


I suspected that Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, might be a better person than I when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

But now that ElBaradei is giving away his prize money, I think he is just rubbing my nose in it.

BERKOWITZ: CEGELIS ANSWERS THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of "Public Affairs", looks back at an interview with Peter Roskam and looks forward to another interview with Christine Cegelis:
State Senator Peter Roskam [R-Wheaton], when he last appeared on “Public Affairs,” in December, 2004 speculated that former State Senator Pat O’Malley was more likely than not to get into the 2006 gubernatorial race [ See here ] and that two conservatives running against each other, as well as against State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka in the Republican Primary, could completely destroy things, from his point of view. ***

However, we haven’t been able to get Senator Roskam back on our show, although we have been trying for the last half year or so, ever since it became clear he would run in the 6th Cong. Dist. to replace Congressman Henry Hyde, who is not seeking re-election after thirty two years in the House of Representatives. We are told by his campaign manager, Ryan McLaughlin, that Ryan is studying transcripts of “Public Affairs,” so Ryan can decide whether he should recommend to Senator Roskam that he tape my show, notwithstanding that Peter Roskam appeared on our show several times before Ryan came on the scene. We hope we pass Ryan’s test.

Meanwhile, we don’t know if State Senator Peter Roskam has changed his mind on his assessment of the Republican Gubernatorial Primary, or more importantly, what his views are on the domestic and foreign policy issues of the day, and what his ability is to answer tough questions on same.

On the other hand, Christine Cegelis [ See here ], who is favored to win a now two candidate Democratic Primary in the 6th CD and be Roskam’s opponent in the general election, will be taping our show for a third time in the last year. While we have not endorsed candidates in the past, we have endorsed the notion that all candidates for office and incumbents should do what Christine Cegelis has done and is doing, i.e., come on “Public Affairs,” and answer tough questions about the issues in the race. The voters deserve no less.

If you, my gentle readers and viewers, have any questions or topics you would like to see discussed when we tape our show with 6th Cong. District candidate Christine Cegelis this coming Sunday afternoon, please send me an email with same. If I use the question, I will only identify you by name if you indicate I should do so. If you like, please also indicate your village of residence.
So send your questions regarding the 6th District race to JBCG@aol.com. I am sure that Jeff and Christine will both appreciate them.

BLAGORGEOUS IS ON THE AIR, AMERICA

Illinois' governor was just on Air America's Al Franken Show promoting the All Kids program.

It seems that Rod is trying use All Kids to simultaneously promote his campaigns for governor and president.

Side-note to political handlers: When you have an opportunity for your candidate speak on a nationally broadcast program, don't leave the host of the program waiting on hold. Franken handled it well, but it made it look like Blago didn't have his act together.

And we all know better than that.

The audio will be available here later.

The audio is now available here.

OBAMA TOWN HALL MEETINGS DOWNSTATE -- WAY DOWNSTATE

Sen. Barack Obama will visit the southern horn of Illinois Saturday to host town hall meetings in Union, Saline, Franklin and Jefferson counties. Sen. Obama has hosted 35 town hall meetings since joining the Senate.

From the Southern Illinoisan:
"These town hall meetings give me the opportunity to hear directly from people in Illinois about the issues affecting their lives and how I can help," Obama said. "It also gives me a chance to talk with them about the issues I've been working on in the Senate, like reducing our dependence on foreign oil by increasing ethanol production, making sure Illinois veterans get the disability pay and health care they've earned, and ensuring that the United States takes all necessary steps to prepare for an avian flu pandemic."
After a five-minute speech by Sen. Obama, the floor will be opened for questions.
"This is not a partisan event," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "Anyone who wants to ask Sen. Obama a question is welcomed and encouraged to attend."
I presume that Sen. Obama's question and answer session will be much more spontaneous than Mr. Bush's recent Q&A.

ONLY TWO PERCENT


George Bush isn't cared for by black people.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse:

From your Chicago Tribune:
In the face of an uncertain threat that avian flu could cause a new pandemic, political leaders at every level are grappling with the disquieting fact that the United States has almost no ability to stop an outbreak of the disease if it strikes here soon. ***

Few other lawmakers were focused on the issue last March, when Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) proposed $25 million in foreign assistance to help prevent an outbreak.

Obama said he was concerned in part because as a child he lived for five years in Indonesia, which recorded its first human cases this year.

"I knew that part of the world and was familiar with how the livestock operations are--they're in people's back yards," Obama said. He said the problem in Southeast Asia is urgent because wherever a pandemic starts, it's likely to arrive in the U.S. within four to six weeks.

No one knows whether a new flu outbreak would kill as many as the 50 million killed by the 1918 pandemic worldwide, though some estimates are that the toll would be far higher. Daniel Lee, the new pandemic coordinator for Illinois, said models from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the virus would kill up to 9,000 people in the state and sicken as many as 4.5 million.
And no, we won't get to pick which 9,000.

LAUGHABLE

"I put the squeeze on her old man -- and then he is supposed to put the squeeze on her. Doesn't she know how things work around here?!?"

It speaks volumes about the nature of Donald Stephens -- and business as usual in Illinois -- that he thinks his tale of Lisa Madigan's apparent political independence from her father somehow tarnishes her reputation.

From your Chicago Tribune:
Stephens blasted comments made last year by Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, who said he has ties to organized crime. He acknowledged that in the days after Madigan made the public comments he complained to Madigan's father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

"I said, 'What's wrong with your daughter? I mean she knows that I'm not associated with [the mob].' He said, 'Don, I can't do anything with her,'" Stephens said.

"I told him, 'Michael, if I'm an associate of crime syndicate hoodlums, so are you because you associate with me.' And he says, 'You know what? You're right.' He's been a guest in my home."

A spokesman for Michael Madigan declined to comment Wednesday.
She should make that story the centerpiece of her campaign for governor.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

PUPPY LOVE

In your Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman answers the musical question, "Is Harriet Miers a victim of sexism?"

In truth, Miers' gender was one of her two attractions for President Bush -- the other being her canine worship of him. But the complaints about her weak credentials would be made even if she had testosterone coming out of her ears. ***

Finding a reason to reject this nomination is about as hard as finding sand at the beach. What's tough is coming up with any rationale that would fool a 4th-grader. ***

The truth is that the aggrieved right-wingers would be giving each other champagne showers if Bush had picked any number of skirt-clad judges-including Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, Edith Jones and Karen Williams. Their beef with Miers is that they don't know if she's conservative but do know she's underqualified.

Mr. Chapman must have written this column before the revelation that Miers is an evangelical Christian who's church is "almost universally pro-life."

Surely that would have alleviated his concerns.

Mr. Chapman also poses a question that should be the first asked if Miers comes before the Senate judiciary committee:
[I]f Bush thinks Miers has the right stuff to serve in the federal judiciary, why didn't it ever occur to him to appoint her to an appeals court first?
The truth is I no longer think there is more than a 50/50 chance that she will ever make it as far as committee hearings.

DuPAGE SOX FANS REPRESENT

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
After Tuesday's disappointment of a series-opening loss to the Angels, fans fled Sox Park.

But after Wednesday night's dramatic, disputed, 2-1 White Sox victory, they lingered to celebrate.

Chrissy Steinbacher, of Lisle, waived her rather large brassiere over her head in a salute to the Sox.

"Oh yeah, baby! Those are my boys," Steinbacher screamed.
Note to Sun-Times staff: When a large busted woman is twirling her bra over her head, her expression of pride in "my boys" may not refer to the local baseball team.

From the same story:
A beaming U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) found himself on a national stage Wednesday -- atop the pitcher's mound at Sox Park throwing out the first pitch before his beloved White Sox took on the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Championship game.

And Obama delivered -- a slow, high-arching pitch that actually made it to the catcher without bouncing.

"I had to take some heat off to make sure it went straight," Obama said later, explaining he played more basketball than baseball growing up. "The plan was not to ground it."

In making it on a fly, Obama bested Gov. Blagojevich, who short-hopped an opening-day pitch at Sox Park a few years back.

Obama has been an "unequivocal" supporter of the Sox since moving to the South Side in the mid-1980s. He wore a Sox jersey with his name and the number "05." But many wondered if the jersey should have said "Obama '08," referring to the next presidential election.

From the stands, someone asked, "Is he a righty or a lefty?" Hearing Obama was a lefty, the fan said: "Of course he is."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"WORKS EVERY TIME"

Albert Alschuler, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Criminology at the University of Chicago, says that George Ryan and his co-defendant, Larry Warner, are being railroaded:
Over the course of this wide-ranging trial, jurors will hear every allegation of criminal and non-criminal misconduct by Ryan and Warner that prosecutors have collected by threatening their former associates (and one former associate’s fiancĂ©e) with heavy mail fraud sentences of their own. The alleged misconduct will cover a twelve-year period and range from failing to register as a lobbyist, to accepting secret consulting fees from a presidential campaign, to giving low-number license plates to campaign contributors.

At the conclusion of this trial, the jury will not announce which of the allegations of improper conduct have been proven and which have not. It will announce only whether the defendants engaged in some scheme or artifice to defraud and some conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. If the jury decides that the prosecutors’ charges weren’t entirely a lie and that some of the dirt they have thrown at the wall has stuck, the jury is likely to find the defendants guilty of the principal charges against them. It may seem to the jurors, after months of exposure to the smoke in the courtroom, that there must have been a fire somewhere. The press will not care much about the legal niceties. Although the judge will have told the jurors that they need not find all of the prosecutors’ allegations true in order to convict the defendants, she probably will treat all of the allegations as proven when she determines the defendants’ sentences.

Like many other trials in the Northern District of Illinois (which Judge Frank Easterbrook describes as the mail fraud capital of America), George Ryan’s trial reveals why prosecutors call the federal mail fraud statute "our Stradivarius, our Colt 45, our Louisville Slugger, our Cuisinart." Although the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) may rank second to the mail fraud statute on the prosecutors’ list of all-time favorites, RICO gives them similar powers.
Prof. Alschuler promises to follow up with a discussion of how the mail fraud statute’s protection of an "intangible right to honest services" and RICO prosecutions lead to "wide-ranging trials in which jurors may wind up judging the person rather than the charge."

Note: Now I know it doesn't snag quite as many powerful, rich white men -- and is of little interest to the legal brahmins of the University of Chicago -- but I would argue that the "unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver" is the prosecutor's go-to statute.

UPDATE: The Intangible Right to Honest Services:
In the Ryan case and others, prosecutors have used the intangible rights doctrine to stand federalism on its head. In effect, federal prosecutors prosecute state officials and private individuals for state crimes in the federal courts. Worse, they use the mail fraud statute to bootstrap minor state crimes and violations of non-criminal regulations into 20-year federal felonies.

KEITH OLBERMANN: THE NEXUS OF POLITICS AND TERROR

Keith Olbermann, kingpin of MSNBC's Countdown, asks if the Bush administration has been using bogus homeland security warnings and specious terror alerts to do political damage control.
Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation.

I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a "terror event" -- a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.

We figured we’d better put that list of coincidences on the public record. We did so this evening on the television program, with ten of these examples. The other three are listed at the end of the main list, out of chronological order. The contraction was made purely for the sake of television timing considerations, and permitted us to get the live reaction of the former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson.

We bring you these coincidences, reminding you, and ourselves here, that perhaps the simplest piece of wisdom in the world is called the logical fallacy. Just because Event A occurs, and then Event B occurs, that does not automatically mean that Event A caused Event B.

But one set of comments from an informed observer seems particularly relevant as we examine these coincidences.

On May 10th of this year, after his resignation, former Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge looked back on the terror alert level changes, issued on his watch.

Mr. Ridge said: "More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert)… there were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said 'for that?'"

Please, judge for yourself.
You can judge the list for yourself here.

UPDATE: Readin' gives you a headache?

The video is at Crooks and Liars.

GOOD CUB, BAD CUB

From your Chicago Tribune:
Nomar Garciaparra rescued two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor, his uncle and a witness told the Boston Herald.

Garciaparra, the former Red Sox shortstop who played for the Chicago Cubs last season, was in his Charlestown condominium with his uncle Friday night when they heard a scream and a splash, said the uncle, Victor Garciaparra.

As soon as the two-time American League batting champ ran out the door to help the woman, her friend also fell in, hitting her head on the pier, said Victor Garciaparra, who oversees his nephew's business and charitable ventures.

Victor Garciaparra jumped from the balcony to the water 20 feet below.

"I swam towards them and by the time I reached them, Nomar was already there holding the girls up," he told the newspaper. "But he couldn't get them up without help."
From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A civil trial has been scheduled for January in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the owners of a Naperville gift shop against Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior after Prior's disastrous autograph-signing appearance at the store last year. ***

The owners of Just Ducky Too filed suit in August 2004 against Prior and Upper Class Collectibles. They contend Prior and the company reneged on an $80,000 contract, wherein Prior agreed to sign limited-edition Wrigley Field figurines and Cubs memorabilia during a three-hour, in-store appearance on June 3, 2004.

Hundreds of Chicago area residents flocked to Just Ducky Too that evening, intent on buying the merchandise and chatting with or having their photographs taken with Prior.

The lawsuit, however, contends Prior behaved rudely during the meet-and-greet and signed only 196 of the contracted 300 baseballs, bats, jerseys and other paraphernalia before leaving the store within 45 minutes of his arrival.

Scores of upset children and adults were abandoned in Prior's wake.
Naturally, Chicago White Sox fans have expressed outrage at the Cubs related stories and attribute them to a biased, anti-Sox Chicago media.

THE [ALL] KIDS [PLAN] ARE ALRIGHT

In your Chicago Sun-Times, Cindy Richards explains why we should all support Blagorgeous' All Kids plan to provide health insurance to Illinois children:
Why should those of us who scrape together several hundred dollars a month to pay our share of employer health premiums care? Because it affects us both as a society and as individuals.

On a societal basis, kids who lack health insurance are less likely to get the preventative care and medications they need. That means a small infection or mild asthma is more likely to become a serious problem that requires a much more expensive trip to the emergency room.

It also means they are more likely to miss school and do worse in school than kids who have access to regular health care.

And we all pay the cost.
She's right of course.

But I still wish Ms. Madigan would get into the governor's race.

LOCKING 'EM UP AND THROWING AWAY THE KID.

"And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole."
-- Merle Haggard, Mamma Tried.

I always presumed that kids were only sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in cheesy country and western songs, but this AP story in your Chicago Sun-Times proves otherwise:
There are 2,225 people serving life terms in prison without parole for crimes committed as children, most of them in a handful of states where judges don't have the discretion to impose lighter penalties.

A report being released today by Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch found that a surge in violent crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to tougher sentencing laws and a jump in the number of juveniles sent to prison for the rest of their lives. ***

"Kids who commit serious crimes shouldn't go scot-free," said Alison Parker, senior researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch. "But if they are too young to vote or buy cigarettes, they are too young to spend the rest of their lives behind bars."

The groups say the sentence amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for criminals who may not be mature enough to grasp the consequences of their actions.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by every country in the world except the United States and Somalia, forbids sentences of life without parole for crimes committed as children, and at least 132 countries have rejected the life without parole altogether.

In Illinois, there are 103 youths serving life without parole sentences. Illinois has 14.46 per 100,000 14-17 year olds serving life without parole sentences ranking it 17th out of the 40 states covered in this report.

Illinois has a ratio of 15.7 black youths for every white youth sentenced to life without parole giving it the 10th highest black/white ratio out of 27 states.

The full report (.pdf) is available here.

WILCO: A BENEFIT FOR HURRICANE RELIEF

From Wilcoweb.com:

Greetings friends,

We felt so good about the autographed poster auction and the $17k that it raised for Hurricane relief that we're raising the stakes (and the potential cash). We've just put the finishing touches on a benefit concert (headlined by Wilco, of course) at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on Tuesday, November 1.

Proceeds from this show will benefit the New Orleans Musician Relief and Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans

Pre-sale via Wilcoworld will take place on Thursday, October 13 at 10 am CDT, and the remaining tickets go on sale Saturday, October 15 at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office and via Ticketmaster.

Tickets are $50 and $35.

But some Wilco fans may want to wait until Friday to purchase tickets. By purchasing opera box tickets, they won't have to mingle with the liberal hoi polloi.
In addition there will be a number of opera boxes sold via a special sale that will begin on Friday, October 14 via wilcoworld. The price for those will be:

16 four-seat boxes @ $600 per box
19 six-seater boxes @ $1,000 per box
Now, somebody go tell Parillo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Iron-tight integrity and a tireless work ethic"


USA Today considers the enigma that is Patrick Fitzgerald:
Friends and critics agree that his integrity is unassailable and that he is relentless. The list of people he has prosecuted — including al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former Illinois governor George Ryan and New York mobsters — shows he has no qualms about going after the powerful.

Fitzgerald's politics, motivations and style have prompted debate.

"He has no agenda," says David Kelley, former U.S. attorney in New York and a longtime friend. "He looks at the facts, uncovers the facts and goes where the facts lead him." ***

Scott Mendeloff, a Chicago lawyer who specializes in corporate fraud cases and formerly tried and supervised public corruption prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office, says Fitzgerald demonstrates "a more black-and-white view of the world" that is "reductionist in disregarding nuances beyond what it will take to prevail." Some defense lawyers, he says, believe Fitzgerald is "not prone to consider what some would term humane factors in charging and sentencing decisions."

"To say that he is extremely aggressive is, I think, a gross understatement," Safer says. When he's arguing a motion, Safer says, Fitzgerald is "not disrespectful, but he's a lot less deferential than I bet most judges are accustomed to." ***

In Chicago, Fitzgerald has indicted two aides to Mayor Richard Daley on mail-fraud charges after an investigation into bribery and hiring abuses. Ryan is on trial on charges of racketeering conspiracy, mail and tax fraud and false statements during his terms as governor and Illinois secretary of State.

Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who teaches political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, says Fitzgerald is "almost universally admired ... for telling the truth and prosecuting these cases." He isn't suspected of political motives, Simpson says, because he came to Chicago with no ties to its top politicians and keeps a low profile. "He's doesn't do lunches at the important clubs or make rah-rah speeches," Simpson says.

Even lawyers who question Fitzgerald's tactics say they don't doubt his character. "Pat is driven by iron-tight integrity and a tireless work ethic," Mendeloff says.

Safer, who also once worked in the U.S. attorney's office, faults Fitzgerald for "trying to expand the reach of the mail fraud statutes in ways that are unprecedented" in his government corruption cases. Some errors by politicians, Safer says, "are punishable at the ballot box and not in criminal court." He says Fitzgerald "is impervious to political pressure. ... I've seen no evidence that he has anything but the purest motives."
"Impervious"... "the purest motives"... "iron-tight intergrity"... "tireless"...

Is it just me or does it sound like they are describing a cartoon superhero?

Monday, October 10, 2005

"I am not there. I do not sleep."

Via Talkleft:
Even in Death, Chicago Man Needles Republicans

Theodore Roosevelt Heller's obituary in today's Chicago Tribune showed he was a man of high character. When he was wounded in WWII, he forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard "insisting no one tells [me] when to serve [my] country."

Even in death, Heller showed still continues to serve his country:

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals, Douglas MacIsaac, funeral director 847-229-8822, www.cjfinfo.com.

Published in the Chicago Tribune on 10/10/2005.

You can sign Mr. Heller's guest book here.

CARTOONIST CHRONICLES CULTURE OF CORRUPTION AND CRONYISM















The cranium cracking conclusion...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rep. DeLay, Lord Acton... Lord Acton, Rep. DeLay...

In yesterday's column, entitled "Dems' DeLay tactics could backfire", Lynn Sweet of your Chicago Sun-Times cautions Dems that "if Democrats make too much of DeLay's alleged ethical lapses, especially when it comes to fund-raising, they are inviting scrutiny of their own."

As examples of Democratic "vulnerabilities," Sweet cites the fact the treasurer of Rep. Rahm Emanuel's congressional campaign fund is a Chicago-based lawyer who lobbies Congress and that Emanuel returned a $5,000 donation from the much probed Hispanic Democratic Organization.

But any doubts about Rahm's campaign funding pale in comparison to -- dare I say it? -- the Republican culture of corruption and cronyism.

DeLay's ethical problems don't arise solely from his cozy ties to hyper-lobbyist Jack Abramoff or the sources of his suspicious campaign donations. The sad truth is that all Washington politics is funded by big donors. As Sweet noted in her column, "the top fund-raisers for almost 80 members of Congress -- Democrats and Republicans -- were corporate lobbyists for lawmakers they are trying to influence."

No, what distinguishes the GOP's malfeasance, as embodied in DeLay, from business as usual in Washington is their insatiable and overwhelming hunger for absolute political power. Their compulsion to centralize power in the hands of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and rig the system to ensure that they never lose control.

This scheme is underwritten by corporate lobbyists who pay Republican leaders to suppress the free market and limit legitimate competition. For their money, the GOP leadership permits them to create virtual cartels to control prices. As a bonus, government oversight of the GOP's corporate partners is reduced to a minimum.

And even when caught red-handed, there are few if any consequences. Remember Ken Lay? The CEO and chairman of Enron? The Arthur Anderson accounting firm was burned to the ground for its role in the Enron accounting scandal. But George Bush's buddy Kenny-Boy has still not been brought to justice.

And the GOP's self serving symbiotic relationship with its corporate lobbyists is becoming self-evident. From the Washington Post:
Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay.

During the meeting at his Capitol office, DeLay conferred with James W. Ellis, the head of his principal fundraising committee in Washington and his chief fundraiser in Texas. Ellis had earlier given the Republican National Committee a check for $190,000 drawn mostly from corporate contributions. The same day as the meeting, the RNC ordered $190,000 worth of checks sent to seven Republican legislative candidates in Texas.
Lynn Sweet is one of the best, but I doubt there is any real danger in Democrats leaders focusing their rhetoric on the GOP culture of corruption and cronyism.

Although there is a chance that some contributors to the Dems will turn out to be suspicious characters, no amount of digging will ever unearth the anything like the unprecedented quid pro quo between the D.C. Republicans and their corporate cronies.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

a·kin - Having a similar quality or character; analogous.

Greg Blankenship, founder and Director of the Illinois Policy Institute, considers Gov. Blagojevich's proposal that all Illinois children should have the opportunity to get health care:
Offering Illinois children "free healthcare" means that the taxpayer picks up the tab for whatever enrollees want. It's akin to giving a drunk your credit card and leaving him alone in the bar.
Uh... wow.

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

From the BBC:
President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)

Schizophrenia is characterized by profound disruption in cognition and emotion, affecting the most fundamental human attributes: language, thought, perception, affect, and sense of self.

The array of symptoms, while wide ranging, frequently includes psychotic manifestations, such as hearing internal voices or experiencing other sensations not connected to an obvious source (hallucinations) and assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events or holding fixed false personal beliefs (delusions).

No single symptom is definitive for diagnosis; rather, the diagnosis encompasses a pattern of signs and symptoms, in conjunction with impaired occupational or social functioning.

Mat 24:11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

SENATE: IT'S OVER GEORGE.

Forty-six Republican senators joined 43 Democrats and one independent in declaring George W. Bush a lame-duck by defying his veto threat and voting to establish uniform standards for the interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel, prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment while they are in U.S. custody.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

PETER O'MALLEY IS LEAVING THE 6th DIST. RACE

Hiram Wurf has the story.
From the Peter O'Malley campaign:

"Democratic congressional candidate Peter O'Malley announced today that he will be withdrawing from the race for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th District effective immediately.

Mr. O'Malley, an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, cited the demands of his job and the best interests and needs of his young family as the reasons behind his decision.

Mr. O'Malley indicated that he is grateful to all who supported him, and that he greatly appreciates the opportunity to share in their dreams and hopes for the future. He also indicated that he will support the Democratic nominee for this crucial seat, whoever that may be."
And tonight, Hiram is moderating DuPage Democracy for Illinois' Democratic 6th Congressional Candidate Forum with the two remaining Democratic candidates Christine Cegelis and Lindy Scott.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

BLUE LEADER: STAY ON TARGET!

Rahm Emanuel's statement regarding the second indictment of Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX):
"Americans demand we change the culture of corruption that Tom DeLay has come to represent. Together, we can do better," said DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel. "Republicans offer the same cronyism and the same set of old, failed policies that have driven America to this point. It is time for a change. It’s time for a new set of priorities."
Yahoo! You're all clear, kid.

RAUSCHENBERGER: HOLDING BACK THE JUNGLE

Yellow Dog Democrat -- a frequent commentator at the Capitol Fax blog -- would like you to read GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Rauschenberger's comments on the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I took a look -- and what I saw was unsettling.

Rauschenberger begins by favorably quoting Ronald Reagan's 1981 statement that, "[T]he jungle is always there waiting to take us over. Only our deep moral values and our strong social institutions can hold back that jungle and restrain the darker impulses of human nature."

Rauschenberger then informs us that the problem in New Orleans wasn't failed evacuation planning or weak government leadership. Instead, he tells us, "[i]n the case of so much of this tumult and destruction, root causes lie deeper." Rauschenberger then quotes columnist Thomas Sowell, who asserts that the deeper root cause of "the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans" was the inability of those abandoned in the storm to "control themselves."

Then, after carefully setting the stage for his own comments, Rauschenberger says the following:
It may be comforting for some of us to believe that New Orleans' fate is a function of its uniquely concentrated poverty. But are we so sure that -- similarly stricken in Aurora, Peoria, Alton, or Blue Island -- Illinois would behave so differently?

Do you really believe that it's poverty that drives men to rape children? To loot and murder at the moment they realize the police cannot stop them?

We don't. And we won't join the endless rationalization parade -- led by guys like Jesse Jackson -- seeking to "define deviancy down," undermining the core standards undergirding our civil society.
Although Rauschenberger states that he doesn't believe that extreme poverty was the cause of "the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans" -- an ugliness that he suggests lies dormant in Aurora, Peoria, Alton, and Blue Island -- he never expressly tells us what he believes is the source of that ugliness and jungle anarchy.

Rather, he leaves it to his readers to infer his answer from the context of his statement. And that context speaks volumes about the character of Steve Rauschenberger.

NO JUDGE OF CHARACTER

Cook County Circuit Judge Jim Ryan invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination again and again and again and -- a total of 150 times -- during a deposition about allegations that Cook County jail officials covered up beatings of inmates.

Ryan, who is Sheriff Michael Sheahan's second cousin, was also Sheahan's director of operations before becoming a judge last November.

From your Chicago Tribune:
A Cook County judge repeatedly invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition about allegations that jail officials covered up beatings of inmates during his tenure as a close aide to Sheriff Michael Sheahan.

Circuit Judge Jim Ryan refused to answer questions 150 times during a deposition taken in a federal lawsuit filed by two former jail guards, according to a transcript of Ryan's testimony. ***

In the deposition taken Aug. 30, Ryan answered nine initial questions about where he had gone to college and to law school and confirming that he was a lawyer and a judge. ***

Ryan then refused to answer a series of questions about whether he demanded that supervisors contribute to Sheahan's campaign fund, whether he interfered with internal investigations of jail beatings or whether he knew of others blocking investigations. The two former guards had sought Ryan's testimony in their civil suit against Sheahan, sheriff's supervisors, other guards and Cook County. The former guards say a pattern of harassment and threats forced them to resign when they refused to cover up an alleged jail beating in 2000. ***

Ryan came under scrutiny last year after the release of a state grand jury report that accused sheriff's officials of covering up an earlier mass beating of inmates in 1999. While the grand jury did not allege Ryan covered up the incident, it advised prosecutors that his "role should be scrutinized more closely" and found "him to be not credible." ***

In addition to that report, former jail commander Richard Remus alleged in his own federal lawsuit filed in March that Ryan told an investigator to "get rid of" the internal investigation into the 1999 beating.

Remus' suit went further than the grand jury report and charged that Ryan was directly involved in the alleged cover-up.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

AREN'T THE MEDIOCRE ENTITLED TO A LITTLE REPRESENTATION?

Even if [the nominee] is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there.
-- Sen. Roman Hruska, 1970, in defense of Supreme Court nominee G. Harold Carswell on the charges that he was 'mediocre'.
Mr. Bush has now nominated, for the highest court in the land, a mediocre attorney who has no experience as a judge and who's chief qualifications for the Supreme Court are her gender and her fierce loyalty to George W. Bush.

This week, Jenna must be kicking herself for not going to law school.

ROSKAM MENTOR CHARGED WITH FELONY MONEY LAUNDERING

Tom DeLay, the godfather of Peter Roskam's political career, has been indicted by a second Texas grand jury, charging him with the first-degree felony of money laundering.

From your Chicago Tribune:
Six days after an indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay on conspiracy charges roiled the political establishment, a new grand jury issued a second indictment Monday, charging him with the far more serious crime of money laundering. ***

A grand jury issued an indictment charging DeLay with conspiracy to commit money laundering, a second-degree felony, and money laundering, a first-degree felony. ***

[University of Texas law professor George Dix] said that while the indictments overlap in several areas, there are differences.

Both focus on a single financial transaction--a $190,000 check that was written to the Republican National Committee in Washington by Austin-based Texans for a Republican Majority, founded by DeLay in 2001. The money had been collected from corporations nationwide. The money was distributed to seven legislative candidates in Texas, although GOP attorneys say the money came from a different account.

The first indictment appears to focus on the effort by DeLay's political action committee to collect the corporate donations and funnel them to the RNC. The new one focuses on the back end of that transaction.

"My judgment is that simply because a prosecutor decides that one approach is more effective than another doesn't necessarily suggest some major weakness or anything other than a continuing effort to adjust the case to what appears to be the most favorable theory," Dix said.
If convicted on the money-laundering charge, which is a first-degree felony, DeLay could receive a sentence of up to life in prison.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

RAHM: THERE IS A GOP CULTURE OF CORRUPTION AND CRONYISM

Crooks and Liars has the video of Rep. Rahm Emanuel's appearance on Meet the Press where he defended the party leadership against Tom Delay's charges that Delay is the victim of a vast Democratic plot.
This may come as breaking news... websites don't indict members of Congress, grand juries do. Websites don’t admonish a member, not once, not twice, three times, which is what happened to Tom DeLay. The highest ranking official in the history of the House of Representatives to be indicted. All that website does is reflect a culture, in my view, of corruption and cronyism that pervades the political system.
Rahm's final "Culture of corruption and cronyism" count: 3

Take a bow Rep. Emanuel.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

IT'S PRONOUNCED 'EV-UH-NEAR'

Mark Evanier, who maintains a brilliantly written blog about "comic books, TV, animation, politics and other forms of fantasy", doesn't wanna fall in love:
As readers of this weblog know, I don't see much leadership or statesmanship from our elected officials. I'm a bit hesitant to suggest that a recent letter/article by Senator Barack Obama shows both. History has shown that whenever I think that of some politician, it won't be long before he or she does something to make me ashamed that I ever spoke well of him or her. Still, I'm going to suggest you read what Obama wrote.
Evanier isn't the first to fall for the skinny kid with the funny name. And he won't be the last.

2008 Dammit!

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