Play "Hero on the Hudson"
by Matt Gauntt
This week, Congress was formulating a stimulus bill to get the economy moving in the right direction. The House of Representatives passed an $819 billion bill on Wednesday and the Senate is poised to pass a similar bill this coming week.
The Country and the World are facing potentially, the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. We were told that this was a time to end partisanship, to end the culture of greed and corruption in the nation. We were told that we needed to end the influence of lobbyists and special interest.
The actions that Congress are taking this week will have profound impacts on the future of our country. This is a time for leadership and more importantly statesmanship.
In response to the video below, a new Facebook group has been created -- "We, Too, Hope Obama Fails!" Be one of the founding members and join up today if you're a FB fan!
Could someone please explain how the economy will be stimulated with the Chicago Tribune's review of what Illinois might be able to do right away with its projected share of Obama's "artificial stimulation" economic package? Just how does giving people more unemployment and food stamps create jobs?
WASHINGTON — If the Obama administration's economic stimulus package is passed and signed into law, the first way most working people in Illinois would feel it would be a small increase in their take-home pay, through a tax cut of about $10 per week in most cases.
For the more than 820,000 people in the state who are on the unemployment rolls, the immediate impact would be larger, a $25 per week boost in their benefits.
By April, families on food stamps would receive an increase in benefits. In short order, the working poor would receive more assistance through a larger earned income tax credit and expanded access to a tax credit given to low-income families with children.
Northwestern University released breakthrough findings this week of a major study on MS patients whose symptoms have been reversed by adult stem cell therapy. You'd think Chicago media would be lauding their own university's study on a debilitating disease that affects over 400,000 Americans. But this morning, the news is being carried in Boston, Kansas City and elsewhere, but the only Chicago-based news media that covered it was Chicago Public Radio. That was a short, three-paragraph story that was nearly overlooked.
Here's the CPR transcript:
from the Illinois Federation of Young Republicans' Dennis Cook:
In the heady days of the last 6 weeks, we have seen an Illinois Legislature unite against the obvious corruption of the Blagojevich administration. But let's not forget the people that helped create an environment fertile for corruption. At best, there are still many people in Illinois government that simply looked the other way for the past 6 years. So while we can celebrate the removal of one shameful politician, it is premature to call Illinois clean or free from the kinds of bad practices that brought us here. In fact some of the people that enabled him are still around in positions of power. And they may want their participation in Blagojevich's schemes to be quickly forgotten. But those 6 weeks of looking into corruption do not make up for the 6 years of looking the other way.
by Mark Rhoads
I was attending a conference about 18 years ago at a hotel then called The Water Tower Inn. It was just around the corner from the Loyola University Lewis Towers campus at 820 N. Michigan only the entrance faced East Chicago Avenue. From across the street, I saw two Yellow Cabs waiting to pick up fares at the hotel entrance.
As the first Yellow Cab started to pull out with passengers, the second Yellow Cab started to move up to first in line as other hotel guests came out. But a Checker Cab came from nowhere racing west on Chicago Avenue, cut in front of the second Yellow cab waiting in line, and picked up the passengers. At first the second Yellow cab driver did not see what was going on because he was writing something--maybe in his trip book.
Suddenly the second Yellow cab driver backed his cab almost all the way to Michigan Avenue, slammed on his accelerator in forward gear, hit the rear of the Checker Cab from behind as that cab hit the first Yellow cab in a three-car chain collision of terrifice force with passengers in the first two cabs. The driver of the second Yellow cab hopped out of his door and screamed at the Checker driver at the top of his lungs, "That'll Learn Ya!"
Former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich must have forgotten where he was when he made this comments about who and what segment of the work force should benefit from Obama's stimulus package...
by Andy Haaf
I am not much of a NASCAR fan, but it strikes me a technique used to achieve victory in racing can be very useful to Republicans on how to deal with President Obama.
Are you familiar with the term "drafting"? Drafting or slipstreaming is a technique where two vehicles or objects align in a close group reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object's slipstream. Especially when high speeds are involved, drafting can significantly reduce the echelon's average energy expenditure required to maintain a certain speed and can also slightly reduce the energy expenditure of the lead vehicle or object (Wikipedia).
Or to the layperson like me, a car can use the car in front of them to pull them around the track using less energy and less fuel. And, there comes a moment when the trailing car is presented the perfect opportunity to slingshot around the leader and take control. The movie Days Of Thunder comes to mind.
In his acceptance speech, newly-elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele told the RNC committee members: "We stand proud as the conservative party" and said "...as the party of Lincoln, we will cede ground to no one."
Follow how IR followed Steele's election below.
And from IL GOP Chairman Andy McKenna:
"Today, Republicans sent a message to Americans that our party is ready for a new generation of leaders focused on the future. Michael Steele will lead a Republican Party that reaches out to every citizen, regardless of political persuasion, in every city, county and town in America.
”In Illinois, Republicans share that message because Blagojevich Democrats have embarrassed our state and the people of Illinois are hungry for change.
True to Democratic liberal form, the new Governor Pat Quinn's first executive order is to expand Illinois government by setting up his new Illinois Reform Commission as an official state body, he told reporters today. The :
Quinn set up the commission before former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment and conviction. But he said today that his executive order is intended to send a message to the people of Illinois "that we understand integrity is No. 1 in the Land of Lincoln."
"Today is a beginning, a start," he said at a press conference in Springfield. "We are going to fumigate state government from top to bottom to make sure there's no corruption."
The commission will have recommendations ready within 100 days, he said.
There are unconfirmed sightings of Orkin trucks and men in blue suits throughout the Capitol today.
Illinois' newly- elected IL GOP National Committeeman Pat Brady reports from DC that his first time at a national party meeting with such a close chairman election is "exciting," because "we have so many good candidates," even those who've garnered the least amount of support thus far.
But, Brady said, there's a good chance it will take 5 or 6 votes for any one candidate to get the needed simply majority of 83 votes, and it may take a while today, he said.
All this week, the big news for Republicans has been ignored ... and that's the selection of the new RNC Chairman at the RNC's Winter meeting in DC. The voting is to begin this morning at 9:30 AM CST, and I just tried to call IL RNC Committeeman Pat Brady, but his cell phone's off, so we'll wait for word. Brady and IL GOP Chairman McKenna have endorsed Michael Steele, and RNC Committeewoman Demetra DeMonte reportedly is supporing Saul Anuzis... Sounds like this will be the story of interest today. Expect 5 or 6 ballots, we're hearing...
The most common opinion is that we can expect five or six ballots. The best-connected source I've got says to expect incumbent RNC Chairman Mike Duncan to come in at 55 votes on the first ballot and "erode" thereafter. Given that 55 votes is less than a third of the 168 RNC votes -- and now that Chip Saltsman has pulled out -- that would leave 113 votes to be divided among four candidates: Dawson, Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Any of those candidates who's got 30 or more votes on the first ballot is in the game; any who comes in under 20 votes on the first ballot could be doomed.
More on the American Spectator Blog about what Steele is calling "the dirtiest campaign ever."
Since Rod Blagojevich beat me for governor is 2002 (I got 2% as the Libertarian Party candidate) and Jim Tobin for Lt. Governor, Tobin has been sending out fund raising appeals warning that the income tax was about to pass. During Blagojevich's impeachment trial, this envelop arrived with first class postage. It says: Patrick Quinn Will Support State Income Tax Hike!
This time he might be right.
by Matt Gauntt
10) No longer has to refer to campaign contributions in code talk such as “circus tickets” (see SNL video)
9) He can go to every single Cubs game this summer instead of calling special sessions
8) With his penchant for the use of the “F” word, will start a new one-man theater show entitled “The Lee Elia Experience”
7) Will be the new spokesmodel for Alberto VO5
6) With the help of his new PR firm, will co-host a new radio show with Drew Peterson called “Ethics in Government”
10) No longer has to refer to campaign contributions in code talk such as “circus tickets” (see SNL video)
by Mark Rhoads
The first time I heard the name Pat Quinn was about 35 years ago in 1974. I was even then a conservative Republican and he read about a statement I made in a news story that was critical of the creation of the RTA. He called me up out of the blue to talk.
He lived in Hinsdale, the town immediately to the west of me on the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy commuter rail line. I did not know him at all and had never heard of him and his opening line was something close to, "Mark, this is Pat Quinn from Hinsdale, we need to compare notes." It turned out he had a laundry list of reforms he wanted to push including the reduction of the size of the House, an end to cumulative voting, and single member House districts all of which he eventually got about eight years later.
With unanimous votes on both measures, the Illinois Senate voted to remove Rod Blagojevich from office and to ban him from holding office again in the state of Illinois.
by Ceasar LeFlore III
Ken Blackwell is a giant among men in Republican political circles.
Not only is the former Ohio Secretary of State and Xavier College football star a physically imposing figure, but he also is a person of extreme personal, professional, and political accomplishment.
He has a distinguished record of achievement as a finance executive, entrepreneur, diplomat, educator and independent corporate director. He is one of the nation’s leading conservative voices and a strong advocate for free market enterprise. In 2006, he became the first African-American in Ohio history to be a major party nominee for governor.
Among his many accomplishments in Republican politics is the courageous decision he has made to seek election to the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.
By Mark Rhoads
This news item lead is from today's Boston Globe. The Globe is not famous for being a conservative newspaper. Its editorial policy is reliably liberal and the paper endorsed Barack Obama for president.
"Five weeks before becoming president, Barack Obama urged passage of a massive economic stimulus package, vowing that it would "create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s." But the bill passed by the House yesterday dedicates only about 5 percent of the $819 billion measure to highway, mass transit, and rail projects, analysts said."
Illinois Review wants to thank Cornell University law professor William Jacobson for graciously offering his provocative assessments of Illinois' seven week long legal soap opera. The good professor offers today yet another controversial, but thoughtful, observation that should make us all take pause.
This is history in the making today, and it behooves us not to be swept into the media frenzy and political hype. Something huge is happening in the Illinois General Assembly, we're all participants, and we should all be deliberative.
Professor Jacobson calls for the Senate to reject finding Blagojevich guilty:
From Chicago Southside's "With Both Hands" blogger Pat Hickey, a plea to leave the tollway Blago signs:
Dear Governor-To-Be Quinn,
A painting contractor will be needed to remove the name of Rod Blagojevich on all those Toll Booths, Signs, and Stations throughout the Highway System of this great State of Illinois. It will mean work and maybe some over-time for many painters. That could amount to some hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and material. Let’s save a couple of bucks.
More importantly, Illinois just might need a daily reminder of the man that 1,118,000 and change voters helped to put into the Office of the Governor. Let’s leave the name Rod Blagojevich up on State of Illinois property for a while – a good long while.
When you see U S Senator Dick Durbin's name alongside U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky's, you know something socialist is goin' on in Congress, and this newly-introduced federal Medicare expansion doesn't disappoint. As reported by Kaiser Daily Health 'Report:
by Sam Pierce
Being snowed in thanks to the anthropogenic global warming (or is it climate change now?) over which “Big Brother” Barry says we will not continue to drag our heels, I was able to witness Obama use IBM and Honeywell CEOs to help him sell a bad product. Sam Palmisano of IBM and Dave Cote of Honeywell took turns at the podium (I miss the “Office of The President-elect” sign) to praise President Obama and assert the business community’s support for slyly (and poll-tested) named The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Shall we suspend disbelief and ignore the potential benefits which could be enjoyed by such companies as IBM and Honeywell upon passage and release of the pork (h/t Mark Levin) with which this Obamulus is larded? Of course these executives are looking out for their self-interest and the interest of their shareholders, which is to be expected. It would be unfortunate if the performance influenced public opinion such that there is not an outcry of sufficient volume to derail this monstrosity. For a quick look at some of the juicy tidbits that prove the Obamulus is a bad leftist joke click here.
The Republican National Committee is meeting in DC this week, and tomorrow they will decide who will lead the party's national direction over the next four years. CNN reports today the race between six candidates is still wide open.
Current National Chairman Kentuckian Mike Duncan seeks re-election, but is being challenged by five who have both strengths and weaknesses, keeping anyone of them from leading the pack. Illinois' 3-vote delegation is split between two.
We're working on getting the right margin to be displayed again. Not sure what's up with Type Pad, but wanted you to know we're working on it. To see our great advertisers, link on post continuations. For some reason, the right margin works fine there.
By Mark Rhoads
The Guardian reports that the State Department is preparing a letter from President Obama to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to let him know that the bad old wicked Bush of Texas is gone and the enlightened Barack of Hyde Park no longer considers Iran to be on the Axis of Evil. I can imagine how the follow up phone call might go:
Barack: "Hey Mahmoud, how's it goin? Didya get my letter?"
Mahmoud: "Yeah, I got it, we're doin pretty good Barack, we've got our rockets fueled up and warheads ready and later this week we will start to destroy Israel."
Barack: "Well that's what I wanted to talk to you about Mahmoud, that might not be a good idea PR wise."
Mahmoud: "What's PR wise?"
By Mark Rhoads
The vote for the first test of the Obama stimulis package in the House was 244 in favor to 188 against with one not voting. All Republicans and 11 Democrats voted no. Over at the White House, President Obama was desperately searching for his old amber "present" button on his desk but he could not find it. Then he awoke from his dream about Springfield. See the roll call at this web site: https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll046.xml
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) today voted against a massive trillion dollar spending bill, H.R. 1, the so-called “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” calling it an insult to American small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. Roskam released the following statement:
“Congressional Democrats have crafted a piece of legislation that doesn’t come close to living up to the Obama standard – a standard that sets aside the petty grievances, false promises and the recriminations that have handicapped our ability to solve our nation’s problems.
“The great need to revitalize our economy comes second to this Congress’ insatiable appetite for pork-barrel spending, leaving little to nothing for small businesses that are the backbone of the American economy.
by William Jacobson
Blagojevich's last minute request to present a closing argument at the Senate impeachment trial has everyone speculating what he is up to. While there are many good speculative arguments as to what Blagojevich will say, there is one argument that no one anticipates: Will Blagojevich call for a special election or secret ballot?
Illinois already is scheduling a special election for Rahm Emanuel's vacant congressional seat. While that election is only in one district, why not expand the election state wide, in a referendum on Blagojevich. Sounds crazy, given Blagojevich's low numbers in the polls, but it makes sense from multiple perspectives.
From Blagojevich's perspective, he must realize that there is very little chance of a not guilty verdict, regardless of his persuasive skills and the evidence. Few if any Senators would want to be seen voting not guilty. Any chance at surviving a special election is better than Blagojevich's chance of a not guilty verdict. Every day that Blagojevich remains in office, he lives to fight another day. Blagojevich has argued, as have I, that the Senate Rules deprived him of a fair and constitutional trial. An alternative, letting the People decide, is a reasonable solution compared to an unconstitutional verdict which may end up in the Illinois Supreme Court (I repeat, "may," not "will").
By Mark Rhoads
This post is not about the personal flaws of Democratic leaders including President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Reid. Nor is it about the shortcomings of Republican leaders such as Sen. McConnell or Rep. Boehner. They are who they are and they believe what they believe and the only thing they should be criticized for now is the merits or demerits of what policies they seek to impose and maybe also the manner of their process.
Never has the loyal opposition of the Republican Party had a more important role to play regardless of how small their numbers are in both houses. Someone, and it has to be the GOP, needs to holler at the top of their lungs, STOP AND THINK.
Does any person in Washington in either party, no matter how smart they think they are, really know how to intelligently spend $825 billion for a so-called "stimulus package?" I say no. Why does all this spending have to be rolled into one bill? Too often I have seen legislators blindly vote on bills without knowing the full details of what they are voting on.
Played first on IR January 23, 2009 -- Rod Blagojevich told Don & Roma his current situation is a Frank Capra movie. To refresh your memory, here's the Frank Capra movie he says he's reliving:
Senate President John Cullerton just notified the Senate that Governor Blagojevich has just requested the opportunity to present his case before the Senate's vote scheduled for tomorrow. Cullerton said he expected the Governor to present his closing arguments between 11 and 12:30 PM on Thursday.
Senate Minority Leader Radogno said her caucus would welcome the Governor's testimony.
by Eric Kohn
This is all a soon-to-be moot point as it's only really a matter of days until the State Senate votes to remove him from office, but either way, the authors of Obama/Democrat "economic stimulus bill" thought it necessary to include the illustrious Rod Blagojevich by name in the stipulations of the bill:
by Tom Mannis of "The Bench" blog
We said it on Sunday. Days later, the president of the Chicago Teacher's Union said it, too. We said that Ron Huberman, most recently the CTA president, is not the right pick to replace Arne Duncan as the head of the Chicago Public Schools. Duncan recently became the new US Sec. of Edumuhkashun. On Tuesday, Mayor Daley appointed Huberman to replace him. Daley could have chosen from thousands of better candidates, but probably could not have found a better waterboy.
A WLS report today tells us that "Chicago Teacher's Union president Marilyn Stewart said this is not the CTA, this is far more complex and we are not scheduling buses, we are educating children." Stewart, reports WLS, was called by Mayor Daley, who told her about his choice of Huberman. "I was really speechless. I was like, where did you get Ron Huberman from? I didn't understand the rationale for that."
We understand it. Duncan is Daley's Golden Boy, popular in the gay community (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it neither disqualifies nor qualifies somebody to run a school system). Huberman is a good fundraiser, and he lends a pretty public face to Daley's haggard administration.
First posted and continued on "The Bench"
Students spread the word about the Freedom of Choice Act. From Students for Life of IL --
CHICAGO --- Students for Life of Illinois (SFLI), a collegiate pro-life organization, has coordinated pro-life students on campuses nationwide to educate the public on the effects of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) with the "What the FOCA?!" Campaign.
"We want to make sure everyone knows that FOCA poses a real threat to hundreds of commonsense abortion laws on the federal and state levels," said John-Paul Deddens, Director of SFLI. Students will be distributing literature and wearing T-Shirts and buttons that outline several of the laws that FOCA would supersede if it were to be signed into law.
From Cook County GOP:
CHICAGO— In a key legal victory for the Cook County Republican Party, on Friday, January 23, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the GOP in the matter of The Cook County Republican Party v. The Illinois State Board of Elections. The Court held that 4 to 4 tie votes from the Illinois State Board of Elections are subject to full judicial review on the merits. Prior to this case, complaints filed with the Board of Elections could die in closed hearings in a 4 to 4 vote along party lines, without any meaningful review in court.
“In a county where political corruption and waste goes largely unchecked, this decision by the Illinois Supreme Court signifies that abuse by Democrat ward bosses in Chicago deserve a full hearing in a court of law,” said Chairman Lee Roupas.
If this statement from Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) weren't so hypocritical, it would be laughable. ICIRR's Joshua Hoyt boasted of thousands of new immigrant voter registrations in 2008, a program partially funded by state tax dollars. Hoyt's statements declare a high regard for Illinois election laws with respect to Republican candidate for the 5th CD Rosanna Pulido's special election candidate petition signatures, although his organization's own election tactics have raised curiosity over the years. From yesterday's press release:
“We are a nation of laws,” stated Mr. Hoyt, “and certainly our election processes should be a place where the rules are respected. If Ms. Pulido cannot follow our election laws and collect even 319 valid signatures then she should not be allowed to be on the ballot. We expect to conduct a vigorous petition challenge,” said Mr. Hoyt. “Our election laws are the law of the land, and we certainly would not want a candidate on the ballot who submits invalid signatures and notarizations.”
We're delighted to learn Hoyt is now deeply concerned about election law -- oh, that he were as concerned about immigration laws. Perhaps, however, he should be careful about making slanderous and malicious characterizations of Ms. Pulido. Obviously, he doesn't fear retribution. Also from his press release:
“For years Ms. Pulido has poisoned the immigration debate with her vitriol, preventing rational debate on reasonable solutions for our broken immigration system. Now it is clear that her demagoguery was only to build a platform for her political ambitions. That is our experience with the loudest voices on the anti-immigrant side of this debate – they are either bitter personal failures or else cynical bullies abusing immigrants in order to forward their own crass personal ambitions. Sometimes they are both.”
One can't help but wonder if the immigration movement isn't drunk with exploding political power and influence.
The Senate is in session and will feature witnesses Auditor General William Holland and J-CAR ED Vicki Thomas.
Because of the abundance of media access to the Senate hearings, as well as the daily transcript of proceedings made available at the Illinois General Assembly's website, IR will not be live blogging today's proceedings.
by Eric Kohn
From the Borders at State & Randolph in Chicago:
I'm sure every parent is looking for a way to put their kids to sleep quickly. And boy, if An Inconvenient Truth can't make that happen, then I just don't know what will.
Cross-posted at EricKohn.com