November 6, 2005

Sen. Jacobs disputes account of Rosa Parks story.

After learning of the negative reaction to the story in the Dispatch/Argus (which I quoted in an earlier post), it's reported that Sen. Jacobs went to Dispatch/Argus reporter Scott Reeder's office in Springfield and angrily chewed him out.

The Dispatch today responds with a transcript of only the portion of Jacobs' remarks which reference Rosa Parks. They offer no apology or opinion, and seem to be letting the reader be the judge as to whether Jacobs has grounds for feeling mistreated.
Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, took issue Friday with how a story in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus reported comments he made comparing Rosa Parks' stand against inequality with his stand against House Speaker Michael Madigan on riverboat gambling.

"I was simply drawing an analogy," Sen. Jacobs said, between Ms. Parks' refusal in 1955 to give up her bus seat to "a person of power" and the fight against a bill recently passed by the House with Mr. Madigan's support that would ban riverboat gambling.

The comments came at a news conference Thursday in the capitol press room in Springfield. Here, from a radio station's audiotape, are the senator's recorded comments referencing Ms. Parks at the beginning of his remarks, at the end, and during a question-and-answer period:

-- "Rosa Parks was the mother of the civil rights movement, and she was one of the most important citizens of the 20th Century. Parks, a seamstress from Montgomery , Ala., refused to give up her seat to a person of power. Like Rosa, my community refuses to ride in the back of the bus."

-- "Like a determined Rosa Parks, I, and the members that surround me today, refuse to ride in the back of the bus. We will stand up and we will fight."

-- "The fact is that it is very difficult to stand up for yourself here (in the legislature). Not many people do it. I point out that I've been here six months. I'm standing up today telling the Illinois speaker that, yeah, you run the Illinois House, but you know what, you don't run the Illinois Senate. And, you know, I take great pride in someone like Rosa Parks who had courage to stand up for her convictions. Even if she felt she was wrong or right."

Ms. Parks died last week at age 92.

The audio feed included Sen. Jacobs' comments against any plan to remove riverboat gaming. He called the House measure "a wrong-headed bill that will drive 12 million riverboat patrons to other gaming areas," and he said the legislature should tackle "real problems" such as the budget deficit, the weak economy, children's health care and "our starving education system."
The Dispatch article from yesterday said,
"In his quest to protect riverboat gambling in Illinois, Sen. Mike Jacobs has taken to comparing himself to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Jacobs said the comparison is fair.

He noted he has been a senator for only six months and is standing up to powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, much as Parks stood up for her beliefs."
and then went on to quote other's reaction to Jacobs' comments.

Is that unfair? Did that distort what Jacobs said?

Jacobs says he was drawing an analogy, the Dispatch said he was making a comparison. Isn't that essentially the same thing?

You be the judge. I have my opinion, what's yours?


At 11/05/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

So this wasn't just an off the cuff remark - the transcript shows Mike really believes he is in fact just like Ms. Parks.

This will be the campaign that ends before it begins. The republicans are already shopping hard for a candidate - they smell blood and everyone who is smart will run the other way from this dufus.

At 11/05/2005 6:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I think that assessment may prove to be too harsh, but here's the Merriam-Webster defs for the two dueling descriptions:

1.inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will prob. agree in others
2 a : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike : SIMILARITY b : comparison based on such resemblance
3 : correspondence between the members of pairs or sets of linguistic forms that serves as a basis for the creation of another form
4 : correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin -- compare HOMOLOGY
synonym see LIKENESS

1 : to represent as similar : LIKEN (shall I compare thee to a summer's day? -- Shakespeare)
2 a : to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences (compare your responses with the answers) b : to view in relation to (tall compared to me)

At 11/05/2005 8:09 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

It is hard to imagine how a politician can be effective if he/she does not have a firm grasp of reality or greatly misjudges how the public will react to his/her statements and actions.
If Mike Jacobs thinks that his stand supporting the gambling industry against a symbolic challenge by the Illinois House leadership which has no chance of becoming law is in any way analogous or comparable to Rosa Parks standing up to the system of Jim Crow laws by refusing to go to the back of the bus he is amazingly out of touch with how most Americans would view these two situations.
It does not bode well for his future as a politician.

At 11/06/2005 12:16 AM, Blogger shamalamadingdong21 said...

Rock Island has a little tiny casino with a few jobs that generates a couple of million for the city and most of the people gambling are local residents and it is nothing more than a churning operation at the moment.

The future Casino Rock Island will support hundreds of new jobs after it is open, create hundreds of high paying construction jobs using union labor to build and attract overnight tourists bringing NEW money to the area.

Yes. This project will help the casino owners, but this investment will actually trickle down into real jobs that support real families.

Sometimes everyone can win. Those of you who can never find anything good and constantly ctiticize and offer absolutely no solutions or in depth analysis of anything would be the first people to blame the Senator if the Casino Rock Island pulled up its anchor and left town altogether. The Casino Rock Island has been at the bottom of the list in making money for its owners.

Just in case noone here has noticed, the ONLY casino operation which has honored its committment in the Quad Cities is the Casino Rock Island. The President left town and came back as a much smaller operation. How many years was Bettendorf without a boat?

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Sen. Jacobs actually reads the news and pays attention to current events outside of Springfield that shape our nation. Evidently, he was touched by the national outpouring of honor and remembrance bestowed upon a symbol and almost mythical figure in America's history. In this context I do not have a problem with making an analogy.

Ask yourself this question. What if Mike had just finished reading a biography of Winston Churchill and then quoted Churchill as follows:

"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."

And then Mike said, "I, like Winston Churchill will continue on this journey to fight for progress, yada yada yada"

Noone would be saying that Mike Jacobs thinks he is Winston Churchill. I applaud Sen. Jacobs for not offering an apology because it was not necessary or appropriate. Sometimes leaders have to take risks and here is another good Churchill quote, "It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."

Supporting the Casino Rock Island project is about supporting people and our local economy and those unemployed laborers, electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, carpenters, future hotel and restaurant employees, tour bus operators and the list goes on. Will these new jobs be available to the unemployed residents of the Quad Cities, many of whom are still suffering from the socio-economic impacts of segregation? Creating jobs in this area generates an opportunity to reduce the latent effects of discrimination that disproportionately impact African-Americans. it will certainly go a lot farther than a sensationalized newspaper account of a speech which detracts from both the memory of Rosa Parks and from the progress being championed by Sen. Jacobs.

The NY times has a good obit on Rosa Parks here:

now go learn somnething new

At 11/06/2005 3:20 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that Shama, though no one is debating the casino move.

I think the key to this all may lie within the second definition of the word "Analogy":

2 a : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike : SIMILARITY b : comparison based on such resemblance

In that respect, Jacobs committed no sin. He was merely "alluding" to how Rosa Parks's actions and the position he currently is in bear a "resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike."

It would be hard to assert that Jacobs considers himself on the same moral level as Ms. Parks, but the fact remains that in hindsight, it was an unfortunate and artless analogy.

I think he got clobbered for simply bringing the name of Rosa Parks into it at all. I'm sure he now wishes he hadn't.

At 11/06/2005 8:40 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Shama - you appear to be living in the same surreal dream world that Sen Mike Jacobs is-- if you think for one minute this little episode is a good one for our area.

Are you aware that the people of Chicago had this story as front page news in the Trib? They are laughing at our community now thanks to the silly anctics of an inept guy (Mike Jacobs) who would never have been elected in the first place to any office and most assurredly absolutely HAD to have the seat given to him (as it was you know) to even have a chance at getting into political office at any level.

This just proves my feelings that Mike Jacobs is in now way or shape or form fit or suited to serve as our representative and now that the voters may have a choice in the primary - we may see the appointee Jacobs have to face that fact himself very soon.

At 11/06/2005 12:15 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

You seem to be implying that the gambling bill just passed by the Illinois House and opposed by Senator Jacobs somehow threatens the existence of the Casino Rock Island or its planned move. The news media is giving the impression that the dispute is just Mike Madigan trying to force the gambiling industry to share its profits a little more with the people of Illinois. Has the news media mislead us? Is Mike Madigan really trying to shut down the gambling industry or scuttle the Casino Rock Ilsand's move? Could you explain that to us? If Mike Madigan is just trying to negotiate a slightly bigger slice of the profits for the people of Illinois then I don't understand how you can view Senator Jacob's opposition to him in such idealist terms. Instead of being a noble cause in the public interest it would be just the opposite. It would be Senator Jacobs serving the interests of the gambling industry at the public's expense -- perhaps in order to repay the gambling industry for its financial support.
You seem to have inside information about Senator Jacob's thinking on this. Could you enlighten us?

At 11/06/2005 1:46 PM, Blogger indy said...

Thats odd because I always thought of Mike Jacobs as more of a Corretta Scott King type!

At 11/07/2005 8:22 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dave, excellent question... as usual.


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