June 30, 2005

Evans plans to seek another term

John Beydler at "The Passing Parade" blog has a real bombshell for those who have been pondering whether Lane Evans will indeed attempt another campaign.

Evans is in
Given the money and image problems created for Rep. Lane Evans when he agreed to pay the Federal Election Commission $185,000 to settle a GOP complaint about money-shuffling, the first question is whether the congressman, whose health already is an issue, will run again.

Evans is running for re-election in 2006, spokesman Steve Vetzner said in an email exhange.

Q: Steve, Has Lane decided whether to run for another term...?
A: Yes, he will be running for re-election.

Me thinks a savage battle looms.

My next poll was going to ask whether Evans should run again. Maybe now I'll have to ask whether it's a smart idea.

Poll #2 hijinx

It's become blatantly obvious that the current poll is being manipulated by a person or persons voting mulitiple times.

Tom Benson, a campaign worker and lawyer who works in Springfield, is getting votes far out of proportion to his name recognition and viability as a candidate.

His votes will remain static for a number of hours, and then if someone passes him into first place, his votes will pour in just until he's in the lead, and then the votes will stop.

Myself and others have documented this. So it appears Benson or someone on his behalf is having a little fun at the expense of our poll.

Watchers of the poll should bear this in mind. Apparently, the poll service that I've used is not fool-proof, and either Benson himself or someone else has not only discoved how to cheat, but is doing so in a blatantly obvious way. (They could have at least been subtle about it.)

I should also point out that if voting for one candidate is skewed, then it follows that votes for other candidates may or may not be padded as well, though the numbers appear in keeping with a straight count. I'll attempt to find a more fool-proof polling method if I can.

Boland gets press for his Child Labor Act... In Macomb

The Macomb Journal has a piece examining Rep. Mike Boland's State Prohibition of Goods from Child Labor Act.
MACOMB - International businesses using child labor to make their products may soon be banned from selling their goods to the state of Illinois, pending the signing of the State Prohibition of Goods from Child Labor Act by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The chief sponsor of the legislation, State Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, made stops at public libraries in Monmouth and Macomb on Tuesday to announce the passage of the HB 2460 through both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, and to speak about the particulars of the bill.

Approximately one year ago, Boland passed similar legislation that prohibited the state from doing business with companies that produce goods made by religious and political prisoners.

"My feeling is, and I think most of us feel, that American workers, Illinois workers, Union workers, can compete with anyone in the rest of the world in productivity if the playing field is level," Boland said. "But when you have to compete against political and religious prisoners, or in this case, in this bill, trying to stop the use of our tax dollars to buy goods made by child labor, then it's an unfair playing field.

You learn something every day

This is something I admit I did not know. The former director of "Renew Moline", Rick Anderson, was a "loaned" executive from Deere & Co.
Mr. Anderson was a loaned executive from Deere and Co. In addition to his job as a Deere human resources executive -- from which he retired in August 2004 -- and his time as president/CEO of Renew, Mr. Anderson was a Moline alderman for two terms, once in the mid-1970s and the other in the early 1990s.
That explains a lot.

City uses grant funds from Mediacom to produce video praising Leach, then shows it on Moline channel provided by... Mediacom.

Nothing unseemly about all of this, right?

This sounds like Mediacom's way of saying "thanks" for allowing them to fleece the citizens of Moline over the years.

MOLINE -- The city spent $3,000 in grant funds to produce a going-away video for former Mayor Stan Leach that it plans to broadcast on its public-access television channel.

The video, lasting a little more than a half-hour, was played for the crowd at Mr. Leach's going-away reception May 3. It featured city department heads, staff and community leaders sharing memories of the former mayor and wishing him a happy retirement.

Moline law director and deputy city administrator Jeff Lester said the video was paid for legally, using money from Mediacom.

Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Milan and Coal Valley received a $65,000 grant from Mediacom in 2004. As part of the franchise agreement, the funds only can be spent to buy video equipment or produce cable programming.

The exact amount of the city's share of the grant was unavailable Wednesday.

The city of Moline has no one to qualified to make videos, so it must use the funds to provide programming, Mr. Lester said.

Mr. Lester -- who authorized the video's production -- said the funds are supposed to be used to produce programming that people can watch. "I guess people can come up with different ideas as to what can be done. The direction we have received from the city council is to promote the good things going on in the city," he said, adding that many things were accomplished during Mr. Leach's 12-year tenure as mayor.

The video points out many of those positive things, shows a high level of employee morale and highlights Mr. Leach's high level of communitywide relations, Mr. Lester said.

Mr. Leach could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Because the video, produced by Havana House Productions, was made with grant funds, it did not violate a recently implemented city policy on employee receptions. The policy does not allow spending more than $100 on a reception, and the spending must be approved by a department head or the city administrator before the event.

This is the second video the city has had produced. The first, created in late 2004, features department heads discussing their departments and also cost $3,000.

Neither video is currently played on public-access channel 18 because the channel is scheduled to go live for the first time today, said city public information officer Candace Sountris.

The city was not scheduled to take over operation of the channel from Mediacom until today. "The agreement was that, on June 30, they would have their technology in place to make the switch," she said.

The specific Moline programming, which can be seen only by cable television viewers in Moline, will launch with messages from the city. The videos will begin playing sometime within the next two weeks, Ms. Sountris said.

Ald. Dick Potter, 4th Ward, brought up the $3,000 expenditure at Tuesday's city council meeting, thinking that the money came out of the general fund and the project violated the city's reception policy.

When contacted Wednesday, he declined comment.

Mayor Don Welvaert, who was not mayor at the time the video's production was approved, said he did not question where the money was coming from.

"The video was being made and was authorized by the deputy city administrator, who felt the money was most appropriate for that cause in his estimation, and I did not question it," he said.

"It was done correctly, and I knew about it as an alderman and I would not have disapproved of it," he added. "Stan served as mayor for 12 years and before that as an alderman, and I feel it was appropriate to do that as a thank you from the community."

Ald. Bill Adams, 5th Ward, saw the video and said it never occurred to him that anyone paid for it. He feels the grant money could have been better spent.

"There are more things we could be producing," he said. "We could be doing code-enforcement instruction, water-conservation instruction, instruction on how to avoid the mosquito problem -- just a ton of things, information on the problems we are having with dogs and all of the police calls we get on it."

Mr. Lester said it is important for the city to spend what grant funds it has on programming. If the communities spend all of the grant money by the end of this year, they will receive a $60,000 grant next year.

You might want to add a little thank you to Mediacom when you pay their next outrageous bill. So far, there's been no interest in Mediacom picking up the non-partisan Illinois Channel, a state version of C-Span, but they've set up Moline with it's own private channel. Don't expect any competition for cable providers in Moline, Mediacom's apparently got the city in their pocket.

> MORE <

The REST of the story

Commenter Shamalamadingdong has provided the backstory which is critical in understanding the Republican harassment of the Evans campaign and Rock Island Co. Dems and the settlement agreement which resulted.

It should be kept in mind that this suit had been filed way back in 1998 I believe, and it went nowhere.. until the Bush administration (Rove) got their guys in at the FEC. Then suddenly it became a priority.

The details and facts below have never made it into press accounts.
I actually read the FEC's complaint against the Rock Island County Democratic Central Committee. I will help you understand, as well as anyone else who cares, what their involvement was. At the time of the alleged infractions John G. was not even the treasurer of the committee.

The committee took out a newspaper ad to Get Out The Vote for all of the Rock Island County Democrats. The ad included Lane Evans. The FEC claimed that Cong. Evans was featured more prominantly in this ad than the other candidates. It was a big ad and therefore expensive. The FEC determined that this ad was not a local GOTV ad as intended, but was an in kind contribution to Lane Evans.

Now here is where the bootstrapping argument begins. Since the ad was an in kind contribution AND it's value was over $1000, the committee who purchased the ad must be registered as a federal campaign committee, AND the money spent on the ad must have been raised in compliance with ALL federal campaign laws AND money so raised must be documented to prove that money spent in support of a federal candidate was raised within those laws. Oh, and if you are now a federal committee you have to file reports, etc.

So a local committee, supporting our local candidates, with local money, creates a newspaper ad and urges people to vote for Lane Evans, which is within the rules, is determined to violate the rules because Cong. Evans, according to the FEC was featured too prominantly in the ad. If this interpretation is changed, then absolutley ZERO federal paperwork needed to be filed by the Rock Island Democratic Central Committee and absolutely NO federal campaign law even had the appearance of being broken.

The Rock Island Committee did not file federal paperwork because they were a local committee and had no intention of becoming or acting like a federal committee.

The $30,000 settlement paid by the Rock Island County Democratic Central Committee is probably only a third of what it would have cost them to prove their innocence of this frivolously filed claim. The charges should have been dropped, but between Mr. Gianulis' unwavering support and loyalty to Cong. Evans and the overzealousness of the FEC prosecutors to keep the cases together, this paltry 30K settlement was a huge Victory and now we can close the chapter and move on.

There you go. Now you know the REST of the story.

June 29, 2005

The Dope is global

Just discovered this. A female blogger in Moscow, Russia has a post with a link to this blog.

I've tried to translate her post, and so far, this is the best I've gotten, "I can not understand with system of preservation of the authors necessary to you in local bloge. I try now at random.. Well, have gone."

Yeah, that's about right. ;-)

Ivins strikes fire

Rove's same strategy: Dissent is unpatriotic
By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas — The first thing I ever learned about politics was never to let anyone else define what you believe, or what you are for or against. I think for myself.

I am not "you liberals" or "you people on the left who always ..." My name is Molly Ivins, and I can speak for myself, thank you. I don't need Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove to tell me what I believe.

The latest and most idiotic statement yet comes from Karl Rove, who is not, actually, an objective observer. He is George Bush's hatchet man. Last week, Rove, in an address to the Conservative Party of New York, made the following claim: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9-11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9-11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

This seemed to the editorial writers at the San Diego Union-Tribune such a reasonable summary of the liberal position they couldn't figure out why Democrats were "hyperventilating" and getting "bent out of shape."

Let's see if we can help the San Diego thinkers solve it. On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress approved a resolution authorizing the president to take military action. The vote in the Senate was 98 to zero; the vote in the House was 420 to one. The lone dissenter was Democrat Barbara Lee of California, who expressed qualms about an open-ended war without a clear target.

Find me the offer for therapy and understanding in that vote.

Anyone remember what actually happened after 9-11? Unprecedented unity, support across the board, joint statements by Democratic and Republican political leaders. The whole world was with us. The most important newspaper in France headlined, "We Are All Americans Now," and all our allies sent troops and money to help. That is what George Bush has pissed away with his war in Iraq.
Read the whole thing.

Cops wreck family man's outing to water park.

A Peoria man faces three charges in Scott County after a family trip to Wacky Waters in Davenport Saturday, according to court records.

Mark S. Moore, 29, has been charged with one count each of indecent acts with a child, public intoxication and harassment of a public official.

According to the affidavit filed in district court, three people witnessed a man "physically grope" and try to remove the bikini bottom of a 16-year-old girl standing in a pool at Wacky Waters, 8228 N. Fairmount St.

The affidavit states the girl didn't know the man and the touching wasn't welcome. While he was being warned by staff, a female employee of the park said the man made "inappropriate sexually orientated comments," to her, the affidavit states.

The man also allegedly gave the wrong identification and address to an on-duty officer at the park, the affidavit states.

Police say in affidavits the man admitted to drinking three shots of tequila and several beers before driving his six children to the park from Peoria at about 2 p.m.

The man appeared intoxicated, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot watery eyes and "great difficulty answering simple questions," the affidavit states.

Lemme see. You get drunk on your face, decide to be a "good father" and load up your six kids and drive drunk over a hundred miles to a water park. The trip takes over an hour and a half, so if you're plastered while you're at the park, you would have had to be drinking tequilla and beer on the way there with your kids in the car.

You manage to make it to the park, pay at least $75 to get yourself and your 6 offspring in the place, and then likely continue drinking.

After a while with all that alcohol in you and the sun baking what's left of your brain, and after oggling all that young flesh in skimpy bikinis for a few hours, you, being a man of action, decide to get up and start groping a 16 yr old (Hey! She had the body of a 19 yr old!) and attempt to take off her bikini bottom. (What?!! She was hot! What was I s'posta do? She loved it anyway.)

And when a female lifeguard tries to get you to knock it off, you let her know how lucky she'd be to have sex with you, as well as informing her of your high opinion of certain parts of her anatomy. Hell, she should be flattered, right?

This has just gotta help the wife or mother(s) already high opinion of this guy. And every kid loves to hear, "Um... I'm sorry kids, but your Daddy got in a little trouble. You can just stay with the nice police woman until someone comes to pick you up."

All in all, a perfect day of fun for the whole family, and one which they'll no doubt recount and laugh about at family gatherings for years. ("Remember that time Dad molested that girl at the Water Park? I thought I was gonna die...") Why do the cops alla time have to ruin everything?

I blame the whole incident on those hippy liberals forbidding prayer in schools. Either that or the gay agenda to destroy everyone's marriage. Or something.

> MORE <

Further details of Evans agreement

From Quad Cities Online...
The Friends of Lane Evans will pay the Federal Election Commission $185,000 in a consent judgment filed this week in federal court.

The agreement will let the defendants settle the case without admitting or denying the allegations made in the suit.

The FEC filed the lawsuit in January 2004 in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, against the Friends of Lane Evans and its treasurer, Samuel M. Gilman; the 17th District Victory Fund and its treasurer; and the Rock Island Central Democratic Committee and its treasurer, John A. Gianulis.

The suit was filed after the Rock Island County Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in 2000 regarding the 17th District Victory Fund. The complaint included 17 causes of action relating to the 1998 and 2000 election campaigns when Rep. Evans, D-Rock Island, defeated challenger Mark Baker.

The agreement calls for the Friends of Lane Evans to pay $50,000 within 30 days and nine equal payments of $15,000 every 30 days after until the full amount is paid, the judgment states.

The Rock Island Democratic Central committee will pay $30,000 within 30 days and the 17th District Victory Fund will pay all funds remaining in its accounts as of June 9 -- the day the parties agreed to a stipulation for consent judgment.

The agreement calls for the 17th District Victory Fund to end its status as a federally registered political committee after it has paid the FEC.

A jury trial in the case was set for Sept. 12, but, according to the stipulation, the defendants agreed to the consent judgment to avoid more legal expenses.

In a statement Monday, Rep. Evans' office called the Republican Party's complaint a "political witch hunt." It claimed the 17th District Victory Fund did nothing wrong and was created to help counteract large amounts of money the Republican Party was using to try to defeat the congressman.

The Rock Island County Republican Party "wanted to do in a courtroom what it could not do at the ballot box," the statement said. "We agreed to settle this matter because it wasn't worth the time and money it would take to conclude it in court."

Tom Getz, chairman of the Rock Island County Republican Party, said he was satisfied with the judgment and doesn't think the defendants would have agreed to settle if they thought they were innocent of the FEC allegations.

He noted Mr. Baker nearly beat Rep. Evans in the 1998 election and thinks things could have been different if the alleged violations hadn't occurred.

"We think we would have won the election if it wasn't for the fraudulent activities of the Lane Evans committees," he said.

The FEC claimed the 17th District Victory Fund is an "alter ego" of the congressman's campaign committee that took donations and spent money to directly benefit the campaign. Donations to that fund would have violated statutory limits on campaign contributions if they were made directly to the Evans' campaign.

It also claimed that Mr. Evans' campaign committee and Victory Fund were intertwined and that the Victory Fund didn't have a charter, members or regular meetings, according to the complaint.

The Rock Island Democratic Central Committee was accused of making in-kind contributions to Mr. Evans' campaign using prohibited sources. The suit claimed Mr. Gianulis failed to make disclosures detailing those expenditures.

McNeil tops inaugural DopePoll ™

The first ever DopePoll™ proved to be intensely popular, and is already being imitated by other blogs such as Capitol Fax and DownLeft. And the results are in.

Porter McNeil emerged the victor after a hard fought contest against the only other real contender, Dennis Ahern. McNeil and Ahern attracted a whopping 97% of the vote between them out of the field of 11 possible choices.

McNeil pulled ahead to a commanding lead, only to see it evaporate during the evening yesterday, but still held on to finish 122 votes in front with a tally of 552 votes or 54.5 %. Ahern gathered 430 votes or 42.4%.

On the question "If Mike Boland chooses not to run, who would have your support to win the 71st District seat?"

Out of 1013 total votes cast, the final results in order of finish are:

Choice : Vote total - Percentage of vote

1. Porter McNeil : 552 - 54.5%

2. Dennis Ahern : 430 - 42.4%

3. None of the above, I want Boland to stay : 10 - 1%

4. Steve Haring : 6 - 0.6%

5. Tony McCombie : 5 - 0.5%

6. Jerry Lack : 4 - 4%

7. Another Republican : 4 - 0.4%

8. Mike Hugetoon : 1 - 0.1%

9. Another Democrat : 1 - 0.1%

10. Mike Smiddy : 0 - 0.0%

11. Phil Banaszek (misspelled in poll): 0 - 0.0%

What the results reflect could be any number of things. Obviously, both Ahern and McNeil mobilized their networks to bring out the vote. They both ran a closely contested race and should be commended. (not one report of a yard sign being torn down!)

There was much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth over the fact that I had to change the poll after the first one had already been up for a while.

There were a couple reasons for this. The primary reason was that it had become apparent that some voters were able to hack the first poll in able to vote multiple times. I'd also inadvertently included a candidate who doesn't even live in the district. I apologize for any problems this may have caused, but I wanted to ensure as much as possible that the results were not tainted by anyone voting multiple times.

The votes did come in at an amazing rate at some points, including one 45 minute period I observed between 4:50 and 6:35 p.m. Tuesday in which 97 votes were received for Ahern vs. McNeil's 3.

So far, I've not heard of anyone being able to vote multiple times in the new poll. Without such evidence, we must assume that vote rigging didn't occur. But if you figured out a way to get around the one computer, one vote restriction, please drop me an e-mail and let me konw. If it was possible, I'll need to try to find a poll system that is more secure. It the poll was "rigable", that fact should be taken into consideration when viewing the results as well.

A big thank you to all who voted, and a special thanks to those who came back and voted again after the change was made.

Now on to the next poll.

Very interesting

Rich Miller, of Capitol Fax fame, writes a very interesting piece about the clout of Speaker Madigan, his long struggle to pass a predatory lender regulatory bill to restrain their charging as much as 1000% interest to poor and hard up customers and blighting neighborhoods, and mentions our Senator Jacobs in the process.

Serious, intense clout usually only comes into play at the Illinois Statehouse on behalf of giant corporations, powerful political organizations, influential labor unions, entrenched bureaucracies, or other unstoppable special interests.

Rarely, if ever, is the full force of a legislative leader's office deployed to push a bill that is opposed by the powers that be and has no significant Statehouse constituency. But that happened last month, and it occurred almost entirely under the media's radar screen.


So, Madigan began pounding on individual Senate Democrats. At one point, the pressure was so intense that appointed freshman Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who voted against the bill the first time around, complained to the media about Madigan's attempt to dictate terms to the Senate and vowed to continue his opposition. But the speaker never eased the pressure and Sen. Jacobs and two other Democrats eventually voted for the legislation, giving it enough votes to pass the Senate.

Senator Mike fighting for predatory lenders? Say it ain't so! I'm sure there's more to this than meets the eye and Jacobs has a good explanation, likely that he disagreed with certain provisions in the bill. I hope.

The "Family Values" party loves porn

If you click on any link this year, click on this one, then click on the link to the video. You can thank me later.

(no actual porn content)

Bush continues to lie in plea for country to continue following him down path of destruction

Like the Republican party in general, Bush and his puppet-masters lack the basic common sense that would allow him to realize that when you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. Worse yet, Bush's only solution to being in a deep hole that is getting progressively deeper by the day is to insist we keep digging faster and deeper.
Some Democrats quickly accused him of reviving a questionable link to the war in Iraq - [It's not "questionable", it's indisputable! Why are the press so afraid to print the truth? Bush himself has stated that there's no connection!] - a rationale that Bush originally used to help justify launching strikes against Baghdad in the spring of 2003.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused Bush of demonstrating a willingness "exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."

Bush first mentioned the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center at the beginning of his speech, delivered at an Army base that has 9,300 troops in Iraq. He acknowledged that Americans are disturbed by frequent deaths of U.S. troops, but tried to persuade an increasingly skeptical public to stick with the mission.

"The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001," Bush told a national television audience and 750 soldiers and airmen in dress uniform who mostly listened quietly as they had been asked to do.

What does it say about Bush that he can only appear on military bases surrounded by troops? Troops who will get thrown in the brig if they don't act sufficiently supportive or dare to ask questions? What does that say about how popular he is, as well as how disconnected from reality he's always been? Hell, it's to the point where even his hand-selected Republican audiences can't be trusted to act like good little sheep.

African Americans, the GOP wants YOU!

It's long been apparent that the Republican party is working day and night to try to convince African American voters that the party of David Duke and Strom Thurmond is really their home. They're fully aware that if you take away the black vote from the Democratic party, the party is toast, and if you can bleed off enough, the Dems would barely be able to stay in the game.

This is manifested by massive efforts to recruit and pay handsomely any black person who is willing to go on air or in print and suspend reality long enough to argue that the Democrats actually don't give a damn about blacks, but Republicans are the party that cares and will lead to their salvation.

During the unpleasantness of the year past, I signed up under an assumed name to become a Republican "Team Leader". This enables me to get e-mail updates on a variety of issues, such as Black Issues.

Here's what graced my inbox tonight:
Dear Billy, (my "GOP name" is Billy.)

Last year, the Grand Old Party celebrated it's 150th Birthday. During those 150 years, Republican leaders defied Democrats by drafting and championing the Emancipation Proclamation, the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the constitution - ending slavery, guaranteeing equal protection under the law, and guaranteeing voting rights for all Americans.

Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke and other African Americans are taking a closer look at the Republican Party because of the GOP's long and consistent record of championing the rights of all Americans.

In a June 2005 article, Clarke writes that John Rice (father of U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice) recognized decades ago that the GOP sought to empower African Americans and favored "self-reliance over government social service programs." In Clarke's words, Democrats "want blind allegiance, even for things I don't believe in."

You can read David Clarke's complete article by clicking here, or you can see excerpts from the article below. Then send a letter to the editor of your local paper telling them when and why you became a Republican.


Deana Bass
Director of African American Coalitions

The GOP is light-years ahead of the Dems on web presence and organization. Their site is idiot proof, as by definition it must be, and it is very simple to punch in your zip code and receive an amazingly complete list of media outlets complete with on-air personalities and contact info. They have an incredibly advanced and well-designed web presence that makes it easy as pie for throw-backs to make their rants heard all over the press.

At any rate, since the GOP was so kind as to spend untold millions setting up this service, I suggest we all go to the lower "send a letter" link above and bookmark the site. Then simply enter your zip code and they'll make sure your views get to the appropriate places. It's a great resource for when you want to contact local media about liberal issues. And all thanks to the GOP! For once they're useful.

June 28, 2005

Evans campaign hit with $185,000 fine

Just reported on WQAD and KWQC...
The Lane Evans campaign has agreed to a $185,000 fine for violations in the 1994 and 2000 campaigns.
The Rock Island County Republican Party plans a press conference on the matter tomorrow.

More details to come as they become available...

** UPDATE **
WASHINGTON Representative Lane Evans' campaign committee has agreed to pay 185-thousand dollars to settle accusations that it illegally used another committee to help fund campaigns.

Illinois' Rock Island Democratic Central Committee will also pay 30-thousand dollars in civil penalties.

None of the defendants admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement signed Monday by a federal judge.

The Rock Island County Republican Party filed the original complaint with the Federal Election Committee in 2000. The F.E.C. then filed a lawsuit last year in U.S. District Court in Rock Island.

The F.E.C. alleges the Friends of Lane Evans Committee set up the 17th District Victory Fund as a separate entity before the 1998 election. It alleges the group's money was used to benefit the campaign, which was restricted by statutory limits on campaign contributions.

Rove, panicked, shoves Bush out on stage

Tonight we'll be witness to a rare address by President George W. Bush. Or not.
I myself don't feel I have the stomach to endure it.

So I've got a humble request. If any of you feel you have the strength and temperment to actually watch the thing, please feel free to leave a review and highlights (or lowlights as the case may be) in comments below.

Rove/Bush et.al. are finally waking up and smelling the coffee. They know that support for this bogus invasion is going down faster than ... well, maybe I better not say.. this is a respectable blog. ahem.

Suffice it to say that support for George's splendid little adventure is eroding fast, and so Dim Son will address us all and "fess up" to something that everyone in the world both knows and acknowledges, namely, that the situation is a hopeless mess, a quagmire, with no clear way out.

Well, of course he won't be THAT honest, it's not in him, but he'll make noises designed to assure us all that he's at least vaguely aware that things are bad over there, which is more than the arrogant putz has been willing to do until now.

It will no doubt be a nauseating attempt to tell us all not to panic, things are a bit rough, but building democracies is an "untidy business" to use Rumsfeld's phrase, and all we need to do is stay the course.

He'll pretend to be talking to us like adults, but he'll still be lying and trying to pull the wool over American's eyes as if we're toddlers.

Let us know how it goes, and try not to loose your lunch or throw anything through your TV.

Vilsack named as chairman of the DLC

Al From, guru of the Democratic Leadership Council, the organization made prominent by launching Bill Clinton's career, has picked Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to become it's new Chairman, replacing another potential presidential candidate, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
Vilsack has expressed interest in running for president and has steadily risen as a national Democrat in the past two years. However, strategists and scholars say becoming DLC chairman alone is not enough to elevate the relatively unknown governor into the top tier of would-be 2008 candidates.

"Serving as DLC chair is certainly a useful symbol for anyone trying to position himself as the standard-bearer for the moderate wing," said George Edwards, a political science professor at Texas A&M University. "The greatest advantage may be simply that he is there in case lightning strikes and the party needs to turn to a moderate or the party feels it needs some ticket balancing."

Vilsack will succeed Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who has been chairman since 2001 and is expected to run for president in 2008.

June 27, 2005

Republican gubernatorial candidate, slum lord

As seen in a post at Capitol Fax, The Joliet Herald News has a less than gleaming opinion of Ron Gidwitz, a leading Republican contender for Governor.

Illinois governors have come from all walks of life during the state's nearly 200-year history.

Some were soldiers. Some were farmers. Others were abolitionists. One was a doctor, another a pharmacist. Most were lawyers. A few were crooks.

And now that Ron Gidwitz has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2006 gubernatorial election, a new background could be added to that list: slum lord.

Some reality

Inspired by a post by James Wolcott, here are some facts. Make of them what you will.

FACT: In 2002, there were 1,231 gun deaths in the state of Illinois, a 5% decrease from the 1,293 gun deaths in the state in 2001. The 2002 Illinois gun deaths included:

- 728 homicides (59% of all IL gun deaths),
- 466 suicides (38% of all IL gun deaths),
and 17 unintentional shootings, 6 legal intervention, and 14 of undetermined intent (3% of all IL gun deaths combined).

In 1998, there were 19 gun deaths in Japan, 54 in England and Wales, 151 in Canada.

I'll let you guess how many there were in the U.S. Answer in the first comment below.

American culture on the skids

What to make of this place? This is some wing-nuts idea for how to fleece the dim-witted right.

And they're so life-like!

And they even speak. (for an extra charge) They have Chimpy here mouthing some twaddle during his two hour dine and dash over in Bahgdad, which was notaable for the photo op of Bush holding a platter with a large appetizing turkey as if he were serving it to the troops. The turkey was a prop made of plastic.

And for the discriminating right-wing fundamentalist bozo on your shopping list, they also have the Jesus Action Figure.

And you can even get the talking model. Here's what they have Action Jesus say.

Of course, the Ten Commandments were handed to Moses from God, and Jesus never spoke them. But ignorant wing-nuts aren't real big on accuracy.

Pick up a few of these things and display them on your mantle. It would certainly make a statement to your guests. Which of course would be for them to get the hell out of there as quick as their legs could carry them.

The luckiest girl in the whole U.S.A.

I'm having amazing luck. All kinds of family members of various African potentates have offered to give me millions, and now this:

Dear friend, Compliments of the day. I am Mr Denis Coleman,i am an accountant in a bank. I want to know if we can work together. I would like you to stand as the next of kin to my deceased client who made some deposits in my bank. He died without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary mandate. Moreover it appears you are related to him by the similarities in your last names. If you are interested in working with me, please get back to me as quickly as possible so that i will give you the details of what we are to do. Thanks, Denis.
He's an accountant in a bank! His client made some deposits in his bank! My last name is similar! Similar!!! And he puts a period after his name! I'm RICH, RICH, RICH!!!

Sweet, in an evil alien sort of way.

> MORE <

Church, Boy Scout leader admits to being BTK strangler

WICHITA, Kansas (AP) -- BTK suspect Dennis Rader pleaded guilty Monday to 10 counts of first-degree murder, admitting in a chillingly matter-of-fact voice to a series of slayings that terrorized the city beginning in the 1970s.

The onetime president of the church council at Christ Lutheran Church and Boy Scout leader, Rader admitted killing 10 people in the Wichita area between 1974 and 1991. The serial killer known as BTK -- the self-coined nickname that stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- taunted media and police with cryptic messages.

The Lord moves in mysterious ways.

> MORE <

Supremes finish term, issue rulings

The U.S. Supreme court handed down rulings today, including one which they got right. They ruled 5-4 that religious displays such as the ten commandments cannot be displayed inside courthouses, but allowed that certain displays, such as friezes are allowed on courthouse grounds.

They also ruled unanimously against file-sharing software makers and held that they can be liable for users of their programs using it to download copywrited materials such as songs and movies. The ruling sends the issue back down to the lower court which had earlier ruled in favor of file-sharing company Grokster.

In another key ruling which will result in continuing high prices for consumers accessing the net, they held that cable companies are not required to share their lines with other internet service providers.

More here in the Sun-Times.

Renquist may be resigning at any moment, which will lead to a massive political struggle over who will become the next chief justice as well as who will be named to fill the vacancy.

June 26, 2005

The always excellent Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman is an excellent writer, and his column this week is even "more excellenter" than usual.

Go read it here. You can thank me later.

Wooten keeps it real

Thanks to alert Dopster Maybesomeday for steering me to this excellent piece by the illustrious Don Wooten, who isn't exactly a wild-eyed "hippy". (to use one of our resident troll's favorite terms.) Wooten says what I'd like to say... only much better.

The semi-literate, goaded by the Irrational Right, went into orbit last week over a statement made by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin about torture techniques used at Guantanamo.

It was a classic case of people hearing words, not sentences.

Durbin read a statement from an FBI agent -- an official document -- detailing inhumane treatment of prisoners he had witnessed at Gitmo. After that recitation, Durbin observed that, had you read that account in isolation, you would have assumed it concerned the kind of treatment used by Nazis, or in Russia's Gulag, or by some atrocity-ridden regime, such as that of Pol Pot.

And that's true. You would not think Americans capable of such behavior. But he had used the words "Nazi," "Gulag," and "Pol Pot" which brought Sen. John Warner harrumphing to the floor to denounce the comparison of American soldiers with such people.

Of course, Durbin hadn't, but it would spoil the fun to treat what he said on its own terms. Better to re-cast the whole thing to make it outrageous and, in the process, gloss over the reality: we are treating other human beings -- regardless of our suspicions about them -- in a manner no civilized society should condone.

By making an issue over words, administration backers hope to distract us from the heart of the issue. They try to make the case that to "support our troops" we must ignore any wrong doing.

The fact is that our troops, fighting in a Vietnam without trees, are in the kind of situation which invites atrocities. As in Vietnam, they can't tell friend from foe. Even those who are friendly want them out. They have been put there for no valid reason and no one in Washington knows what to do next. And some of them die every day.

Let's also not forget that our military personnel are like all other groups of people: some are good, some are bad, most of them -- like most of us -- are in the grey middle of morality. Given a certain set of circumstances, they can jump either way.

Take any profession: doctors, lawyers, firemen, teachers, corporate executives, factory workers -- they all fall into the same divisions of behavior. We set standards, extol them, exhort their practice; but that doesn't mean they will always be followed.

There is another consideration which applies to the people we have incarcerated at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and dozens of other prisons: the administration made some sly decisions about classifying detainees and made it quietly clear that interrogators could treat them just about any way they wanted.

You can forget the president's pious words, Vice President Dick Cheney's characterization of the people we are holding, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's protestations that we do not condone torture. The green light was given from the top and the torture followed. And continues.

And some of those prisoners are innocent. A young man recently tortured to death in Iraq was considered by most of his captors not to be a terrorist, but a cab driver who was collected in a general sweep of civilians. He's just as dead as if he were guilty of something.

The administration believes that what they say is true; not what they do. Cartoonist Mike Luckovich recently published a telling panel depicting Bush and Cheney turning a corner from incompetence into fantasy. Our soldiers deserve leadership grounded in reality. Without it, God knows what will happen.

Stories come out, but some don't get much play. Have you seen a published total of the prisoners who have been killed under interrogation? It's not an inconsequential number. We hear that these people don't deserve humane treatment, but how can you judge that? Especially when we have had to let a number of people go after years of internment because we realized their capture was a mistake.

The real mistake is to assume that we must be as brutal as terrorists in order to ferret them out. This is the thinking of weak men who pretend to be strong. And yes, I'm referring to the leaders who have dodged combat, but who blithely send men into battle, not to protect our national interest, but on a gut feeling.

Sen. Durbin takes heat, as the shouting heads address his words, not his sentences. But he made a valid point. Would you have thought that we would ever be guilty of things we'd consider war crimes in others?

It's happening. It has to be addressed -- and stopped.

Don Wooten of Rock Island is a former state senator and veteran broadcaster; donwooten@qconline.com.

Reality vs. Dick Cheney

In Bushworld...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The insurgency in Iraq is "in the last throes," Vice President Dick Cheney says, and he predicts that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office. - 6/20/2005

"If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution," he said. "The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand that if we're successful at accomplishing our objective -- standing up a democracy in Iraq -- that that's a huge defeat for them.

"We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story." Cheney - 6/24/2005
Guess it depends on what the meaning of "throes" is, huh Dickey? Gee, that sounds almost familiar.

Meanwhile, back in reality...

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- Two suicide bombers killed at least 31 people in two separate attacks on a police station and outside an Iraqi military base in northern Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said.
Editor and Publisher thinks Cheney reminds them of someone...

Is it just me, or is Vice President Cheney starting to sound like another balding, rose-colored-glasses wearing, war spokesman, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, better known as “Baghdad Bob”?

Yesterday, after a week of serious criticism, for claiming that the insurgency in Iraq was in its “last throes,” Cheney refused to back down, even after Gen. John Abizaid, our top military commander for the Middle East, proclaimed that the insurgency, in fact, was as strong as ever, and “a lot of work” remained to be done to defeat it. Earlier this week, GOP Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska had said he was sick of sunny assertions about the war from the White House, and declared that the U.S. indeed might be losing, not on the edge of victory.

June 25, 2005

Bush desecrates flag, supports amending constitution to ban flag desecration

If his rabid soulmates in the House had succeeded in ammending the constitution to ban flag desecration, as they're now poised to do, the Chimp might be in "deep doo-doo", as Poppy might say.

Yep, no doubt about it, the right wing Daves of the world go for Bush because he's SOOOOOO patriotic. If this had been Kerry, just imagine the screaming coniption fit the right would have thrown. They'd be marching with torches and wanting to throw Kerry in prison for treason.

Get polled. It won't hurt a bit.

I've posted a poll in the sidebar. Go cast your vote. Let's see how it goes.

**UPDATE** I managed to mess up this first attempt at a poll by including someone who doesn't live in the district in the list. (DUH!) Consequently, I'm fixing that problem, which made it necessary to post a new poll, which means it's all starting from zero again. (Sorry about that.)

When I took the last poll down, Dennis Ahern had a commanding lead (200 and something votes) over second place Porter McNeil. I've also fixed a glitch that may have allowed some to vote more than once. That only works in Chicago. With people unable to game the system and vote repeatedly, it will be interesting to see if Ahern again piles up over 200 votes in a matter of hours when the average number of visits to the site in a 24 hour period is less than that.

So to those of you who had already voted, my apologies, but please vote again. And to those who hadn't, go vote.

I plan to post a similar poll with possible candidates for the 72nd District in the near future. (As well as others) So in the meantime, feel free to continue to suggest who should be included in that list. So far, we have Darrow and O'Brien, and of course, Vershoore.

Not good

The Supremes rule that cities can seize private property, even to simply give it to another private interest.

As demonstrated on an excellent piece on "NOW", this is a truly bad ruling. The show examined the case of several homeowners in a town in New Jersey who had worked their entire lives to buy their small homes. Now the city is simply going to take their property, not for a road or school or park, but to give it to a high-powered developer who will replace the established neighborhood with high-priced condos.

The standard for condemnation is that the properties condemned must be classified as "blighted". Yet these homes are neat and well maintained. The only things cited to justify it as blighted were that there were a few weeds spotted in a couple yards. (Visit the NOW website for more on this alarming story.)

Just what the elite need, yet another tool to take from the middle class and convert other people's assets into their own, now with the force of law. They really need the help.

The NYT has the story.

PBS, NPR avoids ax

Support from "viewers like you" helped stop a proposed $100 million cut for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, allowing smaller stations like WQPT Quad Cities PBS to continue serving the community, station officials say.

The proposal would have lowered the corporation's budget by 46 percent. However, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday restored the $100 million to the budget. By reducing the cut to 25 percent, the total 2006 budget was back up to $400 million.

People contacted their representatives to urge them to oppose the cut, said Lora Adams, marketing director and pledge producer for WQPT.

"The fact that it was ratified on the floor, 284-140, certainly shows the power of the people and how dearly they hold public broadcasting," Ms. Adams said.
Thanks to those who contacted legislators at my urging. You helped keep the vandals away from this valuable institution.

June 24, 2005

Republicans hate America, don't support our troops

Read this from Atrios.

PS. A note of explanation for those who don't cacch it. The title of this post is in response to the disgusting tactic of the right of constantly accusing those on the left of "hating America".

Moline's Bass St. Landing residential development set to begin

A development group composed of a local realtor, a local contractor, and a third partner is set to begin construction of residential units on land formallly owned by the city, now dubbed "Bass Street Landing."

The history of the land is of interest. While being basically a blighted area for years, the city tore down some buildings and created a very nice greenspace in the area many years ago. It included dredging out a small pond which connected to the Sylvan Slough and the construction of a beautiful wooden gazebo in it's center which was accessible by bridge walkways. The pond was planted with water lilys as well. Private donations financed much of this project.

The area was under used and prone to vandalism, and the city neglected it completely and it fell into disrepair. When the latest wave of speculation began, the city spent more money to tear down the gazebo and fill in the pond, thus opening the way for development. The local rowing club then built a huge facility nearby.

Now, Chuck Ruhl, president of NAI Ruhl & Ruhl; Kent Pilcher, president of Estes Construction; and Tom LaSalle, president of LaSalle Group have bought the land and have already built "River Station", the building which currently houses the very upscale "Blue Ribbon" restaurant. (avg. price for dinner, around $100 a head.) Now they are set to begin the residential component of their design.

In order to provide benefits to the widest possible segment of city's residents, or at least to people worth at least a million dollars, the townhouses planned will start at over a quarter million dollars, around $275,000, and go up from there. Yet another example of the true egalitarian spirit which has dominated city planning for decades. COUGH

So the city has forfeited prime riverfront property, sold it to connected developers who have so far and will continue to devote the land for the exclusive use of the wealthy. How civic minded of the leaders of Moline, don't you think? They've now effectively sealed off the entire riverfront in the downtown area from residents. The nearest public access is the Butterworth parkway, and the only reason that exists is that it's impossible to develop money making projects on a strip of land only 100 ft wide. If River Dr. didn't happen to be where it is along that stretch, it would likely be one unended string of condos and private homes and there would be no where for residents to access the river.

The city has traded industrial plants which choked off the riverfront for private development which does the same. Public spaces were either never planned or cast aside, which is incredibly stupid and short-sighted in my humble opinion.

Moline residents should all give thanks for the inclusive and far-sighted vision of the city leaders. Now yet another area of riverfront will be off limits to the people who once owned the land, namely, everyone taxpayer in the city who aren't in the market for a quarter million dollar (or more) condo.

I don't recall the Mayor or council asking the citizens of Moline, the former owners of this land, whether they wanted to sell it to private developers, or did I miss that part?

> MORE <


Allow me to be a cranky for a moment.

Moline experienced a power outage yesterday which affected thousands of homes. This of course meant that many traffic lights were not operating. The story today on Quad Cities Online reports that there weren't too many problems because of signals not working, and includes this quote from Moline cop, Greg Crouch.
The Moline Police Department did not have officers man the intersections. Sgt. Greg Crouch said there are hundreds of intersections within the city. "We can't man all of them," he said.
Hey, there's some great reasoning, eh? I'm not saying that they should have necessarily been manning intersections, but that is one stupid excuse.

Needless to say, no one would expect them to direct traffic at every single intersection in the city, (and of course, the power was out in only one portion of town, but why quibble), but it surely wouldn't be impossible to man maybe a few of the busiest.

I'm not the only one that has noted that Moline appears to be crawling with cops. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting one it seems. But I suppose responding to something like this might cut into their valuable on-the-clock "conference" time while parked in various hiding spots across the city. (And they have some good ones. Feel free to report some you've noticed in comments.)

One can imagine if a resident reported that an entire neighborhood was being burglarized but no cops responded, Crouch would say, "Hey, there are thousands of houses within the city, we can't respond to all of them."

June 23, 2005

Another live one jumps into the local Blog Pond

As noted at Rich Miller's Capitol Fax, Quad Cities Online (Dispatch/Argus) news editor John Beydler has launched a blog his own self. Don't know if it's a purely personal blog or if it's yet another instance of traditional media jumping on the blog bandwagon, but regardless, he'll no doubt provide some interesting insights and information.

One might expect his grammar and spelling will be faultless and I'd predict that he'll be fairly dispassionate and play it very close to the middle, things one wouldn't normally associate with this blog. ha!

So add Beydler's "The Passing Parade" to your favorites and throw some clicks his way. I've added a link to the blogroll as well.

** Correction I'd earlier mistakenly associated Mr. Beydler with the Quad City Times. The Dope, as they say, regrets the error.

IL Pension diversion plan to cost $7 billion over 40 years

Illinois taxpayers can expect a bill of nearly $7 billion for the Democrats' decision to balance the state budget by diverting cash from public pension systems, a Rockford Register Star analysis shows.

For each of the 12.7 million residents in Illinois, that would amount to $539.58, which would be spread over 40 years as the state works to pay down its pension debt.

Maybe no one will notice??

June 22, 2005

Bush agrees to go to Vietnam

About 30 years after he used connections to land a spot in the "Champagne Squadron" of the Texas Air National Guard, meaning that some other poor soul had to go to Vietnam instead, and then simply skipped out on over a year of his service obligation when the cool part was over (after he played around being taught how to fly jets which were already obsolete), George W. Bush, our miliary hero forever etched into our minds strutting around the carrier deck playing dress up as an actual military pilot, has accepted an invitation to go to Vietnam.

Let's see what he comes up with this time to get out of it.

The president said he accepted Khai's invitation to visit Vietnam, which he'll do while attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi in late 2006.

> MORE <

A bit of context

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid yesterday provided a compilation that included, among other things, a statement from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last year in which he said the Kyoto Protocol "would deal a powerful blow on the whole [of] humanity similar to the one humanity experienced when Nazism and Communism flourished." Reid's office also charged that Inhofe and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) had compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo, that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had "linked stem cell research to Nazism" and that former Republican senator Phil Gramm "compared a Democratic tax plan to Nazi law."
I have no doubt that our new friend Dave was screaming bloody murder and calling for these politician's head on a platter. Right, Dave?

How interesting that Dave, after feigning outrage about Durbin as if he'd committed a mortal sin, later mocks Durbin for apologizing and implies he's a "cry baby."

See how the "Strict Father" right sees everything? It doesn't matter if it's lunacy, it doesn't matter if it even makes sense, it doesn't matter if the results are death and destruction, it doesn't even matter if it destroys democracy and the country, as long as it's "manly" and you never think about your decisions, never look back, and just plunge stupidly onward like a real manly man.

It's this same form of insanity that has been responsible for almost every backward, horrible, tragic, and destructive event in history. It's as if we're regressing back into the dark ages, with mindless drones comitting gross sins in the name of God, and leaders manipulating the ignorant masses to do their bidding.

And with the super-elite around the world abandoning their traditional nationalism (they have run their respective areas of the world for centuries) in favor of banding together (think of how Luciano finally stopped the wars between Mafia families and created the "commission" for settling beefs and dividing the spoils), all that's left for us drones is the power of the vote. And they're systematically trying to control that as well, through electronic voting, etc.

If you're not alarmed, you're not paying attention.

And when if finally dawns on us that we're living in a quasi-dictatorship, who will be to blame? People like Dave who were only too willing to swallow the crap and wave the banner for the destruction of their own freedom and rah-rahed all the way to becoming members of a permanent economic underclass? Or those who do see the writing on the wall and were too timid to speak out or take action?

A country gone nuts

Words can't describe how truly stupid this is.

The House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag, a measure that for the first time stands a chance of passing the Senate as well.

By a 286-130 vote _ eight more than needed _ House members approved the amendment after a debate over whether such a ban would uphold or run afoul of the Constitution's free-speech protections.

Approval of two-thirds of the lawmakers present was required to send the bill on to the Senate, where activists on both sides say it stands the best chance of passage in years. If the amendment is approved in that chamber by a two-thirds vote, it would then move to the states for ratification.

Supporters said the measure reflected patriotism that deepened after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and they accused detractors of being out of touch with public sentiment.

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the (World) Trade Center," said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. "Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."

But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, "If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents."
"Ask the people who stood on top of the World Trade Center"???!!! WTF??

Oh.. maybe he meant the RUBBLE of the World Trade Center... Ahhhhh. I guess THEY get to decide whether we should play around with the constitution and which rights should be tossed out the window. Now I get it.

I for one, will feel much safer here in America once I know that the 3 people a year who burn flags are sent to prison.

Will the last person to leave America as we knew it please turn out the lights?

Gidwitz jumps into IL Governor's race

DIXON, Ill -- After decades as a behind-the-scenes player in Republican politics, wealthy Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz took to a makeshift stage outside the old Lee County Courthouse on Tuesday to formally declare his candidacy for the GOP nomination for governor.

Gidwitz, who formerly led the family cosmetics business, Helene Curtis Industries, until it was sold in 1996, is the second Republican to enter the race, after Aurora businessman James Oberweis. At least six other Republicans have expressed interest in the nomination.

Gidwitz, 60, also is the first social moderate to jump into the contest. He supports abortion rights, though he backs parental consent before a minor can undergo the procedure. And while he opposes gay marriage, Gidwitz supports the concept of civil unions.

Those positions, he said, represented one reason why he chose Dixon, the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan, to kick off his campaign.

"It is a message that we are going to bring back Ronald Reagan's values, Ronald Reagan's inclusiveness," he said.

A Republican ward committeeman in the late 1980s, Gidwitz has been a longtime member of the state GOP Finance Committee and has given more than $750,000 to state and federal Republican candidates and campaigns in the last 11 years.

But Gidwitz, a noted philanthropist, also has had good relations with Democrats, including Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Harold Washington and former U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

A former chairman of the State Board of Education and the former head of the City Colleges of Chicago, Gidwitz has long been a forceful education advocate.

June 21, 2005

House Dems site a great source for video

Check it out. Several great clips of God's own Party in action.

I especially like the one where some yahoo Republican whack job from Indiana named Hostettler states that the Democrats are waging war against Christians in this country and David Obey slaps him down.

It also features a good "highlights" reel of the disgusting Jim Sensenbrenner doing his thing in the committee looking into the Patriot Act.

I can't watch or listen to Sensenbrenner's bizarre voice without realizing that he's the exact match of a character from SNL. Remember the character "Matt Foley, motivational speaker" played by Chris Farley who wore a loud plaid sports jacket and would bellow at teen-agers while constantly hiking up his pants?

That's Sensenbrenner! Sounds just like him. I almost expect him to say, "I live in a VAN, down by the RIVER!!" at any moment.

HA! It figures...

It seems some concerned citizens wanted to place an ad in the Official Program of the Young Republican National Convention.

(From Crooks & Liars, as seen at J.C. Christian's via TBogg.)

How the GOP squeezes the rubes

George W. Bush's birthday is coming July 6th, and you can wish him a happy birthday! Aww. Isn't that sweet? It sure is, but it'll cost ya.

But hey, isn't it really worth it?

Lied to citizenry figuring it out, running from Bush on war

The people are awakening to the realization that they were stampeded into a needless and unjustified war which has taken the lives of over 1700 servicemen and women and cost this country hundreds of billions of crucially needed dollars.

Meanwhile, Cheney tells us that we're on the verge of victory.

It's criminal.

(CNN) -- Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq and a growing number of them are dissatisfied with the war on terrorism, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

Only 39 percent of those polled said they favored the war in Iraq -- down from 47 percent in March -- and 59 percent were opposed.

The survey of 1,006 adults, conducted by telephone Thursday through Sunday, had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

But the war isn't all bad news. It saved Cheney's company's ass.
Halliburton stock from mid-2000 to present.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich shocked his state's Senate delegation as well as attendees of the BRAC review hearing in St. Louis by appearing wearing a rainbow afro wig.
Spokesmen had no explanation.

The delegation included Blagojevich, Durbin, Obama, and U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island; Jim Bohnsack, Rock Island County Board chairman; Bettendorf Mayor Michael Freemire; Tim Wilkinson, Quad City Development Group chairman, and Jim Morgan, program director, Rock Island Arsenal Development Group.

The group argued that most of the proposed cuts at the Arsenal were made under the assumption that the R.I. Arsenal would be closed completely, but when the Army decided to allow it to remain late in the game, the proposed cuts were left in place. Those involved are hopeful that the BRAC will realize that it is not cost effective to implement the proposed transfer of many jobs to other locations.

> MORE <

Blagojevich's Hair announces run

At a brief news conference in Springfield, Governor Rod Blagojevich's hair announced that it intends to challenge the governor for the state's highest office. In a shocking revelation, Blagojevich's hair revealed that it would be running for the Republican nomination. Developing.

June 20, 2005

Biden '08?

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, after testing the waters for around 18 years, has announced he's interested in the Democratic nomination for president in 2008.

"I've proceeded since last November as if I were going to run," he said. "I'm quite frankly going out, seeing whether I can gather the kind of support."
WaPo has the story here.

In addition to Biden, other likely contenders include John Edwards, Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, and Evan Bayh of Indiana, and (shudder) maybe John Kerry. Then of course, there's always rampant buzz about Hilary Clinton.

Since my readers are the most astute, most knowledgable, most plugged-in and wise political players this side of the Pecos, I put it to you; Who's going to be the Dem's world beater in 2008?

Interesting Letter to the Editor

From the Times:

For a long time in life I never quite knew where I fit in. Let's review. White male Christian, been married to the same woman for 25 years, two children and a dog, own a gun and like to go hunting. I'm not gay so what gay people do is not my business. I pay taxes and I live in a civilized society funding the general welfare is not something I have a problem with.

If stateless terrorists attack the country I live in, the military I fund should hunt them down. The country that funded the attack should be held accountable.

Last but not least: If I have a problem with a medical procedure because of my spiritual belief, I don't do it.

When a society starts to use the Bible as a guide to implement and make law the outcome is disaster. The devil will quote scripture to his benefit, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think being conservative is not a bad thing. I wish everybody that claims to be one would remember what being conservative means.
I think there are thousands of people who have always considered themselves "conservative" who are wondering just what the hell has happened since this gang of faux-Christian thugs and neocons hijacked the movement and the country.

The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld gang is no more traditional conservatives than I am. They are truly radical in their desire to change this country into something that I believe no one, not even conservatives, would like it to become.

Orcinus gets it

This man is simply a piece of excrement, a piece of waste that needs to be scraped off the sidewalk and eliminated.

-- KVI's John Carlson, discussing Sen. Dick Durbin, on his Seattle-based talk show Thursday

Blogger extrordinaire Orcinus has a great post which puts the alarming and disingenous attack on Dick Durbin into perfect focus.

(As it says on the KVI site, you can join this mutt Carlson for a carribean cruise. Doesn't that sound lovely. They ought to send "detainees" on that. But I suppose that would be going too far in the torture department. You can also see pictures of him and Rumsfeld at one of the White House "Loser-palooza"s where they invite dozens of right wing frothers to come get their egos stroked and broadcast from the White House. Guess it's better than paying them off to spew White House propaganda like they've done for other supposed "journalists". These cretins practically wet their pants being able to brag to the mouth breather's back home about how they hung out with Rumsfeld.)

Via Roger Ailes

A U.S. military policeman who was beaten by fellow MPs during a botched training drill at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison for detainees has sued the Pentagon for $15 million, alleging that the incident violated his constitutional rights.

Spc. Sean D. Baker, 38, was assaulted in January 2003 after he volunteered to wear an orange jumpsuit and portray an uncooperative detainee. Baker said the MPs, who were told that he was an unruly detainee who had assaulted an American sergeant, inflicted a beating that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

Baker, a Gulf War veteran who reenlisted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was medically retired in April 2004. He said the assault left him with seizures, blackouts, headaches, insomnia and psychological problems.

The Pentagon initially said that Baker's hospitalization following the training incident was not related to the beating. Later, officials conceded that he was treated for injuries suffered when a five-man MP "internal reaction force" choked him, slammed his head several times against a concrete floor and sprayed him with pepper gas.

No one has been disciplined or punished for the assault, said Baker's lawyer, T. Bruce Simpson Jr.

There ya go. To the right wing, this is what America's all about. Good old fashioned prisoner abuse. Only this time they beat brain damage into one of our own.

McNeil pens Father's Day tribute

I sincerely apologize for not getting this posted on Father's Day. I was busy doing my own Father's Day thing, and it exhausted me so badly that I was out of commission for the rest of the day. But Porter McNeil's tribute to his Dad and all Dad's is worth keeping in mind no matter the day, so I reprint it here.

From the June 19th edition of The Daily Dispatch/Argus

Good dads leave a legacy in each family's heart. My dad, with his big and generous heart, left a huge legacy in ours.

This is not a unique story for Father’s Day weekend. Like so many of you who are in my shoes, I will have a tough day on this Father's Day. This is the first Father's Day without my father, who passed away from heart failure 11 months ago. I will go to the river, where he first learned to fish and sail and where, as a teenager, he met my mom. I will see his handsome smile, hear his hearty laugh, feel his strength and become inspired again by the life he led.

Dr. Don McNeil, United Township High School Class of 1947, practiced dentistry on 41st Street in Moline for 49 years. In high school, he was called a "Hilltop Heavyweight" because of his strength as a tackle on the football field and as a track star (shot put and discus). He was always going, on the "high side of type A," as he said once, and living the life of a "super action figure" in the words of his nephew, Tom Bracke. Never one to sit on the sidelines, he tried unsuccessfully to save the lives of drowning fishermen in frigid April Mississippi River waters. Then he saved a family friend who was moments from drowning in Lake Michigan, and the summer after he tried again to save a young man from drowning during a wild storm in Lake Michigan. He was a man of action and heart.

What a role model he was. Growing up on 16th Avenue near downtown East Moline, my dad developed a love for the water and the values of family and hard work that defined his 75 years. As a teenager, he always had a job but had time for sailing and bought his first boat -- a $4 rowboat -- and then went onto to help found the Moline Sailing Club on the riverfront.

His father, James, was a laborer and small cafe owner in the old Eagles Building downtown East Moline. His mom, Elsie, stayed home to take care of my dad and his sister, the late Janet (McNeil) Bracke. My dad was the first member of his family to graduate from college and, then, from dental school at the University of Illinois. With the help of my mom, who dropped out of the U of I to work to help my dad through college and dental school, my dad graduated and became a captain in the U.S. Air Force out east. And throughout his life, he never strayed from the values of a common man, always ready to accept creative payment plans for those least able to afford dental care in this community.

He taught us much. He taught us about loving food, about how to devour five ears of sweet corn in about two minutes. He taught us about supporting lost causes -- he was a Cubs fan. He taught us about work -- from cleaning fish as a teenager to practicing dentistry nearly 50 years. He taught us about loyalty -- he was in our corner as our strongest advocate. He taught us about education -- he put all five of us through college and graduate school.

He taught us about love and commitment -- he never gave up on my mom (who has Alzheimers) and took care of her until he was hospitalized last May. My dad taught us about service -- the 500 people who showed up at his visitation spoke about his compassionate service to their families. And he taught us that one man, or woman, can make a difference. Raised in humble beginnings, he traveled far in life.

Last spring, when he came out of the hospital, he moved in with us for five weeks before heading to Michigan for Father's Day. After grilling out each night, dad settled in his basement suite to watch "Lord of the Rings" or "Jaws" with my kids. He watched them play soccer and baseball in our back yard and at Riverside Park. He ate his beloved Rice Krispies with fresh strawberries and sugar on top with my kids in the morning. He received hugs and kisses and "I love yous" from my kids as he got under the covers in his bed at night. My sons, James and Jack, cheered him as he walked back and forth in the basement trying to regain strength in his legs.

The love and support he gave us throughout our lives was returned during his final weeks, as family surrounded him at my brother's cottage on Lake Michigan. He passed away on a quiet Monday afternoon, facing the sun and the lake as his grandchildren splashed in Lake Michigan. My 4-year old daughter Ellie now looks up at the moon and says, "Don, I love you." And she asks me why God can't send her grandfather back to see her for just a couple minutes.

And in the end, he is with us today. He is with us when the wind blows across the Mississippi River that nurtured his love of water as a small boy. He is with us when any of his children or 14 grandchildren accomplish something special in their lives. He is with us when my kids compete in the kind of swimming meets that dominated our own childhood in the Quad-Cities. He is with us on those quiet warm spring days when he loved to sit outside to absorb the sunshine, listening to a baseball game on his radio (usually the Cubs).

Good dads are like that. They stay with you, they stay in your heart.

So on this Father's Day, I send out an enormous "thank you" to my dad. He gave us unconditional love and support, and we give it back to him today.

Happy Father's Day.

June 19, 2005

About time

Gov. Tom Vilsack said Friday that he soon will sign an executive order restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have served their sentence.

"This action we take is not going to be a pardon," Vilsack said.

The governor said only four other states -- Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Virginia -- prohibit felons from voting after completing their sentences.

"We're here today to talk about justice," Vilsack aid. "When you've paid your debt to society, you need to be reconnected to society."

Amen to that. Kudos to Governor Vilsack for righting this wrong and having the courage to do the right thing.

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George is a real stitch


Thanks to Atrios for the link.

June 18, 2005

Bill Frist, apologize to Durbin

Evidently, the Durbin hatchet job has got the big green light from the string-pullers on the right, and all the loyal soldiers are running full steam. It's truly pathetic and, despite seeing this time and time and time again from these liars, it's almost shocking.

Here's but one new wrinkle however.
The good Dr. Frist has taken to the floor of the senate, and in his droning, weird voice, just made sh*t up about Durbin. Pulled it right out of thin air. Lied his ass off.

Of course, these orchestrated right wing attacks have a form and a method to them, and they all rely on the "echo chamber" effect. They need only push a button to set it all in motion. It goes something like this.
The RNC finds a tidbit like Durbin's that lends itself to distortion and which they can pervert it into something which they know will push emotional buttons among morons and party faithful, as well as portraying the opposition as somehow traitorous and hating their own country which they serve. Sure it's bat-shit loony, and disgustingly dishonest, but it works.

The RNC then sets their fax machines humming, blasting the story line out to their tens of thousands of faithful minions who can be relied upon to pass it along and embellish it as they see fit.

Limbaugh gets the story line and runs with it. Within hours, the right wing screamers filling the AM dial who literally depend on the RNC to give them programming ideas. (without the RNC and other right wing groups feeding these creeps on a daily basis, they wouldn't have a clue what to rant about.) They all follow Limbaugh's lead as guidance and run with it.

So now it's broadcast to every nook and crany in the country 24 hours a day.

Fox news gets the memos and sends out the directives to all their programs. The story gets prominent play and throughout the day they trot out dozens of right wing pundits to further flog it and be outraged and to call for Durbin's head and rage about such an un-American act.

The wing-nut columnists pick it up and work it into a story. They've done these fake outrage stories so often they can write them in their sleep.

Then it hits the cable shows, Scarborough, etc. Then Chris the screamer Matthews picks it up, obsessed as he is with beltway cocktail party chatter and gossip.

Dems get put on shows and confronted with it as if they're responsible for Durbin. They all predictably and cowardly distance themselves and back down under the accusing pressure of right wing hosts, who they know will simply browbeat them until they agree that Durbin was bad, bad, bad. "I wouldn't have used those words ....." is the standard line. They all are only too willing to throw whatever Dem is under attack under the bus in hopes to score some points for themselves at the victim's expense. (The Republicans on the other hand, with perhaps the exception of McCain, never do this.)

Then with all this chatter bouncing around from media to media and back again, broadcast from literally thousands of outlets 24 hours a day in an unbroken stream, the White House is pressed for a reaction and issues a condemnation, entire days are spent (wasted) by Republican legislators droning on and on in floor speeches about how outrageous this is and calling for the offender's head on a platter. Of course, the Dems are silent, thus appearing to be in league with whatever traitorous, sick, abhorrent Democrat is being smeared and attacked. No one has the character to speak in the victim's defense or to attempt to at least keep the right honest in their attacks.

Then the final step, which used to take a while, but which now is almost simultaneous, is that the mainstream TV networks and all major papers jump on the story.

And of course, all the chickenhawk right wing bloggers of the 101st Fighting Keyboard Division sit in their basements with Cheeto debris all over their sunken chests and rant and rave about how Durbin is aiding Al Queda and dissing our brave fighting men.

This can last anywhere from one day to a month. Durbin's is having a longer life than I would have imagined, and this is perhaps because it happens to be a pretty slow news cycle, as well as the fact that Durbin, through his very effectiveness, has become a premptive target. Smear the Dem leadership and take them down. (Remember when they did almost this exact thing to Dem leader Harry Reid over his referring to Bush as a "loser"? Target and take down the leadership and any Dem that dares to stick his head up. Keep 'em cowed and shivering.

At any rate, Frist, doing his bit to add to the echo chamber, droned on in a long floor speech, and taking his cue directly from the lying headline in the Moonie owned conservative organ, The Washington Times, stated that Durbin had called the detention center in Guantanamo "a death camp". He then went on to proudly point out that there's been no deaths reported at Gitmo, therefore suggesting Durbin was wildly out of line and a liar.

But only one little problem with all of that. DURBIN NEVER SAID ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THAT AT ANY TIME. The Moonie Times and Frist simply made it up!

In their lust to inflate and inflame the issue, the right simply took it one step further. First they took the statements and made the leap to maintaining that Durbin had directly compared our troops to Nazis, genocidal maniacs in Cambodia, and guards at Russian Gulags.

Then they just said to hell with reality altogether and just plain came out and said that Durbin had compared Gitmo to "a death camp."

Frist's reprehensible lies are found here, in the first of two pdf files that contain his loathsome remarks as reported in the Congressional Record.

To spare you from reading through Frist's blather, you can find the blatant, brazen lie in the 7th paragraph down in the right column.

If you're a real glutton for punishment, the second part of Frist's remarks can be found here.

We should demand Frist apologize for LYING about a fellow senator's words.

Office of Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-1264 (fax)

Thanks to Jeralyn Merritt's excellent "Talk Left: The Politics of Crime" blog for the links. Merritt is a lawyer and posts interesting stuff about the intersection of law and politics.

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R.I. County organization

Time is marching inexorably into the 21st century. Will the Rock Island County Democratic organization?

Question: If you had to guess, what would you say is the average age of Rock Island County Democratic officials and party workers? R.I. Dem gatherings are starting to look like the bingo room at Leisure Acres.

(I have no idea what the answer is, but wonder what you would guess. I'd say 54. Take away campaign staff, labor guys, and attorneys, 60, minimum.)

June 17, 2005

Conyers hearing on Downing St. Memo and Iraq War

Worth watching. Very touching and inspiring. Here.

A movement starts.

The Daily Show

This clip from the Daily Show will make you laugh and piss you off at the same time.

It covers Bill Frist's reckless diagnosis of Terry Shiavo and then his denial that he had ever done so, then moves on to show once more what a twit George W is, and ends with a story I had wanted to post about, but wanted to wait until video was available on the C-Span site. I witnessed this abomination myself and was infuriated.

James Sensenbrenner, R-Combover, chaired a hearing into reauthorization of the Patriot act and conducted it like a tin-pot dictator. He snarled, he cut people off, he dismissed every witness and pretended not to hear Democrats. Then, as John Stewart notes, he literally picked up his gavel and walked off, leaving the Dems and witnesses to try to continue on their own. Then, after a few minutes of them attempting to hear testimony without the thuggish chair and Republican members, the committee staff, get this, cut off their mics!

(In another example of dictatorial behavior, today, Rep. Conyers held a hearing into the lies told in driving us into an illegal war which featured several mothers and fathers of slain servicemen and women pleading for inquiries into the Downing Street memo. They were forced to hold it in a closet sized room and at the same time as several crucial votes, forcing Democratic members to miss the votes or miss the hearing. It was truly moving, and I'll post a link to this video later.)

To watch the Daily Show clip, go here and then scroll down and click "Watch" under the "Act Two" video.

And if you really want to get outraged, if you want a stark glimpse into how the Republican majority treats the Democratic minority like a dog treats a fire hydrant, go watch the streaming video of this sham hearing at C-Span. It's amazing.

The video is about 2 hours, but if you want to skip to the good parts, you can hear Sensenbrenner getting things off on a nasty note at 7:38
Rep. Combover had sneered at the Dems who did not show up for the hearing despite having called for it, then Jerry Nadler tries to inform him that he was there... this is where the tone is set. That's at 15:50
Sensenbrenner is in full glory at 17:40 and again at 19:20. Watch how he responds to Dems seeking to make a point of order. Bizarre and incredibly childish. Also keep in mind that Sensenbrenner had scolded the Dems for coarsening the discourse in his grumpy opening statement!
One of the most disgusting incidents occurs at 1:22:25 where he treats Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee like crap.
Another stellar moment is at 1:46:35.

But if you want to cut to the chase and see how Sensenbrenner has a hissy and simply ends the hearing despite several Dems attempting to speak, and just gets up and walks off with his gavel, start watching at 1:50:00. Your congress at work.

NOTE: To go to a certain time in a realplayer stream, simply put your cursor (pointer) over the sliding bar at the bottom that shows the clip's progress. That highlights the area, then right click your mouse and click on "Seek to" in the drop-down menu. A little box appears where you can type in the time you want to go to.


This woman is hot. Very hot. I have a bad crush on her.

Anyone recognize her?

Hints: She usually wears black leather jackets, she's smart as hell (she graduated summa cum laud from Princeton), accomplished (her writings have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Boston Globe), fearless, articulate (a frequent television commentator), and liberal. (drool)

An Urgent Appeal from WQPT and public broadcasting

The righties have targeted public broadcasting for years. They want to destroy it or bend it to their purposes and destroy it's independence. Don't you dare let them.

1. Go here.

2. Read.

3. Pick up the phone and call.

Time is of the essence. Do it now. Don't let the bastards destroy one of the best uses of federal money ever devised. Public broadcasting is YOURS. Don't let the radical right pervert it from it's mission to provide information and education free from commercial and political pressures.

It's more critical now than it ever has been.

Durbin attack working perfectly, has evolved into the insane

The following is an actual letter to the editor published in today's Dispatch:
Dick Durbin, the less than mediocre Senator from Illinois, has called our Marines Nazis and compared them to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I don't want an apology, I want his resignation. It is time for this man to go.

Anyone who would make these statements doesn't deserve to be a street sweeper in a one horse town in the middle of nowhere, let alone a U.S. Senator.

Scott Anderson,


Scott, you're a poor, misguided tool, and likely a horse's ass to boot. Did you get your "GOPoints" for writing this crap? (Good little "Team Leaders" in Bush's army of lock-step lemmings can actually earn "GOPoints" for every letter to the editor, call to radio shows, or other effort to put out the wing-nut line. They can then redeem these for junk prizes that only a wing-nut could love. I'm not making this up.)

The right has succeeded in convincing knuckle-dragging sheeple like our Scott here that criticism of our Dear Leader's government and policies = bashing our brave troops. This is a malicious and maddeningly effective technique that the right uses constantly.

Sure, it requires that you be ignorant enough to not recognize the distinction, or simply dishonest enough to realize it, and cynical enough to not give a damn, as long as such low tactics defend this criminal administration from any exposure.

Notice how Durbin's statement has been distrorted to the point where ditto-heads can now flatly state as fact that Durbin "has called our Marines Nazis." It's been perverted beyond recognition.

This is how the process works. Durbin calls a spade a spade and in a statement, notes that the torture at Guantanimo is not worthy of us, and sounds more like something that immoral and dictatorial regimes might do. His point was that this needs to stop, that it's hurting America and it's reputation around the world, and is unworthy of our great nation. Are we a beacon of humanity, or a brutal dictatorship? Which road do we want to go down?

Within 24 hours, it's being spouted across the country by the right wing Mighty Wurlitzer that Durbin had "called our Marines Nazis".

Any tactic, no matter how vicious and dishonest is immediately trotted out to attack and attempt to destroy anyone who opposes our Dear Leader. If that's not Nazi-like, what is? Durbin's point is proven.

Not content with one insane attack on Durbin, the Dispatch publishes another. While this one actually actually provides accurate quotes of the Durbin statement, as well as his clarification from the floor of the Senate, the writer STILL willfully ignores the words he just quoted and insists on sticking with the preferred slander that Durbin was somehow insulting our troops. This is almost worse than the obviously mentally challenged Scott's letter above.

Sen. Dick Durbin may have been carrying party water this week when he boldly lumped the Bush administration and U.S. military interrogators with some of the world's most sadistic and brutal murderers. Or maybe the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate felt a sudden need to appear in the world spotlight. His motives are irrelevant. His rhetoric was out of bounds.

According to the Chicago Tribune, here's how Mr. Durbin inserted foot into mouth:

"In a Senate speech Tuesday, Durbin raked Bush administration officials over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. He read an account by an unnamed FBI agent of the alleged treatment of a prisoner who was 'chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water.' The prisoner, the agent said, had been subject to extremely hot and cold temperatures, and loud rap music.

"And then Durbin said this: `If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."'

Durbin later said his comments were misinterpreted as an attack on the U.S. military. "Sadly, we have a situation here where some in the right-wing media say I've been insulting men and women in uniform," he said. "Nothing could be farther from the truth." He also said such alleged mistreatment of a prisoner has no place in a democracy.

Nazis, Soviets in the gulags. Pol Pot? Why would anyone in uniform consider those words insulting?

Our armed forces, the administration and Illinois deserved better from Sen. Durbin.
This is pure unadultrated grade a BULLSHIT and needs to be countered every time they try it. The right has pulled this disingenous stunt hundreds of times ever since the lead up to this now proven illegal invasion.

No one considers that much of the torture and techiques used on "detainees" were done or initiated by contractors hired by the government, not enlisted people. The torture and abuse is the result of this administration's policies and directives. It has nothing to do with the troops themselves.

But this dishonest techique has a triple effect. First, it trashes and attacks anyone who strongly questions this administration's policies and actions. But it also prevents the blame from being placed where it belongs, namely with higher-ups in this administration.

It creates a mind-set in the public that suggests that the troops themselves are somehow responsible for the abuse and torture, as if they just made it up on their own. "How dare you blame those poor troops!" they wail, ignoring the fact that NO ONE is blameing the troops, we're blaming BUSH and his administration. But the "defend the troops" tactic makes sure that no one ever connects the dots. It effectively deflects any criticism away from those responsible, namely the Bush administration.

And lastly, it puts those opposed to this regime constantly on the defensive. This also effectively paralyzes, or renders ineffective, the strongest voices of oppposition.

This technique suggests that our enlisted men and women are somehow over there doing whatever they feel like doing. It serves to make sure that the public never connects the dots between the people who are responsible for creating the policy and issuing the orders and the people who carry them out.

So far, not a word on the various talking head shows, not even from the supposedly Democrat or left wing pundits, pointing out that Durbin was NOT bashing our troops, no matter how much you want to twist his words.

Remember all the furor and media coverage when during the debate on the nuclear option Rick Santorum said "I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942. 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city. It's mine.'" ?

You don't? Remember all the Republicans that said those remarks were regretable? That's probably because there wasn't any coverage and there weren't any Republicans backing away from Santorum's statement. It passed with scant notice. Democrats didn't wail and there was no national network to spread the outrage.

Yet now when Durbin is in the crosshairs, no Dems are standing up to defend him or to point out the dishonesty of the attack. They all back down and admit that his remarks were regretable. Why?

The Republican playbook includes the rule that you never apologize, and never back down. You never criticize another Republican. Guess it's different in the Democratic party.