August 31, 2005

Ripple Effects

Think Katrina is only a regional disaster, primarily affecting poor blacks? Think again.

The ripple affects are many and only time will tell what degree they will affect the entire country.

One factor, obviously, is the interuption in oil production, particularly the loss of refining capacity. This is gonna whack everyone soon, if not already in higher gas prices, and even higher heating costs this winter. (on top of the already announced sharp increases)

The Port of New Orleans is one of the largest ports in the country, and the major export site for midwest agricultural commoditys such as corn, soybeans, and other crops such as cotton and many others. Already tons of corn and other cargos are stranded and ruined or rotting. The bottleneck created from the interuption in shipping through New Orleans will be a major concern and will affect the farm economy with it's many dependent businesses.

Cotton and sugarcane production suffered massive damage and will likely lead to increased prices in clothing and food products containing sugar (are there any that don't?)

Shrimping and other fisheries will doubtlessly be negatively affected, with price increases as well.

And history. Details haven't emerged, but when the final story is known, how much of irreplacable history will have been lost? I've already seen a report on a house which survived the civil war and countless other hurricanes having been destroyed.

How many historic structures are now lost? How many historic documents, records, antiques, etc. are now worthless, covered in water and muck?

And of course, politics enters into this, as it does every facet of life. Will Bush shamelessly try to capitalize on this suffering and try to position himself as the savior of the needy, even though not nearly enough federal help will be forthcoming?

Will he go to New Orleans and pose for pictures in waders walking down a flooded street and personally rescuing a cute puppy or adorable child?

Hell, it's not a question of if, but when. One thing is for certain, Bush will do absolutely nothing but sign some papers, and mouth some dumb cliches as he has his entire presidency. And look for him to link the relief effort to freedom, liberty, good vs. evil, and an example of why it's so important that we continue to squander lives and treasure in Iraq.

Any other spin-offs from this unspeakable tragedy?

August 30, 2005

A Disaster of Unimaginable Proportions

The devastation caused, and continuing to be caused, by Hurricane Katrina is worse than any disaster this country has experienced.

This story has a multitude of angles, but the one I find the most disturbing yet fascinating is the oportunity to observe what happens to human nature when you combine poverty, lawlessness, extreme stress, and the survival instinct.

People will begin to lose their minds. Looting and violence will increase as the survival of the fittest instinct kicks in. Those with guns or willing to use violence will do so. Panic will be widespread and chaos will ensue.

The human dimension of this situation will likely prove to be very disturbing indeed.

And it's hard to imagine any terrorists coming close to wreaking this amount of damage, both physically, economically, the breakdown of government, rampant disease, and death.

And this isn't taking into consideration the fact that one of the country's, and the world's, most unique and vibrant cultural centers will likely never be the same. Will the vibrant spirit of New Orleans survive?

Katrina and the Waves

I just had to be the first to use that headline. Anyone remember these guys (whose hit was ironically "Walking on Sunshine)? I sure didn't until it popped into my head last night. Remember, you saw it here first.

**Note: I guess you didn't hear it here first. Within an instant, alert Dopesters had told me that they'd seen it elsewhere. I guess it was inevitable.

And as an aside, it appears that most of the devatation and suffering, at least in the New Orleans area, is concentrated on the poorest, primarily black part of town. Imagine that.

August 29, 2005

Gen. Wesley Clark's views on Iraq

General Wesley Clark appeared on last Sunday's Meet The Press and gave a very sound and thought provoking assessment of the situation in Iraq and what needs to be accomplished.

He elaborated on those views in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

If you find the time to pull yourself away from watching guys and gals in raincoasts standing 5 feet outside their hotel rambling about how it's wet and windy (DUH!)near the truly horrendous Hurricane Katrina, Clark's views are worth a read.

August 27, 2005

Free Speech: Use It or Lose It

For those of you who haven't already checked out the Freeway Blogger site, please do. These folks are genious' at getting the message out in simple but effective ways, and some of their slogans are great.

Have a look around in the visitor's gallery link as well.

Poll show public's disapproval of Bush at historic high

A recent Gallup poll revealed that the American public is finally cutting through the lies and propaganda and seeing the failure of the Bush administration across the board.

Bush's approval rating is the absolutel lowest of any president at this point in their second term.

Historical Comparisons

There have been seven U.S. presidents re-elected to a second term since World War II (although two of them -- Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson -- had initially ascended to the presidency without being elected). Here's where they stood in August of the year after their re-election (or, in the case of Truman, in June):

President, timeframe, approval rating.

Harry Truman
June 1949 (No July or
August 1949 measure)

Dwight Eisenhower
August 1957

Lyndon B. Johnson
August 1965

Richard Nixon
August 1973

Ronald Reagan
August 1985

Bill Clinton
August 1997

George W. Bush
August 2005

Bush's current 43% job approval rating is the lowest of all of these presidents with the exception of Richard Nixon, who was beset by the woes of Watergate by the summer of 1973. (Of course, Bush's most recent 40% is lower still by comparison.)

Pat Robertson should be "taken out"

Mike McManus, an ethics and religion writer, thinks Pat Robertson is the one who should be "taken out", so to speak. He reiterates many of the points I attempted to make in my post on this subject. Wonder if this means McManus must be a communist, as ditto-head Dave asserted I must be for holding the same views?
It is time for Pat Robertson, 75, to be fired as host of "The 700 Club."

Consider what he said Monday about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the left-wing strongman of a nation with the largest oil reserves outside of the Middle East. Chavez has been an outspoken critic of the United States which he believes is trying to topple his government.

Robertson noted that Chavez has accused America of backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials call that ridiculous.

Robertson then added, "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It is a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.

"It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Robertson labeled him a "terrific danger" to the United States who was using his nation's oil wealth as a "launching pad for Communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."
On Wednesday's show, Robertson inexplicably asserted, "Wait a minute. I didn't say `assassination.' I said our Special Forces should `take him out,' and take him out can be a number of things, including kidnapping." Cable TV ran his Monday calls for assassination next to his absurd denial. Belatedly, Robertson issued a written apology.
"On a very practical, political level, the assassination of a foreign leader is both unwise and counterproductive. Examine the history of American efforts do such things in the Dominican Republic, the Congo, Cuba, Vietnam and Chile. The consequences are often worse than what was prevailing. Pinochet in Chile was a worse dictator than Allende."

Indeed, the U.S. made eight attempts on Castro's life. This history led to Senate hearings which prompted the President Ford to sign a law prohibiting assassinations of foreign leaders. Asked about Robertson, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld replied, "Certainly it's against the law. Our department does not do that type of thing."

August 26, 2005

Burned Yet Set Free

The following is a guest post by Cecilia O’Brien on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the 19th ammendment allowing women the vote and it's continued importance today. Thank you Cecilia.

August 26, 2005 - is exactly 85 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution allowing Women the right to vote in our "Free" country. The year was 1920 and believe it or not, there were a lot of things awry before the bubble burst the bank and stock market. Some things the brave women suffragettes endured could make men who fought to organize a Union blush. The terror put upon women in locked jail cells and the disrespect shown women in public over this basic request for equal rights was absurd for that particular time in history.

How ironic that Henry Burn, a southern politician, listened to his own mother and cast the deciding vote for Tennessee to become the 36th State to ratify the Amendment making the right to vote and hold elected office legal for the female gender. What did Mr. Burn get for his actions? Accolades and Recognition showered upon him? Not at all. Immediately after the vote was cast, a crowd of Tennessee State legislators, all MALE of course, chased him and heckled him all the way to the top floor window ledge, threatening to throw him to the street below. Men were convinced that women were not ready for the responsibility to vote and hold office. Standard male viewpoints in a chauvinistic eyeglass could not see beyond women suckling their babies, cooking meals, and attending church let alone working, holding office, or having the time or desire to vote. Remember those days were before infant baby formula when breast feeding was the norm and often used by men as an exclusion of women from any social or work activity.

American Corporate Culture continues to resist any ground gained by women. The small advances females make holding elected office and management positions are all hard fought. My observation as a female is that the "good old boy" network is alive today despite the progress made since my birth. However, young girls really don't think about suffrage and history but they do get their college education and seem more likely to set goals that include exciting careers not imagined by women holding posters walking in front of President Wilson's White House.

Today's news events on Capitol Hill are an illustration of what the right to vote can and has done and how vitally important voting is to our society. George Bush recently failed to take his wife Laura's advice, and appoint a woman to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor. Instead, today he has allowed a woman to be hired for the first time ever to be head chef of the White House. Think of the irony here for George Bush. Mr. Bush continues to say he wants to advance the visibility and cause of women and offer opportunity to females in our land and in Iraq. So Mr. Bush appoints a man who defines himself as a "Strict Constructionist" when it comes to interpretation of the Constitution. Ok kids, what that means is Mr. Roberts takes the Constitutional text at its literal meaning at the time it was written. So let's think a minute about that concept. John Roberts, Bush's choice for replacement to O'Connor would have looked at our constitution that did not allow women to vote in 1920 and said that's the way it should stay. Roberts does not subscribe to the fact the authors wrote the Constitution to encourage and allow amendments knowing that they would not be alive forever and that a changing society would need the law to flex and grow with it.

Not only did Women loose a female view and voice on some issues of record with O’Connor leaving the Supreme Court but we loose more ground on any future issues in a changing society with John Roberts on the bench. Mr. Roberts will not advance anything yet hold still and stagnant by his own admission. The root cause of this irony is the fact that George Bush was appointed to his reserved seat in 2000 by our Supreme Court with John Roberts leading the case for this action. The big bonus for Roberts’ legal efforts is this appointment to oversee the highest law in the land and that is powerful. America continues to grow and change despite all of the bad decisions.

Women of all ages need to embrace their new right to vote. Hopefully the generations after me will pay attention to the last 5 or 6 years of disappointments for females in our country by becoming more actively engaged. Women take life one step at a time running circles around most men because we must. Females are often expected to perform at not just 100% but 150% to get the job and prove ourselves, many times balancing children and a home and family. Most males don't work two jobs yet are not held to this high standard as the norm.

Women today need to find the time between multi-tasking and running household and career to vote and pay attention to issues of importance so that the suffering and fighting by ladies long ago is not wasted. When American women have it right, they will truly inspire the oppressed women of the Middle East to aspire to our level of independence.

What can you say about this?

Bad craziness in southern Illinois.
Word that Sgt. Dan Kennings had been killed in Iraq crushed spirits in the Daily Egyptian newsroom. The stocky, buzz-cut soldier befriended by students at the university newspaper was dead, and the sergeant's little girl--a precocious, blond-haired child they'd grown to love--was now an orphan.

They all knew that Kodee Kennings' mother had died when Kodee was about 5. The little girl's fears and frustrations about her father being in harm's way had played out on the pages of the Daily Egyptian for nearly two years, in gut-wrenching letters fraught with misspellings, innocent observations and questions about why Daddy wasn't there to chase the monsters from under her bed.

It turns out Daddy didn't exist. And neither did Kodee.
Talk about your creative propaganda. Can't wait to hear more about who was behind this travesty.
More here. (once there, click on the links too.)

**UPDATE** The Dispatch/Argus has a piece on this in today's edition which sheds a bit more light on this tangled story. It appears it was begun as a ruse to further a former Daily Egyptian editor's career. The strange part is that they actually recruited a man and a small girl to play the parts of these ficticious characters by telling them they were playing parts in a movie. Too weird.

BRAC approves Arsenal cuts

BRAC Commissioner Samuel K. Skinner on Thursday said the Rock Island Arsenal "dodged a major bullet" in the base closing process by losing jobs but not closing completely.

During a brief interview, Mr. Skinner, who visited the Arsenal on behalf of the commission, defended the panel's vote to send 1,129 Quad-Cities jobs to the Detroit Arsenal. The panel approved the move despite protests that the transfer will cost too much and not further Army integration.
While Skinner says we dodged a bullet, I'd say we got a significant flesh wound. More details on QC Online.

Moving Out

-- Tank-automotive & Armaments Command - 1,129 jobs

-- Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center - up to 181 jobs

-- Installation Management Agency - 133 jobs

Total=1443 jobs lost

Moving In

-- 1st Army Headquarters - 277 jobs

-- Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant: 54 jobs

-- Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant: 89 jobs

Total= 420 jobs gained

NET LOSS = 1,023 jobs

August 25, 2005

The Children's News Network

Since Fox News wrongly identified a La Habra home as that of a terrorist, its five- member family has faced an angry backlash.
Satellite photos of the house and directions to the residence were posted online. The Voricks told police, who arranged for the content to be taken down. Someone even removed the street sign where the Voricks live to provide some protection.

Still, it has not been easy.

A driver yelled a profanity at the family and called them terrorists as they barbecued on their patio Aug. 14. Some drivers have stopped and photographed the house, Randy Vorick said.

Last weekend, someone spray-painted "Terrist" on their home. [Yep, it's a Fox viewer alright. Or maybe Bush himself?] Police, who have regularly patrolled their house since the day after the broadcast, now station a squad car across the street.

Randy, a restaurant manager, and Ronnell, a manager at a staffing agency, have been married 19 years and met as teenagers when they worked at a local McDonald's.
I'm sure Fox couldn't care less. This is only the latest in a long line of irresponsible, inaccurate and childish stuff they've been guilty of.

The Illogical Logic of George W. Bush

Joe Conason in the NY Observer...
Challenged to justify the war in Iraq by his critics—and in particular by bereaved Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan—President George W. Bush has answered with logic that is almost perfectly circular. Speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22, he explained that our troops must keep fighting and dying in order to justify the sacrifice of those who fought and died before them.
However deeply George W. Bush indeed may care about the pain endured by our military families, his remarks at the V.F.W. convention didn’t comfort those who question the necessity of that suffering. Stripped of the boilerplate verbiage about “the blessings of liberty,” which remain remote in Iraq, he seemed to be saying that more Americans must die there because of the many already lost.
"We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
- John Kerry, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 22, 1971

Will they steal another one?

The New York Times' Paul Krugman revisits the bad craziness of the 2000 election and the shenanigans in Ohio in 2004 in his last two columns. With all the fog of war, lousy reporting, and just sheer volume of static, it's instructive to finally read the truth presented in a factual way.
The columns can be read, here, and here, for a limited time. (before they roll off into the paid archive section)

The "War President's" administration packed with Chickenhawks

A comment to a post below remarking on how it's always those who have exprienced war who are the most reluctant to engage in it, brought to mind the staggering number of big war promoters who themselves managed to weasel, wiggle, and squirm their way out of serving their country's military.

While this is hardly news, I'm sure some don't really know how extensive the number of chicken hawks in this "war time preznit's" administration and the gang of right wing war drummers really is.

For an extensive and informative list of the loathsome species called Chickenhawks, who they are, their position, and how they covered their butts, (in Limbaugh's case, an infected boil on his ass. Cheney got a slew of deferments, and later uttered his patriotic explaination for not serving while hundreds of his peers were fighting and dying in Viet Nam, "I had other priorities." To get his deferments, Big Dick had to keep Lynn pregnant, prompting some to say that he faced a choice between going to Nam or having sex with Lynn. I can't imagine a tougher choice.) pay a visit to the Chickenhawk Database, originally a project of the New Hampshire Gazette newspaper. The number of Bushies who ran the other way when their country called is amazing.

As the site explains,
The alleged "gentlemen" listed in this database are here because they share three qualities: bellicosity (a warlike manner or temperament), public prominence, and a curious lack of wartime service when others their age had no trouble finding the fight. (Sorry, Dan and George W. and Dan Q. - your safe, cushy National Guard slots won't help you now.) The fact that they's almost all Republicans is ... well, curious, don't you think?

Lane Evans annual Democratic Unity Dinner this Saturday

From an announcement from Barack Obama:
Congressman Lane Evans Democratic Unity Dinner

When: Saturday, August 27th, 2005
Where: Crowne Plaza Springfield, IL
3000 South Dirksen Pkwy
Springfield, IL 62703

Ticket Information:

$65 Individual Includes cocktail hour (cash bar) and dinner/reception (unreserved seating)

$400 Sponsor Includes exclusive cocktail hour with special guests and reserved dinner/reception seating

$550 Table Includes cocktail hour (cash bar) and a reserved table for 10 at dinner/reception

$750 Host Includes exclusive cocktail hour with special guests, reserved dinner/reception seating and verbal recognition at dinner/reception

Please contact Teresa Kurtenbach or Doug Small at 309-788-5263 or to reserve your table today. You may also reserve your table online at
This is always a great event, and Lane could certainly use the help.

August 23, 2005

The wisdom of experience

If you click on anything today, click on this.

Robertson serving the cause of empire

This guy is nuts.

Robertson is seen here praying super hard
to the Prince of Peace for someone else's brutal murder.

Or at least that's what everyone will be saying in the aftermath of Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But it's really not that extreme a statement, IF you know the way the US "corporatocracy" works.

The corporate elites, aided and abetted by the clandestine and military arms of the U.S. government and international banks, have been on a quest for empire for decades.

Beginning with Kermit Roosevelt's (Theodore's grandson)successful effort to topple the leader of Iran and install the puppet Shah Reza Pahlavi. Of course, gaining access to oil reserves has always been a prime motivation for these efforts.

The standard operating process for essentially taking over a country is as follows:

First, U.S. engineering and construction companies such as Bechtel, which was headed by George Shultz and is loaded with Nixon, Ford, and Bush cronies, and other outfits will go into a country and do "research."

They make assessments of available assets ripe for plunder, such as mining, timber or other natural resources, and determining what it will take to "modernize" a country. This involves construction of dams, power generating facilities, power systems, roads, rail, airports, etc. Everything that the corporations would need to exploit the country.

Much like in our area when developers expect local government to subsidize their investment by building roads and sewers to their projects, the corporations want the people of these victim countries to pay for the massive infrastructure required for them to get at and export their natural resources. It's like buying your mugger a gun and bullets.

This is done of course, in the name of "helping" the country "modernize" and move into the developed world.

They routinely exaggerate the size and scope of projects, then sell this plan to the World Bank or other multi-national banking institutions.

The elite of the countries are always cut in and assured that they will reap millions of dollars from this development. So they're on board for the plan.

The World Bank or other institutions then loans the country billions of dollars, the U.S. companies get contracts for the huge projects and reap equally stunning profits. Many people get incredibly wealthy in the process.

Then, inevitably, the people of the country suffer, their environment deteriorates or is destroyed, and the country eventually defaults on it's loan repayments.

Then the World Bank steps in and essentially takes over the country, dictating exactly how they must run their economy, and who makes the profits, which of course, are U.S. companies and the elite of the country.

Just like the Mafia, the corporatocracy promises great things, puts the country into crippling debt, and then has them exactly where they want them and can dictate exactly how things will be, or simply takes over the countries economy.

But what happens when a country is ripe for exploitation and has resources that corporate elites covet and the country won't go along with this process?

Then it goes to step two. Covert operations.

This is when the CIA jackals come in and topple the government, such as when they assassinated Trujillo in Panama and installed their buddy Noriaga, or several other examples of assassinations which have been carried out in South America alone when any candidate or politician dared to go against the grain and resist the Mafia like tactics of the corporate invaders.

If that fails, step three is to send in the military, as we did in the senseless invasion of Panama and other less overt military actions such as in Columbia and Nicaragua.

Iraq falls into exactly this same category as well. Saddam wasn't going along with the process of giving away his country to the west, and the spooks either couldn't take him out, or the elites wanted more than just his removal, they wanted to occupy and control the country and it's assets, so we invaded instead. All in the interest of corporate and elite dreams of empire.

Enter Pat Robertson and his call for assassination.

Venezuela is the third largest source of U.S. oil.

Chavez is a reformer who has campaigned and taken action to repel the efforts of the World Bank and others to pull their schemes to take control of Venezuela's assets, including putting oil production under a nationalized corporation and refusing to play the U.S.'s game.

Bush and Co. tried to oust the democratically elected Chavez in an illegal and CIA backed coup, earlier in his first term, but Chavez survived to be a pain in their asses. They want what he has, and will stop at nothing.

THIS is why Robertson suggests assassinating Chavez. So that the corporatocracy, banks, and oil companies can then go in and take possession of Venezuelan oil, which is now controlled by the country itself.

Robertson himself has been involved in this sort of dirty business. He's had business interests in diamond mines in Africa and has defended and buddied up to some of the worst most brutal dictators in the world.

So all Robertson was doing was suggesting that, since Chavez has survived several efforts to support his opposition and other means to try to take him out politically, that the U.S. should go to step 2.

This is no big deal to Robertson, who likely regards it as nothing more than a business decision, and he's likely stunned at the reaction his comments have generated.

It's all about the money, and there are a small but incredibly powerful group of elites which are playing this game for keeps. And it included both Bushes, the group that Bush Jr. brought in from the past, including Cheney, Rumsfeld, and many others, as well as foreign elites including Saudi royalty.

It truly is like a game of Risk to these people. And they have no problem with nor will they hesitate to sacrifice billions of your tax dollars or send your children to their deaths in the conquest for empire and control of resources, primarily oil.

For a more cogent and in depth explanation of how this has gone on and is continuing to go on, read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins, which was a NY Times bestseller. Perkins was a top official of one of the engineering and construction firms which make empire building their business and who made millions himself in the game before his conscience got the better of him. He was threatened and bribed to not write about it, but finally found a publisher to tell his story.
It's an eye-opener and rings entirely true.

Once you understand the process of empire, then Robertson's comments, loathsome as they are, are easily understandable.

August 22, 2005

Tax and Spend Republicans are kings of pork

Where are all the angry Republicans raising hell about this irresponsible squandering of their precious tax dollars?
When Democrats were in control of Congress until 1994, Republicans routinely accused Democrats of spending like drunken sailors on a Saturday night binge. But now that the Republicans are in control of the cookie jar, look at the results.

-- $277 million in road projects for the district of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

-- $722 million in projects for Kern County, Calif., home of powerful House Ways and Means Chairman Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, nearly $1,000 per person.

-- $550 million for petroleum drilling research in House Majority Leader Tom Delay's home turf in Texas.

-- Rep. Don Young from Alaska, known in certain circles as the "King of Pork," scored big. As chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure he steered $231 million for a bridge near Anchorage called the "bridge to nowhere," and $223 million for another bridge connecting the tiny village of Ketchikan, Alaska, to an island with 50 inhabitants.

As reported by the Washington Post, the highway bill is the most expensive public works legislation in U.S. history, complete with 6,376 earmarked projects. Congress passed transportation and energy bills that busted cost limits established by President Bush. A massive water projects bill authorized spending that would exceed current levels by 173 percent. And let's not even mention the increases in the defense budget, with no end in sight.

It's not for nothing that the Cato Institute has called the GOP the Grand Old Spending Party.
The rest of the piece makes the case against the winner take all system of elections which encourage wasteful pork spending. Read it here.

Asking inconvenient questions is essential

Robert Steinback writes an important editorial on the dangers of supressing dissent.

Herewith, my nominations for the Seven Political Blasphemies of contemporary America, starting with the one Sheehan has challenged.

-- Not every deployment of U.S. troops is, by definition, a noble exercise. Premise: Commanders in chief make mistakes (and, sometimes, mislead). "Support the troops" is not, as clever neo-con partisans imply, the equivalent of "don't question the president."

-- It is overly simplistic to dismiss all those who resist the American presence in Iraq as "terrorists." Premise: As long as the militants targeting U.S. troops and allied Iraqis are lumped together as "terrorists" -- a step or two below "roaches" -- there is nothing to debate; they must be crushed. But doing so closes off discussion of their true motivations (which would help us understand what we're up against), as well as the possibility that the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking the resistance.

-- It can be argued that the world is not better off without Saddam Hussein. Premise: Nobody likes a dictator, but sometimes, there is a short-term geopolitical benefit in the presence of a tyrant who keeps rival factions from colliding -- Tito in the old Yugoslavia, for example. This doesn't have to undermine the long-run goal of eliminating all despots.

-- Not every society is ready for American-style capitalism and democracy. Premise: Such transitions need time, planning and patience to work. Moving too quickly can create a politically volatile mess, such as in the old Soviet Union.

-- The word of God is what one chooses to believe, not a universal truth that unerringly applies to all people. Premise: Your belief in your particular version of God is not sufficient justification for you to impose your will on others.

-- The American social model may not be every reasonable person's idea of a perfect society. Premise: Other cultures are not necessarily inferior to ours simply because they are different. We, as Americans, should proudly promote our values, but our aim should be to persuade, not compel, others to embrace them.

-- Criticizing the U.S. government is not synonymous with criticizing America. Premise: Nonviolent dissent can be both patriotic and healthy for the nation.

I'm only a harmless pundit on the Left. Still, I find myself hoping more Cindy Sheehans will acquire the courage to demand answers to the questions none dare ask.
Read the entire piece posted at the Q.C. Times.

> MORE <

Kinky for Governor: Why the Hell Not?

The title of this post is one of Kinky Friedman's campaign slogans, the other one is "How Hard Could It Be?", appropriate in light of the fact that Kinky is running for the spot once occupied by George W. Bush: Governor of Texas.

Here's Kinky with the First Lady, whom he's pals with. (below... not the one above!)

And here's one that's just plain strange. Kinky, Will Smith, and President Clinton.

I've enjoyed Kinky (whose band is called "The Texas Jewboys") for some time now, from his seminal hit, "Asshole from El Paso", through other timeless tunes such as "Old Man Lucas". He's also an excellent writer having written several well-received and best selling mysterys.

Click here and here to listen to Kinky speak.

The New Yorker recently published a great piece on the Kinkster and his run for Governor which has gathered a lot of momentum. It's a great read.

The Kinkster's official campaign site can be found here. Be sure to check out the merchandise site and the mulimedia page with some interesting video.

Anyone who ends his speeches with "May the God of your choice bless you." is alright with me. Vote Kinky!

River Roots Live

The Dope attended the River Roots Live extravaganza in LeClaire park this past weekend and was mighty impressed. Put on under the auspices of Davenport's River Music Experience, it was extremely well run, with an ecclectic mix of top-notch bands and a computerized sound and lights system the likes of which this area has never seen.

Friday's acts included Greg Brown (with a special appearance by local legend Bo Ramsey), Edgar Winters, (with the expected amazing rendition of "Frankenstein"), Rick Derringer (who of course did "Rock n Roll Hootchie Koo), and a sizzling set by the BoDeans, (Fadeaway, Everybody Wants to Be Closer To Free, etc.) who were booked in just days before the show after Johnny Winters cancelled his appearance reportedly due to carpal tunnel problems. They were augmented by drummer Kenny Aronoff, a top studio drummer perhaps best known for his work with John Cougar Mellancamp.

The night was even highlighted by a spectacular backdrop of fireworks after the Swing game which many said appeared to be perfectly choreographed with Edgar Winter's peformance.

Saturday saw the Soul Rebels Brass Band, a very cool outfit ala The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Split-lip Rayfield, an indescribable group of technically superb musicians with a Zappa-esque sense of humor, guitar virtuoso Junior Brown, the jam band Umphree's McGhee, which seemed to be a big fave of the Dead/Phish types, and the legendary and yet to be surpassed Little Feat, who blew The Dope away by playing one of my favorite tunes of all time, "All That You Dream", as the first number, followed by another Feat fave, the menacing "Spanish Moon."

The Feat put on their sailing shoes while the LeClaire Park bandshell appears downright psychedelic.

The sound system was simply amazing, from a technical standpoint as well as aural. It consisted of two very slim columns perhaps 2-3 ft wide and 25 ft long suspended from the trussing, and was able to project a seemingly limitless depth of bass despite it's relatively tiny size.
It was run by a computerized state-of-art system which has the ability to "read" objects in the evironment such as trees, structures, and even the varying size of the crowd, and adjust the throw and projection of various portions of the speaker columns to ensure consistent sound quality in all locations.

The light production was first rate and very creative, in that the stage was erected BEHIND the permanent seating area just in front of the LeClaire Park Bandshell and facing away from it towards the east. This meant that there was no backdrop for the stage, which may have made for a rather lackluster presentation.

But someone was extremely creative and talented and decided to utilize the entire bandshell structure as a lighting backdrop, even though it was several hundred feet behind the stage. They did a masterful job of lighting it in three elements, within the arch, upward facing lights hidden behind the two columns on either side of the stage which cast the columns themselves in relief to great effect, and upon the face of the bandshell itself.

The effects were unbelievable, as the entire bandshell came alive with soft, undulating color combinations in the distance.

While turnout seemed to be quite a bit less than I'd expected, the entire event was well planned and enjoyable. There was never a wait for cold beverages, plenty of the ubiquitous port-o-potties and hand washing and drinking water, good food available, again with short or no lines, and plenty of room to spread out a blanket or sit in chairs and enjoy the show without being trampled.

The brain-dead contingent was represented as well, those who feel that a concert just isn't complete if you remain conscious the entire time, and feel it's the perfect reason to dump more substances than are found in an average medicine cabinet into their systems. But they were efficiently taken care of by police and weren't a large nuisance, though it's always a mood killer to see someone whose system has finally said, "Screw this! I quit!" bodily carried away passed out cold.

Could someone enlighten me as to how all these supposed "hippies" in their anti-materialistic lifestyles manage to always have a spare $100 or more to spend on all these often very expensive concerts? (The Dope was comped, otherwise, I most likely would have missed it. Though in hindsight, it would have been worth every penny of the very fair $20/night ticket price, or the even more reasonable $35 two day pass.)

They also allowed camping for the first time for an event on the riverfront, though the field west of the Centennial Bridge isn't exactly a garden spot, and they forbid fires of any kind.

Though the Dope grabbed an overlooked and out of the way spot only a stones throw from the entrance, there was plenty of near-by parking and traffic was a breeze.

Kudos to those involved with this production, and I certainly hope this becomes an annual event. If you didn't make it, be sure to next year.

BRAC holds final hearing, no mention of R.I. Arsenal

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission held it's final hearing Saturday in which it focused on broad themes with no specific mention of the Rock Island Arsenal.

In more than three months of hearings by the panel, they completed 182 visits to 173 bases, received more than 80,000 e-mails and over a half million letters, and logged more than 8 million visits to their website.

The next step in the process is for the 9 member panel to vote on the proposals. This is expected to take place over 4 days and nights.

After that process, the final list will be sent to the president by September 8th. Then Bush has the option to make changes to the list and send it back to the commission for a final review. After that, Bush and the Congress must decide up or down whether to accept the bill or kill it entirely.

The proposed net loss of 1,705 jobs at the R.I. Arsenal are at stake.

QC Area Progressive Group offering trip to September DC Anti-war rally

Progressive Action for the Common Good, a progressive activist group, is organizing a bus trip to DC for the Anti-War rally planned by A.N.S.W.E.R. and United for Peace and Justice for Saturday, Sept 24.

They are chartering a bus to leave Friday Sept 23rd between noon and 2:00 p.m. The bus will make stops for meals and breaks, with participants sleeping on the bus overnight as it makes its way to DC, arriving at the National Mall early Saturday morning in time for the planned start of the rally and march at 11:00 a.m. Saturday Sept 24th.

The trip will then depart sometime Saturday evening and drive back to the Quad Cities arriving Sunday afternoon.

They already have a dozen or more people signed up, and several people who can't make the trip have made donations to help defer the cost for those who can. They need to hear from those who are interested soon so they can make the appropriate arrangements. Costs, which depend on the amount of donations they receive, will run around $125 per person.

If you're interested in going and helping to show the nation and the world the level of dissatisfaction with Bush's invasion and occupation, please get in touch soon to book a spot on this trip.

To sign up, donate towards helping defray the costs, or for more information, contact Cathy Bolkcom at (click to e-mail)

This is planned to be the largest march yet in opposition to the Bush war policy.

August 21, 2005


Davenport Northwest lost their initial game at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA Friday to Southeast champs Maitland, FL. 7-3. It was a heartbreaker, with Davenport's runner wisely attempting to score on a passed ball in the dirt. But the ball took a freakish hop and bounced off the back wall and directly back to the catcher who picked off Davenport's runner. This was the key play in the game and stopped Davenport's chances.

They played against a very tough West Oahu, HI team representing the Northwest. Hawaii slammed back to back homers off Davenport pitcher Kyle Franklin as soon as he entered the game in the fourth, and never looked back on their way to a 7-3 victory.

A game tonight pitted West champions Vista , CA, against New England champs Westbrook, MA. The winner of this matchup would determine whether Davenport Northwest stayed alive for championship play. If the team from California won, then Davenport would be eliminated, if Westbrook, MA prevailed, they'd stay alive.
Unfortunately, West's power hitter slugged a grand slam homerun in the last inning to put it away, so Davenport is now out of the running.

They will play Mid-Atlantic champs Newtown, PA tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

Calendar watch

"Mike Grchan for Sheriff" is having a reception Tuesday August 30 from 4:30 to 6:30pm at the Moline VFW - 1721 7th Street. They are serving sandwiches, chips & beverages. $5.00 per person.
The Rock Island County Democratic Party's annual Labor Day Picnic at Illiniwek Park begins around noon on Monday, September 5, Labor Day.

Invited guests include: Iowa Sec of State Chet Culver, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and more.

This event proves that although national labor leaders may be divided, labor folks in this region are very much united behind progressive Democrats in both Iowa and Illinois.

Thanks to those who posted their events in comments. In the future, please send such announcements or other correspondence to or simply click on the red contact link in the sidebar to the right. Thanks.

August 20, 2005

Going's On

Since this blog's inception, I've called for party organizations, campaigns, candidates, or groups to send me any announcements, invitations, or anything else they wish to publicize. I've issued several pleas, and had an open invitation for submissions in the sidebar until it became apparent that no one was interested in this.

To my dismay and surprise, no one's taken advantage of it until now.

If enough people take advantage of this opportunity, I'll create a page dedicated to current events and announcements and link to it from this page.

Today's head's up is:

Sen. Mike Jacobs will be hosting a fundraising reception at Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, 1300 River Drive Moline, at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 23rd.

As the announcement states,
"The public is invited to attend, at $40 per person, and tickets will be available at the door. There will be heavy hors d’oevres, raffles for several prizes and a cash bar.

The new state senator is carrying on a successful tradition started by his father, former State Sen. Denny Jacobs, who hosted an annual community event at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse for several years.

"This is intended to be a fun family event and we welcome folks from throughout the 36th District to this reception," said Sen. Mike Jacobs.
For further info, contact: J.P. Jacobs @ 309/230-1695.

Tip of the iceberg, man charged in Iraq kickback scheme

A Texas man pleaded guilty Friday to taking kickbacks for work in Iraq that was contracted by a support command unit headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal.

Glenn Allen Powell, 40, of Cedar Park, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court, Peoria, for major fraud against the U.S. government and violating the Anti-Kickback Act. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $1.25 million fine and up to six years of supervised release.

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Powell was a subcontracts administrator in Iraq from October 2003 to Jan. 6 for the prime contractor, Kellogg, Brown and Root Services, Inc. [Note: A division of Haliburton]

The company started investigating Mr. Powell on Jan. 6, according to the plea agreement. Company representatives searched Mr. Powell's quarters in Baghdad and found $8,000 in U.S. $100 bills in a jacket, $1,580 in U.S. currency on top of a refrigerator and 5,044,000 in Iraqi dinars - the equivalent of $3,452 -- stacked behind clothing on the top shelf of a dresser.

Kellogg, Brown and Root security personnel then interviewed Mr. Powell and he admitted to making an agreement with undisclosed company to get 20 percent of the $609,000 subcontract as a kickback, according to the plea agreement.

The money found during the search of Mr. Powell's quarters was money he'd received from a payment in October 2004.

This is the second time this year that an employee of Kellogg, Brown and Root Services has been charged with taking kickbacks for contract work.

Jeff Alex Mazon, 36, a former employee of the company, and Ali Hijazi, the managing partner of a Kuwaiti business, are charged in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, with four counts of major fraud against the United States government and six counts of wire fraud.

The two are accused of devising a scheme to defraud the United States of more than $3.5 million through a subcontract awarded to a Kuwaiti company, LaNouvelle General Trading and Contracting Co. That company was contracted to provide fuel tankers for military operations in Kuwait.

Mr. Mazon has pleaded innocent to the charges. Mr. Hijazi has never made an appearance in the case.
Now if they'd just do a little more investigation about the missing $10 billion that's gone unaccounted for in Iraq, or the several verified reports of money being stacked on pallets and handed out off the back of trucks.

Ahhh Summertime

A very close friend of The Dope relaxes
in the "c-ment pond". I love summer.

August 19, 2005

I can't help it

I know it's unseemly, but I can't help but show off Dope One, my latest upgrade. For times when ground must be covered in a minimum of time, nothing beats it. And for the curious, if you squint your eyes, you can see me in the pilot's seat.

"It's Over."

James Wolcott notices a paper written by "Immanuel Wallerstein, Senior Research Scholar at Yale, former President of the International Sociological Association, and the author of, among other works, the three-volume magnum opus The Modern World-System."

Wallerstein's contentions are damn hard to argue against.

"It's over. For the U.S. to win the Iraq war requires three things: defeating the Iraqi resistance; establishing a stable government in Iraq that is friendly to the U.S.; maintaining the support of the American people while the first two are being done. None of these three seem any longer possible. First, the U.S. military itself no longer believes it can defeat the resistance. Secondly, the likelihood that the Iraqi politicians can agree on a constitution is almost nil, and therefore the likelihood of a minimally stable central government is almost nil. Thirdly, the U.S. public is turning against the war because it sees no "light at the end of the tunnel."

"As a result, the Bush regime is in an impossible position. It would like to withdraw in a dignified manner, asserting some semblance of victory. But, if it tries to do this, it will face ferocious anger and deception on the part of the war party at home. And if it does not, it will face ferocious anger on the part of the withdrawal party. It will end up satisfying neither, lose face precipitously, and be remembered in ignominy."

"But, for the Bush regime, the worst picture of all is on the home front. Approval rating of Bush for the conduct of the Iraqi war has gone down to 36 percent. The figures have been going steadily down for some time and should continue to do so. For poor George Bush is now faced with the vigil of Cindy Sheehan. She is a 48-year-old mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq a year ago. Incensed by Bush's statement that the U.S. soldiers died in a "noble cause," she decided to go to Crawford, Texas, and ask to see the president so that he could explain to her for what "noble cause" her son died.

"Of course, George W. Bush hasn't had the courage to see her. He sent out emissaries. She said this wasn't enough, that she wanted to see Bush personally. She has now said that she will maintain a vigil outside Bush's home until either he sees her or she is arrested...

"Bush won't see her because he knows there is nothing that he can say to her. Seeing her is a losing proposition. But so is not seeing her. The pressure to withdraw from Iraq is now becoming mainstream. It is not because the U.S. public shares the view that the U.S. is an imperialist power in Iraq. It is because there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel... They want out. Bush is caught in an insoluble dilemma. The war is lost."
The implication from this is that every life lost from here on in, and those lost in the mis-guided effort so far, was wasted. If George W. Bush wasn't the leader of the United States, he'd be up on war crimes.

And there has been much talk lately regarding Iran, the point being that Iran is really the only beneficiary of Bush's grand adventure. They were mortal enemies of Sadaam, and are or will soon be, a nuclear power. All Bush and his delusional neo-con egotists have accomplished is destablizing Iraq enough for Iran to exert it's will on the country. In other words, things were better with Sadaam in power, at least from a geopolitical standpoint. With Iraq unravelling, it's more likely that what eventually emerges in Iraq is more in Iran's image than Americas.

The true scope of Bush's ill-considered and reckless quest for empire will likely not be fully comprehended for years to come, and will likely be worse than even his current critics could imagine. And the collossal cost in bloodshed, death, heartbreak, economic hardship, environmental degradation, and a thousand different ways will continue to be paid by the millions this administration's actions affect for generations to come.

Davenport sends team to Little League World Series for second year in a row

Davenport Northwest Little League From Davenport, Iowa, Wins Midwest Championship, Returns to 2005 Little League Baseball World Series
Little League Press Release
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 12, 2005) – A team from Davenport, Iowa, became the second U.S. region representative, and ninth overall, to earn a berth in the 2005 Little League Baseball World Series by winning the Midwest championship on Stokely Field at the Ruben F. Glick Little League Baseball Center, Friday night in Indianapolis.

Davenport Northwest Little League defeated Centennial Lakes East Little League from Circle Pines, Minn., 6-4, to win the championship game. Davenport Northwest Little League finished the six-team regional tournament with a 6-0 record, and will represent the Midwest Region in Williamsport, Pa., for the second consecutive year.

Teams representing the Midwest Region have never played in the Little League Baseball World Series championship game. Davenport Northwest Little League is the ninth Iowa state champion to advance to the Little League Baseball World Series. This is the fifth time a team from the city of Davenport has qualified for the World Series.

The Little League Baseball World Series for 11-12-year-olds will be played in Williamsport, Aug. 19-28. Sixteen teams from around the world will take part.
ESPN and ESPN2 and WOC-AM 1420 radio will be broadcasting all of Davenport Northwest's games, starting with Friday's 7 p.m. game against Southeast region champs from Maitland, Fla.

Davenport also plays Hawaii Sunday at 2 p.m. and Pennsylvania on Monday at 7 p.m.

The semifinals are next week, Wednesday through Friday. The U.S. and International championships are next Saturday, and the world title will be decided next Sunday.
ABC will televise the Little League Baseball World Series U.S. championship game on Aug. 27, at 3:30 p.m. The world championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series can be seen live on ABC at 3:30 p.m., on Aug. 28. Twenty-seven other World Series games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 for a total of 29 games on national television.
I'm not exactly the world's biggest baseball freak, but I think it's incredibly cool that a local team is going to the Little League WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP for the second year in a row! I mean, that's really an accomplishment, with them having to play and win an amazing number of games against top notch team to even advance this far, and though it went largely unnoticed last year, at least this year Mediacom is running some catchy commercials to promote the team's ESPN appearances.

I caught some of the games last year on ESPN, and they're very exciting to watch, especially when you realize that these guys are only 11-12 years old. They're amazing and play incredible ball under unimaginable pressure.

I caught the team from Hawaii in a game televised this week, and these guys are killers. I see Davenport has to get past them to advance. But the beauty of this level of play is that anything can happen, and usually does. Go Davenport!!

August 18, 2005

Flag desecration down in Texas

It seems a good Amurican by the name of Larry Northern decided that what to do was to plow his pick-up over hundreds of flags and crosses representing the fallen soldiers from Iraq which lined the road near where Cindy Sheehan and others are staging their peace vigil.

Wonder why the right wing patriotic flag defenders aren't howling their heads off? They're strangly silent.

Crooks and Liars has some video. Be sure to scroll down and check out the posts below the one linked above, especially the clip from the Daily Show. Good stuff.

In other news from Texas, a local father of a fallen soldier who agrees with Sheehan has allowed her to camp on an acre of his land which is actually closer to Bush's fake "ranch".

Get'cher Buffalo meat here

Apparently the Google ad-bot which searches for key words and tries to match up appropriate ads with a web site's content feels that we're all really craving buffalo meat. Dig in! I hear it's tasty.

"Lefty Blogs" launches

There's a nifty new site called "Lefty Blogs" which is setting out to create a list of all left-leaning blogs with the goal of "Taking back America in all Fifty States". It's a helpful way to browse and see what's going on in the liberal blogosphere in all the states across the country. Check it out.

LaHood takes himself out of Governor's race

As first reported at Capitol Fax, Ray LaHood, considered a prime Republican contender for Illinois Governor, has announced that he intends to seek re-election to congress.

Psst. HeadUsher is melting down!

Don't get in his way, but HeadUsher is having a complete, utter breakdown. He's been on a rampage in comments all day long. It's not pretty, but let's watch, shall we?

And by the way, please feel free to ignore his tantrums and comment on the actual subject of the posts. I think that would be the prudent thing to do.

Would you like The Illinois Channel carried in the area?

The Illinois Channel, the result of years of efforts by civil minded people, is actually up and running. They rely primarily on local cable systems airing the channel on public access channels which the cable companies are to make available for, well, public access.

A contact with the Illinois Channel, basically an Illinois version of C-Span, informs me that Mediacom had gotten in touch with them regarding picking them up, but that it has not responded since. The Illinois Channel intends to follow up, but as the source related, they are used to cable systems which continue to express interest and apparently Mediacom is no longer pursuing the matter.

It sounds like this could happen if both parties get back in touch and work out the details. I think it would be a win/win situation for The Illinois Channel, Mediacom, and the public. The channel would reach an important market, Mediacom would be providing a very comprehensive and important civic service to it's subscribers, and the public would gain a better understanding of the workings of state government, elected officials and prominent figures in state politics, as well as enjoying historic and general interest shows on various places in Illinois.

If you'd like the Illinois Channel added to the local cable mix, contact Mediacom at 309/743-4100 or The Illinois Channel at 217/525-7440 or and let them know you'd like to see the channel carried in our area.

After all, The Illinois Channel would provide the real "Inside Dope".

First domino in Ohio Republican scandals falls

Republican Governor Taft of Ohio has just pleaded no contest to the corruption charges detailed in this article in the NY Times. Of course, he evaded jail time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, with rampant corruption being exposed involving multiple millions of dollars in misappropriated, lost, and stolen goods and money involving top officials of the Republican party.

Sports trivia

I'm currently reading an interesting book called "Larceny and Old Leather" which deals with the many and varied ways that players and owners have tried to get an edge in baseball (otherwise known as cheating).

We've all heard of players "corking" their bats to try to gain an advantage, where they drill out the center of the bat and fill it with cork. (actually, this does nothing but lower the bat's weight, which they could achieve by simply using a lighter bat.)

But what other materials have players put inside their bats in hopes of getting an edge?

On two occasions, players have broken a bat while hitting the ball to reveal that the bat was filled with:

A. Ping-pong balls
B. Super balls
C. Concrete
D. Springs
E. Jello

Give your answer (or guess) in comments.

HeadUsher, please refrain from trying to bring things back to your favorite subject.

Labor leaders hear from Iowa Dem. gubernatorial hopefuls

Labor leaders got an early peek at four of the Democrat hopefuls for [Iowa] governor Wednesday.

What they heard were generalized statements that support union stances and foundations for the upcoming campaign.

Potential candidates Mike Blouin, Chet Culver, Ed Fallon and Patty Judge each spent 25 minutes answering questions in a forum at the Iowa Federation of Labor state convention.

Sen. Mike Gronstal and State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, who also are considering entering the race, were unable to attend.

For some odd reason, the article did not explain that Mike Blouin is head of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Chet Culver is Iowa's Secretary of State, Ed Fallon Jr. is Iowa Dist. 66 State Rep, and Patty Judge is Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture.

MidAmerican Energy to public: Bend over

Those who use natural gas to heat their homes should brace themselves for prices that are expected to be 30 to 40 percent higher this winter than last.

Allan Urlis, director of media relations for MidAmerican Energy Co., said there are three factors contributing to the projected increase in the price of natural gas: increasing prices for crude oil, high demand for natural gas to generate power to run air conditioners during a summer heat wave, and higher than normal tropical storm activity.

Tropical storms have disrupted natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, the source for 25 percent of the natural gas used in the United States, Urlis said.

Ouch! Gotta love this Bush economy. But look at the bright side. This could be an opportunity to get rid of some clutter by burning old furniture for heat.

Bushites beginning to flirt with reality?

In a now famous and historic Ron Suskind piece in the New York Times, Bruce Bartlett noted some interesting things in the case of Bush v. Reality.
Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that "if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3." The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

"Just in the past few months," Bartlett said, "I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do." Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: "This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

"This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts," Bartlett went on to say. "He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence."
Bartlett paused, then said, "But you can't run the world on faith."
The aide said that guys like me [reporters/Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
By the way, this piece spawned a movement among bloggers in which they proclaimed themselves "proud members of the reality-based community".

So, you're not nuts after all. The actions of this administration really don't have any basic in rationality or reality. The right has no respect for reality and feels they can dictate what reality is from day to day.

But now apparently, some in the White House are considering actually trying to operate in the real world.

In a piece in the Washington Post, a "senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion" states,
"We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."
Well, it's a start.

August 17, 2005

Editorial addresses Jacobs' free ride "victory".

After much recent discussion here, the Dispatch/Argus Editorial page finally weights in on the issue of Sen. Mike Jacobs recent "victory".
When Sen. Mike Jacobs was crowned by the state's Democratic political powers to succeed his father as state senator, we didn't lead the chorus of those booing the choice.

Not because we approved of the fact that other qualified candidates did not appear to be considered for the post. And, certainly not because we believed politicians such as state Sen. Denny Jacobs, no matter how successful, have earned the right to pass on their posts to their children.

But there seemed little purpose in exclaiming over the party employing the "to the victor goes the spoils" method of governance that the state's politicians had endorsed for political succession; they win, they set the rules. Unless you work to change the system, it's hard to argue too loudly and long when someone works that system to their advantage. Besides, we thought, come election time, the voters would get a chance to make their choice in the full light of day and after a full, public campaign.

... or maybe not.

Last week, we learned that Sen. Jacobs' most often mentioned potential opponent, state Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, had declined to run. The news came after Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic party chair Mike Madigan met with Rep. Boland; Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan; Sen. Jacobs; U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island; Rock Island County Democratic party chairman John Gianulis; former state senator Denny Jacobs; Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez; and key labor leaders.

Whether one believes, as some wags say, that the speaker's visit prompted Rep. Boland's decision, we hope it doesn't also mean that Sen. Jacobs will go unchallenged by disaffected Democrats for the seat to which he has not yet stood for election.

Make no mistake. This is not a reflection of his performance in his first legislative session. Indeed, even accounting for the usual bit of freshmen mistakes, even some of the Jacobs' clans most ardent critics have quietly acknowledged he seems to have acquitted himself well.

What's important, however, is that the voters are given the chance to find out who Mike Jacobs really is, what he wants and where he wants to take the voters of his senate district. The best way, indeed the only real way, to discover that is during an open, wide-ranging and energetic campaign.

No one wins, including the incumbent politician, when the party in power in a democracy gets a free pass. (And, by the way, what is free? If Speaker Madigan lent his support, what will he demand in exchange?)

Other Democrats may step forward before the primary, though at this early stage it's hard to imagine it will be someone who could have offered such a robust challenge to the new Sen. Jacobs. If, however, the speaker's reach is so long that other Democrats decline to take up the challenge, we trust Republicans are carefully considering an opponent.

It is after all a democrat (small d) society, not a Democrat kingdom.

One might suspect the Dispatch's editorial board's motives, but at least they've come around to The Dope's way of thinking on this matter.

I guess only "wags" thought Madigan had something to do with Boland's semi-decision to run for Representative once more. Hmmm. I'd suggest that believing it is more grounded in reality than not.

No doubt our friend "HeadUsher" will attack the Dispatch/Argus editorial board with the same curious argument with which he attacked anyone who dared express displeasure at Jacobs' having been given a free ride. He could just paraphrase his earlier comments here...


Exactly who and what is keeping you and your loyal minnion [sic] (diehard and mabyeseomday) [sic] from running for public office?

You, maybesomeday [sic] and Diehard sit around all day complaining, but lack the intestinal fortitude to do something about it. What's the matter? Perhaps the [sic] takes more than you are up for? If that's the case you should treat those that enter the public frey [sic] with higher regard, as it's public service, not public slavery.

People give themselves freely to serve the public. If you seek public life for glory, you simply don't understand the task at hand. In the end, winners do and losers whine? [sic] Which are you boys? Winners or losers?

Sounds like more whinning [sic] to me! Are you ever going to do anything with your life other than be cheap critics. Please enter the frey [sic] and show everyone how a real EDITORIAL BOARD does it! Well go on!

I'm sure we'll see something akin to that in the letters to the editor real soon.

Or maybe not...

(And why is he yammering about jumping into the Norse god of fertility, crops, peace, and prosperity (the definition of "frey")???

1251 more days until the nightmare ends

If you'd like to have a clock that counts down the days, hours, and minutes until the Bush scourge is removed from the White House on your desktop or webpage, or if you'd just like to check in every once in a while to see how much longer this incompetent gang of thugs is in power, click here.

August 16, 2005

A poll poll

What question(s) would you like to see asked in a future poll?

Provide the list of answers the respondents would have to chose from as well if you could.

Fire away in comments, or better yet, send your ideas to me via e-mail. And don't be afraid to have some fun with it.

Mark has losing year for first time

It shouldn't be, but news that The Mark of the Quad Cities had a losing year comes as a bit of a shock. The facility has had great success since it's inception and under it's previous management has been an outstanding success financially considering that it was not expected to make money at all.
But it appears among other factors in the loss, that concert ticket prices are outpacing what people are willing to spend for entertainment.
For the first time in 12 years, The Mark of the Quad Cities operated at a loss last fiscal year.

Ted Johnson, chairman of the Illinois Quad City Civic Center Authority, attributed the $70,000 shortfall to many factors, and stressed that he believes it will be a one-time occurrence.

"It is a fluke," Mr. Johnson said. "It has happened once. Our luck ran out a little bit last year. I don't think we'll get back into the $500,000 profits we have enjoyed over the years, but I think we can still show a profit."

He also said the deficit had nothing to do with the recent decision to sell naming rights, as that process was in the works long before the Authority knew about the shortfall to its $5 million budget.

The Authority last week signed a 10-year contract with i wireless, selling the cell-phone provider naming rights to The Mark for $425,000 a year.

The company already was paying $100,000 a year to be a sponsor of The Mark. That means the arena is getting an additional $325,000 a year from the sponsor.

Last year, The Mark received about $750,000 from sponsor revenue. Other sources of funding include event revenue, suites, concessions, ticket services, and parking -- several of which were affected by various factors last fiscal year.

Mr. Johnson, who has been a member of the Authority since it was formed in 1984, said net profits from concerts is dwindling, a trend that is industry-wide.

Last year, the number of concerts offered at The Mark stayed the same at about 20. However, artists are asking for more money and ticket prices have gone up significantly -- many of the concerts at The Mark were asking in excess of $75 a show. So less people are attending concerts, he said.

For those who do buy tickets, the high prices leave less in their pockets to buy concessions. So the arena's concession sales were down.

In addition, the number of people who are coming to The Mark to watch the Mallards and Steamwheelers also decreased last fiscal year, Mr. Johnson said

> MORE <

Bass Street concrete to be unveiled

The much touted Bass Street Landing in Moline is going to be unveiled at a ceremony Wednesday evening. The landing is a smallish patch of concrete with facilities to stage a band, a few benches, and decorative lighting. It will be the only place available for outdoor festivities within the development area near the river.

Where there once was an entire park, complete with pond and gazebo, there will now likely be condos instead, with Bass Street Landing being the only public space set aside, other than the bike path.

As you can tell, I'm pretty dubious about this project and it's future. I don't think it will be utilized much and is only a little design tid-bit that was thrown in in order to at least have some sort of public space in the plan.

It's not a bad little space, and it does have potential, so come on down and celebrate this addition to downtown Moline and be the judge for yourself.

Moline's new Bass Street Landing plaza will be unveiled to the public on Wednesday.

To celebrate the completion of phase one of construction, a public event will be held from 7 - 9 p.m. at the new plaza at 17th Street and River Drive.

The free celebration includes a ribbon cutting at 7 p.m., live music, a historical presentation, dedication and lighting of the plaza at dusk, and an open house of RiverStation.

Free Park & Ride service will be available. Attendees may park at The Mark of the Quad Cities and ride the trolley or walk the bike path behind the Mark to Bass Street Landing.

The event is being sponsored by the city, Renew Moline, Moline Centre Partners, and neighbors of Bass Street Landing.

Sometimes it's hard to not get discouraged

I just got back from an early morning run to the gas station. I like the guy that runs the place, and of course, as another customer came in, the talk turned to the incredibly high price of gas. The owner said he wasn't even selling at his break even point and showed us a sheet of what he was paying for gas. The cheapest grade was at $2.49 a gallon.

I said that someone was getting rich, even if it wasn't him. I then mentioned how the Bush family has had strong ties to the Saudis going back decades, but to my surprise, he didn't like hearing that at all. He immediatly shot back that CLINTON was the one dealing with the Saudis, which was so bizarre and out there that I chose to just ignore it and restated how the Bush family and the Saudi royal family have several links in many ways, business and otherwise and are very tight. To this he shot back instantly that AL GORE has more money invested in oil that George W. Bush, "And that's a fact." he assured me.

I again said that the Bushes have had ties with the Saudis going way back to when Sr. was CIA honcho, but the owner had yet another card to play to defend his dear leader. He said that most of the gas he gets is from the United States and the Saudis don't have much say about things at all. The American companies could tell the Saudis what to do, and should. (I hated to tell him that there aren't too many American oil companies left.)

At this point, I realized that this guy was a 100% Fox News watchin', Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity lovin', Bill O'Reilly believin' utterly uninformed zombie who would never let reality intrude into the little world they'd constructed for him.

To his assertion that the Saudis don't have much to do with the price of oil, I just half-heartedly reminded him of OPEC and how they had the entire US wrapped around their finger back during the oil embargo as I walked out the door, but by then my heart wasn't in it. The depth of his ignorance was simply too much for me, and I was dejected and demoralized.

Sure, I could have stood there and pointed out that, even if it was true (doubtful) that Al Gore has more money invested in oil that W, was he suggesting that Al Gore, the guy who literally wrote the book about getting off the oil economy and developing alternative energy sources, was more involved and committed to the oil industry than a guy who's family business has been oil for generations and a V.P. who ran one of the largest oil production services companies on the planet?

I could have systematically shown him the folly of his thinking, but why? It's futile. The right wing noise machine had filled him chock full to the brim with it's idiotic, distorted, and false, but easily digestible and emotionally appealing tripe. And he could recite it like a machine. He was fully programmed and ready for duty.

These sorts of encounters are devastating to me. It fills me with so many emotions, and none of them good. I'm sorry for the guy, I'm furious that anyone could be that ill informed and ignorant AND SO DAMN CERTAIN OF THEMSELVES besides. It makes me wanna hollar when someone like this guy, who is GETTING SCREWED by Bush's policies is so devoted to him. I despair for how pervasive and ubiquitous the right wing's massive propaganda campaign has been, and mourn it's massive success. And most of all, I fear for the future of this country, it's people, it's economy, and perhaps most of all, it's future generations.

I'm sure I'll snap out of my funk and get back to being my happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care, incredibly charming self before too long. But damn, running into one of these Bush-bots face to face is really, really depressing.

Them tough as nails Texans react to Sheehan protest

TBogg has the post here. It's really no wonder Bush came from Texas, land of the drunk, stupid, and armed to the teeth.

Seen about town

Well whaddaya know? Apparently the area faith community has taken notice of this humble blog.

The Baptists are flattering.

The Catholics are straightforward.

While Trinity seems to favor the "scare 'em 'til they're Christian" brand of religion.

And while we're on the more spiritual side of things, I might pass along a couple verses from the Bible which a certain illustrious commenter might find instructive.

"But he that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abused; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Matthew 23:11, 12

"He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding."
Proverbs 15:32

August 15, 2005

Got Democracy?

141 votes were cast in answer to the poll question "Should there be free and open competition in local Democratic primary elections?" The results are:

Yes, the public should be exposed to all qualified candidates and be able to choose their candidate democratically. - 119 votes or 79.9%

No, party discipline is too important to leave candidate choice up to the people of the district. State party leaders have the right to support only incumbants and to exclude and work against interetsted challengers. - 30 votes or 20.1%

Despite politicians being all for the elimination of competition and free choice, people still prefer a democratic process by a margin of 8 to 2. That's good to see.

The politics of oil

Gas prices surged 20 cents over the past three weeks to an all-time high of $2.50 per gallon of self-serve regular, according to a national survey.

The price surge "does smash the all-time record high for the third time this year," Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey, said Sunday.

"Crude oil has caused this jump at the pump," she said of the survey, taken August 12 at about 7,000 gas stations in every state.

This is a huge and complex subject, but what is the relationship between these soaring gas prices, the fact that America's stature in the world has sunk to an all-time low, especially among some of the largest oil producing countries, the supposed access to Iraqi oil, the fact that this administration is packed with oil industry figures, and the fact that it's recent energy bill provided enormous tax givaways and subsidies to oil and gas mega-corporations, despite the fact that they've posted record profit levels, while included absolutely nothing to encourage conservation or alternative energy development.
What impact will these huge jumps in the price of gas have on the cost of other goods and services? Is this nearing a crisis? Or will people simply go broke in order to keep feeding their gas-guzzling habit?

August 14, 2005

Creeps and Morons

What sort of person would take the time and energy to go protest against Cindy Sheehan? Who would feel anger towards a woman and her like-minded supporters, many of whom have lost their children to Bush's war, a war which they feel is unjustified and based on lies; people who want the killing to stop.
Well, this blowhard for one.

He's an oh-so-tough conservative talk show chump who chartered buses so his mentally challenged listeners (the marjority of them unemployed or just kids, evidently)
could ride a bus from Dallas/Ft. Worth just to harass Cindy Sheehan and her like-minded supporters who are staging a vigil along the road to Bush's stage prop "ranch" near Waco, TX. What did they sing on the way? "99 dead soldiers on the wall, 99 dead soldiers on the wall, take one down...."?

This jack-hole talk radio screamer is capitalizing on Cindy Sheehan's sincere grief for her young son slain in Iraq in order to grab some cheap publicity for his phony radio carreer, and is doing so by accusing SHEEHAN of staging her protest out of some warped craving for attention and publicity.

Yep, the guy should be horse-whipped and rolled in salt, but that would be too good for him.

These folks are brilliant, as are the Free Republic members who can be counted on to show up to protest anytime anyone protests Bush or his policies, much like a modern day equivilent of Hitler's Brownshirts, only dumber, as evidenced by this representitive member.

Their protests largely consist of standing around waving flags of various sizes, as if this somehow means something. Do they think it will drive the peace protesters nuts to see the flag, as if they're waving a cross in front of a vampire? Are they nuts? Do they not realize that the protestors love their country more than they do, as they're willing to do more than wave flags and buy foreign made ribbon magnets to slap on their cars in order to protest policies that they believe are harming our country?

But seriously, just what exactly are these people protesting? The fact that a woman who lost her son has the strength of character to actually do something visible and moving to make her point and plead her case? Are they protesting in FAVOR of war and death? Are they protesting because Cindy Sheehan wants the killing and slaughter to end and they think dead soldiers and innocent civilians are what makes America great?
Don't they think their sainted president can deal with a grieving and angry mom by himself without their help? I guess maybe since Bush refuses to take a few moments to meet with her, his mindless minions sense that he's under attack and felt the need to go protect him from a middle-aged woman.

What exactly motivates these creeps to want to go yell at and harass people who are only peacefully petitioning for an end to death and destruction and some accountability from the president who is responsible for sending these people to their deaths?

Of course someone could disagree with Sheehan's views or feel that withdrawing all of our troops would be unwise, that's an honest difference of opinion.

But even if you held that view, why in the world would you feel threatened by this woman? What would motivate you to want to somehow try to villianize and smear her as many right wingers are busily trying to do, usually dishonestly and by the use of the fact that some of her family members disagree with her as if that means she's somehow illegitimate. The fact that some members of her family (by marriage) disagree with her proves what? Yes, you're right. It proves that some of her relatives disagree with her, period, which proves exactly nothing at all and takes away from the legitimacy of Sheehan's protest not a wit.

Any idea why people feel the need to protest IN FAVOR of war, death and destruction?
Any idea why they feel theatened by this woman?

August 13, 2005

Republican criminal values

The Republican Party says it still has a zero-tolerance policy for tampering with voters even as it pays the legal bills for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to thwart Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.

James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002.

The Republican National Committee already has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent [sic], a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly.
Read the rest at Roger Ailes.

Another right-wing proposal shown to be folly

There's been a lot of hew and cry in the media, especially from the usual gang of programmed right-wing shills, about how those silly civil rights and the mamby-pamby liberals who love them are making us all vulnerable to the 'terrists who, as Bush and his minions constantly remind us, spend every waking moment of their lives dreaming about killing YOU and everyone you hold dear. (even your pets, including goldfish.)

It seems that these wingers really, really, REALLY want to go full bore on profiling, that is, singling out anyone who looks like they're a youngish person of arabian or middle-eastern extraction. They say that it's just plain silly to be checking everyone randomly. They're insulted and really pissed that decent white people like themselves have to be inconvenienced in our so-called "war on terror."

Why bother us superior and innocent white christians? Just concentrate on those swarthy men who are evil incarnate. And as part of their whining, they manage to blame this situation on liberals, of course.

I guess this suggests that if they had their way,they'd never bother good white people. Hell, no white person would ever do anything like those evil Muslims do.

Since 9-11, there's only been one case of actually finding someone with an explosive device trying to board an airplane. The IED, or improvised explosive devise was in the possession of this swarthy Muslim, white guy, 24 year old Charles Alfred Dreyling Jr. who tried to board a plane for Philladelphia last Wednesday at Oklahoma City's Will Rodgers airport with the device in his luggage.


(not to mention good old Timmy McVeigh, and Eric Rudolph, both responsible for home-grown terrorism, and both lily white.)

We can only thank the stars that at least the looney right doesn't get all of their stupid idea put into practice.


on George and Karl HERE and HERE.

Where do pets come from?

The following is a very touching verse with a biblical bent found in comments at Eschaton which I thought was well worth sharing with the petlovers among us. (particularly those of us who appreciate cats.)

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal.
And God was pleased.
And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, " I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.
And they were comforted.
And God was pleased.
And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.
And they were greatly improved.

And God was pleased.
And Dog was happy.

And Cat didn't give a flying f*ck one way or the other.

Jacobs escapes contest, claims "victory", Boland nixes run for Senate, Leaves door open for Treasurer, Ahern, Haring to challenge for 71st dist. seat

From the Kurt Allemeier piece on Q.C. Online:
Where state Rep. Mike Boland would land on the 2006 ballot has been a parlor game for local Democrats for several months.

Mike Madigan, chairman of the state Democratic party and speaker of the State House of Representatives, paid a visit to Rock Island last week to straighten out the Democratic ticket. Mr. Madigan left town with the situation a little clearer.

Rep. Boland, of East Moline, has intimated he might challenge state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, for his seat, or perhaps run for statewide office. He discussed his future on at least one previous occasion with Speaker Madigan.

Rep. Boland has ruled out a run against Sen. Jacobs in the primary and is leaning toward running for re-election, though he hasn't completely ruled out a possible run for state treasurer. He concedes it is unlikely he'll run for treasurer unless Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka runs for governor.

"The Senate thing just isn't any benefit to me because I would have to start over with seniority," Rep. Boland said. "I am only one or two elections away from a leadership position and that is awful hard to give up."

The meeting included Rep. Boland; Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan; Sen. Jacobs; U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island; Rock Island County Democratic party chairman John Gianulis; former state senator Denny Jacobs; Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez; and key labor leaders.

Rep. Boland has served the 71st District since 1994 and is chairman of the House financial institutions committee. He faces at least one challenger in the March primary. Dennis Ahern of Moline, who lost to Rep. Boland in the 2004 primary, has announced his plans to run again. Republican Steve Haring, of Savanna, who lost to Rep. Boland in the 2004 general election, is also in the race.

A spokesman for the state Democratic party described the meeting as Speaker Madigan touching base with party faithful, rather than solving any problems.

"The speaker regularly goes into communities and talks to incumbents and candidates," spokesman Steve Brown said. Rock Island County "is a good Democratic area and it is going to be a big year and we want to maximize the vote."

Democrats enjoy a majority in both houses of the General Assembly. The party's concern is the possibility of losing an incumbent in a district that doesn't favor Democrats. Recruiting and running a newcomer would be an iffy and costly proposition. The state party might have to chip in $500,000 to help a newcomer.

"When you lose an incumbent and start over with a new candidate it is hard to get them elected," Mr. Gianulis said. "Madigan encouraged and supported (Rep. Boland) to run again for re-election."

Sen. Jacobs admitted he was relieved by the outcome of the meeting, and pledged his support to Rep. Boland. He was appointed to the seat in February though Rep. Boland had expressed interest in it to Mr. Madigan and Mr. Gianulis.

"The last thing the speaker wanted to do was to have to find someone as qualified as Rep. Boland to run in that district," Sen. Jacobs said. "The strongest ticket we have is state Rep. Pat Verschoore, state Rep. Mike Boland, state Sen. Mike Jacobs, and Rep. Lane Evans.

"That gives us a pretty strong one-two-three-four punch."
Do you believe the B.S. that Madigan was just here for a friendly chit-chat, "touching base" with local Dem figures, rather than "solving problems"? ha!

Well, at least we'll have a choice for Rep. But Senator Mike dodged another bullet.
And as the piece states, we could have choice, but it's too expensive.

And it's interesting that former Senator Denny was in the meetings as well. Guess the training wheels aren't completely off just yet.

And I find Jacobs' comment, "The last thing the speaker wanted to do was to have to find someone as qualified as Rep. Boland to run in that district." to be interesting, especially since he or his shill have been putting the horns on Boland here with reckless abandon for months, attacking Boland as if he wasn't fit to be assistant vice-deputy dog catcher.

Granted, Boland is a strong candidate, and one could certainly say he's the strongest available, but if he were to run for another position, would finding a qualified candidate really be that difficult? What about McNeil or Ahern? Jacobs makes it sound like finding candidates to compete in Boland's district would be next to impossible.