March 31, 2006

Prominent Republican talk show host shows us how the right is bringing dignity and honor to political discourse.

On the March 31 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz said that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." Boortz was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.
This will pass barely noticed and is so common that it's not even considered news by the press.

Keep in mind that this guy probably makes over a million a year for saying things like this. The right wing richly rewards the cogs in their noise machine.

What a lovely guy.

No wonder he's Bush's favorite Supreme Court Justice.

In the Boston Herald:

Minutes after receiving the Eucharist at a special Mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had a special blessing of his own for those who question his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture, flicking his hand under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.

Amid a growing national controversy about the gesture U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the freelance photographer who captured the moment has come forward with the picture.

"It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment," said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper "got the story right."

Smith said the jurist "immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ "

Scalia’s office yesterday referred questions regarding the flap to Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg, who said a letter Scalia sent Tuesday to the Herald defending his gesture at the cathedral "speaks for itself."

"He has no further comment," Arberg said.
Ah... but he did, firing off a letter to the Herald accusing their staffers of "watching too many episodes of the Sopranos" and denying it was an obscene jesture.

Lot's of reaction in related articles says it is certainly not something one does in church.

And the photographer which released the picture ended up getting canned by the Catholic newspaper he worked for.

March 30, 2006

Evans endorses Hare as replacement

NewsChannel 8 has learned that retiring Congressman Lane Evans says he wants to see Phil Hare takes his place on the November ballot.

Hare is currently Evans' district office representative in Moline.

Rock Island County Democratic Committeeman Don Johnston says he heard the news just about an hour ago and says the process to pick a replacement needs some refining.

Evans announced his retirement earlier this week because he isn't able to do his job and campaign while dealing with Parkinson's Disease.

Hare has been part of Evans office since his first term in office in 1982.


March 29, 2006

FCC ruling exempts blogs

Prominent bloggers and others have fought to ensure that Federal campaign finance regulations and restrictions weren't applied too broadly to internet communications. This ruling ensures that blogs and individuals continue to have the same freedom as newspapers and other media as they should.
The Federal Election Commission decided Monday that the nation's new campaign finance law will not apply to most political activity on the Internet.

In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person's Web site.

The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the Internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.

"It's a win, win, win," Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, adding that the rule would satisfy concerns of campaigns, individuals and the Internet community about whether the campaign finance law applies to Internet political activity.
The law was never intended to regulate private citizen communication on the Internet," said Commission Vice Chairman Robert D. Lenhard. "I believe that we have achieved that goal today."

Commissioners said the new rule also specifically changes several other FEC regulations to make it clear that Internet activity, such as blogging, e-mail communications and online publications, is not covered by the campaign law.

For example, the rule says individuals can use union or corporate computers or other electronic devices for political activity, as long they do it on their own time and are not coerced to engage in such activity by the union or corporation.

Bloggers would be entitled to the same exemption from the campaign finance law that newspapers and other traditional forms of media receive.

"There will be no second class citizens among members of the media," Toner said.

Press reports on Evans retirement and fallout

An article in the Springfield State Journal-Register provides more insight on how the decision came about and the mechanism which will be used to select Evans' replacement.
When Vetzner and other top staffers met with Evans for what was supposed to be a planning session Monday afternoon, he surprised them with his decision to retire.

"He was joking around, teasing people as he does. He was in very good spirits, when he said, "I've decided to retire," said Vetzner, who has worked for Evans for 19 years.

Evans' chief of staff, Dennis King, and district director, Phil Hare, have worked with him since he was first elected in 1982.

"We're disappointed. We're family. We're shocked. But at the same time, we're certainly proud of everything he's worked for," Vetzner said.

Evans made the decision during the weekend after consulting with his three brothers and close friends, Vetzner said.

Evans was unopposed in the Democratic primary March 21. Democratic Party officials from the 17th Congressional District have until Aug. 31 to decide who replaces him on the Nov. 7 ballot. Republicans last week nominated former television anchor Andrea Zinga, who lost to Evans in 2004 after she made his health a campaign issue.

Evans told sympathetic audiences, "I may be slow, but I know which way to go." He defeated Zinga 61 percent to 39 percent.

On Tuesday, Zinga said, "I wish him the very best in his retirement. I also want to take the opportunity to recognize his many able years of service as a veteran and as a public servant to his country."

She refused to speculate whether the incumbent's retirement gives her an advantage in November.

"I think the best idea is to leave politics for another day," she said.

But Zinga's consultant Charlie Johnston suggested that Democrats might be hurt by the makeup of the oddly shaped district they drew after the 2000 census to give Evans a safe Democratic seat. The L-shaped district stretches from Rock Island to Calhoun counties, then juts out to include Macoupin and part of Sangamon. North-south rivalries could present a serious problem for Democrats, Johnston said.

"There might be truth to that in some circles, but in the final analysis, I think the Democratic chairmen are going to do what is right for that district," said Macoupin County Democratic Party Chairman Mike Mathis.

The Democratic precinct committee representatives in each of the 23 full and partial counties that make up the 17th Congressional District will have a weighted vote, based on the number of Democratic votes cast in last week's primary, according to Illinois State Board of Elections' legal counsel Steve Sturm. The counties expected to have the greatest influence in selecting a replacement are Rock Island, Fulton, Macon, Macoupin and Adams.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a memo to reporters noting that Zinga only has $3,600 in her campaign fund after a tough primary battle, and that the district remains strongly Democratic.

Potential Democratic candidates being mentioned include state Rep. Mike Boland of East Moline, state Sen. Mike Jacobs of East Moline, Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert, Knox County State's Attorney Paul Mangieri, former Quincy Mayor Chuck Scholz and state Sen. John Sullivan of Rushville. Also mentioned are Hare, Evans' district director, and his economic development director, Jerry Lack.

Hare said he is "certainly interested," but declined further comment because he said he didn't want to take the spotlight from Evans.

Rock Island County Democratic Chairman John Gianulis declined to discuss possible candidates Tuesday. Knox County Democratic Chairman Norm Winick acknowledged Rock Island's significant influence in the selection process.

Evans' spokesman declined to say whether he planned to make an endorsement in the race.

However, politics was temporarily set aside on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as lawmakers of both parties lauded Evans and his many years of service.

Calling Evans "my best friend in the Illinois delegation," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told colleagues on the Senate floor that Evans "showed extraordinary political courage fighting for the values that brought him to public service. But his greatest show of courage has been over the last 10 years as he battled a cruel disease and those who tried to exploit his physical weakness," an apparent jab at Zinga.

Durbin and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., described Evans' battles to get compensation for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, to help homeless veterans and those who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

"He is one of the most gracious, best-humored and hardest-working people that I've ever had the pleasure to know," said Obama, who credited Evans' early support for his Senate campaign for his election.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recalled his longtime partnership with Evans to end the use around the world of land mines, which endanger soldiers and civilians.

"His decency comes from deep within and it has touched the lives of millions of people to help make their lives better," Leahy said.

Republicans also praised Evans' long tenure in the House.

Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, said Evans "has a well-deserved reputation for delivering first-class constituent service, and it has been a true pleasure for me to work with him on a host of issues that impact the citizens of our adjacent districts."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Plano, commended Evans for "his faithful service to the people he represents as a valuable member of the Illinois congressional delegation and wish him the best in his battle with Parkinson's disease."

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said he respected Evans, who was senior Democrat on the committee.

"Even when we disagreed on policy matters, I never doubted that his policies on veterans' matters are rooted in his service as a United States Marine during the Vietnam era. Lane is a man of integrity, compassion and honor," Buyer said.

In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich also praised Evans' tireless work on behalf of veterans and his constituents.

"All along the way, he held tight to his values and priorities," Blagojevich said. "I'm saddened by the news that Lane's battle with Parkinson's is taking him out of public service."
The Chicago Trib notes,
The surprise announcement by Evans touched off a wave of speculation Tuesday over whom state Democratic officials would choose to represent the party on the November ballot. When he came to office, his district was one of the most competitive in Illinois, but after state lawmakers redrew the boundaries in 2000, it became a far safer district for Democrats.

"It was a lot more within our grasp before it was carved up," said Tom Getz, the GOP chairman in Rock Island County. "Now it's a lot more difficult for Republicans to win in this district. But it's still possible."

The district, which is made up of nine counties and pieces of 14 others, was described by Congressional Quarterly as "a geographic monstrosity," including much of central Illinois' border along the Mississippi River "with tentaclelike appendages as far inland as Springfield and Decatur."

A list of a half dozen state legislators and local officials emerged Tuesday as possible candidates. Because Evans decided to announce his retirement a week after the Illinois primary, he will have to be replaced on the ballot. The party's candidate will be decided by Democratic chairmen in the district's counties.
The list of Democrats being considered for Evans' seat include: state Sen. Mike Jacobs of East Moline; Phil Hare, Evans' chief of staff; state Rep. Mike Boland of East Moline; Mark Schwiebert, mayor of Rock Island; and Paul Mangieri, Knox County state's attorney, who was defeated last week in his bid for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer.
And the AP story picked up by the San Fransico Chronicle contains the "his brain works fine" quote from Sen. Jacobs.

Evans resignation fallout

The stampede is on.

Word about Evans' resignation touched off an immediate flurry of speculation and the appearance of campaign-like messages promoting people for the position.

Reactions here has mentioned R.I. Mayor Mark Schweibert, and from the "more of the same" camp, long-time Evans aide Phil Hare seems to have a few fans.

Also put forward is the musical chairs notion that Sen. Mike Jacobs, fresh from ecking out a primary win, should somehow be appointed once again, this time as U.S. Representitive candidate, which would enable placing Porter McNeil in the position Jacobs holds today.

Jacobs manages to float himself in a Springfield Journal-Register piece on the situation.
A potential replacement is state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. The freshman senator said he had not talked to Evans and his staff but had been approached by others about running.

"Like everyone in my district, I'm saddened by the news," Jacobs said at the state Capitol. "His brain works fine, but his mouth just couldn't give the words ... We are losing a great friend to our district."

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax floats both McNeil and Ted Brunsvold.

Comments there are interesting and in addition to the above names, float several others, including:

  • Rep. Mike Boland
  • Paul Mangieri, who just got beaten out for state treasurer
  • Sen. John Sullivan, though there's considerable debate about whether he even lives in the district.
  • Tom Carper, former Macomb mayor
  • Chuck Scholz, mayor of Quincy
  • Amy Stockwell, Macon County Auditor
  • John Gianulis, R.I. County Dem Chairman
  • Jeff Terronez, R.I. County States Attorney

Comments run nearly entirely positively on McNeil, marginal or negative on Jacobs, and mixed on the others.

Phil Hare also comes in for some particularly brutal pounding.

Commenter "Bomber91" notes:
In the end, this boils down to what the mighty Jacobs empire decides. If Denny wants the spot, he’ll get it. If he wants Mike to go to Congress, Mike will get the nod. I don’t buy for a second there would be a Danny Lipinski style carpetbagger moving in. Someone needs to ask Denny want he’s thinking. I’m sure Lane already has.

Any sense in all of this?

Tell us
1. Who you think is going to get the appointment
2. Who you think should get it, and
3. Who you think would be the best candidate against Zinga.

Of course, your answers can all be the same, but if you're honest, they likely won't be.

And please, keep the campaign ads to a minimum.

March 28, 2006

Evans steps down

Rep. Lane Evans will announce at noon today that he will not seek re-election in November, sources have confirmed.

The 12-term incumbent was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1995. He has not participated in any votes in the House since Feb. 15. He has been away from work on the suggestion of his doctors.

Rep. Evans' office said there would be an announcement made today at 1 p.m. Washington time, noon local time, but would not give further details.

Former state Sen. Denny Jacobs, of East Moline, confirmed that Rep. Evans would not seek election in the fall because of his ongoing health problems.

"It is unfortunate he had to go out this way," Mr. Jacobs said. "It's much nicer to go out on top. My understanding is his doctors and his brothers said `Enough is enough. This is killing you.' Lane Evans exemplifies service above self."

Rep. Evans, who was nominated earlier this month for a 13th term in Congress, has been at his Washington home since Feb. 15, and an aide on Monday declined to speculate about when the congressman would return to work, raising the possibility that he will miss another week of votes.

Rep. Evans absence from work has been on the suggestion of his doctors as a way to combat the effects of Parkinson's disease.

Steve Vetzner, spokesman for Rep. Evans, would not say Monday whether the congressman would return to work this week, nor would he say whether the congressman plans to announce his return in advance.

The House of Representatives was out of session last week, but returned this week with the first votes scheduled for this evening. It plans to take up a slate of non-controversial bills today, and then on Wednesday and Thursday is to vote on the reauthorization of higher education programs and a bill to exempt online speech from federal campaign laws.

First elected in 1982, Rep. Evans, 54, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1995. He has stated, through Mr. Vetzner, that he plans to resume work at an unspecified later date and plans to pursue his re-election campaign.

Evans' 2004 opponent, former television broadcaster Andrea Zinga of Coal Valley, won the GOP nomination for the office in the primary this month.
What now?

Schweibert is on the short list.

More at Passing Parade

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's statement regarding Lane Evans' retirement announcement.

Lane Evans statement on retirement


This is a tough day for me. I am announcing that I will not run for reelection and will retire at the end of my current term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When I announced in 1998 that I had Parkinson's Disease, my doctor said that this condition would not interfere with my work and that I would be able to perform at a high level for a number of years. That window of opportunity is now closing.

I fully expected that I would continue my work for the foreseeable future following this current break from the office. But I have come to recognize that the time needed to address my health makes it difficult to wage a campaign and carry out my work as representative. I will return soon and to the best of my ability complete the important work of this term in my roles as representative and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

This decision is especially tough because this job means so much to me. I believe strongly in serving people and working to make a positive difference in their lives. Every day has been rewarding and I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish and the fights I've made.

I thank my family and everyone who has worked with me -- great friends, terrific colleagues, a dedicated staff, fellow vets. And I appreciate the support of people I never met before who would ask how I was doing and tell me to keep up the good fight. I'll be doing that in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to thanking every one of you personally for all you have meant to me.

To my constituents and veterans across this country, it is an honor and privilege to represent you.

Semper Fi,

Lane Evans

March 27, 2006

What the hell is MABAS and why should I care?

MABAS stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. Why should you care?

Well, this system was implemented for firefighters in urban and suburban areas where suburbs are all crowded together. It allows the nearest firestation to respond to a call no matter if it happens to be in an adjoining town. Good idea.

But now it's being implemented locally, and used as a justification for cutting firefighter positions.

An interested party in all of this is a committed firefighter who's set up a blog to inform the public about this matter and how it affects their safety and city budget. He does a good job explaining the intricacies of this arrangement and why citizens should care.

Take a look at Inside the Firehouse and see what he has to say about this issue of importance to the area.

Remember to start reading from the bottom up.

Will a Democat majority be a dream come true or just a dream?

Can the Democrats regain a majority in the U.S. House and/or Senate?

This question was addressed on yesterday's Meet the Press and Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report made a couple points which stood out.

He noted that the Dems will have a very difficult time regaining majorities in either body due to structural reasons. In other words, there aren't enough open seats or vulnerable seats open for them to have a good mathematical shot at it. In a certain bitter irony, despite the plunging approval numbers for both Bush and the Republican legislature, the numbers just don't favor the Democrats.

According to Cook, it would take tremendous voter backlash to enable enough Dems to overtake incumbents and gain enough seats to put them in the majority. But of course, he underestimated the number of seats the Republicans would pick up during the Gingrich onslaught by over 10.

This of course, is rather depressing, as in previous election cycles, things were lined up much more favorably for Dems, but public sentiment was running the other way.

At one point, Russert trotted out the old Republican cannard that the Dems can't succeed by simply throwing stones at the administration without offering their own proposals for the future in Iraq, immigration, the economy, "homeland" security, and other large issues.

This of course is annoying, as it's not the job of the Democrats to come up with ways to bail out the Republican's from their dangerous failures. Yet this easily digestible bit of spin is very attractive to many and seems to have become conventional wisdom.

So it was a relief to hear Cook respond that the Dems not only don't have to provide detailed counter proposals or plans of their own, but they'd be stupid to do so.

Cook added that it's the Dem's proper role to continue to point out failures by the Republicans and keep on the offense, something that's always the benefit of being in the minority. It's not the Dem's job to propose detailed plans, Cook said, as if they did, it would only provide fodder for the Republicans to attack them on and would result in putting the Dems on the defensive, when they're not even in power. Why do it?

The panel also seemed to think that a substantial withdrawal from Iraq will happen before the congressional elections and felt that it would be a big plus for Republicans.

It's over the horizon to be sure, but do any readers have any insights or thoughts on the prospect for a Democratic House or Senate majority in the next few years? Will the anti-Bush, anti-congress sentiment remain strong enough to pull it off?

The prospect of a Democratic majority in the legislature is a delicious thing to imagine, to be sure. Just imagine what it would be like if the Dems had the power to form investigative committees with subpoena powers? It would get hot on Republican crooks, including the White House, in a great big hurry. And it wouldn't be too long before all sorts of ugly secrets would begin to be revealed at last.

And if you really want to get pumped, think of the committee chairmanship changes, including Lane Evans as chair of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee...

  • Appropriations: Cochran to Byrd
  • Armed Services: Warner to Levin
  • Banking: Shelby to Sarbanes
  • Commerce: Stevens to Inouye
  • Energy: Domenici to Bingaman
  • Environment: Inhofe to Jeffords
  • Finance: Grassley to Baucus
  • Foreign Relations: Lugar to Biden
  • Health, Education, Labor: Enzi to Kennedy
  • Rules: Lott to Dodd
  • Budget: Gregg to Conrad
  • Judiciary: Specter to Leahy
  • Veteran's Affairs: Craig to Akaka
  • Joint Committee on Taxation: Grassley to Baucus
  • Ethics: Voinovich to Johnson
  • Intelligence: Roberts to Rockefeller

  • Ways and Means: Thomas to Rangel
  • Appropriations: Lewis to Obey
  • Armed Services: Hunter to Skelton
  • Judiciary: Sensenbrenner to Conyers
  • Intelligence: Hoekstra to Harmon
  • Budget: Nussle to Spratt
  • Veteran's Affairs: Buyer to Evans
  • Energy: Barton of TX to Dingell

The continuing saga of Cruella DeVille

Roger Ailes notices that Katherine Harris lied. (I'm SHOCKED!)

March 26, 2006

Halliburton henchman gets sentenced in Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) -- A former employee of a Halliburton subsidiary has pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks from a Saudi subcontractor that was awarded a $14.4 million U.S. military contract to provide dining facilities for soldiers in Kuwait.

Stephen Lowell Seamans of Maryland, a former Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. manager in Kuwait, pleaded guilty on March 10 to wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money, the U.S. Attorney's office in Springfield announced Thursday after unsealing court documents.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday also announced charges against the operations director for Tamimi Global Co., the Saudi subcontractor who the government says paid off Seamans to award his company the contract.

Mohammad Shabbir Khan, 49, is charged with making false statements to federal agents during a meeting in Rock Island on Wednesday, during which he denied making the alleged kickback payments to Seamans.

Federal prosecutors say Seamans, 44, accepted more than $124,000 from Kahn in October 2002 in exchange for the one-year U.S. Army subcontract for Tamimi to run the dining facility at Camp Arifjan, a main American base in Kuwait.

U.S. Army Operations Support Command, headquartered in Rock Island, awarded Kellogg, Brown & Root a broad contract in December 2001 to support logistics for U.S. military forces, including the provision of dining facilities for US. soldiers in Kuwait.

Seamans' plea agreement also said he agreed to take a $5,000 kickback from another, unnamed company in Kuwait in exchange for a cleaning contract. That company's managing partner later offered to hire Seamans as a consultant at an annual salary of $1.2 million after Seamans left Kellogg, Brown & Root.

The managing partner transferred $300,000 to Seamans' bank account in May 2003 as an advance on the employment agreement, but the two later agreed to end the deal and no additional payments were made, prosecutors said.

Seamans faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count, and fines of $250,000 for the wire fraud charge and $500,000 for the conspiracy to launder money charge. His sentencing is scheduled for August 4.

Halliburton spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said Friday that Seamans has not worked for Kellogg, Brown & Root since 2003, and that the company had told the U.S. government of its concerns over possible misconduct by Seamans.

"We do not tolerate this kind of behavior by anyone at any level in any Halliburton company," Norcross said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton said Seamans has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in "rooting out corruption in the military procurement supply chain."

Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the charge of making false statements to federal agents.

A message left at Tamimi's Saudi headquarters on Friday was not immediately returned.

Last month, federal prosecutors said an executive for a subcontractor hired by Kellogg, Brown & Root to fly cargo into Iraq under a military contract pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million. Sentencing for Christopher Joseph Cahill, 51, of Katy, Tex., is scheduled for May 26.

And trust me, this is only a very, very, very small drop in the bucket compared to the literally billions which have been skimmed off and stolen by Bush cronies in Iraq. It's literally looting, with accounts of contractors being paid with pallets full of cash, literally millions being handed out in satchels and people tossing huge bricks of cash into the backs of trucks.

The scope of the theft and war profiteering is yet to be realized by the public, despite news accounts verifying that there is literally BILLIONS which have gone unaccounted for by the government in Iraq. It just came up missing. Oh well.

Think the Republican congress will look into this massive fraud and theft from taxpayers?

Let them eat carp!

SPRINGFIELD — Asian carp clogging Illinois rivers could be used to feed inmates and the starving under a proposal being championed by one lawmaker.

Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, called on his fellow lawmakers Friday to earmark $750,000 in state funds to market the voracious, non-native species that can grow up to 100 pounds and crowd out other fish.

“At the end of the day, I think this is going to be a way for us to turn a really terrible problem into a really positive solution,” he said.

The money, which could be included in the state’s next budget plan, would be used to help companies reduce the population of the nuisance fish. Once harvested, the fish could be transformed into plant fertilizer or used to provide a cheap food source for prisoners and the poor worldwide, Jacobs said.

Schafer Fisheries, located in Thomson, Ill., markets about 2 million pounds of Asian carp a year, company president Mike Schafer said.

Schafer said he sells most of his product to Asian communities in the United States.

Carp’s reputation as a dirty fish is unfounded, he said.

“The only country in the whole world that has problem with carp is the United States,” he said. “Carp is a good eating fish. Smoked carp, in my opinion, is better than salmon.“

[Didn't they serve carp at the Blue Ribbon?]

Shaefer's is already marketing millions of pounds of carp. Rather than trying to expand the market themselves, they have their state senator attempt to A. Give them $750,000 (possibly 1.65 million) taxpayer dollars, and B. help them land an huge market selling their carp to the state.

[Slogans? "Carp, it's not just for breakfast anymore", "Carp, the OTHER oily, bony fish", "Carp, the new Salmon", "Got Carp?", or "Carp, it's what's for dinner.... if you're starving or in prison"

Faced with the real problem of carp infestation, their solution is selling it to the state who then in turn is expected to feed it to the only two groups in the state which don't have any choice in the matter.

Prisoners for one. who have absolutely no choice but to eat it or go hungry. Boy, talk about a captive market! (It may be struck down on cruel and unusual punishment grounds. And though they're already nighmarish hell-holes, might carp in prisons serve as a deterent to would-be criminals?)

And let's see. Is there another group the state spends funds on where the consumer really has no choice in the matter? Well of course, the starving. "Eat this stuff or die." is one hell of a convincing marketing tool. (though some might have to think it over.)

I'll have to talk to the senator about my idea for a mole meat processing facility. (it tastes like chicken) A million or so from the state for marketing to convince people that mole isn't really that bad, and a contract selling the high protein meat to school lunch programs statewide and I'm set. Fat City here I come!! It will create mole processing jobs and cut down on the destruction this pesky mammal does to yards across Illinois, not to mention being a boost to the depressed mole hunting sector. Perfect justifications. The voters will love it. Win/win any way you look at it.

But seriously folks...

An article from late November of last year reported on Jacobs' "novel idea" stated,

Jacobs says that when the legislative session opens in January, he will propose a public-private venture and request 900 thousand dollars in state funds for Schafer's Fisheries, the largest wholesale fish supplier in the Midwest.

Is this new proposal an additional $750,000 giveaway, bringing the state largesse to the fish company to a cool 1.65 million? Or simply a scale-back and repackaging of the old proposal??

Positives to the measure can be assumed to be that this might contribute to slowing down the rapid spread of the carp, and of course, the usual promise of more jobs for the company located in the northern part of the 36th district. There would also be a boon to those who want to fish for these wily and crazed fish, who reach around 100 lbs and leap missle-like out of the water at the slightest disturbance. And one of the most diabolical aspects of them is that they won't bite on a hook! I have no idea how they're planning on harvesting them unless by extensive netting or some sort of trapping.

But how much would this cost per job? For that matter, how many new jobs will be created?

Sen. Jacobs did say it would be "a really positive solution". Was that a figure of speech or is this really expected to solve the carp problem? (or even come close) Are there any solid studies or data to suggest that this infusion of money into a commerical enterprise will even make a noticable dent in the wildly exploding carp population, much less solve it? Will it have any effect at all in preventing it's rapid and inevitable spread? Though it's held out as a measure to combat the serious carp problem, will it really have any noticable effect whatsoever?

And of course there's the issue of how much the state would end up paying for this carp. The Shaeffer's official assures us that smoked carp tastes as good as salmon. After all is said and done, would the carp end up costing the state as much as salmon too?

We simply don't know. But presumably Sen. Jacobs has looked into all these vital questions. After all, you certainly wouldn't propose such a plan without knowing the answers to at least those fundamental questions. He might be forthcoming at some point in the future.

Perhaps I'm being too cynical. Tell me why this is the wisest and most efficient use of state funds in dealing with the real problem of Asian carp and their spread.

Or is it stupid of me to even care? After all, I would't want to have to answer all those questions about my mole meat proposal.

Obviously, there remains a lot of unanswered questions which makes it hard to have an informed opinion. Hopefully, these answers can be expected to be found out in due time.

One that seems crucial and which wasn't addressed in the latest article is whether this is additional money or simply a scale-back of the original proposal? Does anyone know?

What's your thoughts on the matter?

March 25, 2006

Quad Cities not immune from religious gullibility

People will believe ANYTHING.
MOLINE -- Reported sightings of the Virgin Mary on a Moline bridge over the Rock River have drawn crowds of faithful believers.

It all started innocently enough with a trip to the Rock River shore near the former Harold's on the Rock by the Larry Handel family of Colona to fetch a piece of driftwood for a new pet turtle.

Yet, what the family discovered was immeasurably more rewarding.

A vision of the Virgin Mary extending from the river's surface upward on a pillar of the Interstate 74 bridge was seen first by Abraham Handel, 5. When he pointed it out to his parents, his mother, Andrea Handel, screamed in amazement.

"And I was more than freaked out by it," Abraham's dad, Larry Handel, said Friday. "And I'm a former Marine. Nothing's supposed to surprise me."

A week later, Mrs. Handel said she's still walking around dazed, amazed by what her family witnessed.

"We kept it under our hats for a couple days, but then told Father about it," Mr. Handel said. The Handels belong to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Silvis.

The Rev. Jerry Logan and parishioners then gathered at the spot to say the rosary.

Rev. Logan declined to comment about the sighting, which Mr. Handel says is understandable, owing to his wish not to make any waves or upset leaders of the Peoria Diocese.

More than 25 people gathered and saw the Virgin Mary vision Sunday, and equal-sized groups have returned around 7:30 each night hoping to see it, Mr. Handel said.

"She comes out at night when the river is still," he said. Yet, it's bright enough, and there's enough light on the bridge to make it highly visible, he said.

"It has to be at night," Mrs. Handel said. "It's a matter of the reflection of light in the pillar and the reflection of the water.

And it seems that children must be present, Mr. Handel said.

"Kids have told their parents that they have gotten messages from Her," he said.

She told Abraham She was there to protect him, and that there will be peace, Mrs. Handel said.

Another boy, Triton Perez, also heard the Virgin Mary tell him that everything and everyone's going to be OK, Mr. Handel said.

"It's unbelievable, but it's real and it's true," former Silvis mayor Joe Terronez said.

"I was there on Monday night, but could see only a little bit of an outline," he said. "I came back Tuesday, and took my wife and daughter. I must have parked in the right place, because I looked out the windshield, and saw Her right away. She was brilliant.

"We were there last night (Thursday) til 10:30, and I tell you, it absolutely glows. It's like a neon light," he said. "Believe me, it overwhelmed me."

Silvis resident and church member Pebbles Puentes agreed.

"It was awesome," she said. "When I first saw Her, it gave me a chill right up my spine."

Her son, Emilio Puentes, 15, saw the vision first, she said. It's not surprising, she said, that Mary's appearing so easily to children, owing to the special place children hold in Her heart.

It has been equally as moving to adults, though, Mr. Handel said.

When an aunt, Dolores Esparza, saw the vision, "We had to keep her from going in the river," he said.

Ms. Esparza is Triton's grandmother "and she's a real strong Catholic," Mr. Handel said.

"I'm what you'd call a `regular Catholic,' but I'm not a tambourine-playing one," Mr. Handel said. "I'm a disabled vet, and my wife and I have had a hard life for the last two years, but this has made me feel closer to my church.

"I'm old-school, and believe in Mary, but I never believed I would have an experience like this."

Some people have doubted what he's told them about the vision. "Friends wonder what kind of medications I'm on," he said. "But a lot of people have come out here now, and have seen it."

People have left flowers and candles, and some have photographed the vision, he said.

He tells anyone disbelieving him to just join him at the Rock River and see for themselves.

Since the first sighting, Mr. Handel also believes he's seen a vision of Jesus coming from the tomb on the other side of the pillar.

"The visions are bringing people back to their faith," he said. "It touches people."

"People better take this chance to see it," Mr. Terronez said. "I hope the whole Quad-Cities, and the whole world sees it."

"Have faith in Her," Mrs. Puentes said. "She's trying to leave us some sort of message."
And people wonder how come so many people support Bush? People will abandon all logic if told something they want really want to believe, no matter how ridiculous. And they immediately start embellighing and adding more fable to it in order to reinforce their deception. And of course, an element of fear and uncertainly always helps.

The image of Pamela Anderson appeared on a paper towel I used to line the inside of my microwave. I have made a little shrine and have several candles lit around it right now.

It seems that men have to be around to see it, which makes sense because of the special place she holds in their hearts.

She's spoken to myself and a couple friends as well. Exactly what she said probably isn't fit for public consumption, but rest assured it was a message of comfort and joy.

Here's a site dealing with a few other "sightings". I particularly like the account of the guy who found Jesus peeking at him from a mildew stain next to his bathtub.

And if you'd like to bone up on the Virgin Mary's appearance on dozens of tortillas, cinnamon danishes, office windows, grilled cheese sandwiches, and elsewhere, here's the book for you.

Todd Mizener, the Dispatch/Argus photographer who shot the top photo, left this interesting account of his experience on the D/A staff blog, "Beyond Print":
I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see it. I had 300-mm lens and a 1.4x tele-converter and I still couldn’t see it.

Everyone around me saw it. I stood in the cold with the Nikon D2H mounted on a tripod and clicked away. Carefully refocusing between frames.

I stood there adjusting the exposure periodically and checking my screen to see what I had when I heard a voice behind me proclaim, “There it is…you got a nice shot of her.”

I said to myself “I did?” ‘Great’ I thought I have it but where is it? I don’t see it. Where is the imageb they all can see? They say I have it but I can’t see it.

The true believers gathered around the back of my camera and oohed and awed over my photos. They asked me to scroll through them so they could see all of them. They said they couldn’t wait to see my photo in the paper. I still couldn’t see what they saw. I tried. I squinted and changed my angle but still she wasn’t there for me.

One gentleman helped me edit my images as we stood in the cold. He told me which shots were better than others. “Oh there she is. Now that is a good one,” he said.

I quickly locked that image so that it couldn’t be deleted from the camera. I didn’t want to take the chance of mistaking it for one of my lesser images when I got back to the office.

With the help of reporter Kurt Allemeier (who was on the scene along the Rock River) and photographer Dan Videtich we picked out what we thought was the best image. I hope the true believers will see what they are looking for in my photo.

If the image of the Virgin Mary is really under the I-74 bridge over the Rock River in Moline I am glad I was there to capture it. The only problem is that for the first time in my career I couldn’t see my subject.

I guess sometimes you just have to take a shot in the dark and have a little faith.
An excellent account of the power of suggestion causing some people to think they see things that simply don't exist and a photographer used to dealing with reality, as in things that are actually visible, trying in ernest to capture what the suggestible believe is there. It's like two people looking for things in clouds.
My money is on the guy who sticks to reality. Nothing wrong with fantasy, mind you, nothing at all. But actually BELIEVING fantasy, and further yet, ascribing religious meaning to it.... now that's another matter.

Some suggest that it's a harmless trifle which at least serves to uplift the spirits of people. That may be true. But it also reveals the disturbing fact that people can be so easily manipulated and caused to believe just about anything with the right mix of religious fairy tales and fear.

And that, as we've seen over the past several years, can have dangerous and deadly consequences.

March 24, 2006

Criminals run amok in Morrison

Morrison Police Reports 03-20-06

On 03-14-06, at approximately 7:06 a.m., a representative of Spahn and Rose Lumber Company reported that several letters from a business sign were stolen some time the previous night. The approximate cost to replace the letters exceeded $300.00.

On 03-17-06, at approximately 1:53 p.m., a representative of Morrison Community High School reported that a curtain in the auditorium was torn some time the previous day. The curtain was valued at approximately $500.

On 03-18-06, at approximately 9:17 a.m. Connie Heusinkveld, Morrison, reported that someone had broken into her mobile home at 34 Meadow brook Drive and stolen a television. The burglary occurred some time since March 15.

On 03-18-06, Laura A. Owens, Lyndon, reported that someone had driven her pick-up truck, without her permission, into a guardrail while the truck was parked in the parking lot of Morrison Community Hospital. The damage to her truck exceeded $500.

"Without her permission"? That's pretty damn rude of someone to not ask permission to ram her truck into a guardrail before they did it. What's this world coming to?

1058 days ago

(CAUTION Graphic image)

Someone's child who Bush tells us "hates our freedom", or as they like to refer to them, "collateral damage".

2,355 deaths and countless wounded since "Mission Accomplished"

March 23, 2006

Primary turnout

Turnout for the primary wasn't exactly impressive.

In the counties which have results available online:

Rock Island County reports a whopping 15.81% of registered voters cast ballots.

Henry County turnout was 15.25%

and Whiteside County turnout was only 13.4%

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Post-primary analysis

Kurt Allemeier on QC Online has a piece exploring how things broke down in primary voting and the role of rural areas in helping Jacobs, Zinga, and Huff to their wins.
Jacobs received 71% of the vote in areas outside the Quad Cities which obviously meant the difference. Pat O'Brien, Jacobs'campaign manager is also heard from.
Whether they were Democrat or Republican, areas outside the Illinois metro Quad-Cities were kind to the local winners in Tuesday's Illinois primary.

Mike Jacobs singled out voters in Carroll, Henry, Mercer and Whiteside counties for thanks Tuesday night following his victory in the Democratic primary for state senate District 36.

Overall, Mr. Jacobs defeated Paul Rumler with 56 percent of the vote, but was boosted by voters outside of Rock Island County -- where he collected 71 percent of the vote, according to unofficial final results. In Rock Island County's rural areas, especially the south end of the county, Mr. Jacobs received better support than in the metro areas, according to precinct by precinct results.

Former news anchor Andrea Zinga, of Coal Valley, praised her grassroots effort that touched counties like Whiteside, Hancock and McDonough and allowed her to beat Moline businessman Jim Mowen by 275 votes in a three-candidate race for the GOP nomination for the 17th Congressional District seat.

Final results didn't come in until the wee hours of the morning, but showed Ms. Zinga with 42 percent of the vote, to Mr. Mowen's 41 percent, according to unofficial final results. Aledo businessman Brian Gilliland earned 17 percent of the vote.

Ms. Zinga's efforts in smaller counties helped offset Mr. Mowen's advantage in Rock Island, Adams and Henry counties. Ms. Zinga commented in candidate forums that Mr. Mowen was focusing his campaign in more populous counties in the district. Mr. Mowen said during the campaign that electibility in Rock Island County was a key to the election.

Mr. Mowen beat Ms. Zinga in Rock Island County 2,876 votes to 2,204.
Positive news about the opening of the Thomson prison likely helped Mr. Jacobs in Carroll and Whiteside counties, where he out-polled Mr. Rumler, Pat O'Brien, Mr. Jacobs' campaign manager, said.

Mr. Jacobs had strong support in the upper and lower ends of Rock Island County. In the lower part of the county, the strong support for state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, helped, Mr. O'Brien said. In several precincts from that area, Mr. Jacobs received 60 percent of the vote.

Getting out the vote on Tuesday was important, since an anti-incumbent sentiment seemed to be hanging over local Democratic races, Mr. O'Brien said. The Jacobs campaign rented two vans and offered to drive voters, especially from senior high rises that formerly had voting centers, to the polls.

"We were worried people who supported Mike would think, 'Oh, he doesn't have anything to worry about,' and wouldn't vote," Mr. O'Brien said. "Well, you don't have anything to worry about if those people vote."

Rock Island County Sheriff Mike Grchan got caught in the anti-incumbent sentiment. Mike Huff, a sergeant on the department, in his second try in the Democratic primary, beat the four-term incumbent with 51 percent of the vote according to unofficial final results.

Mr. Huff believes voters were ready for a change, and unlike four years ago when five candidates were on the ballot, had only two to choose from.

In the 2002 primary, Mr. Grchan received 38 percent of the vote to Mr. Huff's 24 percent.

In Tuesday's primary, Mr. Huff was buoyed by support in the upper and lower ends of Rock Island County, while Mr. Grchan found most of his support in the metro area. The upper end of the county, where Mr. Huff held a fundraiser supported by several police and fire chiefs from smaller departments in that area, especially proved to be a stronghold for the winner.

Touch screen mayhem in Chicago

As noted at Capitol Fax, experience in Chicago with touch screen voting revealed many of the problems which can erupt. This piece in the Chicago Tribune serves as a cautionary tale. The problems can be serious.

March 22, 2006

Dart easily wins Cook County Sheriff's race

In a bit of out of the area news, Tom Dart, former candidate for State Treasurer, won his bid to become Cook County Sheriff.

As reported by the Trib:

Thomas Dart 115,065
Sylvester Baker 37,279
Richard Remus 24,926

Topinka will run against Blagojevich

Judy Baar Topinka has won the Republican nomination for Illinois Governor, to no one's surprise. Her closest challenger, uber-conservative Jim Oberweiss, refused to conceed defeat however.

It's Zinga all over again

The Chicago Tribune is reporting unofficially that for the Republican 17th U.S. Representitive race, results are:

Andrea Zinga 10,473 or 42.16%
Jim Mowen 10,185 or 41%
Brian Gilliland 4,182 or 16.84%

Is Zinga getting the nod any better or worse for Evans than if it had been Mowen?

Wright had the right stuff

Unofficial results show that Judge Vicki Wright has defied expectations and scored a come from behind victory in the 3rd District Appellate Court judicial election. Odds on favorite Lance Peterson actually came in third behind Wright and candidate Tom O'Neal.

This may be the upset of the night.

Unofficial results posted by the Chicago Tribune have it:

Vicki Wright 26,298 or 39.06%
Tom O'Neal 22,010 or 32.69%
Lance Peterson 19,013 or 28.24%

Congratulations to Judge Wright on her win.

She now is expected to face a very tough general election against a candidate from Will County.

In related news... two readers scored by predicting Wright would pull in 40%, "Political Geek", and the always astute "Dissenter".

"UnionD" just missed scoring again with their prediction of 38%

Interestingly, 15/3/06 12:48, Anonymous was the lowest prediction for Peterson and came in closest by guessing 28%, nearly nailing the actual result. The same person was also the highest predictor for O'Neal and was closest there as well, though still was below O'Neal's actual percentage. Their prediction was 30% compared to O'Neals showing of 32.69%

Congratulations and the warm glow of victory go out to the winners.

Primary Hindsight

Give your reactions, analysis, explanations, or other thoughts on yesterday's results.

What surprised you the most?

Why did things turn out as they did?

Who ran a particularly good campaign and why?

What was the best moment of the campaign season?

What was the worst?

"Roads Collar" takes prediction honors

Reader "Roads Collar" absolutely blew away the competition and nailed the Jacobs/Rumler contest with his prediction that Jacobs would pull in 56% vs. Rumler's 44%

The actual totals as reported in the Dispatch are 55.98% and 44.01%, meaning that this remarkable visionary was off only a mere three hundredths of a percent on both predictions combined.

Despite the fact that taking the 1/2 second it takes to fill in a name other than "anonymous" would seem to be obviously necessary when competing with others for something like this, and despite the fact that I specifically asked readers to please not leave their predictions as that much despised moniker, amazingly, some of the clueless still did so.

In the Grchan/Huff contest unfortunately, one of these fine folks was closest in predicting the final percentage for Mike Grchan. It's already bad enough that Mike lost the race after three terms in office, but he even has to suffer the indignity of "anonymous" predicting it.

14/3/06 08:41 Anonymous predicted Grchan would get 46%, Grchan received 48.91%, and the next closest predictions were four readers who had it at 52%

"UnionD" got closest on Huff's final tally by predicting 53% to Huff's actual 51.01%

Winners on the 3rd Dist. Appellate race and others will be announced once final results are available.

Jacobs hits the right tone in post victory remarks

During the campaign, Mike Jacobs struck many as pompous, a bit arrogant, and prone to going over the top, blowing his own horn in an often off-putting way. Many had expressed their hopes that if Jacobs won the primary as expected, given the way he was installed in office and his numorous rookie misteps and gaffes, he might at least muster a little well justified humility.

Though he still shows that it's hard for him to stay out of self-hype mode for long even while celebrating his first election to office, Jacobs does display some long awaited humility and grace in this piece by the Dispatch/Argus' Kurt Allemeier.

For those who have waited so long to hear a glimmer of realization that he really is amazingly fortunate to find himself where he is, it comes as better late than never.
Rural counties carried the day for Mike Jacobs in the Democratic primary for state senate District 36, he told supporters Tuesday.

Mr. Jacobs, appointed to the seat last February when his father, Denny Jacobs, retired, won the nomination with 56 percent of the vote. He faces Republican James Beals, of Moline, in November's general election.

According to unofficial final results districtwide, Mr. Jacobs finished with 8,280 votes to challenger Paul Rumler's 6,511.

He admitted that internal polls had him trailing by 10 percent 10 days before the primary.

"You can read anything you want into the numbers," he said. "In a Democratic primary, 52-48 is a landslide. We began to work the streets; we beat them in the precincts. People were really attracted to my message."

He pointed to his work on a riverfront campus for Western Illinois University and drawing additional education funding to the district as what tipped the voters' pens in his favor.

He dismissed the close race with newcomer Mr. Rumler, who lacked the financial support of Mr. Jacobs.

"Paul had seven months to knock on doors while I was in Springfield," he said, "and I had some baggage coming in. Hopefully that baggage is behind me."

He praised voters in Henry, Mercer, Whiteside, and Carroll counties for supporting him and pointed to his record on agricultural issues for their support.

"I do have the highest Farm Bureau rating in the state and I supported ethanol production," he said.

He praised Mr. Rumler for his hard work and hard-fought campaign and reached out to him, wanting to meet with his foe and possibly work together.

Mr. Jacobs said he's had tough political shoes to fill, following the footsteps of his father as well as his grandfather, Orel "Jake" Jacobs, who served in the state House of Representatives. He also said he learned from both: from his grandfather to fight for the underdog, and from his father to stand up for what he believes in.

"Hopefully, now people will just think of me as Mike," he told supporters at a raucous gathering at the East Moline American Legion hall.

Several local elected officials were on hand for Mr. Jacobs' party, including Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, who was unchallenged in his primary, Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez, and members of the staffs of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island.

Most of all, Mr. Jacobs thanked his family, from his parents to his sisters and brothers, and his wife, Beth, and son Elliott. Elliott, who wasn't on hand to hear his father's victory speech, was worried when the early numbers that weren't favorable to his father came in.
Am I the only one amazed to find out that Jacobs was polling 10 points down 10 days out from the election? That explains a lot.

Congratulations to Sen. Jacobs, his family and supporters on his win. He's now officially an elected official and no one can take that away from him. And I'm sure that now that he's punched that ticket and shrugged that very large monkey off his back, he can go on to prove skeptics wrong and earn our support.

Reader Predictions

Here's the general results of the reader predictions. Thought I'd drag them up here to the top.

As soon as district wide results are finalized, I'll announce our exalted Grand Dope Swami for this election (unless of course it's "anonymous" in which case it's kind of meaningless.)

I would note though, that going by R.I. Country results alone, reader "UnionD" would have been the closest predictor on not one, not two, but three out of the four candidates totals in the Rumler/Jacobs and Huff/Grchan contests. ("anonymous" got closest for Grchan) Outstanding, "UnionD"!

The stats below will allow you to see how well candidates did against the collective wisdom of The Dope's learned and esteemed readers.

Predictions and their ranges from lowest prediction to highest, their median and average are:

State Senate- (25 predictions)

Jacobs 40-65
55 median
53.6 avg.
ACTUAL: 55.98%

Rumler 35-60
45 median
46.32 avg.
ACTUAL: 44.02%

R.I. County Sheriff - (22 predictions)

Grchan 40-73
52.5 median
51.64 avg.
ACTUAL: 48.91%

Huff 28.9-60
47.5 median
48.13 avg.
ACTUAL: 51.01%

3rd Dist. Appellate Judge - (8 predictions)

Peterson 28-52
40 median
40.25 avg.

Wright 33-42
39 median
38 avg.

O'Neal 12-30
19.5 median
21.75 avg.

Gov - (4 predictions)
Blago 65-69
Eisendrath 31-35

Only two predictions on the Republican 17th district race, both with Mowen barely edging out Zinga and leaving Gilligan still stranded on the island.

And if there's any justice, none of the readers who foolishly left their predictions under "anonymous" will be anywhere near correct.

March 21, 2006

Final unofficial results

Here are results for some races of interest
Results are for Rock Island County only unless noted

Rock Island County results here.
Whiteside County results here.
Henry County results here.

R BLAGOJEVICH 8833 72.86%
E EISENDRATH 3264 26.92%
Write-in Votes 27 0.22%

A GIANNOULIAS 7293 62.71%
P MANGIERI 4323 37.17%
Write-in Votes 13 0.11%

D JOHNSTON 7484 68.43%
T BENSON 3440 31.45%
Write-in Votes 13 0.12%

M JACOBS 6593 53.62%

P RUMLER 5694 46.31%

Write-in Votes 8 0.07%

-Whiteside County results-
MIKE JACOBS 324 77.51%

PAUL RUMLER 93 22.25%

Write-in Votes 1 0.24%

-Henry County results-
MIKE JACOBS 486 58.48

PAUL RUMLER 345 41.52


M GRCHAN 5973 48.91%
M HUFF 6230 51.01%
Write-in Votes 10 0.08%

V WRIGHT 5487 48.68%

T O'NEAL 2327 20.64%

L PETERSON 3450 30.61%

Write-in Votes 8 0.07%

-Whiteside County Results-
VICKI R. WRIGHT 1056 63.96%

TOM O'NEAL 322 19.50%

LANCE R. PETERSON 264 15.99%

Write-in Votes 9 0.55%

-Henry County results-
VICKI R. WRIGHT 739 45.87

TOM O'NEAL 467 28.99


WRITE-IN 1 .06

J TOPINKA 1785 32.75%
B BRADY 2016 36.98%
J OBERWEIS 1282 23.52%
R GIDWITZ 306 5.61%
A MARTIN 60 1.10%
Write-in Votes 2 0.04%

J MOWEN 2876 52.47%
A ZINGA 2204 40.21%
B GILLILAND 397 7.24%
Write-in Votes 4 0.07%

Black Hawk College Tax Measure
NO 9952 58.59%
YES 7034 41.41%

Huff over Grchan in squeaker

Unless this goes into overtime, it appears there's a new sheriff in town, Mike Huff.

With 93.3% of precincts reporting, Huff clung to a 318 vote lead.

Mike Jacobs bested Paul Rumler as expected and with nearly all precincts in, held an under 6% lead.

Siamese Jacobs'?
Apparently conjoined brothers Mike and J.P. early election night.
They must have one hell of a tailor.

And 3rd District Appellate Court Judge candidate Vicki Wright carried Rock Island County with 49.14%. Lance Peterson stands at 30.40% and Tom O'Neal at 20.37%

Wright wins Whiteside county:

VICKI R. WRIGHT 1056 63.96%
TOM O'NEAL 322 19.50%
LANCE R. PETERSON 264 15.99%

Reader contributed photo

93.3% of precincts reporting...

112 out of 120 precincts reported

M JACOBS 5583 52.82%
P RUMLER 4979 47.11%
Write-in Votes 7 0.07%

M GRCHAN 5072 48.44%
M HUFF 5390 51.48%
Write-in Votes 9 0.09%

A 318 vote margin in this one, the upset of the night.

R BLAGOJEVICH 7509 72.29%
E EISENDRATH 2855 27.48%

J TOPINKA 1499 32.20%
B BRADY 1756 37.71%
J OBERWEIS 1094 23.50%
R GIDWITZ 255 5.48%
A MARTIN REP 50 1.07%
Write-in Votes 2 0.04%

110 precincts or 91.7% reporting.... Huff maintains lead

M JACOBS 5488 52.65%
P RUMLER 4928 47.28%

M GRCHAN 5005 48.44%
M HUFF 5319 51.48%

A GIANNOULIAS 6164 62.59%
P MANGIERI 3673 37.30%

J MOWEN 2493 53.47%
B GILLILAND 311 6.67%
A ZINGA 1855 39.79%

99 or 82.5 % of precincts in.... Huff maintains lead

M GRCHAN 4340 48.48%
M HUFF 4605 51.44%

Jacobs slowly stretching lead....

M JACOBS 4774 52.76%
P RUMLER 4267 47.16%

J MOWEN 2031 52.99%
B GILLILAND 262 6.84%
A ZINGA REP 1537 40.10%

D JOHNSTON 5493 68.47%
T BENSON 2520 31.41%

BHC proposition stands at 41.48% YES 58.52% NO

52 precincts reporting.... Huff still in lead

M JACOBS 3609 52.97%
P RUMLER 3198 46.94%

M GRCHAN 3293 48.89%
M HUFF 3437 51.03%

70 Precincts reporting.... races tight as a tick

70 out of 120 precincts - 58.3 % reporting

M JACOBS 2316 50.90%
P RUMLER 2232 49.05%

M GRCHAN 2198 49.02%
M HUFF 2284 50.94%

Tom Benson is posting a respectable showing against Don Johnston in the Dem State Central Committeeman race

D JOHNSTON 2771 68.54%
T BENSON 1268 31.36%

It's Mowen in big lead for 17th dist. Republican nomination

J MOWEN 1135 54.05%
B GILLILAND 137 6.52%
A ZINGA 827 39.38%

Black Hawk funding proposition chances look grim

As feared, it looks like the citizens of Rock Island County are again showing their support for higher education (not)

total precincts 120
Precincts Reporting 37 30.8 %

Total Votes 3876

YES 1674 43.19%
NO 2202 56.81%

As an aside, can anyone explain why this measure was included on a primary ballot rather than the general??

37 precincts reporting....

Precincts Reporting 37 30.8 %
Total Votes 2744

M JACOBS DEM 1385 50.47%
P RUMLER DEM 1358 49.49%
Write-in Votes 1 0.04%


Precincts Reporting 37 30.8 %

Total Votes 2697

M GRCHAN DEM 1340 49.68%
M HUFF DEM 1356 50.28%
Write-in Votes 1 0.04%

Rumler, Huff have lead... .for now

Rumler and Huff lead with 9 precincts reporting...
Are voters in an "out with the old" mood?

Number of Precincts: 120
Precincts Reporting: 9 - 7.5 %

Total Votes: 754

M JACOBS 352 - 46.68%

P RUMLER 401 - 53.18%


M GRCHAN 364 - 48.99%

M HUFF 379 - 51.01%


Total Votes: 738

R BLAGOJEVICH 499 - 67.62%

E EISENDRATH 236 - 31.98%

Brady leads Republican Gov battle....

J TOPINKA 130 33.51%
B BRADY 149 38.40%
J OBERWEIS 89 22.94%
R GIDWITZ 19 4.90%
A MARTIN 1 0.26%

Election night

Polls are now closed.

What's new?


All the yammering and bitching and complaints and insults and smears and attacks and lies and distortions and B.S. are over for the time being (until all the post election carping starts) and now it's up to you to cast your votes for who you want to represent your party in the general election.

This is the real part. The rest is just noise.

Whether you're one of R.I. County's 115,949 registered voters or not...

Go do it!

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m

For R.I. County voters:

List of voting centers

Look up your voting place

Touch screen voting

As far as I know, this is the first time Rock Island County has used touch screen voting units, though as of now, voters still have the option of chosing to use a paper ballot.

The county clerk's office is to be commended for tackling the huge task of adopting the new technology and rolling out and implementing the system, as well as training poll workers to work with it.

Compared to the days of hand-counting and tabulating ballots at the polling place, then lugging the ballots down to the clerk's office, where they'd then feed them into counting machines for hours... or ever worse, dealing with mechanical voting machines which weighed a ton, the computerized system is a quantum leap in efficiency, and one would hope, accuracy and security.

What are your thoughts on the leap to computerized voting?

If you used the touch screen technology for the first time, how was the experience? Was it easy to understand and use? Any confusion or problems?
Do you prefer it over the old punch card method?

Our President has a press conference!!

With poll numbers cratering ever further, even among his supposed "base", the Preznit today actually went in front of the ever frustrated White House press corp and actually answered ... well, responded to some questions. He even let Helen Thomas ask a question!!!

So how did it go?

For those of you who didn't have the opportunity to catch it, here's the shorter version:
"Don’t blame me for anything. If you are unhappy, blame Congress, blame the public for not supporting my ideas, blame pundits for questioning my authority, blame journalists for asking tough questions. But nothing is my fault."

There, saved you the never pleasant task of having to listen and watch this miserable failure drone on.

A note on the Black Hawk College tax proposal

The language people will see on the ballot for the proposed Black Hawk College referendum couldn't possibly be worse. It makes it appear as if the tax increase is enormous.

As you read the legal language on your ballot, you will be asked to approve a 24.5-cent rate for the education fund and a 10-cent rate for the operation and maintenance fund. The corresponding percentage increases in each separate fund are 104% and 43% respectively, but don't let those percentages mislead you!

Know that the requested overall rate increase is only 23% - which equals less than a dime! A homeowner whose house is valued at $100,000 would spend approximately $2.75 per month extra to support Black Hawk College.

Black Hawk College has provided a vital service to the community for many years and the formula which determines their share of local property taxes hasn't been changed in around 20 years.

Please vote YES on this measure.

Predictions redux

Entries are closed for predictions on the primary, and they've all been tabulated and duly recorded.

Predictions and their ranges from lowest prediction to highest, their median and average are:

State Senate- (25 predictions)

Jacobs 40-65
55 median
53.6 avg.

Rumler 35-60
45 median
46.32 avg.

R.I. County Sheriff - (22 predictions)

Grchan 40-73
52.5 median
51.64 avg.

Huff 28.9-60
47.5 median
48.13 avg.

3rd Dist. Appellate Judge - (8 predictions)

Peterson 28-52
40 median
40.25 avg.

Wright 33-42
39 median
38 avg.

O'Neal 12-30
19.5 median
21.75 avg.

Gov - (4 predictions)
Blago 65-69
Eisendrath 31-35

Only two predictions on the Republican 17th district race, both with Mowen barely edging out Zinga and leaving Gilligan still stranded on the island.

And if there's any justice, none of the readers who foolishly left their predictions under "anonymous" will be anywhere near correct.

Election Day open thread

Rather than shut them down completely, I've decided to make this area available for comments on election day while the polls are open.

But be aware that comments will be extra super double moderated today. No more campaign junk. Be responsible.

March 20, 2006

One last tempest in a teapot before election day

From QC Online:
Illinois State Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, is upset that state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, used his name in an endorsement without his permission.

"On Saturday, after the St. Patrick's Day Parade, I was very surprised and shocked to see a mailer from Mike Jacobs that had my name as an endorsee," Rep. Boland said Monday. "No one ever contacted me to ask to have my endorsement, and I hadn't offered it to anybody."

The only two candidates he has endorsed in Tuesday's primary are longtime friends for races in other parts of the state.

"Whenever I do an endorsement, I hold a news conference with the candidate, and speak about them," Rep. Boland said. After getting the Jacobs mailer, he said he received a number of phone calls from supporters asking him about it.

"I had told everybody that I had pledged to the House Speaker that I was neutral in any kind of local races," Rep. Boland noted. "Generally I stay out of them, unless it's someone who had been a longtime supporter, if they're very well qualified."

The "summit meeting" with Speaker Madigan, Rock Island.

Sen. Jacobs said Monday that he thought he had Rep. Boland's clear support and has used his photo in several of his campaign mailers, with no sign of protest from the House representative.

"We all met with the House Speaker and he asked, 'Do you gentlemen agree to support each other?' Mike said `Absolutely,'" Sen. Jacobs said. "Now for Mike to break that truce and take up his old negative tactics, that surprises me."

"I find it amusing that he brings this up the day before the election. It doesn't make good political sense to me," he said. "And I've handled a lot of Mike's bills in the Senate. I have stuck my neck out for him. I'm just mystified by this."

In August 2005, House Speaker Mike Madigan met with Mike Jacobs, Mike Boland and other prominent Democrats in Rock Island. The meeting included Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan; 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 at one time considered running for the Senate seat. He said the mailer from Sen. Jacobs -- running against Paul Rumler in the primary for the 36th District Senate seat -- was a "sign of disrespect."

Rep. Boland said that for a long time, he didn't get along with Sen. Jacobs' father, longtime state Sen. Denny Jacobs, but ended up having a cordial relationship with him. Rep. Boland will seek his 8th term this fall representing the 71st House District.

After Denny Jacobs retired from the Senate, Mike Jacobs was appointed to replace him in February 2005.

"Mike's endorsement is not really important to me," Sen. Jacobs said. "What's important is (U.S. Sen.) Barack Obama's and Lane Evans'. This is much ado about nothing."

Jude Cole comes to town to back school chum Jacobs

Contributed by a loyal reader, source unknown:

"Senator Mike Jacobs has a long history of helping the less fortunate and fighting for causes like Western Illinois University Campus at Moline," said Jude Cole, co-author of Lifehouse's smash hit single, "You and Me."

Jude Cole was in town today stumping for llinois Senator Mike Jacobs reelection campaign. The rocker and politcan are holding a series of media stops throughout today and tommorrow.

For further information on Jude Cole go to

Make sure you know where to vote

Rock Island county has recently made some sweeping changes in arranging wards and precincts, and that affects polling places as well.

Some who've lived in one ward and precinct for years will find that they're now in an entirely new ward and precinct.

If you don't know already, you can check where you're supposed to vote on this website if you reside in Rock Island County

Rock Island County

You can find more information at these sites for:

Whiteside County

Henry County

Phone numbers are:

Henry County Clerk, (309) 937-3492;

Mercer County Clerk, (309) 582-7021;

Rock Island County Clerk, (309) 786-8683;

Whiteside County Clerk, (815) 772-5189.

Policy note

Since people tend to get truly insane and paranoid during this pre-election period and due to the fact that I'm receiving an increasing number of shrill comments demanding that I print all sorts of stuff on issues which have already been previously discussed and dealt with, I intend to shut down comments completely beginning later this evening until tomorrow sometime, at which time we'll open up the spigot and all the bile can again begin to flow.

Over and out.

Koufax funnies of the day

Two more fer ya

Fafblog! This Town Needs A War!

Daily Kos: I Worshipped a Squirrel by Bob Johnson

March 19, 2006

Who is James M. Beals?

A Republican named James M. Beals has announced his candidacy for 36th District State Senator and will challenge the winner of Wednesday's Dem primary. Since the conventional wisdom is that Jacobs will prevail in that contest, if that comes to pass, Beals will then be the one facing Jacobs in the general election.

But who is Beals? I could find no campaign website, and a search on his name turns up a James M. Beal who was sentenced to jail in Michigan for throwing the unique mixture of porcupine feces and worms on his former co-workers.

Something tells me that this isn't the guy in question. It would be quite a trick to parlay that into a state senate campaign.

It's reported that Beals has worked for Deere, General Electric, and the Arsenal, went to UTHS in East Moline and attended West Point Military Accademy. Apparently the only political position he's ever held is Republican precinct committeeman.

What's the skinny on this guy?

March 18, 2006

Home stretch bombshells

In any race, it's a common occurance for campaigns to launch some of their most negative and slimy bombs very late in the race when there's not enough time for the candidate getting slimed to respond.

Will this primary be any exception?

So far, there's been a phony astro turf group calling themselves "People for Responsible Government" who have sent out letters tearing Sheriff Mike Grchan a new one for various labor issues they have a problem with. It's signed by Karen Calvillo, Rock Island County Board member, and Dino Leone, the Staff Representitive for AFSCME Council 31.

Credit should be given for the fact that at least it's signed by real, live people. Much of the time, such front groups simply mail out hit pieces with no accountibility. The groups don't have to disclose their funding sources until far after the election, and so it's easy to disguise or hide completely who is behind them.

This can be the spot to document any other such Hail Mary attempts in the late stages of this campaign.

** UPDATE **

The Dope has just received the infamous recorded message from Personal PAC. They are still repeating the lie that Jacobs is the ONLY pro-choice candidate in this election. This is running on March 18th, only days from the election, despite Rumler having issued a statement vigorously condemning the messages and asserting his pro-choice views 15 days ago on the 3rd!

The entire speil runs,
"This is (unintelligble), chair of Personal PAC, calling to urge you to take a Democratic ballot this Tuesday and vote for pro-choice Mike Jacobs for State Senator. Jacobs is the ONLY Democratic candidate for state senator who will protect the health and lives of women. Thank you."
How's that for slimy?


How many robo-calls from campaigns have you gotten so far? Which one(s) were best? Which were the worst?

Beydler boils it down

John Beydler is a truly skilled writer. His recent post on the Rumler/Jacobs contest is a fine example of it. He marshals facts and information and lays it out in a way that creates a larger picture, and he does it in a way that is easy to digest and read.

Volumes of dust has been kicked up in discussing this race, a lot of junk thrown around, and partisans have worked hard to inject distracting and often distorted and dirty smears.

But Beydler succeeds in looking past all the heat and smoke and lays out what is known and how it is. He casts things as "politics as usual" vs. an alternative choice, which of course is what this race largely represents.

There are things to recommend and condemn about both options, and unfortunately, both candidates require a certain leap of faith to support.

From what I've seen and heard, resentment about the fact that Jacobs was appointed to the post and the nepotism involved seems to have emerged as his biggest negative, as well as his perceived combination of arrogance and stepping on his tongue. In many respects, he seems to be our local equivalent of George W. Bush.

The frustrating fact that even at this late date, Rumler has been all but invisible leaves a lot of questions in voter's mind. Whether by design or due to his being outfunded by 10 to 1 compared to Jacobs, voters have nothing but a bare-bones sketch of Rumler's bio to work with, which makes judging how well he would function as senator nearly impossible. But Rumler has been wearing out the shoeleather and walking the blocks and how much that one on one outreach will succeed remains to be seen.

His youth can cut both ways, both inspiring respect for his admirable success and accomplishments by such a young age, including experience as a staffer in D.C. which could be expected to be valuable in office. But his youth also gives people pause as to whether it might be a handicap in office as well, in so far as he'd be starting at square one and need to learn how "business as usual" is conducted in the Illinois legislature. But then again, the fact that he might not play the game the old fashioned way might be seen as a plus.

Unfortunately, both candidates leave something to be desired, and carry a lot of question marks, Jacobs due to what is known about him, and Rumler due to what is unknown.

In that respect, it truly does come down essentially to the old vs. the new. I think Beydler has put forth about as good a summation of the choice presented to voters as is possible.

Read it here.

March 17, 2006

Katherine Harris is nuts, and a porn star tells it like it is.

Two jewels from the essential Crooks & Liars....

First we have Katherine Harris.

When last we checked in on Mrs. Harris, there was great speculation as to whether she'd withdraw from her disastrous campaign for the Senate. Beset by a huge entanglement with the same defense contractor convicted of fraud in the Duke Cunningham case and Republicans running from her campaign like rats from a sinking ship, Harris was expected to bow out.

Well, she didn't. But it's almost worth it, just to have THIS CLIP of her appearance with Sean Insannity. It is quite possibly the most bizarre political statement I've seen for a long time. Is she making a political statement, or trying to seduce Hannity? The woman is a posterchild for phony, vapid, unqualified country club Republicanism which holds that all you need to run is a ton of money and some name recognition. (Of course, that line of thought isn't limited to just Republicans, unfortunately.)

She committed fraud and got Bush in office for which she was promised a big career in politics. They installed her as congresswoman, and then she actually believed her own hype, got a little ambitious, and now wants to be a Senator. Ooooops. Now the Republicans are abandoning her, but that won't stop her.
As she says in this intensely weird statement, she's risking it all, all the millions her Dad left her, to buy this seat for herself.
Poor, poor Katherine! Abandoned by the people who promised to reward her for doing what she was told to do, including Jeb Bush who it was an open esecret she was having an affair with, and now forced to... sniff... spend her own millions on a campaign. Risking it all. Going for broke. Or as she puts it, risky "everything I have". If you don't vote for me, she tries to suggest, I'll be penniless.

There's only one problem with that lie. Her husband is worth an estimated 25 million dollars, and she's not touching a penny of HIS dough, just blowing her inheritance from her extremely wealthy dad.

Guess it beats giving it to worthy charities and changing the lives of thousands.

Truly one of the strangest and ickiest campaign moments of the year so far.

And click here to watch prolific porn star, candidate for governor of California (Arnold won, damn it.), and Republican wanna-be, Mary Carey, who was lobbed a softball by Joe "Deliverance" Scarborough" on his show and gave an honest answer, but probably not the one the pig-eyed host expected.

Two from the Koufax files

Two more out of the "Funniest Post" category of the Koufax Awards...

Annatopia: Homegrown Terror

Daily Kos: The Wizard of Oil by dood abides

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Friend of my soul, this goblet sip

'twill chase the pensive tear.

'Tis not so sweet as woman's lip

but oh, 'tis more sincere.


There are many good reasons for drinking,

One has just entered my head,

If a man doesn't drink when he's living,

How the hell can he drink when he's dead?


I drink to your health when I'm with you,

I drink to your health when I'm alone,

I drink to your health so often,

I'm starting to worry about my own


An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold on to one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth.

March 16, 2006

Guest Post

I Wonder What Kind Of Message I'm Sending To The Troops
By Jane Merrick

I support the troops from the bottom of my heart. But my question is, do they know that? What if I'm somehow sending them the wrong message?

The other day I lost the magnetic yellow ribbon from my car, and I didn't even notice until my neighbor pointed it out. Just think: It could have fallen off days or even weeks before! And there I was: driving up and down all over town just as happy as you please, all but announcing, "Jane Merrick doesn't support our troops!"

I went to the gas station to buy another magnet right away, but they were sold out. So here I am without one. And the way everybody is around here, they'll talk. What if this gets back to the troops somehow?

Or take the other night when my husband and I were watching Leno. He cracked this wiseacre one-liner about the president, and it just busted Ted and me up. Then suddenly, we both trailed off and stared at each other in ominous silence. I'll admit the joke seemed harmless enough, but just imagine those poor soldiers, covered with the arid dust and sand of a foreign land, huddling for cover, engaging in pitched small-arms firefights with enemy insurgents on a daily basis. What would they think if they saw me sprawled out on the living-room sofa set, eating pretzels, cackling with irreverence at the expense of their commander in chief?

If I unwittingly sent a message to the troops that hurt their feelings, I am truly sorry. I would never knowingly make them feel that nobody back here in the homeland believed in them or thought they weren't incredibly special, which they are. I don't want to accidentally lower our troops' self-esteem, especially in a time of crisis like this. Maybe after the war is over, that may be the time to raise questions about our leaders and laugh at the TV hosts, but certainly not now. Right now, we have to think about the troops. And, even more important, the messages we may or may not be sending them.

What would the troops think about our yard? And I don't mean just about our flag. When I don't bag our leaves, am I basically saying, "To heck with you, troops"?

Are the troops aware of all the remodeling I've been doing in the basement rec room? If so, what message are they getting from that?

I read in the paper that a lot of the troops are complaining about the war, and want to come home. They're putting their lives on the line. It's my duty to support them, but I get confused. What message am I sending the troops if I read articles like that? For that matter, what kind of a message are those troops sending themselves? They are the troops, but it almost sounds like they're not supporting the troops!

I'm sorry. I didn't mean that last statement to sound anti-troops.

If the troops knew what I was thinking, what would they say? "First she has it one way, then she changes it all around"? Maybe they're saying, "Who does this lady think she is? She doesn't know what she wants! Our morale is sapped! We're losing our will to fight!" America would be defeated by Iraq, and terrorists would rule over us.

Oh gosh, no! I just want to clear up any possible misunderstandings over previous mixed messages I might have sent the troops.

I support them, and I implore them to provide me with any feedback they may have on how I might be adversely affecting their daily lives.

-- From "The Onion"

BAM! Harkin keeps it real

Tom Harkin: Why I Fully Support Bush Censure

We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises – and broken faith – with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.

In brazen violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), he ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. And, despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Let's be clear: No American – and that must include the President – is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

So it is time for Congress to stand up and say enough! That's why, this week, Senator Russ Feingold proposed a resolution to censure George W. Bush for breaking the FISA law. And that's why I fully support this resolution of censure.

Nothing is more important to me than the security of our country. Of course, we need to be listening to the terrorists' conversations. And sometimes there is not time to get a warrant. That's why the FISA law allows the President, when necessary, to wiretap first, and obtain a warrant afterward. But that's not acceptable to this above-the-law President. He rejects the idea that he should have to obtain a warrant before or after wiretapping.

We have an out-of-control President whose arrogant and, now, illegal behavior is running our country into the ditch. It's time to rein him in. And a fine place to start is by passing this resolution of censure. I hope that Senator Feingold's measure will be brought to the floor. And when it is, I will proudly vote yes.
Give 'em Hell, Tom! Don't tell me a few Dems are taking off their tu-tus. Finding a spine? Amazing!!