January 31, 2006

Bush's "whatever you want to call it" tonight

And so, in my State of the --- my State of the Union --- or state -- my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation -- I asked Americans to give 4,000 years -- 4,000 hours over the next—the rest of your life --of service to America. That's what I asked -- 4,000 hours.
—Bridgeport, Conn., April 9, 2002
If anyone has the stomach to watch, let us know how Bush's "speech to the nation -- whatever you want to call it" thing goes tonight.

He goes into it with an ABC News/Washinton Post poll showing 56% of the country disaproves of how Bush is handling the job of President and results showing the Dems are in good shape going into congressional elections (IF they can take advantage of it).
The Post-ABC News poll offers a revealing portrait of a restless electorate at the start of the campaign year. By 51 percent to 35 percent, Americans said they preferred to go in the direction outlined by congressional Democrats rather than the direction established by the president. On the eve of last year's State of the Union address, 45 percent said they preferred to follow the path of the president, compared with 39 percent who said they favored the Democrats' course.

By 54 percent to 38 percent, voters surveyed said they would vote for the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate for the House in November. That is one of the largest margins favoring the Democrats in two decades, although the gerrymandered House districts mean that incumbents are safer today than they were in the past.

By 51 percent to 37 percent, Americans said they trust the Democrats more than the Republicans with the main problems facing the country over the next few years, the first time since spring 1992 that Democrats have gained more than 50 percent support on that question.
By the way, an interesting site listing Bush's manglings of the language and just how he messed up gramatically can be found here.

January 30, 2006

Help Edwin Eisendrath get Blagojevich to debate

Received a mailing from the Eisendrath forces yesterday which urged readers to call, and e-mail the governor and write letters to the editor in order to create pressure on Blagojevish to accept a debate with Eisendrath.
We need your help today to demand debates. We believe that the Governor should stand side by side with Edwin to discuss the issues important to us all like education funding, access to college education; eliminating sweetheart pension deals; banning the practice of trading jobs for lucrative state contracts; creating and keeping good jobs and restoring trust and integrity to our state government.

Here's how you can help today

EMAIL the governor's office and insist on an Eisendrath-Blagojevich debate. Click here to email the governor's office:

CALL the governor's office. A live operator answers these lines between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. Leave a message with them telling them who you are, where you live and that you would like to see an Eisendrath-Blagojevich debate. Ask that they be sure to get the message to the governor.

Springfield: 217-782-6830
Chicago: 312-814-2121

SUBMIT a letter to the editor saying how you would like to see an Eisendrath-Blagojevich debate. Use the links below to submit a letter to the editor. You must include your name, address and telephone number so that the newspaper can verify your letter.

Chicago Tribune - ctc-tribletter@tribune.com
Chicago Sun Times - letter@suntimes.com
Peoria Journal Star - forum@pjstar.com
State Journal Register - http://www.sj-r.com/forms/letters.asp
Daily Herald - fencepost@dailyherald.com
Daily Southtown - jhector@dailysouthtown.com
Champaign-Urbana News Gazette - letters@news-gazette.com
Rockford Register Star - rrseditorial@smtp.registerstartower.com
Southern Illinoisian - letters@thesouthern.com

Please do these things today. It will only take a few minutes and will be a great help to our campaign. The Republican candidates all took to the stage to debate last week in Naperville, IL. It's time for the Democratic candidates to do the same.
Though the mailing leaves out the local papers, I'm sure a letter to them would suffice.

It might be refeshing to see this debate, don't you agree?

What makes them so special??

Thousands of Americans have been KILLED, as in dead, gone, deceased. Many more thousands are wounded and scarred for life, missing limbs, eyes, and other chunks of their flesh.

Dozens of journalists have been killed, injured, or kidnapped in Iraq.

So why is it that when one TV journalist connected to the networks is injured, every station, every program, falls all over themselves to give fawning, in depth coverage, to the point of reporting every move, how they were standing when they were attacked, what they were wearing, and every medical detail almost minute by minute?

Is the fact that a good looking TV reporter for a major network actually got wounded worthy of them getting essentially hundreds of times the amount of attention and focus?

Iraq is a mess. People are getting torn apart there daily. But it's almost as if wasn't real or important until it was one of their blow-dried bretheren that got caught in the cross fire.

Anyone else find this supremely galling that they are making such an enormous fuss over an ABC reporter who was severely injured while in Iraq doing the job he chose while military personel are getting killed nearly daily and aside from some sterile roll-call, it goes by practically unreported?

NOTE: Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this is unseemly. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post writes about the issue as well.

January 28, 2006

Boland announces candidacy for 7th term

Whether Rep. Mike Boland would run again for for his seat, challenge Mike Jacobs for the senate seat Jacobs was appointed to, or shoot for running for state treasurer was the subject of intense speculation for a long time, especially in light of how it would affect the calculus of things should Boland leave his seat open for other, less calcified candidates.

There's been a lot of posturing, positioning, and speculation, and though that was largely squashed by the appearance of Speaker Mike Madigan on Aug. 3rd of last year, and his issuing of an edict commanding all parties to stay put, shut up, hold hands, and get re-elected, in Boland's case, and get elected, in Jacobs' case, the slim chance that Boland could still strike out on his own existed.

Some of the more perrenially hopeful may have continued to harbor some hope that Boland would cast fortune to the wind and go for it somewhere else, but any chance of that is now finally and officially over.
Saying he fights for the working men and women of the 71st District and wants to keep up the fight, State Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, announced Friday he will seek a seventh term.
Mr. Boland, who is running unopposed in the March primary, will face Republican Steve Haring, of Savanna, in November's general election. He announced his re-election bid at the Silvis Public Library. The 71st District includes parts of Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside, and Carroll counties.

"It is an honor to represent local families in Springfield and work to make life better for my constituents," he said. "I am a strong believer in the idea that people who work hard every day to support their families deserve to have public officials who work hard on their behalf.

"I've tried to improve the lives of the people who live here and work hard every day."

Mr. Boland also made stops in Savanna and Albany to announce his re-election bid. Mr. Boland received 55 percent of the vote in the 2004 election to defeat Mr. Haring.

He considers energy, health insurance, and education funding as top issues for a seventh term. Mr. Boland has also lobbied Gov. Rod Blagojevich on opening the Thomson prison. The governor made a vague promise about the prison during a recent visit to the Quad-Cities

"Every time I see him, I hammer him on that," Mr. Boland said. "He has told me he is working on it.

"I've given the governor many proposals over the years," he said. "I think it should've been open and could've been opened."

Mr. Boland said he supports the governor's capital improvements plan, but would like to see money for Western Illinois University's Quad-Cities campus and for widening U.S. 30 between Morrison and Fulton included in the plan.

In the current legislative session he is sponsored legislation requiring the state to purchase flexible fuel vehicles, hybrid cars and bio-diesel compatible vehicles.

He also supports an increase for the Illinois Veterans Assistance Fund.

Mr. Boland told supporters he brought $39.6 million in education funding to the district last year. He would like to work on new school funding formulas that take the burden off of property taxes but noted that Gov. Blagojevich won't discuss the issue until after the November election.

January 27, 2006

I think he's on to something

In the words of George Orwell, "We are all capable," he said, "of believing things which we know to be untrue and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right."

Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time. The only check on it is that, sooner or later, a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

Two thousand two hundred American soldiers have lost their lives as this false belief bumped into a solid reality. And indeed, whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable, it almost inevitably leads to gross mistakes and abuses.

That is part of human nature. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes, dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.

Al Gore, MLK day speech, Jan. 16, 2006

Barack does Moline

Barack Obama at his appearance at 1911 52nd Avenue, Moline today to announce the opening of a field office at that location.

Sen. Mike Jacobs discusses the WIU riverfront campus and Tech Corridor with Jim Bowman, Executive Director of Renew Moline.

Reader submitted photos.
(nice work! Anyone else have pics to share? Send 'em in.)

John Beydler at "The Passing Parade" has a post asking readers who they think would be a good pick to staff Obama's new outpost.

The Dispatch/Argus has an account of Obama's meeting with their editorial board and his views on current issues. (article available to non-subscribers for a "limited time".)

Super Troopers

I don't know what it is about the State Police in Henry County, but I can't count the number of times I've read about traffic stops resulting in finding hundreds of pounds of pot or cocaine. It's almost bizarre. I wish I had the capability to find out just what the number of busts and amount of drug found by traffic stops along I-80, and always, it seems, in Henry County.

Why this is, I don't know, but the state troopers in that area seem to have an almost supernatural instinct for finding drug runners. They've found huge amounts of dope in motor homes, trucks, and cars and the number of these busts is remarkable. Henry County has only 27 miles of I-80, but it's got to be one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the country for dope smugglers.

Not surprisingly, they've done it again.
A complaint has been filed against Charles Ray McSwain, Winona McSwain and Justin Delvis Morgan, ages and addresses unavailable, in U.S. District Court, Rock Island for suspicion of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.

The Illinois State Police stopped a GMC Yukon at about 2 p.m. Tuesday on eastbound I-80 just outside Geneseo for having an object hanging in the rearview mirror.

While the trooper was writing Mr. Morgan a ticket for not having a driver's license, Mr. McSwain said there was “600 pounds of marijuana" inside the SUV, according to the complaint filed by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Officers found about 755 pounds of marijuana packaged in duffel bags and garbage bags, the complaint said.

Mr. McSwain told investigators he was supposed to pay Ms. McSwain and Mr. Morgan $1,400 for their help in transporting the drug across the country, the complaint states.
Two things jump out at me in this.

One is that the SUV was supposedly pulled over for having something hanging from the rear-view mirror? Wow! That seems like an awfully thin reason for a traffic stop. I didn't even realize that was illegal, and I certainly see hundreds of vehicles with stuff hanging from the mirror. This would suggest to me that these cops target certain vehicles for some reason and they wanted a reason to pull this one over.

Secondly, while one of the guys was getting ticketed for not having a driver's license, the other guy just casually tells the cop, "Oh, by the way, there's 600 lbs of pot in the truck." Sounds odd. But I'm sure the situation was a bit different. They probably were going to search the truck anyway and asked the guy if there was anything illegal inside and the guy figured the jig was up and told them about it.

I've always wondered, just how do the state cops manage this? It can't be just luck. They've got to be targetting certain vehicles or suspects it would seem. And why is it always in Henry County?

January 26, 2006

What's that smell? It wasn't me!

East Moline officials may not know right away if Triumph Foods' proposed pork-processing plant will stink even if they visit the company's St. Joseph, Mo., facility.

The St. Joseph facility is built near a tannery, which uses strong-smelling solvents, and a city wastewater treatment plant. Residents complained about odors before the pork plant was built, St. Joseph Mayor David Jones said Monday.

The pork-processing plant opened Jan. 3.

When East Moline officials visit the plant in February, they may not be able to tell how strong the plant's odors are if smells from Prime Tanning Co. and the treatment facility overpower them.
Hmmm. Kind of like an awkward social situation on a grand scale. The smell is clear to all, but everyone points to someone else.

"Geeze! What crawled inside your factory and died?" "Hey, it was that factory over there!"

As Dana Carvey's Church Lady might say, "How conveeeeeeeenient."

Perhaps a silo sized can of Glade might be in order to overpower the eau de death and pig waste?

But then there'd be rancor and strife over which scent should be used.
Here's the list. Maybe it could be put to a public referendum as to which scent the neighbors prefer.

• Apple Cinnamon
• Butterfly Garden ®
• Cinnamon Sticks ™
• Clean Linen ™
• Country Garden ®
• French Vanilla
• Hawaiian Breeze®
• Lavender Meadow®
• Lilac Spring ®
• Melon Burst ®
• Neutralizer
• Powder Fresh ®
• Rainshower ®
• Refreshing Spa ™
• Strawberries & Cream ®
• Suddenly Spring ™
• Tropical Mist ®

Which of those do you think would best coordinate with several tons of pig waste and offal?

I'm leaning toward "Refreshing Spa", (a spa treatment in a can? Brilliant!) though "Neutralizer" shows promise, and "Country Garden" would seem fitting.

Well said

From an editorial in the Dispatch/Argus today:
What a difference a week makes.

Last week, the big news in the Quad-Cities was that a high-speed rail link between Rock Island and Geneseo would be pulling into the station.

In a story published Jan. 19, state Sen. Mike Jacobs said he expected Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed construction budget to include $20 million for the train.

A high-speed train could be a huge economic boost to the area, Sen. Jacobs said, adding he was confident that money for the project would be included in the transportation part of the state capital budget. With additional federal funding, the initial track could serve as anchor for a $220 million line tying Rock Island and Chicago.

While the announcement seemed incredible - other officials said money in the budget for a high-speed link was news to them - the story generated buzz.

This week, the news is that there isn't any money in the governor's budget for the rail project.

"There's nothing in the budget for high-speed rail in the Quad-Cities," Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said in Tuesday's editions.

Sen. Jacobs reaction? He may not support the governor's budget.

"If the governor's interested in my vote, he's going to work with me," Sen. Jacobs said.

In addition to money for the rail link, Sen. Jacobs wants money for the Western Illinois University Quad-Cities campus.

As it stands, the governor's plan includes $29 million to expand John Deere Road and $12 million for a school in Silvis.

We should never count our chickens before they hatch, especially when a political fowl lays the golden eggs. No doubt Sen. Jacobs will be more careful about assessing prospects before his next blockbuster announcement.

And no doubt he'll be more skeptical about what he hears.

As will we.

Meanwhile, we trust Sen. Jacobs' remarks will not imperil the funding for Quad-Cities' projects already in the budget. A bird is the hand is worth a train in the bush.
I share their concern and only hope that these transportation funds aren't a zero sum game. In other words, if Jacobs holds out for fund for this rail scheme, that it won't in turn cause the more important WIU campus project and other projects to get short-changed or lost altogether.

But from observing Blago, I wouldn't think he'd be too motivated to give out any goodies for this area as long as he felt he was going to carry it by a good margin in the primary. Why give us a pile when he could better use it to play Santa in areas where he's more threatened politically?

I think the only way to get his attention is to make him aware that there will be at least a little pain if he takes this area for granted.

January 25, 2006

He's only scary when I say so.

Bush now:
President Bush, defending the government's secret surveillance program, said Wednesday that Americans should take Osama bin Laden seriously when he says he's going to attack again.

Bush then:
From a press conference held on March 13, 2002

Question: "Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of -- "

BUSH: ... "I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you."...

Question: But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

BUSH: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. ...
Just like clockwork, when scandal and ugly truth start to lap at the Bush administrations doorstep, they launch a campaign to tell us to not forget that we should be scared, very scared.

"What about the errupting corruption scandal in the Republican party and key figures ties to the White House?"

"Hey! Look over there! It's Osama bin Laden!"

Caption me

Blago and a constituent (and some guy giving the "cut" sign apparently.)
Submit your caption.

The 50 Most Loathsome People in America

Saw this at TBogg.

The Beast 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005

43. Rush Limbaugh

Charges: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to. It doesn’t matter how many righteous fact-checkers assail him in print and on the web, because dittoheads don’t care that he’s lying, as long as the lies justify their prejudices. Limbaugh’s program is not just hypocritical; it is a celebration of hypocrisy for ignorant crackers, angry at smart people and strung out on the dwindling sensation that they are better than everyone else by virtue of their race, sex, nationality or level of bluster, because their character and accomplishments don’t warrant such feelings. If political discussion were sex, the Limbaugh audience would be a horde of virgins beating off to deranged rape fantasies.

Exhibit A: Started out in sports radio; hasn’t changed his approach one bit.

Sentence: Starved to death in full view of glazed ham; ACLU mistakenly bestowed entire estate due to barbecue sauce stain on last will and testament.


28. Joe Lieberman

Charges: Technically there are 55 Republicans in the Senate, but that’s not counting their favorite shill Joe Lieberman. He’s a Democrat because…well…he’s from Connecticut. And he’s Jewish. But Lieberman has spent his time since “losing” to Bush/Cheney in 2000 spooning the White House and attempting to inoculate their increasingly insane policies from legitimate criticism. Resembles Tex Avery cartoon character Droopy Dog in voice, demeanor, and spinelessness.

Exhibit A: “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.” Apparently, it also doesn’t mean freedom from asinine revisionism.

Sentence: Made into Oval Office footstool.


31. Rita Cosby

Charges: Unholy pastiche of fearmongering and celebrity ringworm with the brain of a moth, the integrity of a tapeworm, and the appearance and larynx of a sugar-addicted, glass-eating drag queen.

Exhibit A: Her banter with Joe Scarborough kills children.

Sentence: Kicked in the nuts.
Excellent, just excellent. Chicken soup for the reality based soul.

Candid camera

A reader recently wrote to ask if I'd be interested in their submitting photos of people and events that might be of interest to readers here.

Absolutely! I'd welcome any pictures from citizen journalists of campaign events, public figures, or anything which might be related to or illustrate a subject or issue.

If used, they can be attributed to whatever screen name you choose, your actual name, or simply credited to anonymous. Just indicate your preference when you send them in.

You can also submit pictures you find in your wanderings on the net which you feel are humorous or of interest, or you can simply send along a link to them.

Of course, once submitted, you're granting permission for me to use them, and by doing so, are certifying that you took the photo or have permission to use it, and that it's not copyrighted by anyone else.

So by all means, if you've got some shots of something interesting, or find something of interest on the net, send it along. People might marvel at your skills. Just click on the red contact link in the sidebar or send to theinsidedope@gmail.com.

Share your talent with the multitude!

January 24, 2006

Bellafonte and Wolf Blitzer

Of course, there's a rampant effort to completely dismiss Harry Belafonte as some inconsequential lunatic for his recent statements.

I think he's one of the most courageous and honest figures who have emerged in a long time.

Listening to him with Wolf Blitzer you realize just how conditioned we've been to blindly accept lies and reject the plain truth. Belafonte is a man who bases his views on reality, not ideology, and that is simply a shock to many. You may differ with his views of morality, or not, but the fact remains that he sees the whole picture clearly and doesn't buy the line of crap we're constantly fed in any way, shape, or form. That fact alone makes his views refreshing, if for no other reason than we are rarely allowed to be exposed to such views in the major media.

You can view Wolf's interview with Bellafonte, in which Blitzer came off as a boob when trying to echo the right wing's attempt to focus on taking a couple of Bellefonte's quotes and challenge them as if they were said in a strictly literal sense. This of course, ignores Bellafonte's larger message, that as far as moral equivelence, Bush can not claim to be any more moral or less immoral than bin Laden or the terrorists.

You can view the exchange courtesy of Crooks & Liars here.

Your thoughts?

Beydler scoop: Obama to open local office

Sen. Barack Obama will preside over the opening of a Quad-Cities office at 2:15 p.m. Friday. Location is 1911 52nd Ave., Moline.

Office hours are likely to be 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Press aide Tommy Vietor said there are no staffing decisions to be announced yet.
More at "The Passing Parade"

The Little Engine that Couldn't

In today's Dispatch/Argus:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has released his proposed construction budget and there is no funding included for a high-speed rail project in the Quad-Cities.

Last Wednesday, Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, said he expected the construction budget to include $20 million for the creation of a passenger rail line between Rock Island and Geneseo, with the goal of someday connecting to Chicago.

But when the governor released his proposed budget late last week, it made no mention of the project.

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said Monday that's because, "there's nothing in the budget for high-speed rail in the Quad-Cities."

The project isn't IDOT's top high-speed rail priority and Mr. Vanover said the department was not aware that a formal request has yet been made at the federal level, a step that would have to come first before the state could follow through with matching funds.

It may not be on high on IDOT's radar, but it is on the priority list for the Senate Democratic Caucus, and Sen. Jacobs says he's still confident it will make the cut.

He said he will fight during negotiations this spring to see that the money for high-speed rail makes it into the final capital budget approved by lawmakers.

In fact, if the final capital budget doesn't include money for the high-speed rail project or money for the Western Illinois University Quad-Cities campus, Sen. Jacobs said he will not vote for it.

"If the governor's interested in my vote, he's going to work with me," he said.

The governor's plan does include $29 million for an expansion of John Deere Road and $12 million for a school in Silvis.
Hard to imagine Sen. Jacobs prematurely jumping in to try to take credit for anything and everything, eh? But it seems that perhaps this news lets a little hot air out of his balloon.

I might note that the 2000 population of Geneseo was 6,480 and the distance from Moline is 20 miles, or 18 minutes by "high-speed" car.

I keep thinking of the Springfield Monorail on the Simpsons.

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
What'd I say?

Ned Flanders: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

Patty+Selma: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

[crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]

Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

Lyle Lanley: You'll be given cushy jobs.

Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I'm on the level.

Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: Once again...

All: Monorail!

Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...

Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

All: Monorail!

[big finish]


Homer: Mono... D'oh!

Canadian election results troubling

If this can happen in Canada, our saner neighbor to the north, is nothing sacred?
Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party won national elections Monday and ended 13 years of Liberal rule, a victory expected to move Canada rightward on social and economic issues and lead to improved ties with the United States.

The Conservatives' winning margin was too narrow to avoid ruling with a minority government, a situation that will make it difficult to get legislation through a divided House of Commons.

The triumph for the Conservatives came with many Canadians weary of the broken promises and corruption scandals under the Liberal Party, making them willing to give Harper a chance to govern despite concerns that some of his social views are extreme.

"Tonight friends, our great country has voted for change, and Canadians have asked our party to take the lead in delivering that change," Harper told some 2,000 cheering supporters at his campaign headquarters in Calgary.

Relations with the Bush administration will likely improve under Harper as his ideology runs along the same lines of many U.S. Republicans.

Harper has said he would reconsider a U.S. missile defense scheme rejected by the current Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin. He also said he wanted to move beyond the Kyoto debate by establishing different environmental controls, spend more on the Canadian military, expand its peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Haiti and tighten security along the border with the United States in an effort to prevent terrorists and guns from crossing the frontier.
I always thought Canada was a sane refuge from the largely ignorant and ill-conceived views so prominent in right wing in this country. This is troubling if it's evidence that right wing backwardness and fear is bleeding over into Canada. Thank goodness they don't have a majority in parliment.

> MORE <

January 23, 2006

Mike Jacobs "2005 Legislative Wrap Up"

Sen. Mike Jacobs recently sent out a nice looking campaign mailing highlighting his accomplishments over the past year. A copy has made it's way to me, and I'm more than happy to pass on these accomplishments to my readers.

Some have accused me of not touting Jacobs' accomplishments, and my defense is that I would if I was aware of any, though I'd hasten to point out that I truly wouldn't expect miracles from anyone who's been in office such a relatively short time. And of course, Jacobs or his allies have never failed to remind us here of his supposed achievements repeatedly and often, to repeat them would be overkill on top of overkill. I've given him credit for his role in promoting the WIU/Riverfront campus, and now we have a list of what Jacobs himself feels are his accomplishments over the past year.

- Jacobs co-sponsored with Rep. Pat Verschoore, HB1919 allowing Casino Rock Island to move operations to wetlands near the junction of I-20 and IL 92. The project is said to cost $90 million. Jacobs suggests this will "attract weekend visitors and traffic from outside Northwestern Illinois and encourage new growth in the area." He also says the project will bring "hundreds" of new construction jobs temporarily and "300 to 400 new permanent jobs at the expanded facility."

- Jacobs co-sponsored HB 2137, a bill to toughen worker compensation laws to "fight the fraud that hurts employers and employees".

- Jacobs asked QC Chamber of Commerce President Rick Baker to form a WIU-QC "Blue Ribbon Task Force" to "explore concepts" on expanding the riverfront campus of WIU in Moline. Blagojevich agreed to a request to "coven a financial think-tank" to look into ways to finance the project. "After meetings in Chicago and Moline, we are awaiting the next step in this exciting initiative."

- Jacobs "supported" Blagojevich's "All Kids" health insurance plan.

- Jacobs was "involved in the process" of legislation which is an effort to combat what many consider largely mythical "frivolous lawsuits" and a blow against a citizens right to sue for malpractice. He explains support of this effort by saying that it's not "against" lawyers or "for" doctors, but better for everyone. He considers it a compromise measure which is a step in "bringing a final resolution to the crisis" he maintains is plaguing northwest Illinois and the entire state.

- Jacobs signed on as co-sponsor of a bill toughening anti-methamphetamine laws and requiring people buying cold remedies which contain an ingredient needed to make meth to show I.D. and sign a log book.

- Jacobs notes that the recent state budget includes over $31 million for area road projects in 2006 and is part of $188 million proposed to be spent in the district on "infrastructure improvements between now and 2011".

- Jacobs notes that he's "pleased" that area hospitals will receive state funds from a new funding formula enacted in the General Assembly this year. "A boost of over $3.6 million over next year will go a long way in helping these healthcare centers provide essential health care services."

So there you have the essence of the "2005 Wrap-up". Make of it what you wish.

High speed rail link touted by Jacobs turns out to be a mystery train

Readers will recall the high-speed rail project between here and Geneseo (population 6,480, distance from Moline, 20 miles or 18 minutes) which Mike Jacobs and his supporters have been trying to claim as a great achievement on his part.

Word has it that there's going to be an upcoming piece in the Dispatch/Argus which reveals that it appears nowhere in the state budget. What's the story on that? I guess we'll find out.

Pancakes and the politicians that love them

Paul Rumler, challenger for 36th district state senator, held a pancake breakfast fundraiser this past Saturday morning. It's reported that among those who showed up to lend some support was Rep. Mike Boland.

I'm sure that this won't affect the peas-in-a-pod closeness and brotherhood between Sen. Mike Jacobs and Boland which has been trumpeted here many times by the Jacobs camp.

Ford announcement affects thousands, devastates families, communities.

Ford Motor Co., the nation's second-largest automaker, said today that it will cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and idle 14 facilities by 2012 as part of a restructuring designed to reverse a $1.6 billion loss last year in its North American operations.

The cuts represent 20 percent to 25 percent of Ford's North American work force of 122,000 people. Ford has approximately 87,000 hourly workers and 35,000 salaried workers in the region.

Ford shares rose 68 cents, or 8.6 percent, to $8.58 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier today, Ford reported earnings of $2 billion in 2005, down 42 percent from last year's profit of $3.5 billion. It was the third straight year the automaker has reported a profit, but gains in Europe, Asia and elsewhere were offset by a loss of $1.6 billion in North American operations.

Plants to be idled through 2008 include the St. Louis, Atlanta and Michigan's Wixom assembly plants and Batavia Transmission in Ohio. Windsor Casting in Ontario also will be idled, as was previously announced following contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers. Another two assembly plants to be idled will be determined later this year, the company said.

The other seven facilities that will be idled were not immediately identified.

A total of 14 facilities, including seven assembly plants, will cease production by 2012, Ford said.
Whatever forces are at work in the global market, it is most definitely devastating to American workers. Could anything be done to prevent the continued "downsizing" that have put hundreds of thousands of workers into the streets? At least Ford didn't do this just before Christmas like corporations usually seem to do.

Gubenatorial candidate Eisendrath running web ad

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Edwin Eisendrath unveiled a new political ad on his campaign's Web site today.

The advertisement will run only on the Internet.

It portrays a group of political insiders playing golf and discussing how they have benefited from Governor Rod Blagojevich's first term in office.

A phone message left today with a Blagojevich spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

Eisendrath spokeswoman Monica Teague says the ad is a reflection of the complaints that Illinois voters have expressed to Eisendrath during recent trips around the state.

Eisendrath's campaign is encouraging supporters to send the ad's Web site link to their friends and family.
The web ad can be viewed on Eisendrath's site here. What do you think? Would it be effective if they ran it on air?

Story from WQAD.

AFSCME endorses Topinka

What to make of this?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Illinois's largest state employee union is endorsing Judy Baar Topinka in the Republican primary for governor, but is making no endorsement in the Democratic race.

In 2002, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees endorsed Governor Rod Blagojevich in both the primary and general elections.

But spokesman Anders Lindall says many of the union's members aren't endorsing Blagojevich this time because they are disappointed with his administration.

The union represents 100-thousand active and retired state workers.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Edwin Eisendrath said the union's endorsement of Topinka boosts his campaign.

Phone messages left with the Blagojevich campaign were not immediately returned.

Lindall says the union has endorsed Republican candidates for governor in the past, including Jim Thompson in 1986.
Does this say almost as much about the recent inclination of several major unions to break from both traditional labor coalitions as well as the Democratic party as it does about Blago?

Blago edges Topinka in Post-Dispatch poll, Bush sinks further in both Illinois and Missouri

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is entering his campaign for a second term with fewer than half of Illinoisans behind him.

The reason may be that voters don't share his priorities, according to a poll by the Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV (Channel 4).

The statewide poll, conducted last week, found tepid support for Blagojevich's proposed new infrastructure program, and deep division over his suggestion that school rebuilding could be funded with a state-run keno game.

Perhaps most ominously for the Democrat, the poll found his 47 percent "favorable" rating is statistically identical to that of the Republican frontrunner for governor, Judy Baar Topinka - while his "unfavorable" rating is significantly higher than hers.

"It's pretty clear he's vulnerable. He's got his work cut out for him," said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000, the Maryland firm that conducted the poll.

Pollsters conducted telephone interviews with 800 likely voters in Illinois between Monday and Wednesday.

Blagojevich has pegged his re-election hopes this year largely on two massive state initiatives: a program to provide universal health care to Illinois children, and a $3 billion infrastructure rebuilding plan. He has said he could pay for the expensive ideas without raising state taxes; critics say it will add to the state's budget deficit.

The new poll suggests Blagojevich is misreading Illinoisans' priorities - and their tolerance for more debt.

When respondents were asked to rank six state issues, the top issue by far was education funding. Balancing the state budget was the second most-chosen top priority among respondents.

Meanwhile, Blagojevich's big issues, infrastructure and children's health care, came in third and fourth, respectively. And "avoiding tax increases" - the mantra Blagojevich has clung to for three years - was ranked fifth, with only 14 percent of respondents calling it their top priority.

"He ought to focus on balancing the budget, even if it takes a tax increase," said poll respondent Sam Eubanks of Springfield, a retired state employee. "I'm not opposed to (infrastructure rebuilding), if we were in an economy where we had the money to do it . . (But) if you borrow, you've got to pay it back."

As part of his infrastructure proposal, Blagojevich has called for a school rebuilding program that would be partly funded by a state-run keno game like the one Missouri operates.

The game, similar to bingo, is played on television screens in bars and restaurants, allowing patrons to place bets and watch the outcome.

The poll found Illinoisans uneasy about the keno idea. Fewer than half of the respondents supported it, just slightly more than those who opposed it.

"His proposals just aren't that popular," said Ali, the pollster.

Blagojevich fared better on access to the "morning after" birth-control pills. After some pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for the pills, arguing that they cause a form of abortion, Blagojevich issued an order requiring that pharmacies fill such prescriptions.

The poll found that almost two-thirds of respondents favored Blagojevich's action. It was backed by 60 percent of male respondents and 64 percent of women.

"Women should have that option, so they don't end up having to do something even more damaging," said Julia Schubert, a Republican business owner in Cairo, Ill., who generally isn't happy with Blagojevich but strongly supports his stand regarding the pharmacists. "They shouldn't be able to just refuse it like that. We live in America."

The poll found a cool reception for Blagojevich this year in Southern Illinois, a region that surprised the political system in 2002 by backing his election.

In the ensuing three years, he has been accused by some downstaters of neglecting the region's concerns in favor of Chicago issues. The new poll found that somewhat fewer than half of the downstaters polled rank the governor's performance as "only fair" or "poor." Cook County was the only area in which Blagojevich, a native Chicagoan, received majority approval.

"He doesn't do anything to help this state, except Chicago," said poll respondent Louise Newlin, a resident of Jasper County in southeastern Illinois. "He doesn't worry much about us downstate folks."

Blagojevich is opposed in the March Democratic primary by former Chicago alderman Edwin Eisendrath, who isn't expected to pose a serious threat.

Topinka, the Republican frontrunner and currently Illinois' state treasurer, is one of four candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor. Recent polls have consistently put her far ahead of three Republican rivals: dairy magnate James Oberweis, businessman Ron Gidwitz and state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.
The AP account has a far less pessimistic spin than the Post-Dispatch's.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich received a 47 percent ``favorable'' rating from likely Illinois voters, but that was higher than the 45 percent ``favorable'' rating they gave Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Judy Baar Topinka, according to a new poll.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch/KMOV-TV poll released Saturday did not ask voters how they feel about any of the other Republican candidates for governor and Edwin Eisendrath, who is challenging Blagojevich in the Democratic primary.

The poll showed slightly different numbers when likely voters were asked to choose between Blagojevich and Topinka ``if the 2006 election for governor were held today.'' Forty-five percent said they would vote for Blagojevich, 37 percent said Topinka and 18 percent said they were undecided.

Pollsters interviewed 800 likely Illinois voters by telephone. The poll, conducted by Maryland-based Research 2000 Monday through Wednesday, has an error margin of 3.5 percentage points.

Blagojevich's proposal for state-sponsored keno games to raise money for school construction received some support, although lukewarm. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they favored keno, 44 percent said they opposed the plan and 9 percent said they weren't sure.

Blagojevich's executive order requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception was more popular, with 62 percent in favor, 27 percent opposed and 11 percent unsure.

Education funding was the top issue for 25 percent of those polled. Seventeen percent said balancing the state budget was the most important issue facing the state. Sixteen percent said roads and bridge construction was the top issue, and 15 percent said providing universal health care for children was most important.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was popular with those polled, receiving a 62 percent approval rating.

The ongoing racketeering trial of former Gov. George Ryan has the attention of 69 percent of respondents, and two-thirds of those who said they are following the trial said they believe Ryan is guilty.
Another Post-Dispatch account shows Bush's ratings plunging further in Illinois and taking a dive in Missouri as well.
Barely one-third of the poll's 800 Illinois respondents gave Bush a "favorable" rating, his lowest number in five years of similar polls commissioned by the newspaper.

That dissatisfaction, the numbers indicate, stems largely from the war in Iraq. Half the poll respondents say the war has made America less safe, and more than half say it has damaged America's image in the world.

Similar majorities said the administration should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, and should stop its policy of surveillance of U.S. citizens without court warrants.

The poll found that almost two-thirds of Illinoisans believe the nation is moving in the "wrong direction."

"These are atrocious numbers. They're awful" for Bush, said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000, the Maryland polling firm that conducted the poll of 800 likely Illinois voters Jan. 16-18. "The administration's agenda just doesn't resonate in Illinois."
These guys are on the ropes. Dare we be optimistic that they'll plunge even further when the Republican ethics scandals explode?

Police state, Pt III

A story in the QC Times reports on the Rock Island police department adding wireless computer terminals in squad cars. This enables them to chat with each other by text messages and to communicate without using radio communications, and to have access to all sorts of information, including a history of calls to a residence, mug shots, etc.

Rock Island had not had this techology before, while departments in Bettendorf, Moline, Davenport, East Moline and Milan have had them for some time.

But Moline is now paying for their eagerness to adopt the newest gadgets.
Francque said his department, along with East Moline and Milan, received mobile computers through a grant about five years ago. He said it took a long time for officers to adjust to the new technology.

“They have grown to be rather dependent on them now,” Francque said. “It was rather different at first, getting them use to them.”

While Moline was a leader in the technology at first, it will probably be a while before they catch up with Rock Island now.

“We’ve spent so much money on what we already have, we’ll have to wait to get our money’s worth,” Francque said.
As with most things technological, such fancy gadgets begin to become obsolete almost before they leave the store. Caution should be exercised before spending large amounts of money or using up grants for similar technology until it reaches a certain plateau of development.

Ailes does Pumpkinhead vs. Obama

Roger Ailes has a post on Obama's appearance with Timmy Russert on Meet the Press.

Since apparently none of you saw it, or at least had no opinion of it that you cared to share, here's a bit from Ailes.

Wollcott notices the bizarre nature of Timmy's questions as well and has a few suggestions for what Russert might have asked.

January 22, 2006

What should happen 1,095 days from now?

If there's any justice in the world, 1,095 days from today will be a day of international (perhaps even gallactic) celebration and liberation. A true cause of hope.

The day will be January 21st, 2009, and it will be the first day in office of the new Democratic president.

Aside from dancing in the streets, it will be time to take action. There's 8 brutal years during which the enviroment was brutalized, freedoms and rights cast aside, fiscal insanity ruling the day, and untold death and destruction around the world due to crack-pot ideological beliefs of the neocon cabal leaving a world destabilized in a fundamental and dangerous way.

What will the new president need to do beginning on January 21st, 2009? What would you like to see done? What can be done to try to mitigate the massive damage inflicted during the darkness of the Bush era?

What will the Democrats need to do to restore this country to it's former greatness and respect around the world?

Evolution continues apace

In only a few days, The Inside Dope has somehow evolved into a "Crawly Amphibian" at #7720 in the bloging ecosphere.

"Ten Words" challenge

I recently received the following sent by Iowa Gov. Vilsack, which says in part,
Dear Friend,

As governor of Iowa, I have seen that Americans uniting as a strong community is the most effective way to approach our country's problems.

So when I started to examine the Democratic Party's message, I didn't want to ask a few people -- I wanted to ask a community who have worked hard for candidates and campaigns, what they think about the Democratic Party's message.

We have launched a new website dedicated to having a discussion about the Democratic Party's message. We have hundreds of ten word submissions--but we need many more, so we can have the discussion that this topic deserves:


The idea for OurTenWords.com came in August of 2005, from a member of our online community at HeartlandPAC.org--Michael Faris.

He wrote: "I'm going to dwell on my own ten words, and I hope that every progressive and Democrat in this country does, too. Not what they think people want to hear, but those actual ten words that mean something, that show the change that people actually want."
A very interesting challenge. I hope many of you might give this some thought and submit them to Heartland PAC.

This you can do it? (My saying anything in ten words would be an amazing feat.) The results should be very insteresting.

Look over what others have submitted at ourtenwords.com and then give it your best. Share your "Ten Words" with us here as well.

Obama on Meet the Press

Wunderkind Barack Obama is to appear on Meet the Press, which airs later this morning at 8:00 a.m. on KWQC.

Obama has appeared with Senate and House minority leaders Reid and Pelosi recently to highlight the rampant corruption in the Republican party.

I only hope like hell that Obama doesn't cave and explains clearly that Abramoff gave not one dime to any Democrats. Indian Tribes which he lobbied for made donations of their own volition to many Dems, but much less after Abramoff got involved in their affairs and started systematically ripping them off.

The donations of Indian tribes to politicians has nothing to do with Abromoff or the corruption involved.

Note: An alert Dopester noticed this write up on Obama's role on the issue of ethics reform in the Sun-Times.

Did you catch Obama's appearance? What did you think?

Sound advice on dealing with trolls

This is one of those bank-shot sort of things where I read a post on one blog which points to another, and in this case, a link in a comment to that post points to yet another.

I saw a post on Atrios which points to a post at Firedoglake, who is dealing with a recent uproar on the Washington Post's online site. Evidently, there was a deluge of comments and the Post actually discovered trolls, prompting them to feel the need to delete hundreds of comments. This sparked a discussion on blogs vs newspapers trying to blog, the handling of comments and the inevitable trolls, and how to best manage comments and a blog community.

A comment at Firedoglake pointed to another blog post at "Making Light". This blogger was responding to a request to participate in a panel regarding "Spam, Trolls, Stalkers: The Pandora's Box of community". They laid out some simple rules or guidelines for dealing with comments which, thought experience, I very much agree with.

If you have any interest in such things, it's a good read. Here are a few of the things they list under Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space:
  • There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.

  • Once you have a well-established online conversation space, with enough regulars to explain the local mores to newcomers, they'll do a lot of the policing themselves. [I wish!!!]

  • Civil speech and impassioned speech are not opposed and mutually exclusive sets. Being interesting trumps any amount of conventional politeness.

  • Things to cherish: Your regulars. A sense of community. Real expertise. Genuine engagement with the subject under discussion. Outstanding performances. Helping others. Cooperation in maintenance of a good conversation. Taking the time to teach newbies the ropes.
More at the links above.

P.S. I found this post and the resulting comments pretty damn funny. Mostly because the fake comments look vaguely familiar. But BEWARE... really bad words are used.

January 21, 2006

Program note: John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" to appear tonight

John Perkins, author of the excellent and highly recommended book, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" is to appear tonight on C-Span's BookTV beginning at 8:00 p.m.

As their site puts it:
From 1971 to 1981 John Perkins worked as a chief economist for Chas. T. Main, a Massachusetts-based international strategic consulting firm. During this time Mr. Perkins said his job was to trick developing countries into taking enormous loans from the World Bank in order to construct or repair their domestic infrastructure. These loans were given with the understanding that these countries would then use those loans to pay U.S. corporations to complete these constructing and engineering projects. The author writes that when these developing countries were eventually unable to pay off these sizable debts, the United States, World Bank, or IMF would step in and control the country's security arrangements and budgetary structure.
I've mentioned Perkins, his book, and the true agenda it reveals in a post dealing with Pat Robertson here. I also alluded to it when it was revealed that the loathsome and creepy Paul Wolfowitz, the prime architect and promoter of the utter folly in Iraq, had been rewarded by Bush by being appointed the head of the World Bank.

I highly recommend catching this show if possible, as Perkins has a lot to reveal about the agenda behind the agenda we're fed daily.

Asleep at the switch newspapers coddle Bush

Through all the Bush horrors, there's always the stunning thought, "What would be the press reaction if Clinton had (done, not done, failed at, etc.) this?"

Needless to say, the difference is simply irrefutible and obvious.

Jamison Foser at Media Matters does a great job of documenting one such comparison between how the Washington Post and New York Times dealt with the Lewinsky allegations vs. the attention they devoted to the revelation that Bush has broken the law and authorized unconsitutional spying on American citizens.

The account contains outrageous and stark evidence that the media is on bended knee when it comes to Bush.

Thanks to Atrios for the catch.

Good stuff

Dave Barrett writes a good little blog called "Moline Democratic Maverick" with a lot of very thoughtful and well-done posts which are worthy of more attention.

Give it a look.

January 20, 2006

Just what you've long suspected: The Inside Dope is a "Flippery Fish"

I recently noticed HRC at "50 Mile Out of the Loop" mentioning that he'd cracked the top 10,000 in blog rankings in The Truth Laid Bear's blogging ecosystem and had achieved "Slimy Mollusc" status. (50 Miles Out has since skidded a bit and is now ranked #10025)

I'd heard of this interesting site which uses a system to rank blogs before, and so thought I'd take a peek to see how this blog was doing. I imagined that we'd not be within shouting distance of the top 100,000.

Imagine my surprise to find The Inside Dope ranked #8518, thus qualifying our blog as a "Flippery Fish" in the blogging ecosphere.

Now where did I put those hats and hooters?

Whither now, local Dems?

The RI County Democratic Party was built in the late sixties by John Gianulis and a few pioneers who rolled up their sleeves and decided they were tired of Republicans dominating in key areas (Congress, county board, etc.). So along came a generation of new leaders and new energy (Gianulis, Evans, Jacobs, etc.)

That worked in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties -- 4 decades -- but is anyone even addressing the inevitability that there must be a change? Is it respondible to continue to largely ignore the need for some new and challenging Democratic Party leaders to assume positions of responsibility in the party?

Where is the transition program? Any good corporation, any good political party knows that you need to work on transition plans to help usher in new leaders to replace those who have been in powerful positions for a long, long time and who will inevitably need to move on involuntarily, if they shouldn't have moved on of their own volition already. John G, now 83, Lane Evans, in declining health, and so on.

Where is the transition effort? Once these fine leaders move out of the scene, is the party going to be left grasping at whomever happens to be standing around and then thrusting them into the public eye? Why is there no discernable effort to at least have younger figures at the sides of these elder leaders in order to be groomed and mentored to make future success more likely? Would it not be wise to have people ready and able to take the reins when the time comes in order to ensure that the workings of the party continue as seamlessly as possible?

The success of the Democrat or Republican Parties is not based on individuals, but ideals and values and a grassroots army to support election victories. The minute our politics becomes focused on personalities -- whether that's Lane Evans or Denny Jacobs or whomever -- we begin to fail. The party is bigger than individuals. When a forest is full of older trees, they crowd out the new growth. Shouldn't we be planting some younger trees to ensure that they'll be strong and well rooted by the time the old trees finally topple? (to use an inelegant analogy)

It's time for change in the RI Democratic Party. Our incuments have done a great job, it's time to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the service -- but it's time for new leadership, new faces, new blood.

What's disturbing is that these leaders aren't moving aside to make way for new and energetic hopefuls. They are holding on to their positions far beyond what might be considered prudent or in the best interests of the future strength of the party.

When politicians don't have the grace, selflessness, or foresight to step aside after long and illustrious service, and their staffers seek to prevent any thought of retirement out of self-interest, the larger interests of the party are harmed. This inertia and putting self-interest ahead of the party will likely come back to haunt the party in the future.

When too many party leaders seem interested in nothing other than running out the clock until they're forced to leave due to death or illness, in essense staying firmly in place for life, and compound the damage by devoting little or no effort whatsoever to seeking out, identifying, mentoring, and supporting new leaders, the party is headed for serious problems in the not too distant future.

The time will inevitably come when the party needs strong, experienced leaders to run for office and to lead the party. Not planning ahead for that eventuality is irresponsible. When that time comes will it be left to chance, struggle, and infighting? Will these figures in power for many decades simply walk off the stage in essense saying, "See ya, good luck.", leaving the party in shambles and setting the stage for opportunists and factions to battle it out? This would be disasterous.

It has gotten to the point where it is approaching or past time for party leaders to step aside, and beyond that, it is irresponsible of them to have no established efforts to attract and groom their succesors.

Your thoughts?

O'Brien assumes position with Jacobs campaign

Pat O'Brien, former candidate for Moline mayor, is now in a top position on the state senatorial campaign of Sen. Mike Jacobs.

At first blush, this seems a surprising development, as there has been some rather nasty fall-out between the two camps in the aftermath of the mayoral election which saw Republican Don Welvaert prevail.

But thinking about it a bit further reveals that this may be a good match for both men. Various sources make note that there are plusses to this arrangment.

O'Brien is justly known for his hard work ethic and doing the tough and unglamorous work which is an important part of any campaign, while Jacobs has a reputation for rarely getting his hands dirty with such things. This should be a good balance.

Jacobs is seen by some as having shaky labor support, and O'Brien has solid labor credentials and connections and can only be an asset in that respect.

With the addition of O'Brien, Jacobs may benefit from O'Brien's strength in Moline, challenging opponent Paul Rumler on his own home turf.

And finally and most hopefully, it's long been clear that Jacobs behavior has been crying out for some sort of intervention. Countless observers have openly wondered why there was no one around to give young Mike the hook and yank him away from activities which only damanged himself and increased doubts in many minds. There was speculation as to whether Jacobs would blow himself up before he even got to the starting line of his first election as candidate.

O'Brien is level-headed, and while passionate and committed, doesn't possess a penchant for loopy pronouncements or frantic explosions of ill-conceived invective.

It's also good to see Pat back in the game and in a position to demonstrate to others what he has to offer.

It remains to be seen whether Jacobs will begin to be open to advise, but O'Brien's influence, if it's accepted, can only be positive in my view.

How do you view this development?

January 19, 2006

Republican Medicare Part D prescription plan a prescription for disaster

Watch and listen as this disastrous plan explodes onto the country.

A commenter at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo puts it thusly:
I have been surprised by the amount of silence on Medicare Part D in the blogosphere. A fiasco of this magnitude deserves the same sort of deafening response that the FEMA response received. This has become a big, big story this month which has given many likely voters a significantly negative personal experience with Republican corruption.

Public health emergencies have now been declared in twelve states. There will be political consequences for the party responsible. There is already a wide popular conception among the affected portions of the public that the drug benefit was designed not in good faith, but to enrich insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.

Arbitrary drug classes like benzodiazepenes and barbiturates are specifically excluded from coverage. Congress left no clue as to the legislative intent of the exclusion. Someone seems to have decided that these two drug classes are incompatible with some Biblical teaching. Or maybe the competing drug classes are much more profitable for someone's campaign contributors (as both benzodiazepines and barbiturates are cheap and produced as generics, unlike their likely treatment alternatives). As a result the nation's psychiatrists are going batshit right now, trying to figure out what to do with patients on drug regimens for things like seizures.

Just like Katrina, and Iraqi reconstruction difficulties, this is an unfolding disaster that could be seen approaching from a mile away beforehand. The government took little or no preparation before the deadline to make sure things would run smoothly. As usual, someone in charge seems to have assumed that the invisible hand of the markets would take care of everything, or something. As a result, phone lines are clogged, web sites are down or inaccessible, pharmacists and doctors have no idea what is going on after being kept out of the loop, and seniors themselves are panicked, confused, and freaking out.

Last year's Social Security discussion was abstract for most senior citizens. They were specifically told it "would not affect them" and yet they were instrumental in destroying the Bush privatization attempts.

Medicare Plan D isn't like that at all- it's right in their faces. Old people (and their adult children trying to help them) are getting hit with nasty surprises at pharmacies everywhere this month. And they are MAD. They are being snowed under by the confusing paperwork and tricky decisions they are being forced to make. Many have yet to find out that the plan they're in won't cover the drugs they're on, or that they were automatically and quietly disenrolled from superior private coverage. And later in the year, say around November, a significant portion of beneficiaries will have entered their Part-D "doughnut-holes" and will be paying a monthly premium to receive zero benefits! How do you think that will go over? Might a surprise jump in monthly expenses affect voting behavior around then, if it can easily be associated with the party that calls Medicare Part D their "signature domestic achievement"?
This is going to be an utter mess. And Karl Rove knows it.

So what do Bush and the Republicans do when their ill-conceived and bone-headed actions prove to be just that? Do they quickly mobilize to fix the problem? Do they go back to the drawing board to correct mistakes?

Hell no! They launch a massive media propaganda campaign of course. We've seen this M.O. before. Bloggers have dubbed this the Bamboozlepalooza Tour.
President Bush's top health advisers will fan out across the country this week to quell rising discontent with a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that has tens of thousands of elderly and disabled Americans, their pharmacists, and governors struggling to resolve myriad start-up problems.
When things go horribly wrong, don't admit it or fix it, just spend millions on an effort to tell everyone that up is down and down is up. They pee on your leg and tell you it's raining.

No wonder the country is in an uproar and so sharply divided. Half the country knows what their eyes and ears tell them, and the other half is operating on the erroneous spin that the White House feeds them. When one group is dealing with reality and the other is operating in Bush land, any sort of accommodation is impossible.

January 18, 2006

Rock Island County OKs site along John Deere road for new location of nursing home

This is a welcome sign. Oak Glenn Home has done a very good job with what they've had to work with, but the current building is far too old and continued attempts to keep it up to standards are a losing proposition. A new facility will undoubtedly provide much improved conditions for the elderly and those needing nursing care and who depend on the county to provide it. Kudos to the county for making this a priority.
A nearly seven-acre site south of John Deere Road in Moline received preliminary approval Tuesday as the location for a new Rock Island County-owned nursing home.

The Rock Island County board approved a resolution to offer to buy the site, west of Farm and Fleet and east of 53rd Street. The land is priced at $1.1 million, human services committee chairwoman Karen Calvillo, D-Rock Island, said.

The new nursing home would replace Oak Glen Home, near Coal Valley. The county was cited for a number of life safety violations at the building during an Illinois Department of Public Health inspection last summer.

Much of the work required to bring the building up to code has been completed, but doing all the work would cost about $250,000. The inspection spurred discussion of building a new, more centrally located nursing home.

Rumler event this Saturday

A pancake breakfast is being held for 36th District Senate candidate Paul Rumler this Saturday from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Moline Eagles, 1404 6th Avenue, Moline. Cost is $5 per person. All are invited.

Police state, Pt II

A great shot captured by QC Times photographer John Shultz as a part of a piece in the Times shows one of several arrays of high-tech equipment recently installed in Davenport designed to snare ever more motorists for speeding and/or red light violations.

The equipment is given to the city free of charge by the company which markets them in exchange for a cut of the fines collected.

This little scheme must be extremely profitable, as the same company also gave the city a mobile van equipped with their gear in which an officer sits concealed while aiming high tech lasers and cameras at motorists in order to nab violators.

The cops are nabbing anyone exceeding the limit by 12 mph for 90 days, but will then start sweeping up people going as little as 10 mph over the limit and 8 mph over in school zones.

Boy.. I don't know about you, but I'm no leadfoot around town. But if I got a ticket every time I exceeded 40 mph, I'd have a lot of tickets in a year. If this trend continues and expands and these inhuman robo-cop things were installed everwhere, there'd barely be any drivers left with a valid license.

It's a fact that there's several hilly 30 mph zones just in Moline alone where you have to ride your brakes for a very long time just to stay within the limit. You can easily reach 40 mph just coasting. Cops already frequently work these little goldmines as it is, but imagine if there was an inhuman "cop" stationed there 24/7.

It remains to be seen just how agressive the police will be with these devices.
Are these measures proper? Is the arrangement between the supplier of this equipment and the police department proper or ethical? Where is the balance between public safety and simply providing an ever increasing revenue stream (and profits). Should the profit motive be so closely linked to law enforcement?

These measures pose many questions as well as the larger question of the increasing militarization of local police departments.

A prior post on the subject and the comments from it may serve as a beginning of further discussion here.

And though it would be wrong, wrong, wrong, it's not hard to imagine some disgruntled libertarian who's sick of getting tickets breaking out his rifle and scope and simply picking off these "birds of prey" on their perches.

Are you comfortable with these high-tech, militaristic trends in local law enforcement and what it portends for the future? Once these measures are accepted, they will doubtless expand and get ever more intrusive and unyielding. (Though of course, if you're "unyielding", you'd likely get a ticket.)

January 17, 2006

Rock Island County Sheriff's race

I was provided the address for Rock Island County Sheriff candidate Mike Huff today, and it's available in the candidate area of the sidebar.

A fundraiser reception for incumbent Mike Grchan is to be held Sunday, January 29th from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Blue Ribbon Steak House, 1601 River Drive, Moline.

Any thoughts on this candidates and/or this race?

Supremes get it right, rebuff fundy backed attempt to outlaw physician assisted suicide law

The Supreme Court upheld Oregon's one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said that a federal drug law does not override the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting for the first time.

The administration improperly tried to use a drug law to punish Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court majority said.

"Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for himself, retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.
What does it portend that Roberts supported the Bush administration's attempt to outlaw the practice on some technicality? It's encouraging that, at least on this issue, that even if Alito were on the court and voted in favor of a ban, it still would have been upheld.

"Headusher" post of the day

My choice to follow Lane Evans into the U.S. Congress is "young" Mike Jacobs.

Not only has Senator Jacobs attracted tons of favorable local and statewide press, he's also garnered positive reviews in the Illinois General Assembly. By edgeding out a sitting state representaive to win the open senate seat, Mike Jacobs proved he well understands the "inside" political game.In addition, it turns out that Jacobs is a prolific fundraiser. In fact, Jacobs has another fundraiser set for May 9. Sources close to the event predict Jacobs will take in another $25,000 on Monday. If my math is right, "young" Mike Jacobs has raised approximatley $135,000 in the past 56 days.

The Jacobs' Family has long been close to Congresman Evans and his loyal staff. In fact, when Lane first entered politics, Denny Jacobs was the first public offical to endorse him. Further, Mike and Denny have long been generous with their time and money. If the switch comes, look for Jacobs to retain Evan's long-time governmental and politcal staff. Furthermore, I can't help but notice that both men share similar political beliefs as strong advocates for choice, labor, vets, senior and the enviroment. In addtion, both men are Catholics.

Moroever, Jacobs is young enough to get the job done, and smart enough to know how to do it. Furthermore, Jacobs is well-liked and well-known throughout the 17th District. When all is said and done, labor, vets, county chairman and local Democrats will likely encourage "young" Mike Jacobs to follow Lane Evans into the United States Senate.

Although Senator Mike Jacobs has yet to defeat Mike Boland, at this point he looks like the strongest possible candidate to replace Lane when the time comes.If "young" Mike Jacobs goes to Congress, look for Rep. Patrick Vershoore to follow Jacobs into the Illinois Senate, opening a House seat in Rock Island. Who will fill that seat is anyone's guess?If "old" Mike Boland had played his cards right, Jacobs might have appointed him (Boland) to the Illinois Senate seat upon his departure. Of course, all this is rank speculation, but that's what makes blogging and this so much fun!

--Posted by theheadusher to The Inside Dope at 5/6/2005 10:14:30 PM

January 16, 2006

Our new bouncer

click the kitty for larger view

Sparky hates trolls
Make sense or you might end up in his litter box. (the hard way)

JANUARY 15, 1929 - APRIL 4, 1968

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

MLK Jr. speech delivered on steps of Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

MLK Jr. Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before he was shot and killed.

Um... just askin'

It's been over a month since the much heralded Iraqi election and they STILL haven't figured out who won? Are they waiting for James Baker to go over and fix it?

And of course, the almost monontonous death toll continues to rise.
Iraq's electoral commission said Monday that it is throwing out votes from 227 ballot boxes in last month's parliamentary elections because of fraud, a tiny percentage of the total vote that shouldn't greatly affect overall results.

The announcement came after a U.S. helicopter crashed north of Baghdad, but the fate of the two-man crew wasn't immediately known. A car bomb also killed six people and wounded 19 in the town of Muqdadiya.

Complaints by Sunni Arab and secular Shiite Muslim parties charging voting fraud and other irregularities have delayed announcement of final results from the Dec. 15 election, slowing negotiations on forming a new, broad-based coalition government.


Shama ding dong... drop me an e-mail.

Fear and Loathing in blogdom

The recent freak-out by the "HeadUsher" clan occasioned by the online poll in which Sen. Jacobs' opponent Paul Rumler attracted over 80% of the vote, and a comment I've received prompted me to set out a few things regarding the protection of people's anonymity here.

A few people (as in maybe two) are very freaked out by the fact that a lot of people were able to come to the rather inescapable opinion that many bizarre and ugly comments here and elsewhere (posted as "HeadUsher" "CountyDemo" "VoterGuide" and others, hereinafter referred to as "commenter X") were left by Sen. Mike Jacobs and that the suspicion has been stated.

Why they're getting upset now when this contention has been stated for months is anyone's guess. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the press has asked Sen. Jacobs if he's posted as "HeadUsher"?

I hasten to point out that no one has ever revealed or stated that they had absolute proof of this. I'll repeat that for the benefit of people who seem to want to ignore it. No one has ever revealed or stated that they had absolute proof of this. And this includes myself, and to my knowledge, John Beydler as well.

The fact of the matter is this. If you:

A. Constantly make comments which have nothing to do with the topic or issue addressed in the post for which you're commenting, essentially hi-jacking the post. (blog no-no #1)
A. Make comments which serve no purpose whatsoever other than attacking others or which are basically overblown campaign ads.
B. Actually think you can "own" someone else's blog and think you have a "right" to fill it with all manner of disgusting, vile, mean-spirited attacks and lies.
C. Engage in nearly exclusive use of personal smears, attacks, and threats.
D. Despite numerous polite suggestions, patient explanations, pleadings, and warnings, show zero sign of "getting it", cleaning up your act or being able to follow the few basic rules of blog etiquette.
E. Despite the repeated chances above, not only don't ratchet things back a few notches, but actually intensify your onslaught and increase the childish attacks and lies and false assertions about individuals.
F. Literally cover the blog with posts glorifying the supposed accomplishments and near mythic greatness of Mike Jacobs while engaging in the lowest, most dishonest, mean spirited, and juvenile attempts to spread false rumors, smear, threaten, harass, insult, or attack anyone perceived as a Jacobs' competitor. opponent, or anyone who says anything less than glowing about Mike Jacobs.
G. Do all of the above over a thousand times over the period of nearly a year, sometimes at a rate of one a minute.
E. Give your identity away in dozens of ways suggesting that you are Mike Jacobs himself or both he and someone extremely close to him.
F. Generally act like an idiot.

...then yes, I'm going to say who I have reason to believe you are. End of story.

Anyone reading even a fraction of the hundreds of manic comments by "HeadUsher" et. al. posted here and to a lesser degree at John Beydler's "The Passing Parade" would come to the conclusion that this commenter is either the senator himself or someone so close to him as to almost be his clone. Either way, it's embarrassing.

People like him are known on blogs as a "troll". Someone who contributes nothing and only serves to agitate and disrupt a place and in doing so, ruin things for all the others who want a rational place to argue or discuss issues. In other words, they're the loud, crude, obnoxious guest who crashes an otherwise decent party and won't leave anyone alone.

No one else has any cause to worry that I'd have more than a passing interest in who they are, much less speculate about it here. And the fact remains that I have no means to associate a comment or e-mail with a person's name, period.

This doesn't mean that I'm an absolute dunce and that after reading dozens of comments from someone, some idea of who it might be doesn't enter my mind. But I sure don't sit here wracking my brains trying to figure out who said what. Frankly, I don't care who they are (no offense) and trying to find out is not only a waste of my time, but impossible. I only enjoy their thoughts, insights, views, humor, and personalities. That's plenty enough, without wasting my time playing detective.

A commenter wrote recently and wanted me to make some sort of "pledge" that I'd never reveal any commenter's identity or even speculate on it.

Long time readers will note that with the exception of "Headusher" and his pseudonyms, I've never speculated on any commenter's identity, nor do I ever intend to. Because if there's a God, there's only one "Headusher", and I won't have the need or the desire to.

What does it say though, that "HeadUsher" is now enraged, saying it's wrong that Sen. Jacobs has been revealed as the author of so many disturbing comments? Well to me, it's almost a confirmation.

HeadUsher is not angry that something THEY supposedly wrote is being falsely attributed to Jacobs, no mention of that at all. Only that it's somehow wrong to "out" someone. Interesting.

Now suddenly Sen. Jacobs and "HeadUsher" et. al (whom we'll refer to as "commenter X") are huge supporters of the right to anonymity online. How refreshing, in light of the fact that he was railing like a madman for months that my identity should be revealed, and has in fact attempted to "name" me in many comments in which he named names of people which he (wrongly) felt ran this blog in attempts to smear them or cast aspersions. (which of course, I did not post) What a remarkable change of heart. Maybe they are educable after all?

Frankly, one reason I've allowed the suspicion of Jacobs to be said is in the strong hope (in vain) that perhaps this person would realize how their comments are revealing a very ugly and disturbing aspect to them and their way of thinking. Jacobs has stated in newspaper stories that he reads blogs "occasionally" (snort!) I don't think anyone believes he hasn't read this one regularly, so he surely is aware of the many people who assume he's "HeadUsher and the others. In the past, "HeadUsher" has stated that he speaks to Sen. Jacobs often. (guffaw)

Since Jacobs has been suspected of being the source of these deplorable comments for about a year now, wouldn't you think that if it was indeed Jacobs, he'd get a clue and stop? And if it wasn't Jacobs, wouldn't he take immediate action to stop whoever was posting them? And even if he couldn't nail down who it was (yeah, right) wouldn't he immediately post a comment here disavowing all the vile and disgusting comments left in his behalf and apologizing to their targets?

The rational answer to the above is clearly yes, he would. But the fact is that Jacobs has apparently done nothing to stop or chastise the person posting such disgusting things (even if it's him, I might add.) as they continue to pour in.

And Jacobs has not said a word to disavow or disassociate himself from them in any manner, shape, or form. Not a peep. The silence is deafening. And telling.

But I'm here to tell anyone who cares that commenting here or contacting me by e-mail has been, is still, and will remain, completely anonymous.

And unless you think you can match "HeadUsher"s output for both volume and obnoxiousness, there's no need to worry about your identity being speculated about.

OK? Have we got this straight? Good.

I'm sorry to have had to go into this, but there are a few, and very few, people who are jittery that their anonymity is not secure. This is for them, not the rest of you who know better and are not concerned.

If anyone wants to discuss this further, contact me by e-mail, but I'm not going to spend any more time on it in comments.