A blog focusing on politics in Central Illinois.

Monday, February 28, 2005

We got gay friends in the red states part 2

Well now that I know we have a visitor of whom I have a bit of a disagreement with I would like to bring it back up. Rep. Mitchell - R Forsyth is the sponsor of HJRCA0001 which is a state consitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Although this admendment has no chance of going anywhere, it is great political grandstanding. Before going any farther I will echo my statement to Rep. Mitchell, I respect you, but I disagree with you. Now for my disagreement,.
The idea of banning gay marriage disgusts me. It is a very simple idea, and there is no justification to ban it. There are at least a few arguments against it which I would like to take a moment to discuss.
  1. It's against my religous beliefs, or it's a sin, or it's immoral etc. Well I hate to break the news to you but there is an idea that is known as majority rule, minority rights. Even though gays may be in the minority they still have the basic human rights as any other person. Even if it is a sin, can any of truly say you are without sin, it isn't up to you to judge, that is up to your God, and if you truly believe it is a sin and they will be judged by God. At that point it is there problem not your problem.. It is immoral, I'm sorry but I dont want to go into anybodys bedroom and tell them what is moral and what is immoral, because you know what, it is none of my damn business as long as it is two consenting adults that are causing no harm to anyone or anything else. I don't understand how people can say the government can't tell me what gun i can own, but can tell me who i can marry.
  2. If we let this go, then what is next bestiality, incest, or worst, a.k.a. the Santorum argument. If we let gay marriage exist then nothing is next, marriage between two gay people is simply that, a marriage that doesn't harm anyone else. There are victims of incest, there are victims in bestiality, there are not victims of gay marriage. It is a bond between two willing individuals who are no different from any other married couple. This would just allow them the same rights as others, the right to inherit things, the right to visit loved ones in the hospital, the right to health insurance, things you and I take for granted. Yet we should deny this right to others?
  3. Marriage is a religous insitution that should not be dishonored. Long ago marriage ceased to be a religous institution and became a legal insitution sometimes held with religious sanctions. If marriage was a religious insitution, would it be possible for atheists to marry each other? Would it be possible for Steve Bean to marry people? Would it be possible for me to marry people? Marriage, like many other things, has been adopted from its original function, to serve a more modern function that suits all.
HJRCA0001 is a disgrace, and is nothing more than political grandstand by Rep. Mitchell to his consituents. There is nothing worse than advocating changing the Illinois Consitution or the United States Consitution to incorporate hate. Hate is not an American value, tolerance is, and I will not stand idly by and watch a hateful agenda pushed in our statehouse. A right denied one is a right denied all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The 87th

Since someone made a ridiculous statement in the comments to the extent of Tate to Mitchell to Caulkins referring to Mike Tate Bill Mitchell and Dan Caulkins as state reps, and a future state rep. I thought we should take a look at the 87th. I think at this point Ray LaHood is serious about running for governor, mainly by the fact that he is doing everything a candidate for governor does. If Ray were to run for governor in the primary I am not sure whether he would run for his house seat as well, but let us assume he would not due that because he is hell bent on being the first lebanese governor of Illinois. Now where does his seat go.
I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, but the two state rep.'s that live in his district are Bill Mitchell and Aaron Schock. They would have to be considered as the first obvious successors, however since Schock has a big pink target drawn on his back by the house dem's he'll be battling just to stay on as a state rep. This should leave Bill Mitchell as the obvious choice to succeed Ray LaHood. However, I think that is an assumption that is wrong.
I believe if Mitchell were to run he would have a long road ahead of him, the biggest hurdle being name recognition. Living in one of the most distant points away from the population center of LaHood's seat is a definite setback. It should be no suprise to anyone that Mitchell has visited and held town hall meetings in every town in his district no matter how small over his last term. Finally there is the ugliest hurdle for Mitchell to face, and I believe we all know what that hurdle is. The DUI Mitchell recieved recently must be viewed as a giant setback to his political aspirations. I believe it is safe to say there is a videotape out there of this arrest, and someone is holding onto it for good reason. At this point its the best for his district and for himself to stay in the houe and move up the ranks of the HRO and into the House Leadership.
So if not Mitchell, then who becomes the obvious question. Lightner mentioned that LaHood might possibly pull a Bob Michel and hand off his congressional seat to his chief of staff, much like Michel did to him. At this point I think its safe to say its a toss up, I'll be able to give you more insight after the Peoria Mayoral election. Mainly because the Mayor of Peoria would ahve to be viewed as a serious contender himself. But, what are your views? Who do you think gets to pull the golden ticket and ascend? Will Mitchell take the plunge?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Slow Day

Today was a slow day, and tommorow isn't looking much better. Therefore I'm going to open up nominations early for my first best of, nominations are now being accepted via comments and at thedecaturdemocrat at gmail dot com. The first will poll will be two fold:
  1. Best Local Politician now, democrat or republican
  2. Best Local Politician ever, democrat or republican
Reasons why you're nominating that person will also be looked at as an added bonus, fire away!

two to many

These days there are getting to be a few too many anonymous floating around out there, and frankly its getting hard to keep them seperated, saying first anonymous, second anonymous etc. annoys me. So I'm thinking of doing away with them and making everyone register a handle which can still be anonymous. Tell me what you think .

Blog Gossip

Frequent commenter Matthew Jackson from the Jackson File is getting married today. Congrats from one blogger to another.

Friday, February 25, 2005

New Proposal

New proposal, lets see what you think. In place of a best of friday would you all be open to the polical play of the week. Which was proposed in the comments section, and for weeks where we can't have a political play of the week, for whatever reason I'll be doing Creepy Republicans.

But for this week lets try both
Political Play of the Week: Pat McDaniel for coming in third in the city council primary, I will say he flew in under my, and I would hope most people's radar. Pat's a good enough guy, I wouldn't mind seeing him on city council, but I have others I would rather see there. And now, for our creepy republican posting, brought to you by liberal bloggers all across the state, the pre-eminent creepy Republican Pat O'Malley!



Friday's best of

I would like to start a post every friday where I post a best of Decatur. What I will do is post a topic on Monday such as best Politician in Decatur, and you will email me your nominations then on Friday I'll post the results. However to start this I need best of ideas. Leave me what you want to see the best of, be it eateries, bars, magazines, newspaper columns, reporters, sports teams, mascots, you name it i'll consider it, either leave a comment or email me at thedecaturdemocrat at gmail dot com or the_decatur_democrat at yahoo dot com Let's see what we can do Decatur, leave me ideas.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blogroll

I'm in the midst of adding a blogroll, if you know a worthy blog, or you are a blogger let me know so I can add you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Reports from a strange and distant land

I figured I would give you all an update on what was happening in cities past our fair city on primary day.

In The People's Republic of Urbana, Laurel Prussing's political life was re-invigorated after defeating 3 term incumbent Tod Satherwaite in the Democrat Primary. Laurel is now the Mayor Presumptive of Urbana due to a lack of a republican candidate on the ballot. One Satherwaite supporter was quoted as saying,
"It's a sad day for Urbana because now we're in hippie land," It will be interesting to see if that has any implications in the upcoming Senate Race in that district.

East Moline's Mayor Joe Moreno found his fate very similar to Mayor Satherwaite's in that he lost to a challenger in the primary who has no Republican Challenger to face. John Thodus overtook Joe Moreno with a 51 to 49 percent margin. I am not sure where this battle lines up in the war for future control of the Rock Island County machine, but I can only guess at this time that proxy battles are being fought everywhere, anyone in the know chime in.

Cicero was the big suprise of the day. Cicero long known for corrupt and crooked politics which culminated in its' President being sent to jail for a 12 million dollar insurance fraud, not sure if that is the proper term, but 12 mil was funneled to her cronies. Betty Loren-Maltese, the former president current inmate, is still wildy popular in the mostly hispanic community of Cicero, however her hand picked succesor,
Ramiro Gonzalez was defeated by reform candidate Larry Dominick who won with a 51 to 49 percnet margin. Dominick immediately promised to oust village lawyer Edward R. Vrydolak, yes Fast Eddie indeed, who billed Cicero for over a million dollars in legal fees last year alone. Cicero is a strange land in and of itself, this November State Rep. Frank Aguilar - R was ousted by a stalking horse candidate who raised no money and did nothing name Michelle Chavez, pundits are still scratching their heads.

Finally, we return somewhat closer to home with a last stop at Mattoon home of the Green Wave. 72 year old Charlie White and Mark Donnell advanced out of a three man race for mayor to compete heads on april 5th. Meanwhile the list for city commissioners was pared from 18 to six. Making the cut were incumbents David Schilling and Jerry Hesse, incumbent Harold Gambrill failed to advance. Joining them for the general election race for three seats will be
David Cline, John Hayden, Dick Butler, Terry Cook, and Wanda Ferguson.

Thats a wrap up on my short look at the distant lands, let me know if you enjoyed this feature, and if it is something you would like to see continued in the future.

Primary Roundup

Stockard - Has benefit of being the only minority and one of two women running. Appeals to both Democrats and Republicans, had incumbency on her side, no suprise for her to finish first.

Edwards - As a former president of CONO he appeals to the precincts that turned out even though he is a democrat, again with incumbency on his side, second place should be expected.

McDaniel - Pat was the big suprise yesterday. With no money, he took it upon himself to take his message personally to the voters, which is very cost effective, by going door to door. Big Congratulations to him for pulling through.

Caulkins - In a boat similar to Shampine's but very different at the same time. Much money was spent, but wasn't able to finish where he needed to be, no real growth expected for him in the general unless he does something drastic.

Shampine - Again much money spent, but the difference between him and Caulkins is his base didn't turn out and Caulkins did. I still believe there is growth available to him for the general election don't count him out.

Keck - Great lady, admirable what she is doing, and she is doing it for the right reasons however she is doing it the wrong way. Take the McDaniel approach, door to door cost nothing.

Roberts - Looks like Billy's Kids is dead in the water.

I believe the top two will stay the same, and it will be a brutal battle for third in the general election. Does Pat keep doing what he's doing and keep his mouth shout? Does Caulkins try to undercut his "running mate" in Pat and go for third? Can Shampine turn out his base? 5 weeks is an eternity in politics, don't count out anything.

On blogs and journalism

As a follow up to my post on the city council primary I want to explain blogs, and ask you a question. People say I can't believe you would spin the city council primary, or why aren't you objective, etc. Well the thing about blog is they are used both to inform and to persuade. Newspapers have to draw a fine line between their editorial boards and their reporting. Blogs do not, in political blogs there is no such thing as unbias or no spin. Everyone is pushing a specific agenda on a specific issue. If it's not blatantly obvious by now, my specific agenda on the city council is to elect and re-elect Mike Shampine and Shad Edwards. The name of this is the Decatur Democrat blog after all. Blogs are a genre that can combine news and politics in a way that different mediums can.

Now onto another item. One poster stated they thought that blogs were supposed to be a way to offer insight and thoughts from contacts and sources that otherwise wouldn't come to light. I replied I have been uber-careful in doing so both to remain anonymous and to avoiding throwing up unsubstantiated rumors. However my question to you all, since this is as much yours as mine for the most part, is this; do you want more of the juicy tid bits and less of the cut and dry analysis, and what caution should I take before pressing publish post? Let's hear from you.

City Council Primary

1. Betsy
2. Edwards
3. McDaniel
4. Caulkins
5. Shampine
6. Keck
7. Edwards
Obviously some people chose not to listen to the Honorable Mayor Quimby! Though seriously, call it spin, call me the Iraqi Minister of Information, call it whatever, but I don't think this will be too indicitive of the general election. It was an election with a already foretold result, that frankly a lot of people didn't even care about. There were several core consituencies that didn't turn out because they didn't have too. However, I think its easy to so McDaniel was the big winner last night. More on this later.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dont listen to me listen to the Mayor!

Monday, February 21, 2005

From Marucco

We lost a friend

I regret to inform all of my readers that Decatur Township Trustee Nora Hunt passed away last night. Nora was a great servant to the party and a loyal Democrat her entire life. She will always be loved, remembered and missed.

posted by Ryan Marucco at 9:51 AM

On politics and PACs

An interesting conversation has arisen about outside PACs in the Decatur City Council race. On one hand some people tend to think that that is an outside influence made through political connections trying to influence something that really should be important, while the other side says they are provided with their funds from people working here, and owe it to their members to give back to this area. I could see if these outside PACs were PACs that had no connection to anything in Decatur, but they are not, they are made up by and get their money from the little guy in Decatur, the bus driver, janitor, or laborer. The ones who cant really give the big donation but want someone to represent them are where these funds come from. But, anyways to you think PACs from outside Decatur are such a terrible thing to take money from, particulary Union PACs, and if they are what about about taking money from anyone or anything from outside Decatur?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Malcolm


On Febraury 21, 1965 the world lost Malcolm X, a victim of an assassination. I think it is possible that Malcolm may be one of the most misunderstood people of the 20th century, in terms of how he is remembered. He is remembered by most, as a black muslim, preaching seperation of races, and the idea of black power and supremacy. But, as he advanced in life, particulary after his parting with the Nation of Islma, Malcolm came to the realization that that is not the best way to approach life. More so I believe by the end of his life he had realized that we all belong to a common brotherhood of man, that we are all in this life together, and be us black, white, muslim, christian, right or wrong, we must work together to achieve. I often wonder how the rest of Malcolm's life played out, mostly based on the fact that we were never able to witness the fruits of his new school of thought on life, after his seperation with the nation of Islam. I'll leave you with one quote from Malcolm that seems to becoming more of a reality daily.
"I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."



Contest

We've got the primary on Tuesday, so let's have a contest. Here's what were going to do, you're going to predict how they finish 1 through 7, and since I'm sure at least most people will have some of the same lineup, you're going to put the percentage each person gets of the vote. For example if 4,000 people vote, and you think Billy Roberts is going to get 3,000 votes, then that would be 75 percent for Billy Roberts.
So let's recap this, rank them as you predict they will finish, plus the percentages to serve as a tie breaker. Email me your guess at the_decatur_democrat at yahoo dot com or TheDecaturDemocrat at gmail dot com. On wednesday I will post the winners, either using a fake name or an alias if you so choose. Let me hear your thoughts, e-mail away.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A response on a response

Gary Sawyer, editor of the Herald and Review, posted a response to my response on his social security posting. His first statement, which should be done, was to remind people I am indeed anonymous, and that should be considered when thinking about how much stock to put into my posting, Poor Richard would be shamed. He then goes on to state that my response was to post a link to the Dem's Social Insecurity Plan Calculator, when in reality my response was, well gee Gary, either you're misleading us, or you dont understand the issue and here is why. And, for you viewing pleasure again here is a recap:

He then goes on to say this:
Of course, no one in the Social Security debate is advocating taking all of the Social Security money and putting it in a private account, or stuffing it in a mattress.President Bush has mentioned private accounts of relatively small amounts – 1 to 5 percent of an individual’s contribution.
And this is where I lose Gary, he is either misleading us, or just plain doesn't get the issue. I'm leaning towards he just plain doesn't get the issue. You see here's the problem, when he says only small amounts 1 to 5 percent of an individual's contribution, what he means to say is 1 to 5 percent of an individual's social security tax which is 6.2 percent. And, I would say that taking up to 80.6% of an individuals contribution to set aside in a private account is not a "relatively small amount"
Then from there I go on to present the idea of since you are going to use such an incredibly bias calculator to prove your stance is right, then I'm going to use an incredibly biased calculator to prove my stance is right. And, that statement is what Sawyer tries to pin my response on. In reality my response is, and remains to be, I don't think you really get the issue.

I still don't think he gets the issue all the way, he is correct in saying that the investment plans are not incredibly high risk, and indeed are rather conservative and safe, however he explains that the Heritage Foundations calculator should be looked at because it looks back. It says here is how much more money I could have, if this had been an option for me from the start. That is a strange way to base a calculation on, mainly because you're proving you're argument by basing it on something that never existed, and still does not exist. A person cannot say social security privitization should be looked at, because hey look at how much money I could have now, that is ignoring the, at very least, trillion dollars of transition costs. And well a trillion dollars is A TRILLION DOLLARS! A better way to look at it, is by looking forward and saying this is what is going to happen to me if we cross over now. I'm open to the idea of letting people who are just starting their security investment invest in private accounts if we can provide a way to pay the transition costs. In today's papers we read that the transistion costs could be covered if the caps on social security were lifted, so taht income over 87,000 dollars was taxed as well, which it is currently not.
So in essence my response is two fold, first off Gary my response was not look at the Dem calculator, it was I don't really think you understand the issue, and oh yeah here's another bias response. And secondly, if the republican party wants to create private accounts they must be willing to lift the tax caps on social security to cover the transitions costs to support that plan, and by doing so add another trillion dollars to the federal government from taxes over a decade. If the conservatives claim to be conservative, prove it, hold the line, privatization is not the way to go.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Obligatory Mention

It's starting to become a revolving door, County Republican Chair John Davis resigned Wednesday and was replaced by failed Auditor candidate Jim Gresham. Gresham proved he can raise money in his race, and he seems like he wants to take the time to rebuild the shambles, but only time will tell if he is succesful or not. There I mentioned it, I figured I'd get some flack for not mentioning it at some point, but well yeah.

A response to Sawyer on Social Security

I had a great little post dedicated to this, then I erased it on accident. C'est la Vie. So here we go again, the other day Gary Sawyer came out in favor of Social Security Privatization, or at least the idea of discussing it. He cited the fact that the rate of return on Social Security is -.08% which means we actually lose money on what we pay in. While I get the inkling this figure is wrong, I just don't feel like searching out the real rate of return again.

He then goes on to say this:
Of course, no one in the Social Security debate is advocating taking all of the Social Security money and putting it in a private account, or stuffing it in a mattress.President Bush has mentioned private accounts of relatively small amounts – 1 to 5 percent of an individual’s contribution.
And this is where I lose Gary, he is either misleading us, or just plain doesn't get the issue. I'm leaning towards he just plain doesn't get the issue. You see here's the problem, when he says only small amounts 1 to 5 percent of an individual's contribution, what he means to say is 1 to 5 percent of an individual's social security tax which is 6.2 percent. And, I would say that taking up to 80.6% of an individuals contribution to set aside in a private account is not a "relatively small amount" Furthermore, since Gary links to the Heritage Foundation, a right wing think tank, to back up his claims that he is losing money, I feel justify in using the Senate Democrat's website to show that under Bush's plan I would be losing money. So here we go folks see for yourself.

Promotion

From the comments section:
So let's get down to it: would people who didn't like the way the caucus turned out now prefer for the Republicans to win the township offices in April? I wasn't comfortable with the fact that the names weren't released before the caucus either (though it was clear there would be contested races). But here's my direct question: would you now prefer for Republicans to win?
To the outside of Decatur readers, at the Decatur Township Caucus, 216 people showed up to vote, and two incumbents were not re-nominated to the ballot. Names were supposed to be submitted by January 1, if you intended to run. The Decatur Township Dem Chair would not release the names. Anyways, anyone want to answer this question?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

To anoymous

Stolen from the Inside Dope, the new blog for quad cities politics, www.theinsidedope.blogspot.com , I bring you this gem.
That said though, I strongly encourage posters to register and adopt a user name so that you will at least be anonymously linked to your posts. (How else can we tell who the brilliant ones are?) Endless posts from "anonymous" tend to get tedious and lame. Registration is quick, painless, completely anonymous, and free. This is crucial, as with user names, we can all come to know and love you for your brilliant posts and a community of inside dopers might develop.
How about it, even if you want to be anonymous you can still create an anonymous screen name to post with as well. It will make for a much more fun blog I promise, and its simple to do. Skip over to blogspot.com kiddies and create yourself a name, post here when you do!

What was the gain?

In today's Herald & Review an article was written on the follow up to a car accident a month or so ago.
Toxicology tests found cocaine in the system of a Decatur woman whose death in a wreck on rain-soaked Illinois 105 sparked concerns over the state's response to road conditions.

Tracey Lynn Mell, 40, was killed early on the morning of Jan. 12 when her eastbound sedan crossed the center line and hit a westbound pickup truck head-on. The toxicology results were revealed Wednesday morning during a coroner's inquest.
All I can think is this, what is the use of knowing this for the general public? Did we really have to know this, do we have any need to know this? All I know is that two young girls woke up this morning, and at some point are going to find out their mom was using cocaine when she died. Do they really need to know that, do all the people that love her, and miss her need to know this? What at all was gained by publishing this?
I know some might say well it's important because of what was going on with the road that day and the controversy it has caused, with the IDOT and what not. Well her having cocaine in her system does not change any of the facts. 911 was called seven times and told about the issue, a state trooper informed his command of the issue, and IDOT still did nothing. The only thing, unless I'm missing something, that this article did was paint a bad picture of a dead person, and what's the point? thoughts?

Charges against Wolfe dropped

A misdermeanor charge of Domestic Battery leveled against County Board Chairman Dave Wolfe was recently dropped:
DECATUR - A special prosecutor on Wednesday dismissed a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery against Macon County Board Chairman David Wolfe.

Tom Griffith said he made the decision after reviewing the police reports in the case and discussing it with defense attorney Scott Rueter and Wolfe's 19-year-old daughter, who made the complaint.
I'm sure this won't end the speculation for some, but I for one am glad the issue has been cleared up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Feel free

Feel free to comment on my gay marriage and liberal and a patriot posts, as to whether you agree or disagree with them, and why. I would appreciate that!
TDD

We got gay friends in the red states

As a follow up to my post a patriot and a liberal, I've been thinking I should expand on reasons I'm a Democrat, and how too often my positions are painted as out of touch or radical. So I might as well jump on the third rail and hit on gay marriage.
I support gay marriages, not with limitations, not civil unions, but straight up marriage. I don't feel the need to apologize for that fact, or to be ashamed of that fact, because it is what I believe, and it is what I believe is just. Too often we can be intimidated into not talking about this issue, because we might be wrong, the only thing that is wrong, is not standing up for what you believe in.
The question undoubtedly would arise, why am I, a heterosexual, in favor of gay marriage? I am in favor of gay marriage for several reasons. I don't believe the government should be able to tell two adults who they can and cannot love. The extremists on the other side would say, well if you open the door to gay marriage, then why not pedophiles and bestiality? My answer to that is simple, no one is harmed when two men or two women who love each other marry each other. To throw up the argument of where do you stop is simply ridiculous and childish. It's akin to someone saying well if you legalize assault weapons, then what is next chemical and biological weapons for sale at Walmart?
Another reason I am a supporter of gay marriage is the simple fact that is a right that should be available to people simply because they are humans, and it is being denied. An injustice against one is an injustice against all, a right denied one is a right denied all. It would be easy to duck this question as not important to me, but thats not what I'm about. I believe in the fact that all people are created equal, and the government should strive to make that saying a reality.
Finally, are gay people any different then anyone else, why should they be treated as second class citizens? Is it so radical a thought as to believe that gay men should be able to inherit their partners belongings and property as easy as a heterosexual couple can, that they should be able to visit the one they love in the hospital as easy as a heterosexual couple can, that they should be able to provide for their partners with healthcare as easy as a heterosexual couple can? It is not, we are the Democrat party, we believe in the ideals of justice, of equality, of humanity. When the rights of others are obstructed, what is to stop our rights from being obstructed next?
I'm not pushing a radical out of touch agenda here folks. All I am saying is that who I am, who is the federal government, who are we to tell two adults who love each other and are harming no one that they cannot be married? I could care less if 11 states recently enacted laws against gay marriage, popularity does not translate into equality, nor into what is right, I may be just one, but I have the might of justice and equality on my side.

The Divide

Well I figured by now that the powers that be would have come to a realization that the Decatur Township Democrats are not going anywhere, and as per usual in this case, I am wrong. I came to the realization long ago that the Decatur Township Democrats are not going anywhere, and in fact are doing things to revitalize the party. TDD was informed that at their recent fundraisers many new faces were abundant in the crowd, which I can say is quite a good detour from the usual. I don't see how this is a threat to the party as a whole, if people don't want to do work, and their are others that want to, I say move out of the way and let them do the work. Or, better yet, counter with your own efforts to revitalize the party, because two are better than one right. The time is well past to still be complaining, crying, and whining from both sides. Get along and go along I say!
So this leads me to the question, do you honestly believe the Decatur Township Democrats are a bad thing for this party, and why, or are they doing good things for the party?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A patriot and a liberal

A patriot and a liberal, two words that are not opposites believe it or not! Today the men and women of the 106th, i believe aviation wing returned to Decatur. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends they all are of someone, and they have spent considerable time in constant danger in Iraq. I could not be prouder of these people, they are truly what America is about.
Yet, at the same time I can say unequivocably that I do not, and I have never, supported the war in Iraq. These soldiers aren't in control of their destiny, they are being given orders that originate from the very top. They have no choice as to where they are going to go or how long they are going to be there. They are simply doing their job, and I will not look down on them for that.
Too often the conservatives of this country have wrapped themselves up in the flag, and proclaimed anyone that disagrees with them as being unpatriotic. But, I disagree with this notion. What is more patriotic than standing up and saying that we as a country must do absolutely everything possible before we allow these brave men and women to die. We have not done that, instead, we have failed the ones that we need the most. We have rushed into a war in Iraq based on lies, and shifting reasons. Is there anything more unpatriotic than letting our soldiers die needlessly? Can you as an individual actually say that the over 1200 soldiers that died so far, not to mention the much greater number of those that have been injured and maimed in Iraq, is justified? I am not unpatriotic for not wanting a war in Iraq, I am patriotic because I value the lives of and well being of our soldiers.
While we are on the case of patriotism vs. unpatriotism I would like to venture this question as well. Is it unpatriotic to send soldiers into war, where they can die, where they can be maimed, where they can be injured, where they can be scarred for life when it is not neccesary, then when they return here as veterans we cut their benefits? Is that a way to thank someone for their service to our country, by turning a cold shoulder to them? That is an outrage, and that is what the same party that is so quick to label people as unpatriotic are doing to our soldiers that have served us already.
Welcome home to our brothers and sisters in Decatur that have been serving us in Iraq. I love you and I thank you, with undying gratitude. I remain,
A liberal and a Patriot,
TDD

Fundraiser

Anyone go to the fundraiser for Shampine and Edwards last night? Being Valentine's Day you can imagine I had better things to do. Fill me in!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Cattle Call

This week's cattle call finds the candidates bunched back at where they were at the start, with Tier 1 Tier 2 and Tier 3 candidates, with slight changes. So what I'm going to do is post the Tiers in alpha order, and let you folks come up with your own rankings, with statements for each where you say why they are there, keep those statements short, one line each. If they start getting silly, petty, or just plain idiotic they'll be gone.
Tier 1
Dan Caulkins
Shad Edwards
Mike Shampine
Besty Stockard

Tier 2
Kim Keck
Pat McDaniel

Tier 3
Billy Roberts

Let's hear your thoughts!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Sawyer's blog

It came in under my radar until today on the capitlfax blog, but Gary Sawyer has a blog now. I'm glad to see this, and we have posted on some of the same topics, so we'll see how it plays out. Now if they would just free Ingram to do a blog the world would be just!

City Council Fundraising

Now we get to go back to the fun times of election reports! Now gather around children while we take a look at the Decatur City Council Race, and its fundraising numbers. The first number is the money raised in the pre-election report added to cash on hand at the start of the period, plus any A-1's that have details.
1. Mike Shampine - $11,488 raised so far, with a loan of 2,474.00
2. Shad Edwards - $8,894
3. Dan Caulkins - $7,441 raised so far, with a loan of $2,000
4. Besty Stockard - Just filed a statement of organization
5. McDaniels, Keck, and Roberts have no PAC's linked to their name.

So that's where we stand in the money race, this looks like it could make things interesting. I'm a bit suprised at Caulkins fundraising numbers, with his core consituency I thought that number would be higher. Anyone know what the burn rate is for any of the candidates right now, who's spending how much? Any thoughts?

By the way, someone should inform Shad and Dan that we're now living in the computer age, stop filing on paper!

Thanks and Welcome

Thanks to Rich Miller over at the godfather of Illinois blogs, capitol fax, for giving me a plug today. To the new folks, welcome, sorry for the lack of updates I've been on the outs with the flu this week. I'll have more up later today. Again, Thanks and Welcome!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Legal Marijuana

From today's SJ-R we learn that Rep. Larry McKeon, who was the driving force behind the gay rights amendment that just recently passed, is pushing for the state to legalize medicinal marijuana.
As a state lawmaker pushes his proposal to legalize medical-use marijuana, a former drug-policy adviser to President Bush is touring Illinois lecturing against the practice.

The conflict reached a head this week, when Rep. Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, challenged Dr. Andrea Barthwell to a public debate about medical marijuana. Barthwell declined the challenge.

The proposal would allow individuals with a debilitating medical condition or their caretakers to own up to 12 cannabis plants and 21/2 ounces of usable cannabis. Individuals would be registered confiden- tially with the Illinois Department of Human Services and receive an identification card exempting them from arrest, prosecution or penalty.
Interesting article, really gives you more insight into Rep. McKeon. I knew he was our only openly gay Representative, but I didnt know he was living with AIDS, and is a former LA policeman. Being that he comes from law enforcement that should give this article more credibility. Meanwhile Dr. Barthwell is still thrashing around trying to claim some sort of relevancy.

What are your thoughts on medicinal marijuana. I still don't have a decision. On one hand, I think that it would serve some good, but on the other hand it could be hard to control. I would say I lean against it at htis point, but a very slight lean at best.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen meet the POTUS

stolen from Kos, in turn stolen from Atrios:

THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Right, he's taken on the task of saving social security, god save us all.

Open Call

I've put the call out to a few people with little response, so I'll open it up to everyone. What I'm looking for is biographies of different prominent democrats through the year. Someone had a list in one comment, I'm looking for the likes of Roy Anthony, Tim Donovan, The Tangneys, Lee Holsapple, John and Julie Curry, John Dunn, anyone you want to cover. Anyone interested in doing so can email me their own biography of their favorite county democrat, drop me a line at the_decatur_democrat at yahoo dot com or TheDecaturDemocrat at Gmail dot com . Of course I will use my discretion in publishing, I'm looking for positive reviews and not critical analysis. Anyone interested comment or email me. Or both!

Update - Names mentioned so far

Margaret Donovan
Irene Heinz
Sylvia Smith
Flo Smith
Lawrence,Bill, and Ed Tangney
John and Julie Curry
Robert and Kitty McCarthy
John Dunn
Roy Anthony
Marge Nuding
Dorothy Berg
Tim Donovan

Looks like the Donovans are serving as bookends today, and to anoymous who mentioned the first four, you're more than welcome to share your input as well. If you want anoymity for your biography, that will be provided as well.

From, correct me if i'm wrong, County Clerk Bean, a late addition, but one I want to bring up none the less, keep them coming!
I was glad to see Bob posting a bio on Roy Anthony who was a great friend and leader of
the party on both a state and local level. He
was great both behind the public view and when necessary presented a positive image for the Democrats in public view. He had a great license plate " VOTE". He was mister Democrat for many of us. With the two elections and all other county clerk stuff I plan to write up some short bio details of some of the "fine" Democrats> i did not call them great like another writer said.
Since i am on that Topic Ed Tangney did more over the years helping Democrats than many others. In my office hangs a picture of Harry Truman that Roy Anthony "loaned" to Ed. Ed "loaned" to me. Some day down the road I hope when I leave public service I will pass it on to another Democratic office holder.
Like I said I write a few notes about those who came before us. Many left positive marks like Connie Forcum who went on to become an assistant to Senator Dixon and Atty. General Hartigan. Jack Standerfer who was on the County Board,lost a run for Recorder, and lead the Young Democrats. A true JFK Democrat who design a memory book of Jfk for a YD State Convention. Two men who were at odds with themselves at times but both left positive marks for the party were Hallie Bafford(Democratic Chairman for 26 years) and Roy Suzewitz(County Bd. Chair) who term as Chairman is like the current Governor. It is hard to clean up after elephants after they been there for a long time. These two names will probably raises some eye brows. The past leaders and followers of Macon County Democrats have left us history to remember and build upon. Before I close we should forget Bill Oliver who can tell you all sort of stories. Jim Smith would serve on the County Board. Sarah Sain ,Effie Oliver, and Annie Williams who worked hard to bring out the vote. Yes, we got a great history even though we had not raised the funds. Remember during the Skinny Taylor era of the Republicans they raised as much as $100,000.oo to the Democrats less than $20,000.
We still beat them in most elections.

Whats the deal?

Ever since the H & R changed their Monday format I've been perplexed. It just seems like there is a whole lot less news. In fact I feel like I'm going to break the thing it's so small. Is there less news in there, does anyone else think there is, or am I just in space? I'm sure there is about the same amount of news, but it just seems so impossibly small.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

What are you using?

Just taking a look at my Site Meter and found out who's using what to read TDD.
Internet Explorer 6.0 - 61%
Firefox 1.0 -23%
Internet Explorer 5.0 - 8%
Netscape 7.0 - 4%
Safari 1.0 - 3%
Mozilla 1.0 - 1%
Not suprisingly Internet Explorer is #1, but the big suprise is how high firefox is, with 23%, the lowest I have ever seen was 15% of users using Firefox on this browser. For the 69% of you using Internet Explorer, my advice is as followed: Run as fast as you can to mozilla.com and download Firefox 1.0. It was the best thing I've ever done, but anyways back to the title. What internet browser are you using, and why?

Been searching

I've been searching for a way to put my thoughts of the war in Iraq into a soundbite, this is the closest I've seen to conveying that.

Here's the deal -- a war is worth fighting if you would sacrifice everything you hold dear to fight it.

A war is not worth fighting, if you'd rather maintain your cushy lifestyle and let others do the dying for you, let other families lose their mothers and fathers and spouses and children.

From www.dailykos.com. I remember watching Fahrenheit 9/11 and learning that only one member of congress had a son serving in Iraq. I remember the honor I felt when I met that one member of congress' son who had served in Iraq. We know which party led us to war in Iraq, any guess which party had the son serving in Iraq? Patriotism, flag waving, and wars are easy to embrace when you're not asked to suffer anything for them. Much like the Repulicans at the SOTU who were waving around their purple fingertips. It's a disgrace to all those who have had to literally duck car bombs, mortar attacks, and bullets to take part in the greatest act a proud citizen can do, Vote. But, hey why not try and make yourself look good at the blood, sweat, and tears of others, it's the Republican way.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

City Council Issue

Here is a city council issue that I just came across and that no one has touched, and likely will not touch. 25% of our youth under the age of 18 are living in poverty in Decatur. This should be an issue, we should be addressing this, coming up with plans to change that, working towards that plan, talking about it. But, no instead we choose to focus on such frivolous things as a Starbucks. We all have a duty to each other as human beings, and we must realize that. 25% of our children are living in poverty, and I haven't heard anything being done to address that problem. No child should have to face this. Thoughts, solutions, comments?

Working together for the greater good

I was suprised to read today's H and R article about the American Dental Associations Give Kids a Smile day which was just ran in Decatur. I'm glad to see most if not all of our dentists set aside their time, supplies, and expertise for those who other wise wouldn't have access. Working together, occasionally we have the chance to help, and that's a good feeling. Thumbs up to our dentists.

Starbucks up for a vote

The Starbucks venture will be up for a vote at the next council meeting.
DECATUR - The city of Decatur has been brewing a plan to bring a Starbucks Coffee to town.
On Monday, the city council will vote on that plan. The council will be asked to sell 1.22 acres of land flanking the Target store at an emerging retail center at Mound Road and U.S. Business 51.
BSG-STAR intends to develop the land into a 4,900-square-foot retail building, City Manager Steve Garman told council members in a memo. A Starbucks coffee shop is expected to fill about a third of the building. The shop could be open by late fall. The remainder of the building would be developed into similar retail or restaurant uses, Garman said.
As to be expected, I don't see this having any real chance of failing. The most interesting part is that the Starbucks is expected to bring in 40,000 in revenue to the city, and employ 12 to 18 employees. That is a start, but it's far from where we need to be, if we want to turn this thing around. Kudos to the city for landing it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Hot on the trail

The Herald & Review was hot on the trail of a year and a half old court case in today's paper.
Prosecutors withdrew a complaint Thursday alleging Decatur City Council candidate Michael Shampine violated the terms of his court supervision.

Shampine, 53, president of the Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly, pleaded guilty last year to obstructing a peace officer and was placed on supervision, according to records filed in Macon County Circuit Court.
I have no problems with the reporters brining the truth to light, in fact I'm very much in favor of that. However, and let me qualify that with a big however, the Herald & Review decided this was a non-story for the last year and a half, and in doing so abdicated their responsibility to report the news, that is until it became convienent to the agenda they are pushing. I am tired of seeing candidates attacked for their past, when it won't be effecting their future, or the office they intend to run for. A bigger issue it seems to me would be why was Dan Caulkins systematically trying to disenfranchise African-American Voters on election day, or how much money was spent by the city to demolish the Webster Cantrell Hall owned by council member Betsy Stockard, while she sat on the council, and how much of that money has been recouped thus far? There are a lot of hard questions for all of the candidates to answer, Shampine answered his tough questions with the judge over a year ago, and the Herald & Review finally finds it newsworthy. Will other candidates get a free ride on their tough questions? Consider this a shot against, what Sen. Barack Obama, would refer to as "the atmoshpere of anything goes politics." Everyone has their skeletons, and I think this might end up looking like a graveyard before too long.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

City Council Cattle Call

1. Shampine - Good presence, no bad publicity = staying where he was.
2. Stockard - Caulkins - Stockard has incumbency on her side, yet is doing nothing, Caulkins has money on his side, yet is doing nothing.
3. Edwards - Open Meetings act fiasco is killing him, ironic, because he is one of the biggest pushers of open meetings.....coffe coffee coffee.
4. McDaniels - Out there somewhere doing whatever it is he does.
5. Keck - Nothing known still, has the worst lit piece I have ever seen.
6. Roberts - Why didn't we kick him off the ballot?
Let's hear your thoughts.

From Comments

From Comments:
Ed Tangney a "great" Democrat. Please. He was an embarrassment who rarely made an appearance in the County Building and was elected on the coattails of the wonderful Bill Tangney. I think we also have to acknowledge that Macon Co. has such a great base for the Democrats because of the union base we have here. Frankly, it used to be unthinkable that a Democrat candidate for president wouldn't carry Macon Co. I think if the Republicans got their act together, we would have real problems. Let's face it, we're not what we used to be. Glad you are proud, Steve, but let's not be blind.
Discuss among yourselves, any part of this comment on, any part off, some right,. some wrong, let us know. Should I delete remarks libeling one person or another or should all stay, again your thoughs. I'll take them all into consideration, as usual this is as much your blog as mine.

Flider needs a new picture


Prove the power of the blogs, tell Rep. Flider he needs a new official picture, possibily his X-Ray....

Own up?

Anyone care to own up to who was reading from the Lee Enterprise conglomerate and the House of Representatives servers lately? Don't worry, I'm not going to search you out, I'm flattered.

Without looking

Without checking the Illinois State Board of Elections, can anyone guess what the goal of the Little Rock 8 Republican Pac is, and who it supports? GMail invite to the first person to get it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Unveiling

As I get more comfortable in this blogosphere experiment, I'm getting more accepting of unveiling myself, I think my writing style has a long way to go before I am completely comfortable. But, I'm working on that. I want to develop posts where I am able to go into deep anaylsis of things, instead of short little blurbs with my spin on them. I want to develop an interactive blog, with guest bloggers, such as the idea I put forth in the comments on the Fundraising post. I want this to be a blog for all, where everyone is welcome. Anyways, you're advice, should I unveil myself? Of course I think I would lose readers then, because part of the fun is the guessing game. Also, if you have any other ideas for this blog, feel free to leave those too.

It's done...dead...nothing to see here.....move along....any more news.....The Herald & Review continue to follows a week old story on the City Council today. Today's member up for pot shots from Mayor Garman.....Shad Edwards. I sure hope that Mayor Garman isn't using my tax dollars to pursue his own political agenda. To the Herald & Review, why do you keep biting? You're losing credibility by that bucketloads. You're sinking like a ship due to leaks, in your own words. As I said....move along....stop beating the horse.....its dead......cold lead......nothing to see.....

Fundraising

In an earlier posting, I noted that our fundraising base has become dismal. I'm sure some people will say, "But TDD we spent $27,801.08 this election cycle electing democrats." Well to prove my point lets take a at our neighbor to the west, Sangamon County, and the PACs controlled by their chariman Tim Timoney. The Sangamon County Central Committee had expenditures of $98,791.65 in the same cycle as our party did. While Friends of the Party Foundation, which is also chaired by Tim Timoney spent $45,437.88 in the same cycle as we did. Finally, Friends of Chairman Tim Timoney, of which you guessed it, Tim Timoney is the chair spent $31,931.61 in this cycle. Thats $176,161.14 dollars spent by their county chairman vs. $27,801.08. Thats .92 cents per percent in Sangamon County vs. .25 cents per person in Macon County. Is the proof in the pudding? Comments welcomed.

Auditors and numbers

I'm a bi-partisan guy, I really am, and I'll show it. I get the feeling that a few readers seemed to think I was intent on making Jim Gresham look bad with his filings. Not the case my friend, just a simple mistake that I wanted to see fixed. Now for our next simple mistake I want to see fixed. Let's take a look at Amy Stockwell's D-2. In her filing Ms. Stockwell shows she raised $12,400.00 in itemized individual funds, with no transfers in. However if you look at it, she actually had at least $3,900.00 in funds transfered-in. While this is a simple mistake, putting the wrong designation on funds, I will say it is a lesser mistake than Mr. Gresham's. With all these numbers Auditors work with, you think they would get their own right. Any bets on how long before an amendment is filed?