February 27, 2006

IL-8: Talk Radio, Trial Lawyers & Abortion

Republicans running in 8th Congressional District of Illinois to unseat Democrat Rep. Melissa Bean continue their bickering. Republican David McSweeney went on Al Salvi's radio show on WKRS 1220 AM to discuss the issues of the day. Al Salvi served two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives as a Republican and lost to Senator Dick Durbin in a 1996 Senate race. So, you would think Republican wingnut Al Salvi and Republican wingnut David McSweeney will have a love feast on the radio.

Wrong, Al Salvi is married to an other Republican wingnut Kathy Salvi who is running against David McSweeney in the Republican March 21 primary. Al Salvi and Kathy Salvi are both trial lawyer who are partners with Tom Delay clone Peter Roskam in the law firm of Salvi, Roskam & Maher. The word trial lawyers is use by Republicans as a negative and insult. So, when the caller on Republican trial lawyer Al Salvi show calls this wife a trial lawyer Al Salvi goes on the offensive.
The first caller said, "Kathy Salvi is a trial lawyer and it seems to me ..."

Of course, being a trial lawyer nowadays is a negative. Particu-larly on the issue of tort reform. The caller immediately raised the ire of Al Salvi, who, a few minutes later, began attacking McSweeney on abortion.

McSweeney is pro-life, but Salvi contended that McSweeney had a different position in 1998 when he challenged then-U.S. Rep. Phil Crane in the primary. During that race, McSweeney said he favored banning abortion after a pregnancy reached eight weeks.
Republican wingnut attack an other Republican wingnut on not being anti-choice enough, it gets better.
McSweeney has begun airing a radio ad that repeatedly and almost comically refers to Salvi as "injury trial lawyer Kathy Salvi" For her part, Salvi had automated calls made to district residents last week asking them to please disregard the ad.
lol, what next claims of plant callers and a Richard Nixon insult?
Al Salvi contends that several callers to his show were plants by McSweeney. The theory goes that McSweeney went on the show hoping to draw fire so he then go could negative. It's the Gulf of Tonkin incident of radio interviews, if you will.

Al Salvi told me that McSweeney was the "sleaziest" person he had dealt with in three years of doing radio, adding that McSweeney "made Richard Nixon look like a choirboy."
Al Salvi has not official role his wife campaign. Republicans are not following Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.".
Rebuttal to David McSweeney's Attacks

Until last week, this was a friendly campaign based on the issues with all candidates agreeing and disagreeing face-to-face in public forums. Unfortunately, David McSweeney chose to change this with negative attack advertising.

McSweeney's slash and burn radio ad says Liberal Democrats in Congress will have a friend in Kathy Salvi. This is an out-and-out falsehood. Kathy Salvi has repeatedly taken positions in opposition to the liberal Democrats in Congress on virtually every issue including: the War on Terror, wasteful spending, taxes and the right to life.

McSweeney attacks Kathy Salvi on the issue of lawsuit reform. Kathy Salvi has made it clear that she would have supported the recent Republican legislation to curb lawsuit abuse. She supports those reforms at the federal and state level.

It is unfortunate David McSweeney feels the need to make such inflammatory statements as "Kathy Salvi stands with Democrats."
David McSweeney hits back with this own press release.
Kathy Salvi Campaign Meltdown Continues:
Candidate's spouse calls McSweeney an "ass" and a "nut"

Barrington Township: David McSweeney, candidate for Congress in Illinois' 8th Congressional District, was attacked personally, once again, by the spouse of one of his opponents in the Republican Primary. Al Salvi, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer Kathy Salvi's spouse, unleashed a verbal barrage in the Waukegan News-Sun newspaper against McSweeney. The recent attack marks the fourth day in a row of attacks. [..]

"Our campaign asked the Salvi campaign to apologize for the personal attacks on David McSweeney. Instead, the attacks continue and, in fact, have reached new lows. Clearly, the Salvi campaign is spinning out of control. Kathy Salvi has issued 'no comments' in response to questions about this unfortunate chain of events and her campaign, incredibly, tries to say that their candidate's spouse has nothing to do with the campaign. I can understand the Salvi camps claim that the candidates spouse had a bad day but I don't buy the fact that he is having a bad week," said McSweeney Campaign Manager Jim Thacker. [..]

"It is unfortunate that the Salvi camp has resorted to the personal name calling. I hope that Kathy Salvi can get control of her husband and please ask him to stop the trash talk. Kathy is a very nice person, and I wanted to believe that she was not associated with her husband's remarks but after enduring at least three days of this I am left scratching my head as to what is real and what is not from the Salvi campaign," said David McSweeney.
The Illinois GOP continue to make fool out of themselves. Once again, Democrat Mellissa Bean is a way better choice for 8th Congressional District of Illinois than a typical rubber stamp or rubber room conservative.

February 26, 2006

IL-14: Democrat John Laesch

Democrat John Laesch is running in 14th Congressional District of Illinois to unset Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert.

Go read more about John Laesch on this diary on Daily Kos.
I am the Fighting Democrat who will defeat Hastert

I want to begin by letting you know that Hastert has not had a serious challenge since he took office almost 20 years ago. For the first time in a long time, we have seen "Hastert for Congress" yard signs popping up during the Illinois primary (March 21st).

This comes at a time when he is very vulnerable. Dennis Hastert is part of the culture of corruption in Washington and recently gave $69,000 of Jack Abramoff's money to charity. [..]

In addition to being the only "fighting Dem" with a military intelligence background in the Middle East, I have connections that are capable of attacking Hastert's base. I was born on the mission field in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa and my father still works at Lutheran Bible Translators in Aurora, IL. We have many connections in the faith-based communities in both Kane and Kendall County.

We live on a small farm in rural Kendall County (Newark, IL is 9 miles from Yorkville, IL). Before I turned 16 years old, I was already bailing hay, plowing fields and shelling corn for many local farmers.

I am currently a Union Carpenter for Local 195. I spent some time working for SEIU's Illinois for Healthcare as an organizer and activist.

Kossacs, when was the last time you ran across a candidate who can talk corn & beans, foreign policy and tell folks in a church why this war is immoral?
John Laesch and Ruben K. Zamora face off in the March 21 Democratic primary.

Do Hoodlums Vote?

Rita Cosby: Dems targeting the "Hoodlum Vote"
Rita Cosby said that it's wrong that the Republicans in South Carolina are asking for church rolls to target the evangelical vote but it's just as wrong that Democrats are targeting the "hoodlum vote." Yes, the hoodlum vote. When a plainly confused Chris Matthews asked what she meant, she explained that Democrats were going through voter rolls to find felons to vote for them.
See the Video

So that does mean when Republican Tom Delay, Republican Jack Abramoff, Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Republican Bob Ney and Republican Tom Noe just to name a few Republicans become ‘felons’ Democrats are going to target them as potential Democratic voters, Rita Cosby?

February 25, 2006

The AWOL Presidency

President Bush was AWOL again.

February 23, 2006

IL-8: Democrat Melissa Bean vs. GOP

The winner of the March 21 Republican primary for 8th Congressional District of Illinois will face U.S. Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D). In total they are six Republicans running in the primary; David McSweeney, Kathy Salvi, Robert Churchill, Ken Arnold, Aaron Lincoln and Jim Mitchell. Lets take a closer look at the top three Republican candidates.

Kathy Salvi
We cannot let the voice of women and the American family be hung under the anti-family banner. We need someone who will be a tax fighter, a spending cutter and a family defender in Congress. That’s what I’m in this race to be.

You can trust me to always work for our families and our Illinois values.
Kathy Salvi and her husband Al Salvi are partners with Tom Delay clone Republican Peter Roskam, who is running in Sixth Congressional District of Illinois, in the law firm of Salvi, Roskam & Maher. Kathy Salvi signed the Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
“By signing the Pledge, Kathy Salvi demonstrates allegiance to hard-working taxpayers nationwide, as well as dedication to taxpayers in Illinois. I applaud Kathy for the leadership and dedication she showed by signing the Pledge.”
She has endorsed the Marriage Protection Referendum. Kathy Salvi had raised $472,000, including about $290,000 of her personal cash, and had a Dec. 31 balance of $283,852.

David McSweeney
America’s history has been one of opportunity and growth. Each generation has the moral duty to see that their children share in the opportunity and prosperity that economic freedom offers. David McSweeney will Vote to make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent, Offer tax cuts to companies that invest in new jobs and workers, and Cut the burden of unnecessary regulations.
Investment banker David McSweeney has “a net worth in the millions” and he is willing to “put at least seven figures” his own money into beating Rep. Melissa Bean. The Mike Ditka endorsed candidate also signed the Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He has endorsed the Marriage Protection Referendum. David McSweeney has provided his campaign nearly $1 million and whose campaign fund reported a cash balance of almost $614,000 as of Dec. 31 after raising about $895,000 in contributions.

Robert Churchill
I am running for Congress in the 8th Congressional District. I chose to run for this office because I believe that I have a wealth of experience that will help me to best represent the citizens of the district. I have represented your interest in the State of Illinois for more than twenty years.
Yes, Robert Churchill also signed the Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He has endorsed the Marriage Protection Referendum.
The institution of marriage provides the foundation of all societies. The government and the people of Illinois have a fundamental interest in protecting and preserving traditional marriage. We have a responsibility to ask, “What is in the best interest of children?” A loving and civilized society never intentionally creates fatherless or motherless families as a matter of law and public policy.
State Rep. Bob Churchill was the last Republican to serve as Illinois House majority leader over a decade ago, has about $37,000 cash on hand Dec. 31 after raising about $132,000.

In conclusion, the top three Republican candidates for 8th Congressional District of Illinois running versus Democrat Melissa Bean all endorse Grover Norquist failed economic policies and conservatives anti-homosexual crusade. Democrat Mellissa Bean is a way better choice for 8th Congressional District of Illinois than a typical rubber stamp conservative.

Bill Scheurer might run as progressive independent in the general election. Running to the left of Democrat Melissa Bean, Bill Scheurer will have a strong case to tell to Democratic voters who are dissatisfied with Melissa Beans votes in Congress.
The Democratic incumbent has failed to offer voters a clear alternative to her Republican challengers.

This includes her votes in favor of the following:

The bankruptcy bill, the estate tax repeal, CAFTA, the AHP bill that guts state healthcare protection laws, the Enron/Halliburton energy bill, the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, the Iraq War, another bloated defense budget, the flag desecration amendment, and the recent leave-no-millionaire-behind "tax relief" bill.

The Republican candidates also would have voted for these bills sponsored by their party leaders.

I would have voted against all these bills, and would have joined in leading the opposition to them.
Democrat Melissa Bean has a tough fight ahead.

IL-6: Republican Peter Roskam

The winner of the March 21 Democratic primary for Sixth Congressional District of Illinois will face Republican Peter Roskam to replace 16-term Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde in Congress. Peter Roskam issues page on this Roskam for Congress website, he only gives one paragraph on the issues.
Senator Peter Roskam will be outlining his vision to the voters of the Sixth Congressional District. Throughout his 12 years in the General Assembly, Peter Roskam has been committed to upholding the values of the Republican Party - lower taxes, limited government, individual freedom and standing up for the values we hold dear.
Just a typical cookie cutter paragraph on the issues for any Republican running for office. Lets take a deeper look, Peter Roskam started in political career as a Tom DeLay aid.
Roskam, 43, is a lawyer who lives in Wheaton. He worked as an aide to DeLay in 1985 and part of 1986, but said he has "not had any contact with him essentially for 20 years."

"I think everybody agrees that he's one of the most effective legislators in Washington, D.C.," Roskam said. "Knowing what I know now about what Tom DeLay's been accused of, my attitude would be to support him."
Not had any contact with Tom DeLay essentially for 20 yeas, is that true? Well, it depends on the word essentially.
Roskam received a $1,000 contribution from Tom DeLay's crooked political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, during his 1998 congressional campaign. [www.tray.com]

Roskam hosted Tom DeLay at a fundraiser for Roskam's congressional campaign in 2005. [The Hill, 11/9/05]
I guess $500 a plate dinner fundraiser hosted by Tom DeLay in 2005 is not essential contact to Republican Peter Roskam. Just like Tom Delay Republican Peter Roskam has ethic problems.
Peter Roskam, has run afoul of Federal Election Commission (FEC) reporting regulations on several occasions, most recently failing to report his fundraising expenditures for the third quarter of 2005. Now, anyone can make minor errors on our FEC reports. But to forget to file where $103,880.96 was spent in three months is too much.
It is clear Peter Roskam is a typical Tom Delay Republican. Whether you support Christine Cegelis or Tammy Duckworth in the Democratic primary both of them are a better choice for Sixth Congressional District of Illinois than Peter Roskam.

February 22, 2006

Does George Bush hate San Francisco?

George Bush, September 2001:
Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
Bush calls for ban on same-sex marriages
"The union of a man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," Bush said.

"Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society."
Will Durst
Bush says our modern behavior offends the terrorists’ moral teachings. But isn’t that his very argument against gay marriage? So doesn’t that mean George Bush hates San Francisco for its freedoms?

IL: 2-22-06 Political News

Senator Barack Obama (D)
Barack Obama wins Grammy for Best Spoken World Album

Obama's Popularity Impresses Colleagues

Barack Obama appearance draws large crowds in Memphis
Obama wasted no time pointing out he, like Ford, was considered a big underdog in his U.S. Senate race.

It is now with humor that he remembers being told a black man couldn't win.

The first thing they'd ask is where'd you get that funny name. Barack Obama? Although they wouldn't always pronounce it right and they'd call me Alabama," said Obama.
Corker Writes Obama, Slams Ford
Senator Barack Obama popularity has helped him raise about $6.5 million for his political action committee, Democratic candidates and state parties across the nation.

Senator Dick Durbin (D)
Senator Durbin meets displaced workers in Galesburg

Honest pricing for prescriptions
Senator Dick Durbin will introduce the Medicare Drug Honest Pricing Act this week in the Senate. The new legislation will grant seniors an opportunity to opt out of their drug plans if the drug prices change. Durbin says the current legislation called "Medicare Part D" is a reward for drug companies, but the opposite for seniors.

"We ended up with a system that has disapointed a lot of people. Some people say the D in Part D stands for disappointment. Others say it stands for disaster," said Senator Dick Durbin.
Durbin: Spend more on mine safety
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R)
House Speaker asks moratorium on Dubai port deal

House cools on lobbying reform
"I believe that to regain the trust of the American people that this institution must go further than prosecuting the bad actors," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told a room full of reporters. "We need to reform the rules so it's clear beyond a shadow of a doubt what is ethically acceptable for members of Congress."

Just a few weeks later, the rush to reform has slowed significantly, particularly in the House. Since those days in mid-January, House leaders have heard a barrage of concerns from representatives about going too far, particularly those who don't want to give up privately funded travel and those anxious to continue the practice of "earmarking," setting aside money in spending bills for favored projects.
Republicans are all for reforms, but they are not willing to give up earmarks and lobbyist funded travels. Dennis Hastert and Republicans in Congress will try to pass a ethics reform bill without changing conservatives standard operating procedures of selling the themselves to the highest bidder.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D)
Governor fights back in day of campaigning
Blagojevich said Republicans would undo many of his administration’s gains, including an expansion of health care for children.

"They’d take us back," Blagojevich repeated throughout his speech. He said Republicans are already threatening to undo much of the good his administration has done in the past four years.
Aurora downtown in line for millions
Republican Candidates for Governor
Gidwitz touts qualifications

Judy's turn to cry: Time to slam insiders, right wing

Republicans criticize Blagojevich during Chicago debate
6th Congressional District of Illinois
In an Illinois Primary, Three’s a Crowd
Now Hyde is retiring, and on a Sunday afternoon in late January, three Democratic hopefuls made their case for support in the March primary to an audience of about 80 local party activists. With an open House seat, a hard-right Republican candidate, low ratings for Bush and an increasingly Democratic constituency, the district could help tip the balance of power in the House this fall.

This Democratic primary, however, is not just a contest among the three inexperienced but articulate and progressive individuals at the candidate forum. It also presents a choice among three competing strategies to revive the party’s prospects.
IL 6: EMILY’s List Endorsement Not Just About Abortion

February 21, 2006

War on Drugs: Demand & Supply

It should be clear that America's drug problem is homegrown and that any effort to combat it must be centered here. We must confront the real source of our problem, the demand for drugs. Frequently, American government officials prefer to criticize other countries that supply the American people with drugs rather than dealing with the demand for drugs in their native soil. The less than creditable John Negroponte the U.S. Director of Intelligence is the most recent.
A vicious cycle can develop in which a weakened government enables criminals to dangerously undercut the state’s credibility and authority. [..]

We are particularly concerned about this cycle in countries on the other side of the world, such as Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Burma, and those close to home, such as in Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico. About 90 percent of detected cocaine destined for the US was smuggled through the Mexico– Central America corridor; nearly all Mexican heroin is for the US market; and Mexico is the primary foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine to the US.
With recent discovery of tunnels connecting Mexico and the United States which was use to smuggle drugs, the steady stream of illegal immigrants crossing the border and national security concerns leads to calls for border fence.
"You have to be able to enforce your borders," says California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He's proposing a fence from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. "It's no longer just an immigration issue. It's now a national security issue."
Leaving aside the topics of immigration and national security building a border fence will not stop the demand for drugs here in America. As long as a demand exists for illegal drugs, a supply will exist to meet it. Supply reduction efforts fails to reduce drug abuse because of what experts call the "balloon effect" - squeeze drug production in one area of the world, and price incentive cause it to pop up somewhere else.
Rumsfeld recently told Members of Congress that the United States would be better off reducing demand at home rather than chasing drug production around the globe. "If demand persists, it's going to find ways to get what it wants," Rumsfeld told members, "And if it isn't from Colombia, it's going to be from someplace else." -- January 12, 2001
Stopping drugs from entering United States from Colombia, Mexico or anywhere else in the world should continue to be a focal point, but an equal amount of the government and American peoples efforts should also focus on reducing the demand for drugs.

This an election year, one of the questions I will ask any candidates Democrat or Republican running for office is do you have any demand side policies or ideas to deal with the problems of drugs in America?

February 20, 2006

Paul Hackett & Karl Rove Campaign Rhetoric

Hackett campaign advisers called Brown votes on national security issues “toxic”.
Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown voted to cut intelligence funding more than a dozen times before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a record that Paul Hackett's campaign advisers called proof that Mr. Brown could not win in November.

A consultant hired by Mr. Hackett, Mr. Brown's onetime Democratic opponent for Senate, estimated the funding cuts would have totaled billions of dollars if enacted. None were. The consultant called Mr. Brown's votes on those proposals and a dozen more recent national security issues "toxic in today's political environment," according to campaign research documents obtained by The Blade. [..]

"For Sherrod Brown, the issue of terrorism presents a big problem," a Hackett consultant wrote in an undated memo. A paragraph later, the consultant called Mr. Brown's intelligence votes "evidence that Brown would be pummeled in a general election match-up, as we already know how Republicans use the issue of terrorism against Democrats."
To be fair and balance Hackett campaign advisers also said this ...
The research concluded it was unwise to attack Mr. Brown's career voting record in a Democratic primary, because he toed the party line faithfully. It also predicts Republican attacks on Mr. Brown this fall.
Hackett campaign advisers is reinforcing Karl Rove playbook of calling Democrats weak on national security issues. If you do not vote along with President Bush and this Republican party you are not going to win a general election versus a Bush Republican.
"While the campaign obviously would like to highlight poor votes by Rep. Brown that would alienate Democratic primary voters, the campaign must know that those votes are going to be few and far between," the memo said, adding: "Given that he supports the Democratic Party line on nearly every key vote, it is highly unlikely that there will be many votes that would hurt him with primary voters."
The campaign wanted to highlight so called poor votes by Brown, but it would have alienate the same voters Hackett was trying to reach in the primary. Once again, Hackett campaign advisers is calling Democratic primary votes weak on national security issues because they support Brown votes on those issues which the campaign advisers thinks it’s a sure loser versus Republican Mike DeWine in the Senate race.

Does Hackett stand by this campaign advisers using Karl Rove style rhetoric to discredit a fellow Democrats?

Universal Preschool: Yes or No?

In a previous diary, I wrote about Illinois Democrats passing progressive legislations to better improved people lives. One of the topic of the diary was universal preschool proposed by Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. In one local paper they describe Governor Blagojevich budget proposals which include universal preschool as ‘feel-good measures’. Republican candidates for Illinois Governor criticize plan as desperate.
Republican Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz called the proposal a gimmick.

"He has neglected that problems facing our schools for three years and now on the cusp of a re-election, this is a last-ditch, desperate effort to correct his mistakes," said Gidwitz, a former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.
State Sen. Bill Brady calls for local control of school funding money without mandates.
"If we had the resources, however they are obtained, we should give the resources to schools with no strings attached so they can decide how to spend it," Brady said.
Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, “We all love kids” but ...
"We all love kids, and we'd all love this to occur, but only if we could afford it," said state Treasurer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka.
Judy Baar Topinka continues ...
Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, another Republican candidate for governor, said Blagojevich keeps "coming up with all these big, expensive, huge `warm-fuzzies,' usually involving children, and not really coming up with ways to pay for them."
Hypocrisy during an election year has no limits, Illinois Republicans are claiming we can not afford big, expensive, huge `warm-fuzzies,' policies while Congressional Republicans support new Medicare prescription drug plan which is mostly a big giveaway to their political donors which is the biggest ‘warm-fuzzies’ policy coming out of Conservative controlled Washington in years. Republican State Sen. Bill Brady attacks Blagojevich proposal while Congressional Republican support No Child Left Behind which has restrictions on how schools can spend federal money.

Leaving aside the election year rhetoric, is universal preschool good and sound policy? There was some disagreement in this diary if universal preschool was a good proposal or not. Senator Tom Carper writing in Democratic Leadership Council Blueprint Magazine supports universal preschool.
If you had an opportunity to make an investment that you knew would bring a 7-to-1 return, you'd do it in a heartbeat. We should think the same way as citizens and taxpayers. We ought to jump at the opportunity to make public investments that produce broad public benefits. Universal preschool represents just such an opportunity. [..]

Studies of high-quality preschool programs in North Carolina and Michigan have found that public investments in such programs could, in fact, deliver a 7-to-1 return in the long run, in the form of increased productivity and decreased social spending.
Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the chair of the DLC, also calls for universal preschool in this state. Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Nation praise Governor Blagojevich call for universal preschool.
It is universally acknowledged that preschool plays a critical role in the educational and social development of children. Studies have shown that those who attend preschool are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school, and more than 40 percent less likely to be placed in a special education program or to be arrested as a juvenile. Yet not one state in the union currently offers universal pre-k.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevic wants to change this. This past Wednesday, Blagojevich proposed in his new state budget a provision that would grant all three and four year-olds access to preschool, regardless of income. While Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida currently offer pre-k to four year-olds, Illinois would become the first state to provide genuinely universal preschool in the country's history.
Research confirms preschool benefits
Children born into extreme poverty have a much better chance of succeeding in school if they receive a structured, high-quality preschool education. [..]

Researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the UCLID Center at the University of Pittsburgh tracked the progress of more than 1,000 children enrolled in the initiative from 1997 to 2000 in Braddock, Wilkinsburg, Sto-Rox, East Liberty, South Side, Highlands School District, the Hill District, Homewood and Steel Valley.

The outcomes mirror 30 years of national research showing that early intervention puts poor children on a level playing field with their more affluent peers.
Progressive, liberals and centrist Democrats seem to agree with the policy of universal preschool. Do grassroots Democrats support universal preschool? How about patents, seniors, so to be patents, Hispanics, African Americans, teachers, everyone? Is universal preschool good policy leaving aside the politics of the proposals? Please share some of your personal experiences.

February 17, 2006

President Bush, 9-11 & A Florida Classroom

President Bush 2/17/06:
My thinking was shaped on September the 11th, let me put it to you that way. And I think it's important for you to understand how the President thinks and why I make decisions I make, particularly decisions relating to war and peace.

I knew we're at war when they attacked us. As a matter of fact, I was down here in Florida. It didn't take long to figure out what was going on. And I vowed that day that I would not rest, so long as I was the President, in protecting the people. So a lot of my decision-making is based upon the attack. And I know we're at war, see -- I knew it then, and the enemy has, unfortunately, proved me right because they continue to attack. In order to win the war against the enemy you got to understand the nature of the enemy.
President Bush 9/11/01:
At 9:03 AM on 11 September 2001, the second airplane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. President Bush was in Florida, at the Emma T. Booker Elementary School, listening to children read. Chief of Staff Andrew Card came over and whispered in Bush's ear, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

What did the Commander in Chief do? Nothing. He sat there. He sat for well over 5 minutes, doing nothing while 3,000 people were dying and the attacks were still in progress.
I guess five minutes on 9/11 is not a long time for President Bush.

( Hat Tip toThink Progress)

Deeply Sorry

Hospital Discharges Man Shot by Cheney
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney during a hunting trip was discharged from a hospital Friday and told reporters he was deeply sorry for all the trouble Cheney had faced over the past week.

"We all assume certain risks in what we do, in what activities we pursue," Harry Whittington, 78, said outside the hospital. "Accidents do and will happen."
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) on Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident.
"If he'd been in the military, he would have learned gun safety."

OH-SEN: Sherrod Brown is a Progressive Democrat!

Yes, this is an other diary about the Democratic Senate primary in Ohio. This is a diary about putting a progressive Democrat in the Senate rather than a Bush Republican Senator Mike DeWine. A vote for Sherrod Brown is a vote for Democrat with a strong progressive record on a whole range of issues.

If you do not believe me that Sherrod Brown is a progressive Democrat, ask Rep. Bernie Sanders.
“I’ve known him for many years,” says Sanders. “What’s very clear is that Sherrod Brown knows which side of the struggle he is on.”
If you do not believe Rep. Bernie Sanders, lets take a look at Sherrod Brown record in Congress.
Voted NO on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)

Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)

Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)

Voted NO on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)

Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)

Voted NO on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks. (Jun 2004)

Voted YES on replacing death penalty with life imprisonment. (Apr 1994)

Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)

Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)

Voted YES on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)

Voted YES on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)

Voted YES on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol. (Jun 2000)

Voted NO on vouchers for private & parochial schools. (Nov 1997)

Voted NO on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements. (Sep 1998)

Voted YES on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)

Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)

Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)

Voted YES on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs. (Jul 2003)

Voted NO on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. (May 2004)

Voted NO on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)

Voted NO on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)

Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
Senator Mike DeWine is a Republican, if you do not believe me ask Republican President Bush.
President Bush Signs Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003

THE PRESIDENT: The primary Senate sponsor is with us, Senator Rick Santorum. (Applause.) Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mike DeWine helped, as well, in the Senate. Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Steve Chabot was the primary House sponsor, and Steve is with us. Thanks for coming, Steve. (Applause.) I'm thankful that our Speaker is with us today. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate you coming. (Applause.) The Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, as well. Thank you for coming, Tom. (Applause).
If you do not believe President Bush, Senator Rick Santorum, Orrin Hatch, and Tom DeLay that Senator Senator Mike DeWine is a Conservative Republican, lets take a look at this record.
Voted YES on 1998 GOP budget. (May 1997)

Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)

Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)

Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)

Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)

Voted NO on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program. (May 1999)

Voted YES on limiting death penalty appeals. (Apr 1996)

Voted YES on restricting class-action lawsuits. (Dec 1995)

Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy. (Jul 2003)

Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (Mar 2003)

Voted YES on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. (Jan 2001)

Voted YES on renewing 'fast track' presidential trade authority. (Nov 1997)

Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)

Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)

Voted YES on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003)

Voted NO on allowing importation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002)

Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001)

Voted YES on Medicare means-testing. (Jun 1997)

Voted YES on killing an increase in the minimum wage. (Nov 1999)

Voted YES on allowing personal retirement accounts. (Apr 1998)

Voted YES on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. (May 2003)

Voted YES on cutting taxes by $1.35 trillion over 11 years. (May 2001)

Voted YES on $792B tax cuts. (Jul 1999)

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)

Voted YES on welfare overhaul. (Sep 1995)
As a Liberal Democrat, the choice is clear a vote for Sherrod Brown is a vote for a progressive leader in the Senate versus a Bush Republican. Rep. Bernie Sanders is right Sherrod Brown know what side of the struggle he is on.

The question is now, which side are you on?

February 16, 2006

Progressive Ideas in Action: Illinois Democrats

In 2006, The Republican Party will use their standard tactic of fear with a dose of ‘Democrats have no ideas’ to rally support for there corrupt and conservative majorities in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says that Republicans will fight the 2006 campaign by combining 2002-style attacks on Democrats as "weak on security," 2004-ish attacks on "obstructionism" and a new line of argument that "Democrats have no ideas."
To counter this talking points Democrat do not need Frank Luntz to make old ideas sound popular and new. They can turn to the states where progressive ideas are becoming legislation to better improved people lives. The first state they can turn too is Illinois. Nathan Newman has the impressive run down of what a Democratic Governor and Democratic controlled Congress can do.
A new health care program for children was enacted that extended coverage for 250,000 previously uninsured children of working and middle class parents.

To protect patient care and ease the burden on overworked nurses, the state banned mandatory overtime for nurses in the state.

The state raised the minimum wage to $6.50 per hour a few years ago.

Victims of sexual or domestic violence were guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover.

"Sexual orientation" was added to the state civil rights law, protecting gays and lesbians from employment discrimination.

Corporate accountability was increased through a whisteblower law that protects employees from firing or other retaliation if they disclose information to law enforcement agencies about potentially illegal activity by the company.

Limited english speakers were protected in their rights to talk in Spanish or other languages to fellow workers under an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act to combat abusive "English-only" rules in the workplace.

Illinois passed legislation to crack down on abusive and unsafe working conditions in the day labor industry, improving the lives of 300,000 day laborers in the state.

The state also passed legislation to bring all state workers under federal anti-discrimination laws, voluntarily waiving the state's "sovereign immunity" to counteract bad Supreme Court "states rights" decisions.

Protected union rights by providing unemployment insurance benefits when companies unilaterally lock out workers during a contract dispute.

Blagojevich signed an executive order helping day care workers unionize, leading to unionization and better working conditions for 49,000 child care workers in the state.

The state strengthened its bill protecting prevailing wages for public works.
The Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich also proposal universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state. Legislation from labor rights to health care and education Illinois Democrats are putting progressive ideas in action. Democrats in Congress should pick up progressive ideas coming from the States to proposal a national agenda for change.

One more note, Democrat Rod Blagojevich is running for reelection in 2006 and is in the race of this life. The Illinois Republicans main line of attack against the Governor Blagojevich is going to be corruption, pay to play charges. Republican candidates for Governor in Illinois are making corruption, pay to play charges with a straight face while Congressional and Ohio Republicans are getting indicted left and right, they have no shame.

Rod Blagojevich in a new Rasmussen Reports poll trials Republican Judy Baar Topinka 48% to 37% and in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll this approval are blew 50%. Those poll numbers are not impossible to overcome, but it is a very bad place for an incumbent to be in running for reelection. If Democrat Rod Blagojevich wins it is going to be behind strength of progressive legislation which improved people lives.

The Party of Bush Vs. Everyone Else

Do Bush followers have a political ideology?
Now, in order to be considered a "liberal," only one thing is required – a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a "liberal," regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more "liberal" one is. Whether one is a "liberal" -- or, for that matter, a "conservative" -- is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush. [..]

People who self-identify as "conservatives" and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That’s because "conservatism" is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as "liberal" is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

That "conservatism" has come to mean "loyalty to George Bush" is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. It is not only the obvious (though significant) explosion of deficit spending under this Administration – and that explosion has occurred far beyond military or 9/11-related spending and extends into almost all arenas of domestic programs as well. Far beyond that is the fact that the core, defining attributes of political conservatism could not be any more foreign to the world view of the Bush follower. [...]

And in that regard, people like Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, Jonah Goldberg and Hugh Hewitt are not conservatives. They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader. [..]

It’s not an accident that Ann Coulter and her ongoing calls for violence against "liberals" (meaning anyone not in line behind George Bush) are so wildly popular among conservatives. It’s not some weird coincidence that the 5,000 people in attendance at the CPAC this last week erupted in "boisterous ovation" when she urged violence against "ragheads,’ nor is it an accident that her hateful, violence-inciting screeds -- accusing "liberals" of being not wrong, but "treasonous" -- become best-sellers. Ann Coulter has been advocating violence against liberals and other domestic political opponents for years, and she is a featured speaker at the most prestigious conservative events.
Go read the rest.

Conservatives and their Republican party has become an authoritarian cult of Bush followers. Blindly following and defending anything Bush and his loyalist do or say no matter how un-American, treasonous, moral-less, slanderous, shocking or evil. America does not equal Bush or the Republican party, no matter what Conservatives try to tell you.

February 2, 2006

Fidel Castro & Republican economy

Mexican-Americans suffered economic set back under the Republican economy lead by President Bush.
– Mexican-American men saw their wages decline from 2001 to 2004, while wages for white and black men rose during that same period.

– Every measure of economic security – employment, wages, health insurance and pension insurance – declined for Mexican-American women.
Those awful economic numbers remind of a story my Father told me about Fidel Castro. I do not know if story is true, but there it goes. During the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro promise Black Cubans the same living and economic standards as White middle class Cubans if they joined the Revolution. Fidel Castro did not break this promise, now Black and White Cubans now have the same economic standards, poverty.

As American Progress notes, Hispanic-Americans are struggling under the Republican economy. But just like Fidel Castro economy, the Republican economy is color bind.
– Since March 2001, the economy has had the lowest job growth of any business cycle since the Great Depression.

– Weekly wages, in inflation-adjusted terms, have declined for the past three years and by Dec. 2005, they were below the level of Nov. 2001, when the economic recovery reportedly started.

– Since 2000, the number of workers receiving a pension or health insurance from his or her employer continues to decline.
If you work for a living, the Republican economy is going to leave you worst off no matter what the color of your skin is.

(Hat Tip to Think Progress)