Gagging the EPA

It isn’t often I find much worthwhile in the Post-Dispatch. St. Louis’s supposedly liberal paper is poorly written and poorly edited. Today, is an exception, though I still think the editorial could have been stronger. Today they discuss the administration’s efforts to Gag the EPA.

One could claim that science has been politicized for some time as some recently have, but that doesn’t address the amount of politicization in one administration versus another. It is a postmodern cop-out. Either way, isn’t it time for a different way of doing busines?

Huh?

Reynolds often invites scorn by rather juvenile coded messages that ignore the point of the blogosphere–pointing towards the original source. Often this is followed by a descent into more juvenile jibes being thrown about. The problem is that when he does say things that are absurd, too many names are being called.

Here he argues that humanitarian aid is apparently of no use to projecting America abroad. The money qu0te is:

It doesn’t matter if you’re a humanitarian: you’re still just a target to these people.

Well, unless these people are all of the Arab/Muslim world there are a lot of those other people to impact and turn into allies on the side of human dignity. Apparently, after Murray was defended by say, people who have actually studied Al Qaeda, there had to be another way to smear Murray and just throwing up his hands and saying humanitarian aid was pointless was the method for Reynolds.

The real question for the US is how do he aid in developing democratic institutions in the Middle East and what tools will most help such a process. Humanitarian aid, infrastructure and other social services don’t solve the problem alone, but they do build up good will and civil society. Good will provides fewer recruits and fewer places to hide for violent Islamists. Strong civil societies lead to greater freedom.

Or you can just be a knee jerk know nothing. Everyone has a choice, I guess.

G-Ry Indictment Countdown

I’m pretty sure that no one is surprised, but with the election in hind-sight, G-Ry is about to be indicted. Rich Miller covers the essential details.

There was some question as to whether G-Ry’s daughter was the key or Fawell. Apparently Fawell will bring down his old boss.

Never trust a man who hires a $2 hooker.

Read the story above for a good start, but this story could break much harder over the next couple years. Both parties in Illinois have a lot they don’t want anyone to know about, but one issue that may yet come out with someone like Fawell on the hook is the ties of Republican to black street gangs. Everyone understands that Democrats have some ties to such gangs through GOTV efforts. Because the story is tough to nail even on the modest efforts of Democrats, nothing much has broken publicly.

Gator Bradley and Larry Hoover, Gangster Disciples, are tied to the 1990 Edgar election. No one will say exactly what was going on, but the conspiracy theory alledges that Hoover and Bradley worked with Edgar’s people to get him elected. It is hard to imagine Jim Edgar knowing about this personally, but the key question no one that I know of has nailed down is whether these guys were flown around on election day 1990 on state planes. The payoff was supposedly continued control of the Illinois Prison system by the gangs.

Some of this started to come out when the Richard Speck tapes emerged and the public got an inside look at how out of control the state’s prisons were. If anyone remembers the hearings, they were stopped pretty quickly. No one in any either party wanted to know what would come out.

Fawell is the kind of guy who can probably lead federal prosecutors to ask the right questions of the right people. I have little doubt Patrick Fitzgerald has the guts to do so. The people of Illinois deserve a full investigation. I doubt there is a tie to that and the Harold Washington Party stalking horse candidate that some Republicans employed, but I guess it is possible. If so, this could hit hard and fast beginning in January.

Chalk one up for Petey.

Kaus and half-full glasses

While I applaud any references to Gregg Easterbrook’s environmental reporting, Kaus seems to have missed one of the bigger environmental stories broken about the Bush administration and it is damn ugly

The administration stopped the issuance of a danger warning to consumers for a particular type of asbestos. I normally find little in the P-D of use, but this story is a must read that carefully deconstructs the political meddling in a situation in which science should determine EPA choices.

The money is here:


Martyak, chief EPA spokesman, argues that the agency has informed the public of the potential dangers. "It’s on our Web site," he said.

Some Questions

Joshua Grossman had some questions. Some of which I’ll answer now and others I do more with later.

1) Now that Demos have Gov + both houses of legis. in Ill., what
legislation can we expect to see passed??

Not too much given the $5 Billion hole in the state budget. As noted below by Rich Miller revenue enhancement will occur. The next two years will be budget, budget, and less budget.

Union issues will be at the front, but only of the costless variety for a couple years. A minimum wage hike can be expected to be an issue, but it may not make it. Chicago school reform is off the table fortunately. The union had been bucking to repeal the reform from the 90’s, but Duncan came up with a compromise.

Ultimately, rural school district and other not so wealthy district funding will have to come up. I’ve been saying that since 1990 so sooner or later I’ll be right. From what I can tell Madigan doesn’t want to touch it so I’m not sure it will rise to the top.

2)Can Demos recruit serious candidate to run against Jerry Weller(who I
see as only even THEORETICALLY vulnerable incumbent U.S.House member of eitherparty from IL or MO for that matter.

Weller probably is safer than you think. He snakes into McLean County so his parents can vote for him (lame redistricting reason of the cycle). His district is largely rural and conservative. A bit of labor, but McLean and the rural areas outpoll labor pretty easily. Of potentially vulnerable, Kirk is first on the list and sometime in the distant future, Hyde’s seat might become competitive or Hasterts. Neither is in trouble anytime soon, but trends are moving especially in 6 (Hyde). Kirk is safe for now and until he retires (don’t get me wrong there). Biggert’s district might be competitive in a few years as well.

The person who didn’t draw a fight that surprised me was Tim Johnson. That district should be strong Republican, but that guy is such a dirtbag it is hard to imagine someone couldn’t have just stood up and pointed that out repeatedly and gotten 48% of the vote at least. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets primaried at some point–like after a DUI or something.

So no, I don’t see anyone vulnerable in Illinois.

3)Can a Kirk type win statewide Repub. primary in IL????—if not I
wonder if Repubs. r doomed statewide unless Demos recruit felons or Mosely-Braun.

Ask Andrew McKenna the summer of ’04. I tend to think not if you are new to the scene. I don’t doubt that Edgar or Big Jim Thompson could do it, but the ground operation of the wingnuts is consistently beating out moderates. There best shot would be to target lessor offices and move up from there.

4)And finally do Wellstonian type Demos in state leg. in either IL or MO
have a "Progressive Caucus" a la U.S. House???

Missouri. Don’t make me laugh. Actually there is a black caucus in both states. I’m not sure of other interest groups in Missouri. Missouri legislature is a rather strange bird and given many people who would normally have the same interests hate each other, not much organizing goes on. Maybe someone else is more familiar with it.

In Illinois there certainly are legislative interest groups and I forget how they are organized. Traditionally, goo-goos in the Democratic Party are often around and quickly run over. Dawn Clark Netsch is a great example.

5) Why have the Cook County SUBURBS of Chicago—taken en toto—trended much more to Dems(e.g. state leg. elections) than have the other burbs (e.g.DuPage, Kane etc.) which continue to elect almost exclusively Repubs.

Demographics and DuPage is starting to follow, though it will take a while. Read the Emerging Democratic Majority and it is the same old story. Inner ring burbs are going Democratic on social issues. Either they are labor towns or the liberal elites of lore. Places like Oak Park are beautiful old towns that are populated by liberals who love nice houses.

Kane is exurbia exemplified. Mega Churches (Willow Creek is just over the Cook border), malls, congestion and a mediocre standard of living.

DuPage avoided some reallignment for a long time by the existence of an iron tight machine. With the retirement of Pate Philip, defeat of J-Ry and the containment of Birkett in DuPage, that will start to change. They are losing their positions and as such, they won’t have much to spread around the county. It won’t be a solid Democratic area by any means, but it will become more competitive.

Will County is heading towards the Republicans as it becomes more exurban in nature instead of being a hotbed of labor. Will isn’t growing in the good way though. Think of those clowns who jumped out of the stands at Comiskey and you are seeing the unfortunate future of Will County (save your whining about my description Will residents–I was born there).

6)Why do rural/small town counties in Iowa, including ones that border Missouri, vote for Dems. Gov.Vilsack AND Sen.Harkin in 2002(almost all did for both except for far west of state by Nebraska) & for Gore+Nader over Bush + Buchanan in 2000 (many did , though definitely fewer than Vilsack/ Harkin won), while rural/small town counties in Missouri almost all(including those on border w/Iowa) voted for Talent in 2002,Bush in 2000.

Because Iowans have infinitely better judgment and more class than Miserians. I’ve lived both places and I choose Iowa for niceness, culture and style. Iowa has a strange prairie progressive streak similar to Minnesota and Wisconsin and it goes that far south. Missouri outside of KC and St. Louis is a southern state looking for some southern manners. Part of it might be the quality of the farming and the strength of the communities. Part of it probably is that Iowa hasn’t traditionally been divided on class issues like Missouri. Iowa is very homogenous and so there are fewer tensions historically based on race. Iowa’s churches probably promote social justice more.

These really aren’t answers because they don’t answer why Iowa is the way it is. I don’t know. As one state official put it in discussing why Iowa was successful in ag outreach projects for environmental quality, "They are just good people."

That doesn’t mean Republicans are bad, but there is something about Iowa that overcomes partisan divisions and allows people to switch between parties easier. I think. When does Hogberg come back anyway?

Suburban Pols

Betty Loren-Maltese is out in Cicero and the good fight continues. Two community activists–read not mobbed up and trying to clean up the garbage that has hung on since Capone’s death–vie to be Mayor of Cicero. The Dark Side has also tapped a Latino hoping to keep power just a bit longer. My guess is they will be successful, but with the growing Latino population the dark sides days are numbered. Well, that and an aggressive US Attorney.

And just how many Italians are even left in Chicago Heights?

Chicago Alderman

I have to admit that minus a few favorite alderman, I’m not wired into the Chicago Aldermanic races well enough to give tight discussions of the politics involved. Then again, as has been previously noted, most alderman are pretty much bobbleheads in Chicago so who the hell cares. As long as they answer the phones and fill out the work orders everyone is happy. In a couple interesting races there is some mild interest.

First, Bob Love is running in the 15th. With his connections and access to money he’ll put up a challenge.

Second, in the most humorous race of the year Benard Stone’s son is running and Stone is endorsing the other guy.

Mosely-Braun Delusional, Field’s up get it for the taking

Can the Dems challenge her name on the ballot for impaired mental capacity?

Some important side information:

If Moseley-Braun becomes a candidate, she may face another black candidate, state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, who already has begun raising money. But she said Obama told her earlier this year that if she got in the race, he would get out.

"We don’t know what Senator Moseley-Braun is going to do, but we’re in," countered Obama campaign manager Dan Shomon.

Obama is in. This is interesting, but I have to wonder if reality hits him if he realizes that his support in the African-American community will dissipate leaving him intellectual liberals and a far cry from a plurality he finds a way out.


Other Democrats, Blair Hull, a wealthy Chicago businessman, and Gery Chico, a former Chicago school board president, have also put together campaign teams. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas are also weighing entry into the field

Schakowsky won’t run. She has no machine backing and downstate she is an unknown. Her polling numbers will come back poor and she’ll realize it will be a waste. I don’t take here that seriously. She is a nice liberal and all, but largely unplugged from the combine and thus not a serious contender currently. Think Dawn Clark Netsch updated. Much like Netsch she is north shore liberal.

I’d be surprised if Pappas runs. She could be an interesting candidate, but Daley is pretty wishy washy on her. Madigan has no special relationship with her and she isn’t especially close to G-Rod so there isn’t much traction. The one possibility is that the party asks her to run to pull female votes from Mosely-Braun.

Dan Hynes is an up and comer, but my sense is this won’t be the right race for him. The original idea was he’d run in ’06 for governor, but with G-Rod that is out. He may have to move up to Secretary of State then and build his patronage army up and wait for 2010 Senate depending upon who has the seat or 2010 Governor with G-Rod moving to the Senate, or in his dreams the White House.

Hynes is remarkably talented and besides the horrifying bowl cut he sported in this years commercials he’ll move up soon enough. With a race including Mosely-Braun, Chico and Hull, he doesn’t have a niche–especially with Daley backing Hull. Chico gets a lot of corporate types and Latinos. Moseley-Braun gets African-Americans and some women. Hull takes the machine apparatus and lots of money he is willing to spend. Hynes is left with decent fundraising as a sitting Constitutional Officer, but not much of constituency to win. Look for a deal to be struck with him getting the machine backing for SOS in ’06 and a higher profile. This benefits Madigan, Daley and G-Rod so they’ll make it happen.

Chico is a connected guy with good money connections and probably Luis Guitierez’s support. He’ll pull in the Latino community and some Democratic business support. He should do well with labor (depending on Hynes choice) except possibly the Chicago Teachers Union who didn’t have much use for him as President of the Chicago Board of Education.

Hull is interesting because he isn’t well known statewide, but he has the money and connections to become well known pretty damn quickly. He is a version of the millionaire strategy the Democratic Party likes to use. Recruit a talented, TV friendly, candidate with several million dollars burning a hole in his ego and let him go at it. Given Petey is the same kind of guy, the issue is neutralized in the general election. It is hard to get a read on the guy given he doesn’t have much of an elective office track record, but the Daley thumbs up that seems to be accepted as truth means he is a serious challenger with some smart things to say.

Mosely-Braun has the black vote locked up and some women. However, after her disastrous first run, don’t expect suburban Democratic women to give a damn about her. She ran a sleazy office, a sleazy campaign and sleaze oozed from most of her actions. Her minimum is 24% in the primary, but more likely in the mid-to-high 30s. The machine, rightfully, thinks she is toxic, but doesn’t know how to go after her without offending African-Americans. Look to Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, for a possible machine offensive. He won’t denounce her and may even endorse her, but the question is does he as chief of patronage in the SOS office, go to work for her.

For those confused about why Secretary of State is such a big deal in Illinois look G-Ry and Edgar. Two former governors who moved to that post to make their gubernatorial runs. Why? SOS has the highest number of usable patronage posts (and G-Ry’s legal downfall) and your name is in every wallet. Past SOSs include Alan Dixon and Paul Simon as well.

SOS’s have had more success at moving up then other positions in Illinois. In many states the Attorney General has been the stepping stone, but in Illinois we see what just happened to J-Ry. Further in the past Roland Burris got rolled three times running for governor, Ty Fahner is in Chicago at Mayer, Platt and Brown, and Neil Hartigan got his butt kicked by Edgar, then the SOS.

The real question is can the machine clear the field for one serious candidate against Moseley-Braun. Hull has the early Daley backing, but Madigan and G-Rod Father-In-Law are keeping their cards close to their vest. Chico could do well in with some backing from them, but Chico-Moseley-Braun-Hull, gets awfully close to a Moseley-Braun victory. With Obama, there might be some room to still defeat her in the primary. Hynes-Hull-Chico leads to a Mosely-Braun win. Obama, while probably the brightest, has little chance with her in the race, though the machine could offer him a Constitutional Office in ’06 to run a credible race.

Hull-Moseley-Braun. Hull wins with at least 55% of the primary vote.

Chico-Moseley-Braun. Pick em. Slight advantage to Chico with Obama in the race.

Chico, Hull, Hynes all beat Fitzgerald with 10 points. Moseley-Braun loses by 6-20 depending on what new campaign finance scandal hits her. Obama wins a squeaker. Schakowsky loses by 10 and Pappas pick ’em (though a strong campaign by her wins).

One of the more interesting notes in the original article is this:

But Simon added, "She clearly has a residue of public relations problems," among them, her trips to Nigeria to visit that country’s brutal former military dictator, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

It isn’t a good sign when Saint Paul takes a shot at you before the campaign begins.

Correction: I thought I posted this last night, but Paul Simon was not SOS. My mistake and thanks to Tiger for pointing it out.

What, do you want me to do, take off my pants?

Da Mare has four, count ’em four opponents. They have a slight chance. But not much of one with modern medicine. He is younger, in better health, and monitored much better than J.

Challenger 1: Robert Floid Plump

So far, we know he filed 1100 signatures and "Plump, who calls himself the "spiritual son of Harold Washington,""

Challenger 2: Patricia McAllister

Software engineer, 11,000 signatures.

Challenger 3: Rev. Joseph McAfee

???

Challenger 4: Rev. Paul Jakes

He filed 20,000 signatures. I like to call him the uniter, not the divider. You see, he is so wildly unpopular with Chicago cops that they will vote for Daley even though they are upset about labor relations. Jakes crusades against police brutality.

Daley’s refusal to debate has not been made yet. Just remember challengers, always keep your back to a building during a snowstorm press conference.

I like it

From the Capitol Fax

THE HOLE Despite the threat of massive deficits, Governor-elect Rod Blagojevich continues to cling to his campaign promise to reopen several shuttered state facilities. G-Rod has asked Illinois Central College not to open a branch office at the now-closed Zeller Mental Developmental Center. Governor Ryan signed a long-term lease with ICC for the Zeller property, but Blago is threatening to break the lease. It should be fascinating to watch how this guy patches the deficit, reopens facilities and implements new programs. No way can he do this without more gaming or higher taxes or both. The other day, Blago said the deficit was larger than he thought. Whenever a politician says something like that, you can bet revenue enhancements are not far off.

The substance is no surprise. Anyone who didn’t realize Blago and J-Ry weren’t lying about taxes is amazingly stupid.

What I like is G-Rod. It fits so well. New nickname.