CIA Officials and Hookers

And Congressman. And Defense Contractors. And Bribery. And Did I mention hookers?

One can only hope that someone from Illinois gets snared up because only that could make this more fun (and let’s not speculate in comments).

People understand hookers and Congressman. Sex sells and this is going to be a hoot.

UPDATE: ummm…while I hate to be a conspiracy theorist:

Foggo, who occasionally hosted the poker parties at his house in northern Virginia, is under investigation by the CIA’s inspector general to determine whether he helped Wilkes gain CIA contracts.

Despite the ICFST

Rich points out, Topinka is still leading Blagojevich in a very blue state.

On policy, I like the Governor. I just don’t like him. I’ve tried, I just don’t. Judy is moderate enough for me to consider backing her and that is where the problem is. He’s a little too much Eddie Haskill.

That said, Rich points out what I think is the key, taking a page out of the Bush reelection strategy:

Right now they’re going after what they think are Topinka’s weaknesses. What they need to do is attack her strengths. If they don’t, their expensive little movie may not have a happy ending.

If You Didn’t Get What the Trib is Saying

They still have plenty of leads to follow on Alexi:

But we also need to stress that, for Giannoulias and his party, this is not going to get any better.

While I understand the tendency to want to wait and see what will happen, everything I hear is this is just barely starting.

And this is what we (Democrats) get for nominating an unknown rich guy candidate with no track record. The guy should have run for the State Lege and worked his way up–all of this would have been discovered eventually and Democrats could then decide what to do based on a record of service and full information, but noooooooo….an office that has nothing to do with abortion was decided because of a guy’s stance on abortion. What? Are we Republicans now?

Can You Hit the Damn Notes in Spanish?

Let’s see Muslims decry cartoons depicting their Prophet,

Immigration loons decry a Patriotic song being sung in Spanish.

The difference?

Actually—depicting Muhammed does violate religious tenets and is probably in poor taste though Freedom of Speech includes the right to say things in poor taste.

Demonstrating your patriotism in any language seems strangely patriotic.

Would we be having this discussion were the Anthem sung in Polish or Italian? I don’t think so.

Quote of the article:

“It should be sung in English. It’s an American song. I think it represents America,” said Debbie Rand.

Origin of English…nevermind…

End the Sales Tax on Gas

LOL—it took me a bit to get what Topinka was trying to do with this. Illinois’ gas tax per gallon is 19 cents, but it also charges 5% sales tax. If one were to deliver true cost relieve the way to reduce the tax burden is on the 19 cents not on the 5% Judy is suggesting doing away with over $2.50/gallon.

The impact of her current proposal at $3 gallon would be to reduce each gallon of gas by 2.5 cents. On 12 gallons of gas, that would save 30 cents a tank.

This idea is about as useful of opening up ANWR, which despite a Hastert’s whining as of late, wouldn’t actually affect world oil supply by much (if approved in 1995, ANWR would currently be producing between 0% and .5% of daily world oil production on its way to a whopping less than 1% as demand is expected to increase). If approved now, even when it reaches full capacity, ANWR would produce less than 1% of the world’s daily oil consumption and given the oil market is a global market, would do nothing to reduce US reliance on foreign oil as the Bush Administration’s own figures put maximum daily output at 876,000 barrels a day .

At such a rate, it wouldn’t even account for the increase in billion of barrels per day required by the US between now and when ANWR would open in about 12 years. Worse, it would be half of what would be required by the world market for one year of projected annual average increase in consumption between 2002 and 2025. ANWR is a diversion from the reality that gas prices are a function of supply and demand and demand is way up. The way to insulate yourself from the effects of demand on pricing isn’t to produce more when it’s virtually impossible to do so in a meaningful way, it’s to conserve and switch to other energy sources.

I imagine the next canard will be that the big bad environmentalists won’t allow refineries to open. The reality is that refineries have been closing and few new ones being built for far more basic reasons:

It is true that refineries must comply with environmental regulations that have been strengthened in recent decades. Republicans frequently complain that the United States has not built a new refinery from the ground up in over 30 years. This ignores the inconvenient fact that we have certainly added refining capacity. And it is refining capacity that matters, not the number of refineries.

If we lack sufficient capacity now, the problem has its roots not in excess environmental regulation, but in the decision to deregulate energy markets in the late 1970s. Before then, the U.S. government regulated the distribution of oil and gasoline products in a command-and-control regulatory scheme that resulted in the development of significant excess refining capacity. In 1981, when this system ended, the United States had 324 refineries with a capacity of about 18.5 million barrels a day, but only 68 percent of that capacity was used. The rest remained idle. Obviously, no business can remain viable with those ratios. No grocery store would leave one third of its shelves empty, no manufacturing company would leave its plants idle for four months a year — and no one would expect them to.

Between 1981 and 1994, about 145 U.S. refineries closed. In the same period, overall U.S. refining capacity fell to 15 million barrels per day, pushing utilization rates to a more sustainable 92 percent.

Since then, refining capacity has grown at a slightly greater rate than demand. Between 1994 and 2002, capacity grew 11.6 percent while demand for finished products grew by 11.5 percent. This trajectory enabled refineries to operate profitably in a deregulated marketplace. Only over the past two years has refining capacity fallen behind the growth in demand for finished products.

Looking at EIA’s data, the number of refineries has fallen from 324 in 1981 to 149 in 2004. The capacity in BBL/DAY has falled from that year, but in surriounding years (after the excess capacity was cut, it has been stable, but utilization has gone from 68% to 92%. IOW, it isn’t those environmental wackos keeping us from having more refineries, it is market forces that promoted efficiency and reducing excess capacity. If one looks at historical data, current products supplied isn’t an unusual amount given historical trends so there is no reason to think that refining capacity is the cause of the spike in gas prices. The trend is upwards, but certainly no spikes.

So while everyone is looking for someone to blame, stop with the whining about those of us who think that we can have a clean environment and a good economy and look to the Asians who are increasing demand for crude oil dramatically.

How Do You Get the GOP Jim Jones Wing To Follow

Someone who is trying to win over the swing voters in Illinois?

Jim did a fine job asking Topinka what she thought of the President even if she never answered the questions. The base of the Republican Party thinks clapping louder will make George Bush more popular and magically make him and his merry band of incompetents seem like they have some clue how to run a country. Judy has the problem of being in a state where Bush’s popularity is in Keyes’ land, with Republicans at a distinct disadvantage, and a base that won’t tolerate anything but praise for Dear Leader even if he leads them to the apocalypse–strike that–especially if he leads them to the apocalypse.

It’s perhaps ironic given the Blagojevich’s administrations string of bad audits that make it look a lot like the Bush admininstration. Can’t find CMS savings? Insist they are there.

That said, while the initial reaction to Holland’s first round was to Bushlike attack the messenger, Blagojevich backed down and showed some decent sense if not much better operation of CMS.

The obvious parallel is there to make between Blagojevich and Bush on management—but the problem is she can’t make it or her base will declare her an unperson.

Look at today’s news. Madigan’s grand jury called in Doug Scott. Karl Rove was called to the Grand Jury by Fitzgerald. If you start to rail about how Fitzgerald is going to get Rod, you get asked questions about Karl. Is Fitzgerald a grand inquisitor in one case and a sharp eyed prosecutor in the other? (and yes, I do understand the Fitzgerald is not involved in the Madigan Grand Jury)

If anything, Judy’s problem may be that she’s just not audacious enough to ignore the contradictions and go Bush-like in to attack mode ignoring the obvious questions.

1994 News Article on Edgar

Sound familiar?

Sun-Times August 1, 1994

HEADLINE: Radio Ads Back New Party

BODY:
With just a week left to file third-party ballot petitions, a newly formed conservative group is airing radio commercials designed to support the Term Limits & Tax Limits Party.

The group, Illinois Pro-Family Voters, said in a statement that Gov. Edgar and his Democratic challenger, Dawn Clark Netsch, hold “the same liberal positions on gays, gambling and abortion.”

Monty Johnson, the group’s spokesman, said, “Unless Steve Baer enters the race, we’re all being held hostage by liberals like Edgar and Netsch.”

Baer, a Chicago businessman, challenged Edgar in the 1990 Republican primary. His name heads a ticket on petitions being circulated by the Term Limits & Tax Limits Party, though he has not announced his candidacy for governor.

For inclusion on the Nov. 8 ballot, petitions with at least 25,000 voters’ signatures must be submitted to the State Board of Elections by Aug. 8.

The CMS Experiment Needs to Be Over

However it needs to be sold, it isn’t working.

Summary of Findings:

Total this audit 22
Total last audit 24
Repeated from last audit 17

7 problems fixed. 5 created. 17 continue. If you can’t document the savings, what is the point?

CMS’ contract files lacked certain documentation for 6 of 10 contracts we tested. The maximum award amount for these 10 contracts totaled $270 million.

CMS evaluated vendor proposals using evaluation criteria that were not stated in the RFP.

In 6 contracts we reviewed, CMS did not timely execute the contracts. In one of the contracts reviewed, the vendor was allowed to initiate work on the project without a formal written agreement in place.

The Department?s process to monitor vendor expenses was inadequate. For some contracts, the Department paid expenses with little or no review. In 4 of 10 contracts tested, the Department received no detailed documentation to support reimbursement for expenses.

The Department did not consistently develop or formally approve changes to contracts.

The Department has not established a property management function to effectively manage occupancy costs and revenues.

The Department should further refine its billing process for savings initiatives. CMS billed $41 million for efficiency initiatives to State agencies during FY05, yet only collected $21 million from various State Agencies. The remaining balance was written off by the Department.

During the prior year, CMS did not maintain adequate documentation to support the amount of savings it attributes to efficiency initiatives. Also, savings goals stated in RFP’s, vendor proposals and/or contracts were not always realized or documented. In April 2005, the Department reported savings of $621 million. In October 2005, the Department issued a report citing a reduction of estimated savings to $529 million, however, this figure does not include any costs the Department incurred related to its initiatives, which are estimated to exceed $72 million.

CMS did not maintain time sheets for its employees as required by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

Gianoulis Deathwatch Day 1

The title isn’t one wishing death on anyone, but is taken from Slate that often runs Deathwatches for doomed political candidates and officials.

Alexi is screwed and while his strategy in dealing with the issue is much better, the ball started rolling in the primary and it won’t be stopped now as the Trib clearly is working on a trickle of stories that just build on each other.

At this point he looks clueless or dishonest. I’m leaning towards clueless, but also Radogno.

As Low As Keyes

I’d say this is more than a bit of an overstatement for the Illinois Circular Firing Squad Team is in rare form as Biver suggests that Topinka might do worse than Keyes.

The column has a big error in that Axelrod’s firm AKP isn’t working for Blagojevich. Squier, Knapp & Dunn Communications is the ad firm doing Blagojevich’s ads–and so far they are pretty good. In fact, the first one during hte primary where he gave the line about being a little bit older and wiser reminded me of an Axelrod type of ad in its simplicity.

Amongst uber GOP conservative activists this race appears to be more about payback than anything else. The constant two front attacks Judy is facing has to be a nightmare though.

Newcom Nukem

Lee Newcom suggests Judy may not fired up the base:

A significant part of the Republican base has some serious questions about Judy Barr Topinka. If she fails to aggressively address those issues there will be no one to blame but her for depressing GOP turnout in November. In the primary I predicted her to be our weakest general election candidate of the 4 candidates. That calculation was based on 1) losing a significant part of the base GOP vote because of her liberalism and 2) her inability to articulate a message of leadership to the people of this state.

The one thing I can’t figure out is why Roeser is pushing the marriage amendment this cycle now that Topinka is on the ballot. Even though many of the voters may not like Topinka, they would probably vote for her rather than the Guv. Then again, it probably won’t be on the ballot so who cares.

The ultimate problem right now for Judy is that Judy is getting hit from the right and the left and she doesn’t have the money to keep up counter attacks for months. Unless she can figure out how to break the cycle she has a real problem.

Burning Down the House!

IFI Needs Thousands of Insurance Signatures

Because Rick Garcia is going to challenge the signatures according to Zorn

While the IFI insists they aren’t having problems, it’s pretty clear they are.

Anyone who had a clue knew the petitions would be challenged by gay rights and liberal groups. Then again, those with a clue pretty much excludes the merry band of obsessed homophobes at IFI. If they lose, Jack Roeser loses another one this year. Heh.

But what people really need to understand is this is an advisory opinion to make gay marriage not just illegal–which it already is, but really, really, illegal. IOW, it’s pointless.