Ummm…does anyone bother to ask

I’m listening to John Fund whine that most young people don’t vote so the Daily Show’s demographics don’t matter.

Let me bother everyone with a fairly basic observation from likely voter theory 101.

The folks who are ‘younger’ sort or like the bloggers are ‘young’ (for example Markos and I are 35) aren’t much different from most voters in that those who seek out information about politics are more likely to vote–hence seeking out such information. If you can follow the Daily Show that is relatively high level political discourse–probably higher than most CNN/MSNBC/Fox shows–then one tuning in is likely to be more lilely to vote and the challenge for candidates or opinion shapers who appear is to boost turnout or turn the occasional swing voter watching to them.

IOW, appearing on the show if far from irrational. Appearing is very rational because it attracts those likely voters amongst hard to reach groups.

Doh…pundit whining will not stop, but perhaps making fun of them may increase now.

Are There Editors at the Trib

I get the sense Eric Zorn is somewhat overedited at times probably being smart and editing himself. However, the ‘city’ columnist has gone a little over the edge apparently deciding he’s as funny as the guy he replaced and made fun of Rich Whitney for his position on the Spotted Owl. Of course, Whitney is such a moron he joins in the fun.

An owl that lives on the west coast of North America.

For those unclear why such a point is friggen stupid, Illinois is, in fact, east of the Mississippi and the geographic center of the Continental United States—okay, the geographic center of the United States.

Worse yet, and why Rich Whitney is a friggen idiot, the Spotted Owl isn’t some random species, but an indicator species that ‘indicates’ the general health of an entire ecosystem. Those who would try and run as a ‘green’ candidate might actually try and be green and actually educate the public about the importance of indicator species that don’t even affect local ecosystems or they can pander on guns and crap and pretend to be sticking it to the man. Nevermind that in an election determined by swing voters in the middle, Whitney cannot explain why he has a chance, instead attempting to attract votes from essentially right wing voters on a right wing talking point. Green isn’t so green.

If Atrios were covering this, he’d have a heart attack about this crap. Worse yet, so should the environmentalists in Illinois.

Between disappointments over Stroger and Blagojevich it’s hard to figure out for whom one should vote. Right now, and given moving hasn’t occurred before the registration deadline (hint about future posts), I’m leaning towards the idiot who can at least promise to presever the single most important historical site in Illinois—Cahokia Mounds. Topinka has offered some lip service, but no one has offered a serious plan to preserve the entire site.

Maybe the Trib Editorial Board could focus on something practical like that since their ‘City columnist” thinks issues in Oregon, Washington, and Canada are vitally important to Illinois voters.

Unfortunate

I always feel bad for the campaign staff of either party when having to deal with one of these:

During an election debate at the weekend in the outskirts of Chicago, Peter Roskam, the Republican candidate for Illinois’s sixth district, trotted out the familiar line that his Democratic opponent wanted America to “cut and run” from Iraq.

His opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a former National Guard pilot who lost both her legs in Iraq last year when her helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, was visibly angry at the exchange. “I just could not believe he would say that to me,” said Ms Duckworth, who now walks on artificial legs with the help of a cane. “I have risked my life to serve my country and you cannot question my patriotism.”

It’s never fun to tell the boss he’s an idiot.

The Challenge for Pavich

Is getting everything to stick to Weller. Contrary to Kristen McQueary, I don’t see the problem with Weller as being he’s able to be so slick as to get out of everything, it’s that there is so much it’s hard to get it to stick.

Two perfect examples are in McQueary’s column:

His father-in-law, Efrain Rios Montt, is a former Guatemalan dictator for whom an arrest warrant was issued in July on charges of genocide, torture, illegal arrest and terrorism for a 1980s insurgency he orchestrated (with the support of the Reagan administration).

Several Weller colleagues, including U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Dan Lipinski, signed a recent letter urging the U.S. Department of Justice to assist and cooperate in Montt’s prosecution, if it moves forward.

———

The arrest warrant for Weller’s father-in-law was issued by a wacky judge in Spain.

“It was frivolity ? freelancing by one Spanish judge. I guess he can’t go to Spain, but it’s not as if there are people in Guatemala looking for him.”

Letting Weller’s spokesperson get away with that ignores that George Bush’s State Department actually took the pretty much unprecedented step of warning against a right wing candidate winning. It’s not some weird judge in Spain, it’s the US Government and a US Government that has often played footsie with right wing authoritarians in Latin America.

Official Washington’s distaste for the retired general, who took a distant third place in polling, was reiterated Monday when State Department spokesman Richard Boucher referred to him as ”former dictator Rios Montt” in reviewing the election results.

Last summer, after Rios Montt’s candidacy was approved by the Guatemalan Supreme Court, Boucher had warned that, ”in light of Mr. Rios Montt’s background, it would be difficult to have the kind of relationship that we would prefer”.

The statement marked the first time in more than a decade that Washington had publicly warned a Central American electorate against a right-wing presidential candidate.

In contrast, on Monday Boucher stressed that the two leading candidates were both acceptable. ”We look forward to working with either Mr. Berger or Mr. Colom to strengthen U.S.-Guatemala relations”.

There is no question about Rios Montt being a genocidal dictator. He’s evil. He’s not just a bad man. He’s evil.

Letting this go is just as bad:

And blaming Prosser, a Weller contributor, for a 900-number phone line “is like saying SBC and AT&T are phone sex operators.” Prosser’s was a legitimate company that Weller tried to help, Shearer said.

SBC and AT&T? Errr…no. The Columbia Journalism Review did a story on Prosser’s efforts to buy the major newspaper that had been critical of him in the Virgin Islands. Where did CJR get the information? Atlantic Tele Network’s SEC Filings. That story gives you all sorts of information about Prosser’s ties to corrupt politicians.

Now, McQueary’s point is that he’s smooth and while I disagree with her conclusion, she wrote a decent article so I’m exempting her from this, but when the press takes this he said she said bullshit and allows it to stand despite the actual evidence the voters are failed.

Weller has ties to the worst of the elements in the Caribean and Central America and he tries to dismiss them with jokes. The press bites for some reason I can’t figure out. His press people are lying and there should be consequences to that.

If you follow the money to Cornelius Prior, Prosser’s business partner in the phone sex business, you find that Prior made contributions to the ROYB fund as did Prosser as well as big money Republican donations–these guys are a part of the K Street Project and Jerry Weller is right in the middle of it.

If anyone wants to actually connect the dots.

Seals an Emerging Race

Dan Seals continues to grab lots of attention and the DCCC added him to a list of Emerging Races where Democratic candidates that have made their race potentially competitive. Seals, as I mentioned in my interview with him, came up fast and surprised many, but he has many supporters both in Illinois and DC where he has earned quick respect from his campaign successes.

That makes all five Illinois races I’ve pointed out in Illinois as having been identified by the DCCC. They’ve been quieter on the 11th as everyone expects Weller to come out swinging soon.

Red to Blue

The much maligned DCCC released its new Red to Blue list and actually got some credit (I’m not a maligner).

Our own Phil Hare made the list and he has a necktie.

Zinga is another one of the many Republican candidates who cannot explain what their position is on Social Security.

Go help Phil out. He’s in one of the oddest District in Illinois so making sure this doesn’t turn competitive by way of geography is a good way to stop any Democrat seats from being lost this cycle.

The Endorsement Game

It seems to me that AFSCME and IEA in not endorsing anyone for Governor aren’t so much taking a stand for none-of-the-above as they are avoiding a really bad outcome of having endorsed Judy and having Rod win. Download file for AFSCME’s endorsement list

It hurts Judy especially given many of the social conservatives who work hard on GOTV already are lukewarm to absolutely hostile towards her and these two organizations would have given her a stronger GOTV operation. This looks like two more nails in the coffin.

Gianoulis and Radogno didn’t get endorsed by AFSCME either.

WATB

While the comments at Capitol Fax are trying to attack Dan Hynes, here’s an interesting line from a Pantagraph Editorial on October 10, 2002

Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes was written off by Republicans in late 2000 and the spring of 2001 when he visited newspaper editorial boards in city after city barking the same warning – Illinois was spending more than it was taking in and reserves were diminishing. “Politics,” was the usual response from Republicans who said Hynes was an aspiring politician just stirring up publicity because he planned to run for governor in 2002.

Well, 2002 is here. Hynes is not running for governor. And instead of talking about raking in $1.4 billion more than anticipated in revenues, the state is facing $1.7 million in debt.

Hynes has been doing this for years. Complaining that the guy who has the job of providing accurate financial outlooks for the state is continuing to offer accurate financial outlooks is a bit bizarre.

Gross Incompetence

Hitting Head on Wall

Illinois officials negotiating with Ecosse were not aware that to consummate the purchase of the flu vaccine, a contract was necessary. Not until almost three weeks after the State agreed to purchase the flu vaccine, did the Special Advocate negotiating the purchase become aware that a contract was needed to purchase the vaccine. On November 10, 2004, the Special Advocate indicated, in an e-mail to an official at the Department of Public Aid,

“…I have been talking to the Budget Office, the Dep. Governor, etc. and nobody has said word one about a contract. We have been told several times, the payment would be processed COD. If someone needs a contract, then you or someone else needs to get it done without delay….”

The contract entered into between the State and Ecosse was not timely.

– The contract with Ecosse to purchase 254,250 doses of the influenza vaccine was signed on January 13, 2005 by an official from the Governor’s Office, which was 2 days after Ecosse submitted a billing for the vaccine of approximately $2.6 million.

– State officials signed the contract 6 days prior to Ecosse officials signing the contract on January 19, 2005. The term of the contract was for the period October 20, 2004 through June 30, 2005.

– The amount of the State’s obligation under the contract was estimated to be $2,592,218. This is the exact amount billed by Ecosse to the State on an invoice
dated January 11, 2005 ? 8 days prior to Ecosse signing the contract with the State.

That’s just a start.

Stunning Lack of Competence

There are a couple choices today given the Auditor General’s findings, but the absolutely FEMA like organization of the CPA is stunning.

The Death of Policy

One former CPA employee who had an office near O’Beirne’s wrote an e-mail to a friend describing the recruitment process: “I watched r?sum?s of immensely talented individuals who had sought out CPA to help the country thrown in the trash because their adherence to ‘the President’s vision for Iraq’ (a frequently heard phrase at CPA) was ‘uncertain.’ I saw senior civil servants from agencies like Treasury, Energy . . . and Commerce denied advisory positions in Baghdad that were instead handed to prominent RNC (Republican National Committee) contributors.”

We’ve seen it at Treasury with Paul O’Neil. We’ve seen it with Faith Based Initiatives with DiIulio . We’ve seen it at FEMA. We’ve seen it with Zoellick. We saw it at the CIA.

Yet, we get the Whitehouse and personnel treated as serious people. Why?

Bring the Senate Into the 21st Century

Having talked to many campaign workers, the bill not only would increase accountability, but it also would make their jobs far easier and I’m betting far more accurate. A friend is currently the compliance officer for Claire and trying to get the reports out is a nightmare–so go here and read about a bipartisan bill to improve the situation and get the Senate to disclose online–for comparison, Illinois’ campaign finance laws are far better than what relates to the US Senate in terms of disclosure.