Just A Reminder

Rich on the black vote and Obama

Next, you “experts” assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.

Wrong again.

In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they ”break late.”

Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama’s own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ”breaking” in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes.

This same pattern has been repeated time and time again during the past 25 years here. Harold Washington didn’t start off his campaign with the majority of black support against a white female with a huge war chest and the powers of patronage and incumbency, but he certainly ended that way.

Like Byrne, Hillary Clinton is almost universally known and has a strong record of backing issues important to many Democratic African-American voters. Obama is far less known. It’s perfectly natural that, right now, many black voters are siding with Clinton. But, if Obama’s candidacy remains viable through early next year, I’d bet that the vast majority of African-American voters will end up with him.

To recap, because I know you’re all very busy: Black leadership endorsements of white candidates over black opponents are not necessarily important because they don’t automatically translate into black votes; and black voters take their time deciding whether to vote for a fellow African American, but if that candidate looks like a potential winner, they usually end up voting for him or her.

I hope this helps.

Iowa and New Hampshire have no significant black population (outside of Waterloo).  South Carolina is the first state with significant black population that holds a primary and it isn’t  until January 26th meaning it’ll be towards the end of December that  you start to get a sense of what the black population will be doing–and that might carry over until the first week of January given the holidays.

I Hear Axelrod Is Quite Entertaining

And he speaks English so it’s understandable even.

Well, guess who is now set to appear on Meet the Press this coming weekend? Hillary supporter James Carville, of course.

The network has just confirmed to me that Carville is one of the guests set to appear this Sunday. The other guests, as of now, are Bob Shrum, Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy — which is to say, no backer of any of the other Dem candidates.

Oh, wait.  Axelrod isn’t one of the villagers.

Republicans using the same talking points about his experience.

Hillary Clinton offers up this same gem

Voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face. I think we need a president with more experience than that…. I don’t think this is the time for on-the-job training on our economy or on foreign policy…”

The condescension is dripping as if John Kerry said it himself.

The day that George Bush offers up this:

Obama offers “odd foreign policy,” suggests he and other rivals lack experience.

Obama spokesman Burton responds to Bush: “I can’t tell if he’s endorsing her, hoping she’s the nominee or thanking her for her votes on Iraq and Iran.

I look forward to liberal kvetching about the Clinton Campaign use of right wing talking points….nevermind.

Make It Stop…..

The Hillary Clinton Campaign reminds me of everything wrong with the Gore and Kerry campaign (I remember how shitty the Gore campaign was, not the revisionist history version of Al Gore being all that is good):

Step Six: Swarm the Clinton staffer. “Can you bring her out?” Lynn Sweet, who usually covers Barack Obama for the Chicago Sun-Times, will ask. See the Clinton staffer chuckle. Chuckle nervously yourself. “I’m serious,” Sweet will say. “Can we have a press availability?” The Clinton staffer will agree to check on that. When she leaves, do not hold your breath. “Anybody with a pad and pen is dangerous,” one veteran reporter will say. “Camera, good. Pen, bad.” “The last time HRC acknowledged our existence was, like, last Sunday in Waterloo, Iowa at 4:00 p.m.,” another will add. Act shocked when the Clinton staffer returns with your answer: “Nope, sorry, not today.”

You have to go look at the picture to understand what is wrong with the press corps. They are told to stand on one side of a table and they all do. Lynn Sweet is staking out the other side.

That’s Lynn Sweet, third from the right. The rest of the press is in its holding pen

Were there actual fences holding the rest of you in?

Today’s Tosser: The Entire Disaster Over at Illinois Review

It was too hard to pick just one:

Jill Stanek insists that Terri Schiavo was fully alive and aware

Stanek has some rubbish about how people called her brain dead and approvingly links then to an article that doesn’t just dispute whether she was brain dead, but says

Rarely, if ever, mentioned in media reports are the more than 40 doctors’ affidavits submitted to the court that either contradicted that Terri was in a so-called PVS or stated that she could have been helped with proper rehabilitation.

The media also fails to report the medical records confirming that Terri at one time was beginning to speak, or the videos of Terri interacting with her family and her surroundings, all of which prove that she was very much alive, and very much responsive

Well, no. She had lost half of her brain weight–which was liquefied, The areas of speech were heavily damaged She wasn’t speaking and this continuing effort to deny the reality of her condition is sad.

We get this treat from George Kocan who says:

According to a report by the Daily Herald, a federal judge has decreed that a moment of silence in public schools violates the U.S. Constitution. We are to believe that the First Amendment says “government ‘shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion.’”

Apparently, the judge relies on a different First Amendment than the one I am familiar with. The real document states that “Congress shall make no laws…” That is a big difference. And it shows how activist judges need to misrepresent the Constitution to make the public accept as law the mythical “separation of church and state.”

Of course, the 14th Amendment applied this to the states and so appendages of state governments are not allowed to make laws respecting an establishment of religion. One has to wonder if these people have read the Constitution. Perhaps they could hang with Rod.

Eaton celebrates indicted and convicted felons after railing about Bob Creamer

George Dienhart declares A vote for Ron Paul is a vote against America

It’s great fun to read. Did you know that you are against America if you are against No Child Left Behind? Yep. Several other fun ones in there, but what’s striking most about the article is that the opposition to Paul isn’t so much on a clearly elucidated set of conservative principles, but on George Bush being right regardless of how incoherent his position is ideologically. For small government? Hell no—it’s unAmerican to back Ron Paul because he’s against federal rules for education and drugs!

The entire piece is a perfect example of the incoherence of people who claim to be conservatives in George Bush’s America.

Ron Paul is a bit loopy, but he doesn’t hate America. For extra fun, check out the comment thread. And I thought the 9-11 Truthers were annoying.

Bob Schmidt puts John (“Mary Rosh”) in some big company:

Overtime civilization has been the gradual process of seeing more and more of the facts, and the truth. The Greeks developed truths of mathematics. The Arabs developed truths of astronomy. Galileo, Newton and Einstein each made contributions. John Locke, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and John Lott advanced hypothesis about the truth of the laws of economics and of the way things work out among us humans.

John Lott cannot even get tenure anywhere.

And going on 5 years and after the deadliest one, we are winning in Iraq. Again.

Could someone tell me how you get political reconciliation when al Maliki just told the the Sunnis to go jump off a bridge?

Daily Dolt: Rod Blagojevich

Rich covers the Governor’s stated belief that he is above the Illinois Constitution.

JCAR’s Constitutionality has never been directly tested in the courts and I do take seriously the notion that it might be unconstitutional. JCAR reviews rule making which is generally considered an executive function. I happen to like JCAR and think it’s an important check on the Executive. If it were to be ruled unconstitutional, I would strongly suggest it be passed as an amendment to the Illinois Constitution or taken up in a Con-Con.

Rich points out the hypocrisy from the Governor in that he signed a law strengthening JCAR, but hypocrisy and the Governor is not exactly news at 11.  Also, it doesn’t get to the underlying point about JCAR.  Just because the Governor signed a law that limits executive power doesn’t change the underlying powers of the Executive.  Such a bill could suggest it is generally accepted and be used in the reasoning of the courts, but it’s not enough on its own.

The basic problem is that rule making before WWII wasn’t all that much.  The Governors generally had limited room to make decisions and the size of government being far smaller, the Legislatures were generally comfortable passing laws that would faithfully be carried out.

After WWII and the increase in the size of government, decisions about programs were too complex to be put into law so many were delegated to the Executive.  There is no reason a State Legislator should be informed enough on particulate matter to know how to vote on a safe level for example.  Instead, the rule-making for specific standards were left to bureaucracies which are under the Executive.
To adapt to this new reality, the federal government and nearly all of the states created Administrative Procedure Acts.  The federal version was in 1946 with Illinois being late in adopting an APA, doing so in 1976.

APAs are designed to limit the discretion of the Executive and thus make final outcomes closer to what the Legislature prefers.  Often this means public comment periods and then judicial oversight with parties bringing lawsuits if rules are out of line with what the Legislature preferred.

JCAR is generally a far more efficient system where a supermajority of members can effectively stop a rule that is inconsistent with the preferences of the Legislature.  It is a check on Executive power and by requiring a supermajority, it’s fairly limited as to when the power can be used.  It gives relatively immediate responses compared to the courts that can take forever.  Rules can still be challenged in the courts, but by providing the ability to challenge rules within the Lege, the process is much quicker for many challenges that are made by the legislature.

In short, it’s a far more efficient way for the Lege to ensure the Governor (any Governor) is not ignoring the law and imposing his will upon legislation through rule making.

And again George Bush meets Rod Blagojevich.

The Governor could reasonably argue the JCAR to be unconstitutional–federal attempts to create a JCAR process were ruled unconstitutional.  The State Constitution may or may not be the same.  Given it’s been running for over 30 years, that kind of counts towards it’s a fairly reasonable institution.

Ultimately, the problem here is one of the Governor.  By changing the rules to dramatically increase eligibility without legislation or spending authority he is either going to try and blackmail the legislature into passing more funding or he’s simply going to fund program changes out of money he vetoed because he claims to have the authority.

The first is irresponsible and clearly against the intent of the law and the Constitution.  It plays chicken with healthcare for poor families.  And to remind everyone, this isn’t the initial plan he is proposing, but a plan that could have passed back in May.

The second is an impeachable offense. When spending authorization is vetoed, the authorization no longer exists unless there is a veto override.  The money does not sit around to be spent at the whim of the Governor. If the money did, the Governor could veto the entire budget and just decide to run state government on his own.  Spending can only occur on programs designated by the General Assembly or through delegated power to the Executive. That delegated power is relatively small and primarily allows for a program to be supported if it ends up costing more than expected, not just on the whim of the Governor.

The ultimate hypocrisy

“Where is it written that a handful of legislators – 12 of them – can tell the executive branch what it’s going to do when it comes to administering the executive branch?” the governor said.

The Illinois APA.  It’s right here

And if it wasn’t them, it would be delegated to the courts. If JCAR is declared Unconstitutional by the courts, it doesn’t mean he gets to do anything he pleases. It invalidates the authority under which he makes all administrative decisions.  IOW, if it’s true that JCAR doesn’t have the authority, then the Lege would have to pass an entirely new APA to allow the Governor to make rules.  JCAR is not separable from the act itself and while laws related to rule making prior to JCAR would be in effect, nearly all of the laws since have been passed on the assumption of JCAR being legitimate and until a new APA was created, the Governor’s rulemaking authority would be severely limited.
That said, where is it written that a single individual can appropriate money as he sees fit?

Nowhere in Illinois law or the Illinois Constitution.   It is written that appropriations are done by the General Assembly.  The Illinois Constitution requires appropriations to be passed by the Legislature.

d)  The Governor may reduce or veto any item of
appropriations in a bill presented to him. Portions of a bill
not reduced or vetoed shall become law. An item vetoed shall
be returned to the house in which it originated and may
become law in the same manner as a vetoed bill. An item
reduced in amount shall be returned to the house in which it
originated and may be restored to its original amount in the
same manner as a vetoed bill except that the required record
vote shall be a majority of the members elected to each
house. If a reduced item is not so restored, it shall become
law in the reduced amount.

This is not a debatable point.  While the press is calling him on it in the editorials, it’s a simple fact and should be in the news stories.  Blagojevich is not entitled to his own facts.

Impeach him. Impeach him now.

Navel Gazing

Rich wrote up a nice piece about blogs in both the IL 18 and IL 3 race. It’s hard to think of a more supportive semi-traditional journalist than Rich is with blogs.

Lipinski has strong opposition from Mark Pera in the upcoming Democratic primary. Pera’s cause is being championed by liberal Democratic blogs all over the country, so every local story that trashes Lipinski is put in front of hundreds of thousands of eyeballs that otherwise wouldn’t see them.

As a result, Daily Southtown columnist Kristen McQueary now has a whole lot more fans than she did before the campaign season began. That coverage, in turn, has raised big campaign bucks for Pera when highlighted by the national blogs.

Congressional campaigns aren’t the only races being affected by blogs. A blogger in Lake County (“Team America”) was the first to report concerns about state Sen. Terry Link’s nominating petitions.

Apparently, a couple of dead people “signed” the petitions, as did one of Link’s former Republican opponents. Oops. The seriousness of the situation was overstated, but the local media picked up the story almost right away.

Bloggers in Illinois and nationally are expressing interest in Daniel Biss’ campaign for the Illinois House. Biss faces an uphill race in a district represented by popular Republican incumbent state Rep. Beth Coulson, but he’s raising a ton of cash because he has paid so much attention to online media.

I’m not a blog triumphalist, but I do think they matter and are generally positive.

One aspect of criticism that I find particularly irksome is the argument that blogs are just random people who you cannot trust. Any source of news and information should be viewed with healthy skepticism and blogs are especially susceptible to making errors since there is only one line of review. Me included. That said, many journalists do a very good job, but with the exception of maybe Rich Miller and Aaron Chambers, they cannot give you much on bureaucratic rule making. It’s a fairly detailed area and unless someone has followed a story through it, making heads nor tails of the process is difficult. And many who cover daily politics understand daily politics pretty well, but not so much when it comes down to questions of the State Constitution or federalism issues.

Those aren’t horrible characteristics, they are a natural outgrowth of what they have to specialize for in regards to reporting. On the other hand, I have a fairly good grasp of rule making and federalism at the state level because my area of interest academically is just that area.

In the same way, many reporters are good consumers of polls. Lynn Sweet is a good example as are the two others mentioned above. However, they don’t actually do polling or have the grasp of it that Charles Franklin does at Pollster.com and Politiccal Arithmetik (both linked in the blogroll. Charles is displaying specific work related to his area of research and it’s by far the best accessible way to understand how polls compare to each other and offer a good estimate of the underlying state of public opinion. I’m far less accomplished than Charles, but I do a lot of work on the wording of survey questions and especially a lot on internal validity of instruments. Not many reporters do that.

Obviously Charles and I run very different types of sites. Mine is more personal and aimed at activism, his is more a place to allow his professional work to be accessible. This is true of many types of people though with biologists populating a lot of the evolution blogosphere, economists of all stripes, and lawyers galore–that’s a bit more mixed of a group.
Not everyone with a blog has a particular expertise in what they are blogging about though and that’s okay. Not all reporters have a particular expertise in what they are reporting–I kid–I actually respect most of the Illinois press corps. Those that aren’t the Publisher’s relative at least.

The point being that more information and more views should enhance civic life, not be a danger to it. Sure, there will be bad information from time to time on blogs. Like the stuff that appeared in the NY Times that helped get us into Iraq. Or Bob Novak. Readers get a sense of reliability though and they can determine the quality of information over time. Some sites remain crap, but that crap audience was out there before the internets They even overlook really dumb decisions from time-to-time as long as the proper corrections and apologies take place and lessons learned. Trust me on that one–I know.

Nobody really knows where this is all leading, but it’s obvious that if you want to know the rest of the story about any issue, big or small, you have to go online.

And that’s true, but I think there is every reason to be positive about the future and blogging. Making information more accessible is a good thing and it ultimately means better coverage as more coverage is created and more perspectives come to reporting.

3rd District Poll Demonstrates This Isn’t Your Father’s Third District

(UPDATE: GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE–entirely my fault, I forgot to indicate the poll isn’t fresh–meaning it was done a while ago conducted Sept. 19-24 The particular questions below are not likely to be affected by the time passage so I thought it was reasonable in this case). And it was done by Pera, which I cannot believe I didn’t mention. My apologies.

Let me make a point that what I find most interesting about this is that the District isn’t that socially conservative District some insist it is. (end Update)
I didn’t see the entire poll, but I had enough questions answered regarding methodology to feel confident passing along the results I did see from the poll.

401 Likely Democratic Primary voters +/- 5%

Lipinski Re-elect 35 percent
Wrong Track: 81 percent

Generic Congressional Approval: 37 percent

82 percent Less likely to vote for Lipinski on the issue of choice once they learn that he opposes a woman’s right to choose and supports criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape or incest

83 percent Less likely they would vote for Lipinski after they learned that he voted for the Bush energy proposal and voted to allow drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge

76 percent Favor a mandate calling for a pull-out of troops from Iraq beginning immediately with all troops out within a year as well as a cap on war funding to ensure the Bush Administration meets that goal

17 percent Favor a proposal calling for a complete pullout within five years and no cap on funding.

To put these in context, the District is rated +10 D by Cook, voted for Al Gore with 58% of the vote, and voted for Kerry with 59% of the vote.

This is a progressive District and those claiming it is the District are correct. This is not the District that went for Reagan. And more than that, the percentages between the City portion of the District and the suburban portion of the District are not significantly different.

Dan Lipinski is out of touch with Democratic voters in the Third and so he’s also out of touch with the entire District.

Daily Dolt: Bob Novak

Nice newspaper ethical standards 

Agents of Paul Krugman are spreading the word in journalistic circles that he has scandalous information about his principal opponent in the profession , Bob Novak, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.

This word-of-mouth among journalists makes Novak look vulnerable and Krugman look prudent. It comes during a dip for Krugman after he refused to take a stand on the Time’s editorial policy.

Experienced journalistic operatives believe Krugman wants to avoid a repetition of 2004, when attacks on each other by journalists Hunter Thompson and Judy Miller were mutually destructive and facilitated  Fox News’ rise.

I hear Novak likes to eat puppies.  What are you hearing? Feel free to be as outlandish as you like.  Put it in comments and I’ll then forward the rumors to the Sun Times which presented that piece of garbage column in their paper.  And have allowed him to out CIA agents in a story of no value, perhaps someone will start to think about, you know, editing him.

Micky Kaus rumors are encouraged to. It would be irresponsible not to after all.

And, of course, time for a blogger ethics panel!

Finally, the HRC campaign might think about it’s habit of using right wing mouthpieces like Matt Drudge. It makes their denials sound like crocodile tears.  And even if true in this case, why shouldn’t Obama react as if it’s true given the history?

Note to the Liberal Blogosphere

I know Social Security isn’t a crisis and I’m not particularly thrilled with the language Obama is using, but Clinton is proposing on turning the entire process over to a secretive panel of villagers.

Sound familiar?  Yes, Health Care in 1994.  At least he’s got the right solution if not the right rhetoric.

Hi Gibbs

I just consider this an ode to a talent that too often goes unnoticed:

“When it takes two weeks and six different positions to answer one question on immigration, it’s easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them.”

You also get the Senator from Punjab garbage, but ultimately, he’s good at this politics thing.

And seriously, it’s not a hard issue to take a position on. Obama even voted on it before.  But she has all sorts of ‘experience.’  Experience avoiding answering questions, but experience nonetheless.

Countdown to the press release whining:

It’s unfortunate that Barack Obama is abandoning the politics of hope….

The Hardest Working Man in Illinois Politics

Posted over at Prairie State Blue

On Monday, October 29 I filed for the upcoming primary elections with 3250 signatures from nearly 60 volunteers collecting in their own neighborhoods, train stations, and local shopping centers. I reached this goal through a strong team of supporters and a personal ground game. I was able to speak with voters from nearly every corner of the district. I heard from people who were concerned about their property taxes, education, soaring health care costs and the dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in Springfield.

I understand these concerns. I come from a background of finding creative ways to solve problems despite the obstacles. That is why I decided to run for State Senate and why I am running for re-election. Because it is not just about connecting with voters at the door or at a train station, it is about providing them with results, in the district and in Springfield.

Ten months. That’s how long I have been a State Senator. In that short span of time I have been the chief sponsor of 18 bills in the Senate, nine of them are now law in the State of Illinois. I have been a sponsor of another 86 bills and 51 of them are now law. I am proud of these accomplishments and I hope to be able to share with you these results and some of my goals in future posts.

Kotowski is a machine in the good way. He raises his own money (making him more independent) and works his tail off for his constituents.  He’s also pushing for a sales tax cap on Cook County:

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski (D- Park Ridge)
says Cook County should be as responsible as other counties regarding
sales tax increases.
Kotowski says, “Sales tax increases should be limited to 0.5 percent,
and any increase larger than that should be put to the voters.”  He
added, “Communities can thrive under a responsible taxing structure, but
a prohibitive system will choke Cook County’s economic growth and place
an undue burden on residents and price hard-working business owners out
of business.”

“Other counties in Illinois have sales tax increases capped at 0.25
percent.  A half percent cap for Cook County is not only a reasonable
compromise, but it is also important for our economic viability.”
Kotowski says.

Senator Kotowski plans to introduce legislation to cap Cook County’s
taxing ability and to require a voter referendum for any additional
sales tax increase.
Senator Kotowski has made it a priority to protect the pocket books of
taxpayers.  He was a chief co-sponsor of a government transparency bill
that requires real-time online postings of all state contracts.  He
refused to take his per diem during the overtime session, and will give
his raise to charity.  Kotowski also fought for the 7% cap on property
tax assessment to keep people from being priced out of their homes.


Schock Admits Mistake

Schock held steady, though, on his stance to stop the Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons. He wants to provide training and assistance to the majority of Iranians who oppose the ayatollahs who rule them and pressure China and Russia to live up to their responsibilities on the UN Security Council and vote for a third set of economic sanctions on Iran.

“We must get China’s attention that preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear terrorist nation is one of our utmost national security concerns,” he said.

And all credit for standing up and saying I goofed.

But let’s make something clear, it wasn’t just one policy that was a problem in the *27* page speech.  His strategy for Central and South America is to lecture them more.

His strategy in the Middle East is based on some sort of idea that if you argue long enough with them, Arabs will change their mind (let’s not even start on Persians/Afghans, etc)

He misrepresented Iran’s history with WMD’s implying they had used them before. They have not, they have been the victims of chemical warfare.

He said that Iran is likely to have a nuclear weapon within a year, something no one has claimed who is familiar with their program. Most estimates range from 3-10 years.

He completely butchered the ethnic background of Iran.

He endorsed a doctrine not of preemptive war, but of dealing with eventual threats immediately.  This is a radical and dangerous concept that would destroy nearly all international norms.

And that is just in the foreign policy section.  I don’t expect Members of Congress to be experts on foreign policy, but I prefer they know what they don’t know. And there Schock fails miserably.