Daily Dolt: Yes, Fox News, A Black Man Ran For US Senate in Illinois in 1858

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And argued to allow new territories to include slavery. He was not the Douglass who born a slave, escaped to New York and then became an abolitionist leader.

But they hosts insist they have read the debates. Sure. I haven’t read the full debates. I doubt they even know what topics they covered.  Small historical irony–Stephen Douglass used Frederick Douglass’ approving comments of Lincoln against Lincoln.

Dude, When the Constitution Party Won’t Take You

Alan Keyes beat out for the Constitution Party nomination for President:

The Permanent Candidate has failed to win the nomination of the paleoconservative Constitution Party. Eric Garris reports:

Last night, CP founder Howard Phillips strongly denounced [Alan] Keyes as a warmonger, neocon, and egomaniac. Phillips was subsequently attacked by Jim Clymer, the CP national chairman.

In spite of Keyes bringing in a lot of delegates, the CP remained true to their anti-interventionist views and rejected Keyes.

The nomination instead went to the antiwar conservative Chuck Baldwin, by a vote of 383.8 to 125.7. It’s a small but satisfying victory for two noble though possibly lost causes: the movement to end the occupation of Iraq and the transideological coalition to get Alan Keyes to shut up.

I pointed out a while back that the California affiliate of the Constitution Party is the old American Independent Party, a group formed as a political vehicle for the segregationist George Wallace. Jim Antle of The American Spectator, who has done the best reporting I’ve seen on the CP race, tells me that the California delegation backed Keyes, a black man — while the party’s two black state chairs were Keyes’ leading opponents. It’s a complicated world, innit?

When Illinois Review and I agree, it’s truly transideological.

My Memories of Harold Washington

Growing up in central Illinois Chicago was always the boogeyman of Illinois politics where the Machine ran everything and ‘the blacks’ were dangerous.  Democrats were inherently bad so the entire spectacle was interesting to watch.

However, I also spent my summers in Covington, Georgia where my Dad lived.  Covington’s main claim to fame  was being the setting for the first episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard.  Race in semi-rural Georgia was a lot different than race in Central Illinois.  It’s hard to imagine two cultures more different within the United States, but a small town in Georgia 10-15 years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was far different from Bloomington Normal even as conservative as the towns were.  Molly Ivins said of being a southern liberal:

“Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything,”

After spending about 7 summers prior to 1983 (about the time my Dad moved further south to essentially a northern culture in Florida), watching the 1983 Chicago Mayor’s race on television opened my eyes to many things I’d never seen before.  People said they believed in Civil Rights in Bloomington Normal (after all we were only down the highway from Everett Dirksen’s home district), but a black man as Mayor of Chicago terrified them even as they were three hours a way.  I was always assured when I’d talk about Georgia and how African-Americans were treated that we were different, after all, Lincoln was from Central Illinois and much of the beginnings of the Republican Party were in the area and it had been strongly in favor of abolition.

But the reaction to Harold made woke me up to the reality that African Americans didn’t receive the same treatment in Chicago or in Central Illinois, we just hid it better.  African-Americans in Central Illinois didn’t live in the shacks I’d saw in Covington and would never see people living in again until visiting Nicaragua.  I didn’t see the abject poverty in Central Illinois. I didn’t see swimming pools that were effectively segregated by social pressure.

But I did hear the fear and anger in the voices of those people when Harold won.  To them, Chicago would be destroyed and the riots of 1968 would return.  Bernard Epton’s “before it’s too late” captured their attitude perfectly. (I’d mention my grandmother here, but apparently that would be throwing her under the bus)

As Molly Ivins said, once I figured they were lying about race, I started to question everything.  Harold wasn’t just some random black man though who showed revealed the deep seated bigotry.  He was a genuinely likable guy who was not angry at what he faced.  He was a guy who could laugh and reach out no matter how much whites rebuffed him.  When you heard Jesse Jackson or Gus Savage, they seemed angry–and often with reason, but it was hard to relate if  you did not understand where they were coming from.  Harold was different using humor to disarm race and then speak quite plainly to an audience without changing what he said to different audiences.

Harold Washington died before I was even old enough to vote and I never lived in his city while he was Mayor.  That said, I learned more about the people around me because of him and he has always been one of my political heroes. He was a very flawed man as well, but the thing we have forgotten since his time is that perfection often comes at the expense of experience.

On This Day In History

The Trib barely notes that today is the 25 anniversary of Harold Washington being sworn in. Both the major dailies take a pass on the story today, but not here at ArchPundit!

So let’s start off with some of the existing resources on the net:
One of the single best episodes of This American Life explores Harold Washington’s life and adds to that a brief bit about how Barack Obama’s rise is related to Harold’s tenure.

Mike Royko’s column “So I told Uncle Chester: Don’t worry, Harold Washington doesn’t want to marry your sister. ” This is also the 11th anniversary of Mike Royko’s death. I posted that on the 20th Anniversary of Washington being sworn in on April 29, 2003.

CBS 2’s Web Version of their coverage of Washington’s death

848’s rememberance–WBEZ was on top of the story in 1987

The Commemorative Year Celebration marking his 25 anniversary of being elected and 20th year since his death

NPR: The Legacy of Harold Washington

Rich Miller comparing the black vote with Byrne and Washington and Clinton and Obama

I’ll be gathering more posts and hopefully encouraging a few folks to post some on their own today and linking to them and with a little luck we might just have a guest post.

By the way, the Sun Times does cover the 25th Anniversary of Lee Elia’s rant today. Priorities.

New Liberal Plot

Using Republicans words against them.

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Hysterical ranting from the RNC:

“As a legal matter,” RNC chairman Mike Duncan said today, this is a “maliciously false” campaign ad. “The advertisement in question falsely and maliciously” quotes Sen. McCain as saying that extending the war in Iraq for 100 years would be fine with him, and places it in a context of images of combat. “Clearly this ad is just another attempt by the DNC to mischaracterize Sen. McCain’s statements.”

Sean Cairncross, general counsel for the RNC, said that McCain had responded to a question about how long the U.S..might be in Iraq. He noted that McCain’s comment about 100 years included a caveat that “as long as Americans are not being injured… harmed or killed…. It’s fine with me.”

The RNC, calling on cable news networks and television stations to refrain from airing the ad, maintains that a party does not have the independent right to air an ad that a candidate has, and that it becomes the obligation of networks and stations to monitor the truthfulness of ads The party stopped short of threatening legal action, however.

The RNC also accuses the DNC of making an illegal coordinated contribution to the the Democratic candidates with this ad, but maintains that the main legal problem with the ad involves its willful misrepresentation of McCain. “This is a complaint about the facts that are being misrepresented in this ad,” Cairncross said in a conference call with reporters. “Based on this being a deliberate falsehood. We are saying to the stations, ‘You have an obligation.”’

The RNC was for it before they were against it….

I believe the Waaaaaaambulance is on its way to the RNC.

The Candidates and Child Care

Jeremy Manier does a good job covering the debate over early childhood education in an article and sidebar in the Tribune.

The zero-to-3 period is not necessarily a magical and irreplaceable window for teaching children. But studies show that babies raised in poverty get fewer of the early experiences that spur vocabulary growth and good social judgment, making it harder for them to catch up later on.

For example, toddlers whose parents speak more words to them develop bigger vocabularies than children who hear less speech, studies have found. One University of Kansas study concluded that kids from upper-income backgrounds hear 30 million more words by age 3 than those from welfare families.

Early intervention with enrichment programs can narrow that gap, researchers and advocates say.

“The basic science of brain development says you need to start as early as possible for kids in the greatest danger to get the best outcomes,” said Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

That involves more than just listening to adults read stories. At the Educare Center on Chicago’s South Side, which serves infants and toddlers from low-income families, caregivers engage the children in a constant dialogue about their activities—a type of interaction kids cannot get from television or even books.

The staff also talks to parents, often first-time teen mothers, about how to give consistent rewards and punishments, which can foster a child’s emotional development.

“If you can’t regulate your emotions you can’t get anything done,” said Diana Rauner, executive director of the Chicago-based Ounce of Prevention Fund, which runs the Educare Center.

One criticism–citing a incompetent fool like Murray is not about balance. He’s a hack who does not understand statistics and entire work is thoroughly refuted.  There are plenty of actual social scientists to quote who are rigorous and skeptical of being able to develop a national plan such as the Minneapolis Fed’s Art Rolnick.   Murray hasn’t written anything substantial on the issue and  doesn’t know anything about the actual programs so his argument is faith based. Rolnick is helping to spearhead a fairly reasonable private-public sector partnership in Minneapolis.

Progress Illinois does a good job and links to summaries of the plans by Obama and Clinton.  I have a fair amount of experience analyzing these issues as an evaluator and while I pretty much wanted to hit my head on the wall because of both the crappy job and the intractable nature of the problem, it’s still something I follow fairly closely.

Clinton’s plan is perfect for Hillary Clinton. It is exactly what one would expect in 1996 and not 2008.  It is as if she exists in a policy timewarp focusing on big programs organized by the states’ deparment of education.

The problem? State Education officials don’t have much to do with early childhood education and nearly all of the programs are based in Human Services or other area and dividing 4 year olds off from 0-3 instead of dividing 5 years olds continues a really stupid paradigm that was created years ago and as Manier points out, the most good is done the earliest in a child’s life.

Even better, look at the initial Pre-K plan by Clinton and then look down at the 0-5 plan.  Who gets the well educated early childhood education teachers? Pre-K.  Dandy.

I can see why Clinton would want to deal with this issue this way–it avoids a very messy problem she doesn’t want to address.  Largely we don’t have an early childhood education system for poor people in this country–we have marginally safe (sometimes) babysitting by staff who have virtually no training in child development and often lack a GED or HS Diploma.

Why is that? Because welfare reform made it that parents of young children had to get work and so they had to have someplace to drop their kids off as they went to work.  Nevermind that most child care is available first shift and much of the work is 2nd, 3rd, or swing shift work.  Nevermind that quality child care is largely absent from rural and urban areas.  Never mind that most states don’t meet subsidy rates that the federal government has identified as what is needed to provide quality care (Illinois isn’t bad in this measure and actually has been ahead of the curve).

The first Clinton administration largely created a system of rotating uneducated workers who form an unstable workforce because of life challenges related to family care issues and then rotate between menial service jobs that include being a child care worker.  Women are often essentially working to watch others kids while they both attempt to work while obtaining virtually no job skills or chance for career development.  The fine folks of the Clinton administration brought us a virtually permanent underclass to perform these crappy jobs with little chance for improvement in their lives.  Her plan largely continues that problem instead of alleviating it.

Allow qualified low-income parents to receive Child Care and Development Block Grant funding to stay home with their children. Right now, low-income parents can only receive CCDBG funds if they place their children in childcare. This proposal would let low-income parents receive payments to care for their children at home.

Apparently she thinks is a feature even!  This only makes sense in the case of home child care providers, but even then, it’s very problematic as it assumes such a person has the ability to do two things that are not natural:

  1. Run a small business
  2. Create an environment healthy for child development.

Using CCDBG funds to simply pay for these types of centers and saying states will be able to do a variety of functions avoids the basic problems in the system.  Many of the state CCDBG funded programs don’t deal with creating functioning businesses and so the ‘centers’ come and go repeatedly. Something the literature finds troubling for development because changing centers with regularity reduces both staff quality and child development.  If you only focus upon the idea of ratings systems and  licensing, you’ll never achieve a sustainable system.  Furthermore, setting up such a system reinforces the problem.

Obama’s plan takes a very different approach. Instead of reinforcing a failing system, it encourages the states to actually develop a strategic plan that identifies statewide needs and challenges as well as strategies to best address those.

  • Increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which has stagnated under the Bush administration, resulting in the loss of services for 150,000 children. Obama would double quality funding within CCDBG, and would encourage states to use their quality set-aside funding to develop strategic plans that better coordinate all birth-to-five services.

The impetus for many of the state programs to provide child care in the 1990s was welfare reform and the plans were largely imposed ad hoc to simply meet the federal requirements of having child care options so people could be required to work.

The advantage of the Obama plan is it allows the states to adapt to their particular needs. Some states have more family taking care of kids and in that case much of the effort may focus upon teaching best practices to the parents and relatives who are caregivers. In other cases, it may well be training providers in small business practices and ensuring quality care. In other cases it might be providing training and scholarships to child care workers that gives them both the tools to handle children correctly and the chance for career advancement.

What both fail to address is the amount of money it will require to create a comprehensive system that delivers quality child care to those who need it.   Finally, the fetishization of the quality care rating systems needs to be altered.  The problem for parents isn’t that they cannot evaluate the quality of provider–it’s that the parents are desperate for care that fits their schedule and transportation needs.  A quality provider that takes 40 minutes extra on the bus isn’t helpful.

Parents are going to choose care that they can afford and get to. It is up to the state to then regulate that care to ensure it’s safe, appropriate, developmentally helpful.  That is often not the case for much of state subsidized child care.

The Tribune is Sooooo Cute When It Goes All Populist On Us

The recall crusade continues

The truth is that Halvorson and Silverstein haven’t yet persuaded Senate President Jones to hold a Senate vote on this amendment. Without more delays. Without any so-called “improvements” intended to sabotage its passage.

They need to do that now.

Debbie, Ira, this is your life! This is the biggest test of your careers, and you’re flunking. You haven’t shown that you have the influence to force to a Senate vote a measure you say you support.

Let’s think about that.  Recall, which would take until 2009 to become effective at least and might or might not effect the current Governor is the biggest test of their careers?

Is Dold going senile?   Does anyone bother to tell him how dumb this overstatement is? C’mon, he sounds like a blogger.

In one case, the practical impact of recall would be nearly nil. In the other case, we might be able to actually make the income tax in Illinois progressive instead of regressive. Which impacts more people?

The measure is window dressing. It doesn’t solve the gridlock for two years, it make a structural change in the campaign finance system that encourages the kind of Legislative Leader power over their respective Chamber, and it doesn’t do anything to stop pay for play.  Remember, we thought the prosecution of the last Governor might make people more cautious. Not so much apparently.

The reason there is no pressure on Jones isn’t because of anything Halvorson or Silverstein are doing, it’s because Jones, like the other three of the four tops, controls the campaign warchest and thus controls the chamber.

If you want a systemic change, go for the systemic problem, not some magic pony that the Trib has decided to beat some damn good legislators over the head with.

Steve Chapman on the Presidential Race


It came as a revelation to hear that Obama, who I thought was plotting to become president, has been shrewedly maneuvering to lead the pom squad at McCain’s inauguration. But there was something else that struck me as strange about Clinton’s reaction: Obama was not the first of the two Democrats to say something nice about the Arizona senator. He was the second.

A few weeks ago, campaigning in Texas, Clinton sounded downright glowing about McCain. Referring to those 3 a.m. phone calls at the White House, she said, “I think you’ll be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He’s never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002.”

Let’s review. Clinton criticized Obama for ranking McCain No. 3 in a four-person assessment, ahead of Bush. But Clinton herself put McCain No. 2—or maybe even in a tie for No. 1—in her evaluation of the three candidates.

She thinks McCain is better than Obama and McCain is no better than Bush. Which can mean only one thing: Bush is better than Obama!

Of course that’s probably not what she actually believes.

But it’s a tribute to her talent for bold deceit and bizarre logic that she can attack Obama for doing something that she herself had done so recently, and more fervently.

What the Ata Plea Tells Us

Rereading the Ata plea tells us a whole lot about how business was done in the Blagojevich administration. Strictly speaking there isn’t a smoking gun for the Governor, though there is a lot of circumstantial evidence and the meeting at Rezmar Offices reads like a bad movie plot.

It does shed light on Rezko’s use of the administration as his personal playtoy. He attempted to manipulate Ata into providing IFA funds to his pizza business.

Later that year, Rezko approached the defendant for additional monetary support.
Defendant Ata agreed to contribute $25,000 in additional monies to the campaign of Public Official A.  The defendant, subsequently and by prior arrangement with Rezko, brought a check in this amount to Rezko’s Rezmar offices on Elston Avenue in Chicago.  After he arrived at the Rezmar offices, the defendant was greeted by Rezko to whom he handed the check in an envelope.  Rezko, carrying the check, ushered the defendant into a conference room where he met with Rezko and Public Official A.  Rezko placed the envelope containing the defendant’s $25,000 check to Public Official A’s campaign on the conference room table between himself and Public Official A and stated to Public Official A that the defendant had been a good supporter and a team player and that the defendant would be willing to join Public Official A’s administration.  Public Official A expressed his pleasure and acknowledged that the defendant had been a good supporter and good friend.  Public Official A, in the defendant’s presence, asked Rezko if he (Rezko) had talked to the defendant about positions in the administration, and Rezko responded that he had.

Reading further, it’s clear that whether the Governor knew what was going on or not, Rezko had set himself up to control particular appointments and use that leverage for personal gain.  Not only that, but Rezko weaseled his way into Ata’s LLC by promising the continuation of a state lease.

What some have brought up is that this is simply the Governor accepting a contribution from an ally and then giving an ally a job.  The concern being that Fitzgerald is criminalizing politics, but I think the above goes a lot further.  It’s clear that Ata is claiming he bribed and was coerced by Rezko for official state favors and a job.  Assuming that’s true, the only question remaining if one assumes Ata is telling the truth, is whether Blagojevich knew or was involved in the process.

That such a question is a legitimate question means impeachment hearings are the responsible action.  Molaro tried to say that it was the Fed’s job to investigate potential wrongdoing, but that is what I found to be the most obnoxious claim.   It’s the Fed’s job to search for criminal wrongdoing, it’s the Legislature’s job to determine if the State Government is being used in a scheme for personal gain and as candidate’s machine.

More to the point, even if Blagojevich wasn’t directly involved criminally, that does  not mean impeachment is an unreasonable solution to what has happened under him.  Turning over agencies to a political ally who then used it to benefit himself and sold state positions, fits in that category of incompetence that cannot be left in place.

The defense of Blagojevich comes down to gross incompetence over corruption.  Not the position any public official wants to be in.

Rich’s Source on Boehner Comments over at CapFax


I was Rich’s source at the Boehner event. Boehner stated there was no way to win the district with Oberweis, and that he wanted him out: “unlikable, a terrible candidate.” This was said in the presence of at least 30 Illinois fundraisers. He even stated to a questioner at the event that “we can quote him”, and that he would help get Oberweis out of the race. I believe there is no way Oberweis can win, and if he does not get out, the GOP will lose the seat for a decade. Anyone who gives him 2 cents is just wasting cash. Mr. Oberweis, you can stop calling us. We are not going to provide any further assistance.


The earlier post about the Ozinga campaign, was not the Ozinga campaign, but the Ozinga business.  Same basic point remains, but I wanted to be accurate.  If you are an interested party in something I post, either identifying yourself publicly in response or e-mailing me privately is your best bet. As long as you say it’s off the record, I’m always happy to listen to complaints and keep it quiet if you so wish.  In some cases I may even allow anonymous comments after I know the situation.

The Attack of the Hacks

Download Title (Kudos to WTTW going to embeddable video!)

Via Rich

Molaro actually argues the Lege’s job is to not investigate allegations of corruption in a WTTW panel with Ronen and Fritchey. Same stupid argument used to avoid any oversight of the Bush administration by Republicans. Congrats to Molaro and Ronen for matching the most hypocritical and corrupt administration in national politics by defending the most corrupt and hypocritical administration at the state level.

It’s not news that Lege Members say stupid things, however, it’s news that they go on TV and back a guy somewhere between 13-20 points approval who was just named as selling jobs for campaign donations.

Bonus chutzpah in attacking Franks’ ethics while he isn’t there and did nothing comparable and then calling on Fritchey for being hypocritical because he didn’t back some bill by Ronen in the past.

There should be some shame amongst Democrats to not do their best impersonations of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.