Keyes’ Company Blast from the Past

Great moments in prognostication

David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, disagreed.

“I don’t think it’s going to fly. I think the people of Illinois made it clear during the petition drive,” Smith said.

The Illinois Family Institute spearheaded an effort last year to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they wanted the state Constitution amended to ban gay marriage. Although well over 300,000 signatures were gathered, state elections officials determined that not enough of them were valid to allow the measure on the ballot.

A poll last summer showed that 40 percent of Illinoisans supported the proposed constitutional amendment. The same poll indicated 51 percent were opposed to gay marriages.

“There’s enough interest in not having marriage devolve into something other than one man and one woman,” Smith said. “I don’t think there is that much interest in the gay community for marriage. They don’t want to be like everyone else.”

My Old Hobby Horse Is Back in the News

Remember Jerry Weller?  The IL-11 Member of Congress who married Guatamalan genocidal dicator Rios Montt’s daughter.  And not just Rios Montt’s daughter, but the current head of Rios Montt’s political operation as he attempted to return to power.

Probably you don’t–this was my hobby horse after all.  Well Dad-In-Law Rios Montt was recently convicted of genocide in a Guatamalan Court. And then had the conviction vacated on appeal.

The high court ordered that the all of the trial’s proceedings from April 19 through the verdict and sentencing on May 10 be annulled and repealed. The April date was when the trial was briefly suspended over a jurisdictional dispute initiated by another judge who been recused from the case in November 2011. Rios Montt’s defense team seized upon the incident to denounce the trial as “illegal proceedings” and stage a walkout from the court. Rios Montt refused to use a public defender and was therefore left briefly without representation.

This was the basis for the high court’s ruling, which put forward the legally unprecedented and unfounded remedy of “rewinding” the trial to the date of the alleged judicial error.

Hector Reyes, lawyer for the Center for Legal Action on Human Rights, told the Guatemalan daily La Prensa that the overturning of the verdict took “an eminently illegal form, as the decision of the Constitutional Court lacks any foundation in law.”

Similarly, Francisco Vivar, the legal representative for the Association for Justice and Reconciliation, called the high court ruling a legal fraud.

“We are facing a juridical crisis provoked by the Constitutional Court,” he said. “No tribunal can hear a case whose proceedings are half over. Nor can one say that a trial has been annulled and should be restarted, because there is not one sentence that indicates this.”

The decision means that survivors of the mass killings must repeat their wrenching testimony, recalling the rape, dismemberment and slaughter of men, women and children by the Guatemalan military.

The most important practical effect of the ruling is that the three-judge panel that heard the case, led by Judge Jasmine Barrios, is itself being recused, and the appellate court must now put together a new panel to hear the portion of the trial that is to be repeated.

This is no easy task: scores of judges have already refused to take the case, putting forward various legal rationales, but in overwhelming measure because of well-founded fear that presiding over such a trial incurs the threat of violent retribution. The judges in the original panel received repeated death threats and were obliged to wear bulletproof vests.

A new judicial panel could well arrive at an entirely different verdict, quashing what had been greeted internationally as a landmark decision. It marked the first time that a Guatemalan court had held a former dictator and practitioner of horrific state terror responsible for some of the crimes carried out during more than three decades of military rule and civil war—in which at least 200,000 peasants, workers and students were killed.

Of course, he had help

Many of those most directly involved in this policy, including former State Department official Elliott Abrams, ex-Reagan national security advisor Robert McFarlane, and ex-CIA official Alfonso Sapia-Bosch, are still alive and could be indicted as Rios Montt’s co-conspirators.

Immediately after the high court’s move to abort the Rios Montt trial, Guatemala suddenly organized the extradition to the US of Alfonso Portillo, the country’s president from 2000 to 2004, to face money laundering charges involving up to $70 million in Guatemalan public funds..

Meaning Abrams, McFarlane and Sapia-Bosch are on the No Europe for you travel since the European Union courts tend to extradite people back to countries for human rights trials.


I hope Jerry is having fun down there.

So SSM Vote May Be Happening

Various people on the twitters are suggesting the vote may come very soon–not sure what that means and I’d be very happy if I was wrong below about not having the votes.


David Smith of the Illinois Family Institution ominously tweeted that the homosexual activists were filling up the house gallery.   Most of us just call them neighbors and friends.  It helps to add your favorite accent on to Smith’s thoughts–makes them far funnier.

Teh Gay Appear to Not Have Teh Votes

While I don’t discount just about anything happening on the last day of the session, same sex marriage doesn’t seem to have good prospects of passing today.  That’s unfortunate, but it probably means we are only going to have to wait until next spring to send Petey Labarbera and gang into permanent irrelevance.


Rich reports some liberals want to blame Mike Madigan.  There are many, many things to blame on Mike Madigan–like fountains of bad ideas on pension reform, but his support for marriage equality has been strong and admirable.  Greg Harris has been allowed to run the bill by all accounts without any interference and with Madigan’s blessing.  Could Madigan twist some more arms?  I don’t know.  He isn’t known for making public pronouncements about what he is saying to other legislators.  He deserves credit for his efforts so far and even if same sex marriage doesn’t pass today, it will pass.  The people to hold accountable are the no votes in the House–which amongst Democrats tend to be more of the Black Caucus.

Illinois Conceal Carry Compromise, but…

There is still a lot going on that isn’t clear.  The State-Journal Register reports on the basic details:

The biggest issue dividing the two sides has been how to approach the “pre-emption” provision, with pro-gun lawmakers pushing for a single, statewide standard that negates all local gun ordinances and violence-wary Chicago Democrats wanting to keep such laws on the books.

Forby said an “absolute pre-emption” provision that wipes out all local gun regulations — even those unrelated to concealed carry — has been dropped despite objections from pro-gun lawmakers.

Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, who also was involved in negotiations, said municipalities could keep current gun ordinances, such as Chicago’s assault-weapons ban and Cook County’s firearm and ammunition tax, but would be prohibited from enacting ordinances that could potentially deter a person’s Second Amendment rights.

Municipalities also would have a window of time to enact ordinances if they hadn’t done so already, he said.`

Read more:

If your goal is a compromise to avoid the June 9th deadline, this is a good compromise.  It has the strictest shall issue standards in the nation requiring significant training and limits on where one can carry.  It’s not a whole lot different from Missouri and I can say it hasn’t turned into the wild west here. It sucks for entirely different reasons.

However, it still isn’t clear this will become law.  It has to pass both chambers which isn’t guaranteed and the Governor has to sign it which isn’t clear at all. Not that Quinn is ever clear.

So what happens if it doesn’t make it into law.  If you listen to ISRA, everyone with a FOID gets to carry as of June 9th.  That’s a smart bargaining position claim, but it’s not at all clear to me that will happen.  The Attorney General has until June 24th to appeal the 7th District Court of Appeals ruling and there is a fair chance if she does so, there could be a stay of the order until the appeal is heard and decided.  That isn’t guaranteed, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

ISRA has played a pretty good strategy here arguing June 9th is the end of the world if a shall issue law isn’t passed.  May issue or Cook County exclusions were considered dead on arrival because those supporting conceal carry shall issue wouldn’t vote for such a bill thus allowing ISRA to claim it’s a conceal carry shall issue bill or the wild west.  However, the problem with the strategy is that if it doesn’t produce a bill and an appeal is filed with a stay granted, that strategy falls apart and the compromise coalition put together with June 9th in mind falls apart.

The Supreme Court has never ruled on carrying weapons in public and how they will rule is an open question.  ISRA has loudly claimed they would love an appeal, but that is either overreach or good strategy or both.  Heller and McDonald had to do with whether there is an individual right to own firearms and incorporated the 2nd amendment into  14th amendment due process rights.  Despite protestations from gun enthusiasts, there is no consensus on whether carrying firearms was historically allowed and protected and even then the Court would have to decide some boundaries for how to determine if a carry law meets the 2nd Amendment.  Do California and New York laws which are fairly restrictive suffice?  Or are they a violation of the 2nd Amendment?  If they are a violation of an individual’s second amendment rights, how does the Court determine where the line is?  That is a fairly complicated question and one some Justices aren’t going to want to get into.

I argued previously that Posner wrote his opinion in the 7th District Court of Appeals with this in mind and wrote a broad opinion so the Supreme Court would likely have to face up to all these questions in one fell swoop.  The Court could try and narrowly decide a case, but with the 7th District decision out there, more conflicts are going to arise between appeals courts around the country.  Both Heller and McDonald point to limits to the 2nd Amendment that are not insignificant.  Even if Scalia is willing to say carrying firearms is protected, will Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito?  That’s not at all clear to anyone who takes an honest look at situation.

Now, if a compromise bill passes and the Governor signs, all of this goes away because an appeal becomes moot, but this may not be the end, but the first chapter.

Paul Simon Institute on Guns in Illinois

Rich has the details–not too much surprising in it.


3. Do you favor or oppose banning high-capacity ammunition clips that can contain more than 10 bullets?\

Favor 62.8%

Oppose 33.3%

Other/Don’t know 3.8%


4. Do you favor or oppose a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles?

Favor 58.7%

Oppose 35.2%

Other/Don’t know 6.2%


5. Do you favor or oppose a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?

Favor 32.7%

Oppose 61.3%

Other/Don’t know 6.0%


6. Do you favor or oppose a law that would require background checks before people – including gun dealers – could buy guns at a gun show?

Favor 92.5%

Oppose 5.5%

Other/Don’t know 2.0%


The conceal carry question is about whether it’s Constitutionally protected, not where people fall on it.  While I’d expect them to be similar results, it’s still confuses the issue.

The Institute’s commentary is bizarre

“It’s striking how much stronger the support for gun control measures is in Illinois
compared to the nation as a whole,” said David Yepsen, the director of the Institute. “But
it’s not surprising because on measurements of many social issues, the electorate in
Illinois is more left of center than the American electorate.”

In a vague question about support for stricter controls that’s true, but not so much on individual proposals. For example, Polling Report has this on national support for assault weapons ban

Do you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on semi-automatic weapons — including some rifles, pistols, and shotguns — that have detachable magazines, allowing them to rapidly fire a high number of rounds?”

    Favor Oppose Unsure/
No answer
    % % %    


52 44 5    


28 67 5    


72 25 4    


49 46 5    

52 to 58 isn’t a huge difference.

As you may know, high-capacity magazines or clips can hold many rounds of ammunition, so a shooter can fire more rounds without manually reloading. Would you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines that hold many rounds of ammunition?”

    Favor Oppose Unsure/
No answer
    % % %    


59 38 3    


37 60 3    


78 21 1    


57 38 4    

62.8 to 59 isn’t a huge difference.

“Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers?”

    Favor Oppose Unsure/
No answer
    % % %    


91 7 2    


89 9 2    


94 5 2    


90 8 2

1.5 % difference.  Not great.

I expect better analysis from an academic unit like the Institute.  Frankly, the difference isn’t as great as I would have expected given the leftward tilt for Illinois on social issues.

Trib Covers How Firearms Get Transferred to Illinois from Indiana

The Tribune covers a bust by police arresting an individual who was buying guns in Indiana at a gun show and reselling them on the street in Chicago

“Twenty-five more in four hours,” Tanksley told his customer, who was secretly working for law enforcement and recording the conversation. “Give me $5,000 and you can put your order in then. I’ll get you whatever, give me a list.”

As Tanksley, who police say has ties to a Chicago street gang, made his sales pitch, David Lewisbey was stocking up on more weapons at a gun show 40 miles away in Crown Point, Ind., one of several trips he made across the state border and back in little more than a day, according to federal authorities. Five hours later, Lewisbey, an unlikely gun trafficker then enrolled in college, was back in Chicago as Tanksley made good on his promise and sold the informant nine more guns, authorities allege.

A federal indictment charges the two with illegally selling 43 firearms to the government informant in just under 26 hours, a volume made possible by gun shows and less restrictive state laws in Indiana, by far the No. 1 source of out-of-state guns used in crimes in Cook County. Private gun sales in Indiana don’t require background checks, a waiting period or even a record of the transaction.


K’s Merchandise, a big-box department store on a busy commercial strip outside Fort Wayne, Ind., has been shut for sometime. But on a recent Friday, a crowd swelled inside as shoppers slowly browsed hundreds of tables under bright fluorescent lights.

RIP about 2006–I worked at K’s in Normal and Cedar Rapids in high school, college, and a little after including selling firearms there.  No other relevance, just interesting side note (at least to me).


The basic point thing about the article is that if your require a background check on every sale, then private sellers who make iffy sales can be held accountable.  Currently, in Indiana the only standard is that you don’t have reason to believe the person is ineligible.   With background checks, the good private seller also gets the security of having gone through the federal process and is less likely to be seen as a suspect when a gun sale goes bad.

Daily Dolt: Kyle McCarter

Senator McCarter is quickly becoming the loudest and dumbest member of the Illinois General Assembly–and that’s saying something.\


No.  Just no.  You see, a church that wants to still only allow marriages between different sex couples is allowed to do that. Just as when the states got rid of miscegenation laws, churches were allowed to perform marriages for people of two or more races.  So one really has to scratch his head to figure out how this is discrimination against anyone.  We allow people to be homophobic, racist, misogynistic, etc, we just require the government to treat people equally and for people engaged in commerce to do the same.  If you want to be an asshole on your own, that’s perfectly fine.

As Senator McCarter demonstrates quite nicely.


Hutchinson Out

Well that was a surprise

The day she received the backing of one of her biggest competitors, 2nd congressional candidate Robin Kelly says she’s far from starting any early celebrations.

“I take nothing for granted, I am working hard, I will have my nose to the grind until 7 p.m. Feb 26. My staff is working hard, my volunteers are working hard,” Kelly said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday.

This is important–keep in mind Hutchinson and Halvorson had some of the same base. While I would expect some and even a majority of that support going to Robin Kelly, Halvorson will pick up some of it.  So keep at it.

The List of Personal Items


Bruce Lee memorabilia: $2,000
Bruce Lee memorabilia: $2,000
Bruce Lee memorabilia: $3,150
Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia: $5,595
Bruce Lee memorabilia: $2,955
Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia: $5,535
Football signed by American presidents: $5,000
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $2,000
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $4,600
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $1,400
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $2,000
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $1,000
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $1,200
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $1,000
Michael Jackson memorabilia: $1,000
Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen guitar: $4,000
Malcom X memorabilia: $2,200
Jimi Hendrix memorabilia: $2,775
Michael Jackson Fedora: $4,600
Mink cashmere cap: $800
Black and red cashmere cape: $1,500
Mink reversible parka: $1,200