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  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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January 12, 2007 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
Tomorrow, the Illinois Republican Party (IRP) State Central Committee (SCC) meets at 10:00 AM at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.  Reportedly, IRP Chairman Andy McKenna has been asking SCC members for their opinion as to whether IRP National Committeeman Bob Kjellander should stay or should be asked to resign.  GOPUSA ILLINOIS encourages rank-and-file Illinois Republicans to contact their representative on the SCC and ask them to support the removal of Kjellander.  Contact information for SCC members can be found at www.ilgop.org.
 
Who wants Kjellander to stay and why?  Who wants Kjellander to resign and why?  Who is not taking a position and why?
 
FOR TEXT, SCROLL DOWN 
 
FAMILY TAXPAYERS NETWORK
-- Will the State GOP advance the ball this Saturday or fumble yet again?
(FROM THE ARTICLE:  This Saturday’s meeting of the Illinois Republican Party is a must-see event. Once all of the lame excuses for the Illinois GOP’s disastrous election of November 7th are dispensed with – the real issue on the table for Saturday will be what to do about Bob – that’s of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander. Even the pre-game festivities are already a hoot. Yesterday the Springfield Journal-Register had a nice preview. It’s all fun to watch because some of the same players who typically decry GOP “infighting” – seem to be doing a fair amount of it themselves. First in the line-up we have MaryAlice Erickson, a long-time member of the State Central Committee from Peoria. Erickson is quoted in the article this way on the Kjellander issue: "It's a moot point. Once he is elected, he's elected, and that's it." That’s interesting, because just last August Erickson had no trouble ousting a duly-elected Party official – and for NO cause. Erickson never said a peep when her committee ousted one of its own – James Parrilli. We wrote a lot about that debacle last year...The same Springfield Journal-Register article also has this quote from State Senator and DuPage County GOP Chairman Kirk Dillard: "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal." Wait a second. While it is true that Kjellander has not been charged with a crime – we also haven’t heard that he is no longer a subject of investigation. But there is one thing we do know with certainty – Kjellander is the “Individual K” referenced in criminal court filings by federal prosecutors in the case of Stuart Levine. Maybe it’s true that Kjellander has done nothing illegal. Perhaps it’s true that he will never be charged because he is completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing. Kjellander is innocent under the law until proven guilty – absolutely, positively. We certainly want to be clear about that. But wasn’t it Dillard who was a key part of Topinka’s effort – the campaign that was constantly trying to make voters believe that Blagojevich already had one foot in a prison cell because the Governor’s been named “Individual A” in a federal filing? Funny how we never heard Dillard back then advising caution with the alphabet soup...Kjellander himself is the funniest in yesterday’s article. He’s quoted saying, in part, “I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward."  Kjellander then launches into a criticism of the way the GOP County Chairmen conducted a recent meeting – the one where the 30 assembled Chairmen made a unanimous call for Kjellander to step-aside. It’s far too late for Kjellander to plead for mercy. Kjellander had no concern for “getting along” when he called good Republicans “kooks” and “incestuous naysayers.” ... Kjellander now thinks that he should be allowed to stay around. Why? So that the next decent Republican to come along can be destroyed instead? So that we can wait around to read about the next big deal our Republican National Committeeman is doing in cahoots with the Blagojevich Administration? It’s time that Kjellander realized that not all Republicans can be played for fools. Some of us won’t be patsies. Bob Kjellander needs to think about someone other than himself just this once. On Saturday he needs to do the right thing for the Party and step aside.)
-- At Issue: Republican Leaders and Words, Words, Words
http://www.familytaxpayers.net/article.asp?id=1135
(FROM THE ARTICLE: This past Sunday WBBM radio’s political editor Craig Dellamore interviewed four Republican Party officials on his show “At Issue.” The four were: ILGOP chair Andy McKenna, state Senator Kirk Dillard who also chairs the DuPage County Republican Party, Gary Skoien, who is chair of the Cook County Republican Party, and Dan Venturi, chair of the Lake County Republican Party. Of course Andy McKenna blamed the results of last fall’s election on the war in Iraq. But the good news, he said in so many words, was that the result wasn’t even worse. Peter Roskam barely won a seat that should be a safe Republican seat. Melissa Bean only got 51%, McKenna proudly pointed out, but he didn’t bother mentioning that McSweeney only got 44%. The third party candidate, who was to the political left of Bean, scored big. This is a district that also should be a safe Republican seat...Of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander’s name came up. McKenna said something in his typical less-than-forceful way, “hopefully Bob in time will do the right thing.” Has McKenna even read the ethics code he selectively trumpets? “[C]learly Republicans, and it is not just a conservative issue. I think Republicans across the board have expressed concerns to Bob about his role and what they view as a conflict. Many have and I expect more will.” He then dismissed it as not a significant issue, proving again that he either is incapable of seeing reality or incapable of comprehending it.)
SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL REGISTER
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, Dillard defends Kjellander and blasts Kjellander critics, again
(FROM THE ARTICLE: When they gather this weekend near Chicago, leaders of the state GOP may end up confronting the proverbial elephant in the room: the continuing backlash against Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander...Kjellander said he attends all state central committee meetings, and will be there Saturday. "I have absolutely no intention of resigning," Kjellander said Wednesday, "and I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward." ... The 19-member state central committee is slated to talk about a variety of matters Saturday at meeting in suburban Bolingbrook, which was rescheduled from December. Topics include a discussion about the Nov. 7 elections that saw the GOP lose further ground statewide to Democrats. Also scheduled is an executive, or closed-door, session. The potential discussion about Kjellander could overshadow the proceedings..."There are many in the party who focus everything on Mr. Kjellander, and it's a scapegoat for addressing much broader problems in the Illinois Republican Party," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, a former state central committee member who chairs the DuPage County GOP. "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal.")
DAILY SOUTHTOWN
-- Obama to make Martin Luther King Day speech in Harvey - Kim Janssen
(FROM THE ARTICLE: The troubled city claimed the minor coup Thursday when the in-demand senator's office announced he will speak to an expected audience of 2,000 at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. Obama, who is pondering a bid for the presidency, will be joined by Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg, said St. Mark's pastor, Bishop William Jordan. The senator will be in Harvey for "reflection, not politics," his spokesman Julian Green said, adding he did not know if Obama was aware of a series of scandals plaguing Kellogg's administration. Kellogg is accused of ordering police to return a gun taken in evidence to a murder suspect and faces allegations of police and financial corruption. Jordan said Kellogg was slated to introduce Obama, but Green later said the pastor would do the honors. Green said Obama had been invited by Jordan a year ago, and the senator planned to "reflect on what Dr. King did while he was alive and on how he paved the way for Senator Obama and others to have the opportunities they now have." Jordan -- who has drawn black political and religious leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and John Stroger to speak at Martin Luther King Day ceremonies in previous years -- boasts a congregation of 7,000 and is an influential figure in south suburban politics.He typically backs Republican candidates but supported Obama in his senate race against Alan Keyes in 2004.)
DAILY HERALD
-- Safely re-elected, Blagojevich now a liberal in public - Eric Krol
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD WITH COLOR PICTURES: 300, including former congressional candidate Democrat Christine Cegelis, attend Bush protest in downtown Glen Ellyn
-- DuPage County Board cool to county sales tax increase - Robert Sanchez
(Not posted as of 5:30 AM)
-- Political newcomer Bob Carlisle sets his sights on Wheaton council - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=268663&cc=d&tc=&t=
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, tragically, liberals argue that if you oppose race based preference giving, you are a racist
-- Winter blast ready to pound suburbs
(DIERSEN: Will Kjellander's supporters argue that he does a great job controlling not only Illinois politics, but Illinois weather?)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
-- Troutman: Pols rarely take a pass on freebies - Rich Miller 
http://www.suntimes.com/news/miller/207790,CST-EDT-mill12.article
MORRIS DAILY HERALD
-- For GOP & county  Peacock hopes to re-energize local Republicans - Jo Ann Hustis
http://www.morrisdailyherald.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=58&ArticleID=20564&TM=57961.48
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
-- Democrat State Senator John Cullerton proposes statewide public smoking ban - John Chase and Monique Garcia
-- DuPage officially announces 40 layoffs - Joseph Sjostrom
-- KASS: "A few guys waited in the bar, including Republican state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano and his Democratic buddy, state Sen. Jimmy DeLeo, whom I refer to, correctly, as the real governor of Illinois."
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-0701120149jan12,1,3930925.column
DES PLAINES JOURNAL
-- Roskam Appointed To House Financial Committee - Todd Wessell
(DIERSEN: Your GOPUSA Illinois Editor has been a Forensic Accountant since 1997, a Certified Financial Services Auditor since 1996, a Certified Government Financial Manager since 1994, a Certified Fraud Examiner since 1990, a licensed CPA since 1982, a Certified Internal Auditor since 1981, and a CPA since 1979.  I earned a masters degree in finance from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1997, a masters degree in accounting from DePaul in 1980, an MBA from Loyola in 1976, and a bachelors degree in management from Northern Illinois University in 1970.  I have been a National Association of Securities Dealers arbitrator since 1998.  I worked for the United States Postal Service 1966-1969, IRS 1971-1980, and the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO 1980-1997.  Congress has to use the Democrat-controlled GAO to conduct studies and investigations.  While the Democrats who control GAO's Chicago office wasted my career and forced me to take early retirement, they did let me work on audits of financial institution regulators during my last 8 years with the agency.)
ILLINOIS FAMILY INSTITUTE
-- (Human) Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act  How did Illinois' Congressional Delegation Vote? - David E. Smith
-- 'Gays' in the Military - a troop 'surge' liberals support - J. Matt Barber
SOUTHWEST HEARLD
-- GOP Presidential Candidate Opposes Bush Troop "Surge" - John Cox
FREE REPUBLICANS
-- No Human Embryo is Safe - John Cox
NAPERVILLE SUN
-- DuPage pushes for sales tax to make up for lost funding - Page Winfield
 

GOPUSA ILLINOIS

Transcript of Delamore interview of McKenna, Skoien, Dillard, and Venturi is posted on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com – Dave Diersen

www.gopillinois.com

Victoria’s Transcription Services has prepared a 24-page transcript of Craig Delamore’s recent interview of Illinois Republican Party (IRP) Chairman Andy McKenna, Cook County Republican Party Chairman Gary Skoien, DuPage County Republican Party Chairman Kirk Dillard, and Lake County Republican Party Chairman Daniel Venturi.  It is posted in PDF format on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com.  During the interview, Delamore asks about the condition of the IRP, the rift between moderates and conservatives, corruption issues, Bob Kjellander, party efforts to help candidates, a candidate to run against Dick Durbin, and the IRP platform.

 

Condition of the IRP

On pages 3, 4, and 5 of the transcript, McKenna summaries what he is going to say about the condition of the IRP at the January 13 IRP State Central Committee meeting in Bolingbrook.

 

Moderate-Conservative Rift

On page 6, Dillard says there is “a small faction of our party in Illinois that likes to complain” and says that he and McKenna are people who bridge “the moderates and the conservatives gap very well” and that “sometimes some of the more disgruntled types like to look at the little particular issues but our problems are bigger than that and I think the moderate versus conservative thing is far overblown.”  On page 6, Skoien says that those who are dissatisfied with IRP leadership are “looking around for excuses” and on page 7 he says “this moderate, conservative rift” has been “over played.”

 

IRP National Committeeman Kjellander

On page 13, McKenna acknowledges that not only conservatives have expressed concerns about Kjellander.  McKenna expressed hope that Kjellander “in time will do the right thing” but McKenna also said that “I do think some people over play it as a significant issue for us going forward.”  On page 14, Dillard pointed out that Kjellander’s Illinois Democrat Party counterpart “is going to federal prison” and said it “would be better I suppose if (Kjellander) left right away but he is going to retire at the end of his term.”  Dillard said Kjellander’s “term ends sometime in the next couple of years so he is leaving and I want to point out that a difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party is when we have a problem we purge our problems. George Ryan was not our gubernatorial nominee.  It was Jim Ryan versus Rod Blagojevich five years ago and (Kjellander) is going to leave sometime in the next year or so, you know, we actually do purge our problems as opposed to letting them carry on.”

 

Candidate to Run Against Durbin

On page 18, McKenna says “there is probably 15 people between the State Senate Caucus and the State House Caucus who could easily step up to be state wide candidates and certainly Senator Dillard who is with us is one of those people.  I have already had several people approach me interested in Senator Durbin’s race and Senator Durbin I mean we are exited about that race.”

 

IRP Platform

On page 23, concerning the “traditional republican position, “ Skoien says “I don’t know exactly what the traditional republican position is when, you know, when you state it that way and people that are conservatives in our party would say social conservatives would say that their view is what the traditional conservative, you know, the republican principles are.  A lot of us are republicans for a lot of different reasons.”  On page 24, McKenna says “I don’t think (social conservatives) have been shut out.  I think George Bush was one who appealed to both the base of the party as well as broader voters and I think that he has set some good examples and, you know, we have to continue to do that.”
 
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FAMILY TAXPAYERS NETWORK
Will the State GOP advance the ball this Saturday or fumble yet again?
(FROM THE ARTICLE:  This Saturday’s meeting of the Illinois Republican Party is a must-see event. Once all of the lame excuses for the Illinois GOP’s disastrous election of November 7th are dispensed with – the real issue on the table for Saturday will be what to do about Bob – that’s of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander. Even the pre-game festivities are already a hoot. Yesterday the Springfield Journal-Register had a nice preview. It’s all fun to watch because some of the same players who typically decry GOP “infighting” – seem to be doing a fair amount of it themselves. First in the line-up we have MaryAlice Erickson, a long-time member of the State Central Committee from Peoria. Erickson is quoted in the article this way on the Kjellander issue: "It's a moot point. Once he is elected, he's elected, and that's it." That’s interesting, because just last August Erickson had no trouble ousting a duly-elected Party official – and for NO cause. Erickson never said a peep when her committee ousted one of its own – James Parrilli. We wrote a lot about that debacle last year...The same Springfield Journal-Register article also has this quote from State Senator and DuPage County GOP Chairman Kirk Dillard: "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal." Wait a second. While it is true that Kjellander has not been charged with a crime – we also haven’t heard that he is no longer a subject of investigation. But there is one thing we do know with certainty – Kjellander is the “Individual K” referenced in criminal court filings by federal prosecutors in the case of Stuart Levine. Maybe it’s true that Kjellander has done nothing illegal. Perhaps it’s true that he will never be charged because he is completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing. Kjellander is innocent under the law until proven guilty – absolutely, positively. We certainly want to be clear about that. But wasn’t it Dillard who was a key part of Topinka’s effort – the campaign that was constantly trying to make voters believe that Blagojevich already had one foot in a prison cell because the Governor’s been named “Individual A” in a federal filing? Funny how we never heard Dillard back then advising caution with the alphabet soup...Kjellander himself is the funniest in yesterday’s article. He’s quoted saying, in part, “I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward."  Kjellander then launches into a criticism of the way the GOP County Chairmen conducted a recent meeting – the one where the 30 assembled Chairmen made a unanimous call for Kjellander to step-aside. It’s far too late for Kjellander to plead for mercy. Kjellander had no concern for “getting along” when he called good Republicans “kooks” and “incestuous naysayers.” ... Kjellander now thinks that he should be allowed to stay around. Why? So that the next decent Republican to come along can be destroyed instead? So that we can wait around to read about the next big deal our Republican National Committeeman is doing in cahoots with the Blagojevich Administration? It’s time that Kjellander realized that not all Republicans can be played for fools. Some of us won’t be patsies. Bob Kjellander needs to think about someone other than himself just this once. On Saturday he needs to do the right thing for the Party and step aside.)
 
This Saturday’s meeting of the Illinois Republican Party is a must-see event. Once all of the lame excuses for the Illinois GOP’s disastrous election of November 7th are dispensed with – the real issue on the table for Saturday will be what to do about Bob – that’s of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander.
 
Even the pre-game festivities are already a hoot.
 
Yesterday the Springfield Journal-Register had a nice preview. It’s all fun to watch because some of the same players who typically decry GOP “infighting” – seem to be doing a fair amount of it themselves.
 
First in the line-up we have MaryAlice Erickson, a long-time member of the State Central Committee from Peoria. Erickson is quoted in the article this way on the Kjellander issue: "It's a moot point. Once he is elected, he's elected, and that's it."
 
That’s interesting, because just last August Erickson had no trouble ousting a duly-elected Party official – and for NO cause. Erickson never said a peep when her committee ousted one of its own – James Parrilli. We wrote a lot about that debacle last year.
 
Perhaps Mr. Parrilli was never pals with Karl Rove – but his election was a model of Democracy compared to the way Kjellander rigged-up another term for himself back in 2004. We of course have written extensively about the great lengths Kjellander’s pals have gone to in order to keep him around this long.
 
But Parrilli won his State Central Committeeman post fair-and-square at the Cook County Convention last April. Parrilli was actually the only challenger to unseat an incumbent in any of the 19 races for Central Committeeman last year. That’s an impressive feat given the very pro-incumbent system our State GOP has adopted for Party elections.
 
Erickson’s organization originally accepted Parrilli’s election. He was listed on the State Party’s website as the duly-elected State Central Committeeman for the 3rd Congressional District. And Erickson’s organization also supplied Parrilli’s name along with the 18 other winners from the April elections (including MaryAlice’s own name of course) to the State Board of Elections for certification.
 
Parrilli was even sworn in as a duly-elected State Central Committeeman – just like Erickson - at a State GOP meeting last May. Parrilli even voted with the rest to reelect Andy McKenna, Jr. to another term as Party Chairman at that meeting.
 
No hint was given that anything was amiss until Parrilli showed-up at the next State GOP meeting in August. There, Parrilli was told for the first time by McKenna that his post was being declared vacant. Parrilli was told that a do-over election would be scheduled – and that was held in late September.
 
To this day, no legal basis or cause has ever been given for Parrilli’s ouster. It’s clear that the incumbent whom Parrilli defeated in April just kept complaining to his old friends on the committee.
 
Obviously Erickson’s concerns about the “duly elected” only extend to fellow members of the old guard. We also never heard a peep from Erickson when the duly-elected Jack Ryan was pushed off the ballot for U.S. Senate by her friends in 2004.
 
Erickson also never protested when Kjellander pushed our last honest State Party Chairman (Gary MacDougal) aside right after the 2002 election. Erickson then went along with the unconscionable decision of installing the divisive Judy Baar Topinka into the post – just as Kjellander ordered.
 
That decision worked out well for Kjellander – if not for Republicans and the Party. A few months later when the news broke about how Big Bob collected an $809,000 consulting fee for helping Rod Blagojevich further indebt the State to the tune of $10 billion, a State Party Chairman was there to defend the double-dealing. What a lucky break for our National Committeeman.
 
What’s He Thinking?
 
The same Springfield Journal-Register article also has this quote from State Senator and DuPage County GOP Chairman Kirk Dillard: "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal."
 
Wait a second. While it is true that Kjellander has not been charged with a crime – we also haven’t heard that he is no longer a subject of investigation. But there is one thing we do know with certainty – Kjellander is the “Individual K” referenced in criminal court filings by federal prosecutors in the case of Stuart Levine.
 
Maybe it’s true that Kjellander has done nothing illegal. Perhaps it’s true that he will never be charged because he is completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing. Kjellander is innocent under the law until proven guilty – absolutely, positively. We certainly want to be clear about that.
 
But wasn’t it Dillard who was a key part of Topinka’s effort – the campaign that was constantly trying to make voters believe that Blagojevich already had one foot in a prison cell because the Governor’s been named “Individual A” in a federal filing? Funny how we never heard Dillard back then advising caution with the alphabet soup.
 
We don’t think it’s appropriate to speculate either way regarding whether Kjellander has violated any law – because frankly we don’t know. What does Dillard know that we don’t?
 
Granted, he’s been closer to some of the same deals Kjellander’s been on. Dillard for example was one of only four Republican Senators who broke ranks from his GOP caucus to vote “yes” on Blagojevich’s $10 billion pension debt deal – the one that garnered Kjellander that $809,000 fee in early 2003.
 
There’s another key point here - a political organization, just like any corporation, isn’t in the business of trying to decide whether someone should be deprived of their liberty. A different standard prevails than in a court of law. Commerce would pretty much shut down if no one could ever be fired unless convicted of criminal charges.
 
Also, this idea that Kjellander has done nothing “wrong” is ludicrous. The guy’s in blatant violation of his own organization’s Code of Ethics for his conflicts of interest for one thing.
 
Kjellander has also personally attacked members of the rank-and-file. He has publicly called good Republicans “kooks,” for example. No, that’s not illegal - but it’s sure as heck wrong for a senior organization official to behave that way toward the membership. Any self-respecting organization would fire such an official immediately.
 
Then of course there is Kjellander’s long record as an ineffective leader. No organization keeps officials around who don’t produce – and Kjellander hasn’t produced for Republicans. If being at the helm over a period of years as Republicans lose every lever of power in the state isn’t “wrong” – then we don’t know what is.
 
What about Bob?
 
Kjellander himself is the funniest in yesterday’s article. He’s quoted saying, in part, “I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward."
 
Kjellander then launches into a criticism of the way the GOP County Chairmen conducted a recent meeting – the one where the 30 assembled Chairmen made a unanimous call for Kjellander to step-aside.
 
It’s far too late for Kjellander to plead for mercy. Kjellander had no concern for “getting along” when he called good Republicans “kooks” and “incestuous naysayers.”
 
Kjellander obviously didn’t care much about “moving forward” when he allowed his pals to crucify and publicly humiliate good men like Jack Ryan and Peter Fitzgerald.
 
Kjellander clearly wasn’t worried about “being productive as a party” when he muscled out a fine man, Gary MacDougal as Party Chairman in order to make room for his crony Topinka.
 
Kjellander now thinks that he should be allowed to stay around. Why? So that the next decent Republican to come along can be destroyed instead? So that we can wait around to read about the next big deal our Republican National Committeeman is doing in cahoots with the Blagojevich Administration?
 
It’s time that Kjellander realized that not all Republicans can be played for fools. Some of us won’t be patsies.
 
Bob Kjellander needs to think about someone other than himself just this once. On Saturday he needs to do the right thing for the Party and step aside.
 
At Issue: Republican Leaders and Words, Words, Words
http://www.familytaxpayers.net/article.asp?id=1135
(FROM THE ARTICLE: This past Sunday WBBM radio’s political editor Craig Dellimore interviewed four Republican Party officials on his show “At Issue.” The four were: ILGOP chair Andy McKenna, state Senator Kirk Dillard who also chairs the Dupage County Republican Party, Gary Skoien, who is chair of the Cook County Republican Party, and Dan Venturi, chair of the Lake County Republican Party. Of course Andy McKenna blamed the results of last fall’s election on the war in Iraq. But the good news, he said in so many words, was that the result wasn’t even worse. Peter Roskam barely won a seat that should be a safe Republican seat. Melissa Bean only got 51%, McKenna proudly pointed out, but he didn’t bother mentioning that McSweeney only got 44%. The third party candidate, who was to the political left of Bean, scored big. This is a district that also should be a safe Republican seat...Of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander’s name came up. McKenna said something in his typical less-than-forceful way, “hopefully Bob in time will do the right thing.” Has McKenna even read the ethics code he selectively trumpets? “[C]learly Republicans, and it is not just a conservative issue. I think Republicans across the board have expressed concerns to Bob about his role and what they view as a conflict. Many have and I expect more will.” He then dismissed it as not a significant issue, proving again that he either is incapable of seeing reality or incapable of comprehending it.)
 
This past Sunday WBBM radio’s political editor Craig Dellimore interviewed four Republican Party officials on his show “At Issue.”
 
The four were: ILGOP chair Andy McKenna, state Senator Kirk Dillard who also chairs the Dupage County Republican Party, Gary Skoien, who is chair of the Cook County Republican Party, and Dan Venturi, chair of the Lake County Republican Party.
 
Of course Andy McKenna blamed the results of last fall’s election on the war in Iraq. But the good news, he said in so many words, was that the result wasn’t even worse.
 
Peter Roskam barely won a seat that should be a safe Republican seat. Melissa Bean only got 51%, McKenna proudly pointed out, but he didn’t bother mentioning that McSweeney only got 44%. The third party candidate, who was to the political left of Bean, scored big. This is a district that also should be a safe Republican seat.
 
McKenna’s solution?
“…put further emphasis and resources behind grass roots activity. That means spending more money on research, on voter identification and on direct voter contact.”
That’s nice. He went on, “We are going to focus more on message.”
 
Okay, that’s good too. How?
“We actually think because the Democrats are in leadership it is going to help us get our message across more effectively.”
According to our state party chairman it’s easier to get your message out when the Dems are “in leadership.” That’s a great theory, except that Illinois Republicans haven’t improved in messaging at all over the course of the last four years while Dems have run the store.
 
In fact, when is the last time you heard anything about a Republican message from Illinois Republicans?
 
Then McKenna said something that might have left listeners wondering if he had just returned from a long stay in a foreign land. Of the sad state of Illinois’ fiscal condition, he said that Governor Blagojevich –
“…is not realistic. He thinks he can solve problems though government. We think less government works. We think less government is the reason we have had economic prosperity in this country.”
We know he’s not talking about the leadership of Dennis Hastert, the biggest spending Speaker in U.S. History. And if Andy knows something we don’t know about the political position of Illinois Republicans we’d wish he’d share.
“We are going to talk about it in Illinois.”
We at the Family Taxpayers Network have been calling for this “talk” for years. In fact, that was the main reason we opposed Andy’s choice for governor last year.
 
McKenna discussed the problems of raising money. That’s an easy problem to solve. Stop running candidates as Republicans who are more in line with the Democrat’s party platform. Political donors might be fooled early on, but sooner or later they figure out when a donation is a complete waste of money.
 
The Radar was glad to hear Kirk Dillard discuss the fact that the problems Illinois Republicans face are big. He’s been in office for a good number of years so he’s had a front row seat while things have gotten worse.
 
Gary Skoien’s prescription for Republicans is to –
“…get back to being the party of ideals and principles not the idea of government and power and those sorts of things. And, the party that is not a party of corruption and insider dealings.”
We certainly agree with that. Skoien added,
“We’re not like the democrats. Most of us in this room have jobs outside. Politics isn’t what got us where we are. Our children don’t go into politics. It is not a family business or anything else.”
Maybe it’s not his business, but he might want to survey a lot of other party and legislative officials to learn more about how they earn a living. Like legislators who also happen to have profitable law practices. Or those who work in real estate or represent developers. Or lobbyists who also happen to serve in important party offices.
 
Of course National Committeeman Bob Kjellander’s name came up. McKenna said something in his typical less-than-forceful way, “hopefully Bob in time will do the right thing.” Has McKenna even read the ethics code he selectively trumpets?
“[C]learly Republicans, and it is not just a conservative issue. I think Republicans across the board have expressed concerns to Bob about his role and what they view as a conflict. Many have and I expect more will.”
He then dismissed it as not a significant issue, proving again that he either is incapable of seeing reality or incapable of comprehending it.
 
There is more the Radar could comment on, but click here and listen to the show for yourself.
 
At one point, the host mentioned that what has happened often in Illinois political campaigns is that the disagreements between the sides are weighed by the voters and then they just “shrug and say how do we know which side to believe?" Exactly.
 
Listening to the show in light of the last few years it’s almost as if certain political officials have decided to lie, and then pretend to believe what the other says.
 
Sometimes it’s easy to know whether a speaker believes – or understands – what he is saying. There are also times when words are meaningless.
 
SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL REGISTER
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, Dillard defends Kjellander and blasts Kjellander critics, again
(FROM THE ARTICLE: When they gather this weekend near Chicago, leaders of the state GOP may end up confronting the proverbial elephant in the room: the continuing backlash against Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander...Kjellander said he attends all state central committee meetings, and will be there Saturday. "I have absolutely no intention of resigning," Kjellander said Wednesday, "and I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward." ... The 19-member state central committee is slated to talk about a variety of matters Saturday at meeting in suburban Bolingbrook, which was rescheduled from December. Topics include a discussion about the Nov. 7 elections that saw the GOP lose further ground statewide to Democrats. Also scheduled is an executive, or closed-door, session. The potential discussion about Kjellander could overshadow the proceedings..."There are many in the party who focus everything on Mr. Kjellander, and it's a scapegoat for addressing much broader problems in the Illinois Republican Party," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, a former state central committee member who chairs the DuPage County GOP. "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal.") 
 
Kjellander's critics may make a move - Mike Ramsey
CHICAGO - When they gather this weekend near Chicago, leaders of the state GOP may end up confronting the proverbial elephant in the room: the continuing backlash against Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander.

The meeting agenda of the Republican State Central Committee does not specifically mention Kjellander, the Springfield consultant who serves as the Illinois GOP's national representative and RNC treasurer. But state party directors probably will hear about him if Fayette County Republican Chairman Randy Pollard addresses the panel, as he said he intends to do.

Pollard, who oversees the statewide organization for county GOP chairmen, said a group of 30 of his colleagues unanimously passed a resolution in November seeking Kjellander's resignation. Specifically, he said, the measure urged Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna to ask Kjellander to step down."It was brought up at our meeting. It was handled. It was over with, and we moved on," Pollard said this week.

McKenna confirmed that he received the resolution but declined further comment.

Kjellander said he attends all state central committee meetings, and will be there Saturday.

"I have absolutely no intention of resigning," Kjellander said Wednesday, "and I think that it would be more productive of us as a party to be focusing on how we can get along and move forward."

Kjellander also said the county chairmen's meeting in November was called with two days' notice, and drew only a fraction of the 102 county GOP leaders in the state.

"I was not given an opportunity to address the group," Kjellander said, "and I have spoken to Randy Pollard subsequently and offered to meet with the county chairmen's association at their convenience."

The 19-member state central committee is slated to talk about a variety of matters Saturday at meeting in suburban Bolingbrook, which was rescheduled from December. Topics include a discussion about the Nov. 7 elections that saw the GOP lose further ground statewide to Democrats. Also scheduled is an executive, or closed-door, session.

The potential discussion about Kjellander could overshadow the proceedings.

Some of Kjellander's critics within the Illinois GOP have questioned his ethics. In 2003, he made an $809,000 commission representing an underwriting firm in a $10 billion pension bond deal launched by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat. Kjellander's paid role in helping an investment firm get funds from the Teachers' Retirement System also has come under scrutiny. In October, Kjellander was identified as a peripheral figure - "Individual K" - in the corruption plea agreement of former TRS trustee Stuart Levine, a Republican fundraiser accused of seeking kickbacks.

Kjellander has not been accused of wrongdoing. Still, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, in November pushed legislation that would allow the state central committee to remove Kjellander midway through his four-year term as national committeeman. Some disagree that the measure, which failed to advance, could have superseded the rules of the Republican National Committee.

"It's a moot point," said MaryAlice Erickson of Peoria, a state central committee member from the 18th Congressional District. "Once he is elected, he's elected, and that's it."

Other Illinois Republicans say the turmoil surrounding Kjellander has taken attention away from bigger issues within the state GOP, including its organizational challenges and lack of unity. The once-dominant party holds no statewide offices and has been reeling since the 1999-2003 tenure of former Gov. George Ryan, a Kankakee Republican convicted last year of racketeering and fraud (Ryan is appealing).

"There are many in the party who focus everything on Mr. Kjellander, and it's a scapegoat for addressing much broader problems in the Illinois Republican Party," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, a former state central committee member who chairs the DuPage County GOP. "While I don't condone some of Mr. Kjellander's business opportunities, it appears Kjellander has done nothing illegal."

Pollard, the GOP official from Fayette County, stressed that the chairmen who voted to seek Kjellander's ouster addressed other issues as well when they met in Springfield late last year. His report to the state central committee this weekend would reflect this, he said. "We've got so many other things that we, as a party, need to work on," Pollard said.

Kjellander is a longtime friend of Karl Rove, a White House adviser to President Bush.

The state central committee meets at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.

DAILY SOUTHTOWN

Obama to make Martin Luther King Day speech in Harvey - Kim Janssen

http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/207716,121NWS6.article

(FROM THE ARTICLE: The troubled city claimed the minor coup Thursday when the in-demand senator's office announced he will speak to an expected audience of 2,000 at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. Obama, who is pondering a bid for the presidency, will be joined by Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg, said St. Mark's pastor, Bishop William Jordan. The senator will be in Harvey for "reflection, not politics," his spokesman Julian Green said, adding he did not know if Obama was aware of a series of scandals plaguing Kellogg's administration. Kellogg is accused of ordering police to return a gun taken in evidence to a murder suspect and faces allegations of police and financial corruption. Jordan said Kellogg was slated to introduce Obama, but Green later said the pastor would do the honors. Green said Obama had been invited by Jordan a year ago, and the senator planned to "reflect on what Dr. King did while he was alive and on how he paved the way for Senator Obama and others to have the opportunities they now have." Jordan -- who has drawn black political and religious leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and John Stroger to speak at Martin Luther King Day ceremonies in previous years -- boasts a congregation of 7,000 and is an influential figure in south suburban politics.He typically backs Republican candidates but supported Obama in his senate race against Alan Keyes in 2004.)

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has picked an interesting spot to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Harvey.

The troubled city claimed the minor coup Thursday when the in-demand senator's office announced he will speak to an expected audience of 2,000 at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church.

Obama, who is pondering a bid for the presidency, will be joined by Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg, said St. Mark's pastor, Bishop William Jordan.

The senator will be in Harvey for "reflection, not politics," his spokesman Julian Green said, adding he did not know if Obama was aware of a series of scandals plaguing Kellogg's administration.

Kellogg is accused of ordering police to return a gun taken in evidence to a murder suspect and faces allegations of police and financial corruption.

Jordan said Kellogg was slated to introduce Obama, but Green later said the pastor would do the honors.

Green said Obama had been invited by Jordan a year ago, and the senator planned to "reflect on what Dr. King did while he was alive and on how he paved the way for Senator Obama and others to have the opportunities they now have."

Jordan -- who has drawn black political and religious leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and John Stroger to speak at Martin Luther King Day ceremonies in previous years -- boasts a congregation of 7,000 and is an influential figure in south suburban politics.

He typically backs Republican candidates but supported Obama in his senate race against Alan Keyes in 2004.

"I plan to ask him what we can do to cut crime and get jobs and businesses back into Harvey and the south suburbs," Jordan said.

"There always seems to be state and federal money for Chicago but you never hear about the south suburbs."

Obama, who repaid the support he received from black Southland churches by backing Todd Stroger's Cook County presidency bid last year, will meet with other south suburban ministers and business leaders after the morning service, Jordan said. He added he hopes the senator will visit with him twice a year in the future.

Jordan -- who said he expects "Harvey's troubles will be sorted out at the election" -- has yet to give an endorsement in the crowded mayoral field, but says he plans to next month.

Obama is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether he will run for president.

The service starts at 10:45 a.m. Monday at 14618 Lincoln Ave.

DAILY HERALD

Safely re-elected, Blagojevich now a liberal in public - Eric Krol

http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/krol.asp

After more than four years, Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s public political rhetoric finally is matching his actual governing philosophy.

Earlier this week, Blagojevich promised “an activist government” in his second term just moments after being sworn in.

During his first four years and throughout a successful re-election bid, Blagojevich took pains to avoid using the kind of language that would scare moderate suburban swing voters, the folks who could make or break him at the polls.

Now safely ensconced, and unlikely to run again (two terms is about the shelf life for a modern governor), Blagojevich apparently feels he’s got the green light to bust out terms like “activist government.”

Those Republicans who dislike the governor might liken the revelation to a horror movie, specifically the scene where the heretofore closeted vampire reveals himself, fangs bared.

What, exactly, does an “activist government” mean?

The governor — as is true for just about everything in his fluffy, 20-minute speech — didn’t spell it out with a lot of details.

But Blagojevich did strongly hint that it’ll be open warfare on the business community during his second term. Blagojevich once again turned to talk of closing business loopholes. The business types have their own term for that: tax increases.

The governor needs to generate more cash to bankroll all the social spending he did during his first term. And politically, it’s easy to soak the rich. Or businesses, in this case. They can and will complain, but the average guy is just happy it’s not him being turned over and shaken for more cash.

If anything, a tax increase on the business community would be a parable-style lesson for all of the Illinois business groups who played footsie with Blagojevich last fall instead of supporting Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka, the one who vowed to roll back some of Blagojevich’s first-term tax and fee increases on business. The parable, in this case, would be the one about the apprehensive turtle who agrees to carry a scorpion across the river, only to get stung halfway across. When asked why he did it, since they’ll surely now both drown, the scorpion says something like “Hey, you knew I was a scorpion when you found me.”

Of course, to those who’ve been paying attention, Blagojevich governed like a liberal during his first term: signing gay rights legislation into law, pushing expansions of preschool and health care for kids, funding embryonic stem cell research and ordering pharmacists to dispense birth control regardless of their beliefs.

The public, who is too busy supporting their families during this era of low raises and a jobless recovery, probably didn’t put all that together. And Topinka, perhaps out of her campaign’s general fear of alienating anyone ever, didn’t portray Blagojevich as a liberal.

Tempering the apparent Blagojevich rush to publicly embrace liberalism is his campaign promise not to raise the sales or income tax the second time around. If he keeps it (and the “activist government” lingo wasn’t a precursor to soften us up for a breaking of that promise), that almost surely will mean more spending without a tax increase.

So, his foes won’t really be able to call him a “tax-and-spend liberal,” as the standard rhetoric goes. It’s more of a “spend-and-don’t-tax” liberal, which isn’t really very catchy but ultimately will be far more damaging to the state. Because bills not paid today will be paid by the next generation, and, in some cases, the generation after that.

A governor for future generations, indeed.

DIERSEN HEADLINE: FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD WITH COLOR PICTURES: 300, including former congressional candidate Democrat Christine Cegelis, attend Bush protest in downtown Glen Ellyn

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=268745&cc=d&tc=&t=

Thinking of the troops - 
The day after Bush’s speech

Whether they waved signs in a small group of six or chanted 300 strong, the message of several DuPage County protesters Thursday night was clear: “Bring our troops home.”

About 300 people gathered for a vigil on the four corners of Main and Duane streets in downtown Glen Ellyn Thursday night, and six demonstrators protested on Naperville’s Washington Street Bridge during the lunch hour to oppose President Bush’s plan to send more than 21,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

Both endeavors were part of a nationwide “America Says No” campaign aimed at Bush’s Wednesday-night announcement of more troop deployments.

“I hope people just see that you don’t have to universally go along with policies we feel are wrong and that are just going to create more suffering,” said Naperville rally organizer Shelley Weakly as her group waved “No to more troops” signs.

In Glen Ellyn, continuous car horns nearly drowned out the larger group led by DuPage Against War Now, or DAWN, and their chants of “Bring our troops home now!” from each of the four corners.

Nearly all held signs reading “Books not Bombs,” “Bush Lied. Soldiers Died,” and “Peace is Patriotic.” Some carried candles during the hour-long vigil.

The group’s co-founder, Kathy Slovick of Glen Ellyn, said every one of the gatherings have increased in size as more and more citizens change their minds about the war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 members of the United States military.

“People are seeing this and realizing how inexcusable those numbers are and they’re standing with us to demand our troops get on planes and go home, not to Iraq,” Slovick said. “This is the tipping point.”

Former congressional candidate Democrat Christine Cegelis attended the Glen Ellyn vigil and said she hopes Bush hears the chants from that street corner.

“He hasn’t listened to the Iraq Study Group, he hasn’t listened to his military advisers, and he certainly hasn’t listened to the American people,” Cegelis said. “So we’re done speaking with our votes. Now we’re speaking with our voices and we hope he hears that.”

Many who attended Thursday night’s vigil, like Sarah Reardon of North Aurora, brought razors, packaged underwear and toiletries to be donated to Hines Veterans’ Hospital in Maywood.

“It’s important for everyone to know that we’re out here speaking against the policy but our troops are first and foremost in our hearts,” Reardon said. “We support them and we love them. That’s why they need to come home.”

Glen Ellyn police said the gathering was peaceful and without incident.

DuPage County Board cool to county sales tax increase - Robert Sanchez

(Not posted as of 5:30 AM)

Political newcomer Bob Carlisle sets his sights on Wheaton council - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=268663&cc=d&tc=&t=

On paper, Bob Carlisle believes he’s the best candidate for Wheaton City Council.

He would know. He’s been in the paper printing business for 24 years. The last 10 of those he spent running La Grange-based Camelot Papers, which he co-founded.

He believes that has given him the acumen necessary to help lead a city. Recently, Carlisle helped Jerry “J.R.” McBride with his DuPage County Board candidacy. The door-to-door work, combined with prodding from his wife, Mary, and seven children, instilled in him the political drive to run for office.

“For several years, every time there’s something going on in Wheaton, I’d grumble or say, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’ć” Carlisle said. “My wife told me if you really want to do something, stop grumbling and run.”

Carlisle is a self-described political neophyte but already has endured his first public maelstrom in surviving a challenge to his nominating petitions just to get on the ballot.

Next up is surviving a Feb. 27 primary, in which he is one of five candidates for two at-large city council spots. Incumbent Councilman Liz Corry and fellow political newcomers John Prendiville, Todd Scalzo and Jonathan Myers are the other candidates. The primary will narrow the field to four for the April 17 general election.

Carlisle said his top issue is responsible development.

“I’m concerned about growth in the city and how it’s funded,” Carlisle said. “Specifically, I’m concerned that some of the development is not as self-funded as it should be.”

In other words, Carlisle is wary of the overreliance on tax increment finance districts. In recent years, the city has pumped millions of so-called TIF dollars to lure businesses downtown.

“What I want to do is continue the growth, be mindful that growth occurs at a cost, and be mindful of that cost and who’s going to pay for it,” Carlisle said. “I want to make a TIF what it truly is, which is a financial vehicle and not a handout.”

New growth must also come with a larger vision of keeping the “small, Midwestern town feel” that drew many current residents to Wheaton, Carlisle said.

He believes downtown needs more parking and better thoroughfares for pedestrians. Carlisle envisions an underpass below the downtown train tracks that would link the French market area to shops on the north side of the tracks.

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, tragically, liberals argue that if you oppose race based preference giving, you are a racist

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=268713&cc=d&tc=wht&t=wheaton

Wheaton works to overcome racism - 
This Martin Luther King Day, DuPage County residents can honor the fallen reverend by stepping into his dream.

Wheaton organizers will gather young and old, rich and poor people of diverse cultures, races, and religions for prayers, song, and speeches at an event Monday to celebrate the message of the freedom fighter’s dream.

By briefly being a part of the equal, loving, nonjudgmental society King envisioned, people who attend can foster in themselves the thoughts, attitudes, actions needed for change, said the Rev. Andre Allen of the Second Baptist Church of Wheaton, organizer for the event.

“Unfortunately racism is still a part of our society. We recognize that we haven’t fulfilled the dream yet,” he said.

“Racism in our country was not accidental or unintentional. To overcome racism, we have to be intentional. We have to do something different, such as reaching out to people different from us.”

Wheaton marks its 14th annual Martin Luther King celebration this year, and each time it gets bigger, said event committee member the Rev. Neal Sadler of St. Matthew United Church of Christ in Wheaton.

Organizers expect as many as 2,000 people to attend. The celebration will encompass all of DuPage County for the first time, and will offer scores of noted speakers and honored guests.

“Political, business, and religious leaders will gather to indicate we stand united in our desire to see this dream come alive,” Sadler said.

Among the speakers will be DuPage County Judge Robert Anderson, who introduces Illinois Chief Justice Bob Thomas.

“I think this is an important function because the U.S. is a country built on diversity and respect for others,” Anderson said. “The bottom line is that all of us need to live together.”

Several choirs will bookend speeches with song.

“I think any good celebration has music,” the Rev. Allen said. “Singing can help be a common bond.”

The 60-member DuPage All-County Choir will give its first performance at the event. Choirs from the Second Baptist Church of Wheaton, Wheaton College, and the DuPage AME Church also will sing.

Preaching prodigy Taylor Moore, 17, will lead the people who attend in her “King Rap.”

Moore, a Chicago native, has been known since her childhood for delivering stirring sermons, and now works as an inspirational speaker.

Winter blast ready to pound suburbs

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/cookstory.asp?id=268796&cc=c&tc=&t=

(DIERSEN: Will Kjellander's supporters argue that he does a great job controlling not only Illinois politics, but Illinois weather?)

Time to pay the winter piper.

Mercury levels will plummet across the Chicago area this weekend, bringing with them the promise of snow.

You remember snow? The white, powdery flakes that last blanketed the region Dec. 1, closing schools, grounding flights and prompting many suburbanites to trade their cars for cross-country skis?

How much snow will fall this weekend and what areas will be hardest hit remains unclear, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service’s Romeoville office. No weather warnings have been issued, yet.

The cold front sweeping in today likely will hit Sunday evening, making the drive from the Bears game a, you guessed it, bear.

“If current trends hold, several inches of snow will be possible Sunday night into Monday,” weather watcher Casey Sullivan said. “I just can’t tell you where the heaviest snow is going to fall. We’re too far from it.”

Once Old Man Winter blows into town, he’s not likely to leave quickly.

Temperatures are expected to hover just below 20 degrees come Tuesday, Sullivan said, making Thursday’s 43 degrees a warm and distant memory.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Troutman: Pols rarely take a pass on freebies - Rich Miller 
http://www.suntimes.com/news/miller/207790,CST-EDT-mill12.article

An Illinois lobbyist friend used to tell a story about a former state legislator who we all knew to be a notorious mooch. The politico was shockingly blatant. One morning during a convention, the guy knocked on my pal's hotel door at 7 in the morning, fully attired in his natty golfing clothes, carrying his bag and announced that he was ready to play.

Apparently, the legislator had overheard that my buddy had a tee time at a prime local resort and decided he'd come along for the ride. Uninvited, of course. Not wanting to upset a legislator, the lobbyist had no choice but to drop someone else from his foursome.

Later, at the pro shop, the legislator picked out several items and browsed around until my friend was ready to check out. He then worked his way to the front of the line and plopped his pile of goodies onto the counter, expecting the lobbyist to pay.

The Cable TV Association used to have an annual shindig near the Statehouse. One of the gimmicks they used to draw legislators to their reception was to fly in a has-been actor who I almost always thought was dead. "Mannix" star Mike Connors is one that sticks in my memory. I had no idea he was still alive. The long-faded "star" would be introduced on the House and Senate floors before the reception, then everyone would tromp over to the party after the session ended, where food, drink and piles of trinkets from various Hollywood studios would be available.

There were always a few legislators (all retired now) who would sneak out of session early to get first dibs on the trinkets. They'd fill shopping bags full of the stuff.

Sometimes, they'd vacuum up so much swag there'd be almost nothing left when everyone else finally arrived. The joke in Springfield was that their garages and basements were probably piled high with freebies, hoarded during their many years of "public service."

I remembered those stories after reading about Ald. Arenda Troutman's arrest this week on federal bribery charges. What those legislators did wasn't illegal, at least not back then. But their belief that there was nothing wrong with grabbing everything they could is a disease that affects a certain class of politicians that we can't seem to get rid of no matter how many laws we pass. One goes, another pops up. It's a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

Troutman had the audacity this week to suggest that the government has no case against her because the bribe she allegedly took was to help a developer get permits for a project that's not in her ward. What gall. The feds have documentation showing Troutman used her office to help what turned out to be a federal mole, who allegedly gave her $5,000 up front and promised more later.

If the feds are right, then either Troutman didn't realize the location was outside her ward -- which means she could be an incompetent crook -- or she did and decided she'd pluck as many feathers as possible off the fat, stupid pigeon before he figured out his mistake and asked the right alderman for help. Either way, the location of the building is really a non-issue.

I imagine we're in for further displays of misdirection and outright lies as Troutman attempts to make her case to voters, who will have a chance to cast her out next month. I saw the same thing when the Illinois Legislature voted to ban gifts to legislators. Those who made the most disingenuous arguments against the bill and most strenuously testified to their own purity were almost to a person the same ones with mountains of goodies stashed in their basements and more golf accessories than they could possibly use.

MORRIS DAILY HERALD

For GOP & county  Peacock hopes to re-energize local Republicans - Jo Ann Hustis
http://www.morrisdailyherald.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=58&ArticleID=20564&TM=57961.48

Local attorney John Peacock's first goal as new chairman of the Grundy County Republican Central Committee is to work at re-energizing the party in the county.

"And try to elect good solid, honest, ethical, effective Republican candidates for public office," he said Wednesday.

"It's a challenge, and one I decided to take on because I feel strongly about what's going on now and where we're heading for the future for the sake of our county and everyone who lives in the county."

Peacock, of Morris, son, grandson, and great-grandson of a Morris family that dates back locally to the early to mid-1800s, said holding an elected office is a public trust.

"Elected officials are servants of the people," he noted. "An open, honest, and ethical government is necessary in our democracy to accomplish the legitimate goals and functions of government.

Maintaining public confidence in our system of government is of the utmost importance."

He said the integrity of the nation's constitutional form of government must be defended against those who would corrupt, abuse, or defraud it.

With these fundamental principles in mind, he announced formation of an Ethics Committee for the GOP.

"A lot of important decisions are being made now, and more will be made in the future that's going to affect everyone's life and environment and business and taxes, schools and medical - the whole gamut of things that come into a community's well-being," Peacock said.

"Hopefully, I'll be a positive influence, and obviously, I'm going to need help. We've got a good base of precinct committee people and elected GOP officials who are helping.

"We've made some really good process I'm quite excited about," he added. "We have some new people who have stepped forward and coming on board and getting actively involved in the party. I think that's going to be very positive."

Peacock said Lisa Barkley is the County GOP's new secretary, and Dr. Keith Rezin the new treasurer. Both are of Morris. Rezin succeeds Peacock, who resigned as treasurer to accept the leadership from retiring chairman Chris Brown of Morris.

"They are just good-quality, hardworking people who care about the community and GOP principles. We're gathering some momentum," said Peacock.

"We've got a long way to go to get to the point where I want us to be, and it's not going to happen overnight. If we keep trying and pushing to get our message out, and draw the real distinctions between GOP Republicans and Democrats, I think most people - if they study the issues - will be more in favor of Republicans."

Peacock has not set any specific goals, such as saying the GOP needs to regain the county board by a certain date, or take over a change of a specific office by a particular election.

"That's artificial and I don't think that would be best for the party for me at this stage to set those goals," he said.

Peacock believes the area will see a good, strong Republican run in the 2008 presidential year election.

"I don't have any particular names to say right now because they haven't officially declared anything, and it would be premature for me to jump forward and tell you anything like that," he said.

"But, I think people are becoming more aware of what is happening in our community, whether it will be real estate taxes --and nobody is pleased at how those are escalating - expansion of government in general, whether statewide or local, and entails more taxes to pay for that."

"Also, the school situation in which various schools are struggling on their budgets," he added. "Lack of spending restraints to some extent needs to be discussed. That discussion has been going on and needs to be accelerated."

Environmentally, Peacock thinks the city landfill situation is arousing concerns of a lot of people in the community, as he says it rightfully should.

"These are all long-term concerns of the community that affect the health and fiscal budgets of our communities. They need to be addressed in a well thought-out, informed manner by officials and the public too," he said.

He has done a lot of work in the one month he has chaired the party, and noted a lot more work lies ahead.

"I'm putting a lot of time and energy in this situation, but a good leader also knows how to delegate that authority. To do that, you have to have good people on board as part of your team," he said.

"We're getting those people. We have some already and they're going to stay there. I think they are even more energized since the last election in November.

The party's precinct committee meeting was conducted the day after the Nov. 7 election.

"It was not a down type of a meeting, even though the GOP lost the county board," said Peacock. "It wasn't a finger-pointing type of meeting, but was about what we can do better to get our message out and run more effective campaigns, more effective candidates, and do better.

"This was one of reasons I stepped forward and said I'd take the chairmanship after Chris Brown said he was stepping down in December. It was a big decision to make. It's going to take a lot of time."

Peacock said everyone in that group knew without question they could have done more to help the GOP.

"We did a lot," he said. "We had a lot of effort. I'm cognizant of what happened, and we're gathering more information and input from the community as to why some people went to the other side. I'm really looking forward - ahead - and not becoming encompassed by the past."

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Democrat State Senator John Cullerton proposes statewide public smoking ban - John Chase and Monique Garcia
Though a patchwork of cities and suburbs already have banned smoking in public places, state lawmakers today introduced legislation that would prohibit smoking in all public spots in Illinois -- from taverns and restaurants to stores and bowling alleys.

State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who introduced the bill, said the time has come for Illinois to join more than a dozen other states with broad smoking bans. He said medical studies prove secondhand smoke is dangerous to patrons and employees, especially those working in bars and restaurants.

"We need to level the playing field for all workplaces and provide the same health privileges to workers and patrons throughout Illinois. Many municipalities are waiting eagerly on the sidelines for the state to act on this matter, and it's about time we do that," Cullerton said.

Legislative leaders and the governor reacted cautiously to the measure, one of the first bills to be introduced in the newly minted General Assembly. The offices of Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said they wanted to see the legislation first.

"We'll look and see what's happening," said Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago). "I don't make off-the-cuff decisions on critical issues like that."

Sixteen states, including California, Massachusetts and New York, already passed similar statewide measures, Cullerton said.

The proposed bill would require all indoor public places, including all places of employment, to be smoke-free. The only exceptions would be for private residences used as businesses that are not open to customers, retail tobacco stores in operation before the law is passed, private nursing home rooms and some hotel rooms.

Cullerton said the legislation as proposed would take effect on Jan. 1, 2008, and would supercede the recently passed Chicago ordinance that gives city bars until July 2008 to implement the ban.

The Chicago ordinance also provided for taverns to install ventilation systems that would allow smoking to continue. No such provision is included in Cullerton's statewide proposal.

Anti-smoking advocates joined Cullerton and other legislators in supporting the bill, including Republican state Sen. Christine Radogno of Lemont, who said a statewide ban would prevent businesses in towns with smoking bans from arguing that they were losing business to establishments in towns that don't ban smoking.

"This will level the playing field so if one town adopts a smoke-free ordinance, they're not disadvantaged by the town next to them that doesn't have it," Radogno said.

Steve Riedl, executive director of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, said a statewide ban would provide little assistance to businesses suffering under local bans. Bars, fraternal organizations and bowling alleys have seen average revenue losses of 40 percent under current bans, he said.

"The death is delayed," Riedl said. "They will keep the doors open just a couple more months. It only slightly puts off the inevitable demise of their businesses."
 
DuPage officially announces 40 layoffs - Joseph Sjostrom
DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, meeting with his board for the first time since a state bill that could have staved off layoffs was defeated, announced the inevitable Thursday: About 40 county employees, many from the Convalescent Center, will lose their jobs by the end of the month.

"As we sit here today, we don't have [an additional] revenue source, and because of that we're going to have to make cuts that will affect peoples' lives. And that's really unfortunate," Schillerstrom said at a news conference after the meeting.

Schillerstrom spoke two days after the failure of a bill in the Illinois legislature that would have given DuPage County the authority to impose a $2-per-pack sale tax on cigarettes. A $1-per-pack tax would have raised at least $25 million, according to DuPage County's estimates, and would have provided funds to restore staff and program cuts in the county's 2007 budget.

To raise funds, the county may consider asking voters to approve a one-quarter-cent sales tax increase in the April election, but that money wouldn't be available in time to stave off layoffs even if approved, Schillerstrom said.

"It looks like the inevitable is coming upon us," said Board Member Bob Schroeder, a Naperville Republican, in a statement. "I urge you to be gentle with the people who are being released. And if we find a source of revenues, then those who are released [now] should be the first ones brought back."

The Convalescent Center, which cares for people who suffer disabling illness or injury, will lose the largest number of staff positions. A total of 390 full-time positions were budgeted for the center in the 2006 county budget, but the 2007 budget reduces that number by 30.
 
KASS: "A few guys waited in the bar, including Republican state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano and his Democratic buddy, state Sen. Jimmy DeLeo, whom I refer to, correctly, as the real governor of Illinois."
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-0701120149jan12,1,3930925.column
Dinner at Gibsons, but better company - John Kass
Upstairs at Gibsons on Rush Street on Thursday night, Mayor Richard Daley was in a packed room with his closest friends, who clawed past each other to pay him $5,000 apiece, just to whisper in his ear.

They all want him to answer their eternal question: Who gets what?

And I was downstairs with Daley's opponent, Dorothy Brown, the Cook County clerk of the Circuit Court.

"Hello, John," she said in Gibsons lobby, and kissed me on the cheek.

That's all wrong, I said, kissing her on both cheeks, as is customary in the Viagra Triangle.

Dorothy, I said, you kiss both cheeks on Rush Street. If you're ever going to be mayor, you must do as the Romans do.

(Some of you might think this is a fictional column. It isn't. I did take Brown to dinner, as Daley gorged on a political fundraiser upstairs, and the pictures to prove it should be on chicagotribune.com.)

Still, it did her some good to watch the guys behind the guy trot upstairs, eager to kiss his hem. If she ever becomes mayor, they'll trot upstairs to kiss hers. It's the Chicago Way.

"There they go," Brown said, as the insiders funneled up the steps, shouldering each other out of the way, like so many well-dressed and perfumed red-blood cells squeezing into a clogged artery.

"It's amazing," she said. "All that money; $5,000 a person. Just like that. People give to him, and they're afraid to give to others, for fear of retribution."

Welcome to Chicago.

As we waited, the parade continued. The women clicked their way up, in furs and bling and heels. The men sparkled too. They didn't get those suits at Sears. Come to think of it, they don't sell man bracelets like that at Sears, either.

A few guys waited in the bar, including Republican state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano and his Democratic buddy, state Sen. Jimmy DeLeo, whom I refer to, correctly, as the real governor of Illinois.

How you dooin'? I said to DeLeo.

"You want to come upstairs with us?" joked DeLeo. "Come on. It'll be fun."

No, thanks, I said, I don't want to ruin his appetite up there in the crowded private room. At the door, two large tables groaned under the weight of the lists of all the heavy names of the petitioners.

Earlier at City Hall--after the indicted Ald. Arenda Troutman (20th) hugged her colleagues after having called them a bunch of corrupt "ho's" on federal tape--Daley had a news conference.

Reporters asked about his steadfast support for beleaguered CTA boss "Honest" Frank Kruesi, who has been Daley's Machiavellian master of intrigue for some 30 years now but can't seem to run the trains on time.

But we wanted to know about Gibsons and guys paying $5,000 to say hello.

The mayor's campaign people had told reporters it had been called off. If anyone asked me, I'd say he'd never call off at least $250,000 (one donor bragged, "It's $350,000 easy!") merely for a few minutes of limp handshakes.

Reporter: Are you holding any quiet fundraisers?

Daley made one of those disgusted faces he makes when he doesn't like the question.

"No," the mayor said. "I only have fundraisers. Not quiet. I just have fundraisers. No, we do talk."

Daley then put his hands over his ears--like the Hear No Evil monkey--and started chuckling. The City Hall press corps that covers his escapades also chuckled.

The mayor was correct. His fundraiser wasn't quiet. It was noisy. I thought I could hear some delighted squealing through the floorboards above.

Brown just shook her head at the bleating desire to press the mayoral flesh and pay a big chunk of cash for the privilege. He's been holding such fundraisers for weeks.

"And I can't even get him to debate," Brown said. "He avoids everything."

She ticked off a litany of things she'd ask him, if the media ever demanded a debate and meant it. Like about white guys who drink with him and have Outfit connections receiving $100 million in affirmative-action contracts; and Hired Trucks, the Clout Cafe and cost overruns at Billennium Park, all that stuff the mayor doesn't know anything about.

"It's just sick," she said. "But at least we're having a nice dinner."

I looked at her nice plate of fish in one of Chicago's best steakhouses.

"I don't eat steak," she said, a diet that must change if she's ever going to hang with the jolly beefeaters who run this town.

How you dooin'?

"I'm fine, thanks. How are you doing?" Brown responded.

No, no, I said. Say it the Chicago Way. Repeat after me: How you dooin'?

"How are you doin'?" Brown asked.

No, I said. HowyouDooin'. With two O's. Dooin'.

"Doo-in," she laughed. "Doo-in?"

Upstairs, at his fundraiser, Daley raked in the cash. The mayor's dooin' just fine.
 
By any measure, we are sitting in the Metropolis of Democrats, reason enough to make sure Illinois has some sway as the presidential primary election process plays out in 2008.

Partisanship may have a bad name in some circles, but not within the circle we could roughly describe as "All the nation's Democrats." This is particularly important if Illinois' junior senator, Barack Obama, decides to run for the White House. Even if he doesn't, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal to shift the state's primary date to Feb. 5 from March 18 should get a positive response.

There are many reasons.

The primary process has been so front-loaded for so many years that one almost has to have the bait cut, the ball rolling, the big mo' big mo-ing, before the time March rolls around.

Best to be aboard that train early.

If Obama decides it's a go, an early bump from back home will help, too.

For those who are deterred by the thought of voting in bad weather in February, consider the impact of an election on the day after what some view as the holiest, and thirstiest, day of the year, St. Patrick's Day.

Besides, if this kind of weather continues, we could have daffodils by Feb. 5, 2008.

And even if we do not, we are a hearty people, well accustomed to the snow, the ice, the hypothermia, the inherent darkness of February. An election might cheer things up.

It has been a long time since Illinois voters had a chance to play a significant role in a presidential primary. We have been relegated to affirming what Iowans, New Hampshirites and South Carolinians have already decided.

And Democratic politicos keep elbowing each other to be first in line. In 1996, New Hampshire held its primary on Feb. 20. In successive elections it moved up to Feb. 1 and Jan. 27. The Democratic National Committee has set New Hampshire's 2008 primary for Jan. 22. And the party slipped the Nevada caucuses into Jan. 19, shortly after Iowa votes.

With all due respect to the sands, the snakes, the scorpions, the cowboys, the dancing girls, the cheap prime rib, the prostitution and the gambling of Nevada, Illinois is about as American a place as you are going to find.

Admittedly, New Hampshire is flintier. But Illinois is Heartlandier!

Someday the politicos will call off the race and bring some order to choosing a candidate for president.

We still like the idea of holding four big primaries over four months and getting it all out of the way. But that won't happen for 2008.

So, change the date for the next Illinois primary.

The Daleys (simply too many to list), the Rahm Emanuels, the David Axelrods, the Barack Obamas, a whole army of voting hangers-on and everyone else who knows the difference between being early to the great dinner of presidential politics and gnawing on what's left after the beef has been consumed will thank you.
 
DES PLAINES JOURNAL
Roskam Appointed To House Financial Committee - Todd Wessell
(DIERSEN: Your GOPUSA Illinois Editor has been a Forensic Accountant since 1997, a Certified Financial Services Auditor since 1996, a Certified Government Financial Manager since 1994, a Certified Fraud Examiner since 1990, a licensed CPA since 1982, a Certified Internal Auditor since 1981, and a CPA since 1979.  I earned a masters degree in finance from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1997, a masters degree in accounting from DePaul in 1980, an MBA from Loyola in 1976, and a bachelors degree in management from Northern Illinois University in 1970.  I have been a National Association of Securities Dealers arbitrator since 1998.  I worked for the United States Postal Service 1966-1969, IRS 1971-1980, and the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO 1980-1997.  Congress has to use the Democrat-controlled GAO to conduct studies and investigations.  While the Democrats who control GAO's Chicago office wasted my career and forced me to take early retirement, they did let me work on audits of financial institution regulators during my last 8 years with the agency.)
  
Less than a week after being sworn in as one of approximately 50 new members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Peter Roskam (R-6th) said he's thrilled being appointed to the House Financial Services Committee.

His assignment as just one of two freshman named to the panel was made Wednesday morning. The committee, which has a membership of 70 House members, passes and debates legislation concerning the nation's financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and real estate.

"The committee has a huge impact on our district," Roskam told the Journal Wednesday mentioning the existence of Allstate and Zurich American insurance offices. "It's a fairly significant committee. I've been active in those issues while I was in the General Assembly.

Roskam and fellow House members were administered the oath of office on Thursday, Jan. 4 in Washington, D.C. The ceremony took place on the floor of the House of Representatives. Approximately 100 family members and friends of Roskam attended the event, including his wife, Elizabeth, parents, and his four children who were allowed on the House Chamber floor.

Roskam, 44, said he is still in the process of trying to rent a suitable apartment to live in while in Washington.

"We've been working hard on setting up a new district office,' said Roskam. Former U.S. Rep. Henry's Hyde's office, which has been located in Addison for many years, is scheduled to be demolished. Roskam's local office will be located in Bloomingdale in the heart of the 6th Dist. The district includes western Des Plaines, southern Mt. Prospect, Elk Grove Village and communities to the west in DuPage County.

The Cannon House Office Building is where Roskam's Washington quarters are located.

The weekend after his swearing in, Roskam and his family traveled to Williamsburg, Va. where they participated in Congressional orientation meetings and activities. He said he plans on attending President Bush's State of the Union address in the House chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

ILLINOIS FAMILY INSTITUTE

(Human) Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act  How did Illinois' Congressional Delegation Vote? - David E. Smith

http://www.illinoisfamily.org/news/contentview.asp?c=33152

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved taxpayer funding for research that requires the destruction of human life.

This afternoon, Thursday, January 11th, the U.S. House passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, H.R. 3 -- a bill that proposes to expand federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research and the destruction of human life. The vote was 253 to 174.

Below is a list of how Illinois' House Congressional members voted on H.R. 3. Pro-lifers should note that of Illinois' 19 U.S. Representatives, only 8 voted in the interest of perserving the sancity of human life, 10 voted for human embryonic stem cell research, and one member (Denny Hastert) failed to cast his vote. Republicans Mark Kirk and Judy Biggert voted for taxpayer-funded research, while Democrats Dan Lipinski and Jerry Costello voted against H.R. 3.

IFI thanks the 8 Illinois members of the House who voted against destroying human embryos for research. President George W. Bush has promised to again veto this bill if it passes the U.S. Senate.

'Gays' in the Military - a troop 'surge' liberals support - J. Matt Barber

Liberals in Washington are very vocal in opposition to the president's planned deployment of additional troops to the Iraqi theatre, but in the culture war on the home front, those same liberals are prepared to enthusiastically push for an "escalation" in troop enlistment by repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and permitting openly homosexual men and women to sign up. (Move over National Guard and Green Berets - make way for the avant-garde and Lavender Berets.)

"The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network," the "Human Rights Campaign," and a host of other powerful and extremely well-funded pro-homosexual activist groups are leading the charge. But it's the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-California.), who's sounding the shrill bugle call.

According to the Washington Blade, a top 'gay' publication, Pelosi has signed on to the homosexual lobby's top-ten 'gay' wish-list as a "co-sponsor for all 10 gay- and AIDS-related bills that are languishing in Congress." Of those ten bills, the innocuously titled "Military Readiness Enhancement Act" - which would repeal "don't ask, don't tell" - is a top priority.

Other liberals are weighing in as well. On January 2nd, The New York Times fired off a real opinion piece dud. "Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military" was penned by blast from the past, John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Clinton administration. Needless to say, Shalikashvili's column sorely missed its target.

In the piece, Shalikashvili opines that "don't ask, don't tell" has outlived its usefulness and that it was only "a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve."

So, while admonishing us that "the debate must be conducted with sensitivity," Shalikashvili not so gingerly implies that those of us in the majority - those of us who still believe that it's ill-advised to engage in radical social experimentation within the ranks of a military immersed in the War on Terror - are a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals stuck in the primordial sludge of the "homophobic" 1990's.

Shalikashvili notes that: "The concern among many in the military was that … letting people who were openly gay serve would lower morale, harm recruitment, and undermine unit cohesion." Well sir, that's still the concern "among many in the military" today - most in fact - and those concerns are just as well-founded now as they were during the military's Paleolithic Clintonian era.

It's no secret that our current military leadership, as they've done throughout this liberally manufactured debate, continues to overwhelmingly oppose allowing openly homosexual men and women to enlist. And Shalikashvili fails to provide any evidence whatsoever which would support his pro-homosexual contention to the contrary (other than perhaps his own "evolving" moral compass). He offers no evidence which would indicate that anything has changed or that it ever will change.

In fact, one of the scant few pieces of anecdotal evidence Shalikashvili offers up in attempts to bolster his argument, has the unintended result of causing both hemispheres of your brain to abruptly and violently swap places.

While gathering support for his assertion that it's now time, and "equality" dictates that openly 'gay' sailors be permitted to serve as effective members of, say, a nuclear submarine crew, Shalikashvili cheerfully informs us that he's had his opinion seconded by "an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew." He's asking for permission to eat that omelet - but already has an empty plate in front of him and egg on his face.

So, as Shalikashvili, Pelosi and other proponents of the "gays in the military" social experiment prepare to ramp up efforts to inject their San Francisco brand of moral relativism into a last sound vestige of a morally misguided and politically correct society, one can only hope that good old fashioned common sense will prevail.

And while the 110th Congress gets revved up, and our fighting men and women face possible cutbacks in funding and other threatened roadblocks in their ability to execute the War on Terror, it would be shameful if they additionally had to brace themselves to absorb the destructive impact of leftist social experiments gone awry.

Regrettably, however, it looks like our armed services are going have to rely on their last line of defense on this one. When the "Military Readiness Enhancement Act" makes its way to the Oval Office, as it likely will in fairly short order, we can only hope that President Bush will bring us all back down to earth for a while by demonstrating once again that the veto pen is mightier than the PC sword.

SOUTHWEST HEARLD

GOP Presidential Candidate Opposes Bush Troop "Surge" - John Cox

http://www.swnewsherald.com/online_content/2007/01/lb011007_cox_bush.php

John Cox, the first announced Republican presidential candidate, released the following statement this evening. Cox is available for interviews.
 
"Pres. Bush’s plan for a ‘surge’ in troops to Iraq and an additional $1 billion or more in taxpayer handouts is the wrong approach and will not lead to victory.
 
The people of Iraq live in economic despair every day. They lack hope, and many are turning to terror and violence as a result.
 
Sending more American soldiers into Fallujah with virtual targets on their backs fails to address the economic realities on the ground.
 
Simply sending more troops and another billion dollars of taxpayer money to Iraq is foolish and wasteful, and will not solve the economic problems of the Iraqi people.
 
Lifting people and the economy up out of the chaos they are in must be part of the solution.
 
I have called on Pres. Bush to implement what I call "Operation Economic Opportunity" in Iraq to ensure that nation’s oil capacity is brought to full capacity, so they can sell oil on the open market and build their own schools, roads and military - with their own money.
 
We must get our troops off the streets and get them guarding the oil pipelines and refineries immediately.
 
We must reform the government bureaucracy in Iraq that is keeping funds from reaching the rebuilding projects that they so desperately need.
 
Productive, happy and gainfully employed people generally do not turn to terrorism.
 
In a nation of 25 million people, an estimated $75 billion more in annual oil revenue could lift the nation out of poverty, and bring hope and prosperity to a nation sitting on an ocean of oil.
 
By building up the Iraqi’s economy by returning oil production to full capacity, they can become self-sufficient, and then we can leave, knowing we have ensured a lasting peace.
 
We must give economic hope to the Iraqi people. America can give them hope for the future through economic opportunity and the personal and financial rewards that brings.
 
The Iraqi people must feel they have a share in their nation’s prosperity and success. Only then will we be able to leave that nation, knowing we have made it a shining star in the region and an example for others to follow."

FREE REPUBLICANS

No Human Embryo is Safe - John Cox

http://freerepublicans.wordpress.com/2007/01/11/presidential-candidate-cox-no-human-embryo-is-safe/

NAPERVILLE SUN

DuPage pushes for sales tax to make up for lost funding - Page Winfield

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/207781,6_1_NA12_COUNTY_S1.article

After their pleas to state lawmakers for a cigarette tax went up in smoke, DuPage County leaders now hope a quarter-cent sales tax will rescue the county from austere budget cuts.

During the Senate's lame-duck session that ended Tuesday, President Emil Jones refused to bring to a vote a bill that would bring DuPage $25 million to $40 million by allowing Illinois counties to levy a cigarette tax of $1 to $2 per pack.

But if the County Board gets a referendum for a public safety sales tax on the ballot for the April municipal elections and it passes, residents would pay an additional quarter-cent sales tax, thereby generating $35 million to $40 million for the county.

County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, R-Naperville, said he does not know why Jones disregarded the county's entreaties, as the bill had bipartisan support by more than half of Senate members.

"Springfield failed the people of DuPage County," Schillerstrom said at the County Board meeting Thursday. "Thousands of Illinoisans voiced their support for this legislation, but the choir of voices was not heard."

Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, said Jones refused to allow the bill to be called for "political reasons."

"It's disappointing that the Democratic Legislature will not allow counties like DuPage have local control to raise revenues where needed to take care of senior citizens or the poor," Dillard said.

Now, DuPage department heads are enacting cuts that had been put on hold since November, when the County Board passed the 2007 budget. Schillerstrom said about 40 county employees will be laid off by the end of the month.

Other cuts include half of the budget for Access DuPage and 65 percent of grants to nonprofit community services.

Failing to gain permission for a cigarette tax does not change the county's commitment to operating within its means, Schillerstrom said.

The sales tax would be added on top of the 1Ľ cent county sales tax already paid by unincorporated DuPage residents and the quarter-cent county sales tax paid by DuPage residents who live in incorporated areas.

DuPage jail study plans still a go - Paige Winfield
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/207886,6_1_NA12_COUNTY_S2.article

Although the state Senate on Tuesday doomed hopes for a DuPage County cigarette tax, plans for a $112,000 comprehensive study of the overcrowded county jail remain unaffected.

The study would be covered by a contingency fund within the 2007 budget.

If the board approves a contract with MGT of America, it will be the first study in 15 years that reviews every component of the jail, including population and medical care, said Patrick O'Shea, chairman of the Judicial/Public Safety Committee.

"(The study) is a necessary tool and a predicate to building a new jail," he said, although he hopes the county can postpone spending $80 million to $100 million to construct a new jail by making improvements to the existing structure.

Last fall, Sheriff John Zaruba warned County Board members of an escalating inmate population. He said the facility consistently houses 80 to 100 inmates more than the desired capacity of 720.

On Thursday, the board referred the proposed study to that committee after it was mistakenly reviewed by the Finance Committee.

Biggert starts session on a roll - Paige Winfield

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, introduced seven bills Friday, the first day of the 110th Congress. The bills include measures to repeal oil and gas production tax credits, provide alternative energy incentives, encourage parents to establish savings accounts for their children, fund eating disorder prevention programs and control Asian Carp, which pose a threat to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.

Biggert supports Bush's plan - Paige Winfield 

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/207986,6_1_NA12_GOVWATCH_S1.article

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, issued a statement Wednesday supporting President Bush's call for an additional 21,500 combat troops to be sent to Iraq.

"As I've said since my last visit there, the Iraqi people have to step up and take ownership of their own country. The President got it right - the patience of the American people is running very thin," Biggert said.

"But we owe it to our troops to give the Iraqis one last chance to show that they are willing to fight for and take responsibility for the future of their own country. We can't want it more than they do.

"If the Iraqi people have had enough of sectarian violence, innocent deaths and economic depravation, this plan will work. If not, they must know that Americans are weary of this war and that they will have to go it alone."

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September 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Sep-2005
September 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Sep-2005
September 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Sep-2005
September 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Sep-2005
September 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Sep-2005
September 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Sep-2005
September 24. 2005 News Clips 24-Sep-2005
September 23, 2005 News Clips 23-Sep-2005
September 22, 2005 News Clips 22-Sep-2005
September 21, 2005 News Clips 21-Sep-2005
September 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Sep-2005
September 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Sep-2005
September 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Sep-2005
September 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Sep-2005
September 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Sep-2005
September 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Sep-2005
September 14, 2005 News Clips 14-Sep-2005
September 13, 2005 News Clips 13-Sep-2005
September 12, 2005 News Clips 12-Sep-2005
September 11, 2005 News Clips 11-Sep-2005
September 10, 2005 News Clips 10-Sep-2005
September 9, 2005 News Clips 9-Sep-2005
September 8, 2005 News Clips 8-Sep-2005
September 7, 2005 News Clips 7-Sep-2005
September 6, 2005 News Clips 6-Sep-2005
September 5, 2005 News Clips 5-Sep-2005
September 4, 2005 News Clips 4-Sep-2005
September 3, 2005 News Clips 3-Sep-2005
September 2, 2005 News Clips 2-Sep-2005
September 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Sep-2005
August 31, 2005 News Clips 31-Aug-2005
August 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Aug-2005
August 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Aug-2005
August 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Aug-2005
August 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Aug-2005
August 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Aug-2005
August 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Aug-2005
August 24, 2005 News Clips 24-Aug-2005
August 23, 2005 News Clips 23-Aug-2005
August 22, 2005 News Clips 22-Aug-2005
August 21, 2005 News Clips - Part 1 21-Aug-2005
August 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Aug-2005
August 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Aug-2005
August 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Aug-2005
August 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Aug-2005
August 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Aug-2005
August 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Aug-2005
August 14, 2005 News Clips 14-Aug-2005
August 13, 2005 News Clips 13-Aug-2005
August 12, 2005 News Clips 12-Aug-2005
August 11, 2005 News Clips 11-Aug-2005
August 10, 2005 News Clips 10-Aug-2005
August 9, 2005 News Clips 9-Aug-2005
August 8, 2005 News Clips 8-Aug-2005
August 7, 2005 News Clips 7-Aug-2005
August 6, 2005 News Clips 6-Aug-2005
August 5, 2005 News Clips 5-Aug-2005
August 4, 2005 News Clips 4-Aug-2005
August 3, 2005 News Clips 3-Aug-2005
August 2, 2005 News Clips 2-Aug-2005
August 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Aug-2005
July 31, 2005 News Clips 31-July-2005
July 30, 2005 News Clips 30-July-2005
July 29, 2005 News Clips 29-July-2005
July 28, 2005 News Clips 28-July-2005
July 27, 2005 News Clips 27-July-2005
July 26, 2005 News Clips 26-July-2005
July 25, 2005 News Clips 25-July-2005
July 24, 2005 News Clips 24-July-2005
July 23, 2005 News Clips 23-July-2005
July 22, 2005 News Clips 22-July-2005
July 21, 2005 News Clips 21-July-2005
July 20, 2005 News Clips 20-July-2005
July 19, 2005 News Clips 19-July-2005
July 18, 2005 News Clips 18-July-2005
July 17, 2005 News Clips 17-July-2005
July 16, 2005 News Clips 16-July-2005
July 15, 2005 News Clips 15-July-2005
July 14, 2005 News Clips 14-July-2005
July 13, 2005 News Clips 13-July-2005
July 12, 2005 News Clips 12-July-2005
July 11, 2005 News Clips 11-July-2005
July 10, 2005 News Clips 10-July-2005
July 9, 2005 News Clips 9-July-2005
July 8, 2005 News Clips 8-July-2005
July 7, 2005 News Clips 7-July-2005
July 6, 2005 News Clips 6-July-2005
 


 

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