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  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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Weekly Poll
Welcome to CampaignSiteBuilder
April 5, 2006 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
FOR TEXT, SCROLL DOWN  
 
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
-- Topinka slams Blagojevich on education - Christopher Wills 
-- Topinka v. Blagojevich: Early campaign buzz will be meaningless by fall - Carol Marin
-- DeLay gone, but not forgotten in 6th District race - Lynn Sweet
DAILY HERALD
-- Topinka blasts governor, shows early lead in polls - AP 
-- Duckworth brings up DeLay  Republican rival Roskam worked for ex-House majority leader in the 1980s
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=174475
-- Gay Games rowing event in Crystal Lake greenlighted  No-wake restriction approved to help event - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/mchenrystory.asp?id=174561
-- Sali Rexhepi, former owner of The Viking Restaurant in Winfield, charged with failing to report $1.5 million income
(Not posted as of 5:00 AM)
WQAD
-- Topinka slams Blagojevich on education, promises more independent board
WBBM780
-- Meeks Says He's Close To Running For Governor -
ILLINOIS REVIEW
-- Topinka holds slight lead in new poll
-- Lynn Sweet: Now wasn’t that thoughtful of her - Teri O'Brien
BEACON NEWS
-- Priests to protest at Hastert's offices - Matt Hanley
PUBLIC AFFAIRS
-- McSweeney and Bean, a virtual debate - Jeff Berkowitz
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
-- Web brightens local newspaper landscape - 
MY HERITAGE
-- Why children of illegal aliens aren’t citizens - Nathaniel Ward
GOPUSA ILLINOIS
-- Questions to ask your Republican Committeeman - Dave Diersen
Your newly elected or reelected Republican Committeeman will elect or reelect your Illinois Republican Party (IRP) State Central Committee (SCC) member on April 19.  Opponents of SB600 argued that a) being able to vote in IRP SCC elections was a very important reason why people become Republican Committeemen and b) Republican Committeemen elect much much better IRP SCC members than Republican voters because they are much much more familiar with the IRP SCC candidates than Republican voters.  Questions to ask your Republican Committeeman:
-- How important is it to you that you are able to vote in IRP SCC elections and why?
-- How familiar are you with the IRP SCC, its responsibilities, its officers, its meetings, etc. and how did your acquire that familiarity?  Please elaborate.
-- How familiar are you with the current IRP SCC election procedures and how did you acquire that familiarity?  Please elaborate. 
-- Do you believe that the current IRP SCC election procedures have resulted in the best possible people running for the IRP SCC positions?  Please elaborate.
-- Do you believe that the current IPR SCC election procedures will result in the best possible IRP SCC candidates being elected?  Please elaborate. 
-- How familiar are you with the IRP SCC candidate(s) for your Congressional District and how did you acquire that familiarity?  Please elaborate.
-- Which IRP SCC candidate are you going to vote for on April 19 and why?
 
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Topinka slams Blagojevich on education - Christopher Wills 
Republican candidate Judy Baar Topinka accused Gov. Rod Blagojevich of interfering with the State Board of Education and promised Tuesday to make the board more independent if she replaces him.

Meanwhile, a new poll showed the two about even in the governor's race. The poll found 44 percent of registered voters supporting Topinka and 41 percent backing Blagojevich, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Topinka said Blagojevich is responsible for a "debacle" in this year's standardized testing of Illinois students.

The company hired to oversee testing delivered incomplete versions of the test or got it to schools late, forcing delays.

"This year, Illinois students, parents and teachers fell victim to the incompetence and cronyism of the Blagojevich administration because the contract ... was given to a company that only weeks before had hired a close friend of Governor Blagojevich as their lobbyist," said Topinka, the state treasurer.

Actually, the contract was awarded before the company, Texas-based Harcourt Assessment Inc., hired former Blagojevich aide John Wyma as a lobbyist. Harcourt won the job while a prominent Republican chaired the State Board of Education.

Wyma, as The Associated Press reported in February, was brought in later, when there was a possibility that the board might reopen the contract and solicit new bids. The board ended up sticking with its original contract decision.

Blagojevich, under a 2004 change in the law, has taken much greater control over the State Board of Education. He appointed new board members, forced out the previous superintendent and hired a new one, and installed an aide as chief of staff for about a year.

Topinka said the board should be more independent.

Major campaign donors and aides should not be named to the board, she said, and the law should be changed back so that brand-new governors can't get rid of most members and appoint a new majority.

"You pick people who are really hard-and-fast into education for education's sake and for the sake of the children," she said.

Blagojevich's campaign did not return a call seeking comment. But his office called to defend his record.

Education adviser Elliott Regenstein said the key decisions about the testing company were made before Blagojevich gained greater control of the board and that Harcourt misled board members about the extent of the problem.

He also said the governor's greater control has made the board more accountable and efficient. "Education is far too important to be divorced from the will of the people," Regenstein said.

The new poll also asked voters about the possibility of state Sen. James Meeks, the black minister at a major Chicago church, running for governor. It found that the race remains essentially tied if he runs: 40 percent for Topinka, 38 percent for Blagojevich and 7 percent for Meeks.

The telephone survey of 600 registered Illinois voters was conducted March 30-April 1 by The Glengariff Group, a Chicago research and marketing firm. It was not commissioned by any of the campaigns.

Topinka v. Blagojevich: Early campaign buzz will be meaningless by fall - Carol Marin 

http://www.suntimes.com/output/marin/cst-edt-carol052.html

Let's talk about tea leaves. That, after all, is what political pundits try to read on regular basis. Sometimes successfully. Often not.

The other day, one such tea leaf came my way. A television producer I know and respect said, "Hey, what's the deal with the Topinka campaign? We can't find the right person at the campaign to even talk to us about scheduling an appearance for the candidate."

Hmmmmm.

A tea leaf?

A hint of some problem in the campaign? Some incipient disorganization? Some post-primary failure to forge ahead aggressively?

I was off and running.

It is true that Judy Baar Topinka's campaign is without a campaign manager at the moment. Terry Barnich, who occupied that slot, left as promised after the primary to return to his other business pursuits. A new campaign manager has not yet been announced. Ditto for a fund-raising chairman, though rumor has it mega-millionaire Pat Ryan is waiting in the wings.

It is also true that Topinka's opponent, who was "too busy governing" to campaign in the primary where he had nominal opposition, now appears too busy campaigning to govern. The governor has hardly had what you'd call a commanding presence in Springfield as the Legislature gets ready to tackle the thorny business of the state budget. Rod Blagojevich, however, has been all over the airwaves, on television with glossy commercials, appearing at news conferences, and issuing challenges to Topinka to debate.

Does this media blitz bode badly for Topinka? Well for Blagojevich?

No. And no.

This is just April. We're still waiting for the Easter Bunny to hop over the horizon. We've barely gotten past the beginning of the baseball season. And we're nowhere near the junction of fact and fiction when it comes to what's happening in either of these campaigns.

I know that the Topinka forces are taking great heart in a couple of newly released polls. One of them done by Rasmussen Reports. It's an automated poll, an aggregation really of three polls, two of which were taken before the primary and one after. It shows Topinka over Blagojevich 43 percent to 41 percent.

The other, done by the Glengariff Group, is a post-primary survey of 600 registered voters. It has Topinka at 44 percent and Blagojevich at 41 percent. And, when it factors in the possible independent candidacy of state Sen. James Meeks, Topinka still leads with 40 percent against the governor's 38 percent with Meeks trailing in at 7 percent.

Topinka's camp, which includes former Gov. Jim Edgar, is reassured by these numbers because they're higher than the 37 percent of the Republican vote she got in the primary. It's evidence, they believe, that the part of the party that went with other candidates is now going with her.

The truth is, all these numbers tell us is that this election could be a horse race. Encouraging? Sure. A trend? Not yet.

And though Blagojevich's job approval ratings are lousy, and have been for some time now, is that a trend? Maybe. But don't count on that either.

Even Edgar says, "While I question their governing, I don't question their politics. They're good at it."

Republicans believe that this election will be a referendum on Blagojevich. If that referendum were taken in Springfield right now, the governor indeed could be in trouble.

It's not just Republicans who are furious with him. There are plenty in his own party who simply cannot understand how a man who spent time on the floor of the General Assembly can so assiduously avoid it and seem so disinterested in the day-to-day nuts and bolts of negotiating budgets and other wonky stuff that makes government run.

But back to the tea leaves for a moment. This is insider baseball, something politicians and political reporters thrive on. But the public is usually too busy with the issues that dominate their own lives to care whether Blagojevich gets along with lawmakers. Or for that matter, whether Topinka's campaign is currently doing a poor job of fielding media calls and scheduling her next appearance.

I have to remind myself that tea leaves, at this stage of the game, tell us almost nothing. They're not worth reading right now. And so I'm going to go grab some strong coffee and wait awhile.

DeLay gone, but not forgotten in 6th District race - Lynn Sweet

http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-sweet05.html

Tom DeLay said Tuesday he is quitting Congress because he does not want Republicans to lose House seats in November because of him.

But it may be too late for DeLay, the Texas Republican who is leaving with ethical clouds swirling around him, to take himself out of play as a factor.

Democrats at a national level and locally -- Dem House candidate Tammy Duckworth, running against state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), who once worked for DeLay -- will continue to demonize DeLay.

"DeLay may be gone, but nothing has changed," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chief of the House political operation, in a statement.

Last year Emanuel and other Democratic leaders used DeLay's ethical problems to shape what became a drumbeat Democratic "culture of corruption'' battle cry against Republicans.

"If there were a Mount Rushmore of ethical scandals,'' said Duckworth spokesman Billy Weinberg, "Tom DeLay's face would be carved on it -- and it would be just as permanent.''

The top Republican House leaders provided a united front on Tuesday, praising DeLay's tenure and his decision to step down.

Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, "I think he understood that it was becoming a referendum on him instead of on the ideas between the two parties and I think he did an honorable thing by stepping aside.''

DeLay recognized that he could lose his suburban Houston seat in the wake of the swelling federal lobbying scandal centering around convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, implicating former DeLay staffers. DeLay also is fighting Texas state charges of laundering campaign donations.

'Mentor' an overstatement

DeLay's name has been looming in the 6th Congressional District race to replace Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.).

Duckworth has been invoking DeLay on two fronts: his ethical woes and the conservative values which he advocates.

"Pete Roskam's agenda reflects the values of his mentor, Tom DeLay. It does not reflect the interests and concerns of the 6th Congressional District,'' Duckworth said in a thank-you letter to supporters she sent after the primary.

I talked to Roskam on Tuesday. Duckworth's constant refrain that DeLay is his "mentor'' is an overstatement, he said. I agree. More than 20 years ago, during DeLay's first term, Roskam worked about seven months for him as a legislative aide.

"I think the Duckworth campaign is really stretched and desperate in trying to make this a close association,'' Roskam said.

The House this week is poised to take up a watered-down ethics and lobbying bill.

Duckworth backs some strong ethics proposals offered by her mentors who have nurtured her candidacy, Emanuel and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Emanuel and Obama's ideas regrettably were rejected by the Senate and the House won't do any better.

Roskam said he would support whatever House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) does, since he has "confidence'' in Hastert's ability to pass a bill to restore public trust.

Congressional ethics is a legitimate issue in the Roskam-Duckworth race. Soon there will be real House ethics votes to use to measure up Roskam and Duckworth.

DAILY HERALD

Topinka blasts governor, shows early lead in polls - AP 

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/illinoisstory.asp?id=174573

Republican candidate Judy Baar Topinka accused Gov. Rod Blagojevich of interfering with the State Board of Education and promised Tuesday to make the board more independent if she replaces him.

Blagojevich’s campaign said Topinka doesn’t understand the facts and that the governor’s control has improved the board.

Meanwhile, a new poll showed the two about even in the governor’s race. The poll found 44 percent of registered voters supporting Topinka and 41 percent backing Blagojevich, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Topinka said Blagojevich is responsible for a “debacle” in this year’s standardized testing of Illinois students.

The company hired to oversee testing delivered incomplete versions of the test or got it to schools late, forcing delays.

“This year, Illinois students, parents and teachers fell victim to the incompetence and cronyism of the Blagojevich administration because the contract  … was given to a company that only weeks before had hired a close friend of Governor Blagojevich as their lobbyist,” said Topinka, the state treasurer.

Actually, Texas-based Harcourt Assessment Inc. won the contract before hiring former Blagojevich aide John Wyma as a lobbyist. Harcourt was told it had the winning bid while a prominent Republican chaired the State Board of Education.

Wyma, as reported in February, was brought in later, when there was a possibility that the board might reopen the contract and solicit new bids. The board ended up sticking with its original contract decision.

Campaign spokesman Doug Scofield said Blagojevich and the board have been aggressive about holding the company responsible for its mistakes. “Judy’s kind of displaying a lack of understanding of the facts here,” Scofield said.

Blagojevich, under a 2004 change in the law, has taken much greater control over the State Board of Education. He appointed new board members, forced out the previous superintendent and hired a new one, and installed an aide as chief of staff for about a year.

Topinka said the board should be more independent.

Major campaign donors and aides should not be named to the board, she said, and the law should be changed back so that brand-new governors can’t get rid of most members and appoint a new majority.

“You pick people who are really hard-and-fast into education for education’s sake and for the sake of the children,” she said.

Blagojevich education adviser Elliot Regenstein said the key decisions about the testing company were made before Blagojevich gained greater control of the board and that Harcourt misled board members about the extent of the problem.

He also said the governor’s greater control has made the board more accountable and efficient. “Education is far too important to be divorced from the will of the people,” Regenstein said.

The new poll also asked voters about the possibility of state Sen. James Meeks, the black minister at a major Chicago church, running for governor. It found that the race remains essentially tied if he runs: 40 percent for Topinka, 38 percent for Blagojevich and 7 percent for Meeks.

The telephone survey of 600 registered Illinois voters was conducted March 30-April 1 by The Glengariff Group, a Chicago research and marketing firm. It was not commissioned by any of the campaigns.

Duckworth brings up DeLay  Republican rival Roskam worked for ex-House majority leader in the 1980s
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=174475

It’s early in the Peter Roskam and Tammy Duckworth 6th Congressional District match-up, but that isn’t stopping her from taking a swing at her Republican opponent over the departure of Tom Delay from politics.

Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, on Tuesday criticized Roskam, a state senator from Wheaton, for ties to DeLay, the scandal-plagued former U.S. House majority leader.

Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates resident, noted that Roskam got his start with DeLay and received contributions from him.

A Roskam spokesman dismissed the criticism as irrelevant.

“It’s tiresome,” campaign manager Ryan McLaughlin said. “He worked for Tom DeLay for eight months, 21 years ago.”

DeLay, who announced his resignation from Congress Tuesday, was indicted on charges of misconduct related to campaign funds, part of an investigation into corruption involving lobbyists.

Roskam was a legislative aide to DeLay in the 1980s.

Duckworth also challenged Roskam to come up with ethics reforms.

She advocates preventing former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office, prohibiting travel paid by lobbyists and creating an office of public integrity.

McLaughlin said Roskam has demonstrated his commitment to ethics by tangible deeds such as co-authoring an Illinois State Toll Highway Authority reform bill.

“Throughout his career, Peter’s been an advocate for ethics,” McLaughlin said.

Meanwhile, Duckworth’s rival in the March 21 Democratic primary, Christine Cegelis, gave her blessing to Duckworth’s bid.

The endorsement came two weeks after a bitter primary battle that pitted local favorite Cegelis against Duckworth. While Cegelis had considerable support from grassroots organizations, she couldn’t beat Duckworth, who lost both legs in combat and became an instant celebrity after entering the race at the urging of Democratic national leaders.

Duckworth officials said they weren’t sure how far Cegelis’ olive branch would extend and if it would include turning over her mailing lists of supporters.

Cegelis on Tuesday declined to elaborate on how involved she would be with the Duckworth effort.

Gay Games rowing event in Crystal Lake greenlighted  No-wake restriction approved to help event - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/mchenrystory.asp?id=174561

During two Cary Park District meetings in March, commissioners listened to hours of heated debate on both sides over whether to allow the Gay Games to use the lake for an afternoon regatta event July 16.

Tuesday night, however, Mayor Aaron Shepley said the Crystal Lake City Council was not voting on whether to allow the Gay Games regatta event, or on the issue of homosexuality itself.

All Tuesday night was about was whether to change some restrictions to help the event go smoothly, Shepley said, and the final vote was 6-1 in favor of altering no-wake restrictions and temporarily closing Lakeshore Drive so boats could be loaded and unloaded.

The event, which could draw as many as 12,000 competitors from 30 countries to the Chicago area, is part of a week of festivities open to heterosexual as well as homosexual athletes.

Park district officials have offered mixed signals what was up for debate regarding the Gay Games, however. Park district commissioners voted to approve the event back in March.

On Monday, Park District Director Kirk Reimer said this wasn’t just about approving rules. He said the park district, the city and Lakewood had to approve the idea, not just logistical matters related to it.

Although the crowd Tuesday night was bigger than usual — about 40 people came for the discussion about the Gay Games — all but one of the eight speakers voiced support for the event.

And when Shepley heard Jeffe Beebe drift into discussing why allowing an event highlighting homosexuality was a bad idea — the key debate during the park district meeting — he demanded Beebe quit speaking or get back onto the topic.

“I feel I was lied to,” said Beebe, who thought the meeting was about whether to allow the games, not just the no-wake hours.

In addition, council members approved waiving boat sticker fees, since the rowers would only be there for the day.

Councilman Jeffrey Thorsen said he voted against the proposal purely because he wanted the no-wake hours to start at noon instead of 11 a.m., but council members approved the 11 a.m. start. It would have given motorboat operators an extra hour to use the lake.

Now, Lakeshore Drive will be closed between Leonard Parkway and Dole Avenue from 10 a.m. to noon and 7 to 9 p.m. so the boats can be loaded and unloaded.

And wake-creating boats won’t be allowed after 11 a.m. that Sunday.

“It was pleasing and gratifying to just talk about rowing,” said Kevin Boyer, Gay Games co-vice chairman.

Sali Rexhepi, former owner of The Viking Restaurant in Winfield, charged with failing to report $1.5 million income

(Not posted as of 5:00 AM)

WQAD
Topinka slams Blagojevich on education, promises more independent board
Judy Baar Topinka says the governor has interfered with the State Board of Education and she promises to make the board more independent if she is elected.
 
The Republican candidate today accused Governor Rod Blagojevich of -- quote -- "incompetence and cronyism." She says a company botched statewide testing after getting a state contract because it hired a Blagojevich friend as a lobbyist.

But the company landed the contract long before hiring the Democratic governor's friend. In fact, the contract was approved while a prominent Republican chaired the board.

Still, Topinka says the Board of Education should be more independent from the governor.

She says major campaign donors and aides should not be named to the board. And Topinka says the law should be changed so that brand-new governors can't get rid of most members and appoint a new majority.
 
WBBM780
Meeks Says He's Close To Running For Governor -
About 30 prominent African American clergymen say State Senator James Meeks heard their needs and could get their vote as a third party candidate for governor against Rod Blagojevich and Judy Barr Topinka.

WBBM's John Cody reports Bishop Larry Trotter, Chairman of "Clergy Speaks," says his group will meet with Blagojevich and Topinka before an endorsement decision is made. Discusseion will focus primarily on the candidates' pledge to improve statewide school funding, improve ex-con rehabilitation and fund a broad spectrum drug abuse program, not just attacks of methamphetamine labs.

The Rev. Meeks said he'd set aside his State Senate seat in order to form a complete third party slate to oppose the Republicans and Democrats.

He says he favors a swap of tax responsibilities which he says is not the same as a tax hike.

Rev. Meeks said he has no fears about fragmenting voters and endangering seats of black Democrats.  He indicated if African Americans aren't getting what they need, there's nothing to lose in opposing the incumbent or the Republican challenger.
 
ILLINOIS REVIEW
Topinka holds slight lead in new poll
Illinois Channel is reporting a poll released today by the Topinka campaign that shows State Treasurer Judy Baar-Topinka winning over Governor Blagojevich by 4 points, 44 to 40 percent.

And even if State Senator James Meeks makes good his threat to run as a third party candidate, the Glengariff poll, taken last week on 600 registered voters, shows Topinka still slightly ahead of Blagojevich by two points in the General Election. 

Most interesting is that Blagojevich loses 3 percent of his supporters and Topinka loses 4 percent of hers to make up Meeks' 7 points. 

Topinka's campaign spokesman Dave Loveday said the results follow weeks of millions of dollars in advertising -- some by fellow Republicans attacking Topinka and others extolling the governor.

"These public opinion results offer evidence that the people of Illinois have become disillusioned by the broken promises and failed leadership of Rod Blagojevich," Loveday said.

Link: Illinois Channel: Topinka Leads Governor in Another Poll.

Lynn Sweet: Now wasn’t that thoughtful of her - Teri O'Brien
I think we’ve all noticed that Lynn Sweet has a serious crush on Sen. Barack Obama, but then what member of the MSM (mainstream media) doesn’t? They all swoon at the mere mention of his name, so I just assumed that she was one of the collective panting pack, but come to find out, he’s not the only liberal democrat she has a soft spot for. Consider this quote from her column in yesterday’s Sun-Times about Christine Cegelis’ seemingly half-hearted endorsement of Tammy Durbin, I mean Tammy Duckworth :

“I phoned Cegelis to close a loop because she never used the magic word "endorse" in a letter she sent supporters after her March 21 defeat, in which Duckworth narrowly beat her with 44 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Cegelis and 16 percent for Wheaton College professor Lindy Scott.

Cegelis' post-primary letter to her backers wished Duckworth luck. "She's going to need it,'' Cegelis wrote, since the "full force'' of the Republican Party would be helping her November opponent, state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton).

But she never was more explicit and skipped a DuPage County Democrat unity breakfast the Saturday after the election, where a picture of Duckworth with the two rivals she beat could have been worth the proverbial thousand words.

“Cegelis Gives Endorsement to Duckworth for Hyde Seat,” http://www.suntimes.com/output/sweet/cst-nws-sweet03.html

Oh, we can’t have that, democrats not making nice with each other. Isn’t it great when guardians of truth and objectivity like Ms. Sweet want to make sure that everyone gets along? I guess if Mary Mapes can try to put John Kerry’s campaign in touch with one of the biggest Bush bashers on the planet with some nifty forged documents in his grubby mitts, Lynn can play facilitator for squabbling democrats in the 6th Congressional District.

BEACON NEWS
Priests to protest at Hastert's offices - Matt Hanley
Priests from the Chicago and Rockford dioceses say they will begin a hunger strike at House Speaker Dennis Hastert's downtown Batavia office today in support of a federal immigration bill.

Larry Dowling, pastor of Chicago's St. Denis Church, said he will be joined by three dozen members of Priests for Justice, including some from Aurora. A handful of priests will not eat until Hastert agrees to meet with them and accept 150,000 postcards in favor of the McCain/Kennedy legislation that supports a gradual path to citizenship for immigrants who work in the United States.

"It's not a free pass," Dowling said of the bill being debated in the Senate. "We're not advocating an open border by any means."

Dowling said the cards were gathered from parishioners all over the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The hunger strike would last until 3 p.m. April 14 — Good Friday — if necessary, Dowling said. According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, priests and allies will keep continuous watch until Hastert schedules a meeting.

"We're asking him, as Speaker of the House, to receive them (the postcards)," Dowling said Tuesday. "If it means we need to take them to Washington, D.C., we'll see."

The hunger strike may not last long. Reached late Tuesday, a spokesman for Hastert's office was not aware of the hunger strike but said the office would be glad to accept cards from the any residents living in Hastert's 14th Congressional District.

"They're free to drop off the cards," spokesman Brad Hahn said. "What we've tried to explain is that any postcard from the 14th Congressional District, we will respond to personally. We simply don't have the resources to deliver postcards to all members of Congress."

Hahn said Hastert takes immigration issues seriously and that the priests are "delivering a message we hear loud and clear."

The hunger strike is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. today outside Hastert's office at 27 N. River St., Batavia.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS
McSweeney and Bean, a virtual debate - Jeff Berkowitz
 
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
Web brightens local newspaper landscape - 
As major daily newspapers watch circulation and ad revenues erode, some publishers are finding the Internet a bigger reader magnet than others.

In the Chicago market, the suburban Daily Herald’s Web site enjoyed the largest percentage jump in the region, attracting an additional 16%, or 128,704 readers, to a print weekly readership base of 789,930, according to data released Monday by the Newspaper Assn. of America.

The Web had an especially bracing effect on readership in a demographic not known for buying newspapers: 25 to 34 year olds. The Arlington Heights-based Herald reached 103,642 readers in that age range with its newspaper alone, while its Web site expanded the Herald’s reach among the 25-to-34 set to 151,612 – a 46.3% boost that’s the second-highest percentage increase in the nation.

“We are not surprised by that,” said Kelly Casalino, director of interactive media at the Herald, owned by Paddock Publications Inc. “We believe they want to come for hyper-local news.”

Ms. Casalino said younger readers are especially interested in stories about local entertainment, police and traffic – and “prep sports is huge.” The Herald also launched beepcentral.com – “a unique blend of alternative media and citizen journalism” aimed at 21- to 34-year-old suburban readers, as it describes itself – in February.

Despite the assist from the Web, the Herald still reaches only 11.3% of all 25 to 34 year olds in its market. The paper’s highest penetration is among 45 to 54 year olds, among whom 15.2% read the Herald each week.

The region’s No. 1 newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, enjoys much wider readership. Its print and Web editions on average reach nearly half their market, according to the study.

But the Tribune gets a less pronounced kick from its Web site than its suburban rival — although the rise is from a larger base of 3.2 million readers reached. Total weekly reach jumps 7%, or 230,221, to 3.4 million when visitors to its Web site are factored in, the data say.

In the age 25 to 34 bracket, the Web adds 14%, or 72,642, more readers to make a total of 575,571 at the Tribune, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co.

Dave Tan, marketing and business development manager at Chicago Tribune Interactive, said the number of unique visitors to the Tribune’s Web site doubled to three million in December 2005 from 1.5 million a year earlier. Page views grew 32% in the same time period. “2005 was a banner year for us in growth,” he said.

Mr. Tan said the Tribune’s strategy includes highlighting the Web’s utility with up-to-date weather predictions, traffic conditions and news. He was not familiar with the NAA statistics, but said younger professionals are a big consumer bracket. “We are strong among folks who are sitting in offices all day long,” he said.

Readership figures from the Chicago Sun-Times and other local titles owned by Chicago-based Hollinger International Inc. were not available.

In the month of November, the Tribune reported 2.8 million, the Sun-Times 2.5 million and the Herald 435,000 unique Web visitors, according to the association. Nationwide, unique visitors to newspaper Web sites climbed 21% between January 2005 to December 2005, while page views increased 43% over the same period, the association said.

It’s moving in the opposite direction than print editions. U.S. newspaper circulation dropped 2.6% in the six months ending September 2005 — the biggest six-month drop since 1991, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The data were released amid the Newspaper Assn. of America’s four-day convention in Chicago, set to end Tuesday.

MY HERITAGE

Why children of illegal aliens aren’t citizens - Nathaniel Ward

http://www.myheritage.org/Features/EmailArchive/2006/040406.asp

One way illegal immigrants abuse our nation’s hospitality is by coming to America to have a child. This so-called “anchor child,” born on American soil, is considered a United States citizen, and is used to justify the parents’ unlawful presence in the country.

But this entire premise is flawed, legal scholar John Eastman explains in a new Heritage paper. Our Founders believed in government based on the consent of the governed, a break with the feudal notion that someone remains forever the subject of the country in which he was born. The Founders rejected this feudal idea and threw off their British citizenship (they were, after all, born on what was then British soil) to become Americans.

In passing the 14th Amendment, on which birthright citizenship claims are erroneously made, Congress reiterated the Founding principles, Eastman said. Congress once again “rejected the feudal birthright citizenship doctrine of medieval England as fundamentally incompatible with the principles of the Declaration of Independence.”

What does all this mean? It means, in short, that only those who fully submitted themselves to our nation’s laws can be eligible for citizenship.

A current citizen or legal immigrant has agreed to abide by the laws of the United States, so he and his children are eligible for citizenship. He has consented to be governed by American laws. By contrast, an illegal immigrant has entered the country unlawfully and refused to submit to American laws. Since he refuses to obey American laws, he must be assumed not to consent to our government, so he and his children are ineligible for citizenship.

“Birthright citizenship is contrary to the principle of consent that is one of the bedrock principles of the American regime,” Eastman concludes.

Another way to stop illegal immigration

When dealing with the illegal immigration problem, we must look at incentives. So what’s the incentive for someone from Latin America to illegally cross the border into this country? Easy: he can make far more money here than in his home country, so in his mind the crossing is well worth the risk.

So our solution must address both parts of this incentive. To do so, we must

  • Make it harder for illegal workers to make money in America, both by better securing the border and enacting stronger internal enforcement
  • Work with Latin American governments to promote economic and political freedom there—so workers have less incentive to leave home in the first place

With American encouragement, Mexico has made tremendous progress on this second front, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs and increasing real wages. But Mexico has to do even better, Heritage’s Stephen Johnson reports, since jobs are being created at a pace slower than population growth. In fact, he reports, “many U.S. cities’ annual economic output rivals those of entire [Latin American] countries.” This is an imbalance which it is in America’s interests to solve—by encouraging these countries to help themselves.

“No country exists to take on the problems of others,” Johnson explains. “On the other hand, all nations dwell in an increasingly interdependent world, and internal problems can have consequences that extend across borders. So it should come as no shock that the U.S. has a strong interest in Mexico’s economic policies and performance.”

Are special interests against America?

La Raza, a Hispanic special interest lobbying group, sent around an e-mail last week about proposed legislation that would encourage new immigrants to learn English and American history. The e-mail complains that “while [the bill] doesn’t overtly mention assimilation, it is very strong on the patriotism and traditional American values language in a way which is potentially dangerous to our communities.”

Since when are patriotism and traditional American values things that anyone in America should be worried about? 

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