GOPUSA ILLINOIS
  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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Welcome to CampaignSiteBuilder
June 2, 2006 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
FOR TEXT, SCROLL DOWN
 
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
-- Blagojevich lottery plan: `Trust me' doesn't cut it - Editorial
-- Ethics takes top spot in race for governor  Blagojevich, Topinka clash on reports from inspectors - Rick Pearson
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, men fall further behind
DAILY SOUTHTOWN
-- I don't care! Sell anything for the schools, Meeks says - Dan Lavoie
DAILY HERALD
-- Countywide races duck soup for DuPage GOP - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=195388&cc=d&tc=&t=
(DIERSEN: The Democrats can argue the reason they could not find anyone to run against the six Republican DuPage Countywide candidates -- Gwen Henry for Treasurer, Gary King for Clerk, Dewey Pierotti for Forest Preserve President, Darlene Ruscitti for Regional Superintendent of Schools, Bob Schillerstrom for Chairman, and John Zaruba for Sheriff -- was that all the Democrats want to help elect Duckworth.  But GOPUSA ILLINOIS argues the real reason is that the Republican DuPage Countywide candidates are so highly qualified and have demonstrated that they can and will do such an outstanding job.) 
-- Tollway sale could hit suburban drivers’ wallets -
http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/krol.asp
-- George Ryan: Fair trial is no help to a guilty defendant - Lou Eisenberg  
ABC7
-- Blagojevich faces allegations of political hiring - Andy Shaw
CBS2
-- Blagojevich Hiring Form Included Blank For Names  Bill Brady Calls For Investigation
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
-- Form in Illinois governor's office belies claim of 'blind' hiring - John O'Connor
BLOOMINGTON PANTAGRAPH
-- Brady: Madigan should reveal investigation results - Kurt Erickson
TOM ROESER
-- Political Shootout: Peraica vs. Coconate
PLAINFIELD NEWS
-- Cross zings Democrats, but still doesn't see letter as being political - Cindy Wojdyla Cain
PUBLIC AFFAIRS
-- McSweeney calls Cong. Bean a hypocrite on debates - Jeff Berkowitz 
PIONEER PRESS
-- Conservative group stirs District 214 controversy - Patrick Corcoran
-- 10th race becoming competitive - John Roszkowski
MCSWEENEY CAMPAIGN
-- 8th District Illinois Candidate David McSweeney Challenges Incumbent to Debate the issues - Jim Thacker
www.davidmcsweeney.com
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
-- Armatrong v. Eberle: Texas GOP Vice Chairman race
GOPUSA
-- 'Ten Commandments' Judge on Alabama's Republican Primary Ballot - Allie Martin
-- GOP: Give Us A Reason - Oliver North
 
GOPUSA ILLINOIS
97 DuPage County District 4 Republican Precinct Committeemen anxious to fill DuPage County Board District 4 John Noel ballot vacancy - Dave Diersen
It would be great if the DuPage County Board District 4 John Noel ballot vacancy would be filled in time for the winner to walk in the Wheaton and Glen Ellyn Independence Day parades.  However, sadly, it does not look like things are moving fast enough for that to happen.  Grant Eckhoff and Jim Flickinger and fellow Milton Township Republican Precinct Committeemen Chris Edwards and Paul Didzerekis have declared their candidacies.  Ronald Almiron and fellow Milton Township Republican Precinct Committeemen Sal Falbo and Pam Mitroff have indicated that they might do so.  Sadly, it seems that the delay in filling the vacancy is being caused by opposition toward allowing DuPage County District 4 Republican Precinct Committeemen to fill the vacancy by casting secret ballot weighed votes at a convention.  Sadly, last heard, everything has been put on hold until attorney Pat Bond locates a legal opinion he wrote on the issue six years ago.  Notwithstanding that, Milton Township Republican Central Committee (MTRCC) Chairman Leonard Sanchez has called a special MTRCC meeting on June 14 for the District 4 Republican Precinct Committeemen in Milton Township to take a straw poll using secret ballot weighted votes to identify a single candidate for to support at the convention.  Falbo has expressed concerns about that process.  Hopefully, in the very near future, the following will be finalized, published, and widely distributed: a) requirements and qualifications to serve as a Republican DuPage County Board District 4 member, b) the process and deadline for declaring one's candidacy to fill the vacancy, c) the process and deadline for publishing the list of candidates, d) the date, time, and location of the convention, and e) the convention agenda including the voting process.  Hopefully, all the candidates will publish campaign websites that detail their qualifications and their positions on the issues.  Your GOPUSA Illinois Editor looks forward to serving on by-laws and technology committees established by DuPage County Republican Party Central Committee (DCRCC) Chairman Kirk Dillard.  Hopefully, DCRCC by-laws will be updated and published on DCRCC's website in the very near future.  Hopefully, DCRCC will select a new Executive Director in the very near future.
 
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Blagojevich lottery plan: `Trust me' doesn't cut it - Editorial
Gov. Rod Blagojevich hatches a plan, practically overnight, to privatize the state's lottery and invest the estimated $10 billion in proceeds in education. The plan is so vague and risky it raises a thousand questions. An obvious one: How did you arrive at the $10 billion figure?

Astonishingly, Blagojevich says he's not telling. He contends the financial estimate prepared by Goldman Sachs is "proprietary" information.

"Releasing their work would be the equivalent of releasing a road map to bidders on how to bid less, and that doesn't make sense," said a Blagojevich spokeswoman, Becky Carroll.

So ... just trust him?

That might work in Shangri-La. It doesn't here in Illinois. Not when a huge state asset and the financial future of the state's education system are at stake.

Blagojevich may think he can ignore Republicans and fast-talk a lot of Democrats into backing this plan, but apparently he can't fast-talk House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).

In a May 30 letter sent to Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Madigan called for an "in-depth review process" to scrutinize the plan. Among the questions he wants answered:

- How will school districts and the state handle the "four-year cliff"--when $4 billion in spending from the deal will end, without a replacement? How will they contend with the "15-year cliff"--when $650 million in annual school payments from the deal will disappear?

- Which school districts stand to benefit most from the education plan?

- Is the state Board of Education prepared for the added responsibility of taking over chronically failing schools, as the governor's plan anticipates?

- What types of controls would be placed on the private operator of the state lottery, particularly when it comes to marketing the lottery to poor, elderly or minority groups? Would the new operator be able to expand gambling sites in Illinois?

- What will happen to new education programs that are determined four years hence to be ineffective?

"Guiding the review process should be this principle: We must consider our obligations not only to those who need help today, but also that we keep the state on a sound financial footing so that we can meet our responsibility to those who will need help tomorrow," Madigan wrote.

Madigan's apparent skepticism about this plan is a relief. He's asking the right questions. Gov. Blagojevich, there's nothing proprietary about providing complete and open answers to taxpayers about their government.
 
Ethics takes top spot in race for governor  Blagojevich, Topinka clash on reports from inspectors - Rick Pearson
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign on Thursday called upon Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka to release reports from her inspector general, even though public disclosure would be illegal under a law Blagojevich signed.

Blagojevich's campaign also said the governor's office will "talk about the results" of state inspector general investigations of the administration. But a spokeswoman for the Democratic governor later said the office would only discuss the recently disclosed hiring investigation by its inspector general and said the law's prohibition against public disclosure prevented it from releasing reports.

The issue of the role of inspectors general in investigating allegations of wrongdoing moved to the forefront as the campaigns increasingly focus on which candidate has stronger ethics.

Shelia Nix, spokeswoman for the Blagojevich campaign, questioned why Topinka's inspector general in 2003 left while probing allegations that the state treasurer used state workers to campaign on taxpayer time--an issue that has been under federal investigation. Nix said Topinka has refused to discuss the findings of the inspector general's investigation and, in a statement, asked if the treasurer would "release any reports issued" by her inspectors general since she took office in 1994.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy when she's criticizing the governor and the governor's practices when she had a federal investigation and an inspector general report and she's not discussing it," Nix said.

But Topinka said that under Blagojevich's ethics law, she was prevented from making inspector general reports public. Of the investigation into state workers doing campaign work, she said, "there were no findings that we could find" in the report. Topinka's inspector general at the time did not meet the qualifications for the job under the new ethics law, her campaign said.

Topinka also said federal investigators have not contacted her office about the allegations for three years.

Reporters asked Topinka how many investigations had been conducted by her inspector general in her three terms as treasurer. "I don't know," she said. "I have to look." Later a campaign aide said the state ethics law also prohibited the release of that information.

Blagojevich's campaign also questioned how independent Topinka's inspectors general had acted in the treasurer's office since they had given campaign donations to her. Topinka said her current inspector general gave $200 to her in 1998, while he was serving in Cook County law enforcement. She also accepted donations from Martin Noven, her current legal counsel, but said none occurred during his tenure as an acting inspector general.

But her campaign said it "inadvertently accepted $200" from William DeMarco, a former Sangamon County sheriff, when he served in the post in 2000.

"We will return the money to the foundation created in Bill's memory after his death," said Topinka campaign adviser Nancy Kimme.

Kimme said the campaign challenged Blagojevich to return donations from Democratic sponsors of state job-seekers and those who got those jobs.

The Blagojevich administration recently announced the dismissals of two hiring officials following a yearlong internal investigation conducted by the state's executive inspector general, which alleged the two had manipulated the grading system in an effort to help people get jobs or promotions.
 
President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers.

The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, the proposal would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.

It stands little chance of passing the 100-member Senate. Several Republicans oppose the measure, and so far only one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, has said he will vote for it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the amendment on May 18 along party lines after a shouting match between Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Democrat Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, who opposes the measure.

A slim majority of Americans oppose gay marriage, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press from March. But the poll also showed attitudes are changing: 63 percent opposed gay marriage in February 2004.

Those poll results don't reflect how people might feel about amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage.

"The president firmly believes that marriage is an enduring and sacred institution between men and women and has supported measures to protect the sanctity of marriage," White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said.
 
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, men fall further behind
Women catch up in diplomas, lag in pay - Ben Feller
WASHINGTON -- Women now earn the majority of diplomas in fields men used to dominate--from biology to business--and have caught up in pursuit of law, medicine and other advanced degrees.

Even with such enormous gains over the past 25 years, however, women are paid less than men in comparable jobs and lag in landing top positions on college campuses.

Federal statistics released Thursday show that women earn the majority of bachelor's degrees in business, biological sciences, social sciences and history. In undergraduate and graduate disciplines where women lag, they are gaining ground, earning larger numbers of degrees in math, physical sciences and agriculture.

"Women are going in directions that maybe their mothers or grandmothers never even thought about," said Avis Jones-DeWeever, who oversees education policy for the Institute of Women's Policy Research.

The findings were part of a 379-page report, "The Condition of Education," a yearly compilation of statistics that give a picture of academic trends. Women now account for about half the enrollment in professional programs such as law, medicine and optometry, up from 22 percent a generation ago.

The number of women in undergraduate classes has grown more than twice as fast as it has for men. Women outnumber men on campus by at least 2 million. In business, by far the most popular degree field among undergraduates, women earn slightly more than half of all bachelor degrees; it was one-third in 1980.

Women who work full time earn about 76 percent as much as men, according to the institute. They are underrepresented in full-time faculty jobs, particularly in physical sciences, engineering and math.
DAILY SOUTHTOWN
I don't care! Sell anything for the schools, Meeks says - Dan Lavoie
The lottery. Autographed Bobby Jenks baseballs. Gov. Blagojevich's Elvis memorabilia.

Exactly what the state hawks to raise $10 billion for education doesn't matter to State Sen. James Meeks, as long as there's some kind of school funding plan in the budget this fall.

"I don't care what they sell," he said. "I don't care how they get the money. If (Blagojevich) goes back on his promise, it's his reputation that's at stake, not mine."

Meeks, whose threat to mount an independent run against Blagojevich helped spur the lottery plan, said the governor's office initially came to him with several proposals to raise the $10 billion in school money.

Meeks declined to say just what those "Plan Bs" were and Blagojevich's office insisted it focused exclusively on using the lottery to raise money for education.

The source of the money doesn't matter to Meeks.

But if there isn't a solid funding plan in the budget come November, Meeks promised to use all his power as leader of the Black Caucus to hold up the state budget.

The governor's office said it's committed to selling or leasing the lottery.

"This is our plan," spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said. "We believe it will work. We absolutely support it."

But it's likely the privatization plan will face a tough road through Springfield.

After days of lashing from Republican critics, even the Illinois House's top Democrat, Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), began asking tough questions about the proposal this week.

In a letter to his fellow House members, Madigan laid out a series of detailed questions about how the lottery sale might take place and how education will be funded in the long term after the up-front money runs out.

"We must consider our obligations not only to those who need help today, but also that we keep the state on a sound financial footing so that we can meet our responsibility to those who will need help tomorrow," he wrote.

Meeks said he had many of the same questions as Madigan. The senator said Blagojevich assured him the concerns would be answered in the next couple days.

Even vocal supporters of the education funding proposal have some major questions.

State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) said she's wary of selling such a large state asset, but thinks the plan has great promise once the details are sorted out.

"This whole issue is something we're going to have to talk about, have meetings about, because the whole package isn't yet put together," she said.

Some critics think Meeks and Blagojevich hashed out many of the finer details behind closed doors.

"Meeks is an extremely, extremely intelligent, conscientious legislator," said State Rep. Renee Kosel (R-New Lenox). "I'd be surprised if these questions haven't been answered already, unless (Meeks) knows the answers and we don't."

On some of the most important questions, however, Meeks said he simply doesn't know the answers.

Like the rest of us, Meeks has never seen the Goldman Sachs financial report that explains how the state can find a buyer willing to pay $10 billion for the lottery. He took Blagojevich's word that the numbers would work.

Still, Meeks isn't worried about the details. And he doesn't expect Blagojevich to call a special session of the General Assembly before the November election just to address education funding.

In the heat of a campaign against Republican candidate Judy Baar Topinka, the financial and political costs of such a move would be too high, Meeks said.

But Blagojevich better start lining up supporters soon.

Meeks pointed out he still has three weeks to file signatures to be an independent candidate for governor.

Asked if he had closed the door completely on entering the race, Meeks was coy.

"Never say never," he said.

DAILY HERALD
Countywide races duck soup for DuPage GOP - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=195388&cc=d&tc=&t=
(DIERSEN: The Democrats can argue the reason they could not find anyone to run against the six Republican DuPage Countywide candidates -- Gwen Henry for Treasurer, Gary King for Clerk, Dewey Pierotti for Forest Preserve President, Darlene Ruscitti for Regional Superintendent of Schools, Bob Schillerstrom for Chairman, and John Zaruba for Sheriff -- was that all the Democrats want to help elect Duckworth.  But GOPUSA ILLINOIS argues the real reason is that the Republican DuPage Countywide candidates are so highly qualified and have demonstrated that they can and will do such an outstanding job.)     
A slew of Republican candidates in DuPage County will be getting a free pass during the upcoming general election.

They just might have 6th District Congressional Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth to thank.

For the first time in years, DuPage Democrats will have no candidates seeking countywide offices. And while the local party had the chance to slate candidates last week, it only added a few county board and forest preserve hopefuls.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Gayl Ferraro said she worked hard to recruit candidates. But many declined her offer, saying they wanted to help Duckworth’s campaign.

“A lot of the people that we had encouraged to run — that we were hoping would run — are involved with the Duckworth campaign,” Ferraro said. “They want to remain focused on it.”

As a result, the Democrats have only eight candidates for 21 county races.

County Clerk Gary King said he’s surprised he won’t have a Democratic challenger for the first time in six general elections.

“This is the first I can remember the Democrats not having a candidate for a countywide office,” King said. “It’s almost as if they are saying, ‘Forget it.’æ”

GOP officials said they were expecting the Democratic Party to fill the November ballot with names in order to keep Republican candidates busy with their own campaigns.

Now uncontested Republicans say they plan to work to help state Sen. Peter Roskam, Duckworth’s GOP opponent, in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde.

“I intend to be a soldier for the party,” said Michael Connelly, the county board District 5 Republican nominee. “If I have to, I will go walk in Elmhurst for Peter Roskam.”

Ferraro admits she’s disappointed her party doesn’t have any countywide candidates. She said she believes excitement over Duckworth’s campaign could carry other Democrats to victory.

But she also understands why fellow Democrats want to focus on helping Duckworth.

“Everybody stands by the fact that once we get Tammy elected it’s going to give us more credibility,” Ferraro said.

Billy Weinberg, Duckworth’s spokesman, said people are eager to play a role in the campaign because they realize the 6th District race is going to be close.

“A vast majority of the grassroots support that we’re getting comes from people who live right here in the district who are hungry for change,” Weinberg said. “They are eager for the opportunity to show that this district can be the home to a competitive race in November.”

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, the chairman of the DuPage GOP, said he’s not surprised that the Democrats “want to put all of their eggs in Tammy Duckworth’s basket.”

But Dillard said anyone who believes there’s “a Democratic insurgency” in DuPage is mistaken.

“The reality check is they have fewer precinct committeemen today than they did a couple of years ago,” Dillard said. “They can’t even find anyone to run for countywide office.”

King agrees that conceding any office to another party isn’t a smart political move.

“If they were going to show that they are a viable party, they would have someone running against all of us,” he said.

Ferraro vowed that will be “a big focus” for DuPage Democrats in future races. “We just can’t let this ride again.”

Tollway sale could hit suburban drivers’ wallets -
http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/krol.asp

The Great Tollway Grab started this week, and from the looks of it, suburban drivers should be holding onto their wallets for dear life.

Although lawmakers technically only started hearings to study the feasibility of selling the tollway, let’s skip right to the analysis of What This Means: almost certainly higher tolls, possibly sketchy maintenance of the roads, not to mention virtually kissing goodbye any future toll roads or new lanes to ease congestion. Boiled down to its essence, selling the tollway appears to amount to a money grab to bail out the rest of the state.

Let’s tackle the issues one at a time, with most of the focus on the money-grabbing aspect. If the state sells the tollway, the buyer will need to make a profit, and one way to guarantee that is to build toll increases into the deal. So if the state sells the tollway, it’s a matter of, not if, but how much and how quickly tolls will go up. Another way to turn a profit is to skimp on maintenance. Will the potholes be filled and roads rebuilt as quickly as if the state continued to own the tollway? Doubtful, since the buyer wouldn’t have as great of an incentive as the tollway to do so. Every repair cuts into the buyer’s bottom line.

As for new tollways, that northern extension of Route 53 through Lake County would almost surely be shelved. Granted, towns still aren’t in any hurry to agree that road should be built, but the state wasn’t going to have the cash to build that stretch as anything but a toll road.

The return on a private operator’s investment in building a new road probably wouldn’t be enough to justify the cost. The state, which doesn’t have to turn a profit, wouldn’t have that worry because its incentive is to improve commuters’ lives. By the same rationale, it wouldn’t make much financial sense for a buyer to add new lanes to existing tollways to ease congestion, since new lanes don’t equal profits, just more expense.

As for why this is going to be viewed by suburban taxpayers as a money grab to bail out the rest of the state, well, they need look no further than what the money could go for.

Lawmakers already are going starry-eyed at the prospect of more money for transportation projects. Once this gets to Springfield, geographical politics guarantees most of those projects won’t be in the suburbs. The tollway sale’s sponsor, Democrat state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg of Evanston, is pushing for taking the proceeds and paying down the massive state worker pension debt. That would free up hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the state budget to spend on anything from pork projects to expansion of social programs.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s crew, for example, visited the Daily Herald editorial board last week and hinted about a Massachusetts-style universal health care program. Selling the tollway would be one way to pay for such a big-ticket program.

Will a tollway sale pass? Almost certainly. It’s a way for lawmakers to avoid raising taxes but spend more money. It’s fairly easy for downstate Republicans and Democrats to join the Chicago Democrats. The few suburban Democrats would have to weigh a voter backlash against the prospect of having more money to spend.

At this point, the only thing saving the suburbs might be the possibility that a three-fifths majority vote would be required. Will Senate GOP leader Frank Watson urge his members to stay unified in opposition, or will he, as a downstater, go along with it?

I tend to get a chuckle out of old-fashioned newspaper crusades, but this is one that could resonate in the suburbs. Suburban taxpayers tend to make more money, and thus already pay more in sales and income taxes than the rest of the state.

With gas at $3 a gallon, the prospect of steadily increasing tolls isn’t going to sit well with them. They’re going to have one question: Why should the tollway be used as a piggybank to bail out the rest of Illinois?

George Ryan: Fair trial is no help to a guilty defendant - Lou Eisenberg  

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

A recent letter to the editor said of the George Ryan trial, “It seems as if attorneys are always asking for continuances for one reason or another. A delay of a few days to do background checks on jurors selected in a high profile case might be advisable. (And more cost-effective, in the long run, than running the risk of a mistrial or new trial.)”

Apparently, the writer just doesn’t get it. Ryan had a very good lawyer who must have been aware that a guilty verdict was possible; it would be unworthy of him not to have a backup plan in case his client was convicted.

Suppose Dan Webb knew that some of the jurors were tainted. Since his purpose is to get his client off, would it be more prudent to let the tainted juror stay or lose an opportunity to get a mistrial if (and only if) his client was convicted?

In most instances, defendants know if they are guilty, and the last thing a guilty defendant ants is a fair trial that reaches a valid conclusion. For them, it is much better to gum up the works than to expedite them.

ABC7

Blagojevich faces allegations of political hiring - Andy Shaw
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faces another controversy over alleged political hiring. There are new allegations that his administration maintained an employment list for low-level state jobs.
 
The governor's promise three-and-a-half years ago to raise the ethical bar in Springfield has been undermined by numerous scandals and controversies since then -- including a revelation two weeks ago that Blagojevich maintained a clout list of politically-connected applicants for high-level jobs and now a new disclosure that the administration reviewed and approved the hiring of state employees for menial jobs like plumbers and highway workers. The governor's republican opponent is wasting no time going on the attack.

Judy Baar Topinka -- the state treasurer and GOP candidate for governor -- says the latest disclosure about hiring lists for low-level state jobs is further proof that from the day he took office in January of 2003 Rod Blagojevich played the same kind of politics with hiring and promotions as his predecessor -- George Ryan -- and the City Hall operatives on trial in Chicago for alleged patronage abuses.

"The governor very clearly said when he took office that there would be no names, it would all be done blind and that his office was not involved," said Judy Baar Topinka, (R) Candidate for Governor.

One Topinka ally is demanding an investigation by the Illinois attorney general

"Frankly, the people I represent are sick and tired of waiting for federal prosecutors to clean up the mess in Illinois," said State Sen. Bill Brady, (R) Bloomington.

The governor's campaign says the hiring list was a carryover from the Ryan administration and was eventually eliminated by the end of Blagojevich's first year in office.

"When he came into office, we had a $5 billion deficit, a budget issue to deal with. He had to look at everything. There have been 26 years of republican administration. He came in, took a look at the system, and then made the changes that were needed," said Sheila Nix, Blagojevich Campaign.

"I don't think anybody believes that. I just don't think anybody believes that," said Topinka.

The governor's campaign says Topinka's never answered numerous questions about her own ethics or proposed any solutions to the state's real problems.

"Whether it's minimum wage, assault weapons, whether it's issues, anything that you can think of, the first thing that we get is criticism and complaints without a lot of where is her education plan, where is her health care plan, where is her information on her inspector general and that's what we're trying to raise today," said Nix.

CBS2

Blagojevich Hiring Form Included Blank For Names  Bill Brady Calls For Investigation
A hiring form Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office created to track state job decisions early in his tenure included a space for the applicant's name, despite the administration's assertion that it switched to a "blind" system for filling routine jobs soon after he took office.

A copy of the hiring form obtained Thursday by The Associated Press lists "name" alongside boxes to fill in the job title, salary information and possible start date. The form also asks agencies to check a box indicating whether the job falls under state rules requiring it to be filled by merit, not political considerations, or whether it is exempt from those rules.

The forms indicate they went to Joe Cini, the governor's personnel director, and Lon Monk, his chief of staff at the time.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said state agencies using the new forms did not fill in the box for names when requesting to fill jobs protected from political decisions, although she acknowledged some early forms submitted might have included names erroneously. Names also are excluded from the administration's current electronic system, she said.

State and federal investigators are looking into Blagojevich's hiring practices, including Cini's work.

Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer challenging Blagojevich in November's election, and other Republicans say a hiring process with names in the mix raises questions about whether the governor is approving protected jobs based on personal or political considerations, or whether they're based solely on merit.

"It is very difficult to believe anything that comes out of this governor, out of his office," Topinka told reporters in Chicago on Thursday. "This goes right to the heart of his office. He obviously was involved."

The AP reported Wednesday that the governor's personnel agency, the Department of Central Management Services, compiled the lists around the time he took office in 2003. They included 1,800 positions -- nearly 1,200 accompanied by names -- and aides to the governor and his budget office had to sign off on each new hire, promotion, transfer and salary change.

Those lists followed the format in place under Blagojevich's predecessor, Republican Gov. George Ryan, Ottenhoff said. She said names weren't considered in hiring. The electronic system put in place in October 2003 automatically excludes names for protected posts, she said.

In the transition from the Ryan system to the computer-based process, hires were approved using the paper form the AP obtained Thursday. It is led by a spot for the applicant's name. It was submitted by an agency after a new hire was approved, and it went to Cini, then Monk, who now is Blagojevich's campaign manager.

Although not a legal requirement, agencies were instructed not to include the names of candidates for jobs covered by civil service laws or a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, known as Rutan, that prohibits hiring on the basis of politics for most state jobs.

"If it was a Rutan-covered position, in the area where it says `name,' the agency would just put, `Rutan-covered candidate,' and that's how our electronic system works now, too," Ottenhoff said.

She acknowledged some early forms agencies submitted might have included names simply out of habit.

The space for names was there only for positions that are allowed to be filled with political considerations, Ottenhoff explained. She said there was no reason not to identify those candidates -- who serve at the will of the governor -- even though the form was for fiscal review only.

"The governor has every right to know who is going to be taking policymaking position within the administration," Ottenhoff said.

The governor's budget office denied a March Freedom of Information Act request from the AP for documents related to the hiring system.

In addition to Topinka's remarks Thursday, Republican state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who ran for governor against Topinka in the primary election, called on the Illinois attorney general to investigate and take steps to preserve potential evidence.

"This administration knows they are the target of prosecutors," Brady said in a statement. "In that kind of situation, the pressure to destroy or alter evidence is intense."
 
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Form in Illinois governor's office belies claim of 'blind' hiring - John O'Connor
A hiring form Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office created to track state job
decisions early in his tenure included a space for the applicant's name,
despite the administration's assertion that it switched to a "blind" system for
filling routine jobs soon after he took office.

A copy of the hiring form obtained Thursday lists "name" alongside boxes to
fill in the job title, salary information and possible start date. The form
also asks agencies to check a box indicating whether the job falls under state
rules requiring it to be filled by merit, not political considerations, or
whether it is exempt from those rules.

The top of the forms include the names of Joe Cini, the governor's personnel
director, and Lon Monk, his chief of staff at the time.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said that with jobs covered by the state
rules, names were not included on the new forms, and they also are excluded
from the administration's electronic system.

State and federal investigators are looking into Blagojevich's hiring
practices, including Cini's work.

Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer challenging Blagojevich in November's
election, and other Republicans say a hiring process with names in the mix
raises questions about whether the governor is approving protected jobs based
on personal or political considerations.

"It is very difficult to believe anything that comes out of this governor, out
of his office," Topinka told reporters in Chicago on Thursday. "This goes right
to the heart of his office. He obviously was involved."

The AP reported Wednesday that the administration maintained lists around the
time he took office in 2003 with 1,800 positions - nearly 1,200 accompanied by
names - showing that aides to the governor and his budget office had to sign
off on each new hire, promotion, transfer and salary change.

Ottenhoff said those lists represented the system in place under Blagojevich's
predecessor, Republican Gov. George Ryan. She said names weren't considered in
hiring and that Blagojevich quickly replaced the lists with a system that
excluded names.

The governor's aides were approving filling new positions - not individuals to
fill them - based on whether they were affordable in a budget crisis, officials
say.
BLOOMINGTON PANTAGRAPH
Brady: Madigan should reveal investigation results - Kurt Erickson
A Republican state senator from Bloomington wants Attorney General Lisa Madigan to reveal the results of an investigation of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration within the next 90 days.

In a letter to the Democratic attorney general, state Sen. Bill Brady said his constituents “deserve to know quickly if the allegations against the Blagojevich administration are founded.”

Hiring practices within the governor’s office are already being probed by federal, state and local officials.

But Brady, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination this spring, issued his request to Madigan in the wake of a new report by the Associated Press that the governor’s aides reviewed and approved hundreds of employment decisions by name, rather than by merit.

That report comes just a week after Lee News Service obtained a separate hiring list of nearly 300 job seekers and their politically connected sponsors.

“The people of Illinois are fed up with politics as usual,” Brady said. “These violations of giving taxpayer-funded jobs to campaign donors and political allies, if founded, are serious violations of the public trust and may even be criminal.”

A spokeswoman for Madigan declined to discuss Brady’s request. “We do not comment on ongoing criminal investigations,” Madigan spokeswoman Melissa Merz said.
 
TOM ROESER
Political Shootout: Peraica vs. Coconate
Political Shootout this Sunday will feature two shrinking violets who will have to be prodded to elicit their views: Tony Peraica, the Republican nominee for President of the Cook county Board and Frank Coconate, the independent Democrat from the northwest side who is a vociferous critic of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Should be a good show. That’s this Sunday on WLS-AM (890) at 8 p.m.
PLAINFIELD NEWS
Cross zings Democrats, but still doesn't see letter as being political - Cindy Wojdyla Cain
Republican Tom Cross, the state House minority leader who has an office here in Plainfield, fired off a letter to Democrats earlier this month that rips ... Democrats.

Cross doesn't see the missive as political, so the postage was paid by the state, not his campaign fund.

Myron Brick, chairman of the Will County Democratic Party, said it appears the letter dated May 12 was sent to all of his party's precinct committeemen. Brick himself received one.

In the letter, Cross, of Oswego, shreds "the Democrats" for raiding the pension fund, stuffing the budget with pork projects and continuing an "unprecedented streak of borrowing and spending."

Cross said nothing in the letter was inaccurate.

"This is what the Democrats' General Assembly did with our tax dollars – it's the truth," he said.

Brick thinks Cross sent the letter to demoralize Democrats going into the November election.

"This is not a good season for the Republicans, and they know that," Brick said. "They're trying to get Democrats to sit on their hands when we're more highly motivated than we've ever been."

Brick said he had received numerous calls about the letter, and he thinks it will have the opposite effect.

"It has inspired them to work even harder," he said of the party's 200 or so precinct committeemen. "He (Cross) should be a motivational speaker for the Democrats."

Because of its anti-Democrat tone, Brick assumed the letter was paid for from Cross' campaign fund.

Cross said the letter was sent to about 2,000 officials of both parties in Will, DuPage and Kendall counties, just as previous reports from him have been sent to the same group.

Cross views his letters as a way to update officials on the General Assembly's actions. In this case, Cross admitted he was furious with the way Democrats – who control the House, Senate and executive branch of state government – handled the budget.

The state is months behind in Medicaid payments, and still there are $800 million in pork projects in the new budget, he explained.

"It's criminal," he fumed. "It's nuts."

But Brick said the letter was one-sided.

"I didn't see any alternatives in his piece on how to proceed (with budget matters)," Brick said.

Cross added that he never attacked any one specific Democrat in the letter. Also, the November election is months away, so the letter cannot be viewed as campaign literature, said Cross, who is unopposed in his 84th District race.

"In my opinion, their public policy is bad," he said of Springfield Democrats. "Is that political?"

Cross said he sends such letters to inform, but also to get feedback from Republicans and Democrats alike who live in and around his district.

"It wasn't meant to irritate local Democrats," he said.

Dan White, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said the letter appears to abide by a state law that prohibits using public funds on campaign literature. Cross would have had to call on letter recipients to vote for or against a specific candidate or a ballot proposition for it to be inappropriate.

"I do not believe it crosses that threshold of urging a vote for or against a candidate," White said.

Even so, Brick had one piece of advice for Cross: "If the bottom line is so important to him, he shouldn't waste stamps."

PUBLIC AFFAIRS
McSweeney calls Cong. Bean a hypocrite on debates - Jeff Berkowitz 
Jeff Berkowitz: So, you think she [Cong. Bean [D-Barrington, 8th CD] is being hypocritical here?

David McSweeney: Absolutely, not even a question.
*********************************************
Jeff Berkowitz: Incumbents in general, try to do this, as you know. That is, avoid debates, avoid forums, stay above the fray. Cong. Mark Kirk [R-Highland Park] has done this for five years in the 10th [Cong. Dist.] since he was elected- he’s a Republican. Cong. Crane [a Republican] did that before he was beat by Melissa Bean--

David McSweeney: And, Jeff, that’s the great irony of the whole thing. Phil Crane lost. Melissa Bean, through-out the campaigns in 2002 and 2004, when she ran against Crane, was criticizing him for being out of touch, not engaging in debates and look what she is doing. So, that just shows the hypocrisy in the situation.

Berkowitz: So, you think she [Cong. Bean] is being hypocritical here?

McSweeney: Absolutely, not even a question.

Berkowitz: If she came out and said, starting in August, she [Cong. Bean] would do ten debates, would you withdraw that characterization of her being hypocritical?

McSweeney: I think what she needs to do is she needs to start earlier than August. There is no excuse why we can’t start now. Again, you look at the [House] schedule, you’ll see that there are wide openings in the schedule and I think we need to start immediately.

Berkowitz: If she [Cong. Bean] doesn’t do that, how are you going to engage her in the next month or two?

McSweeney: I am just going to be out there…I am going to be holding regular press briefings. I am going to be talking to people. I go to multiple events per day and talk to the people in the District. And, I will then be pointing out the hypocrisy of Bean running an entire campaign-- saying Phil Crane is out of touch when in fact she does not even live in the [8th] Congressional District and she is inaccessible directly to the media except through her spokesman most of the time and to top off the whole thing, that she refuses to engage in any type of discussion or debate
************************************.
David McSweeney [R-Barrington Hills], 8th Cong. District Republican Nominee, Telephone Press Conference, June 1, 2006
**********************************
In a broad ranging telephone press conference this morning that lasted about forty minutes, David McSweeney [R-Barrington Hills], Republican nominee in the 8th Cong. Dist. sought to engage his opponent, at least through the media. His opponent, of course, is incumbent, first term, 8th CD Congresswoman Melissa Bean [D-Barrington], who took the seat away from Republicans and Cong. Phil Crane in 2004, after he had held if for 35 years.

McSweeney reiterated his call for 24 debates with Cong. Bean, holding one in each of the twenty-four 8th Cong. District’s townships. So, far, Congresswoman Bean has not responded to the challenge, other than to say, through her spokesman that the Congresswoman is busy doing the District’s business and she will look at that issue perhaps in August, when the House is scheduled to recess for at least a month.

McSweeney said this morning that Congresswoman Bean “has agreed to nothing,” with regard to debates. McSweeney said the best kind of forum would be open ended with the candidates being able to ask and answer questions of each other, back and forth, similar to the no ground rules format that NBC’s Dick Kay [now retired] used for the “discussion,” Kay hosted last week with Governor Blagojevich and his Republican challenger, Judy Baar Topinka.

McSweeney, as indicated above, let loose this morning with the charge of hypocrisy, citing Cong. Bean’s complaints in 2002 and in 2004 about then incumbent Congressman Phil Crane’s general reluctance to debate his opponent, Melissa Bean.

8th Cong. Dist. Republican Nominee McSweeney also claimed that Democratic Congresswoman Bean was abusing the Congressional franking privileges for campaigning and accused Bean of using her government staff and government funded Robocalls for political campaigning. McSweeney pledged to do neither, citing his promise to cut the Congressional spending on itself of almost four billion dollars for such items, by 25%, or one billion dollars. McSweeney in the past has referred to such cuts in federal spending as symbolic of the kind of leadership he would bring to Congress to try to reign in federal spending.

Additional topics covered in the press conference were McSweeney’s request that Congresswoman Bean fully disclose her fund raising trips and activities, with McSweeney indicating that he is doing so; McSweeney’s allegation that Jewel stores only makes space available to elected officials to hold meet and greets, and therefore makes such space available to Bean but not to McSweeney; the importance of the 8th CD race to the Republican Party maintaining control of the House; McSweeney’s support of the President’s war on terror; McSweeney’s view that the President needs “to tell the story of what he wants to do in the future; McSweeney’s view that the Republican Party needs “to talk about lower taxes, less spending and a strong national defense;” and McSweeney’s support of an immigration bill that “improves border security while not granting amnesty.”

McSweeney was also asked in the press conference about an item in Lynn Sweet’s blog purportedly involving a McSweeney Enron connection. McSweeney indicated that he was asked to make an assessment as part of a team for Bank of America Securities of Enron in August-September, 2001. McSweeney stated this morning that his assessment was that “things were bad and we should stay out of that situation, and that’s exactly what we did.” McSweeney said, “the Bean people tried to plant this story,” about some kind of a McSweeney-Enron connection. McSweeney said he would make the Enron story issue No. 1 in the debate with Bean. He said he would talk about his business experience versus Cong. Bean’s business experience and he would talk specifically about the so-called Enron-McSweeney issue.

David McSweeney said he would be holding regular telephone press conferences in the future, after a number of the media on the call indicated they would be helpful. McSweeney indicated he would continue to be available to the media both for in-person one on ones and for in-person press conferences, as well.

As of the time of this posting, Congresswoman Bean’s spokesperson was unavailable for comment on the issues raised above relating to Cong. Bean.
 
PIONEER PRESS
Conservative group stirs District 214 controversy - Patrick Corcoran

A not-for-profit Christian conservative group has been fanning the flames of District 214's book controversy.

Prior to the vote, Culture Campaign, a not-for-profit group, had promoted District 214 School Board member Leslie Pinney's proposed book ban on its Web site.

Although the site supported her cause, Pinney said she is not affiliated with Culture Campaign.

Several speakers at the May 25 District 214 Board meeting referenced the Web site during the controversial book debate, some citing it and some condemning it.

After the vote, the group's Web site, www.culturecampaign.com, posted this: "By a margin of 6 to 1, Cook County District 214 Board of Education voted at the May 25, 2006 meeting to continue to require students to read books that include excerpts that can only be characterized as pornographic. Board Member Leslie Pinney was the lone dissenting vote."

The headline was even more blunt: "Illinois District 214 schools require pornographic reading,"

On the Web site, Culture Campaign states it "exists to help church and para-church organizations re-enlist believers into the culture war one believer at a time."

The Wheaton charity is headed by conservative Sandy Rios.

Noted in recent news accounts for her inflammatory comments regarding Islam during a National Day of Prayer speech last month, Rios is listed as president of Culture Campaign, Inc. on its Web site. According to the Illinois secretary of state's office, the organization registered as a not-for-profit in September 2003.

Rios is the former national president of Concerned Women of America, a national conservative Christian advocacy group.

In a May 4 National Day of Prayer speech in Wheaton, she was quoted by a local newspaper as saying she understands multiculturalism and respect for other religions, but that the Christian God is supreme.

"If you were to go God shopping, you would choose (the Christian) God," she said. "He is a God of grace and mercy. He does not demand the blood of innocents to satisfy him. There is no other God like that. No Hindu God; no other God. Allah is not like that. Allah is a God of vengeance."

10th race becoming competitive - John Roszkowski 

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/localnews/current/gu/06-01-06-940031.html

Supporters of Democratic congressional candidate Dan Seals say they are heartened by an independent report which shows the race against Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk for the 10th Congressional District becoming more competitive.

The same report also predicts a competitive race in the 8th Congressional District, where Republican David McSweeney of Barrington Hills is challenging Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-8th, of Barrington.

The Cook Political Report, a Washington-based non-partisan on-line analysis of congressional races across the country, now lists the 10th District race as one of 54 Republican seats nationwide that could be competitive in November. The seat is still listed as "likely Republican," the least competitive of three categories identified in the report. It was previously considered a safe seat.

Meanwhile, the 8th Congressional District race is one of 21 Democratic held seats across the country and two in Illinois that are listed as competitive in the report. The race is listed as "lean Democratic," which is the second most competitive category.

10th District

The Cook Report is one of many independent barometers of the competitiveness of races, which national party leaders use to determine whether to pump money or resources into a political campaign.

The Rothenberg Political Report, another non-partisan political report that analyzes races, does not yet have the 10th District race on its radar screen of competitive seats.

"We're watching it," said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Report. "We met with Seals and thought he was a good candidate but right now we don't see the seat being in danger,"

Amy Walter, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, said "the reality is Mark Kirk is very difficult to beat one on one" during a normal election year and he's still favored to win the race at this point.

However, nationally it could be "a very tough year for Republicans," particularly in congressional districts trending Democratic like the 10th, Walter said.

"It's not really about Mark Kirk or Dan Seals," she said. "It's about the political climate."

Lauren Beth Gash, chairwoman of the 10th Congressional District Democrats, said she thinks the report is an indication Seals is a very strong candidate and that voters in the 10th District are dissatisfied with the current Republican leadership in Congress.

"I think it's clear what it means that this race is becoming one of national importance," she said. "It's a race that started out as a safe seat for Republicans and is now a district that is clearly in play."

But Andy McKenna, state GOP chairman, said Kirk has built broad-based support among voters in the district. McKenna said Kirk carried the district with 69 percent of the vote during his 2002 re-election bid and received 64 percent in 2004.

"Mark Kirk is a great fit for that district and that is why support for him has been so strong," he said. "He's very independent and he's been a strong voice for the environment, which is very important for that district."

Seals of Wilmette said the Cook Report is an indication that his campaign's hard work is paying off. Seals easily won his Democratic primary bid in March against Zane Smith, a Winnetka attorney.

"It's never easy to take on the assistant majority whip and I've got a lot of work ahead of me," said Seals. "This is going to be a tough race to win. Mark Kirk is part of the Republican leadership and that gives him a lot of resources but I like where I'm at."

Seals said he hopes the growing competitiveness of the race will bring more national attention to the race and financial support from the national party.

During the first quarter of 2006, Seals' campaign had raised $374,159 compared to $1.635 million for Kirk. Seals said he has several upcoming fund-raisers, including a private fund-raiser June 16 at a home in Wilmette that will feature U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Kirk released a statement pointing to his record of accomplishments serving the district.

"I was proud to save our veterans hospital and continue my work to protect our children from guns, gangs and on-line predators," he said. "We accomplished much in five years with important legislation coming, including efforts I am leading to create 401 (kids) savings accounts and to continue health care insurance for life."

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Seals has been building grassroots support in the district by speaking out on issues that concern the voters like the war in Iraq, health care and the environment.

Psaki said the national party is raising money to support strong Democratic candidates for Congress through its "Red to Blue" program. While Seals was not on the list of the first 22 candidates to receive support through the program, she expects the national party will strongly back Seals' campaign in November.

Walter said one of Seals biggest challenges is he's still relatively unknown among voters and will have to raise significant money, probably at least $1 million, to wage a competitive race against Kirk.

8th District

Meanwhile, the 8th Congressional District is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races in Illinois, as Republicans hope a win back a seat that had long been controlled by the GOP until Bean's victory over Phil Crane in 2004.

Jim Thacker, campaign manager for the Republican nominee McSweeney, said Republicans think they have a real opportunity in the 8th District, where President Bush received 56 percent of the vote in 2004.

"While it's always hard to beat an incumbent, when you have a district like the 8th it becomes a very competitive district and probably one of the most competitive in the country," he said.

Brian Herman, a spokesman for Bean's office, said Bean has been a moderate, independent voice who represents the values and priorities of voters in her district. She said the race had been considered a toss up by many independent observers like the Cook Report but now has been moved into the "lean Democratic" category.

"I think there's no question the Republican Party has a sense of entitlement when it comes to this seat," he said. "But the bottom line is she (Bean) has a history of results and representing the mainstream values of the district."

MCSWEENEY CAMPAIGN
8th District Illinois Candidate David McSweeney Challenges Incumbent to Debate the issues - Jim Thacker
www.davidmcsweeney.com
Barrington Township: David McSweeney, candidate for Congress in Illinois' 8th Congressional District challenged incumbent Congresswoman Melissa Bean to debate the issues.
 
McSweeney has accepted the offers for debates and joint appearances while the Bean camp is non-committal. McSweeney is calling for a thorough airing of issues for this election. The Congressional legislative calendar can be found at http://majoritywhip.house.gov/calendar.asp.

"Melissa Bean attacked her 2002 and 2004 opponent, Phil Crane, for not being in the district enough and airing the issues but she has already adopted the same policy. A number of organizations and media entities have asked for the candidate's participation in forums and debates. The word that we have gotten back is that the Bean camp is non-committal," said McSweeney.

"Melissa Bean is two-thirds of the way through her first term and she has already picked up the habits of 30 year incumbents. Her taxpayer funded staff has been insulating her and they have adopted a policy of communicating through automated calls and slick newsletters also paid for by the taxpayers," said McSweeney.

"I have called for 24 debates, one in each township in the 8th District. This way Melissa Bean and I can look voters in the eye and tell them where we stand on the issues. We can also allow for a full airing of the issues rather than name-calling. It is an insult to the people of the 8th Congressional District to have the DCCC and Rahm Emanuel's attack dogs play surrogate to the person who is supposed to represent this district," said McSweeney.

"Melissa Bean's campaign thus far has been focused on amassing and hoarding money for her campaign while using tax dollars to send out campaign-like newsletters and making automated calls that amount to self-promotion. She should use a little of the time that she has to attend forums and debates over the issues rather than fundraising in San Francisco and socializing with the Hollywood elite," said McSweeney.

"I am encouraging the media and service organizations to ask Melissa Bean for her commitment to participating in the debates and forums," said McSweeney.

David McSweeney resides in Barrington Township within the 8th Congressional District with his wife Margaret and their two daughters.
 
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Armatrong v. Eberle: Texas GOP Vice Chairman race
Republican Paty of Texas Vice Chairman David Barton, who has been called one of the most influential Evangelical leaders in America, is having to give up his party post at this year's covention due to term limits.

A race is on between two Republican activitst to replace him.

Robin Armstrong, a doctor of internal medicine from Dickinson, is seeking to become the highest ranking African-American ever elected to a state party post.

Armstrong has the backing of Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill, Republican National Committeeman Bill Crocker of Austin and Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams.

Armstrong is facing off against Bobby Eberle of Pearland. Eberle is a long-time Republican activist who founded GOPUSA, an internet site that claims 600,000 subscribers nationally.

Eberle was drawn into a national controversy in 2005 when questions were raised about whether a reporter for his Talon News, Jeff Gannon, legitimately dserved White House press credentials. Gannon resigned during the controversy, which included disclosures that he had posed nude on an Internet site for male escorts.

Eberle said Gannon was a volunteer reporter and had been surprised when he received White House press credentials.

GOPUSA

'Ten Commandments' Judge on Alabama's Republican Primary Ballot - Allie Martin

http://www.gopusa.com/news/2006/june/0601_alabama_judge.shtml

The man who was at the center of a controversy several years ago over the public acknowledgment of God is in a race for governor of Alabama.

Three years ago Judge Roy Moore -- who was then chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court -- made national headlines when he refused a federal judge's order to remove a 5,300-pound Ten Commandments granite monument from the State Judicial Building. A state judicial court removed Moore from office over the incident.

Now Moore is running in the June 6 Republican primary as a candidate for governor. He is opposed by the incumbent, Governor Bob Riley. A recent poll conducted by SurveyUSA for a television station in Mobile showed Moore trailing Riley by more than two-to-one.

Moore's platform is called "Return Alabama to the People." He says special-interest groups have a stranglehold on Alabama politics.

"The main thing, of course, [is] when money controls your government, the people don't have a voice," the gubernatorial candidate says. "[In that situation] the people don't control the government; the government controls them, and it answers to special interests. And we certainly have that in Alabama."

Moore states that if elected he will not attempt to return the Ten Commandments monument to a state building in Montgomery. But he says he will work for term limits for legislators to curb influence from special interests. And as for the pre-election polls, he believes he will benefit from a strong voter turnout.

"People have to understand: in this state we don't have party registration -- [therefore] you can vote in any primary that you wish," he explains. "So we encourage all people in Alabama to come in and ask for the [Republican] ballot ..., to vote so we can return a godly understanding of government to our state and representative government to our people. We need to return the government of this state back to the people of Alabama."

Moore also vows to push for tougher penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. His campaign website also states Moore's opposition to gambling, pornography, and same-sex "marriage," as well as his promise to defend individuals' rights to "publicly acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government."

On the Democratic side of the Alabama gubernatorial primary, former Governor Don Siegelman appears to have a slight lead over Alabama Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley.

GOP: Give Us A Reason - Oliver North
This city and its environs used to be a GOP stronghold -- an island of Republican power in the midst of a rapidly changing, Democrat-controlled state. That's no longer the case. And what is happening here in Southern California is, in many ways, a reflection of what's happening across the nation.

The silhouette of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) -- first in the class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are essential to projecting American power -- dominates the harbor. Navy and Marine F/A-18s regularly roar off the runway at North Island Naval Air Station. Thousands of young Americans who have volunteered to fight our country's battles are being trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, adjacent to the city's international airport. On a promontory above the port, a 29-foot high cross, erected in 1954 to honor those who fought in defense of our nation, overlooks the sea. Yet, all these symbols of American strength, resolve and tradition may well be on the way out.

A coalition of developers, environmental activists and anti-military radicals is now challenging whether San Diego's vital naval base-air station complex should continue in operation. The Marine "boot camp" has been targeted for closure. And the city fathers, once proud of the cross atop Mt. Soledad, have now agreed with the ACLU and a federal judge that this memorial to those who sacrificed for this country violates some mythical barrier between church and state, and will have to go.

Apparently, the majority of people in and around San Diego no longer feel that these things are important enough to fight for. The apathy and indifference are palpable -- and not just here on the Left Coast. Unfortunately for Republicans hoping to win or keep office in this November's midterm elections, ennui is no ally.

Over the last 30 days, I've traveled the length and breadth of this great land -- documenting the courage of veterans from battles past and present for our "War Stories" series on FOX News Channel. Though the evidence is all anecdotal -- and politics is thankfully not my "beat" -- there is a disheartening similarity in what "average Americans" are saying about our political process.

In Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- all places I have visited this month -- there is a near-universal refrain: "a pox on both their parties."

Now I'll be the first to admit that if I knew so much about politics, I'd be writing this column from my office in the U.S. Senate. And "political experts" will be quick to point out that conversations with people in 17 states hardly constitutes a representative "scientific sampling" of American public opinion. But for those of us who favor Republicans in mayor's offices, and on city councils, state legislatures and governor's mansions, and GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, as even Karl Rove will have to acknowledge, disinterest is not a propitious sentiment.

This is no Red State-Blue State divide. And, at least for those who cared enough to bend my ear on the subject, the disaffection seems to leap age, economic and ethnic barriers. The most common complaints: "The GOP is out of touch with us"; "They just don't get it when it comes to our borders"; and "They're corrupt. All they care about is getting re-elected."

Tough stuff -- particularly for incumbents. It makes a person wonder who these elected officials are listening to during their lengthy recesses. No two issues are more indicative of the GOP's tin ear than the response of party officials to corruption in Washington and the vulnerability created by our porous borders.

Last week, "leaders" in both parties raced to the microphones to insist that FBI agents with a proper search warrant not use evidence collected in the offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

Jefferson had apparently been videotaped accepting a $100,000 bribe, and agents allegedly found $90,000 in cool cash hidden in his freezer. To say that most Americans find it hard to accept that Jefferson's office shouldn't be searched by law enforcement under these circumstances is an understatement.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have sent an equally baffling message on border security. Though recent polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support border protection first, and are opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens, the White House and the Senate insist on a "comprehensive immigration bill" that will eventually grant citizenship to millions of "illegals."

The GOP has fewer than 160 days to convince Americans to vote for them. "Us or them" won't cut it. Republicans have to give Americans reasons to vote -- or find themselves losing big five months from now.

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October 31, 2005 News Clips 31-Oct-2005
October 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Oct-2005
October 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Oct-2005
October 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Oct-2005
October 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Oct-2005
October 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Oct-2005
October 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Oct-2005
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October 21, 2005 News Clips 21-Oct-2005
October 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Oct-2005
October 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Oct-2005
October 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Oct-2005
October 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Oct-2005
October 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Oct-2005
October 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Oct-2005
October 14, 2005 News Clips 14-Oct-2005
October 13, 2005 News Clips 13-Oct-2005
October 12, 2005 News Clips 12-Oct-2005
October 11, 2005 News Clips 11-Oct-2005
October 10, 2005 News Clips 10-Oct-2005
October 9, 2005 News Clips 9-Oct-2005
October 8, 2005 News Clips 8-Oct-2005
October 7, 2005 News Clips 7-Oct-2005
October 6, 2005 News Clips 6-Oct-2005
October 5, 2005 News Clips 5-Oct-2005
October 4, 2005 News Clips 4-Oct-2005
October 3, 2005 News Clips 3-Oct-2005
October 2, 2005 News Clips 2-Oct-2005
October 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Oct-2005
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
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July 15, 2005 News Clips 15-July-2005
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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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