Thursday, September 25, 2003

Cubs win in Cincinnati. Awesome game.

I just got back from Cincinnati. The Cubs won. Shawn Estes pitched a complete game shutout -- best outing of the season for the fifth starter on the team. My brother Jake, my buddy Mike Smith and I drove from Chicago at 11 am this morning to arrive at the Great American Ballpark around 6 pm eastern, bought 5 dollar tickets in the upper deck, took amazing seats behind home plate for batting practice, and stayed there all game. The Cubs, playing championship ball, treated the AAA Reds they way they should: 8 runs scored, 0 runs allowed. The crowd was a Cub-crowd (lots more blue than red in the stands). Afterwards, a bunch of fans stayed to cheer for Estes as he did some media interviews. And he was pumped as well, pumping his fist for the after-game fans still screaming in the stands after the game lights went out. Great game. Cubs still in first place. This could be the year.

Otherwise, I owe some updates on, especially on the Senate endorsement side, and will do that by Friday.

Monday, September 22, 2003

IL Bush ballot status in trouble?

There's some question as to whether the Bush campaign has shot itself in the foot by scheduling the GOP political convention in September to exploit the horror of the Word Trade Center attacks -- the late convention date likely conflicts with Illinois state law on the deadline to certify established party candidates on the ballot. Eric Zorn wrote about this issue here, Jeff Trigg of Random Act of Kindness wrote about it here, and I wrote about it here.

Jeff wrote that if Bush needs to run as an independent in Illinois (because state law won't be changed to accommodate the exploitation of the September convention), then he'd better start petitioning now because the period for independents to appear on the November ballot of 2004 is from now (!) until December 15th -- the same time as candidates petitioning to appear on the March primary ballot. This is a ridiculous state law, as independents should petition after the March primary when they know who the major party candidates and then, presumably, have a reason to run as an independent. Thoughtful supporters of the existing law argue that because major party candidates need to be vetted through the March primary, it is appropriate for independents to shoulder the same early petitioning burden as major party candidates, since independents need not win a primary election. Senator Ira Silverstein (D- Far North Side of Chicago) is the most thoughtful legislator on that side of the argument that I've come across.

However, Jeff is incorrect when it comes to presidential candidates. Partially because of the national political impact of state ballot access laws for presidential campaigns, federal courts have pushed the deadline back for independent presidential candidates to the same time period as the deadline for new party candidates -- June 21, in Illinois. (One of my political heroes, John Anderson of Illinois and 1980 independent presidential candidate, successfully litigated this issue of early petition deadlines for independent presidential candidates to the Supreme Court in Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 US 780 (1983)).

Bottom line: if Illinois Democrats stand firm and do not assist the Bush campaign by changing state law, and if the courts find that current state law does not permit candidate certification so late in the season, Bush can still run as an independent in Illinois until June 21. And with the corporate-lobbyist money machine the Bush partisans have built in DC, they can collect 25,000 signatures in a weekend by paying people to circulate.

(My source: the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners 2004 Election Calendar, page 10. The State Board of Elections' calendar doesn't include this, largely because they focus on the difficult process of delegate selection for the primary candidates, and, after all, the deadline isn't until the summer for independent candidates.)
Beyond the Beltway was a good show last night. My favorite moment was when Dan Proft, conservative advocate and strategist, was continually called "war hero" by a caller when Dan was on a rant about why the war on terrorism is essentially a blank check for the president to do whatever he thinks is a good idea with our military. Dan and I had a few tussles; he's a good guy and it was fun. I like Bruce DuMont's stubborn insistence that every caller acknowledge some small validity in the other side (wouldn't you acknowledge that the lack of any attack on U.S. soil might have some little thing to do with what the Bush Administration has been doing -- that thye might have been doing something right?). And Jim Wall is a good, southern Democrat from Elmhurst, counting delegates for the Dean campaign. I told him about cumulative voting rights for the DuPage County Board to get the 40% of Democrats in DuPage County some representation on the board (currently 18-0 GOP), and I should follow up with him. If you are in Chicago and you've never checked out the Museum of Broadcast Communications, you should. That's where Beyond the Beltway is broadcast from, and it is worth a trip.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

This article in the Chicago Tribune about Venezuela and President Chavez' policies actually working to lift up people from poverty is a good reminder that it matters what foreign policy we have in the U.S. -- we should stop supporting dictators. The Bush Empire Builders were all too happy to try to assist the potential coup of Chavez. One more reason to get rid of those people. Here's the article (centered on the first woman who was granted legal title to the land she had been illegally occupying for a long, long time, giving her access to capital and a sense of ownership).
Bruce DuMont called -- I'm going to be on Beyond the Beltway tonight! You can listen to the radio show from 6-8 pm on WLS 890 AM or see it on television later tonight in the city or Monday night in the suburbs.

I assume we'll be talking Iraq and the lies that Bush and the rest of his crew have been spouting to justify the invasion. But wity Bruce, you never know.

Call in tonight -- it's a live show!

Friday, September 19, 2003

What does $87 billion buy?

There's been a lot of discussion about what else we could buy with $87 billion besides the deaths of American soldiers and recruiting millions of Al-Queda terrorists.

In Chicago, we can break that down by how much each ward is contributing.

Each ward has about 60,000 people. That's about 1/4000 of the country.

And 1/4000 of $87 billion is about $21 million.

Which is about the cost of a new high school.

So we could build a new high school in every one of Chicago's 50 wards.

Or we can occupy Iraq.

Thanks, President Bush!

And Congress: don't appropriate any of that money.

Cut off the funding and you'll end the war.

Spend that money on new high schools instead.

(Even though Mayor Daley says that high schools are boring. . . .)
This isn't fair, because I read a fantastic phrase and I don't know where it came from. So to whoever coined this phrase: thanks.

Bush is waging a war. And he has a war on wages.

I think 'wages' is the rallying cry of progressives. When people talk about the economy, reactionaries would like to talk about taxes and growth. We progressives would like to talk about wages. Because the higher they are, the better off we are.

And progressive policies deliver higher wages.

Conservative/reactionary policies don't.

That's our bottom line, and we ought to stick to it.

Stop the war on wages! Waging war is a war on wages! (or something like that. . . .)
I've decided that my regular website,, just isn't enough. I need a blog! The website will be for columns (hopefully weekly). The blog: for blogging. Without further ado. . ..