Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

The Bill that Nobody Read: The Economic Stimulus Package (H.R. 1)

February 23, 2009

So, I know it’s been a while since Congress passed H.R. 1, the economic stimulus plan, but C-SPAN finally uploaded and categorized all the videos, so better late than never.  I wanted to show you all just how much the Democratic leadership tried to hide the details of the latest stimulus plan:

Here’s the first clip, courtesy of C-SPAN. In this clip, Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) asks for additional time for debate, so that more than 90 minutes will available for debate. Lewis was not allowed to ask for the additional time (not sure if that’s in the rules of the House or one of the previous resolutions), so he asked Representative David Obey (D-WI) (Appropriations Committee Chairman) to do so, but Obey refused to allow for more debate time. Representative Tom Price (R-GA) then asked if the bill could be read aloud by the clerk, since no member had had time to read it; however, this request was refused because House resolution 168 made it so that the bill was to be considered read (even though it was physically impossible). This violated a previous promise by the Democrats to keep all bills available for 72 hours before a final vote was brought up.


 

In this clip, Representative Lewis shows how secretive the drafting of this bill was. Even many Democrats were left out of the negotiations.

 

Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY) emphasized that the Democrats refused to allow the House Clerk to read the bill and that debate was limited to 90 minutes. 

 

Representative Obey (D-WI) responds to Jack Kingston (R-GA) talking about appropriations to protect a mouse. He said that there’s nowhere in the bill that mentions a mouse. Well, that’s true – the word “mouse” is never in the bill; however, there is money for that’s given to the EPA for a saltwater marsh protection program where the focus of that is to protect a certain species of mouse (according to an EPA representative). So, while what Mr. Obey said was technically true, it would also be true if I said that the bill never talks about “tax cuts.” The phrase “tax cut” or “tax cuts” is never in the bill, but the legal equivalent is. So, Mr. Obey is really just playing with the words here, and he’s ultimately lying through his teeth. But what really makes him look like a fool is when he tells the Republicans to find the section they’re talking about, as he holds up the 1,000+ page bill that even HE didn’t have time to read through.


In this clip, Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN) has one of my favorite quotes of the debate, “If ever there was a massive bill where the devil is in the details, it is this bill. And there are many devils in the details of this bill.” He also does a good job at placing some of the blame on the Republicans.


Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) explains the mouse in the bill: “They say there is no mouse in this bill. But there is, sir. What they don’t tell you is that in the EPA projects, it cites for sure and for certain they will spend money on the salt marsh habitat for the mouse in San Francisco. Certainly, the Speaker is getting her cheese.”


In this clip, Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) shows where the blame lies in saying that people borrowed and spent too much: “Too many of our fellow citizens borrowed too much. They spent too much, and they couldn’t pay it back. And now the mistakes of individuals, the Democrats want to force upon us collectively.” He also explains how the Congressional Budget Office says this bill was a disaster.


Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) (the youngest House member) talks about how we’re spending trillions at a time and that we can’t afford to get this wrong.


Representative Lewis shows, again, how unprepared Congress was to even debate the bill: “Mr. Speaker, we just received official scoring of the $792 billion bill at 12:04 p.m. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive this critical information until one-third of our very limited debate time was over.” He later goes on to say, “While portions of the bill were scored by CBO earlier, in the case of the appropriations section, 40 percent of this entire package, the Members have not had the benefit of knowing what effects this bill would have. Now that we have this information, let me tell you what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concedes.” Lewis also shows that the Democrats are simply rushing this through in one big bill instead of going through the proper appropriations channels: CBO estimates that only 11 percent of the money will spend out this year. It begs the question why has the majority decided to include this in this bill rather than through the regular appropriations process? Why have they decided to create 33 new programs and permanently expand 73 programs? By growing the Federal Government now in this bill, the majority knows that they have a much better chance of permanently increasing government.”


House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) goes over some great points on why he opposed the bill.


Alright, I hope that opened your eyes to how much the Democratic leadership in Congress tried to keep this bill hidden from the members of Congress before they voted on the bill.  So many of the Democrats in Congress have said that they wish that they would’ve asked more question before supporting the War in Iraq.  I’m guessing that many Democrats will be  saying the same about this bill in a year or 2.

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Breaking: Senate Passes Revised Economic Stimulus Plan: 60-38

February 13, 2009

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) just got back  from Ohio, where he was attending his mother’s memorial services, and has casted an “Aye” vote for the economic stimulus package.  That was the 60th Aye vote needed, since Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was not voting.  The 3 Republicans who sided with the Democrats before, Arlen Specter (R-PA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted with the Democrats.

“Mr. Brown.  Mr. Brown, Aye.”  Those were the words that just came from the Dick Durbin (D-IL) who was presiding over the Senate.  The Senate has just agreed to the bill as it was revised by the conference committee.

This is such a shame, and I’m still angry that they actually made Senator Brown come back to vote.  They couldn’t get Ted Kennedy to come back?  Sure he’s sick, but he wasn’t at MEMORIAL SERVICES for his MOTHER!

Additionally, this bill is a TERRIBLE BILL!  I’m not happy right now.

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House of Representatives Debates and Votes to Congratulate the Pittsburgh Steelers for Their Superbowl Win

February 12, 2009

Today, the House of Representatives (at least for the first half of the day) considered and discussed 4 suspension bills (bills passed under suspension of the rules), where debate is limited to 40 minutes.  Today, they agreed to 4 resolutions, the first of which was to congratulate the Pittsburgh Steelers on their 6th Super Bowl win (officially House Resolution 110: Congratulating the National Football League champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and becoming the most successful franchise in NFL history with their record 6th Super Bowl title, sponsored by Representative Michael Doyle [D-PA14-Pittsburgh]).  For those of you who would like to see it, here’s the C-SPAN video of that debate:

more about “House of Representatives Debates and …“, posted with vodpod

And if you care, here’s the text of the resolution:

HRES 110 IH

111th CONGRESS 

1st Session

H. RES. 110

Congratulating the National Football League champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and becoming the most successful franchise in NFL history with their record 6th Super Bowl title.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 3, 2009

Mr. DOYLE (for himself, Mr. ROONEY, and Mr. TIM MURPHY of Pennsylvania) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 


RESOLUTION

Congratulating the National Football League champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and becoming the most successful franchise in NFL history with their record 6th Super Bowl title. 

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27 to 23 in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2009, winning their second Super Bowl championship in 4 years;

Whereas with this victory the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise has set a new National Football League standard for most Super Bowl victories with their record 6th Super Bowl championship;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers went 15-4 against the hardest-ranked 2008-2009 schedule in the NFL and defeated the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals during their record-setting post season run;

Whereas linebacker James Harrison returned a goal line interception 100 yards for the longest play in Super Bowl history;

Whereas quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went 21-30 for 256 yards and led the team down the field for the 19th and most important 4th quarter comeback of his career;

Whereas wide receiver Santonio Holmes won the Super Bowl MVP award with a 9-catch, 131-yard performance, including the game-winning touchdown in the corner of the endzone with 35 seconds left in the game;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers new `Steel Curtain’ defense, including stars James Harrison, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton, LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, Deshea Townsend, and Aaron Smith were ranked first in the NFL in overall team defense for the 2008-2009 season;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the 2008-2009 season allowed the least points scored, lowest average passing yards per game, and the least overall yards per game in the entire NFL;

Whereas head coach Mike Tomlin is the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl championship and has continued in the legendary tradition of head coaches Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher by bringing a Super Bowl championship to Pittsburgh;

Whereas linebacker James Harrison was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2008-2009 season;

Whereas team owner Dan Rooney and team President Art Rooney II, the son and grandson, respectively, of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, have remarkable loyalty to Steelers fans and the City of Pittsburgh, and have assembled an exceptional team of players, coaches, and staff that made achieving a championship possible;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base, known as `Steeler Nation’, was ranked in August 2008 by ESPN.com as the best in the NFL, citing their current streak of 299 consecutive sold out games going back to the 1972 season; and

Whereas, for 76 years, the people of the City of Pittsburgh have seen themselves in the grit, tenacity, and success of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise, and they proudly join the team in celebrating their NFL record 6th Super Bowl championship: Now therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates the National Football League Champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and setting a new championship standard for the entire NFL.

Now, I have no problem with this resolution; what I do have a problem with is the length that they actually discussed it for.  It got the most discussion of all of the resolutions considered by the House during the rules suspension during this part of the day (there was some stuff done earlier, and I know that they’re in session now).  Honestly, I think it was a waste of time to discuss it at such lengths.

I would commend Representative Steven Kirk (R-IL-10) for actually standing up and saying that we should be discussing other things, specifically the economic stimulus package.  But he wasn’t the only one.  Earier in the day the House had to actually debate whether or not they were going to suspend the rules, and that got pretty heated.  For that debate, watch the following video, if you’d like (but it is pretty long) (also, the video was supposed to start at 29 minutes, but for some reason the markers were lost when I embeded this video, so start it at 29 minutes, otherwise it’s stuff before what I was talking about):

more about “House of Representatives Debates and …“, posted with vodpod

Alright, that resolution was ultimately passed (248-174 [2 Democrats crossing party lines to vote NAY]).  Personally, I would’ve voted against that resolution, but since it passed, I would’ve voted in favor of all of the 4 suspension bills.

That being said, I again emphasize how HUGE of a waste of a time it was to debate the Steelers resolution.

Maybe I’m a fun killer (we all know that I am Mr. Grinch and hate Santa), and I realize that Congress should be allowed to have fun and do some stuff like this, but to debate it for that long while we’re still trying to iron out the economic stimulus frivoulous package is not the right thing to do.

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Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Has Been Removed from Office

January 29, 2009

Voting has  just started to remove Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) from office and the Senate has just achieved enough votes to officially remove him from office (40 votes).  So far, no one has voted Nay.

UPDATE (5:43 P.M. EST): He has been unanimously removed from office.  All 59 Senators voted to remove him from office.

UPDATE (10:48 P.M. EST): He has also been barred from ever holding public office in the state of Illinois.  That vote was unanimous, again 59-0.

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Illinois House Votes to Impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich

January 9, 2009

The Illinois House of Representatives, just in the past hour, voted to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich (D), 114-1.  The only representative voting against impeachment was Milton Patterson (D-South Chicago).  Representative Elga Jefferies (D-Chicago) voted “present.”  Typical Cook County politics, if you ask me.  I commend the other 114 representatives who voted in the affirmative to impeach Governor Blagojevich.  This will no go to the Senate, who will decide whether or not to remove Blagojevich from office.

Let’s get some quotes:

  • House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), chair of the House panel that held the impeachment hearings, said, “Due to his conduct, the governor has failed to uphold the oath of office.  He is no longer capable of defending our liberties.  He should be impeached.”
  • Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) characterized the situation as a “plague” on the state.  He later said, “Our duty is to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that has become our government.”
  • Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) said, “My Illinois is not the Illinois of George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Our Illinois is the Illinois of Abraham Lincoln and Paul Simon and Barack Obama.”

This vote comes after the House investigation committee voted on Thursday, 21-0 to proceed with impeachment for Blagojevich’s abuse of power.  The committee issued a report, saying, “The citizens of this state must have confidence that their governor will faithfully serve the people and put their interests before his own.  It is with profound regret that the committee finds that our current governor has not done so.”

Blagojevich has remained mostly silent for the day, but is expected to release a statement at 2:00 P.M. (I’m assuming that will be in Central time).  Personally, I think for the sake of his dignity (or what’s left of it), and for the sake of Illinois, Blagojevich should resign.  He still maintains his innocence, but I don’t see how he can avoid embarrassment if he goes through with it.  I think Blagojevich will step down this afternoon (or at least announce his resignation - who knows when it’ll go into effect).

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Harry Reid and Dick Durbin Hold Press Conference to Discuss Roland Burris’s Future in the Senate

January 7, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) showed, again, that they were legal cowards again today.  Take a look at the following press conference held by the 2 Senators and I’ll discuss what they said below:

Now, why did I call them cowards?  Because they are ignoring what they must know to be right.  I explained yesterdaythat this case is similar to the Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case.

Instead of waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the Secretary of State must co-sign the certificate (which, if they rule in favor of the SoS, they just significantly reduced the power of the Governor to an insanely low level), the Senate should take the precedent of Marbury v. Madison.  They should understand that the co-signing by the Secretary of State is a ministerial duty required by law, not a fundamental part of the nomination process, and they should allow Roland Burris to fill the vacancy created by President-Elect Barack Obama.  End of story.  Instead, they’re going about this in some asinine politically correct way because the Democrats in the Senate are too scared to ever stand up for something.

After all the talk Democrats said about, “We should’ve stood up to Bush about the War in Iraq instead of just signing on with it,” I’d think that the Democrats would have the decency to uphold a precedent set down by the United States Supreme Court over 200 years ago!  The fact that they fail to see (or at least admit) that Roland Burris must be provided with a remedy to his rights being violated shows that the current state of this Senate and the American process as a whole is a very sad state.

I disagree with Roland Burris’s politics, but his right has been violated here, and “the laws of his country afford him a remedy.”  If the Majority Leader of the United States Senate fails to see that, then Harry Reid is NOT fit to remain Majority Leader!

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Illinois Senate Appointee, Roland Burris, Denied Entry to the Senate. Was That Denial Legal?

January 6, 2009

Today, Roland Burris (D-IL), the guy that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) appointed to fill President-Elect Obama’s vacant seat, went to Washington, D.C., proclaiming himself the junior Senator from Illinois.  Before trying to enter the Senate, he told reporters, “My name is Roland Burris.  I am the junior senator from the state of Illinois.”

The Secretary of the Senate disagreed.  She refused to seat Burris because his credentials were not in order, since the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D) had refused to co-sign his certification.

White had earlier released this statement:

As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United State Senate seat from Illinois.

Although I have respect for former Attorney General Roland Burris, because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the Governor, I cannot accept the document.

Well, in my opinion, White really doesn’t have a choice, and Rod Blagojevich didn’t have a choice as to appointing or not appointing somebody.  Here’s an excerpt from the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

(10 ILCS 5/25‑8) (from Ch. 46, par. 25‑8)
    Sec. 25‑8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election.
(Source: Laws 1943, vol. 2, p. 1.)

And here’s another excerpt:

    (15 ILCS 305/5) (from Ch. 124, par. 5)
    Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State:
    1. To countersign and affix the seal of state to all commissions required by law to be issued by the Governor.
    2. To make a register of all appointments by the Governor, specifying the person appointed, the office conferred, the date of the appointment, the date when bond or oath is taken and the date filed. If Senate confirmation is required, the date of the confirmation shall be included in the register.

The Secretary of State legally CANNOT refuse to sign the certificate.

So, Burris left the Senate saying he was “not seeking to have any type of confrontation.”

So, this leaves us in a situation similar to one we’ve seen before: the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.  For those of you who have forgotten the case since high school government class, here are some resources for you to refresh yourself: http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/home.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbury_v._Madison.

Let’s take a look at the Marbury v. Madison opinion:

In the order in which the court has viewed this subject, the following questions have been considered and decided.

1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

2.If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

3.If they do afford him a remedy, is it a mandamus issuing from this court?

The answer to numbers 1 and 2 (number 3 isn’t relevant here) are similar to the answers from Marbury v. Madison.  Let’s take a look at the opinion again:

The first object of inquiry is,

1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

His right originates in an act of congress passed in February 1801, concerning the district of Columbia.

This brings us to the second inquiry; which is,

2. If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.

Is it in the nature of the transaction? Is the act of delivering or withholding a commission to be considered as a mere political act belonging to the executive department alone, for the performance of which entire confidence is placed by our constitution in the supreme executive; and for any misconduct respecting which, the injured individual has no remedy.

That there may be such cases is not to be questioned; but that every act of duty to be performed in any of the great departments of government constitutes such a case, is not to be admitted.

By the constitution of the United States, the president is invested with certain important political powers, in the [5 U.S. 137, 166]   exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character, and to his own conscience. To aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority and in conformity with his orders.

In such cases, their acts are his acts; and whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive. The application of this remark will be perceived by adverting to the act of congress for establishing the department of foreign affairs. This officer, as his duties were prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely to the will of the president. He is the mere organ by whom that will is communicated. The acts of such an officer, as an officer, can never be examinable by the courts.

But when the legislature proceeds to impose on that officer other duties; when he is directed peremptorily to perform certain acts; when the rights of individuals are dependent on the performance of those acts; he is so far the officer of the law; is amenable to the laws for his conduct; and cannot at his discretion sport away the vested rights of others.

The conclusion from this reasoning is, that where the heads of departments are the political or confidential agents of the executive, merely to execute the will of the president, or rather to act in cases in which the executive possesses a constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear than that their acts are only politically examinable. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the laws of his country for a remedy.

So, if he conceives that by virtue of his appointment he has a legal right either to the commission which has been made out for him or to a copy of that commission, it is equally a question examinable in a court, and the decision of the court upon it must depend on the opinion entertained of his appointment.

That question has been discussed, and the opinion is, that the latest point of time which can be taken as that at which the appointment was complete, and evidenced, was when, after the signature of the president, the seal of the United States was affixed to the commission.

It is then the opinion of the court,

1.That by signing the commission of Mr. Marbury, the president of the United States appointed him a justice [5 U.S. 137, 168]   of peace for the county of Washington in the district of Columbia; and that the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the secretary of state, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment; and that the appointment conferred on him a legal right to the office for the space of five years.

2. That, having this legal title to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission; a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right, for which the laws of his country afford him a remedy.

Similarly, 10 ILCS 5/25‑8 gives Burris this same right.  But there’s a slight variation: the secretary of state never completed that appointment; however, not doing so is an illegal act.

It is my belief that Burris has been denied his right and that the act of co-signing the the certificate is merely a ministerial function required by ILCS.  Therefore, Burris, through the laws of this country is afforded a remedy.

Burris should be seated in the United States Senate, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White should be removed from office for violating 15 ILCS 305/5.

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so take the following poll, and feel free to leave a comment below:

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Barack Obama “Saddened and Sobered” Over the Arrest of Blagojevich

December 9, 2008

Today, while meeting with Vice President-Elect Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore to discuss energy and climate change, President-Elect Barack Obama confirmed that he was in no way involved with Governor Blagojevich’s attempts to profit off of the Senate nomination that he was going to make.  Obama said that he was “saddened and sobered” about the events that transpired earlier today.  I’ll let you watch the video for yourself:

Obama did say, “I had not contact with the governor or his office, uh–and so we were–I–I was not aware of what was happening.  And as I said, it is a sad day for Illinois.  Beyond that, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment.”

So, assuming that Obama is telling the truth (and I think he is – he has NO reason to lie, since that will only hurt him, and he already knows that there are numerous conversations that were recorded where he would be found out if he had done anything wrong), this really won’t affect Obama at all.  Again, I believe Obama is telling the truth.  I don’t see why he’d lie, because he would only eventually be found out anyway.

Hopefully the state of Illinois can move on and try to recover from this situation.

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Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested on Corruption Charges Regarding Obama’s Senate Replacement Selection

December 9, 2008

This is currently a developing story–this morning, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) was arrested and charged with corruption.  His chief of staff, John Harris, was also indicted this morning.  This is the result of a 5 year investigation of corruption allegations.

A copy of the affidavit, from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois can be found here.  Parts of it are actually pretty funny, if it wasn’t so sad that this is a government official we’re talking about.

Here are the two counts that Blagojevich has been charged with:

Count One

From in or about 2002 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants did, conspire with each other and with others to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois of the honest services of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, in furtherance of which the mails and interstate wire communications would be used, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341,1343, and 1346; all in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1349.

Count Two

Beginning no later than November 2008 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, being agents of the State of Illinois, a State government which during a one-year period, beginning January 1, 2008 and continuing to the present, received federal benefits in excess of $10,000, corruptly solicited and demanded a thing of value, namely, the firing of certain Chicago Tribune editorial members responsible for widely-circulated editorials critical of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with business and transactions of the State of Illinois involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more, namely, the provision of millions of dollars in financial assistance by the State of Illinois, including through the Illinois Finance Authority, an agency of the State of Illinois, to the Tribune Company involving the Wrigley Field baseball stadium; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666(a)(1)(B) and 2.

He has been accused of saying, “I want to make money” as a result of his Senate appointment to replace President-Elect Barack Obama.  The job of replacing the former Senator falls soley on the Governor’s shoulders, under Illinois law.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that Blagojevich (it gets easier to type after you’ve done it a few times) “put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States Senator.”

The affidavit even cites a recording where Blagojevich said, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain.  You hear what I’m saying.  And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.”

According to the affidavit, there are 5 candidates in the running.  The affidavit makes  it sound like Obama (who is referred to as “President-elect”) wants “Candidate 1″ to get the seat.  The affidavit shows conversations between Blagojevich and Harris and others where Blagojevich wants to make a deal with the President-elect, but there are no accusations (or evidence) that Obama knew about any of this.  All the affidavit indicates is that Obama had indicated who he wanted to replace him, and that’s a perfectly legal and normal thing.

So far, the Obama transition team has not returned any phone calls to the press.

I’m going to give you some quotes from the affidavit (warning: the following does contain some harsh language) (the page numbers are the pages of the actual affidavit, not the PDF, which contains 2 introduction pages which are not numbered):

  • On November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Deputy Governor A. … “if . . . they’re not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it.” (p. 58)
  • Later on November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Advisor A. By this time, media reports indicated that Senate Candidate 1, an advisor to the Presidentelect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect. During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something
    real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.” … “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” … “[the Senate seat] is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.” (56)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to various teams, stating “how much are you offering, [President-elect]? What are you offering, [Senate Candidate 2]? . . . Can always go to. . . [Senate Candidate 3].” Later ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he will make a decision on the Senate seat “in good faith . . . but it is not coming for free. . . .It’s got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states “[President-elect], you want it? Fine. But, its got to be good or I could always take [the Senate seat].” (57)
  • On November 5, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor A about the Senate seat. … In regards to the Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” (59)
  • HARRIS suggested a “three-way deal,” and explained that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give the President-elect a “buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for [Senate Candidate 1].” (61)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to find a way to take the “financial stress” off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.” (63-64)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that if he appoints Senate Candidate 4 to the Senate seat and, thereafter, it appears that ROD BLAGOJEVICH might get impeached, he could “count on [Senate Candidate 4], if things got hot, to give [the Senate seat] up and let me parachute over there.” HARRIS said, “you can count on [Senate Candidate 4] to do that.” Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.” (66)

So, as of now, it’s really unclear who all is ivolved in this, but it does appear that some of the potential Senate appointees were involved.  I’ll keep updating this as we find out more abut who all was involved.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Illinois City Bans Trick-or-Treating for Teenagers

October 27, 2008

Well, this is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while.  Belleville, Illinois passed an ordinance last Monday that restricted trick-or-treating.  That sounds normal, right, most cities limit the time that kids can trick-or-treat.  But the city isn’t just limiting when; they’re also limiting who can trick-or-treat.  And it also limits the wearing of masks, to only Halloween (unless you’re under 12).

Here’s an overview of the ordinance (unfortunately, Belleville is a little slow in uploading their meeting minutes, and all they have right now is a copy of the agenda, so this isn’t the exact wording of the ordinance):

  • Limits trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.
  • Bans anyone in above the 8th grade (anybody older than 13 or 14) from trick-or-treating on Halloween, unless they are a “special-needs” child, and then they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Allows children age 12 and under to wear a mask and/or disguise any day of the year, but restricts anyone above 12 to being able to wear a mask and/or disguise only on Halloween.
  • Prohibits any and all child sex offenders from going to any event and/or holding any event for Halloween where any child (other than his/her own) will be present. Child sex offenders must also turn out their outside lights on Halloween night, and they are banned from handing out candy.

OK, so bullet points 1 and 4 I have no problem with.  It’s 2 and 3 that I have an issue with.

But before I go on, let me give you some quotes that Mayor Mark Eckert told reporters:

We believe that Halloween is for little children.  We just feel that we need to go that extra mile to protect the children.

We were hearing more and more about bigger kids knocking on doors after 9:00 at night and the people who lived in the homes were scared.  The seniors were especially scared.  They didn’t want to be the recipient of some kind of trick, but they didn’t want to open their doors late at night, either.

Sexual predators can’t have parties.  It’s not right, it’s wrong.  They lost that privilege.

OK, so I get the principle behind this, but here’s where you have a problem: Those teenagers out after 9:00 P.M. would be out past the overall curfew anyway, so they’d already be breaking the law.  What is the need for another law here?  If they’re out past 8:30, they can be arrested (I’m assuming that’s the punishment).  So that right there would solve your teenagers out late problem.  Banning trick-or-treating for anybody above the 8thgrade is simply ageism.  You cannot discriminate against somebody like this.  I’ll accept a curfew (although I have problems with those at times too), but to ban outright the practice of trick-or-treating for ANYBODY (other than felons who lose some rights when they’re convicted) is discrimination, and in my view, illegal!

Now, the mask/disguise ordinance.  You’re telling me that a 16-year-old kid can’t wear a mask outside at a Halloween party the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night if you live here in Detroit)?  Or what if a Star Trek convention comes to Belleville?  Are you telling me that masks aren’t allowed?  It’s ridiculous!  Unfortunately, without the ordinance I don’t have the city’s legal definition of “disguise” but would this apply to people dressed up as Santa Clause?  Are you going to haul away the Salvation Army Santa for being in a “disguise” on a day other than Halloween?  It’s dumb.  It restricts the Freedom of Speech (this isn’t a dress code in school we’re talking about here – this is just being out in PUBLIC generally!)!  It’s asinine, ridiculous, and it’s unconstitutional.

I hope somebody old goes out and trick-or treats, or wears a mask the day after Halloween so that this can be taken to court and overturned.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative – I abide by the laws.  I don’t speed.  I don’t drink underage.  I’ve never stolen a candy bar.  But when the law goes against Constitutional principles, it MUST be disobeyed so that it can be challenged in court, and this is one time where I say, “Break that law!”

Done Ranting

Ranting Republican
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