Monthly Archives: October 2006

Voting on paper

Egad, even before I read this of January 29, 2004, I was suspicious of the paper record requirement in Illinois, remembering chads and the like and the contested 2000 Fla. vote:

Howard Dean says on his website, “I support pending legislation to require that all voting machines produce an actual paper record that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes, and allow election officials to verify votes in the event of irregularities.”

It was no passing fancy for Dean, who made “verified voting issues” a cause:

The grassroots movement for election integrity will take a leap forward this Tuesday, July 13 [2004], when supporters of voter-verified paper ballots (VVPBs) rally in 24 cities nationwide. Attendees at this nationwide “Computer Ate My Vote” day of action will present petitions favoring VVPBs and ask state election officials to sign a Pledge for Election Integrity.

It’s quite current, in fact:

The DNC will continue [9/27/2006] working with Congressional leaders, grassroots activists and state parties to build support for federal legislation to mandate a verified voting paper trail for voting machines that has been proven as the best method of securing votes. [Italics added]

Don’t Dems love to mandate things?  However, isn’t paper subject to manipulation and vote theft too?  Isn’t it something any precinct worker can do?  Yes.

Meanwhile, blowback:

“This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that we’re having to go out of our way to counter them this year,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist [addressing disillusionment among black voters].

Now who has done more to promote that notion, Republicans or Democrats?

Money matters

Talking budget, OP trustees considered options.  Cutting costs being one of them:

Trustee Robert Milstein said the board should be careful not to raise false expectations that they can keep spending in line.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to be happy if we cut a service,” Milstein said.

As a revenue producer, Milstein suggested increasing fines for developers who do more demolition than was village-approved on historical homes, and implementing a tax on vacant buildings.

Let us give credit to anyone trying to spend no more than $116.7 million next year, but may we not ask what’s this about making people happy?  Since when did that happen at budget time?  Question is, will you trustees be happy — satisfied, whatever?  Not to mention, will voters be happy if spending goes over, bond rating is reduced, etc.?  And which voters?  The dumb ones?

As for those fines for developers et al., are not these people who have been in Trustee Milstein’s crosshairs for some time now?  And might he be better occupied in finding sources with eye on prize of revenue totals rather than, as one suspects, on people to be taught a lesson?  Forget killing two or more birds with one stone already.

World citizen

BBC man is tagging along with the bad guys.  Anything for a story, or maybe he’s our new version of a man without a country.  If he plays his cards right, he could catch a beheading or stoning of woman caught in adultery.

Truth more naked than usual

Mayordaley II is the complete party animal in his criticizing Forrest Claypool for non-support of Todd (son of John) Stroger in the general election Nov. 7.  Claypool should “move on” after losing in the primary to John, then stroke-disabled but hidden from view of all but fam and handlers, who was replaced by son Todd only after deadline passed for independent filings.  Clever, those Cook County Democrats.

Daley compared it to 1983, when he lost the mayoral primary to Harold Washington, but then supported Washington in the November election.

Apples and oranges, said Claypool, thanks to how Todd got the nod.  Besides, Washington is not to be compared to Todd.  Claypool added,

“I would have hoped that Rich Daley supported Harold Washington because he was a good leader, not because he had to for political reasons.”

Well if that’s not a mortal blow to the resurgent Daley, surviving huge scandal reportage of a few months back and looking to re-election in April, it’s still worth noting by the blogging classes.  Anyhow, electing Todd will depend on swinging Claypool’s ward, the 47th (home of the city’s top recyclers), as noted by S-T’s Steve Patterson in this story.

It’s also noteworthy in Daley’s publicly characterizing Claypool as a political suicide for his intransigence:

“All of a sudden, because you don’t get your own way, you decide to walk away?” Daley said. “I lost the election. I didn’t destroy myself, I didn’t destroy my family, I didn’t destroy my political career.”

Didn’t destroy his family?  Egad, what has Claypool done?  Mass murder?

(Add to this what Rob Olmstead observes in Daily Herald, that the Daley comment “might be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat to get in line.”  Yes indeed.)

Playing dumb

News feature stories lend themselves to puffing whom you wish, ignoring the obvious.  Thus Sun-Times has this by Dave Newbart, using already heavily puffed Obama cycle on which to hang something really nice about another Democrat:

Political neophyte Dan Seals has been compared to Sen. Barack Obama.

But Seals, who is trying to unseat Republican assistant majority whip Mark Kirk in the northern suburbs, downplays the comparison, saying the only similarity is their complexion — both are African-American.

And neither looking particularly African, we might add.  Look close and you could swear we had here a North Shoreian with a great tan.

“I’m no Obama,” he says [which is nice of him], though he enjoys [Barama’s] support.

Newbart supplies context, of course:

Still, eyes are turning to the race in the 10th congressional district as a Democratic surge across the country threatens Republican control of Congress. Challengers like Seals are hoping to turn the tide in a race once considered solidly in favor of the Republican but now looking less solidly red. The first debate of the campaign is tonight at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

That’s boiler-plate analysis, which would have made a decent lede if you weren’t looking for the Obama Effect.

Beastly

Nature of the media beast: 2nd-last paragraph of “Fox Joins Duckworth in Stem Cell Support: Actor campaigns for fed funding of research,” S-T 10/25/06, p. 8, ripped from the headlines, as they say in up-to-minute talk shows: 

[Republican candidate] Roskam, at a campaign appearance Tuesday, said he strongly backs stem cell research — as long as cells derived from embryos aren’t used.

He said research using other types of stem cells — those from adults or from umbilical cords — has resulted in treatments for dozens of illnesses. That’s a much better track record than embryonic stem cell research has so far achieved, he contended. [Question alert!]

Duckworth and her supporters noted that embryonic stem cells have been known to medical science only since 1998 and that research has been stalled by a lack of federal funding.

But there’s not time. The reporter and his editors, the whole damn newspaper, is on to the next thing. It’s why Rush L. calls them “drive-by.”

However, there was time for a sidebar, “Limbaugh: Fox just acting sick in ad,” for which someone called a neurosurgeon (one neurosurgeon, enough for any man) at a major New York hospital who thought Rush L. was “ludicrous.”

What? No call for anyone on the Roskam claim? No. Not time.

Meeting Stroger

Not that Marietta B. was waiting for him, as the Beckett characters waited for Godot, but there he was, at a Brown Line stop:

I met Todd Stroger outside the Western El stop this
morning. I almost didn’t even realize that it was him.
I was handed a flier by a well-dressed man as I was
approaching the station. I took the flier and
responded yes to his comment about the cold morning.
Then as I got closer a few more suited men were
standing near one another. One looked at me as I
approached and said, “Todd Stroger, candidate for
board president” and then kind of turned to the side
as if opening a curtain and the man behind him smiled
and said good morning. Only as I was almost beyond him
did I realize it was Stroger himself and so I stuck my
hand out and said “nice to meet you” both of which he
reciprocated.

As I continued on my hurried way (I was running late)
I found myself [wishing] I had thought of
something more to say to or ask him. Preferably a
real doozie of a question that would leave him hemming
and hawing. Isn’t that what we all wish for? (Italics added)

Yes, but at least she can verify there is a Todd Stroger or at least someone who looks like him.

Peraica and harassment case

This about Peraica in the Forest Park Review neatly summarizes the case against Stroger, including this, that “the reformer who was trying to work within the Democratic Party system lost the primary to a candidate rendered barely conscious by a stroke.”  Reform lost in the primary, in other words.  However you feel about Republicans, that’s important.  Whatever you consider the merits of Democrats, they dropped the ball this time around.

But most of the telling column, by Carl Nyberg, is about a case Peraica took and won without compensation for a Hispanic family apparently grossly harassed by Melrose Park police.  The account is detailed and clear and focused.  Read it.

She says, he says

There are times when you think Dennis Hastert has nothing to say.  It’s that way with wrestling coaches, you suppose.  But sometimes he does that preconception in:

The United States cannot win the global war on terror if U.S. leaders don’t understand it — and Rep. Nancy Pelosi does not understand it, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said on Tuesday.

Hastert — who holds the job that Pelosi is eager to assume — was reacting to Pelosi’s remarks on the CBS program “60 Minutes.” He said her comments should serve as a “bellwether” [sic] for the American people.

“Democrat Leader Pelosi would trust the terrorists to give up their objective and play nice in exchange for the United States leaving Iraq. This outlook is foolish, naive and dangerous,” Hastert said.

To be sure, but in any case it’s not just Iraq, as our ambassador to that beleaguered fledgling democracy said:

“The broader Middle East is the source of most of the world’s security problems,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. “The struggle for the future of the region is between moderate and extremist political forces. The outcome in Iraq will profoundly shape this wider struggle and in turn, the security of the world.”

In this view, which may be old stuff to wiser readers, in a war against a relatively amorphous enemy, surgical strikes are difficult.  Slam-bang the nest of bad guys and — what?  Effect a five-year moratorium on enemy successes in the homeland?  As has been achieved?

Pelosi thinks that enemy will leave Iraq if we do.  Why does she think that?  And if she’s right, where will they go?  To Russia?

Just what stems from what?

Deep in Chi Trib’s p-1 story on Michael J. Fox, (embryonic) stem cell research, and the Mo. senate race, is that which if it were the lede would have sent the story to the city desk spike before it saw the light of the press room, much less my front step:

Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said [Sen. Jim] Talent’s loss of some moderate Republicans [by opposing embryonic research] is likely to be outweighed by the religious conservatives who are stirred by the issue to go to the polls.

“It’s a very minor factor in the voters’ decision about the Senate race,” Jones said.

But then where would Trib be without the touching p-1 pic of Fox embracing Talent’s Dem opponent, Clare McCaskill and puffing Dems’ poster research item?  It would have had to look for something else with matching human interest or political ploy or whatever they think grabs morning coffee-drinkers on train or at Caribou.

That said, one may note two other things:

1. Trib gave sidebar play to Rush Limbaugh, who had noted that Fox skips his meds when going before Congress etc. to make his case for deleting Parkinson’s Disease, the better to look ravaged, according to a listener who said Fox admitted this.  Mainstreamers have Rush in their story-reference tickler file routinely these days, it would seem, which is a far cry from the studied indifference they used to demonstrate.

2. The story has nothing about anything more than “possible” connection between embryonic research and Parkinson’s cure — shot down in this Ill. GOP release naming “72 known cures” and/or working therapies discovered from adult-cell research, vs. zilch from embryonic — which a normally inquisitive person might want to know, not to mention a newspaper reporter.  Nothing either, correlatively, about adult stem cells and their “72 known” cures.  More than a release is required to back this up, to be sure, but why wouldn’t an editor and reporter ask about this?

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