In late September, Gov. Quinn took a six-day junket to meet with CEOs and politicians in Brazil. Public employees and labor leaders there were waiting with their own “Pat Quinn Truth Squad”! The signs in Portuguese read, “Governor Quinn, Bad for Workers”. In this photo: Graca Costa (left), president of the National Confederation of Municipal Workers (CONFETAM), and Vagner Freitas (right), vice president of the Unified Workers Central (CUT).
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched a new voter education and grassroots campaign in Illinois’ 10th congressional district, highlighting Brad Schneider’s support for policies that will hurt Illinois job creators. The new ad features Darlene Miller, the U.S. Chamber’s 2008 Small Business of the Year winner, urging Chicago voters to know where their candidates stand on policies that will advance job growth and investment. This launch is part of the Chamber’s largest voter education campaign in its 100-year history to elect pro-business candidates to Congress.
“Voters need to know where their candidates stand on issues that promote free enterprise,” said Rob Engstrom, the U.S. Chamber’s senior vice president and national political director. “Unfortunately, Brad Schneider instead supports policies that will stifle growth and job creation in Illinois’ 10th district and across the country. He supports government-mandated health care that will raise taxes and hurt job growth. With small businesses facing prolonged uncertainty, tax hikes are last thing they can afford, let alone elected officials who support them.”
* Meanwhile, the Daily Herald caught Schneider in a big flip-flop…
Despite his claims to the contrary, congressional candidate Brad Schneider’s public stance on extending the Bush-era tax cuts has changed since the Democratic primary.
In a recent Daily Herald candidate questionnaire, Schneider — who’s running against incumbent Republican Robert Dold for the suburban 10th District seat — said he supports extending at least some of those tax cuts.
“I have continuously said that, at the very minimum, the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000 should be extended,” Schneider, of Deerfield, said.
Except he hasn’t.
When the Daily Herald asked Schneider about the tax cuts ahead of the March primary, he said nothing about extending them.
* Is Israel a wild card in 10th Congressional race?: For the first time since Lauren Beth Gash lost by 2 percentage points to Kirk in 2000, the Republican incumbent — Congressman Bob Dold of Kenilworth — faces an opponent who has deep ties to the local Jewish community. Brad Schneider, of Deerfield, boasts “more trips to Israel than he can count” and past work in a kibbutz as he challenges Dold in a newly drawn, mAore Democratic-leaning 10th District. Dold, who has molded himself in the image of Kirk, is well-respected for his work on behalf of Israel over his 20 months in office, including pushing for tougher Iran sanctions and calling for fully funding the nation’s security commitment to Israel.
The founder of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches said during a Sept. 18 panel discussion in Chicago that he will relocate the company’s licensing division to Florida, where he plans to move in early 2013. Mr. Liautaud said in January 2011 that he applied for residency in Florida out of anger when Gov. Pat Quinn raised the corporate tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent.
In remarks made last week as part of a half-day conference in Chicago on how tax policies affect corporate growth, Mr. Liautaud said the Florida move was just the first part of leaving Illinois for good.
“That’s what we’re going to do to start, but I think you’ll probably see us out of Illinois in the next four years and probably see us in Indiana or Austin (Texas), if I was to guess,” he said in the video. […]
While Mr. Liautaud said a year ago that the tax rate made him consider leaving Illinois, he said last week that it was state policy that cemented the move.
“What I mind is how they spend the tax,” he said. “I would stay, but the way they spend the tax is really driving me away.”
* Back in January of 2011, after the income tax was increased, Liautaud claimed he was already in the process of moving out of Illinois…
Liautaud said he has rented a house in south Florida and his children started school there last week. He said he has applied for Florida residency and plans to commute to Champaign.
He said he doesn’t know yet whether he will put his home on West Armory Street on the market.
* But Liautaud apparently didn’t ever enroll his kids in a Florida school. At the event last week, he said this…
“My wife’s gonna stay in Champaign with the kids and we’re gonna file separate income tax returns.”
* And instead of leaving Illinois himself almost two years ago, Liautaud became a Mitt Romney delegate in Illinois. Liautaud said last week that because of his delegate status, he’ll be around until January 1, when he’ll then move to Florida.
Alexandra Anderson, a 25-year-old law student at Northwestern University, is among a growing number of people flocking to downtown homes in major cities across the United States, a group described in a Census Bureau report released Thursday.
The report found that the number of people living within two miles of Chicago’s City Hall rose 36 percent from 2000 to 2010. Though many of the largest U.S. cities experienced a similar trend in the last decade, Chicago outpaced them all in that category.
More than 48,000 moved to downtown Chicago in the last decade, according to the report. New York City saw a 9.3 percent increase in its downtown population, or about 37,000 people.
Anderson said she didn’t think twice about her decision to live in a downtown studio apartment when she moved to Chicago last year. Her apartment is around the corner from Northwestern Law School. A grocery store, a post office and multiple restaurants, bars and coffee shops are all within a five-minute walk.
I moved downtown in early 2001. There were no grocery stores, and lots of other stores closed at 5 o’clock because the Loop used to empty out after work. But things changed fast. I eventually moved back to Springfield, but from what I can tell, downtown appears to be a lot more liveable these days.
Despite some of the problems, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk to things like the ballet (I had season tickets back then). The lake was a short hike. Big festivals were more fun to attend because I could easily go home and rest up for a couple hours if I wanted. Getting to baseball games was super easy because the L was right around the corner. Covering downtown news events was a breeze. Back when Chicago still had July 3rd fireworks, I’d often throw a viewing party. You could watch the display in air conditioned comfort without dealing with crowds. I loved living downtown.
But then I started thinking about moving back to Springfield after the brutal 2004 overtime session. The commute was just killing me. The drive down wasn’t so bad. It was the drive back north, after long nights spent, um, “gathering information.” I moved a year later, and I’ve never forgiven Rod Blagojevich for that. Don’t get me wrong. I have a very nice place in Springfield. I enjoy my life here. But I do miss the action.
* Democratic congressional candidate Cheri Bustos has released new poll numbers which purport to show her race against Republican freshman Bobby Schilling is neck and neck. From the pollster, GBA Strategies…
Democrat Cheri Bustos is surging in her race against incumbent Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling in Illinois’ new 17th congressional district. A new survey1 of 600 likely voters shows Bustos has closed the gap dramatically since advertising in the campaign began, pulling to within 45 – 47 percent—well within the survey’s margin of error.
But the pollster then did some weird voodoo, which makes me uncomfortable…
In a vote simulation where undecided voters are allocated by their partisanship, Bustos and Schilling are completely tied 49 - 49 percent.
I really wish campaigns wouldn’t do that stuff without at least offering up some detailed explanations. It undermines their numbers.
* Schilling released numbers last month showing him leading the race by 13 points, 50-37. But the new polling shows President Obama is doing very well in the district…
President Obama leads Governor Mitt Romney by a wide 54 – 41 percent margin in this race.
So, the unmentioned bottom line here is that Bustos is still vastly underperforming the top of the ticket.
Survey of 600 likely voters conducted by GBA Strategies September 24-26, 2012. Respondents were reached on land lines and cell phones. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval.
* Downstate and suburban Democrats are finding themselves on the defensive this campaign season over their Chicago leaders’ idea to shift employer pension costs to Downstate and suburban schools districts. Here’s one example from the Metro East…
The Illinois Senate’s Republican leader said Wednesday she suspects Democrats in January will try to use a lame-duck session of the legislature to shift the costs of downstate teachers’ pensions onto local school districts.
Such a shift would likely force local school districts to raise property taxes.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said she suspects Illinoisans will get a “January surprise” on the pension cost-shift because it was during a lame-duck session in January 2011 when the Democrat-led legislature passed a temporary, 67 percent increase in the state income tax.
Radogno made the prediction during a campaign stop in Glen Carbon with Republican Senate candidate Mike Babcock of Bethalto.
But Babcock’s opponent in the 56th Senate District, Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, said there’s been no discussion of having a pension-reform vote during the lame-duck session. Even if there were, there just aren’t enough votes to pass such a shift, Haine said.
“The Republicans and Democrats downstate are united on a few things, and this is one of them. It’s a no-go,” Haine said.
She and Babcock both said Haine voted for the tax increase during a lame-duck session after saying he would oppose such an increase.
Haine said he absolutely did not say he would vote against the measure, which eventually passed. He said he opposed a permanent income and sales tax increase but voted for a temporary tax increase of four years to avoid a statewide financial disaster. The tax hike will “sunset” in two years.
Haine said he opposed a permanent income tax increase bill, which also included several sales tax increases.
He said the temporary measure was the only way to save SIUE from closing its doors, to prevent nursing homes and hospitals from having to lay off employees and to keep school staffing intact.
“I find it odd that he (Babcock) is criticizing me for voting for a temporary tax increase that prevented teacher layoffs, but now he’s saying he’s opposed to a measure that he says could cause teacher layoffs,” Haine said.
If you’re explaining, you’re losing. Haine may not lose the election, but he could very well be losing this argument.
I first met Maze Jackson when he was running the Chicago and suburban ground game for Gov. Pat Quinn’s Democratic primary campaign.
He’s brash, smart, funny, with a mind that can go a dozen directions at once. I couldn’t help but like the guy. And now Jackson is running his toughest campaign ever.
Jackson is managing Lance Tyson’s uphill race against indicted former state Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago). Smith was expelled from the House in August, months after being arrested for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe.
There is no legal way to kick Smith off the ballot, and he refused to drop out of the race. If he wins, the House can’t use the indictment to kick him out of office again because the Illinois Constitution forbids such a move.
A poll taken two weeks ago showed Smith with a huge 47-9 lead over Tyson, with the remainder undecided, so things don’t look good for Maze Jackson right now.
Tyson was picked by the district’s ward committeemen to challenge Smith after Tyson threatened to spend thousands of dollars of his own money whether or not he was chosen. Some committeemen had their own candidates in mind, but they begrudgingly went with Tyson after Secretary of State Jesse White intervened on his behalf. White engineered Derrick Smith’s appointment to the House, so he’s being held responsible by the powers that be for defeating Smith in November.
White drafted Jackson as Tyson’s campaign manager. Jackson knows the West Side legislative district well, having run Ald. Walter Burnett’s campaigns.
Jackson thinks the poll, taken by We Ask America, showed lots of residents were choosing their candidate on party lines. If a pollster asks a West Side Democrat how he or she plans to vote, they will naturally pick the Democrat. Jackson says he has to convince voters that his candidate is “the real Democrat.”
So far, House Speaker Michael Madigan has decided to stay neutral because a Democrat will be elected regardless, according to his spokesman. But Jackson believes this campaign has potentially national ramifications, and he’s not giving up hope yet that Madigan and/or the local Democratic Party will come to his candidate’s aid.
That’s a lot of hope, but is there a plan? Election Day is in about five weeks.
Jackson described an expensive campaign plan of mail, black radio and cable TV, but I haven’t seen much of an uptick in Tyson’s lackluster fund-raising.
A recent event hosted by Gov. Pat Quinn helped bring in some bucks, Jackson said. “People just wanted to see a sign that there’s going to be a campaign,” Jackson said. And now that the wheels are “getting in motion,” more cash should begin flowing. Some outside groups reportedly will spend money attacking Smith, Jackson said.
Jackson said he needs to persuade 30-40 percent of voters in the heavily African-American 27th and 28th Wards to break their lifelong habit of automatically voting for Democrats. The 27th is White’s ward, so that should go somewhat smoothly. The 28th is run by Ald. Jason Ervin, who, after some early trepidation, is now on board, according to Jackson. But the former Democratic committeeman there is Ed Smith, and he’s working against Tyson, so trouble is afoot.
The idea is to “run up the score” in the district’s other wards, which are more racially diverse. The walk card Tyson’s campaign is using features a mock “Wanted” poster with a mugshot of Smith, who is “wanted” for “disgracing the Democratic Party,” “Crimes against the residents of the 10th District,” and “Federal bribery.”
If only it were that easy to win a crazy campaign like this.
* Lawyers for Bill Cellini sent out a press release quoting from some of the hundreds of letters they’ve collected on their client’s behalf. Some were from major players, others were from small fry. But they all praised the man, who faces sentencing on a federal corruption conviction. The press release is here.
“On many occasions I did not agree with Bill’s position on an issue and I would often take action which was contrary to Bill’s position. In all of this time and in all of these issues, I never personally saw nor did I hear on any of those occasions that Bill acted improperly in any manner. Bill never asked me to take any action which I deemed inappropriate.?
Citing the trial record and jury verdict, the lawyers said that the government’s theory of his presumed political influence was rejected by the trial jury that acquitted Mr. Cellini on the two counts of the charges related to the widespread corruption alleged during the terms of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They argued it would be a legal impropriety to allow that theory to infect the sentencing and it would be fundamentally unfair. […]
[Cellini’s attorneys] also said the nature and circumstances of the offense support a probationary sentence.
“…Mr. Cellini stands convicted of some participation in a conspiracy to extort Tom Rosenberg, but it is undisputed (and likely almost without precedent in cases involving comparable facts) that Mr. Cellini was never even informed of and did not participate in the most critical aspects of that conspiracy, including the actual decision, planning, and alleged attempt to extort Rosenberg by providing him a choice between paying a kickback and making a campaign contribution. Indeed, it is uncontroverted that at least for a time, Mr. Cellini actively attempted to aid Rosenberg and defeat the extortion efforts of the mastermind of the conspiracy, Stuart Levine…Against that background, the evidence at trial and jury’s verdict established that Mr. Cellini did no more than act as a middle man for the purpose of smoothing out a situation he knew little about involving corrupt individuals with unknown plans and ulterior motives.
* And Cellini’s lawyers are also playing up the health angle…
In addition to a recent heart attack and persistent heart disease, they wrote, Cellini, 77, has had prostate cancer and is treated for “a frequently crippling neurological disorder, cervical spinal stenosis, that has twice resulted in his losing feeling in his arms and hand and needing to undergo emergency evaluation as to whether he had actually had a stroke.”
He has also been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, another degenerative disk disease “that can result in weakness or numbness in the limbs and difficulty walking,” the memo says.
Cellini suffered a heart attack June 4 while undergoing a heart catheterization, the document says. Tests showed afterward that his heart had been seriously damaged, it states.
“Mr. Cellini has not been able to commence full cardiovascular rehabilitation as yet … because following the heart attack and stent implanting, an acute (blood) clot was discovered in his leg and groin, which was deemed by his physicians to be a life-threatening health risk,” the lawyers write.
“Medications have contained the clot in the area, but a doctor has told Cellni that ‘he has a propensity for clots for form, which can be deadly,’ and if there are any symptoms of clotting, ‘Mr. Cellini must immediately obtain emergency treatment or risk the possibility of a stroke or death.’”
* Earlier today, I told you about an effort by Gov. Pat Quinn’s office to claim that the governor isn’t anti-union. Here’s AFSCME’s response…
Sadly, there they go again. Governor Pat Quinn and his staff routinely twist reality, mislead the public and insult the men and women who do the real work of state government in their communities every day.
Endlessly repeating lies does not make them true. Yet the 1200 words of empty political talking points issued today by a Quinn spokeswoman are riddled with repeated falsehoods and glaring omissions.
· Quinn deliberately understates the danger posed by his litigious assault on workers’ right to collective bargaining and his long-running refusal to honor union contracts. The governor has broken his contracts with several unions representing state employees, refusing to honor workers’ fairly bargained pay schedules to which he himself had agreed. In a strongly worded award siding with workers, an independent arbitrator found that if the governor gets his way, “the collective bargaining process will be severely undermined.” Rather than complying with the arbitrator’s order, Quinn has provoked an ongoing court battle.
· Quinn echoes Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan talking points on health care and retirement security, arguing to slash the modest pensions earned by public employees and excusing his devastating $2 billion cuts to Medicaid—that eliminated prescription drug help for seniors and took health insurance from thousands of working families—in order to “preserve” these programs, just as Romney and Ryan seek to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare on similar grounds. The people understand that the governor’s “forced choice” pension scheme in unfair and unconstitutional, causing retirees to either lose their health insurance or tens of thousands of dollars in pension benefits that enable seniors to keep up with rising costs for food and medicine.
· Quinn time and again minimizes the damage of his threat to lay off some 4,000 disability and mental health caregivers, child protection workers, correctional officers, state police dispatchers and other state employees. He callously claims credit for the job protection provisions guaranteed by the union contract—but is utterly silent on the human consequences of slashing their essential work to protect public safety, prevent child abuse and care for the most vulnerable. He cries poverty but ignores the fact that the General Assembly fully funded nearly all the services and jobs he’s trying to cut. And as for the claim that alternative employment has been offered to every state worker whose job is threatened, it is simply false.
· Quinn’s state-employee pay claims are patently false and wholly misleading. The net general increases received by most union members over the past 8 years equal just 23.25%–less than 3% per year. (Math: Gross increase 32.5% less 4% additional employee pension contribution and 5.25% withheld by Quinn.) Just 2 in 5 state employees are eligible for additional pay that rewards experience and encourages stability in the state workforce, and only a miniscule number could have been eligible for the sort of increases the administration claims all workers received. Meanwhile, Quinn pretends to forget the hundreds of millions of dollars these employees saved state taxpayers via pay deferrals, unpaid furlough days, health plan changes and innovative efficiencies, and never mentions that many do the jobs of two or three workers, since Illinois has the nation’s fewest state employees per capita.
· Quinn ignores the reality of the state’s dangerously overcrowded prisons—built to safely hold just 33,000 inmates but now overflowing with an all-time high of more than 49,000—instead incredibly claiming the seven facilities threatened with closure are “empty,” “half full” and “no longer needed”.
· Quinn twists his record on corporate tax loopholes by emphasizing what he failed to do and failing to mention what he actually did. Seeking accolades for his feeble support for closing a loophole that allows big oil companies to hide profits on offshore drilling platforms—a loophole that was never actually closed–Quinn neglects to mention his cheerleading role in tax giveaways to profitable corporations like Sears, Boeing, Motorola and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They pocketed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars with his support, then he cut health care for the elderly and disabled.
In each case, the administration’s playbook is the same: Dehumanize public service workers. Devalue the services they provide. And say anything to drown out or discredit them, regardless of the relationship of Quinn’s claims to the truth.
A pair of surveys asked Americans a more concrete question: in 1960, whether they would be “displeased” if their child married someone outside their political party, and, in 2010, would be “upset” if their child married someone of the other party.
In 1960, about 5 percent of Americans expressed a negative reaction to party intermarriage; in 2010, about 40 percent did (Republicans about 50 percent, Democrats about 30 percent).
On Wednesday, the freshman Republican said Duckworth’s spot does little to explain to voters where she stands on key issues.
“I have always been careful to say that we respect her service and we have so much respect for her loss, but to be an elected member of Congress, you’ve got to have enough respect for voters that you tell people what you believe and where you stand on the issues,” Walsh said. “It’s not just good enough to be a candidate based on biography.”
Walsh also questioned why Duckworth was scheduled to speak at Santa Monica College in California on Thursday, saying she should instead be meeting with voters in the district. Walsh teamed with the Illinois Republican Party to give away plane tickets to a GOP donor to attend the speech.
“It’s almost like she’s this national celebrity who stays away from her own district,” Walsh said. “I just don’t think voters are going to appreciate that.”
After an $810,000 ad buy last week by Washington, D.C.-based Now or Never PAC, three groups have reported another $243,788 in expenditures, according to the Federal Election Commission.
LaGrange-based Lunch Pail Republicans, a pro-union Republican-backing SuperPAC, is spending $6,618 on a billboard supporting Walsh, according to the commission. Lunch Pail officials did not return requests for comment Wednesday.
Tea Party-affiliated SuperPAC Freedom Works for Americas spent $100,000 on a mailing for Walsh, of McHenry, and another $15,000 on online ads, according to the commission. It also spent another $3,000 on voter guides and books opposing Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates.
Since last week’s ad buy, Now or Never has spent another $122,000 on online advertising and direct mail, spokesman Tyler Harber said.
* A big reason for legalizing video poker is that it takes the illegal video poker rackets out of play. It’s now a felony to possess poker machines that pay out, and as a consequence, the licenses are declining…
Check a dozen bars at random in Springfield and you’ll find more ashtrays, smoking ban notwithstanding, than video poker machines or any of the other so-called gray machines that once were as ubiquitous as beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
“They’re all gone,” says Mike Walton, a board member of American Legion Post 32 who acknowledges that the establishment on Sangamon Avenue was one of scores in Springfield that once offered video gambling without oversight from state gaming regulators.
Possession of so-called gray machines became a felony in mid-August, but numbers from the state Department of Revenue and the Springfield city clerk’s office show the decline began three years ago.
The number of amusement-device licenses issued in Springfield has dropped from more than 1,000 in 2010 to 815 this year, with those figures also including jukeboxes, video games such as Golden Tee and other gizmos that aren’t used for gambling. The state Department of Revenue issued more than 64,800 amusement-device licenses in 2010 and 62,200 in 2011. Fewer than 46,000 licenses have been issued for the current licensing year that began Aug. 1.
Sue Hofer, spokesman for the state Department of Revenue, says the state is still issuing licenses for “simulated gaming” devices that are perfectly legal so long as no jackpots are paid.
“It is up to the taxpayer to know whether their machines are in compliance with the new gaming law,” Hofer wrote in an email. “A number of taxpayers have indicated they have been getting rid of their simulated gaming machines over the past three years in anticipation of video gaming going online. This could be a potential cause of the decline in the number of decals issued.”
The next logical step would be to prevent DoR from issuing any license for any “simulated gaming device” at all. Nobody ever “simulates” gambling on those machines.
* The Tribune ran an editorial this week entitled “Mr. Madigan’s bill, Ms. Purkey’s pension.” It was regarding an earlier Trib story…
A former lobbyist for a powerful teachers union is reaping a $100,000-a-year state pension thanks to wide-ranging retirement legislation sponsored nearly six years ago by her former boss, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and his legislative allies.
The 2007 law let Gail Purkey, who worked at two state jobs in the 1980s, receive a state pension based mostly on her long career and six-figure salary with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Tribune has found.
So let’s reflect on three facts that may or may not be related to Democratic lawmakers’ desire to take kind care of IFT personnel during the lame-duck legislative session after the 2006 general election. According to an analysis for the Tribune by Kent Redfield, a campaign finance expert from the University of Illinois at Springfield:
• The IFT had contributed about $567,000 to Madigan, the state Democratic chairman, and his rank-and-file candidates. Democratic victories assured Madigan’s continued role as speaker.
• The IFT had contributed about $388,000 to Senate Democrats, and their victories kept Senate President Emil Jones in charge of that chamber.
• The IFT had contributed more than $515,000 to Rod Blagojevich, who had been re-elected governor.
What can you do about this?
If your legislators were in office six years ago, be sure to ask each one how he or she voted on this pension bill.
* Not mentioned in either the editorial or the news article are some inconvenient facts.
So, if this was some grand Democratic conspiracy, then the Republicans were either complicit or ignorant. And I’m not sure how they could’ve been ignorant if they’d even skimmed the bill synopsis…
Provides that an individual who represents or is employed as an officer or employee of a statewide labor organization that represents members of the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois may participate in the System and shall be deemed an employee under specified circumstances
The Catholic Conference of Illinois plans to more aggressively argue against gay marriage, said its executive director, Robert Gilligan. Brochures with questions and answers about the subject will go out to parishes around the state, he said, and pastors will receive talking points to help them discuss gay marriage more effectively.
As Catholics, we must recognize that not all issues carry the same moral weight. The continuing slaughter of innocent children through legal abortion—to take the most appalling example of such “intrinsic evil”—is a grave offense against God and our own human dignity, and cries out for justice. Accordingly, “the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.”
Those who knowingly, willingly and directly support public policies or legislation that protect and perpetuate such injustice cooperate with that grave evil. Candidates who promise to support the common good, while at the same time glossing over their support for intrinsic evils such as abortion, perpetrate a lie. Catholic candidates who do so are also a cause of scandal among the faithful.
Finally, two other issues of particular importance in this election year demand our attention. The first is marriage: the permanent, faithful relationship of a man and a woman as husband and wife is the root of a family and the foundation for all of society. The decline of marriage in our culture has already inflicted untold spiritual and material costs upon society and individuals alike. Attempts to redefine marriage are contrary to the natural and moral law and only serve to further erode this fundamental institution. The defense of marriage is a matter of social justice.
*** UPDATE *** The Catholic Conference called to clarify that these are bulletin inserts and are not the “talking points” that Gilligan referred to above.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
The official talking points make the case that “not all issues carry the same moral weight.” Abortion is referred to as an “intrinsic evil,” while opposition to gay marriage is said to be a “matter of social justice.”
Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.
Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.
So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils. [Emphasis added.]
Springfield’s Bishop might have been unclear on the concept.
* There are no statewide races in Illinois except president, and Obama will cruise here, so this really means nothing in the larger picture…
With two weeks left to register to vote, the number of people on Chicago’s voting rolls is about 225,000 less than it was by the time registration closed four years ago, election officials said today.
And it’s going to be tough, if not impossible, to make up the difference, because this election so far lacks the excitement of 2008, when President Barack Obama’s historic bid for the nation’s top office energized Chicago voters, said Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Elections.
Efforts to purge voter rolls in three financially strapped southern Illinois counties are over for now, but state election officials say they are continuing efforts to clean up Illinois’ lists of registered voters.
Alexander and Massac counties at the southern tip of the state culled more than 4,000 voters from the rolls for reasons, such as death and moving.
“Having good, clean election rolls avoids any possibility of people attempting impersonation voting,” said Ken Menzel, an attorney with the Illinois State Board of Elections. “While it’s not a huge problem from what we can tell, keeping your rolls clean limits the opportunity for mischief along that line.”
In May, Alexander County was at 117 percent, and Massac County was at 106 percent. By early September, Alexander dropped to 80 percent and Massac dropped to 88 percent. Alexander County was able to cull more than 2,300 voters from its rolls that in May stood at more than 7,400 registered voters. Massac culled more than 2,000. Its rolls showed more than 12,600 voters in May.
That leaves Alexander County with about 5,100 registered voters and Massac with about 10,600.
Two years ago, 2,754 people voted in Alexander and 4,735 voted in Massac. Four years ago, 3,937 people voted in Alexander and 7,186 voted in Massac.
It’s not like we’re seeing more people voting than actually live there. It’s just that the counties don’t have the cash to purge their registration lists.
According to the 2008 Gallup World Survey, 47 percent of Americans have faith in the honesty of their elections, compared with the 42 percent average across the 134 countries surveyed.
More than half of Illinoisans in our survey (56 percent) said they had confidence in the honesty of U.S. elections—about the same level of confidence reported by Austrian or French respondents to the Gallup World Survey.
However, when asked about their confidence in Illinois elections, somewhat fewer (50.4 percent) had confidence in their home-state elections’ honesty. This is about the same level of confidence reported by Iranians or Czechs in the Gallup survey.
• Republicans (60.7 percent) were more likely to say they do not have confidence in the honesty of Illinois’ elections than were Democrats (31.9 percent) and Independents (55.6 percent).
• Similarly, voters Downstate were more likely to say they do not have confidence in the honesty of Illinois’ elections (50.7 percent) than were voters in Chicago (40.0 percent) or in the Chicago suburbs (43.3 percent).
Old myths die hard.
We had two very close elections in 2010, the Republican gubernatorial primary and the gubernatorial general. Fraud was not an issue in either.
* This is from an op-ed for Progress Illinois written by Brooke Anderson, Governor Pat Quinn’s press secretary…
- AFSCME claims the governor wants to lay-off 4,000 employees. False. Every employee laid off as the result of a closure of a juvenile facility or prison is offered another job within their own agency or other state agencies. The governor believes it is NOT in the interest of taxpayers to keep empty or half-full, very expensive facilities that are no longer needed open at taxpayer expense.
- AFSCME claims the governor is “breaking union contracts and undermining collective bargaining. False. Governor Quinn believes in collective bargaining. AFSCME has enjoyed the best contract in the nation. Over the past eight years, AFSCME employees have received pay increases that equate to 45 percent. Illinois AFSCME members make, on average, 23 percent more than their peers in comparable states.
- AFSCME claims the governor wants to take away pensions from employees. False. Governor Quinn wants to preserve the pension system because the status quo is unsustainable. Illinois has the worst-funded pension system in the country. Governor Quinn has proposed a plan that repairs the pension system by giving existing employees a choice – they can either keep their pensionable Cost of Living Adjustment the way it is and not access the state’s excellent healthcare or they can access the healthcare and accept a reduction of COLA to lesser of 3% or ½ of CPI, simple interest. At a time when some states have frozen COLA’s and many employees have seen their retirements eliminated, the governor’s plan preserves the system and ensures employees have access to benefits.
- AFSCME claims the governor has doled out hundreds of millions in tax breaks to corporations and resisted closing loopholes for oil companies. False. Governor Quinn proposed and pursued legislation that closes the oil derrick loophole this year. In fact, the governor has long supported closing loopholes that are based on politics and not economics. In fact, Governor Quinn fought for and doubled the Earned Income Tax Credit, the best tool we have available to provide targeted tax relief to working families.
- AFSCME claims that the Governor refused to pay for pay raises that were promised: False. In fact, the governor included the raises in his proposed budget – the General Assembly took the raises out. To be clear, we cannot pay for raises if there is no money in the budget to pay for those raises.
However, AFSCME and the governor do agree on this - AFSCME refuses any change to the status quo. They would prefer no closures, no pension reform and no spending cuts. They’re fine with things just as they are.
I’m betting there will be an AFSCME response in my in-box in 5, 4, 3…
* The House Majority PAC, a super PAC for US House Democrats, has canceled two very large TV buys for Illinois candidates. The PAC claims it did so because the candidates are doing so well…
The House Majority PAC, the Democratic aligned super PAC, has canceled a hefty television buy in two Metro East congressional races.
The PAC had previously announced a $439,864 ad buy for Democrat candidates Bill Enyart (IL-12) and David Gill (IL-13). But that won’t materialize.
“Both Democrats in IL-12 and 13 are leading in the polls and running aggressive, competitive campaigns against their Tea Party opponents,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC. The group released a poll last week showing Enyart leading Plummer in the once solidly Democratic district that has shown conservative trends in recent years.
From what I know, the polling is actually mixed in both of those races.
So much for the National Republican Congressional Committee leaving Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) out to dry.
The committee reserved about $457,800 on cable stations in Illinois’ 8th district for spots to run Oct. 5 through Election Day, multiple sources confirmed to Roll Call. It’s a significant buy, but it doesn’t reach saturation level.
For months, national GOP operatives privately conceded Walsh would lose his re-election bid against Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) in the suburban Chicago, Democratic-leaning district. Duckworth is still favored to win, but there are signs the race has become more competitive.
Last week, a super PAC dropped $810,000 on advertisements to boost Walsh. National Republicans have been circulating internal GOP polls showing the race in a statistical dead heat.
Roll Call rates this race as Likely Democratic, but that could change soon.
The closest recent poll I’ve seen (privately) has Walsh losing by ten. A poll last month had it closer, but a recent Democratic poll had this as a blowout.
* The Illinois GOP is spinning both moves as good news for Republicans. From a press release…
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady today released the following statement regarding yesterday’s news that a Democrat Super PAC canceled hefty television buys in two downstate congressional races while the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (NRCC) purchased its own hefty cable TV buy in one suburban race:
“Democrats are finally realizing that voters are rejecting their message of higher taxes, increased spending and fewer jobs,” Brady said. “Bill Enyart and David Gill preach a radical, liberal tax-and-spend agenda that will kill jobs in the Metro East and in Central and Southern Illinois. Tammy Duckworth thinks people in the 8th District are better off today than they were four years ago. Mike Madigan did his best to give Democrats a hyper-partisan map but no matter where lines are drawn on a map, the people of Illinois will vote for lower taxes, reduced spending and pro-growth policies that create jobs.”
One side or the other, or maybe both, are badly misreading the tea leaves.