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*** UPDATED x1 *** Lavin steps in it at Thomson hearing

Posted in:

* The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s hearing yesterday on selling the Thomson prison to the federal government contained this priceless line

Opponents groaned and hissed when Quinn’s chief operating officer, Jack Levin, said his boss “would never do anything that puts people at risk.”

Yeah, OK. Quinn has two early prison release programs that are both under fire for putting people at risk. The budget is in such bad shape that at-risk citizens aren’t getting much-needed services. But he wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at risk. Sure.

Credibility is a tough thing to regain. I think much of the opposition to Thomson is based on extreme partisanship and bizarre fears

One opponent held a sign criticizing the governor: “Quinn to Jihad: Come on inn!”

And

“I don’t want terrorists in my backyard,” said Diane Bishop, 52, a real estate appraiser who drove two hours from her suburban Chicago home to attend the hearing. “It’s too close to home. They shouldn’t be in the United States.”

And

“Terrorists would want to hit us to make a point, here in the Midwest, in the American heartland,” protester Amanda Norms said before the meeting. “Is a little economic gain worth the risk?”

And…



But I don’t blame people for booing Lavin’s line one bit.

* Meanwhile, we’re starting to get more info about who will be sent to the prison

While Guantanamo detainees can get visits only from their attorneys and human rights groups, federal officials opened the door for other terror suspects at Thomson to get outside visits. That is a main concern for opponents — not that prisoners will escape, but that radical sympathizers will be drawn to Thomson.

Lappin said Thomson will be a candidate to jail terrorists convicted in federal court, including those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. Those convicts also could end up in other prisons in Colorado, Indiana and Illinois, but those facilities already face space crunches. And Thomson would be the most secure federal prison, officials said.

Lappin emphasized that any potential visitors would go through background screening and that their interaction with inmates would be monitored.

More

Harley Lappin, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, gave some indication of the type of federal prisoner who would be brought to Thomson. To date, most of the focus has been on the foreign detainees.

Lappin said there are prisoners in the federal system who have been “difficult and disruptive” who would be candidates for Thomson.

“We’re going to bring in some pretty risky folks,” Lappin said. Many of the inmates, he said, would spend a great deal of their time locked in their cells, but that would facilitate the Defense Department mission.

The administration has said the federal inmates and the Guantanamo Bay detainees would be kept apart, and that the Bureau of Prisons and Defense Department would run separate operations.

And the state police director says he’ll need more cash

Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois State Police, said the only way state authorities can mitigate the risk is if federal authorities enter into a long-term financial arrangement.

Monken estimated that the state police will need at least $1 million up front to manage the risk.

Thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** The NY Times reports the Thomson prison can’t be purchased for probably another year or so

The federal Bureau of Prisons does not have enough money to pay Illinois for the center, which would cost about $150 million. Several weeks ago, the White House approached the House Appropriations Committee and floated the idea of adding about $200 million for the project to the military spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year, according to administration and Congressional officials.

But Democratic leaders refused to include the politically charged measure in the legislation. When lawmakers approved the bill on Dec. 19, it contained no financing for Thomson.

The administration will probably not have another opportunity until Congress takes up a supplemental appropriations bill for the Afghanistan war. Lawmakers are not likely to finish that bill until late March or April.

Moreover, the administration now says that the current focus for Thomson financing is the appropriations legislation for the 2011 fiscal year. Congress will not take that measure up until late 2010.

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 9:43 am

Comments

  1. Didn’t Congress just vote not to fund the prison purchase now. Next opportunity might be war funding bill in the spring but with an election coming up, who knows if they’ll approve it then. And they can’t start upgrading until the BP actually buys it, so I think we’re looking at 2011 at the earliest. Once again, our Pat seems
    not to have done his homework, since he was announcing the fed purchase of Thompson as a sure thing last week. Or maybe this was an exercise
    in demonstrating out Pat’s absolute and utter fealty to the WH.

    Comment by cassandra Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 9:48 am

  2. What risk is Monken talking about? Why would the ISP need money? Isn’t the transportation of these inmates to/from their current prisons a federal function?

    Comment by Ravenswood Right Winger Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 9:50 am

  3. We spend 3 years prepping for the olympics only to discover that we knew all along we had no chance for the games only because an inside deal had been cut. We spend 3 seconds evaluating a proposal to bring 300 terrorrists to Illinois and it’s called fear mongering. springfield couldn’t handle college admissions or a senate seat without scandal, I have zero faith in their ability to do this.

    Mr.Bradley was on the olympic beat and came through with egg on his face for failing to tell us what was really going on.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 9:59 am

  4. RRW,

    The chicago way is to try to get money no matter what the issue is. LEVERAGE BABY, LEVERAGE

    Comment by Lake Voter Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:00 am

  5. ===What risk is Monken talking about? Why would the ISP need money? Isn’t the transportation of these inmates to/from their current prisons a federal function? ===
    Who cares? I like the fact that he is asking. Get what you can when it comes to federal dollars. We don’t get enough here in Illinois in the first place.

    Comment by Been There Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:01 am

  6. The New York Times is reporting that it could take another year before Gitmo Cuba closes. The feds don’t have money for the transfer, and likely won’t anytime soon.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/us/politics/23gitmo.html?_r=1&hp

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:11 am

  7. Rich,

    You may recall that Kirk initially raised a concern over visitors and Durbin said none would be allowed. While you may not agree it constitutes a threat, you at least owe Kirk an apology and should hold Durbin accountable.

    http://thecapitolfaxblog.com/2009/11/20/the-furor-and-the-damage-done/

    Comment by proud vet Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:14 am

  8. Shore, asking questions isn’t fear mongering. Lying in order to deliberately incite fear is fear mongering. U are deliberately twisting logic to defend the indefensible. Stop it now or go away.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:14 am

  9. Way to go protesters. Way to let the terrorists win.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:18 am

  10. Terrorists want to hit Thompson, Illinois to make a point? Bizarre fear is right. Everyone needs to take a step back. We’re talking about transferring prisoners from one part of the system to another. These Tea Party people sound as if we’re giving them condos, a Ford Fiesta and a year’s supply of fertilizer to make pipe bombs. Is there no logic out there? It’s too late to say NIMBY. Illinois has housed federal prisoners for decades. Quinn is doing his best to get some cash into the state and he’s getting vilified. Deep breaths people.

    Comment by MarkMac74 Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:22 am

  11. Given a $12 billion deficit, only a fool thinks that Illinois state government can continue to provide normal services and protections. “People are at risk,” that’s the only message that will motivate legislators to make the tuff votes…Quinn is trying to take both sides of the debate, even though he’s proposed a 50% increase. Once again, his staff doesn’t have a consistent message that works with his agenda.

    Comment by Raymond Moley Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:27 am

  12. Yeah, OK. Quinn has two early prison release programs that are both under fire for putting people at risk. The budget is in such bad shape that at-risk citizens aren’t getting much-needed services. But he wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at risk. Sure.—Rich Miller

    Not only that, but Quinn leaves felons in nursing homes knowing the saftey risks that they pose to the vulnerable aged and infirm populations. It takes the IL AG, county and federal law enforcement agencies to step in and act in decisive fashion to help remove some of the saftey risks. Not sure what the Quinn Nursing Home Task Force was thinking in not working to try to remove some, if not all, of the risks BEFORE its final report due on Jan 31, 2010.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-nursing-home-sweeps-dec23,0,2206640.story

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:28 am

  13. I am truly disgusted by the way these frankly simple-minded people have been wound-up and set loose as proxy weapons by the conservatives, sent to sew havoc and confusion to add more gridlock to the governmental process. They’ve been manipulated with pandering propaganda aimed at their fears and not their brains. Seems like logic has been tortured as much as detainees in this case. The question is, how to defuse this “ignorance bomb”? They’ve been set up to cover their ears and not hear rational arguments.

    Comment by Some Guy Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:33 am

  14. Lavin still thinks in the Blago Mode. Quinn not only missed him on fulmination but promoted him

    Comment by downstate hack Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:33 am

  15. Can we all at least agree that bringing Gitmo prisoners to Thomson does pose at least some security risk for the people of Thomson and the surrounding area? What if your home was the closest to the Thomson prison? When did NIMBY become a flawed arguement?

    At this point there is no reason to close gitmo. The idiotic behavior by the soldiers there was been resolved and that facility is serving its purpose. Just ask the detainees, they would rather be in Cuba anyway.

    This state needs to open Thomson, but it needs to be done in order to alliviate the overcrowding in Illinois prisons, not to make a quick nickel.

    Comment by Moving to Oklahoma Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:34 am

  16. Darned spellcheck can’t tell sew from sow. Sorry. I blame jihadists.

    Comment by Some Guy Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:34 am

  17. ===initially raised a concern over visitors===

    No. He fear mongered over Gitmo terrorist visitors. He didn’t “raise a concern.” Read the story again. Gitmo detainees won’t be allowed visitors.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:34 am

  18. I am not fear mongering. Just the opposite. If Governor Quinn and the legislature are behind this they should have more open hearings on this. Invite Congressmen Kirk and Manzullo, let them ask their questions to quinn and shoenberg, have the questions answered and then let the people decide the issue.

    And do it in january not 2 seconds before christmas. All I’ve heard from the republicans in the congressional delegation is a quest for more information. The democrats should welcome the opportunity to dispel what they consider myths. It’s better to have the matter for them and us, settled now before a) we discover later that there were issues that we knew existed but people wouldn’t take on b) we have a campaign fought over something that could have been handled right now.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:35 am

  19. ===Just ask the detainees, they would rather be in Cuba anyway.===

    By far the dumbest argument to keep Gitmo open. Give the terrorists what they want. Wonderful.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:35 am

  20. I think much of the opposition to Thomson is based on extreme partisanship and bizarre fears…

    As with any NIMBY issue. Replace “American Gitmo” with “Nuclear Power Plant”, and you will get similar results. I recall recently how a petro processing plant in Whiting Indiana requested an increase in discharging a certain pollutant. Similar emotional response killed it.

    We just saw a entire gaggle of emotional people with similar sincerity march around Copenhagen in snowstorms, protesting global warming.

    With Thomson, what has been threatening it has been how poorly the entire thing has been handled, during a year when a plurality of American voters have lost any remaining trust in their governments. Voters are tired of secret back-room deals being sprung upon them as though their elected leaders were know-it-all gods.

    Government is bankrupted, yet they continue to spend beyond what most voters are comfortable with. 2009 was not the year to surprise voters in a state facing bankrupsy, after impeaching a corrupt governor, after watching a corrupt deal on their US Senate seat and during the worse recession in a generation.

    It is simply wrong to thumb your nose at fellow citizens who are emotional over being constantly hosed by their own elected officials. Had these people been as transparent and open as they claim they wish to be, they would have discovered that honesty from Square One on this Thomson deal, would have been the best way to go in selling it.

    Stop the name calling. Start selling it.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:38 am

  21. Quinn has done a very poor job throughout this issue, both in terms of communicating the impact and managing expectations. That doesn’t mean that the underlying policy is poor. There are reasonable arguments for not utilizing Gitmo as a federal prison in this manner; however, the extreme and overheated rhetoric, coupled with some blatant falsehoods, are not credible, and are steeped in ideology and political motivations rather than empirical evidence.

    It does show that Quinn’s leadership and governing skills are seriously deficient.

    Comment by The Doc Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:39 am

  22. Better yet, quinn and kirk go on chicago tonight, duke it out the first tuesday in january, rich samuels moderates and fact checks and then we move on.

    I don’t get how less debate is helpful here. Supporters of this move should want every opportunity to defend this move so that they can get their view out since I am sure people’s default position will be aligned with commander kirk.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:41 am

  23. Rich, you may want to re-read. The visitors would be for the 9/11 masterminds being tried in NYC, which the Tribune article says will be transferred to Thomson. Those are still Gitmo detainees — the ones who don’t get visitors are the ones being held indefinitely — or I should say until a court orders them released since that’s unconstitutional.

    Comment by proud vet Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:43 am

  24. ==All I’ve heard from the republicans in the congressional delegation is a quest for more information==

    Shore, that’s demonstrably false. Your guy’s reaction was completely knee-jerk and overtly political.

    Comment by The Doc Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:45 am

  25. ===Just ask the detainees, they would rather be in Cuba anyway.

    By far the dumbest argument to keep Gitmo open. Give the terrorists what they want. Wonderful. ==

    It was meant to be read as an injection of snark into an otherwise serious comment. I will label my attempts at humor in the future more clearly.

    Comment by Moving to Oklahoma Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:47 am

  26. Rich is right on with Kirk and his fear mongering. Just for the record there was a public hearing yesterday and Kirk wasn’t there. The Federal Bureau of Prisons had a briefing for the whole IL delegation in DC and Kirk wasn’t there. So where would he be getting his detailed info on the situation?

    Comment by Well then ... Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:49 am

  27. During WWII, German P.O.W.’s were kept in the Midwest and put to work in farm fields. I’ve never read about anyone whining about it. “Oh no, we’ll make Hitler mad!” It was part of the patriotic duty folks felt on the homefront.

    Granted these Gitmo transferees aren’t considered soldiers, but since when do Americans coddle in fear?

    News flash folks, the Islamic terrorists already hate us. But screw them. We do what we want.

    Merry Christmas, brought to you courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:50 am

  28. MarkMac 74,

    it’s not just thomson or the nuclear facility a scant 20 miles away from it, it’s all of northern Illinois—primarily Chicago that is the likely target of attack.

    “It’s too late to say NIMBY. Illinois has housed federal prisoners for decades.”–MarkMac 74

    It’s too late to say NIMBY only because the deal was done before the people of Illinois were informed of it. it’s unfortunate that the people of Illinois were not given a chance to discuss the matter before it became a done deal. illinois has never housed 9/11 enemy combatants, and it should not start now or next year.

    From the tribune last week:
    Aides to the president went on the attack quickly against criticism Tuesday. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs argued that closing Guantanamo Bay “makes this country safer.”

    “Thirty-two times since 2001, and four times this year,” said Gibbs, ” al-Qaida leadership in recruiting videos have used the prison at Guantanamo Bay as a clarion call to bring extremists from around the world to join their effort.”
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-illinois-prison-thomson-16-dec16,0,4862605.story

    -30-

    So MarkMac74, doesn’t thomson become the new “clarion call” for jihadists in the middle east and their operatives living incognito in europe or canada or s. america or even the U.S.? Based on what Gibbs said and what the evidence suggests, ostensibly anywhere that the 9/11 enemy combatants are housed automatically becomes a “clarion call,” right? So, americans would in fact not be any safer with the enemy combatants imprisoned or detained
    on U.S. soil. it makes Americans (particularly those living in northern Illinois) a lot less safer.

    That’s all anyone in opposition to the bringing the 9/11 enemy combatants to Illinois are saying. regular federal prisoners? Okay. no problem!

    p.s.,

    no one in opposition to moving gitmo to the U.S. is afraid that the enemy combatants may escape from federal custody and attack the U.S.
    we are only concerned about terrorists around the world not in u.s. custody.

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:53 am

  29. Wellthen…actually Kirk was at the briefing in DC and told the press (as did other members) that few questions were answered. Apparently no classified briefing has been provided, which means most questions cannot be answered. http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/1918423,CST-EDT-sweet03.article

    Comment by proud vet Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 10:57 am

  30. Actually, reading the various news articles related to Congressional approval and the purchase, I think we’re talking 2012, not 2011. In the middle of a presidential election year, the WH is going to transfer prisoners to Thomson. I don’t think so. 2013 anybody?

    The best we can hope for is that the BP buys the prison anyway to house other federal inmates just in case and we get it off our books and some cash
    to boot.

    Comment by cassandra Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:00 am

  31. German P.O.W.’s were kept in the Midwest and put to work in farm fields. I’ve never read about anyone whining about it.

    This is true, and I’ve wondered why and have reached a conclusion on it.

    German POWs were drafted by their government to fight, just as millions of ordinary Americans were.

    Gitmo terrorists are volunteers, and are not committed to a government policy, but to their own terrorist mayhem. Individually, a German POW and a Gitmo terrorist are utterly different in their level of commitment.

    Because of WMD portability and availability, a single mercenary terrorist can kill many people, far more than could a WWII POW. The technologies today allow a single individual to do a lot more damage against a target, than could a person with similar tendencies in 1942.

    So the “German POW vs. Gitmo Terrorist” analogy is flawed due to culture, level of commitment, time, and technology. Claiming that since we allowed a 24 year old butcher’s assistant drafted into Hitler’s army in 1942 with a prison farm in rural Illinois, is similar to allowing a volunteered high tech trained terrorist from Baghdad, is a flawed argument.

    It is 2010, not 1940. An entirely different situation we must recognize if we are honest about it. Do you wish to see American punished, or protected? You need to err on the side of the safety of your neighbors.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:03 am

  32. Excactly.

    Chicago Tonight, 7pm, full hour, Kirk versus Quinn, presidential debate style with reporters like rich miller and rich samuels grilling the two. If Kirk’s arguments are as weak as people say, he’ll get a chance to be shamed. If quinn can’t take the heat, we’ll at least get a chance to get questions answered.

    This would also serve the purpose of reinvigorating chicago tonight which has been lackluster post callaway-and I say that as a nightly watcher of the program and fan.

    better that than the democrats trying to sneak this through in the middle of the night or Kirk running around the state spreading false tales for the next 12 months.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:07 am

  33. It is never too late to cry “NIMBY”!
    We’ve witnessed NIMBY shut down fully operational nuclear power plants in California, Washington and in other places. These fully functioning and federally sanctioned operations did not fail to provide safety to those around them. They did not go into melt-down. They were operated at the highest safety levels of the time.

    Yet they were shut down because of emotional NIMBY arguments.

    If you think NIMBY arguments are unworthy, then you need to recognize how the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court disagrees with you.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:07 am

  34. Is there anyone debating against Thomson in this discussion who isn’t a Right Winger? Is there anybody debating against Thomson that isn’t twisting facts and logic to amplify the outrage?

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:08 am

  35. VanillaMan-the germans were actually housed in Kirk’s OWN district-there are pictures at one of the local museums. Governor Quinn might want to have his people research the subject and ask my pal kirk why his district could hold german pow’s in the 1940’s, but western illinois can’t hold terrorists now.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:09 am

  36. I find myself torn on this issue. Form a public policy standpoint I agree with Quinn, but the execution is terrible. It’s getting harder and harder to defend the Gov on all kinds of issues because he’s not very good at defending himself.

    He needs some wise people from outside his cabinet to sit him down and straighten out his operations. What about Forest Claypool and the old Axelrod crew? Doesn’t he listen to these people anymore?

    Comment by Frank Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:09 am

  37. Cassandra,

    If there is significant/sufficient turnover in Congress and republicans take the senate, which is likely, Thomson might never house any 9/11 enemy combatants. And, that’s a GOOD thing!

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:10 am

  38. Carl, the answer is yes.

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/creating-gitmo-north-alarming-step-says-aclu

    Comment by proud vet Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:15 am

  39. VanillaMan, if you live your life worrying about what some Islamic radicals think of you, then I truly have pity for you.

    I think our military should do a video (filmed in the dead of winter in and around Thompson) putting the terrorists on notice that if you screw with us, you’re going to wind up in a tiny cage in Podunk, Illinois surrounded on all sides by nothing but a bunch of Bible thumping Christians. No more days in the sun at Gitmo.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:20 am

  40. maybe not “take” the senate, but pick up some seats.

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:21 am

  41. State…..Federal…..somehow this conjures up a host of potential screw-ups. I’m not so concerned about what they are doing as much as how they are doing it. I certainly do not get a warm and fuzzy feeling that we have our best and brightest in charge of this operation. It is more likely those who are the best deal makers trying to gain the most politically and financially from this deal.

    The prisoners are simply a key to the box of bounty. It’s nice to see that this subject has both sides tearing at each other while the terrorists sit back, get their three squares and smile. Sure is a lot of bitterness and hate continuing to be sewn by the terrorists. Can’t wait till their attorneys and advocates get involved.They’ll have everyone at each other.

    Lock them up in the cold and open a window.

    Comment by Justice Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:21 am

  42. VanillaMan, if you live your life worrying about what some Islamic radicals think of you, then I truly have pity for you.

    I’m not sure if that is a hypothetical statement you are making, or a statement you think I made, but I have never said such a thing.

    I am not your strawman, go create one.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:24 am

  43. Our two senators, Fric and Frac need to disengage their lips from Obama’s you know what and cut a better deal for more fed $$ for Thomson as well as their vote for health care while they are at it

    Comment by Hank Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:31 am

  44. I’m not necessarily opposed to the Thomson deal, but here are some questions I’d like answered before we make the deal:

    It’s become apparent that we have an over-crowding problem in our prisons currently and a shortage of staff to work in the prisons. It’s becoming a public safety issue and a safety issue for those working in our prisions. Why not open Thomson fully as a state prison? We could alleviate some of our overcrowding problems and create jobs there. Given that it will take at least a year or more to get the federal goverment to allocate the money for this, it isn’t exactly a budget fix like Quinn claims.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:33 am

  45. After hearing the absurd arguments and seeing the ridiculous statements scribbled on posterboard in Sterling, I thought I’d read the comments here for a more intelligent take on the issue.

    I was sadly mistaken.

    They would punish Northern Illinois because they’re ticked off? The GITMO detainees are still, you know, detained. Couldn’t a would-be terrorist blow something up in Northern Illinois anyway?

    Comment by JonShibleyFan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:35 am

  46. kirk and quinn, wttw, for an hour, standing at podiums, questions from top reporters in the state. chicago tonight first tuesday in january. Everything on the table.

    none of this hearing in random town in the middle of nowhere business 2 days before christmas with 4 people showing up.

    And for the record none of the springfield crew or administration backers has yet answered why you all should be trusted with this issue when you have struggled with basic other matters like handing over a senate seat, passing budgets, having a clean admissions process at the u of i, and paying the states bills on time.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:48 am

  47. “I don’t want terrorists in my backyard,” said Diane Bishop, 52, a real estate appraiser who drove two hours from her suburban Chicago home to attend the hearing. “It’s too close to home. They shouldn’t be in the United States.”

    I have news for her..the terrorists are already here. They control large areas of the South and West sides of Chicago killing each other and innocents unfortunate enough to be in the way. They also control parts of Waukegan, Aurora and Joliet. She needs to move to Thomson, it will be safer

    Comment by Hank Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:58 am

  48. What we need is $100 million as earnist money. So if the Repubs get in we keep the money. Lets make it a business deal.

    Comment by Hickory Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 11:59 am

  49. All the opposition comes from those extreme (code word: dummies) right wingers?

    Last I heard the ACLU was making arguments against the Thomson deal.

    And for everyone sneering at Kirk over this issue, he performed a valuable service in highlighting this quickie back room deal and bringing it to the forefront. The WH, Durbin and Quinn were treating this thing like selling parking meters.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:09 pm

  50. All the opposition comes from those extreme (code word: dummies) right wingers?

    Last I heard the ACLU was making arguments against the Thomson deal.

    And for everyone sneering at Kirk over this issue, he performed a valuable service in highlighting this quickie back room deal and bringing it to the forefront. The WH, Durbin and Quinn were treating this thing like selling parking meters.

    Comment by Louis G Atsaves Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:15 pm

  51. Shore “none of this hearing in random town in the middle of nowhere business 2 days before christmas with 4 people showing up”.

    You know why Sterling, though I’m sure it plays against your Quinn/Kirk agenda. The hearing was about closing Thomson, hearings on these topics are regularly held local area. Sterling? Where else were you to sqeeze in more than ‘4 people showing up’? Is there a reasom why Kirk could not have found his way out to ‘the middle of nowhere’ ?

    While I’m aware Sterling is like the boonies to Chicago area people, the building itself chosen was not a bad selection. The front of the school road is not open for motorist passing, the field kitty from the gym is open for room of protesters, the old girl’s gym above room for ’special guest’ to organize ect ect and with the showing of the actual prison before the hearing, your constant drone about the setting is getting tiresome. Just my 2 cents from someone who was actually born and raised there and has a deep understanding of the town and it’s neighborhood surroundings–and for the record, the area while rural is not so remote that a hearing 2 days prior to a holiday would be unthinkable–if I think right there are timelines once the process begins with the filing.

    Comment by Cindy Lou Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:15 pm

  52. To the poster above, Monken is probably asking for cash because the State Police is as broke as every other State Agency and his braintrust thought this would be a good time to grab some extra dough. The ISP are trained for and expected to respond to State “prison riots”, but I don’t think that would be the case in a Federal facility.
    They probably need the dough to establish a presence in an area that seldom sees the Big Brown on a regular basis and maybe to buy a few police cars that will start up every day and not drop a tranny or the like if they are called to quickly react.

    For those of you who think Quinn and Co. are gonna have any more hearings, fuhgeddaboudit.

    While the Democratic Party is looking for all these various federal sources of cash to fund the bankrupt Quinn Administration, perhaps they can do something to help Monique Davis with her district office rent bill.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:19 pm

  53. cindy,

    I am aware of your concerns and probably to you, our area on lake michigan is the middle of nowhere.

    That said, it is offensive that mayor daley held at least 50 meetings in each and every ward, middle of the week not 2 days before holidays to review the potential to have 2 weeks of javelin 7 years from now. The democrat cabal in springfield with the track record of the jamaican bobsled team at the 1988 winter games, held 5 minutes worth of discussion 2 days before christmas.

    It would be to the democrats benefit to accept my idea and have a full throttle talk about this in january, or else commander kirk is going to bludgeon them with it next year and you know there’s no issue Republicans love to talk about more than terrorism, particularly republicans with national security experience.

    Comment by Shore Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:21 pm

  54. VM, you might want to conduct more research on the reasons why certain nuclear power plants in California were shut down. The Rancho Seco nuclear generating plant south of Sacramento was shut down after a public referendum on its performance in 1989. Rancho Seco was built and operated by the local municipal utility. Sacramento County voters had become dissatisfied with the cost, safety and reliability of the plant. In 1985, the operators lost control of the facility due to an “overcooling” event and it shut down automatically. The plant remained offline for more than two years, while more than $300 million was spent on safety upgrades. The municipal utility also paid $745,000 in federal fines for various safety violations at Rancho Seco through 1989. The plant had a lifetime operating efficiency rating of just 38 percent, compared to the 1990 industry average of 66 percent.

    Two other commercial nuclear plants have been shut down in California. San Onfre Unit 1 was shut down because the owners did not want to spend $125 million dollars in additional modifications. The Humbolt Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Eureka was closed because the economics of a required seismic retrofit could not be justified following a moderate earthquake from a previously unknown fault just off the Pacific coast.

    Comment by Going nuclear Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:22 pm

  55. ==The NY Times reports the Thomson prison can’t be purchased for probably another year or so ==

    Who says the feds won’t pull Illinois’ trick and “buy” it now, but pay us in 6 months or a year?

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:24 pm

  56. How will Thomson suddenly be a mecca for terrorists? They can go anywhere and make the same point. Pick a filled sport stadium or concert hall anywhere in the country and you have a perfect location as numerous movie plots have shown. Has having 100 detainees in Gitmo actually stopped anything? I understand they need to go somewhere and getting pulled from the action helps, but there is always a replacement in the true believer pack. Take the bucks and use the facility.

    Comment by zatoichi Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:30 pm

  57. They should put all the terrorists in Thomson and surround it with factory hog farms. This solves two problems: keeps that hog farms out of some citizen’s backyard, and enhances the defensive posture of the prison.

    In all seriousness, the threat is imaginary. People are looking for a reason to be outraged. What do you imagine the ‘guns per capita’ in rural Illinois regions like Thomson is, anyway? 10 per person?
    I don’t see a Jihadi blending in with the Thomson locals any easier than my pasty Celtic arse would fit in Afghanistan..

    Comment by Returning Dog Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:54 pm

  58. (Anonymous 12:09 obviously isn’t me.)

    ===
    He didn’t “raise a concern.
    ===

    Rich, with all due respect, I think you’re focusing solely on a few of the earlier statements that Kirk made–without balancing them with all of his other efforts since then. (Hughes is doing the same thing.)

    Please don’t forget that all of this was originally released by the Dems–and picked up by the press–as a “done deal” that was going through no matter what, without any discussion whatsoever. The press then reported almost immediately after the initial press conferences that Kirk “toned it down”.

    It was slanted as a “political move”, but it seemed as if it was nothing more than his following up with very valid questions–some of which are still unanswered. Call it “stage two”, if you’d like.

    With regard to visitors, not only are there several media clips out there where he raises that Q, but in the 11/19 letter to Quinn, he even asks about consular services, and if granted, whether any action would be taken to prevent comms with outside actors.

    If you take a look at the letter–even now–you have to admit it’s right on target. I’d say he and the others who have been pursuing this should be applauded for this; not blasted.

    Here’s a link if you missed the letter or want to take a look at it again.

    http://manzullo.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Thomson_letter_to_Gov_Quinn.pdf

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 12:55 pm

  59. Can’t we get a new casino in Thompson prison too? I mean, we can run this state on prison and casino jobs, no? Maybe we get a floor show gig for Blago in there too — working for the people. And one of our congressmen flogging some terrorist for charity. What a hit it would be!

    Comment by vole Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:01 pm

  60. I just want to add one more thing, Rich, as food for thought.

    Watching Hughes recently attack Kirk on this “fear-mongering” issue, rather than focusing on asking questions that should be asked, makes me realize that there are probably quite a few people out there who are running for office who don’t even UNDERSTAND e.g., the legalities and financial implications related to this enough to even ASK the right questions.

    People might want to bash Kirk on this topic for “fear-mongering”, but he seems to be one of the few who has the knowledge and experience required to debate this properly. (And again, in my mind, that includes Holder at this point.)

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:04 pm

  61. How are you supposed to have a respectful conversation about policy when people like Louis G. Atsaves are simply lying for partisan ends?

    Show me where the ACLU opposes moving detainees to Thomson.

    The ACLU has the same concerns about the federal government ignoring U.S. and international law no matter where the detainees are held.

    The mendacity of Right Wing activists is never ending. These people are so blinded by their ideology they simply can’t tell the truth.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:17 pm

  62. ===without balancing them with all of his other efforts since then===

    You mean his goofy website?

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:22 pm

  63. ===
    Those are still Gitmo detainees — the ones who don’t get visitors are the ones being held indefinitely — or I should say until a court orders them released since that’s unconstitutional.
    ===

    Ya. I also remember someone stating that the prisoners would never be released on US soil. However, when I read the order, I remember being concerned over the language pertaining to release. I’m obviously paraphrasing, but it seemed to reference release to their originating country, another that would except them–or release in general.

    Did I misinterpret that?

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:28 pm

  64. ===
    You mean his goofy website?
    ===

    lol Not that there’s anything obviously wrong with the website, but I rarely go there for data.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 1:50 pm

  65. Speaking of “goofy”, has anyone seen the new Hoffman vid on youtube tagged “Who Can Beat Mark Kirk”?

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 2:01 pm

  66. To VanellaMan…”German POWs were drafted by their government to fight, just as millions of ordinary Americans were. Gitmo terrorists are volunteers, and are not committed to a government policy, but to their own terrorist mayhem. Individually, a German POW and a Gitmo terrorist are utterly different in their level of commitment”

    I don’t follow your logic VM….. I wonder who attended all those Nuremburg Nazi rallies…..Actually, I think the Nazi were expert terrorists and not too far afield from the fanatical religious camel jockeys we’re fighting today. Racial Zealots and Religious Zealots seem to spout from the same tree of distorted knowledge.

    Comment by Raymond Moley Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 2:36 pm

  67. And by the way, all this talk of a debate between Kirk and Quinn on Chicago Tonight in the first week of January…Really? You might check the ol’ calendar and make note that on February 3, both have primaries. Not against each other.

    Comment by JonShibleyFan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 2:41 pm

  68. === Can we all at least agree that bringing Gitmo prisoners to Thomson does pose at least some security risk for the people of Thomson and the surrounding area? What if your home was the closest to the Thomson prison? When did NIMBY become a flawed arguement? ===

    I have multiple relatives living within a quarter mile of the prison. They battled to keep it from being built, but now that they’ve been subjected to its presence for eight years they would, to a person, rather see it occupied than empty. They have no issue with it being sold to the federal government or being populated with GITMO prisoners. Public and private investments were made by the locals who believed the State was going to open the prison. Thomson (no “p” please!) sold bonds to finance sewer and water infrastructure to the facility, and the town is on the hook for the repayments without the promised water and sewer revenue. I believe the State has covered the bond payments so far, but who knows how long that will continue?

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 2:42 pm

  69. I found my old crystal ball in a carton this morning with some Christmas decorations I was unpacking. It told me the Thomson/Gitmo deal is going to quietly fizzle out and go away over the next year. I think it has to do with federal funding issues and the fact that there is already a fully operational and secure prison available elsewhere. That, and the fact that nationwide the idea of transferring Gitmo prisoners to the mainland is polling extremely poorly –and we’re having elections soon.

    Just so you know, my crystal ball is fairly accurate, usually. For instance it predicted the White Sox would win a world series. (OK, wrong year, but still!)

    Comment by Responsa Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 3:04 pm

  70. The Nazi argument is laughable on its face. Talk about desperation for examples,

    The poor fellows drafted by a lunatic regime were thankful to be out of danger and pleased to have three hots and a cot.

    Moving on, I have suggested in this space that that someone put together a complete plan. The kinds of detainees destined for Thomson continue to evolve. While those directly from Gitmo may not have visitors, but those sent there after trial will have visitors, so let’s be honest and finish the plan before floating it out to the public. As far as the price of the prison…. it should be pegged to whatever the cost is in today’s dollars to build a replacement prison that can help solve our overcrowding situation. I guarantee that it will cost a lot more than what we have in this one.

    Do your homework, be sure you look at all the different angles to see whether there are hidden costs, fund solutions to the problems if found and see if the feds are still interested.

    Too much disinformation from the left, too much off the cuff action, not enough reason.

    Comment by Plutocrat03 Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 3:22 pm

  71. “al-Qaida leadership in recruiting videos have used the prison at Guantanamo Bay as a clarion call to bring extremists from around the world to join their effort.”

    OK, it’s true that Chicago, Illinois, and anywhere in the U.S. for that matter is ALREADY a potential terrorist target no matter where these prisoners go.

    Still, if most of the Gitmo prisoners AND the Gitmo procedures and policies simply move intact to Thomson, what’s to prevent “Remember Thomson” from becoming the new rallying cry for jihadists? And if that occurs, isn’t it just possible that Illinois could become at least slightly more likely of a terrorist target than it already is?

    I see nothing wrong with making Thomson a federal prison to be occupied by all sorts of inmates (not just terrorist suspects) but why do most or all of the Gitmo detainees have to be in one place?

    Comment by Bookworm Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 3:43 pm

  72. In defense of VanillaMan, the Gitmo detainees are much more like the early Waffen-SS than the average German soldier. I doubt you will find many examples of these SS soldiers working in the Illinois fields.

    I personally don’t have a problem with housing the Gitmo prisoners in Illinois, but I’m not convinced that we are making a wise fiscal decision. I’d much rather see Thomson used as a state prison since we already have over-crowding issues. If the Feds want to house the Gitmo people here, why can’t they build a new prison?

    Comment by Pelon Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 3:55 pm

  73. The mendacity of Right Wing activists is never ending. These people are so blinded by their ideology they simply can’t tell the truth.”

    “People are looking for a reason to be outraged.”

    This kind of talk doesn’t win people over. How can you refer to your fellow citizens like this, yet expect them to listen to you? There is no respect being shown here.

    There has been a great deal of disrespect towards Illinoisans on this issue by our state and national leadership. Whenever this occurs, there will be a backlash.

    As to slowing down the process, there is no hurry here. The prisoners are safely held in Gitmo. There are dozens of international representatives from various political stripes ensuring that the terrorists are treated with respect. One of the reasons we need to spend several more million to house terrorists in Thomson, is due to the legal and cultural considerations we are now taking in Gitmo. These prisoners have special needs and it is easier for all to keep them together where we know that their special needs are being met. Right now, this is how it is done in Gitmo. You don’t hear about Gitmo anymore for two basic reasons - both political. One: Obama used it to win the election, and Two: the complaints and problems that arose during the first year in Gitmo have been resolved.

    Moving the terrorists in Thomson begins this process once again. Which doesn’t solve anything, because this solution is only a solution for those who promised to close Gitmo during the 2008 election. It is a political solution that utterly fails to address reality. So this issue will begin again.

    “Is there anyone debating against Thomson in this discussion who isn’t a Right Winger? Is there anybody debating against Thomson that isn’t twisting facts and logic to amplify the outrage?”

    “…these frankly simple-minded people… They’ve been manipulated with pandering propaganda aimed at their fears and not their brains…The question is, how to defuse this “ignorance bomb”?…”

    Stop calling your neighbors names. “Shut up!” should not be an appropriate answer to those whom disagree with you. 2009 seems to be the year that those who gained power decided to tell everyone who questioned them to shut up.

    As the polls indicate, this has been a very poor way to win people over.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 4:18 pm

  74. Right, those German soldiers weren’t fired up at all. Just a bunch of lambs tearing around Europe and Russia. Sheeez. Pay a little extra for cable and get the History Channel (a/k/a the Hitler Channel)for crying out loud.

    Okay that’s it for me playing the Hitler/Nazi card on Christmas Eve Eve.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Dec 23, 09 @ 4:22 pm

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