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Question of the day

Friday, Aug 8, 2008

* Think of the state government issue that you support the most. It doesn’t have to be a law. Maybe it’s just a proposed law. It could be your stance on guns, or illegal drugs, death penalty, the bureaucracy, taxes or whatever. It’s your pet position, so you know what it is. Everybody has one. But let’s stay away from political figures. This is about issues, not politicians.

* Now, first briefly state your position, then argue strongly against your own position with as much detail as possible.

This has the potential to be a fascinating read, so no snark, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Excessively rabid - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:40 am:

    Eliminate the Senate. The reason for having two houses is to provide some insulation against pure “democracy,” which can be barely distinguishable from mob rule. The current Illinois arrangement of legislative districts provides two houses both apportioned on the basis of population (and never mind about the gerrymandering for now). What is the point of two houses? As they say, second prize is two of them. Nebraska, I believe, does fine with a unicameral legislature. An alternative is to have the senate better represent the interests of less populated areas of the state - say, one senator per county.

    The (admittedly strong) argument against this is along the one person one vote lines - but you don’t need two houses to accomplish that. And if there’s no mechanism to balance the influence of the most populous areas, then you will have state government completely dominated by Chicago-area Democrats. How’s that working out for you?


  2. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:40 am:

    I strongly support legislation banning employees and those who have contracts with the State from being able to give money to the constitutional officer who has control over their position or contract.

    Everyone has a right under the 1st amendment to associate with whomever they choose for political purposes and to express their voice through contributions. A contractor has a right to show they think a certain person or persons will be better for the State or make better decisions and to show that support financially. Even on a direct issues such as a capital plan, the potential beneficiary of increasing spending on State construction should be able to speak up and support a caidate who wants to see increased spending on State projects. Most of us contribute to campaigns to support some idea the canidate stands for; it is often an idea that will benefit the contributor directly, such as a conceal carry supporter. A business that wants to fund canidates who have positions which support that buisness or industry should not have their voice quelled.


  3. - The Doc - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:41 am:

    HB 750, applying the sales tax to a number of services. The current tax structure isn’t working, with sales and property tax rates, plus a litany of excessive fees, at escalated levels. Meanwhile, the state continues to operate in the red. This bill would simultaneously lower income and sales tax rates while adding more cash to the vault.

    It’s still a tax, and a hit to the pocketbook at a time that fewer can afford an increase in the cost of a haircut or shoe repair. In addition, we’re trusting that the regulation will safeguard taxpayers from revenue-hungry pols like Daley. If there’s not meaningful and perpetual relief guaranteed in the form of income and property tax rates, it’s a horrible idea.


  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:34 am:

    I strongly Support the Right to Carry Firearms in Illinois.

    In a state that already suffers some of the worst handgun violence in the country, there is no need to further the problem by putting more “legal” guns into peoples hands. Gun rights advocates argue that criminals already have the guns, why should the law abiding citizens not be able to have a gun?

    I would reply that a person with a handgun becomes more bold and willing to escalate tense situations in traffic, on the subway, or other public places into violent situations.

    Also, people who “qualify” to carry a handgun do so in an indoor shooting range with noise canceling headphones on and an instructor at thier side.

    That does not mean that same person, when put under the pressure to use the firearm during a gas station robbery or other tense situation will make the right decision. If the wrong decision is made, innocent lives can be lost by “well intentioned” people.


  5. - Speaking at Will - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:34 am:

    I strongly Support the Right to Carry Firearms in Illinois.

    In a state that already suffers some of the worst handgun violence in the country, there is no need to further the problem by putting more “legal” guns into peoples hands. Gun rights advocates argue that criminals already have the guns, why should the law abiding citizens not be able to have a gun?

    I would reply that a person with a handgun becomes more bold and willing to escalate tense situations in traffic, on the subway, or other public places into violent situations.

    Also, people who “qualify” to carry a handgun do so in an indoor shooting range with noise canceling headphones on and an instructor at thier side.

    That does not mean that same person, when put under the pressure to use the firearm during a gas station robbery or other tense situation will make the right decision. If the wrong decision is made, innocent lives can be lost by “well intentioned” people.


  6. - Speaking at Will - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    Rich

    Sorry for the double post, thought I had cancelled the first one.


  7. - Muskrat - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    I strongly support the law requiring videotaping of murder interrogations (and in fact would like to see it extended to ALL custodial interrogations).

    The law is nothing but a mother lode for defense lawyers to mine looking for the slightest irregularity to gin up motions to excuse their clients (who are, after all, murder suspects — the worst villains in society). Let a cop bump against a suspect while maneuvering in a tight space — that’s abuse! Lean forward? That’s intimidation! Loud voice? Harassment.

    The art of interrogation is a subtle and profound dance, informed by years of practice and deep insight into human nature on the part of its practictioners, and it works amazingly well. (Another reason why torture is such a bad idea!). Videotape all the good interrogations and criminals will see and internalize the tricks.

    Moreover, some of the techniques — misrepresenting evidence, sly hints of leniency, baiting a suspect - won’t look very pretty to the dainty goo-goos who tend to write law-enforcement-restricting laws.

    Also, technology fails. Even though the law allows for exceptions to the presumption of inadmissability of non-recorded words, sooner or later a murderer will walk free because some overworked cop, struggling to find the truth after an exhausting middle of the night search for a killer, forgets to hit the right button.

    There are just too many ways this law can have bad results. The evil it attempts to combat, if it exists at all, will still take place off-camera. It does no good to have the words of a confession on tape if you don’t have the threats, the sleep deprivation, or the actual abuse on tape as well.


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:09 am:

    ====This has the potential to be a fascinating read===

    Or not.

    lol


  9. - HV in HP - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    This question is like doing bill analysis for the Issues development staff.


  10. - IDOT'er - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    I strongly support the current policy that funnels 55% of the state’s highway funds to the 96 downstate counties, while allocating 45% to Chicago and the six collar counties.

    Rebuttal: About 2/3 of the state’s population lives in Chicago and the collar counties. They are carrying a disproportionate share of the burden for the rest of the state. Even though the Chicago area has only 20% of the highway miles in the state, its state roads are more highly traveled and wear out quicker, and are much more expensive to build and fix than those downstate.

    If shifting more of the highway money to NE IL would cause the downstate roads to go into disrepair, the state could transfer more of its low volume routes to the counties, close some low volume bridges, and eliminate or charge tolls for the free ferry boats it now operates. The state could also investigate adding tolls to some of its downstate interstates, and sending the money to Chicago where it is most needed for roads and transit.


  11. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:35 am:

    == Or not. ==

    were you perhaps hopping for a Woody Allen type moment from Bananas?


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:37 am:

    Ghost, I was hoping more commenters had the stones to undermine their own beliefs. Oh, well.


  13. - Lou Holtz - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    A “sine qua non” characteristic of a free, modern, and democratic society is the right of women to have unfettered reproductive choice. The Bill of Rights were drafted, in large part, by a wise and cautious generation of leaders who were all-too-conscious of the nefarious effects of unwarranted government intrusion into the private lives of citizens. That is why they included very specific (and some might even say redundant) protections against such intrusions into privacy as: the coerced quartering of soldiers, warrantless search and seizure, coerced self-incrimination, and perhaps most fundamentally, prior restrains upon speech and thought.

    Reproductive choice is something that falls squarely within the rubric of the sort of personal freedoms which the Constitution was designed to protect. Just as the right to speak and think and to keep a homestead inviolate were fundamental to the founders’ sense of identity and personhood, so too is bodily integrity and the right to make decisions concering one’s own body is fundamental to women in our age. For how can we say that women are fully equal members of our society if because of their biology we divest them of the right to make a medical decision about their own body? What decisions are male citizens prevented from making by the government simply on the basis of their gender?

    Conservative critics point out unlike quartering, speech, and search and seizure, reproductive choice is not mentioned in the constitution. This is not a compelling argument because in the IX amendment to the Constitution, the founders stated that the mere enumeration of certain specific rights DID NOT mean that there AREN’T other, unspecified, and yet critically important rights protected by our founding charter.

    Legislators should resist attempts by religious zealots, right wing activists, and anti-women misogynists to impose burdensome regulations upon women seeking to make a rational and necessary choice concerning their reproductive rights. Failing to zealously oppose legislation interposing restrictions on reproductive choice is tantamount to allowing the erosion of personal liberty and privacy rights which our founders strove, even to the point of death, to bequeath to us and to succeeding generations. The duty to oppose anti-choice laws is of even greater importance today, insofar as the Bush Administration’s Judicial Appointees demonstrate a marked hostility to choice and to women’s rights generally. It may indeed be only a matter of time before the seminal Roe v. Wade decision is overturned by the Roberts court. In the all-too-conceivable eventuality that the Roberts court eliminates constitutionally-guaranteed reproductive rights, the state legislatures would become “ground-zero” in the fight to protect women from retrograde and archaic laws, such as the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, a trigger statute which would automatically criminalize reproductive freedom in this state in the even the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

    This issue cuts to the heart of what fundamentally defines the american nation: personal liberty. If this particular liberty is sacrificed, which liberties would thenceforth safe?


  14. - Lou Holtz - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:51 am:

    sorry, this should have been posted above -

    My real personal view is that because government has a responsibility to protect all human life from the moment of conception until natural death, abortion should be criminalized.


  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:55 am:

    Thanks, Lou, that was excellent.


  16. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    Illinois needs to raise the income tax (change to a progressive tax) and expand the sales tax to include services. The structural deficit is too large and the backlog of capital projects and the underfunded education system (K-20) and the pension debt all need too much money to be satisfied by any other source.

    The government already has plenty of money, they just aren’t spending it properly. Illinois should make do with what it already has. A better set of solutions is to cut back on the number of political appointments to one each at the agency level (pols tend to be higher paid, do less “real” work, are often not even qualified; have little or no experience and do not stay to get some); do not divert money from the road fund; switch the pension system to defined contribution; have the legislature in session for four weeks every two years (reduces opportunities to create new programs); use state education funds to even out the per pupil spending; have a tightly controlled managed care system (little to no choice, and formulaic care options based on the most cost effective treatments) to deliver and pay for health care. Bottom line: spend what we have a lot more wisely and stop proposing ANY new expenditures.

    I would ad a lot more detail, but you can see where this goes. “Live within your means.”

    Personally, I think either solution could work, but neither will go forward because our “leaders” actually follow public opinion. They are very poor when it comes to convincing the public that a difficult solution is the right one.


  17. - Judgment Day Is On The Way - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 1:01 pm:

    Part I: I am against having a statewide building code (leave things the way they are currently). Besides, having a “one size fits all” building code won’t work for Illinois.

    Part II: Arguments in favor of having a statewide building code:

    01 Makes issues easier for builders. When everybody has different rules, drivers builders crazy. For example, some local governments are using the 2003 code, some the 2006 code, some are using other codes. Rules in one place differ next door in a different community.
    02 Some places have no building codes. Now, there’s supposed to be an agreement in place between builders and homeowners that all new construction will be done according to a recognized code standard, but there’s absolutely no enforcement provisions.
    03 As I understand it, IL is the only state which does not have a statewide building code governing basic construction.
    04 IL has higher insurance costs for property owners because we do not have a comprehensive statewide building code. And when (not “if”) we get hit by a major earthquake, we’ll see that particular bird come back home to roost with a vengeance.

    Hope this post meets the criteria.


  18. - Skeeter - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 1:30 pm:

    It would be much more entertaining if you allowed snark. Just sayin.

    Some of us get paid (at times) to take positions we don’t like on issues. “That scar on the plaintiff’s face? Doesn’t seem to bother him much. $500 will do.”

    We get paid to do that, so doing it here seems like work.

    Do the same question Monday, and allow snark. I will happy to post something then, and the comments should be entertaining.


  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    Yeah, I think I should’ve allowed snark. It is Friday, after all. Live and learn.


  20. - Skeeter - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 1:52 pm:

    Another alternative would have been to write about when we’ve got paid to strongly advocate something that we don’t believe in, and the result. I would have written about how I convinced plaintiff’s counsel that a 28 year old who was a partial quad (limited movement in her arms, almost none in her legs) was worth only $4.5 million despite the fact that the trucker I was defending was undoubtably 100% at fault (and had about $10 million in coverage). You could have gotten some interesting stories.


  21. - Makes Sense to Me... - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 2:30 pm:

    I strongly support expanding funding for treatment and recovery programs NOT Cutting them. Studies show they help us save lives and 7x the money in the long run. If you agree, join the RALLY TO RESTORE funding for Substance Abuse programs at the State Capitol on Tuesday the 12th at 2 p.m. so that 42,000 people won’t be left without resources and left untreated and homeless. This is a bi-partison issue, I just called my Senator to makes sure he Says It! Next Week at Special Session. We can Say it!…there too, please come…lets make history and give those “afflicted” a voice.


  22. - TaxMeMore - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 2:50 pm:

    I am against taxing poor people and handing out pensions worth $10 million to government employees.

    Poor people have to pay their “fair share” of FICA taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, electricity taxes, cable taxes, gasoline taxes, bottled water taxes, tobacco taxes, and other taxes so that they are reminded they should have to take personal responsibility of the costs of the state. Poor people need to understand the state has more important needs in taking care of us collectively than their personal needs, whether poor people need shelter, food, healthcare, medicine, education, transportation, or more money to pay their taxes. Poor people are better off in the long run and as a collective community when the poor have to pay more than 20% of what they make in taxes to the state.

    $10 million dollar pensions are necessary to lure and keep top notch school administrators and government employees working for the government. If the state didn’t hand out such lucrative pensions all of the best and brightest people in the state would leave for the private sector and the state couldn’t operate as efficienty and effectively as it does. The state would turn into a mess being run by incompetent people that will settle for pensions only worth $2 million instead of $10 million. We all benefit when the government hands out $10 million dollar pensions because no one would do the work if we didn’t.

    That’s the best I can do on those.


  23. - BobW - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 3:18 pm:

    The proposed law I would like to see passed by the state is one strike DUI - if you are convicted of DUI instance, your license(s) (any and all car/truck/motorcycle, etc) is (are) PERMANENTLY revoked. If the offender is caught driving after this conviction, even if not intoxicated at all, that second offense would carry a mandatory twenty year stretch in prison.

    Argument Against: The state has no business encroaching on an individual’s right to consume alcohol as long as public safety is not jeopardized. The right to drive should not be restricted just because a driver made one mistake (their initial DUI).


  24. - IllinoisBelows - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 3:36 pm:

    To BobW - I have a major problem with your idea. I myself have been pulled over for a DUI. Currently I’m awaiting the outcome but my license has been suspended for 6 months since I refused to blow - that’s my 5th amendment right which I don’t believe I should be suspended for if I’m found NOT guilty of a DUI. Even if they drop everything in court, which supposedly they are going to since they have no proof I was intoxicated, I still get suspended and that will stay on my record and affect my insurance for 5 years! The cop had no right to even take me to jail, based on his report, since I didn’t fail my field sobriety test. I know of more and more people that have been screwed over by cops. This state has made it a money-making game for them and it’s only getting worse. The majority of DUI’s are completely BS.


  25. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 3:47 pm:

    Stick to the question, please.


  26. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:46 pm:

    We’re a sad lot, Rich. The QOTD was just too hard. Nobody likes to advocate for the other side. Sorry, dude.

    Counterpoint (imagine the voice of Dan Akroyd): Pot, you ignorant slut. It was too easy. There were few takers because it was like shooting fish in a barrel, we know our weaknesses and did not want to take advantage of ourselves. Next time stay home and weed the garden and let the professionals blog.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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