Thursday, August 31, 2006

Probably boring if you are not a student at my school, but here is an article I wrote for work-study about some projects done by some students at my school.
I like this collection from The Fader of "opinions on all the opinions" about Idlewild, including:
  • If you can’t stand Andre 3000 now, you are indefinitely banned from nostalgic flights of fancy about everything from ATLiens forward. You don’t get to decide when a weird dude is just weird enough for your taste.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Julianne Shepherd talks to Juvenile about New Orleans:
How can individual citizens help Katrina victims?
The best way is hand-to-hand. Everybody says to donate money. Naw. Go down there, and just hand-to-hand. I do hand-to-hand. I don’t like these organizations. I don’t trust people like that. I feel like these are my people, I’m gonna put money in their hand myself. You from New Orleans? Show me your ID. Talk to me, there’s a certain language we got where I’m gonna know if you from New Orleans. Here, that’s all I can do for you. You know what I’m saying? That’s my way of doing my ten percent.

A lotta people went out they way and donated money to these organizations, but these organizations wasn’t right. Personally, I think the Red Cross is full of shit. I know this as a fact that only thirty percent of each dollar gets to a person. So if they receive a hundred million dollars, it’s only thirty million that gets to the people. What happened to the other seventy million?

I went down there and told people the truth. I was like, "Man, don’t wait for nothing. Get off your ass and do something."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Driving very fast

Heard of this first in GQ magazine and then went and found it on YouTube. It is C'etait un Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch, a film from 1976 that is nine unedited minutes filmed by a grill-mounted camera as someone drives very fast around Paris in early morning hours. Worth watching for the engine sounds and squealing tires alone.

Catch-up Deadwood blogging

What a terrible season finale. Right?

Michael Gerson, formerly Bush's "conscience," says things that don't make sense

Michael Gerson was Bush's chief speechwriter for 5 years, so it follows that he comes off like a more eloquent, more morally grounded version of the president. All presidents are composites, and for most of Bush's presidency Gerson's role was to give the White House its voice of moral authority. As a writer, I admire Gerson. But the effect of his work was to provide rhetorical cover for a string of dismal policy failures and ever-escalating Rovian divisiveness, and it is still an open question to what degree he understood the hollowness of the words he put into his boss's mouth. This New Yorker profile from February suggests: not at all.

Arguing the other way, Gerson's essay last week in Newsweek is a case study in avoidance and willful ignorance, displaying all the same blind spots and evasions of the White House. Here's a representative example:
First, the nation may be tired, but history doesn't care. It is not fair that the challenge of Iran is rising with Iraq, bloody and unresolved. But, as President Kennedy used to say, "Life is not fair."
But the (very real) threat posed by Iran did not emerge from a vacuum, and did not emerge recently. Iran has been emboldened by a.) the disaster in Iraq that continues to bog down our military might, and b.) U.S. mismanagement of diplomacy, which reduces our ability to work in concert with the international community to stop Iran's nuclear program. These decisions were made in a White House where Gerson played a major role in policymaking, yet he paints their direct consequences as something completely outside himself and unforseeable, the product of an unfair world rather than a series of bad decisions.

A little later, Gerson the rhetorician feints toward self-awareness on this point:
The war in Iraq, without doubt, complicates our approach to Iran. It has stretched the Army and lowered our reservoir of credibility on WMD intelligence. But Iran's destabilizing nuclear ambitions are not a guarded secret; they are an announced strategy. If the lesson drawn from Iraq is that the world is too unknowable and complicated for America to act in its interests, we will pay a terrible price down the road.
But Iran's destabilizing nuclear ambitions were never a guarded secret--yet the administration never reevaluated its failed policy of nonengagement with the regime. The same can be said about North Korea and Syria: in every case, traditional carrot-and-stick diplomacy would have been more effective for U.S. interests than the administration's policy of ignore-them-and-hope-they-don't-do-anything-crazy.

Everywhere the same unreflective self-pity that we've gotten so used to from the White House. The same insistence that democracy and terrorism are opposing forces, though we've seen that this is not necessarily so. For good measure, Gerson even tosses in some disingenuous shots at "Lamontism" to make Karl Rove proud.

When he worked inside the White House, some people called Gerson the "conscience of the White House." Anymore--even from his think-tank post--he sounds like just another disconnected, inside-the-bubble Bush administration hack.

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Third-Party Illinois" is on vacation. Will return.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weekend jam

The new Outkast CD is a bit of a mess, but it is irresistable all the same. As usual, Big Boi's tracks school Andre 3000's and the contrast causes Dre to look a bit like a high school drama nerd. But whatever! Do you not smile when you hear "Idlewild Blue"? Does not the three-note keyboard figure in the seventh and eighth bars of the "Mighty O" chorus create a small shiver of pleasure? Does Lil Wayne's guest spot on "Hollywood Divorce" not remind you that Lil Wayne may soon be the next best rapper alive?

But you've already heard those songs, just like you've heard the immortal "Morris Brown." But have you heard "N2U"? DOWNLOAD it from me here

Friday, August 25, 2006

Newsgeeking

Got to attend this talk tonight by some Sun-Times reporters about their 1978 Mirage Tavern investigation, for which the paper opened and operated a bar for several months for the sole purpose of finding out how they would be treated by city inspectors, aldermen and police. Shockingly, these public servants came with their hands out, offering to overlook all manner of health and safety violations, for a small fee. The reports on the investigation ran in like 25 parts beginning in Jan. 1979 and led to a slew of indictments.

As you may or may not know, this is the sort of thing in which I have a passing interest. Best of all, the talk was held at the site of the Mirage Tavern, now the Brehon Pub, where the walls are decorated with photos, taken during the investigation, of politicians being handed envelopes of money. So, yeah, this was my idea of a good time.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In which I defend Ald. Joe Moore's foie gras ban

The way I see it the worst thing about the Chicago City Council's foie gras ban is that it gives Mayor Daley an easy opening to talk tough and reap positive press. The Daley Show had it right a couple of days ago and today The Beachwood Reporter nicely sums up the state of the debate:
What's striking about the rhetoric of opponents of the foie gras ban is that none of them are disputing that producing the liver delicacy requires torturing animals. Instead, the debate has been re-framed as an issue about the Chicago City Council's jurisdiction, and whether they are meddling in our personal affairs.
That's true of the Tribune editorial (a flip-flop for the paper, incidentally) and it's true of the mayor's rhetoric, but it's not quite true that none of the ban's critics dispute that foie gras is made by torturing animals. My man at Skillet Doux made an impassioned claim to just that effect the week the ban was passed:
The assertion that gavage (the process by which ducks and geese are force fed) is painful and torturous to the animals is borne of anthropomorphization, and completely unsupported by all scientific evidence.
Skillet Doux's Dmnkly (my wife's sister's husband and a friend of mine) went on to say that the American Veterinary Medical Association found "no indication that foie gras fowl were being tortured, but [rather] that the birds were, in fact, generally very well cared for."

These claims overstate the case considerably. This press release from the AVMA intentionally takes no position on whether the practice is cruel or not, noting that "limited peer-reviewed, scientific information dealing with the animal welfare concerns associated with foie gras production is available." And this article from the organization's journal portrays the scientific community's opinion on gavage as highly conflicted. A microcosm of this conflictedness: The veterinarian quoted calling the birds "well-cared-for" also opposes the practice of gavage, saying it is unethical because it induces disease.

Dmnkly's (and Daley's) argument that it's a slippery slope to a ban on chicken doesn't hold up, either. Farming practices of chicken or beef or pork can be reformed. Foie gras, like veal, is intrinsically cruel.

The subjective state of an animal is hard to prove, but here is one way: the evidence of our own eyes. In this 2005 Tribune article, the foie gras birds showed anxiety when it was force-feeding time and their handler remarked: "They know what's going to happen, and they don't like to be grabbed." Wonder why that would be.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Stop Smiling's James Hughes on The Shining by J Dilla:
Though word of his ailing health had circulated since 2002, Dilla (who was born James Yancey and operated as Jay Dee until 2001) opted to stay quiet about the developments and remain as busy as his body would allow, even if it meant bringing pieces of his studio into his Los Angeles hospital room. While his blood platelet count diminished, Dilla continued to regenerate beats, several of which appear on Donuts, Ghostface Killah's Fishscale and the sketches on the half-cocked but ultimately fulfilling album, The Shining, released today by BBE records. According to Kelley L. Carter of the Detroit Free Press, Dilla came up with title “after waking up in a hospital with a scary-looking mask on his face, reminiscent of the horror movie of the same name.”
More on ill-conceived, mismanaged wars...

Monday, August 21, 2006

What right-wingers see when they read the New York Times

This is funny. I like the one with Kofi Annan...

Third-Party Illinois: What is the problem with it?

Part 3: Marvin Koch

Marvin Koch tells me he has a call in to his web designer. He is adding the following message to its front page: “Roll the dice, you have nothing to lose.” As good as his word, it appears there the next day, right beneath his 9-step plan for the state, from which I will reproduce two steps in their entirety:
Step 1: I will create one million dollars in new revenue within six months of office.

... Step 7: I will fix the roads, saving millions.
Okay, so Koch’s platform is a little vague. He did tell me about his plan to allow ATVs to get license plates, generating revenue for the state. Why not? He also wants semi trucks to be able to drive 65, a position I initially disagreed with but which turns out to have some scientific support. And he’s apparently a social libertarian: the section of his site titled “Guns – Gay Rights – Abortion” reveals him to be in favor of all three. Hey, me too!

On the other hand, well...

What made you decide to run as an independent, without any party apparatus behind you?

In the beginning, I wasn’t going to run as an independent. I’ve been a Republican my whole life. I called the Republican party and said I want to run for governor. The first thing they asked me was if I had $10 million. I felt like they dumped me. All the years that I’ve been a Republican and helped the party and donated money, voted for their candidates, and they just kicked out. I felt stabbed in the back.

But it’s not exactly normal protocol to start out your political career by running for governor, is it?

I’m not just starting my political career. In 2001 I ran for mayor of Byron, Ill., and got 40% of the vote against an incumbent mayor.

As a conservative and a former Republican, are you worried about taking away votes from the Republican nominee, Judy Baar Topinka?

In all honesty I’m not. ... I’ve been out knocking doors all the way to Ladd, Ill., and so many people I’ve talked to have said they weren’t going to vote because they didn’t like either choice that they had. I was walking in Ladd, Illinois with my work boots on. Went out knocking doors and said I’m sorry I’m not in the proper attire, but I’m running for governor and would like your vote. People got a kick out of it.

On your Web site, you say that "Homosexuals should have all the same rights as married people have." Are you in favor of gay marriage?

That’s a subject that’s tough. I’m not gay, I’m married, I love the females. I have nothing against gay people. It’s something I’d probably have to really think about. I don’t see a major problem with it. What is the problem with it?

As a member of the Naval Reserves, you've served abroad. How do you feel about the war in Iraq?

That’s still touchy for me to talk about, still being in the military. We had to go after Saddam Hussein because he was actively seeking nuclear weapons. He was tracing everything of Hitler: gassing own people, invading other countries. So I feel we had to do something there. The rest of the world we’re involved in we shouldn’t be involved in. Other countries have been around hundreds of years longer than we have and they’ve survived. ... Let them come to us and truly ask us for help.

As an independent, self-financed candidate, you face an uphill struggle. Why go to the trouble?

I keep campaigning because I feel I have the passion to win, the passion to keep fighting. People want another choice out there. There has to be. How does it happen that it always comes down to two people. How does that happen?

We haven’t been making our big government accountable, and we need to make them accountable, shake 'em up and say we’re tired. That’s why I keep campaigning.

Web sites:

Previously on...

Friday, August 18, 2006

AMillionMonkeys endorses

Christina Aguilera, Back to Basics
Xtina as the vocal Yngwie Malmsteen? I take Macky's point, but I'm telling you there's more to her than big-voiced virtuosity. The amount of time on Back to Basics she spends talking about, playing with and offering actual insight into her own image gives her more in common with Jay-Z and Eminem than it does with Mariah and Whitney. And okay, the discs aren't uniformly good--actually almost all the best tracks are on the disc 1, which is produced by the great DJ Premier. But the superfast "Ain't No Other Man," the jazz samples of "Still Dirrty" and the Motown-referencing "Understand" are worth many listens. Pop music isn't a monolith, its divas aren't interchangeable. Christina does things other singers can't do--with her voice, with her looks, with her personality.

DOWNLOAD "Still Dirrty" from me here...

Trae, Restless
Just bad-ass Houston rap. What he said, pretty much:
The snarling club tracks are impeccable, and a few of the guest verses are almost unbelievably fierce, but there's an undercurrent of sad introspection running through the whole thing.


Kool Keith, The Return of Dr. Octagon
The first Dr. Octagon record is sometimes overrated by people who think they need conceptual cover to enjoy weird, scatological free-associative rhyming. Sure Dr. Octagonecologyst is a masterpiece, but that's no reason to ignore the rest of Kool Keith's great records. I'm partial to Black Elvis/Lost in Space myself, but there's also Sex Style, Diesel Truckers, Dr. Dooom's First Come, First Served and now The Return of Dr. Octagon. Keith's particular brand of genius is his ability to tap a sense of unmediated linguistic weirdness: his shit always almost makes sense. Such as: "Papers get printed/ Trees may be extinct like the elephant," "Ants work together, jerk together/ do concerts together." Most of Keith's recent records have sounded more like half-formed freestyling, and that is kind of the case here too, but the beats are more engaging, the product of some German electro dudes called One Watt Sun who I will probably never hear of again. Plus "A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck" is unfuckwitable.

DOWNLOAD "A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck" from me here...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Federal judge issues injunction shutting down NSA wiretapping program.
Okay, this new Christina Aguilera 2xCD is really good, both discs. More later.

UPDATE -- Kelefa Sanneh is with me:
Lest we forget, Ms. Aguilera has something that most of her rivals don’t: a freakishly huge voice. But so what? As pop stars have shrunk, perhaps their vocal ranges have shrunk too. Mariah Carey made her big comeback not by belting but by cooing (“We Belong Together”) and murmuring (“Shake It Off”). Another big-voiced star, Kelly Clarkson, also learned how to hold back: her career-defining hit, “Since U Been Gone,” isn’t a showoffy ballad, it’s a singalong rock song.

To Ms. Aguilera, this state of affairs means one thing: market share up for grabs. She seems intent on establishing herself as a modern anomaly, a pop singer who really — really, really — sings.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First of many?

Ald. Danny Solis merely hinted forcefully; today Ald. Shirley Coleman of the 16th Ward came right out and told the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman that she's changed her mind on the big-box ordinance and will vote against it if Daley asks.

Q. Do you suppose Coleman was the wavering anonymous source in previous pieces in the Sun-Times and (belatedly) the Tribune?

Spielman's piece comes up with two other names:
Coleman is the first alderman to flatly declare her change of heart on an issue that threatens to alter the economic landscape in Chicago. But she almost certainly will not be the last. Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd) said Monday he's seriously considering changing sides. And Ald. George Cardenas (12th) also cracked the door open to changing his "aye" vote to "no."
This is not even counting Todd Stroger (8th), who would have to change his vote if Daley came calling. That veto is beginning to feel like a when, not an if.

Q. Does this groundswell of fear of the Daley machine [ahem] principled reconsideration of the issues make it harder for Solis to keep up the maybe-possibly-if-I-talked-to-the-mayor-about-it line? Did he wait too long?

Poor Joe Moore:
Ald. Joe Moore (49th), chief sponsor of the big-box ordinance, acknowledged that some of his colleagues are wavering. But he said, "I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel. There's a long time between now and" Sept. 13.
Sept. 13 is the next city council meeting, and Daley's deadline to sign or veto the bill. And Moore is absolutely right, that's a long way off yet. Time enough for lots of other aldermen to desert him...
Some further thoughts on Maurice Clarett from The Hot Corner, a new sports blog by one of my classmates...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Third-Party Illinois: Protest votes and t-shirt sales

Part 2: Independence Party

Some things that are important to the Independence Party of Illinois: 1.) A hard line on illegal immigration--a "reverse amnesty program" with a special emphasis on deportation. Also, the elimination of bilingual education and bilingual driver’s license tests; 2.) Ridding our land of the plague of tollways; 3.) Some other education reform.

But apart from maybe illegal immigration, party spokesman Dan Kairis was most animated talking about 4.) endemic political corruption and 5.) electoral/campaign finance reform. "The corruption side is where we had our start," he said; only later did the party establish a platform on other issues.

"Solutions are unachievable as long as you have two parties with ultimate power," Kairis said. "We have an education system that’s broken, a health care system that’s broken, pension funds that are underfunded, and who is providing us with services?"

Kairis also said Independence candidates would allow "no outside contributions. We were planning on selling t-shirts as the sole source of funds." (NOTE: But what if someone wanted to buy more than one t-shirt? What if a powerful corporation or lobbying group decided to curry favor by purchasing, say, 20,000 t-shirts? Wouldn’t we be back at square one?)

Ultimately, like the Constitution Party’s Randy Stufflebeam, the Independence Party candidate, Nita Shinn, was excluded from this November's ballot. Unlike Stufflebeam, though, Shinn will not be mounting a write-in campaign. I spoke to Kairis about the process his party went through in attempting to get Shinn on the ballot.

What's wrong with Illinois’s electoral system?

The biggest problem is that established parties, those who get 5 percent of the vote in gubernatorial elections, need to get 5,000 signatures to be on the ballot. [Third parties] need to get 25,000 signatures. And even if they do, they’re still blocked. The Green Party got 39,000 signatures and the Democrats still objected—even when it was almost double, and they had no real rationale. … They don’t even need an excuse. They can just say, they didn’t cross a ‘t,’ or ‘that’s hard to read.’ The Democrats objected to [Green Party candidate Rich] Whitney’s own personal signature.

So what happens is, it takes resources away from campaigning and third parties have to spend all those resources defending against these objections in court. It’s a losing situation for third parties. We didn’t bother getting into the fight of it, the deck was so stacked against us.

How did it happen that the Independence Party candidate was kicked off the ballot?

The electoral board is supposed to contact the candidate when objections are filed. They were filed on the last day, which was July 3. The board could have notified us then, but they didn’t mail the notification until the 6th. Our candidate [Nita Shinn] didn’t get the letter in the mail until Tuesday [July 11], the day the board hearing was being held at 9:30 a.m. Some of our other candidates weren’t notified until Friday [July 14], after the hearing had already occurred.

From there, the limitation is, the candidate has 10 days to file for judicial review. The attorney, James Tenuto, held the hearing on July 11th. He mailed that info on the 20th knowing that that’s the 10th day. He waited nine days before sending out the notice.

Given that your candidate won’t be on the ballot and is not mounting a write-in campaign, who do you endorse for the governorship?

If the Green Party gets on the ballot, I would endorse them, even though I’m diametrically opposed to [Whitney's] ideals. I tell anybody, if it’s an incumbent, don’t vote for them, just as a protest.

Web sites:

Prior installments:
I think the way to go is to make this a regular Monday feature, so watch this space next week for the next installment...

***
PS -- While we were talking about the Independence Party’s (very extreme) ideas on immigration reform, Kairis said the following:
If you could snap your fingers and make all illegal immigration disappear, you wouldn’t have to worry about the minimum wage, because the wages for all those jobs would bracket up immediately.
Anybody know if this is true?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Danny Solis really wants to change his vote

Today the Trib raises the possibility of a Daley veto of the big-box ordinance, speaking to two aldermen who say they'd consider switching sides, Ald. Danny Solis and one anonymous source. In other words, Tribune reporters have just written exactly the same story the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman wrote in a sidebar eight days ago...

UPDATE -- For consideration: Do the facts that a.) Solis is still jabbering to reporters about this, b.) anonymous alderman is still anonymous (assuming of course that it's the same person), c.) no other aldermen have publicly moved and d.) Daley still won't talk about his veto plans make a veto seem more likely, less likely or equally likely than it did when Spielman's piece came out...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So long Maurice Clarett

Affecting profile of Maurice Clarett, troubled former star running back for Ohio State. Every decision Clarett made was wrong. In the mug shot that accompanies the article, he looks battered and broken.

The article, by Tom Friend of ABC News, makes sustained reference to rap "management types" that "financed" Clarett's beyond-his-means lifestyle in Los Angeles from the time he dropped out of OSU to the time he became eligible for the NFL draft. (He was cut in the preseason.) This rap gossip sheet suggests that:
[Clarett]'s being pursued by a certain mogul that wants his dome on a platter. Why? I don't know much about this, but apparently somebody wanted him dead due to a large sum of money. I heard it all stems from a loan from said mogul.
Given that Clarett has been legally represented by longtime Death Row Records counsel David Kenner, all signs point to Suge Knight as the "management type" that bankrolled Clarett in L.A. If he does owe Suge a substantial sum of money, then I'd say at least some of the paranoia Friend describes is well-founded. Accepting a loan from Suge Knight: yet another bad call in an unbroken string of them.
Having trouble making my scheduled interviews occur. Next third-party post will be Monday 8/14.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Workers of the world, unite!

Got a flier handed to me at the train station today about "New Presentations by Bob Avakian," chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and inviting me to an open house at a radical bookstore on...Saturday Aug. 5 and Sunday Aug. 6. With institutional support like this, can the proletariat revolution be far away?
Okay I should be talking to some people today, so I'll have the next of the third-party posts up tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wal-Mart on the PR offensive? Will issue modest wage increases for some workers at some stores...
Reading material of a middle-aged guy seen on the train this morning: How to Build Your Own Underwater Robot. And look, it's available online (scroll down to the bottom of the page)...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Third-Party Illinois: A social conservative's write-in campaign

Part 1: Randy Stufflebeam, Constitution Party

Randy Stufflebeam won't be on the ballot in November. "Officially the Board of Elections hasn't thrown us off the ballot yet," he said, "but the hearings officer has made his recommendation that we not have our names on the ballot, and we're expecting that to happen by the end of August." The reason? To get on the ballot, Illinois requires third-party candidates to acquire 25,000 signatures in 90 days. In the same time period, the major parties need to collect only 5,000.

"It's unfair and it's uncalled for, that level of trying to keep the competition out," Stufflebeam said. Stufflebeam will instead mount a write-in campaign for the office, campaigning where and when he can while also working a night-shift job at Scott Air Force Base outside of St. Louis.

Stufflebeam represents the Constitution Party, the nascent hard-right party whose platform consists of intrusive social conservatism, economic and foreign policy isolationism and weak federal government. (Its platform also pursues some eccentric policy goals like repealing the 17th Amendment that called for direct elections of U.S. senators.) This means Stufflebeam and I disagree on almost all matters of policy, but he was friendly and candid throughout our conversation, and we are certainly allied on the issue of ballot access--Illinois simply sets the bar too high.

Why do you want to be governor?

To be honest with you, it wasn’t that I wanted to be governor when I first started out. It was never in my dreams. ... I got involved in the Constitution Party as vice-chairman in 2004 and became chairman in January 2005. My responsibility was to look for a gubernatorial candidate, but it was near impossible to find anyone to run. They all felt they had to be one of the two major candidates. So it got to the point of, if not me, then who? I decided to run to be an example to others. That came from something I learned in the Marines: You can’t lead from behind, you have to lead from the front. As a principle of leadership, I decided to run.

You're expecting to be excluded from the ballot. Why have you decided to continue to run your write-in campaign?

The one major thing that has kept me going is the fact that without my candidacy there is no conservative representation. It’s time that we get competition so that we get fair and open elections and so that the people actually have a choice.

Your website lists you as “Pro-Life 100% no exceptions.” I think it’s fair to say that’s an extreme position, since it would exclude abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother. Why do you feel it’s important to allow no exceptions?

I don’t consider life of the mother to be an exception to the abortion issue, if you define abortion as purely being where the expected result is the death of the child. In life of mother cases the doctor is not there to kill the child. ... The doctor is going in there to save both lives, but if he’s only able to save one they have to decide whose life.

It’s definitely a serious and complicated issue. ... I don’t think the child should probably be raised by that mother [in cases of rape and incest], but certainly the child should not be killed for the sins of the father. There should be an option to have the child adopted when it’s born.

In the Republican primary, Jim Oberweis ran as a social conservative. If Republicans had chosen Oberweis, would you still have felt the same sense of urgency to run?

I would definitely not see the same urgency, no. I haven’t felt that the Republicans have given us adequate representation. There’s a huge machinery that’s painfully obvious in the electing of Topinka. I still believe that we need to be able to provide Illinois with more options than what’s given us. ... I would still run, but it would have been a lot harder if Oberweis or (State Rep. Bill) Brady would have run. I felt I had even more in common with Brady.

As a conservative, are you concerned about the effects in the short-term of taking votes away from the Republican candidate?

What you have to decide is, are there are enough issues that I absolutely abhor and disagree with that will allow me to vote for this person? Choosing the lesser of two evils is still going to allow evil to prevail.

... [Judy Baar Topinka] is trying to cloak herself in moderation so she can gain votes. If people think she's going to support the 2nd Amendment, they're crazy. If people think she's going to support life, they're crazy. [And] she's been a huge part of the homosexual movement.

... A recent poll has shown that nearly 20 percent of voters in this election are going to be voting "other." That just goes to show you the level of dissatisfaction with the options people have in this state. There’s no way to determine what’s going to happen, especially in light of investigations going forward on both Blagojevich and Topinka.

Web sites:
The next installment of AMillionMonkeys' exclusive series will come later in the week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. I will keep you updated...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Still more tying the knot

Congrats to my sis and Mike...

UPDATE -- And to Dan and Ann!

When does voting third-party make sense?

As a general rule, I think voting for third party candidates is, well, kind of dumb. I recall reading these words from an interview with the playwright Tony Kushner:
Listen, here's the thing about politics: It's not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.
and thinking, yeah! Politics is about making choices between available alternatives, and sometimes the lesser of two evils really is less evil.

But this is Illinois. Democratic incumbent governor Rod Blagojevich is vain, corrupt and incompetent. His Republican challenger, Judy Baar Topinka, is quite moderate for her party--pro-choice, pro-gay not-anti-gay, friendly to the environment. On the other hand, a.) there's no reason to believe she would willing or able to clean up state government (she served under Gov. George Ryan, is perceived as a known quantity by the Republican establishment), b.) she exhibits a visceral distaste for progressive social policies and c.) she kind of looks like a robot.

No wonder "Other" is polling so well! So let's take a look at who "other" means... So beginning Monday, AMillionMonkeys will run a series of posts on the third-party candidates for Illinois governor, including candidates from the Libertarian Party, Green Party, Constitution Party and some no-party-affiliation independents.

Keep in mind that a vote for any of these helps Blagojevich (the frontrunner) and hurts Topinka. All the same, it's not actually voting for Blagojevich, and for many people that may be desirable in itself...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another candidate for a summer jam that isn't "Promiscuous": "Me & U" by Cassie...

Not so veto-proof?

Ald. Joe Moore gets results! Target to pull out of South Side development.

UPDATE -- In her sidebar, the invaluable Fran Spielman makes a mayoral veto sound suddenly more plausible. If Daley can sway two aldermen, he can make a veto stick. Well, Spielman spoke to two--one named in the story, one anonymous--who say they could be swayed if the mayor promises them enough favors...er, makes a principled, reasonable case. She also identifies a number of other "mayoral allies" who are "likely targets to be plucked off." Of course, there's also this way of looking at it, courtesy of Ald. Danny Solis:
I don't believe [Daley]'ll want to do it. It's too much of a polarizing situation. Let the courts take care of it.

At the rim shop

From an unfinished photo essay...







Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Excellent radio piece by WBEZ's Ben Calhoun considers the vexing question: Why don't Chicagoans care more about corruption? There's no good answer, but Calhoun outlines the issue's contours well. By the way if anyone has a theory, pls share...