Chronicle Blames Voters for Public Distrust

The Daily Chronicle’s roundup of 2007 included this gem:

Also in April, the new DeKalb City Council was ensnared in blame and finger-pointing when newly elected 3rd Ward Alderman Victor Wogen was caught in a petty lie over a petty campaign flier. The mudslinging lasted for months and served only to erode the public’s trust in our elected officials.

So, it was the public uproar itself that was to blame for the erosion of trust, not the nasty flier of unknown origins or the lies. Ri-i-ight.

They also imply that we care more about the Bible and horse slaughter than we do about poor and uninsured people. Way to go.

Whoops, looks like I neglected to have a “Media Watch” category handy. Well, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe they just had an off day.

Happy New Year!

Vote as Early as January 14

Early voting for the 2008 primary elections begins Monday, January 14 and runs through Thursday, January 31 at the County Clerk’s office, including Saturday morning hours on the 19th and 26th. I highly recommend it. There’s generally no line, you don’t have to give a reason for doing it (as you must for absentee voting) and your vote gets counted on Election Day along with all the others. Be sure to bring along your driver’s license or other state-issued photo i.d. to vote early.

One can still register to vote through January 8 at the offices of the city or county clerk, the library or even some banks. If you’ve moved, re-register. College students, this means you! As an election judge I find it sad when an eager young person among the tiny population of student voters gets turned away for neglecting to update an address. You don’t have to show i.d. on Election Day (though we might ask if we can’t find you on the list, to check the spelling of your name) but you do have to appear on the voter rolls of the precinct you live in.

Speaking of election judges, County Clerk Sharon Holmes can always use more. It’s a long, long day but the company is great, as is the feeling that one has taken the Next Step in participating to preserve the Republic. It also pays around a hundred bucks. Phone Ms. Holmes at (815) 895-7147 if interested.

The Other Side of Solar

I don’t know about you, but the term “solar energy” has usually made me think about photovoltaics, in which light from the sun is converted into electrical energy. No more. This week I was browsing Bill Foster’s energy policy paper and read the term “thermo-solar energy” for the first time. Also called solar thermal energy, this technology is about using the sun’s heat for generating electricity.

The problem is, if you’re only using the light, you can store electricity up to a point but you can’t generate it when it’s overly overcast or dark. Also, it can be more expensive to generate electricity from photovoltaic than from other sources. Unlike light, heat can be stored for power generation during times the sun is sleeping, rendering it more reliable and cost-effective. Continue reading The Other Side of Solar

Dem 3-Way in IL-14

Usually I write my own stuff but in this case it would be like re-inventing a really good wheel. Over at Prairie State Blue a regular poster with the puzzling handle of bored now (but who am I to talk) has just contributed a second roundup of the three Democratic candidates* who are running ultimately for the prize of Denny Hastert’s now-abandoned Congressional seat. bored sounds anything but; his analysis is superb.

if the first posts in this series was designed to lay a foundation, this next group will be focused on looking at the fundamentals in this race. like blocking and tackling decide football games, the fundamentals decide elections. there are five fundamentals that are thought to be decisive in the outcome of elections:

1. the candidates
2. money
3. the environment (deciding factors that campaigns can’t change)
4. the climate (deciding factors that campaigns can influence)
5. their organizations

probably the biggest factor right now in this race is the political environment. and the most important environmental factor is the upcoming special election. the fact that the special election is a month away from the special primary focuses all attention on this question: who scales up fastest? the campaigns have six weeks to identify supporters and then educate them on voting twice for them on the same ballot (once for the general election and again for the special election). the campaigns already lost a week or so because they had to circulate petitions (again) for the special election. christmas and new year’s will cost them some more time. this is even more true for the laesch campaign (and possibly stein’s), since they are so dependent on volunteer expertise. the foster campaign staff will undoubtedly work the same amount during that week. (i worked on christmas day last year, so i sympathize.)

I do not know why bored doesn’t use capital letters. Even if you find it momentarily distracting, I would encourage you to read the whole post if you have an interest in this race–or in politics generally, for that matter.

*Joe Serra is not running in the special election, only the regular one, and seems devilishly difficult to get in touch with anyway.

IL-14: Burns Drops Out

In a move that means only far-right candidates Jim Oberweis and Chris Lauzen will compete in the GOP primary (Michael Dilger can come correct me if he wishes), Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns has dropped out of the race.

The Beacon News is tying the action to Denny Hastert’s endorsement of Jim Oberweis, and Burns admits it’s the “main factor.”

In a letter to the editor that appeared in The Daily Chronicle the day before Hastert’s endorsement, Lauzen called for Hastert not to meddle in IL-14.

Any candidate running for the Republican nomination to succeed you would feel honored by your endorsement. However, out of respect for the people whom we all serve and for the future unity of the Republican Party in this area, I respectfully request that you remain neutral before the primary and support whomever the Republican voters select after the primary on Feb. 5, 2008.

Many folks express their wonder to me about the apparent necessity to spend $1 million of taxpayer funds on the March 8, 2008, special election when that money could better be spent on national security, health care or education. Now that you are stepping away from your official duties, I believe that citizens and voters would be distressed if you reassert yourself and use your considerable clout to influence the outcome of an impending primary.

Not that I have any great desire to agree with Lauzen on anything, but I do feel bad for moderate GOP and independent friends. If both Burns and Foster had gotten the nomination, it would have been a great race. It seems to me that the GOP is in such disorder they will endorse only candidates who can self-fund.

Special Election Filings

Candidates for the special primary election to fill the rest of Denny Hastert’s term in the 14th U.S. Congressional District have begun filing their ballot petitions. Filed so far are GOPers Kevin Burns, Chris Lauzen and Jim Oberweis. Of the Dems who already filed for the regular primary election, only Bill Foster and John Laesch have turned in their petitions for the special; Jotham Stein expects to file shortly, but Joe Serra will not. Republican Michael Dilger is MIA.

Town Recalls Pro-Blackwater Planning Board

[Whoops! Correction: One of the planning board members is anti-Blackwater and therefore was not a target of the recall.]

Potrero, California, in east San Diego County recalled its entire the pro-Blackwater contingent of its planning board on the basis of its approval of plans for Blackwater USA to buy 824 acres for a new mercenary training facility they call “Blackwater West.” Then, the town replaced the board with anti-Blackwater representation.

The vote count is clear and stunning: of just over 280 votes cast, (59% turnout) each of the incumbents was recalled with at least 63% in favor and each of the anti-Blackwater (pro-Potrero) candidates received no less than 71% of the votes. The new members will take their office upon certification of the results; the registrar told us that certification would occur not later than Thursday morning. With the next meeting of the Planning Group scheduled for Thursday night, we should have a 100% anti-Blackwater (pro-Potrero) panel set to take action.

Local farmer Carl Meyer led the effort. Next up is convincing 3 of the 5 San Diego County Supervisors to overcome the lobbying power of Blackwater in favor of the voters. If not, says Meyer, “The same recall mechanism works for county supervisors as for the Potrero planning group.”

IL-14 GOP Debate on WLS Radio

Instead of the usual pre-determined questions offered up by the moderator, Jim Oberweis, State Sen. Chris Lauzen and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns asked each other questions on Bill Cameron’s “Connected to Chicago” show Dec. 2. It was an interesting format. Click on this link to go to the WLS site to download the show. It runs a bit less than 25 minutes, and it only takes them 15 minutes to get to Iraq. Oberweis and Lauzen, of course, first had to go on record as keen to abolish the federal income tax and immigrants.