What Faith Was That, Governor?

Friday, December 3, AD 2010


Pat Quinn is the Governor of the State of Illinois.  He was Lieutenant Governor under Rod Blagojevich and took over after Blago was impeached and convicted by the State Legislature.  Quinn bucked the Republican tide this year and won election to a four year term, narrowly defeating pro-life Republican Bill Brady.  In that campaign Quinn emphasized that he is a pro-abort.

Pat Quinn claims to be a Roman Catholic.  The State Legislature this week passed a civil unions (pretend marriage) bill for homosexuals.  Quinn has vowed to sign it.

Gov. Pat Quinn – who campaigned on the issue, lobbied members and was on the floor of the House for much of Tuesday’s debate – lauded the House’s action. Quinn said he would sign the bill if it passes the Senate, where a vote is expected today.

“My religious faith animates me to support this bill,” Quinn, a Catholic, told reporters after the vote. “I think, as a matter of conscience, this was the right vote.”


The Bishop of Springfield, Thomas Paprocki, wasted no time correcting the Governor:

After the Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation that would require the state to recognize same-sex unions, Governor Pat Quinn was quoted as saying, “My religious faith animates me to support this bill.” He did not say what religious faith that would be, but it certainly is not the Catholic faith. If the Governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative for which he is accountable to the voters. But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority, and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.

The Governor met the Bishop’s rebuke with a shrug of indifference:  Asked about the bishop’s statement, Quinn said, “I follow my conscience. My conscience is not kicking me in the shins today.”

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12 Responses to What Faith Was That, Governor?

  • Bishop Paprocki most appropriately availed himself of this opportunity (“teachable moment”) to make perfectly, succunctly clear the Church’s Truth on this faith and morals issue.

    There is another form of bankruptcy (besides fiscal bankruptcy): moral bankruptcy.

    IL is bankrupt on both counts. It just hasn’t declared bankruptcy . . . yet.

  • My guess is that this is more about Quinn paying back the gay activist groups who contributed money to his campaign, than it is about his faith. I don’t recall him making an issue of civil unions/gay marriage until maybe a couple of months before the election.

    Do these statements indicate that Bp. Paprocki will invoke Canon 915 against Gov. Quinn or is considering it? Anything is possible, I suppose. However, if he did, I don’t know that it would have much of an effect. You see, Quinn still has a home in Chicago, and most of his public appearances on weekends are in that area. More likely than not he goes to Mass there. The Cathedral is only 2 blocks from the governor’s mansion and I belong to that parish but I have yet to see him or any other well-known, Catholic statewide official at a weekend Mass. Of course, maybe I’m just going to Mass at the wrong times 🙂 A formal canonical action, if it comes to that, would need Cardinal George and all the bishops of Illinois on board to really be effective.

  • The news just gets worse and worse for the Land of Lincoln. I applaud the Bishop for his clear remarks.

    Disaster I fear looms for Illinois, that’s what happens when your state is taken over by Public Service Unions.

  • “I follow my conscience. My conscience is not kicking me in the shins today.”

    He’s a pol from Chicago. What conscience?

    What is disgustingly amusing about this is that the Governor professes it a matter of conscience that the gay lobby be given a bauble that was dreamed up around about 1986. Our social policy is being set by people who are driven by fashion and when asked to explain themselves have nothing to offer but ‘whatever’.

  • My guess is that this is more about Quinn paying back the gay activist groups who contributed money to his campaign, than it is about his faith.

    Thirty some years ago, the National Organizaton for Women had occasion to complain that state Governors were unwilling to horse trade to get their pet project (the ‘Equal Rights Amendment’) passed. I think it was Governor Thompson of Illinois who offered in reply that for the opposition it was a matter of conscience as well and ‘you don’t trade a constitutional amendment for a job or a bridge’. I guess standards in Illinois have been in long-term decline.

  • Actually this bill opens up even more cans of moral, societal, and fiscal worms than just gay marriage…

    Because the civil unions provided for in this bill are open to BOTH opposite-sex and same-sex couples, some senior citizens think it might provide a convienient resolution to the dilemma of widows/widowers who want to remarry without losing Social Security, pension or other benefits from their previous spouses.

    A civil union under this law would be recognized by the State and grant all the rights the State normally grants to married couples (inheritance, insurance coverage, medical decision making, etc.), but since it wouldn’t be recognized by the FEDERAL government, wouldn’t affect Social Security benefits or change one’s income tax filing status.

    So, what happens if a Catholic or mixed-faith couple, one or both of whom is widowed and has a pension or other source of income they would lose upon remarriage, decides to opt for a civil union instead, and then decides to marry in the Church? What are they going to tell the priest when he asks for their marriage license? What is the priest going to do when he discovers they don’t have one? Is the couple guilty of fraud or cooperation with evil? Does their legal status impinge upon whether or not the sacrament is valid?

  • “Because the civil unions provided for in this bill are open to BOTH opposite-sex and same-sex couples, some senior citizens think it might provide a convienient resolution to the dilemma of widows/widowers who want to remarry without losing Social Security, pension or other benefits from their previous spouses.”

    I don’t wish to insult you Elaine, but that observation was worthy of an attorney! 🙂

    The dirty little secret about gay marriage and civil unions is that, outside of the activist homosexuals, there is precious little evidence that homosexuals en masse are much interested in either one. The type of gaming of the system you mention regarding heterosexuals using civil unions to get around social security regulations, or losing health insurance or pension benefits for that matter, might be the chief legacy of the creation of these pretend marriages. Legislation always has unintended consequences and this might well be one in the case of civil unions.

  • Bravo Bishop Paprocki!! I love how he spoke up and set the record straight.

    It’s really all about these secularists tearing down the family and the importance of marriage, and not about them participating in marriage or civil unions.

  • Another group that may be interested in civil unions as a “lite” form of marriage: young people who want to get on their significant other’s health insurance plan (if it doesn’t already cover domestic partners) but aren’t yet ready for a “real” wedding because they can’t afford the big bridezilla party, or for other reasons.

    However, the ability to have one’s wedding… er, civil union, cake and eat it too won’t last very long if and when the federal government decides to recognize same-sex unions or put them fully on a par with civil marriage. That might please gay activists but probably won’t please the opposite-sex couples who use civil unions to game the benefit system.

  • Quinn needs to be told: “Get thee behind the church, Satan!” Then maybe he will start properly forming his conscience.

  • This is as much a rebuke of Quinn as it is the blue collar Chicago catholics who voted him back into office. The fact that catholics continue to vote for such pro-aborts is also a poor reflection on the unfortunate ineffectual leadership of Cardinal George.

  • So…

    I gather Quinn is not permitted to receive at any Catholic parish within the Springfield diocese? Is that right?

    I ask because doing so would be, under the circumstances, dangerous for Quinn personally. St. Paul asserts that some folk get sick or die as a chastisement from God for taking the body and blood while not properly disposed.

    So, did Bishop Paprocki take this additional pastoral step of keeping Quinn out of harm’s way? (I suppose he could have done it privately.)

Deliver Us From Blago

Friday, August 27, AD 2010

According to legend, the Vikings were so greatly feared by the people of northern Europe during the Dark Ages that they used to pray “From the fury of the Norsemen, Lord, deliver us!”

Of late, I suspect that many Illinois residents like myself are making a similar petition to be delivered from the fury of another force nearly as frightening.

I am speaking of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose trial on 24 separate federal corruption charges ended on Aug. 17 with the jury finding him guilty of just one charge — lying to federal agents — and deadlocking on the other 23. Federal prosecutors will retry Blago on at least some of the unresolved charges, but in the meantime, he has once again resumed his nationwide media blitz, protesting his innocence to anyone who will listen and making a complete idiot of himself in the process.

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5 Responses to Deliver Us From Blago

  • Bravo Elaine. Fitzgerald has dropped the charges against Blago’s brother which means that he can call the brother to the stand the next go round. That should be an amusing few days of direct examination!

  • My heavens, you know that Illinois is the Sucker State – that’s not a well-known nickname.

    It’s horrible to be an Illinoisan right now, and a Chicagoan. What terrible examples we have put into the public arena! We actually are nice people here.

  • From the perspective of an IL resident who will be going to college next year, talking about this issue at length with my friends has led the vast majority of us to decide to jump ship and leave the state as soon as possible, never coming back, more for our children’s well-being than ours. Given the unofficial motto, “I need a Zoloft,” and the state’s financial and ethical bankruptcy, claiming to be an economic or political refugee shouldn’t prove to be terribly difficult.

  • Jason, I do not blame you at all. If I were young and starting out, I think I would probably leave the state also, and that makes me very sad. Illinois was a great state once, and I hope it will be a great state again.

  • Ah, don’t despair folks. Somebody’s got to stick around and clean things up, right? And if Louisiana and New Jersey can get their act together, so can we… heck if Russia can be converted there’s still hope for us 🙂

    On the lighter side… I just went to see a local theater production of “Chicago: The Musical” and it’s actually funnier than ever because of the obvious parallels to recent events. Heck I could see a musical being made about the Blago case someday … oh wait, that’s already been done (Second City’s “Rod Blagojevich, Superstar!”).

Highland Park, Illinois: The Bell Revolt Spreads

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

In this post I discussed the outrage in Bell, California over “public servant”, yes that phrase often does have a humorous sound to it these days, salaries.  The revolt has now spread to Highland Park, Illinois, a fairly wealthy Chicago north shore suburb, population approximately 34,000, with a median family income of $100,000.00 per annum.  It is a limousine liberal type of town, which was in the news earlier this year when the assistant district superintendent decided to cancel a girl’s basketball trip to a tournament in Arizona in a transparent attempt to protest the Arizona immigration law.  Players and parents were mostly outraged by the decision.

Residents got a whole new reason to be outraged, when they recently learned of the sky high salaries and bonuses paid to Park District officials.  Ralph Volpe, head of the Park District, was paid $435,000 in 2008;  finance director Kenneth Swan’s salary leaped from $124, 908 in 2005 to $218, 372 in 2008;  facilities director David Harris went from $135, 403 to $339, 302 in 2008.  Total bonuses paid to these three tireless slaves of the people was $700,000 between 2005-2008.  The taxpayers of Highland Park are not amused.  Go here to read all about it.

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11 Responses to Highland Park, Illinois: The Bell Revolt Spreads

  • Related to this are reports from all over about how public employees are paid much more in many cases than their counterparts in the private sector. Public employee Unions play a part in this.

  • What party are they? When have you ever seen a political story that doesn’t mention what party the officials are?

  • Pinky,
    In suburban Chicago politics the parties can be peculiarly local, such as the Unity Party and some such things. Perhaps that is why no mention here.

  • In most Chicago suburbs, the local municipal candidates are forbidden to identify with a party. They might team up and run together with a “Unity Party” name like mentioned above, but other than that, no.

    Kind of refreshing, although you can still ID people for what they believe.

  • As a public service and to save you all the trouble of filing a FOIA request with the Illinois Comptroller’s office, I will tell you exactly how much I make as a state employee: $35,000 per year. That has not changed in two years, and isn’t likely to go up any time soon; in fact I would not be surprised to see my pay go DOWN in the next year or two. I’m not union either. So don’t assume we’re ALL rolling in unearned taxpayer money. But I digress.

    Anyway… Mike and Therese are correct in that many Illinois municipal elections are officially non-partisan, and candidates are not identified by party on the ballot. However, the party affiliation of the various candidates is usually public knowledge, either because of their activities on behalf of other candidates or because of the recipients of their campaign donations.

  • Furthermore, local government (medium to large size cities and counties, plus some school boards) is particularly prone to this kind of salary padding precisely because everyone knows everyone else and wants to help out their “friends.” The salaries themselves may not be that high, but bonuses for serving on various committees, or filling more than one position, may bump it up. Also, the practice of giving people who were nearing retirement age big annual raises in their last year or two of work in order to increase their future pensions was rampant, at least until recently when the public caught on to the practice.

  • I live in Highland Park and at this point am honestly ashamed that I do. First the outrageous decision to ban the girls from going to Arizona and now this. This is tax payer money, and not only do the tax payers pay for the bonuses and salaries of the current year but are now forced to pay these people upwards of 150,000 dollars a year in pension. Absolutely criminal what these people have done and at age 19 im seriously considering running for a position on the board. These people all need to go.

  • “and at age 19 im seriously considering running for a position on the board.”

    That is precisely the type of positive response I hope to see from people outraged by this type of governmental malfeasance Brian. I hope you do run and win.

  • Way to go Brian! I did once know a guy who ran for a small-town city council seat at the age of 19, in his college town, and won. He served for a couple of years before leaving to go to grad school elsewhere, but I’m sure the experience served him well.

  • Pingback: Are Public Employees Overpaid? « The American Catholic

Edward Coles and Free Illinois

Thursday, August 5, AD 2010

Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois, is largely forgotten today, which is a pity.  His actions in 1824 helped lead to Union victory in the Civil War.

Illinois came into the Union as a free state in 1818.  However, a majority of settlers in Illinois initially came from the South and some of them brought slaves, illegally, into the Sucker State.  In 1822 Edward Coles, a 36 year old native of Virginia who had settled in Illinois in 1818, was elected Governor.  Coles came from a slave-holding family, but he had long been convinced that slavery was morally wrong.  When he arrived in Illinois he freed his ten slaves and deeded to each head of a family 160 acres of land to help give them a new start in a free state.  He ran for governor because he was alarmed with the growing strength of pro-slavery forces in his new home state.  In a tight four way race he won.

As Governor, Coles fought against laws in Illinois that discriminated against blacks and against indenture laws that attempted to establish black slavery in Illinois under another name.  In 1823 pro-slavery forces had a call for a constitutional convention put on the ballot in 1824.  Had a convention been called, there is little doubt that Illinois would have been transformed into a slave state.  Working feverishly, Coles and his allies narrowly defeated the call for a constitutional convention at the ballot box in 1824 and Illinois remained a free state.  Had the Civil War begun with an Illinois that had been part of the Confederacy, or, more likely, split in two as Missouri was throughout the war between rival Union and Confederate camps, it is hard for me to see a Union victory.  Illinois contributed a quarter of a million men to the Union cause, and without those men the war in the West could never have been won.

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5 Responses to Edward Coles and Free Illinois

  • Fascinating. Thanks, Don. Never knew this even though I received my undergraduate degrees from an institution located smack dab in the middle of a county named after this remarkable gent.

  • I agree, very fascinating.

    I didn’t realize how divided Illinois was at the time.

    And an excellent analysis on Missouri. Though a “Union” state, the population was primarily a 60-40 (my guess) ‘States Right’ state.

    There were bloody reprisals all over the state and between Missouri Bushwackers, Confederate Irregulars, and ruffians of all sorts that engaged in inter-state terrorist activities (and war engagements).

  • “There were bloody reprisals all over the state”

    I suspect, though I can’t really prove it and haven’t seen this theory anywhere else, that this is the real reason Missouri came to be known as the Show Me State… because during the Civil War, your life literally depended on knowing where your neighbor’s, friends’, or family’s true loyalties really were.

    If you were loyal to the Union you couldn’t just assume your neighbor, for instance, was a Union man because if it turned out he wasn’t, he could end up killing you the next day. The fact that Union and Confederate sympathizers sometimes disguised themselves as members of the other side during guerrilla actions made things even more complicated.

  • Mike, I lived in Mattoon in Coles County for three years when I first started out as an attorney, and I am ashamed that I had no clue who Coles was at the time.

  • Didn’t know that Don. I used to drive to Mattoon for pizza (and hang with some fellas at the Sheraton (off I-57) back in the day. Even dated a Mattoon gal very briefly till she (understandably) lost interest in me.

Prayer at an Abortion Mill

Tuesday, July 20, AD 2010

Rockford, IL July 16, 2010 – Before the Northern Illinois Women’s Center opened on Friday morning to end the lives of children in the womb, four Catholic Priests firmly stationed themselves at all four corners around the abortion mill and began praying the powerful prayers of the Church found in Fr. Thomas Euteneuer’s book Exorcism and the Church Militant.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12

Almost immediately upon the Priests’ beginning their prayers in unison, the landlord of the abortion business came out of the building like a shot.

He wandered back and forth around the parking lot. Then he roamed the sidewalks, calling the Priests and pro-lifers names.

It certainly seemed that while the Priests were surrounding the abortion mill with prayer, the landlord, who is well-known for his dislike of the Christian religion and Catholic Priests, could not stand to be inside the building….[Read the rest!]

Prayer for the Closing of an Abortion Mill
Priests for Life

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One Response to Prayer at an Abortion Mill

  • OH! MON DIEU! Merci! Merci! Chèrs prêtres! J’ai vu les souffrances de ces tous petits! J’ai reconnu mon péché de la luxure qui mène vers la mort! Au Canada, on a interdit la peine de mort pour les meurtriers de peur de faire péri injustement un innoncent!Mais combien plus inoccents sont ces tous petits!

Illinois is Broke

Wednesday, July 7, AD 2010

Long time readers of this blog know that I reside in the Land of Lincoln.  Illinois now has the distinction of perhaps being in the worst fiscal mess of any state in the Union, as this recent article by Josh Barro for Real Clear Markets indictates:

If you go to Sacramento this week, don’t be surprised to hear champagne corks popping and chants of “We’re #2! We’re #2!” The cause for celebration? Illinois has overtaken California as the worst credit risk among American states.

As of Monday, the credit default swap spread for Illinois general obligation bonds climbed to 313 basis points for a five-year contract — meaning a bondholder must pay over 3% of the bond’s face value per year to be insured against default.

That’s a higher price than for all but seven sovereign entities tracked by CMA, and slightly higher than California, whose five-year CDS spread sits at 293. Investors rate Illinois’s debt as slightly riskier than Iceland’s or Latvia’s, but not quite as big a gamble as Iraq’s.
Despite this environment, Illinois chose to issue an additional $300 million in taxable Build America Bonds last week. Unsurprisingly, the markets were not keen and demanded a high price: the new 25-year bonds were sold with a yield of 7.1%, a spread of 297 basis points over 30-year treasuries. Illinois’ last long term issues, in April, had spreads of 205 and 210 basis points, meaning investors were already nervous about Illinois and are growing moreso.
This issuance provides further evidence that the ratings agencies haven’t fully appreciated the dire nature of state finances, at least in states like California and Illinois. While Illinois carries a Moody’s rating of A1, six notches above junk status, the markets put Illinois’s debt close to the borderline between junk and investment grade.

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11 Responses to Illinois is Broke

  • Very good post and (depressingly) spot-on article there. However, it is my understanding that switching to a defined-contribution retirement plan wouldn’t necessarily save the State as much money as people think because that would require the State to start paying into Social Security for those employees who currently do not receive it, as well as matching those contributions. In other words, skipping payments would no longer be an option.

    The problem really started back in the 1970s when the Illinois Supreme Court stupidly ruled that the constitutional guarantee that pensions were a “contractual” benefit that could never be taken away or diminished applied ONLY to the immediate payments being made to individuals, and NOT to the state’s yearly contribution to the fund. As long as current pensioners kept getting their checks, the state didn’t have to pay into those funds.

  • My preference Elaine would be to offer state employment with no pensions to new hires. I think we would have no end of applicants for the jobs. The cost of state employment is only one portion of the fiscal disaster which is Illinois, but it is an important part. Of course this situation will ultimately rectify itself, either by needed fiscal reforms being taken, or the state government simply collapsing and reforms being undertaken in the midst of an extreme crisis. From what I know of Illinois politics, I think the collapse scenario is most likely.

  • But! This is impossible. Barracks, Quis Ut deus, is from Illinois!!!

    How could this be?

    Genius liberals have run Illinois even since before 5,000 dead Chicagoans elected JFK. That’s like 50 years!

    Not to worry!

    Obama, Bawney Fwank, and Chris Dodd have the solution! DERIVATIVES!!!!! They’re going to outlaw credit default (derivative) swaps! “Happy days are here again . . . ”

    No wait!! End Wall Street and bankers’ pay packages!!!
    No wait!!! Raise taxes on the evil rich!!!!
    No wait!!!! Take over health care!!!!
    No wait!!!!! Destroy the coal industry!!!
    No wait!!!!!! Cap and tax the cost of gasoline and home heating oil (save the snail darter!) up to $10 a gallon!!!!!
    No wait!!!!!!! Add a VAT!!!!!
    No wait!!!!!!!! Add 15,000,000 people to the public teats and the demagogue voter bloc!!!!

    Enlightened rule, Baby! Saintly social justice, brothers and sisters!

    “You want freedom? You gonna haf’ta kill some crackers. And, they babies . . . ”

    Amen!!! Halleluiah!!!

    You’re finished, stick a fork in yourselves.

    Thanks to all pro-abortion catholics! Thanks for ruining our country!

  • Just another example of government corrupted by those who serve Mammon. Constitutional restraints are designed to severely limit the power of government over the money supply and the people. Once those limits are ignored then there are no limits placed by any system of checks and balances and men who lack virtue will flood the halls of government to engorge themselves on the excess and victimize and enslave the people.

    The problem is and has always been that money, which is the lifeblood of the natural pricing system, should never be arbitrarily manipulated by monopoly power. The Constitution, the supreme law of the land, gives the power to coin money to Congress only. Congress transferred that power to a private monopoly enforced by the coercive (threat of violence and seizure) power of government. The Constitution does not permit Congress to do this and it does not permit Congress to print money either.

    Before anyone goes nuts and accuses me of advocating that we all carry metal around with us – that is not necessary. Congress can print, or use digital tech, money so long as it is backed by a fixed quantity of precious metal. Now I know it doesn’t have to be precious metal; however, that has traditionally been the best medium. Obviously God designed our world with a natural tendency to use precious metal as money. This would limit the ability of Congress to charge all the spending it wills (a potentially infinite desire) to the private bank, which creates the money out of nothing, backed by nothing and at no expense to the bank. This allows them to spend, spend and spend with no need for thrift, prudence or accountability. Obviously the states and commonwealths feed off the same beast.

    If you want them to have restraint and want them to have limited power then we need to cut them off from an endless supply of easy and depreciating money.

    Men of honor, character and virtue will go to government to actually serve the common good, because the temptation to serve themselves or re-engineer society (always an expensive proposition) will be curbed.

    Illinois and California are not doing anything different than Congress, they are merely less noticed by the rest of us (at least those of us who don’t live in those states). Of course, all but four states are in similar trouble to one degree or another, most due to mandatory federal programs. Four states went bankrupt in 1847 because President Polk wouldn’t bail them out. They recovered. California can recover, so can a corrupt cesspool like Illinois – just cut off the free money and watch the rascals run. Then honest men, who will do the right thing can clean up the mess.

    The prohibition against usury, properly understood, is not against interest. Interest is a rent payment for the use of a borrowed asset. The price is set by the actions of borrowers and lenders and the natural market will set it fairly. Usury is the collection of interest on something that has no value,and it usually involves force and violence.

    We are using over two-thirds of current revenue to service debt, which for the most part is fiat money that came at no cost to the Fed. Legitimate bond issues to Americans and foreigners excepted. This is usury, this is immoral and this is one of the things that sparked the wrath of our Lord when He walked the earth. We should listen to Him.

    Oh, one more thing. The consideration of defined-benefit vs. defined contribution. Since government is meant to serve and most government employees need make no significant sacrifice, they should NEVER get either a DB or a DC. Military personnel excepted, all soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines deserve DB pensions. Congressional critters and bureaucrats don’t.

    However, in the private world, those decisions are made by employers, shareholders, owners and employees. I’d recommend the DB, but I would never trust Wall Street or a bank with it.

  • “Genius liberals have run Illinois ever since before 5,000 dead Chicagoans elected JFK.”

    Not quite. Illinois has not always been a “blue” state. Well into the 1960s and 70s it was a “swing” state whose electoral votes could go to either party. Only in the last 18-20 years has Illinois consistently voted Democratic in presidential elections. The main reason for that (I think) is that the suburban Chicago “collar” counties, which used to be safe GOP territory, are going increasingly Democrat. On the state level Republicans controlled the governor’s mansion for most of the 1950s (after Adlai Stevenson lost his bid for president), for a good chunk of the 1970s, and for all of the ’80s and ’90s.

    As for those dead Chicagoans who allegedly elected JFK, Chicago blogger Tom Roeser has a different take on that: he says that Mayor Daley, Sr.’s real reason for cranking out a huge Democratic vote in 1960 was NOT to elect JFK — that was merely icing on the cake — but to insure the defeat of popular Republican state’s attorney Benjamin Adamowski. Adamowski had vowed to aggressively pursue public corruption cases, and had made no secret of his desire to eventually run against Daley for mayor, so Daley, naturally, regarded him as a mortal threat. Whether this is true or not I don’t know since I wasn’t even born at the time, but it sounds plausible to me.

    More in a few minutes.

  • “Since government is meant to serve and most government employees need make no significant sacrifice, they should NEVER get either a DB or a DC.”

    Eh, I dunno about that. I may be a bit prejudiced being a state employee myself, but at the professional levels (jobs requiring college or postgraduate degrees, professional licenses or significant skills) state employees often make less, sometimes a lot less, than they could in comparable private sector jobs. Some of them do make considerable financial sacrifices because, believe it or not, they believe in what they do and want to contribute to the public good. On the other hand, for less skilled jobs — custodians, nurses aides, data inputters, etc. — state employees do tend to make more than they would in the private sector.

    As for my situation, I’ll save you the trouble of filing a FOIA request to the Illinois Comptroller and tell you exactly how much I make: $35,000 per year. And that’s after 25 + years total in the workforce, with a bachelor’s degree, 22 of those years in the private sector. My current pay is only slightly higher than what my best private sector job paid. Why did I take this job — well, basically, because it had decent insurance, regular hours, and didn’t require a 60-mile commute every day.

    All that being said, I honestly don’t expect to receive any of my state pension or Social Security seeing as how both funds will probably be broke long before I’m 65. I resigned myself long ago to having to work until I’m too old, sick, or dead to continue. I do have a small annunity fund left over from a former job, but that’s tanked pretty severely in the last few years.

  • Elaine’s Rant, Final Chapter:

    Given what I said above, I wouldn’t be all that upset if the state abolished DB in favor of DC or just scrapped the whole thing. Most tail-end Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have pretty low expectations regarding retirement anyway so it wouldn’t be much of a shock to them. However, it would be totally unjust to take away benefits already promised to those who earned them fair and square. I also that ELECTED officials should not draw pensions for their service because public office is not supposed to be a lifetime career or source of security anyway.

    “This is usury, this is immoral and this is one of the things that sparked the wrath of our Lord when He walked the earth.”

    Recently I caught a snippet of one of Fr. John Corapi’s talks on EWTN radio, and he suggested a very interesting idea I think it’s worth reflecting upon here: bad leadership is one of the ways God punishes us for our sins. That’s what happened to Old Testament Israel, when they insisted on having earthly kings just like the pagan nations around them did. God, through the prophet Samuel, warned them that they’d live to regret it, but they didn’t listen.

    How many of us have been dreading the prospect of God’s judgment upon our country because of our acceptance of abortion and other evils, and our continuing to elect public officials who countenance these things? Well, I guess it’s already here… not in the form of fire and brimstone, lightning bolts from heaven, locust plagues, etc. but in the form of crumbling infrastructure, fading job prospects, vanishing retirement security, high taxes, etc. I wonder if the embarrassment of Blago and his legacy of fiscal ruin are the way God has chosen to punish Illinois for inflicting the Abortion President upon the nation?

  • Elaine,

    The problem is not necessarily with your job, mission or vocation – it is with your employer. The government has little need for actual employees. Most functions of government can and should be performed by other authorities or the natural market. In the areas where government is called to be the provider of a particular need, then it can usually contract that out. Some instances this is not the case as in the military, although, some private military has been effective, Executive Outcomes comes to mind.

    I don’t know what your particular job is and I don’t care to comment about you personally on here so I suggest you refrain from telling me. It is likely that your job can be performed by you better and probably with better compensation if it was private. Just because it is private does not mean it is selfish – many private jobs provide for the common good. For example some of the teachers in Catholic schools make much less than their government school counterparts and they generally do a better job – although I’d rather see sisters and nuns doing the job. Also note that private charities do a better job, more efficiently and with far less corruption than say, the United Way or the Red Cross.

    Is private better than government? Generally yes. It isn’t that abuse won’t occur – as long as people are involved there will always be abuse, the difference is that it isn’t codified, perpetuated and encouraged. That tends to happen when government is involved – the temptation is too strong for most.

    In any event, the issue of savings regarding the government jobs, and for that matter private jobs, is that it is incumbent upon the worker. Relying on the employer is rarely a good idea. The problem is the government channels funds to certain savings vehicles at the expense of others for the benefit of certain companies and the detriment of others. If they left it alone and didn’t depreciate the currency, then everyone of us could save for retirement (whatever that is) ourselves with great success.

    Of course, we are in this situation for the reasons you and Fr. Corapi pointed out, what I find sad is that we needed our bank accounts, pensions and home equity hit before we actually paid attention. We need to remember what we’ve been taught about serving two masters.

    In any event work is not given to us to earn money, although I admit that I do like that part, work is a gift given to us for our sanctity. So if we have to work until we drop dead, assuming we work well and to the good, then I suppose it is time-off in Purgatory. At least I hope so. 😉

  • “Usury is the collection of interest on something that has no value, and it usually involves force and violence.”

    This may explain why Dante, in the Inferno, placed usurers in the same circle of Hell as sodomites and blasphemers — he regarded these offenses as acts of violence against God (blasphemy), against nature (sodomy), and against art (usury), the “child” of nature and thereby the “grandchild” of God. “Art” as Dante defined it meant human labor of any kind, and he believed usury subverted the will of God that man should earn a living through honest work. (That whole topic could be fodder for another post 🙂

  • If you think this is sad, this can be omen of what the minions of Illinois ruuning the Adminstration have been doing in the White House along with the Senators and Representatives. If the national spending continues, especially with cap and trade and the health bill kicking in, and billion dollar loans to Brazil company for deep water drilling ( only they banned it in US or are trying be fore court stepped in ) and over 99 weeks of extended unemployment benefits ) and older workers taking Social Security earlier because they cn not find work the video could say the USA with interest on our debt at over one trillion and climbing is BROKE and can not meet their interest payments or social security and medicare payments.

  • Recently the bishops of Nigeria endorsed a campaign of public prayer against corruption and composed the following prayer to be said at public liturgies. With just a few tweaks it would fit right into the Land of Lincoln:

    “Father in heaven, You always provide for all your creatures, so that all may live as you have willed. You have blessed our country of Nigeria (State of Illinois) with rich human and natural recourses to be used in honour and glory and for the well being of every Nigerian (Illinoisan).

    “We are deeply sorry for the wrong use of these your gifts and blessings through acts of injustice, bribery and corruption, as a result of which many of our people are hungry, sick, ignorant, and defenceless. Father, you alone can heal us and our nation (state) of this sickness.

    “We beg you, touch our lives and the lives of our leaders and people so that we may all realise the evil of bribery and corruption and work hard to eliminate it. Raise up for us God-fearing people and leaders who care for us and who will lead us in the path of peace, prosperity and progress. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.”

    The one major rewrite I would suggest in an Illinois version of this prayer would be to change “many of our people are hungry, sick, ignorant and defenceless” to “many of our people are without needed services and unable to support their families.”

    I think just about anyone would agree that the poor leadership in Illinois has had that effect — whether you are liberal and think the problem is social services not being adequately funded, or you are conservative and think the problem is overtaxation, bloated public payrolls, and other factors that discourage or drive away private employers. Either way, we need help.

Illinois State Song

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.   The State Song of Illinois with scenes from my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  My wife and I took our son down for his freshman orientation this week, some 35 years after I went through it. 

Another rendition sung on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Illinois is a wonderful state that has been long cursed with one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation.  Past time for the voters of the Land of Lincoln to correct this disgrace.

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Snipers and Riot Police Confront Tea Party Protesters in Quincy

Thursday, April 29, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 4-29-2010 at 8:24pm]

Apparently President Obama is doing his best to paint the Tea Party movement as a group of extremists and racists.

Witness the video below as an army of riot police in full riot gear and snipers on rooftops wield their weapons to intimidate the Tea Party protesters.

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  • You never know when those grannies might go berserk!

  • Well not adherents of this new Tea Party is racist or extremists; indeed, I’d argue that the majority are not. But I have seen signs bearing the “n” word (which was humorously misspelled) as well as other strong racial remarks.

    In the same way, the activity at protests against the Arizona immigration law does not characterize everyone who opposes it.

    Every group has its extremists.

  • “You never know when those grannies might go berserk!”

    Now you’re granny profiling. Shame.

  • Eric,

    I don’t have cable so I rely on rabbit ear television and what I saw in my old hometown of Phoenix was a riot.

    Rocks and all sorts of debris being thrown by hooded delinquents unnerved me.

    Yes there are extremists on both sides, but the coverage is disproportionate to what is actually happening on the ground.

    Especially when there have yet to have any ‘racist’ verbiage captured on audio or video tape from the ObamaCare protests outside the capitol a few weeks ago.

  • Donald,

    You’re nothing more than an anti-grannite!

  • Scrolling Byline – – – Tense moment at the White House this morning when Obama daughters discovered having a tea party in their room

  • Jim,

    You’re funny . . .

  • Before you all get bent out of shape — I was at Obama’s announcement of his presidential run at the Old State Capitol in Springfield in 2007 (at the request of a newspaper I used to work for, to cover the event) and there were plenty of snipers on rooftops then too.

    Now bear in mind that was a highly friendly crowd — not tea partiers, no visible opposition outside of a few pro-life protesters — and Obama wasn’t even president yet (just a candidate), although at that point he became entitled to Secret Service protection. This is probably routine at ANY large event he attends with crowds outdoors.

  • Elaine,

    I hope you’re right. BUT the guilty start to get scared when their sins are brought to the light of day and that is exactly what the Tea Partiers are doing to Obamolech.

  • Elaine,

    I also hope you’re right, but I don’t remember seeing riot police in Portland protecting President ‘W’ when his own limousine was attacked by leftist wingnuts.

    So until I get hard evidence, ie, I”ll believe it when I see it, then it isn’t true.

    President Obama is inane enough to do this and has no compulsion to the expense he will incur.

    Considering his romp to New York on the government dime after inauguration for a “dinner” with his wife and his one and a half day foray to Copenhagen on the government dime, he wouldn’t hesitate to pull these kind of stunts hoping to provoke tea partiers if cost is any consideration.

  • Jim I am going to use that one for sure – hahah!

    But I mean seriously… snipers? At a tea party? For what? Sheesh…

  • The Quincy Police Department has issued a CYA statement (Commentary by Gateway Pundit):

    Oops! The Quincy Police Department released a bogus statement calling the SWAT Team on the the protesting grandmothers yesterday. Unfortunately, they forgot about the army of videographers that filmed this incident.

    The Quincy Police Department released a statement today following the embarrassing incident yesterday when they called in the SWAT squad to quash the peaceful tea party protest outside the convention center during Barack Obama’s visit.

    During President Obama’s address, at approximately 1530 hours, the MFFT was deployed. A group of individuals positioned themselves on the south side of York Street near 3rd Street. This was within the area that was to be kept secure at the request of the U. S. Secret Service agents in charge of the site. Prior to the event only ticketed individuals were to be in this area; during the event it was restricted to the general public completely. Secret Service personnel requested these individuals leave the area and to go back to the north side of York Street. They did not comply. Quincy Police Department personnel made the same requests and again they did not comply. At that time the MFFT was deployed to stand post between the individuals and the site and, if necessary, remove the individuals. Once the MFFT was in place, the individuals agreed to move. Once everyone complied and the site was again secure, the MFFT returned to their staging point. No physical force was used during this deployment.

    Of course, this ludicrous statement is a complete fabrication. We are currently contacting the police department to retract their statement.
    We strongly object to these points.

    1. Prior to the event only ticketed individuals were to be in this area; during the event it was restricted to the general public completely.
    From the videos below it is clear that the restricted area was not roped off or marked as restricted. The protesters repeatedly checked with the police to make sure that they were not being disruptive.

    2. “Secret Service personnel requested these individuals leave the area and to go back to the north side of York Street. They did not comply.”
    We have at least three videos below that prove that the protesters asked and double-checked with the police to make sure we were following orders.

    3. “Once the MFFT was in place, the individuals agreed to move.”
    Once again the video shows that we were already moving from the corner to the middle of York Street before the MFFT marched into place.

    The first video produced by Adam Sharp shows Adam checking and double-checking with the police to make sure that we are in the correct area. You’ll also notice that Adam was polite at all times.


    What happened here is that the Quincy Police Department hugely overreacted and went into full Barney Fife mode. Ludicrous.

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Politics The Illinois Way

Friday, February 5, AD 2010

Illinois politics has always had a rather corrupt and colorful flavor about it.  Sort of Louisiana with bad winters.  Two examples:

1.    Alexi Giannoulias is the Democrat nominee for Obama’s old senate seat.  As the bare knuckles Republican ad above indicates, Giannoulias has been alleged to have substantial mob ties due to Broadway Bank , a Bank owned by the Giannoulias family and which made substantial loans to Chicago crime figures.  A comprehensive look at Mr. Giannoulias is here.

2.    Scott Lee Cohen, a wealthy Chicago pawnbroker, won the Democrat nomination for  Lieutenant  Governor on Tuesday.  Immediately after he won, it came out that in 2005 he was arrested for allegedly holding a knife to the throat of a former girl-friend, a woman who was once convicted of prostitution.   The woman failed to show up at a subsequent hearing, and the charge was dropped.  One might ask why none of his opponents brought this scandal up prior to the voters going to the polls.  I have no answer.  Governor Quinn, the Democrat nominee for Governor, has stated that Cohen must step down.  Cohen has indicated that he has no intention of stepping down.

Ah, the Land of Lincoln.  We may be the most misgoverned state in the Union, but I do believe we get good entertainment value from our politicians!

Update I: From my co-blogger, and fellow Illinoisan, Elaine:

The Cohen debacle is literally getting worse by the minute.

Not only do we have the domestic battery charge from ‘05 — which he did actually admit to in an interview nearly a YEAR ago — his divorce papers and other documents have been made public, and they allege 1) steroid abuse and ‘roid rages against his wife and kids, 2) attempts to rape his wife, 3) harassing messages written in lipstick on his (now ex) wife’s mirror, 4) failure to pay child support for his four kids while he was spending $2 million or so on running for lite guv, 5) numerous lawsuits against him, including his OWN BROTHER suing him for $200K (haven’t found out what for yet).

On top of all that, his major endorsers and campaign contributors included…. wait for it… Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC (a PAC known for endorsing only the most radical pro-aborts it can find). Even some liberals are shaking their heads at the irony of an allegedly “pro woman” PAC donating to the campaign of a domestic abuser and deadbeat dad!

Illinois politics, better than any novel!

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20 Responses to Politics The Illinois Way

  • The Cohen debacle is literally getting worse by the minute.

    Not only do we have the domestic battery charge from ’05 — which he did actually admit to in an interview nearly a YEAR ago — his divorce papers and other documents have been made public, and they allege 1) steroid abuse and ‘roid rages against his wife and kids, 2) attempts to rape his wife, 3) harassing messages written in lipstick on his (now ex) wife’s mirror, 4) failure to pay child support for his four kids while he was spending $2 million or so on running for lite guv, 5) numerous lawsuits against him, including his OWN BROTHER suing him for $200K (haven’t found out what for yet).

    On top of all that, his major endorsers and campaign contributors included…. wait for it… Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC (a PAC known for endorsing only the most radical pro-aborts it can find). Even some liberals are shaking their heads at the irony of an allegedly “pro woman” PAC donating to the campaign of a domestic abuser and deadbeat dad!

  • “One might ask why none of his opponents brought this scandal up prior to the voters going to the polls.”

    1. They didn’t think he would win — although anyone in the state who wasn’t blind and deaf could see that he had the best funded and organized campaign, the most yard signs, mailers, etc.

    2. Some of the more conspiracy minded Illinois political junkies think it’s all part of a plot by all-powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan to insure that a Republican gets elected governor AND gets saddled with all the blame for the difficult fiscal and other decisions that MUST be made in the next four years, thereby clearing the way for his daughter, AG Lisa Madigan, to run for governor four years from now.

    If that’s the case, methinks that may not be quite going according to “plan” either, since the currently presumptive GOP nominee, Bill Brady, is (mirabile dictu!) an unquestionably conservative downstate legislator, who was almost completly ignored in the Chicago media market, and not expected to win. Most people’s bets were on the more “moderate” Kirk Dillard or cash-loaded Andy McKenna.

    I may be getting way ahead of myself here but (continuing the comparisons to Louisiana) I think if anyone has the potential to be the Bobby Jindal of Illinois, it’s Brady.

  • Elaine, I truly think that people who do not live in the Sucker State have no idea how truly bizarre Illinois politics can get! This may give them an inkling!

  • To borrow Franz Werfel’s famous quote about Lourdes, for a much more profane subject… for those who live in Illinois, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t, no explanation is possible.

    The only thing more amusing than trying to figure out Illinois politics, is watching national pundits and talking heads try to figure it out. Of course they are seeing everything through (Scott) Brown-colored glasses right now.

    I do have a couple of cosmetic quibbles with the Alexi G. You Tube clip: Chicagoans call it “The Outfit,” not “The Mob”, and the narrator’s accent sounds more Noo Yawk than Chicaguh to me. (SNL made the same mistake in their Blago sketches last year.) But it’s pretty good otherwise.

  • …and the narrator’s accent sounds more Noo Yawk than Chicaguh to me.

    I probably wouldn’t have picked up it without you mentioning it, Elaine, but now I can’t listen to it without thinking how silly it sounds in the context of Chicago.

    As to Chicago politics, it’s not hard for us outsiders to understand just how corrupt it is. Sure, some seemingly innocuous things may actually be loaded with negative implications that only locals would get, but it’s enough for us to just know it exists. After all, it’s not like the politics of my hometown of Detroit isn’t rotten too. My complaint with Chicago is actually with those who came before you. I can’t figure out why the dead always vote for the most corrupt politicians, you’d think they would have a better judge of character!

  • Yes isn’t it interesting and now the GANG is running the country..Where is Elliot Ness when we need hin.as the old saying goes there is a sucker born every minute and several million were taken in by the Pied Piper last Novenber and followed like good little lennings to the cliff..and the spending goes on and on til finaly the presses break and lend lease wwill be back only this time it will be from other counries to bail us out and the GANG will return Chicago fat happy laughing all the way with our momey in their pockets…LOL

  • I don’t know. I think Louisiana, California, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and DC can all make good cases for “most bizarre local politics.”

    I’d like to nominate my state of NY. With names like Rudy Giuliani, Vito Fossella, and Joey Bruno you know there’ll be trouble. Forgetting colorful characters like Nelson Rockefeller, just in the last 10 years we had:

    1. The daughter of JFK, who secretly campaigned for appointment to the Senate seat vacated by a carpetbagging former first lady only to be rejected by a blind governor who admitted to having an affair and who only became governor because his predecessor was caught hiring a prostitute.

    2. A mayor who liked to dress in drag, had a messy divorce while in office, then became the Republican frontrunner for president. This mayor was replaced by the 17th richest man in the world, who switched parties while in office, increased his own term limits, and set the record for most spent on an election campaign anywhere, ever!

    3. A police commissioner who withdrew his nomination to head Homeland Security after it was revealed that he hired illegal immigrants. He was then convicted of ethics violations. Now he’s awaiting sentencing for tax fraud.

    4. A conservative Republican US congressman who had a secret second family in Virginia. When he decided not run for reelection, the GOP nominated a guy who’s estranged son decided to run against him. The father died before the election and the seat was won by a Democrat for the first time in 30 years.

    5. A state comptroller who plead guilty to defrauding the government and who spent $800,000 to get an incumbent state assemblyman to step aside for his son.

    6. Two Democratic state senators who switched parties, giving the Republicans a majority. One then redefected leaving 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats. The lieutenant governor then becomes the tie-breaker but because the governor resigned, we had no LG. The president of the senate, a Republican on trial for corruption (he’s since been convicted and is now awaiting sentencing), becomes acting LG when the governor is out of state, so the governor refused to leave the state. Both parties claimed the senate leadership. We literally had two senates in the same room going about business as usual as if the other party didn’t exist. Senators yelling over each other. The governor appointed a new LG but the state AG said that was unconstitutional. The crisis ended when the other defector redefected to the Democrats in exchange for the majority leader seat.

    7. State Assembly members over 65 who collect salaries and pensions at the same time. They “retire” on New Year’s Eve then get sworn in as freshmen the next day.

    8. A lesbian city council speaker and the nation’s only pagan politician.

  • restrainedradical, I must stand up for Illinois! Illinois has had three governors go to prison and one I think who will eventually land there. Unless a state can boast at least three governors in the pen I don’t think it is even in the running.

  • You know what they say:

    Illinois- “Where Our Governors Make Our License Plates”

  • Elaine K.,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said the alleged quote from Franz Werfel.

  • I’ll have to look that up Tito. Thanks for the tip.

    If the truth be told, I’m sure bizarre politics exist, or can exist, anywhere, since we live in a fallen world; but the odds of such increase exponentially the more people there are — hence, big city “machines” like Chicago, New York, et al. generate the most spectacular and frequent examples.

    Still, even God’s Chosen People themselves, and Holy Mother Church, have had leaders that were nothing to brag about (Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, the Borgia Popes) and who make Blago, Spitzer, Sanford, et al. look like rank amateurs in the corruption department.

  • Regarding dead people “voting”, G.K. Chesterton once wrote that:

    “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”

    Of course, GKC didn’t have Chicago politics in mind when he wrote that 🙂

  • My best friend used to live in Chicago. When he and his wife bought their first house, they went to vote for the first time. The two guys they bought the house from had already voted! In fact, they voted in every election as long as my friends lived there.

    Now my friend is the mayor of our city in Oregon. He’s been to some National League of Cities meetings where he’s met the alderman from the area where he used to live. He told the guy, “Hey, I voted for you!”

  • Ah yes, Chicago politics, where our president learned his craft via the democratic machine. My favorite was counting the number of city alderman who got indicted. Isn’t it over 100?

  • Update II: Cohen is now said to be seeking a “dignified” way out of his situation — according to some reports, he is willing to resign from the Democratic ticket but only under certain conditions which haven’t yet been made public.

    Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend apparently has hired none other than Gloria Allred (noted celebrity/feminist wacko attorney) as her lawyer, and issued a statement through Allred that Cohen “is not fit to hold any public office.” Allred’s other clients include the family of Nicole Brown Simpson and one of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses.

    Well, I think the “dignified” way out is pretty much shot at this point.

  • Update III: As if Gloria Allred didn’t have enough on her plate, she’s also in the news right now for her claims that Tim Tebow’s mother is lying about the circumstances of his birth (because she allegedly would never have been told to have an abortion when abortion is supposed to be illegal in the Phillippines.)

    To top it all off, in 2003, Allred stated in a TV interview concerning the Scott and Laci Peterson murder case that “there are two individuals that are dead there, Laci and Connor (her unborn child).”


  • Update IV: He quit.


    “Scott Lee Cohen, the pawnbroker whose surprise victory in last week’s Democratic lieutenant governor primary was followed by scandalous revelations about him, quit the race tonight at the urging of party leaders.

    “Cohen made the tearful announcement at the Hop Haus tavern on the Far North Side.

    “For the good of the people of the state of Illinois and for the Democratic party, I will resign,” an emotional Cohen told a crowd of supporters and reporters.

    “I hope and I pray, with all my heart, that I didn’t hurt the people that I love so much,” Cohen said, choking up. “All I ever wanted to do was to run for office and to help the people, not to cause chaos,” he said, clutching his 11-year-old son, Jacob.”


    If he didn’t want to “hurt the people (he) love(s) so much,” he should have thought of that sooner… like about 5 years ago… but I digress.

    The Illinois Democratic Central Committee will choose a replacement candidate sometime in the next month; that person will replace Cohen as Gov. Quinn’s “running mate” for the general election.

  • That was a lot quicker than I thought it would be Elaine. I wonder what type of pressure they put on the pawnbroker. After dropping two million dollars of his own money on the race, I’m surprised he goes so tamely.

  • Well, perhaps all the pressure he needed was Mike Madigan telling him that there was no bleeping way he would ever take office.

    If Cohen had stayed on the ticket, Quinn would probably have done what Adlai Stevenson III did in 1986 when he got saddled with a LaRouchie running mate in a similar primary election debacle: form a “new” political party with slated candidates and try to convince Democrats to vote for that party instead of the actual Democrats. It didn’t work for Stevenson and probably wouldn’t have worked this time either.

    Speaking of Lyndon LaRouche, I assumed he was either dead by now or safely residing in the “Where Are They Now File,” but apparently, he’s still alive and kicking at age 87. He served 5 years in prison for mail fraud and conspiracy in the early 90s. At one point he had televangelist Jim Bakker as his cellmate; Bakker later said of LaRouche that “to describe him as a little paranoid is like saying the Titanic had a little leak.”

  • Jim Bakker and Lyndon LaRouche cellmates! There is a great comedy masterpiece waiting to be made about that.

Clout and Catholic Education

Thursday, July 23, AD 2009

Too often, Catholic education, particularly at the high school level, seems to be valued not so much for its moral and religious content as for its prestige in the community, or for its ability to produce graduates who get into the “right” colleges and get higher-paying jobs later on.

In my experience, Catholic high schools tend to be known in their communities as 1) schools rich kids attend, 2) a way to escape poor-quality public schools, 3) athletic powerhouses, or 4) institutions whose graduates enjoy disproportionate wealth and influence — the quality Chicagoans famously call “clout.”

Just today, in fact, I heard someone refer to alumni of a local Catholic high school as a “Catholic mafia” that allegedly dominates local business and politics. Although this characterization is probably not entirely justified, many alums of this particular school do seem to end up in positions of influence in the community.

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  • I wonder if it’s also because so many Illinois politicians exercising their clout are Catholic (Quinn, Durbin, Madigan, Daley, Emil Jones, the Strogers, etc.) so their social network, including the people they exercise influence on behalf of, is made up disproportionately of well-to-do Catholics. My downstate, public high school had 1 person, while the local Catholic school also had one.

  • I serve on the board of two Catholic high schools — my alma mater in Chicago (a south side school not mentioned in any of the Trib articles that I read) and my children’s alma mater in Atlanta. For the most part I agree with Elaine’s observations. That said, I would mention that in my experien the board leaders tend to be very serious about the school’s Catholicity and spiritual environment. Parents, however, are a mixed bag, and it is true that many have misplaced priorities (like most Americans). These schools operate in very competitive environments and must compete for students and teachers, and these constituencies often have imperfect priorities as well. The Chicago school is all boys and could not recruit students successfully without emphasizing athletics. Period. Just a fact of Chicago’s south side. The school’s president and the board view this emphasis as a tactic to attract boys so that we have an opportunity to educate and mold them into genuinely Catholic young gentlemen. The broader community may see us as athletics focused, but the board fully understands the distinction between means and ends. The co-ed school in Atlanta does not need to emphasize athletics quite as much, but does have to spend inordinately on unnecessary resources (in my view) in order to attract students and teachers. Private high schools in Atlanta (mostly non-Catholic) are much better endowed than us and have more attractive facilities. Both schools struggle mightily with keeping tuition as low as possible while balancing difficult budgets. Both schools are aware that a good percentage of students come from Catholic in name only families who are attracted to the educational value (good education at a bargain price compared to competitors). Overall, they do a pretty good job of imparting the faith in what is virtually a quasi-evangelical environment. I serve on many non-profit boards (Salvation Army, United Way, etc), but none are more challenged than the Catholic high schools.

    Finally, I am not as offended at “clout” as some others. I am more offended at the faith-oriented shortcomings of Catholic schools. I’m happy if Catholic kids get to attend U of I, even if assisted by a call or two. I just want them to have a sufficiently well-formed faith that they won’t lose as soon as they leave home.

  • ability to produce graduates who get into the “right” colleges and get higher-paying jobs later on

    You speak as if this is a bad thing. It’s as bad as holding a dance and asking if a church should have offered a Bible study instead. If the schools are deficient in morality training or religious education, it is fine to complain. To act as if they are values opposed to achievement in industry after graduation or the school’s prestige is just wrong.

  • Might the “clout” list include a lot of higher-income schools and Catholic schools because they have a better education results, and it’s unlikely that folks on those lists just suddenly got backing now, and have instead had backing to get into the “good” schools the entire time?

  • M.Z., I never said it was inherently “bad” for Catholic school graduates to get into good colleges or get good jobs. My concern is that when Catholic schools come to be known ONLY or primarily for those things, they may lose some of their potential to be “salt and light” to a fallen world. Just as there’s nothing wrong with a church sponsoring dances, bingo, or other social events, but when that’s ALL a church is known for doing, maybe they need to reexamine their priorities.

    Also, I’m not complaining about the quality of Catholic education so much as the perception that Catholic schools are only for the wealthy and powerful, or are dependent upon them for their survival. Any religious institution that depends upon the wealthy and powerful to survive has to take extra care not to lose sight of its mission.

  • Fox, I’m sure that kids from higher income schools (private or public) have always had a certain amount of “clout” or “pull” in the college admissions process. In the case of the U of I, however, it appears to have become much more blatant in the last few years. Plus since U of I admission has become highly competitive, anyone who gets in based on clout is more likely to deprive an equally or more qualified middle- or working-class student of admission.

  • M.Z.,

    I didn’t really understand Elaine as suggesting that worldly achievement or its facilitation is inimical to Catholic values, but that it should be subordinated to faith formation in terms of prioritization. I agree with her that many Catholic families are attracted to Catholic schools for the wrong reasons, and Catholic schools are often tempted to reorient their priorities accordingly. When that happens, “morality training or religious education” suffers. A number of years ago there was quite a public kerfuffle at a very affluent Catholic school when parents accused the school of being “too Catholic,” because the school administration was trying to beef up its religion courses and requirements. Eventually, many of these parents left when as a consequence. The irony is that the high school now sends an inordinate number of grads to Ivy League and other prestigious schools due to the efficacy of its “classical” education.

    The bottom line is that most graduates of Catholic schools are terribly catechized, and that is partly the result of the schools’ understanding that such catechises is not a primary value of most parents. The schools feel pressure to respond to the marketplace by replacing Catholicism with something called “in the Catholic tradition.”

    Finally, I do sense things are getting better. The schools that I serve are very conscious of their Catholic identity, and it is not watered down, even though I suspect (just suspect) that catechesis could be more rigorous. That said, I think high schools struggle with catechesis in part because most Catholic grade schools send students who are largely uncatechized. Most cannot name the seven sacraments or the ten commandments; and very few can explain the types or meanings of grace.

  • Elaine-
    I’m suggesting that the high school selections are part of the same process as the college, not that the selections themselves are “good.”

    If the kids got into “good” high schools in the same way as colleges, the same objections would exist– moreso for public schools than private, but it’d exist.

  • MZ — no one said, as far as I can tell, that morality is opposed to achievement. The post was about people who prioritize achievement (and not even real achievement but positions purchased by clout) over moral training. Do you have anything to say about that?

  • First, you are not going to find too many poor minority schools on the “clout list” because they have their own form of “clout list”, i.e. affirmative action, but it is too un-PC to mention in the public debate on this matter. I see these two forms of clout balancing each other out. As always it is the great majority of Americans in the middle that get s****ed.

    Of course, private universities have their own clout lists. When my daughter was accepted at Notre Dame they made it quite clear that she was admitted during the early admissions process because I was an alumni (she had a near perfect SAT and a 4.0 GPA but alot of ND applicants do). Should public universities be more egalitarian and fair in their admissions process because they are public . . . dream on.

    Secondly, I totally agree that Catholic Schools K-12 & universities have totally lost their initial mission, i.e., to educate Catholic children while keeping them strong in the faith. That is why I have never wasted my money on Catholic Schools for my kids (including my daughter who eventually accepted a full ride academic scholarship to a state school and got nothing from ND). It is also why my parents never spent a dime on Catholic education except my sisters and me except for CCD and when the nuns stopped teaching that in the late 1960’s they even stopped sending us to CCD. [We were poor enough where they didn’t have to pay for me to go to ND – I lived at home, worked and got enough in state scholarship funds to cover the rest.]

    Catholicism as taught in Catholic High Schools consists of call men with Roman collars “Father” and work in soup kitchens on weekends. I’d be shocked to learn of a current Catholic high school graduate who could define “transubstantiation” or discuss the notion of “baptismal regeneration” or list the 7 sacraments. This is why Cathoic Home schooling is growing in some communities – a notion unheard of 40 years ago except in communities without Catholic schools.

    Finally, a couple of years ago Bishop D’Arcy of the South Bend/Fort Wayne, IN Diocese ordered the dismissal of a popular teacher and coach at St. Joseph High School in South Bend because he had married a divorcee and had left the Church to become a Baptist. Parents and staff and faculty members of course were outraged. So, I also agree that Catholic High Schools are just supplying what the public wants – a good secular education with a thin religous veneer. Of course, the religous attitudes of most of these parents have also been shaped by the piss poor religous teaching that they have received from Catholic Schools and Cathoic pulpits during the past 40 years.

  • I think that Ms. Krewer’s argument is poorly drawn. Her concern is on a. perception of the school by outsiders and b. the desire of parents at a few Catholic schools to get their children into a good college. I don’t see anything about the students themselves!

    The schools can talk about a need for “public relations” work, but the reality is that the school has very little ability to change a perception that “its a sports school” or “its a rich kids’ school.” Such statements, in my experience, are always made by people with no real world exposure to the school, so how much credibility or concern can you put on such statements?

    Whether the parents want their children to go to a good college doesn’t seem to really be connected with whether the high school is a good Catholic school or not. I just don’t see the connection in her argument.

    That’s not to say that every Catholic high school is successful, either academically or spiritually. All Catholic high schools (that existed before Vatican II) were built around a clerical teaching staff. The decline in vocations has resulted in a largely lay teaching staff today. Does that make them less Catholic? Maybe, maybe not, depending on who got hired to replace those priests, nuns and brothers. I am a proud alum of a Catholic high school, which my children also attended. It was also all boys in my day and almost all clerical teachers. Now it’s co-ed and has only a handful of clergy. In my opinion, it is a much better school today, spiritually, academically and socially. This is a school where a survey found that seniors are more likely to attend Mass on Sunday than freshmen. The students have a choice on Friday between getting a jump on homework so they won’t have to do it on the weekend or going to Mass. Over two-thirds of the students choose Mass, including many of the people of other faiths.
    In my book, that’s a school that is religiously successful. But it has a reputation in the community as being only for athletes and only for rich kids.

    I would like to hear discussion about people of other faiths attending “Catholic” schools. Should “non-Catholics” be allowed to attend? How large a portion of the student body should be Catholic? Perhaps one can think about what the mission of the school is. Is it to teach Catholic kids so they will continue as Catholics? Is it to help raise the future of the students who otherwise face a bleak future, regardless of their religious faith? I’d point to the parallel of Catholic hospitals. Are they Catholic enough? How do you decide what ‘Catholic enough’ means?

  • If opposition between secular achievement and religious instruction was not being attempted, the comparison shouldn’t have been made. I remember talking to a Jewish graduate of Marquette High School. He felt he understood the Catholic faith adequately. He went to that school in part because of the hockey program. Was this a bad thing?

    I have nothing against trying to improve religious education. Serving on two school boards, Mr. Petrik is probably well aware that the parents that send their children to these schools for prestige and/or academics are the same parents that write large checks. These parents are given the deference they are given, because politicians (and the best pastors are good politicians) are willing to work with what they have in order to improve rather than tear what’s working down and create unnecessary animus. As seen from the Notre Dame saga, the one thing you couldn’t say about Notre Dame was that it was a pauper. (Yes, I know blessed are the poor, and I’ve embraced that more than I cared to have.) There have been more than a few start ups that have attempted to embrace the faith alone and ignore things like achievement or money only to find themselves tits up.

    Finally, I agree with Mr. Petrik that things are improving at a lot of schools. Certainly there is nothing wrong with encouraging that improvement.

  • would like to hear discussion about people of other faiths attending “Catholic” schools. Should “non-Catholics” be allowed to attend?

    I rather like the idea of non-Catholics in Catholic schools– partly because of the witnessing opportunity, partly because I have seen what it results in– a lady friend who recently passed went to a Catholic school when she was a kid, because it was the “best” school and that’s all her parents cared about. Sixty years later, though still a (highly irascible) vague Christian, she would jump down the throat of anyone who tried to spread the usual “Catholics worship Mary” type BS. She was better at defending the Church than most Catholics I know!

    I’d point to the parallel of Catholic hospitals. Are they Catholic enough? How do you decide what ‘Catholic enough’ means?

    My book? They follow Catholic teachings as related to their work, and allow or support the action on those teachings that aren’t related to their work. (don’t want to get mission bloat, it would make them not as good as hospitals)

  • I have no problem at all with non-Catholics attending Catholic schools, but would not want any Catholic kids displaced by non-Catholics without good reason. In general, a Catholic school’s primary mission is to serve the Catholic community by educating its children in a manner that is consonant with our faith.

    To MZ’s earlier point, quite frankly some of the most ardent Catholic parents are also the most generous, though that certainly is not always the case. The idea that somehow the financially successful are not as good Catholics as those of more modest means (which is not at all what MZ said) is just a silly conceit. I have observed little correlation. Many of our wealthier families are quite devout, and also quite generous, but certainly not all.

  • If opposition between secular achievement and religious instruction was not being attempted, the comparison shouldn’t have been made.

    You certainly have a point . . . CS Lewis notes somewhere, maybe in a letter, that readers are often like witless sheep who will take the first detour possible, even if it wasn’t intended.

  • I too have no problem with non-Catholics attending Catholic schools; in fact some of the first Catholic schools were set up in predominantly non-Christian areas as “mission schools”.

    To some extent a Catholic school cannot fully control how OTHERS in the community, who aren’t associated with the school, perceive it. But I’m sure there are other times when taking a look at oneself “from the outside” is helpful and a needed corrective.

    A big part of the problem with Catholic education as it exists today is that very few if any schools can survive on tuition alone — charging every parent the full cost of their child’s education would put it out of reach of all but the most wealthy — so a lot of time and effort has to be spent on fundraising and on extracurricular activities such as sports that make money for the school. Which usually translates into 1) hitting up wealthy alumni and business people for donations, 2) holding a lot of fundraising events (bingo, carnivals, auctions, dinner/dances, etc.), and 3) recruiting the best athletes.

    Now again, these things are not inherently evil or wrong in themselves, but they CAN become a diversion from the schools main mission if its administration isn’t careful. What to do about that?

    Perhaps the most radical approach has been taken by the Diocese of Wichita, Kans., where ALL Catholic schools are funded completely by tithing and NO tuition is charged to any Catholic student. This is done through a comprehensive stewardship program that emphasizes giving of “time, talent, and treasure” as a way of life. As a result, its schools are thriving (as are its priestly vocations) and other dioceses have taken interest in this approach. Whether it can be successfully transplanted to large urban dioceses, particularly those with large numbers of recent immigrants, remains to be seen; but I think it is worth looking at.

  • Elaine, I like the comments about funding. My pastor is the oldest of five boys in the family. His parents moved to a house down the street from the Catholic church. His non-Catholic parents went there and asked how much it would cost to send their children there. The answer was $500 a year (This would be back in the ’50s) if they were not Catholic and free if they were Catholic. “So we became Catholic!”
    Parishes in our archdiocese are limited to a certain percentage of their budget that can be devoted to the parish school (if any.) The rest of the cost has to come from the parents. I think there are good arguments for at least some funding to come from parents. First, you do not value anything that is free. You have no “skin in the game.” Second, parents have to be responsible for their children and that includes their education. The entire parish should not have to pay the family’s expenses. I’m sensitive to those parishioners who do not have children in the parish school. I guess the parallel is public education, where the general public pays the whole bill and they do so in a grudging fashion.

    There are also Catholic schools that would not exist if tuition were the only source of their income. I am familiar with a “Nativity” middle school locally, that only admits children whose families can’t pay (although they do charge $20 a month, for the first reason I mentioned above.) Their student body are from low income homes, almost all minority, almost all not Catholic, some are immigrants. They typically come to 6th grade with reading and math skills at the 2nd or 3rd grade level.

    My point is that there simply isn’t enough money to have a school like that if you only look at the neighborhood community. Their ability to raise funds from the Catholic community in our city is all that stands between these children and life on the streets. So does it make a difference if most of the students are Catholic?

    You posit that fund raising should not be a diversion from the school’s main mission. On the face of it, I agree. I just have a hard time analyzing how I would know, at a specific school, if it is a diversion.

    There is a Catholic high school in our city that puts the students to work to pay for the cost of running the school. The students have jobs in the community, one day a week, that covers their tuition. As I understand it, they have classroom work four days a week and they work the fifth. These students and their families do not have the economic means to pay tuition on their own. The kicker is that the work part makes their classroom work meaningful. “I need to learn how to write better because that’s what it takes at work.” (And that lack of understanding of why studying is meaningful is one of the biggest problems in public education, in my opinion, as a former school board member.) So you can paint their school as exploiting the students or you can paint it as giving them a meaningful education that they couldn’t otherwise obtain.

  • Any funding mechanism, within reason and morality, that keeps Catholic schools from becoming accessible only to the wealthy, or dependent entirely or almost entirely on wealthy people to keep them running, is OK by me. Charging a small or sliding amount of tuition to insure that families have “skin in the game” is fine, but again, the idea should always be to insure that Catholic education is accessible to all income levels.

    The Catholic high school you mention that has students work to earn their tuition one day a week — that sounds like a great idea to me, because it enables the students to gain real life job experience. I wouldn’t consider it “exploiting” them at all, unless the jobs in question were exceptionally dangerous or exhausting.

    Should parishioners who don’t have children be responsible for supporting a parish or diocesan school? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Is the school an integral part of the Church’s mission to which ALL Catholics have some obligation to contribute (in line with the Fifth Precept of the Church)? Or, is it a purely voluntary/optional service which only those who participate in it are obligated to support, like a sodality or men’s/women’s club?

    When does fundraising become a diversion for the school’s main mission? I would say the line is crossed if the school comes under pressure to compromise or downplay Catholic teachings or other practices (e.g. dress codes, rules against teachers being married or cohabiting outside the Church), or to look the other way at obviously immoral or egregious practices of a major donor, in order to avoid losing the funds upon which it is dependent for its survival.

    I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this matter, and hopefully it will get everyone thinking about how best to support Catholic education. I didn’t mean to be excessively hard on Catholic schools but simply to point out a potential stumbling block to their mission.

  • Eric called my attention to this entry last week, shortly after it had been posted, and in the chaos that was last week as one of my best friends got married, I left this open on my computer all week, not getting to it until this evening. I know the discussion has died down days ago, but if others are still interested in continuing the discussion, I find the Wichita approach very interesting. In response to the statement that what is free is not valued as much, I would like to call the attention back to the priest whose parents converted for the free education–their son had a vocation! That priest valued what he received so much that he ended up giving his life to God to continue to serve the same cause!

    I live in Houston, which is a large city with a number of immigrants (many of whom are Catholic), as well as many other “higher end” Catholics. It is interested that some parishes tend to serve either one end of the spectrum or another, based on location or other factors, but there are also parishes that are more “mixed”. I can’t speak for all parishes, but of these latter, I have seen a dichotomy within the parishes, where some kids can afford to go to the parochial school and others, no matter how devout of a home they come from, simply cannot afford it. They are then put through the public school system supplemented by a sub-standard Sunday catechesis, and we wonder why we have so many teens having pre-marital sex and a breakdown in families, especially in this lower-end demographic.

    It is because we have not taken it on as our responsibility as the Church to provide for the needs of our young people, all of them! One of the saddest things that has happened in the past half a century or so, at least in my opinion (which I believe can also contain an objective moral point), is the loss of the importance of the parochial school. I have been reading the history of a Franciscan religious order, which simultaneously tells the story of the development of Catholic schools in America. They were founded to further instill morals and an understanding of the Church teachings in all young people-immigrants, orphans, the poor, and yes, non-Catholics.

    Of course, the schools were easier to fund when they were run mostly by nuns. We didn’t have to pay competitive wages to lay men and women who have to take care of their families, and since we do rely on these people, we cannot cease to pay them now. But we can’t lose the mission to educate just because someone can’t afford the price tag of a solid Catholic education.

    In Wichita, I am sure that for this to function, many parents are aware of the cost of their child’s education, even if they aren’t the ones paying it in full. And if this is indeed working successfully, I am sure that there are parents who can afford it that write rather large checks as part of the lifestyle of stewardship. But to answer the question above, I do think that it is also appropriate that others who do not currently have children in the parochial school (or may never have children in it) to support it in some way or another. It is a vital ministry that ensures the future of the Church as it provides a place of the seeds of vocations to be nourished.

    I am curious if anyone knows more about other dioceses that are looking into this Wichita method and any studies being done, especially concerning the more urban areas.

In Defense of Notre Dame

Saturday, April 4, AD 2009


In the Land of Lincoln, when we have any great moral question to address, we often turn to the Daley clan who make their pronouncements from the Duchy of Daley, motto Ubi Est Mea, sometimes mistakenly called Cook County.  Now the brother of the current Duke, Richie the Lesser, William M. Daley, has come to the defense of Notre Dame and lambasted Francis Cardinal George for his statement taking the administration of Notre Dame to task for their planned adoration session with Obama on May 17.  Father Z has given this statement the fisking to end all fiskings, so I will let him do the honors.

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3 Responses to Illinois Deserves a Medal!

Blagojevich Impeached

Monday, January 12, AD 2009

Blagojevich impeached in a cliffhanger, with the vote for impeachment only 114-1.  Here is the House report on which the impeachment vote was based.  Blagojevich is the first Illinois governor to be impeached which is rather remarkable when you consider some of the public thieves who have misgoverned my state.  Now on to the Senate for the trial.  Blagojevich is vowing to fight on, and I expect his legal team to pull every possible maneuver to delay the inevitable.

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3 Responses to Blagojevich Impeached

  • Yowie zowie. What shall I do? My Iggles continue their magical mystery tour thru playoffs in 23-11 beatdown of New York Football Giants. And yet a new chapter in the Blago Story emerges with impeachment. Combined with tawdry spectacle of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon indicted for doing tacky stuff like using gift cards meant for poor folks. Such quality entertainment on so many fronts.

  • Well, this whole mess is making me feel better about my governor, Doyle, although he’s no treat either.

    Can it possibly be that Blago honestly (I know, I know, those are two words not often seen together in the same sentence) does not think he’s done anything wrong? Does a fish know it’s wet? Well, this is going to get better and better, although my sympathy really does go out to hapless down-staters who are outvoted by Chicagoland.

    I really wish Blago would stop quoting Kipling. As a poster on another site pointed out, if it’s poetry he wants to quote, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” would be a more appropriate choice.

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6 Responses to Soybeania Forever!

  • Before signing on as a good and faithful servant of the Clintons, James Carville devised a masterful re-election campaign for Robert Casey as Gov of PA. At that time, he issued a comment on the state that remains true today. As thus- on one end, Philadelphia- we will also consider four surrounding counties, benefitting from years of insane taxation, rising crime, and All Other Wrong Things Done In Cities. On the other end, Pittsburgh and vicinity. In between, Alabama. Or in this case, a tide of Penn State blue and white.

  • Speaking from experience of visiting and living in Mexico, there is no way in a million years will the border areas of the United States ever join itself with Mexico. Maybe the inverse, a couple of states may break away from Mexico herself and align with the U.S. such as Chihuahua and Baja California Norte, but not the other.

    Mexico is so corrupt, they make make Blagoyevich seem like George Washington or Persepolis. The central government is inept and their bureaucracy horrible (slept overnight at the border because the Mexican border agents had called it a day at 4pm before I could drive further into Mexico).

    The “Empty Quarter”, I thought that applied to New York City and Sodom and Gomorrah (San Fran & L.A.).


  • Foundry and Breadbasket would merge into one great nation, because Ontario, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the Ohiowa prairie contain more farmland than factories. Plus mines and processing plants still operate in the breadbasket region around Lake Superior.

  • As a native of the Republic of Quad, we welcome war with Iowa to win back two of our five Quad Cities. Sometimes I wish lived in a futuristic distopia just so I could be warlord of such a state. After conquering east-central Iowa, we’d set our targets on South Wisconsin. The gambling “boats” of Galena and Dubuque are just too rich a target.

  • ROTLMAO! I spent most of my life in various cities of Greater Peoria, and actually have been to Goofy Ridge and lived to tell about it!

    Goofy Ridge is actually an unincorporated community of dirt roads, trailers and shacks in Mason County near Havana. Originally it was more of a campsite for hunters and fishermen, and over time became a full-time community. It gained some notoriety in the 1980s as a haven for criminals; today it’s more reminiscent of some of the poorer towns of Appalachia or Mississippi.

    In recent years the Sangamo City State in which I now live has fallen on hard times due to the misrule and outright persecution of King Rod the Hairy. Many of its more famous watering holes (Boone’s Saloon, Norb Andy’s) have closed in the past couple of years, as have many other shops and downtown buildings. We hope our new ruler, Patrick the Rumpled, will help restore at least some of our former glory.

  • ” We hope our new ruler, Patrick the Rumpled, will help restore at least some of our former glory.”

    Although if he does double the income tax, I think he will go down in Illinois history as Quinn the Short!

2 Responses to Special Election Now!

  • More fun than this heart can stand. Where I hear the voice of the esteemed H.L. Mencken, Sage of Baltimore. Who loved democracy much as a drama critic enjoys a first-rate stage production. What a grand stage. What a wonderful cast of characters. Even our beloved Shakespeare would be hard-pressed to create characters on the order of the unpopular governor; the fighting prosecutor- an archetype in U.S. of A. politics; the state AG; HER father, Speaker of State House and blood enemy of the unpopular governor; of course, numerous members of House of Jackson; Hizzoner Da Mare; all manner of other hustlers, activists, and the like; with the President Elect- that’s what it said on the sign, in the background. And his Chief Of Staff Elect, who may be into it up to his eyeballs. Fire up the popcorn machine. Make sure the cola dispenser has enough syrup. Hope And Change will just have to wait. As the Broadway song noted, “Tragedy tomorrow- comedy tonight.”

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Feel Better?

Monday, December 15, AD 2008

Not really.  This  New York Times article contends that my home state of Illinois is not the most corrupt state in the Union.  However I note that two of the three methods by which they obtain their rankings focus on convictions.  In a truly corrupt state,  convictions might lag because the engines of law enforcement are often part of the problem.  Based upon spending my entire life in Illinois, except for three years, I believe FBI Agent Robert Grant is correct,  if Illinois is not the most corrupt state, it is a strong competitor for the title.

Update I:  Lisa Madigan,  Attorney General of the State of Illinois, is attempting today to have the Illinois Supreme Court strip Blagojevich of his powers as Governor.  I agree with this article that her brief is extremely weak and would draw a “C” as the effort of a first year law student.  At any rate I doubt if the Illinois Supreme Court will step into this briar patch.  If the House acts swiftly to impeach him, Blagojevich may resign, but I do not think anything short of this will work.  To add to the banana republic quality that is part and parcel of current Illinois politics, Lisa Madigan is the daughter of Michael Madigan speaker of the House who has a long-standing blood feud with Blagojevich.  Lisa Madigan herself has long been thought to be hungering to be Governor.  Illinois politics frequently consists now of hereditary political fiefdoms that are passed down through the generations.  We have the reality of a largely feudal political system with none of the entertaining trappings.

Update II:  As usual, John Kass of the Tribune  has a brilliant column on the  farce that is Illinois politics.

Update III:  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has an excellent  look  at the behind the scenes machinations of this mess.  I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusion:  “Calling this sewer “The Land of Lincoln” is a bad joke.  If Illinois voters aren’t inclined to make the kind of necessary changes, can they change the license plates to read, “The Land of Capone”?  It’s certainly a more accurate description.”

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5 Responses to Feel Better?

  • Hugely entertaining. Blessed be God that there is a political columnist for a Dying Dead Tree Journal chronicling this mess like Mr. Kass. Clearly channeling the spirit of Mike Royko of blessed memory. The equivalent of Howie Carr- of Boston Herald and afternoons on WRKO- to People’s Republic Of Taxachusetts. By my view, Blago no nuttier than any other testosterone and ambition fueled pol. Our PA Gov. Fast Eddie Rendell has hottempered moments and no one questions his sanity. Then the twist of State AG La Madigan offspring of blood enemy Speaker Madigan. Hope and Change clearly on display. Let the show roll on.

  • Gosh…If only Wyoming politics were this exciting. Our claim to corruption runs more to the “most of our legislators are ranchers and thus pass bills accordingly”. Our claim to insanity is more along the lines of “we only meet for three months of the year, so we have to pass legislation through rapidly, thus increasing our burden for next year when we have to pass legislation to fix the problems from rapidly passing legislation through the previous year”.

    I guess we also had something with Rep. Cubin, given that we kept electing her despite all her broken promises. One of the professors in my department groused about how Wyoming only elects Republicans to the House and Senate, claiming that one day he would run a dog as a Republican contender to one our three federal seats, just to see if the dog won.

  • Having lived in both Downstate Illinois and the Chicagoland, there really are two states of Illinois. You have Chicagoland Illinois and Downstate Illinois. Springfield, the state capital, is located in Downstate, but is really a colony of Chicagoland. Most of Downstate Illinois is fairly rural, with lots of farms and small towns, like much of the Midwest. Chicagoland Illinois is, well, Chicago with all the corruption and politics that go along with it. Needless to say, Chicagoland pretty much controls the political process in Illinois due to the population differences between the two regions. I’m sure a lot of the Downstaters are completely unsurprised by the news regarding Gov. Blagojevich.

  • Ryan: At least Wyoming’s legislature meets every year. The Montana Legislature only meets every other year, unless there’s an emergency that has to be taken care of immediately. Nothing like legislators trying to plan two years in advance.

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5 Responses to The Illinois Way

  • Would be nice if Pat Fitz stays in job. Round here, must give serious props to former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan with his own share of scalps. A former City Councilman. The brother of the previous mayor. The former city managing director. Various investment types trying to get in good with the previous mayor. The rich loon who murdered a wrestler resisting his advances- who previously had naming rights to what is now nicknamed The Ski Lodge, at Villanova University. Set in motion the current trial of a prominent former state senator from South Philly. Seems like U.S. Attorneys are busy in places that were big FDR Whistle Stops back in 1932. The places where gummint expanded and expanded. Thus creating more and more opportunities for official mischief. May the Lord be with Mr. Fitz in his august responsibilities.

  • Here’s a great quote:

    “As FBI Agent Robert Grant put it: ‘Illinois might not be the most corrupt state in the union, but it’s a helluva competitor.'”

  • Correction- Meehan’s office bagged city finance director. Would have nailed a local attorney for whom the finance guy served as loyal servant, but passed away before trial. Rats. Philly politics still not weird like Chi-town’s.

  • “As FBI Agent Robert Grant put it: ‘Illinois might not be the most corrupt state in the union, but it’s a helluva competitor.’”

    Unfortunately there is a lot of competition. Louisiana comes to mind. And New Jersey. And Alaska.