The Chicago Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed reports on rumors circulating among Democrats that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is running out of money:
Scoop du jour? Sneed hears major money problems in the Clinton camp may soon become a coroner knocking on her campaign door.
To wit: Word is the cash feeding into Hillary Clinton’s campaign coffers has not only slowed down in a big way, undisclosed campaign debts that have yet to be made public could signal the end and have insiders biting their nails.Translation: “It won’t necessarily be politics which may force her out of the race,” said a top Dem source. “There is no hanky panky going on, but Hillary needs to raise money to stay alive . . . and word is she may not be able to climb out of the money hole.”
The buckshot: “I think it’s safe to say Hillary’s not going to dip into her pocket again,” the source added. “And if her employees start taking pay cuts while chasing the dream . . . it’s usually the beginning of the body becoming totally cold.”
That would be too bad, but yet another sign that Mrs. Clinton might want to consider another path for herself.
Look, I could be dead wrong, and Hillary could somehow wrap up the Democratic nomination for President. Mathematically, it does not appear that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will have enough delegates to claim the prize before the convention. However, Senator Obama has the energy right now, and I don’t see that lapsing.
Sen. Bob Casey’s endorsement in Pittsburgh today was an extraordinary coup for Obama. Casey is a moderate, pro-life Democrat with wide appeal to the voters of Pennsylvania. My father called me today from Pittsburgh, and he was beaming. Dad is already a strong Obama supporter, but was especially heartened to hear about Casey’s “thumbs-up” for Barack.
I said earlier that Obama would close the gap. I’m not foolish enough to make predictions. Many in the media made that mistake many times in the past. Forget Dewey Defeats Truman (Thank you Chicago Tribune for that). I remember going to sleep late on election night in 2000 after Peter Jennings told me that Kerry had won Florida.
I disagree with some of my friends on Facebook who say that White America will be scared off by a black face.
Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. has the worst conceivable name for a politician in the post 9-11 era.
But I know he can to do it.
Americans are ready for hope again.
And this time, the path to hope does not lie with a Clinton.
Good news from Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL). Rep. Foster will be delivering the Democratic Radio Address Saturday, the official party response to the President’s Weekly Radio Address. This in today from Bill Foster for Congress:
We have some great news to report: Bill has the honor of delivering the Democratic Radio Address this weekend on strengthening America’s economy. The address will be broadcast nationwide reaching millions of Americans who face many of the same struggles we face here in the 14th District. Bill will advocate less bickering and more problem solving as ways we can overcome those challenges.
Please make sure you tune in to Bill’s address, which will air Saturday, March 29, 2008, at approximately 10:05 A.M. Central Standard Time. The major networks including including AP, ABC, NPR, CBS Radio, CNN Radio, Fox News Radio, and C-SPAN will air the address, but please check local listings for broadcast times.
Less than one month ago, Cook County government was struggling, facing a February 29th shut-down. Now, they’re swimming in it, and Stroger has money to give away.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Stroger’s cousin, Donna Dunnings, will get a 12 percent pay increase as part of the 2008 budget.
When Cook County Board President Todd Stroger introduced his cousin Donna Dunnings as the county’s new chief financial officer last year, they each boasted of the savings taxpayers would realize. She would take a salary far less than the previous CFO.
That was then.
Records show Dunnings is set to get a bigger raise than any other county employee in Stroger’s budget — a 12 percent increase — as part of the 2008 budget.
The average county raise is about 5 percent for most employees, records show. Those working in Dunnings’ office will get, on average 3.5 percent raises.
Dunnings will make about $5,000 more than Tom Glaser did in that same job, earning almost $160,000. Why the giant leap?
Dunnings’ double-digit jump is because “she’s doing twice the work she was before and has more responsibilities,” said Stroger spokesman Gene Mullins.
“She only took [less pay] when we didn’t have any money,” he said, referring to the just-passed 1 percentage point sales tax increase that is so substantial, it will ultimately give county government more money than it needs to operate.
In fighting for that tax, Stroger repeatedly asked taxpayers and commissioners to make sacrifices for the good of county government.
Stroger spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi later said Dunnings initially took the lower salary “because of her commitment to the county and public service.”
Since then, however, Dunnings’ performance “warranted” the large raise, Antongiorgi said, and brings her more in line with other county CFOs.
Well, good for her. I wouldn’t want to see Dunnings show up at county CFO parties with her head down.
March roared in like a lion with the Cook County board, and Todd Stroger is taking the lion’s share for those close to him. The 1 percent increase gave Chicago the distinction of having the highest overall sales tax of any major U.S. city: 10.25 percent. Meanwhile, the hundreds of county employees laid off last year “when we didn’t have any money” have yet to be called back.
Because Todd Stroger likes his friends, and his family more.
Easter Sunday was just another violent day in Iraq, with four American soldiers and 58 Iraqis killed today in violence around the country. The worst was in the Green Zone, above. The four American dead pushes the United States total to 4,000 officially reported.The grim email announcements from various news sources are arriving now.
As many as 20 mortar shells were fired Sunday at the heavily fortified Green Zone, one of the fiercest and most sustained attacks on the area in the last year.
The shelling sent thick plumes of dark gray smoke over central Baghdad and ignited a spectacular fire on the banks of the Tigris River. It ushered in a day of violence that claimed the lives of four American soldiers and at least 58 lraqis around the country.
American military officials said the soldiers were killed by a homemade bomb about 10 p.m. as they patrolled southern Baghdad in a vehicle, pushing the number of American service members killed in Iraq closer to 4,000. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.
This in spite of repeated claims by the Bush Administration that the increase in troop levels has reduced violence across the country.
The Soldier’s names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.
Last year, the U.S. military deaths spiked along with the Pentagon’s “surge” — the arrival of more than 30,000 extra troops trying to regain control of Baghdad and surrounding areas. The mission was generally considered a success, but the cost was evident as soldiers pushed into Sunni insurgent strongholds and challenged Shiite militias.
Military deaths rose above 100 for three consecutive months for the first time during the war: April 2007, 104; May, 126 and June at 101.
The death toll has seesawed since, with 2007 ending as the deadliest year for American troops at 901 deaths. That was 51 more deaths than 2004, the second deadliest year for U.S. soldiers.
Our wounded far outnumber our dead:
But a hallmark of the Iraq war is the high wounded-to-killed ratio, partly because of advances in battlefield medicine, enhanced protective gear worn by soldiers and reinforced armored vehicles.
There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea.
The saddest note comes at the end of the NYTimes story:
Two children in Baquba, a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old, also died Sunday. They were playing in a street when a homemade bomb hidden under some garbage detonated, killing them instantly. When the authorities reached the scene, the security official said, all they found were pieces of the children’s bodies.
The Chicago Sun-Times carries a story from the Associated Press about a Muslim who converted to Catholicism at yesterday’s Holy Saturday Vigil at the Vatican. From the story:
Italy’s most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday with an Easter vigil baptism by the pope.
An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and newspaper columns. He titled one book, Long Live Israel.
The story includes some criticism from Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, Italy’s Islamic religious community, ”If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives.” That’s fine. Baptism by a pope with Vatican Television zooming in for several closeups during the ceremony is a bit out of character for the vast majority who entered the Church this weekend. Although, for a Catholic, it is certainly an incredible honor to even attend a papal mass.
What bothers me is the last line of the story, which includes no citation or source information at all:
There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine says converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death — though killings are rare.
What a horrible way to end a story on a man’s baptism at the Easter Vigil in Rome. What “widespread interpretation of Islamic doctrine” could they possibly be referring to? The Sunna of the Prophet? The Sharia? What? Tell us exactly!
This one sentence is horrifying and irresponsible. Yes, there have been a few Muslims on the fringe who have acted badly in the past and done terrible things, but the overwhelming vast majority of Muslims find peace at the core of their faith, and they live in peace. Throughout history, Jews and members of other faith backgrounds have been treated far better by Muslims than they were by Christians.
This characterization is insulting, especially at a time when we need to continue to building bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
With Bill Clinton’s tantrums in the not too distant past, Hillary’s woes magnified this week with reports that her campaign finished February in the red:
Despite a strong month of fund-raising in February in which she brought in $35 million, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton finished the month essentially in the red, once her campaign’s outstanding debts are factored in, as well as her personal loan, according to filings submitted late last night to the Federal Election Commission.
After spending about $31 million in her efforts to keep up with Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton finished February with more than $33 million in cash on hand, but $21.5 million of that is earmarked exclusively for the general election, leaving her with $11.7 million for the primary.
Sen. Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million. During the same month, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign brought in $55 million, leaving him with $31.6 million in cash on hand for the primary and $7.3 million for the general election.
Pennsylvania Democrats are a unique lot, and they will closely scrutinize both candidates. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both have strong background in labor, and both have been hit hard by the erstwhile decline in the steel industry. My grandfather worked for years in the J&L Steel Mill on the South Side of Pittsburgh. I remember the smokestacks blowing black smoke into the sweltering summer afternoon sky, and my grandfather waving to us from a window far above as we drove past on E. Carson St.
You always knew to avoid Carson St. during the shift changes at the mill. Men would cross the street in an almost endless stream as they went to or from work.
Those mills are gone, and the South Side has been reborn. The Hot Metal Bridge has been rebuilt for automobiles, cyclists and pedestrians. The mills have been replaced by a riverfront quasi-yuppie haven, but the old homes staring down from hillsides remain. The South Side is booming again. The spirit of the mill worker remains strong in Pittsburgh.
While the mills were crumbling in Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton was on the board of Wall Mart. We cannot ignore this. That’s the history.
Earlier this week, in a speech at George Washington University on St. Patrick’s Day, Mrs. Clinton claimed she was actually sent to some trouble spots in the world because they were “too dangerous” for her husband. Of course, that sounds like perfectly credible United States police: when the danger is real, protect the POTUS and send the First Lady. We remember the numerous times the Secret Service has sent Laura Bush to the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Here’s what she said:
“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me to visit our troops, not only in our main base as Tuzla, but also at two outposts where they were serving in so many capacities to deactivate and remove landmines, to hunt and seek out those who had not complied with the Dayton Accords and put down their arms, and to build relationships with the people that might lead to a peace for them and their children.“
Sounds like this was a harrowing experience. The First Lady landing in a war zone, visiting with troops, supporting those in the midst of danger while accepting the risk for herself and her daughter.
Her daughter? Yes, Chelsae was there too. Apparently it was the foreign policy of the United States under the Clinton Administration to protect the President of the United States — and put the rest of the First Family at risk in a war zone.
Here they are at the dangerous greeting ceremony at the Tuzla military airport, Bosnia, March 25, 2996:
Perhaps Mrs. Clinton is “mis-remembering” the trip.
She’s come undone, and it’s sad. Mrs. Clinton is an incredible person. Don’t get me wrong. In no way is it my intention to treat Mrs. Clinton and the former President Clinton in the horribly ugly way the Weird Right does. As I’ve said before, the biggest problem Democrats face right now is that we have two incredible Americans running for President of the United States. The Republicans had to settle — many Republican friends have told me just that.
They have also told me they want Hillary Clinton to win. I have one friend who took a Democratic ballot in the February 5 Illinois Primary for the first time in his life so he could vote for Hillary Clinton — because he and many Republicans believe Clinton is not as electable. I find it difficult for me to believe my friend is the only Republican who did that.
The Republicans fear Obama for a reason. Barack Obama is electable. He can win.
Yes, he can.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is struggling. A victory in Pennsylvania will not secure the nomination, and with Senator McCain stands by waiting. Sir Elton John’ April concert and the thrill of the campaign notwithstanding, there are bigger issues to consider. She has a decision to make. The present moment is too serious.
Let’s take the White House and put America first. Let’s make history together.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that the passport files of both Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama were accessed without authorization by employees of the State Department.
News organizations this morning were reporting that Sen. Barack Obama’s passport files had been accessed by the State Department. Now it’s Hillary as well. Now it’s Condi Rice making the Apology Circuit:
“We are very concerned about this,” Ms. Rice said. “I told him that I was sorry and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file.”
The breaches occurred in 2007. Two State Department employees have been fired over the incident.
So, what did they know, and when did they know it?
And who else did they take a peek at?
UPDATE: 11:37 a.m.
According to The Swamp at the Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain’s “passport files got an unauthorized viewing at the State Department.”
Will someone in the Bush Administration please speak up for the Bill of Rights?
Chicago Alderman Richard Mell stands to take a chunk of a $15 million trial judgment, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Mell is not talking about the case, Cement-Lock v. Gas Tech. Institute, and the Sun-Times had little success turning up anything too specific. Mell’s attorneys, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, who also list the Sun-Times among their clients, issued a brief statement:
“We are very pleased with the decision and the jury’s strong finding in favor of our client. Because this is ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys could not be reached.
The case was heard by Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. The federal jury’s decision was rendered March 11. By way of background, Attorney R. David Donoghue’s Chicago IP Litigation Blog offered the following in December:
Plaintiffs alleged that defendants permitted defendant Gas Technology Institute (“GTI”) to secure funding for Technology-related activities, despite defendants’ knowledge that GTI had no license to use the Technology and kept knowledge of the funding from CLG. GTI also allegedly claimed to own and have developed the Technology. The Court held that there was no written license between CLG and GTI regarding the Technology. But there was a question of fact as to whether GTI’s efforts to secure finding for the Technology was improper. Additionally, there was a question of fact as to whether GTI misrepresented its ownership or control over the Technology.
“CLG” is the Cement-Lock Group.
“Mell owns a 10 percent share of Cement-Lock Group, a company formed in 1997 to cash in on the remediation technology,” according to the Sun-Times. The suit alleged “massive fraud”:
Defendants in the case included Gas Technology Institute; Institute of Gas Technology; Endesco Services; Endesco Clean Harbors LLC, Stanley Brys, James Dunne and Francis S. Lau.
“What began as a legitimate enterprise to obtain funding to commercialize and market a technology . . . has become a massive fraud with defendants stealing and diverting grant funds through a pattern of racketeering involving acts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and more,” the lawsuit states.
Over a seven-year period, the defendants were accused of “contracting for or receiving” $30 million in grant funding without Cement- Lock Group’s permission by “misrepresenting ownership of the technology” they once claimed had a $5 billion world-wide market.
The scheme to “milk the cash cow” by prolonging the research phase — in part, by setting up a New Jersey demonstration facility — ended up “diverting millions of dollars . . . ,” the suit stated.
Of interest in all of this is where Mell might end up next. The Sun-Times again:
Earlier this week, a witness in the federal corruption trial of former Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko accused Mell of trying to muscle a lucrative kickback out of a deal at a state pension fund, which he denied.
Always looking for more exposure, Chicagoland pols must be hoping against hope no one even whispers their names at the Rezko trial. Yes, this was only one mention of Mell by a witness, but I suspect Rezko’s trial will only lead to more indictments. Is Mell’s name on the short list? No one has alleged anything formally against Mell, and I’ll not do so here.
But all of this raises horribly serious questions.
I really don’t get these Chicago Democrats. I don’t see them as Democrats at all. We have pols like these in the south suburbs. For many of them, the pursuit of ideals and the needs of the people are subservient to their desire for control and power. Patronage government is very expensive, and the feds are hungry to stop it all. But the Chicago machine rages on.
What can I say? I’m told by some that 3,992 American soldiers dead in Iraq is not a bad number. After all, there were many more people killed in World War II. I should just accept that number. Is that a just comparison? Is the war in Iraq at all just?
But this one really irks me….
We have spent $504.01 BILLION in Iraq so far. And John McCain tells us we should not be concerned about that.
The truth is, I am concerned, and you should be concerned also.
When you look at Wall Street, consider the fact that we have spent over $504.01 BILLION so far in Iraq, and we can’t afford that.
So far, we have lost this many soldiers’ in Iraq: 3,992.
Thus far, our Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush, always sympathetic to the losses of the soldiers, has attended this many funerals: 0.
The Iraqis have lost 1,183,173 people, according to Just Foreign Policy. If you prefer more conservative estimates just based on news reports, then we’re looking at these figures: 82,249 – 89,760.
Our National Debt at this instant is: $9,391,442,204,727.53, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. When you visit, the figure will no doubt have increased. If anyone has a more accurate source for our National Debt, I’m all ears.
So, here we are. I’ve heard from young people who have commented, “At least we’ve lost fewer lives than in World War II.” And somehow I’m supposed to understand what that really means.
The sad and sorry fact is, whoever wins the Oval Office in November will have to deal with the aftermath of a President who pursued a horrible policy for personal reasons. That’s it. There were no facts to back up any of the claims of this White House administration.