Daily archives: February 15th, 2010

Patronage Forever: Cicero Taxpayers Still Paying Health Insurance for Loren-Maltese’s Mom

From the Chicago Tribune:

The mother of former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese continues to receive health care benefits from the town, even though coverage should have expired when she stepped down as a member of a town commission in 2001.

Kitty Loren, 88, who served on the town’s Police and Fire Commission for 10 years, said today that she is covered by the town and provided documents to the Tribune indicating she currently is in a plan for retirees over 65.

"Betty set up the insurance for me," said Loren at her home in Alabaster, Ala., today. "Nobody ever took it away from me. I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to have it."

A town spokesman said the town does offer health care to individuals who serve on commissions and boards, but the coverage ends when their terms are completed.

The spokesman, Ray Hanania, said he "is concerned" and doesn’t know why Loren is getting insurance from the town but said he needs more time to look into the matter.

That’s one way to add to the tax levy.

Patronage never pays.

Dems Soft on Terror? Taliban’s Top Commander Captured

"Less talk, more action," might be a motto for President Obama’s approach to the two wars he inherited from President Bush.

From the New York Times:

The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.

The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder, and was a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader.

Disclosure of Mullah Baradar’s capture came as American and Afghan forces were in the midst of a major offensive in southern Afghanistan.

No Mission Accomplished, for sure. But certainly a big move in Afghanistan.

GOP Demands White House Post Health Care Proposal Online, Then Attacks When WH Does

Three cheers to the Party of No! If Obama does anything, the GOP is against it, even if they specifically asked him to do it.

No matter what it is.

From Open Left:

On February 8th, Republican House leader John Beohner sent a letter to the White House, demanding that the White House post online any health care proposal it wished to discuss at the health care summit:

If the President intends to present any kind of legislative proposal at this discussion, will he make it available to members of Congress and the American people at least 72 hours beforehand?

So, four days later, the White House accepted this demand, and announced it would post a legislative proposal online more than 72 hours before the summit:

Since this meeting will be most productive if information is widely available before the meeting, we will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package.

Boehner’s response defies logic:

Boehner’s condemnation comes as the White House announced it would post comprehensive healthcare reform legislation online before the meeting. The Ohio Republican said it is now clear that Democrats intend to move ahead on their own course regardless of negotiations.

"A productive bipartisan discussion should begin with a clean sheet of paper," Boehner said in a statement. "We now know that instead of starting the ‘bipartisan’ health care ‘summit’ on Feb. 25 with a clean sheet of paper, the president and his party intend to arrive with a new bill written behind closed doors exclusively by Democrats– a backroom deal that will transform one-sixth of our nation’s economy and affect every family and small business in America."

Boehner’s request is not ancient history; it happened February 8 of this year.

There you have it, the Party of No. Impossible to work with at every turn.

Time for Reconciliation, to keep Democracy moving.

Nod to Americablog for this.

Gay-Rights Activists Stage Valentine’s Day Protest at Holy Name Cathedral

From the Chicago Tribune:

Attending Mass at Holy Name Cathedral was supposed to be one of the final Valentine’s Day weekend treats for Cindy White and her husband, who had traveled to Chicago from Hampshire, Ill., to celebrate the romantic holiday.

Instead, the couple found themselves wading through nearly 100 men and women who had gathered outside the cathedral Sunday morning to protest the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage and other stances that they see as unjust to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The protesters waved rainbow flags and shouted slogans like, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has got to go!” and, “Holy Name, holy shame!”

According to the Tribune, last year, the Gay Liberation Network helped organize a march from the city building in which marriage licenses are issued to Holy Name to show support for gay marriage, said Andy Thayer, the group’s co-founder.

“We want to drag the church’s bigotry out of the closet,” said Thayer, 49.

The response from Church officials somewhat was less than Christian. Colleen Dolan, spokeswoman for the Chicago Archdiocese, called the protestors “misdirected.”

“They may not like it, but it’s the teaching of the church that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Dolan said. “Those of us in the church don’t get to choose what the teachings are.”

So who does the choosing? Who, exactly, are “those of us in the church?” The People of God, as the Church teaches? Dolan’s is an interesting, and ultimately shallow, response.

Let the colors fly with the stained glass at last.

More on this story at the Trib.

Senator Evan Bayh Expected to Announce Retirement

From our friends at ENEWSPF:

From CNN:

Sen. Evan Bayh is expected to announce Monday that he will not seek a third term in the Senate, a source close to the Indiana Democrat told CNN.

Political speculation from AmericaBlog:

Bayh may have really screwed the Democrats here. I just looked up the filing requirements for Senate primary candidates in Indiana. The CAN-4 form, which can be located here, titled, INDIANA PETITION FOR PRIMARY BALLOT PLACEMENT AS A CANDIDATE FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR, states:

INSTRUCTIONS: This petition is used to nominate candidates for placement on the May 4, 2010 Democratic or Republican Primary Election Ballot for the office of United States Senator. Petitioners are not required to provide precinct and congressional district information. The county voter registration office will complete this information after the petition is filed. Each candidate must also complete a Declaration of Candidacy for Primary Nomination form (CAN-2). This petition must be filed with the appropriate county voter registration office for processing beginning January 4, 2010, and no later than NOON, February 16, 2010.

That means Democrats might only have until tomorrow at noon to get a candidate on the ballot. I’m going to check further on this.

Some more political speculation from ABC News:

The decision blows a sizeable hole in the Democrats’ 2010 lineup, in a state that Republicans have long eyed as a prime pick-up opportunity. The retirement is likely to intensify chatter about the GOP’s chances to take over the Senate this year.

"After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned," Bayh plans to say, according to excerpts obtained by The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

Republicans recently coaxed former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., into running for Bayh’s seat, which he held before Bayh was elected to two terms. Coats’ candidacy got off to a slow start, with questions about his lobbying clients and his residency, though Bayh’s exit makes this a much easier race for any Republican.

The Democrats need to get overthemselves and turn to reconciliation to start passing positive and much-needed legislation. The Republicans used reconciliation to force the Bush tax cuts through Congress and there was barely a whimper from the press or the public. The Democrats were perceived at the time as weak. Republicans were perceived as "savvy" and "cunning."

Now the Democrats are worried about making the Republicans "angry." And that’s too bad.

Time for the Democrats to grow a pair, as Howard Dean said. Now.

This could turn into quite the

Joe the Plumber Says He’s Done with John McCain and Sarah Palin

Joe the Plumber

Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher lashed out at Senator John McCain Saturday at a campaign rally Saturday in Pennsylvania for long shot gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer.

From CNN:

"John McCain is no public servant," Wurzelbacher said at a campaign rally Saturday in Pennsylvania for long shot gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer. Later, in an interview with Pennsylvania Public Radio, he dismissed the suggestion that he owes his fame to McCain.

"I don’t owe him s-," Wurzelbacher said. "He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it."

"McCain was trying to use me," he said. "I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy."

Wurzelbacher is apparently finished with Sarah Palin as well since she is backing John McCain’s re-election bid in Arizona.

Apparently the Democrats aren’t the only ones turning on each other. The G.O.P. circular firing squad is in place.

Perhaps Wurzelbacher is trying to put together his own reactionary, right-wing, ultra-Libertarian campaign for some office somewhere? What party would have him?