UIUC College Dems

This blog is published by the UIUC College Democrats. We focus on state and local politics, but are willing to discuss pretty much anything.

Friday, May 20, 2005

MoveOn TV Ads

I'm usually not the biggest fan of MoveOn.org's overheated rhetoric, but these two new ads recently put out by them are hilarious, especially the Star Wars spoof. Check them out.

Democrats are Nazis

Our favorite U.S. Senator, Rick "Man on Dog Action" Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), yesterday compared Senate Democrats to Adolph Hitler during Senate debate on the "nuclear option." Archpundit has a thread on it here. Today Santorum issued a quadi-retraction, claiming that the reference was meant to "dramatize" the situation. No wonder former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) once said, "I think Santorum must be Latin for asshole."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Candidates for State Treasurer

Russ Stewart has a good analysis today of potential candidates for Illinois State Treasurer. Since Jesse White, Lisa Madigan, and Dan Hynes are all likely to be reelected easily, the only position left for ambitious Democrats and Republicans is State Treasurer, which will become open when Judy Baar Topinka runs for Governor. On the Democrats side, likely candidates are State Rep. Mike Boland (D-Moline), Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski, Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown, and former State Rep./2002 nominee Tom Dart (D-Chicago). Boland is hoping that a two or three way split in the Chicago primary vote will help him win the nomination. With all of the other statewide candidates coming from Chicago, it seems like a good idea to have a downstater as the nominee for Treasurer. Can Boland win the primary? And can Boland or any of the other Dems beat the likely Republican nominee, State Senator Dan Rutherford of Chenoa?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

General Assembly Passes Voter Registration Bill

Yesterday both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, passed HB 715, which requires all public universities in Illinois, including U of I, to offer voter registration materials to students on their websites and in student registration mailings. Both the Illinois Federation of College Democrats and the UIUC College Democrats have long supported this legislation, which will encourage more students to register to vote. In both the House and the Senate HB 715 recieved unanimous support from the Democrats. In the Senate, the bill passed 33-20, with no support from Republicans. Our extremist right-wing state senator, Rick Winkel (R-Urbana), took the cowardly way out, voting present. Surprise, Surprise.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Roskam Announces Congressional Bid

State Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) officially announced his candidacy for the 6th District Congressional seat being vacated by longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R). Roskam is best known for teaming up with extremist right-wing State Senator Rick Winkel (R-Urbana) to kill stem cell research legislation and almost kill gay rights legislation. Roskam was also a vocal opponent of Illinois' death penalty moratorium. Roskam is considered the favorite, but will face strong primary opposition from moderate State Senator Carole Pankau (R-Roselle). Announced Democratic candidates include 2004 nominee Christine Cegelis and attorney Peter O'Malley. In 2004 Cegelis held the heavily favored Hyde to only 55%.

Naomi Takes on SBC

Our very own State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) recently announced her opposition to
SB 1700, legislation heavily pushed for by telecommunications giant SBC that would eliminate state regulation of telephone rates. In her press conference, Naomi argued that the bill would shred consumer protections and lead to higher rates. More on this story here.

I Like Ike

I got this quote from the College Democrats of America e-mail list:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Obama's Big Week

Senator Barack Obama had his first two big legislative victories this week. The Senate this week passed Obama's amendment to the transportation appropriations bill that authorizes the creation of an E85 tax credit. E85 is a clean burning fuel blend that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Obama's amendment grants a tax credit to gas stations that build E85 pumps.

Obama's other victory was an amendment to the Emergency Appropriations Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan. The amendment requires military hospitals to provide free meals to injured service members in physical therapy or rehabilitation. Currently, these service members are required to pay for their own meals.

Challenger for Mark Kirk?

According to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Illinois's most moderate congressional Republican, U.S. Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Highland Park), could be facing a strong re-election challenge for the first time in 2006. Kirk was first elected in 2000 in a very close race over Democrat Lauren Beth Gash. He easily won reelection in 2002 and 2004. Next year, Kirk could face a strong challenge from popular State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), who is a strong campaigner and good fundraiser. This is the kind of race that Dems will have to win to have any chance of taking back the House in 2006. Is a moderate like Kirk beatable? The district is Republican leaning, but John Kerry won it fairly comfortable in 2004.

Governor's Campaign Reform Plan

On Thursday Governor Blagojevich announced his sweeping campaign finance reform plan. Currently Illinois does not have individual or PAC contribution limits. Blago's plan would limit individual contributions to $2000 and PAC contributions to $5000. The plan would also limit state party donations to $5000 per campaign and ban contributions from labor unions and corporations. Does this plan have any chance of passing? Are contribution limits the right solution?

Ideology Quiz

I found this ideology quiz on Matt Varble's blog. Varble found it on It's Matt's World. Most of the questions are pretty vague, but I think the results are generally accurate. Try it for yourself. Here's my results:

Your Political Profile

Overall: 15% Conservative, 85% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Friday, May 13, 2005

Edgar Urged to Make Comeback

This doesn't even really seem like a legitimate story to me, but CBS Channel 2 in Chicago ran a story last night about former Governor Jim Edgar considering a run against Rod Blagojevich in 2006. Edgar is the only Republican candidate that actually has a shot at winning against the Guv. Reached for comment, Edgar responded, "I never say never." Is Edgar just being coy? Or is he really considering this? Why didn't he run for a third term in 1998? It seems highly unlikely that Edgar would want to give up his cushy U of I gig for a bloody campaign.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Draft Vallas?

I promise this is the last post about potential primary challengers for Governor Rod. The Chicago Tribune reports that Dean Vallas, brother of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Vallas, is trying to convince Paul to run against Rod in the 2006 Democratic Primary. The problem is that Paul Vallas, who came in a close second to the Guv in 2002, took a position as Philadelphia CEO of Schools in July of 2002. The IL Constitution requires three years of residency to run for governor. Vallas grew up and lived in IL until 2002, but has lived in Philadelphia since then. Dean Vallas claims that Paul can challenge the residency law and run anyway. Will Vallas run? Or is this just rumor mongering by bored political geeks (myself included)?

Karl Rove targets Lisa Madigan

According to this column by Capitol Fax's Rich Miller, Republican hatchet man extraordinaire Karl Rove is planning to target our very own Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2006. Speaking at the Will County Republican Dinner a few weeks ago, Rove promised to bring in Dick Cheney to campaign for a yet to be determined challenger to Madigan. Why take on Madigan? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, worried that Madigan could become the next Eliot Spitzer, has been pressuring Rove to bring her down. Too bad Madigan is very popular and an incumbent Illinois Attorney General hasn't lost in more than two decades.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blair Wins Third Term

British Prime Minister Tony Blair won a historic third term for the Labour Party yesterday, but Labour's majority was cut from 160 seats to around 66 seats, largely because of a backlash resulting from Blair's support of President Bush's invasion of Iraq, which is highly unpopular in Britain. More on this story here.

Bush Opens National Forests to Logging

Today the U.S. Forest Service to action to open 60 million acres of national forests to construction of new roads, which in turn will likely lead to increased logging in these areas. The new rule is a reversal of the "roadless rule" put in place by former President Clinton in January of 2001. More on this story here.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Pat Robertson

Conservative icon Pat Robertson, host of my favorite comedy, the 700 club, recently made the claim in an interview that federal judges are "worse than Al-Qaeda." Best quote from the interview:

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."

Robertson also claimed that activist judges are a bigger threat than Nazi Germany and more divisive than the Civil War. He went on to say that Hindus and Muslims shouldn't be appointed federal judges and that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Communist.

Tom DeLay's House of Scandal

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new website dedicated entirely to Tom DeLay's scandals.

Lisa Madigan for Governor?

Capitol Fax has a little blurb about rumors in Springfield that Attorney General Lisa Madigan will run against Rod in the Democratic Primary. This is probably just wishful thinking on the part of Rod-hating Dems, chances are Lisa will wait until 2010. Can Lisa beat Rod in a primary? Discuss.

Feinen pledges no run against Naomi (sort of)

At the Champaign City Council meeting last night, our old friend Deb "Rising Star" Feinen promised to not run for State Rep. against Naomi in 2006 if she is appointed to the vacant District 4 seat on the City Council. Funny side note: the author of the News-Gazette story mentions that Feinen lost to Naomi by "a wide margin." Also, the new City Council was sworn in with the first ever Democratic majority (I know it's supposed to be non-partisan). Other announced candidates for the vacancy include perennial Green candidate Ken Urban and Champaign Library Foundation Board Member Marci Dodds.

Dump Winkel Part II

The second in an occasional series that highlights reasons to dump Rick Winkel Jr., our local right-wing extremist state senator.

Reason #2- Winkel helped lead the opposition to legislation amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation. The legislation, which passed by only one vote and was almost killed by Winkel, protects homosexuals from employment, housing, and insurance discrimination. Just another example of Winkel carrying water for the radical social conservative lobby in Illinois.

Also, someone has started a Dump Rick Winkel website. Check it out.

FDA Bans Gay Sperm Donors

No, this story isn't a joke either. The Food and Drug Administration recently implemented a new ruling prohibiting gay men from donating their sperm. That's right, we don't want 'em passin' on them gay genes to our innocent babies.

Texas Takes on Sexy Cheerleading

I'm sorry about the infrequency of posts lately, I've been busy with finals. Anyway, to prove that Texas tax dollars are being well spent, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday to prohibit "sexually suggestive cheerleading" in Texas public schools. The bill, which does not define which moves fall under the scope of "suggestive," is sponsored by State Rep. Al Edwards(believe it or not he's a Democrat), who has previously sponsored legislation requiring that convicted drug dealers have their fingers cut off (I'm serious).