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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


-Hilarious, now you too can become a Republican.
-Smoking Gun unearths this great guy.
-Why I fear the future...gotta stop sitting behind a computer after a few beers...
-George W. Bush threatens his possible first veto.
-We have created a monster.
-Favorite blog I found this week: Post an Apology

Sunday, February 19, 2006

So has anyone mentioned that...

Justin is running for Student Senate?

Does anyone know what his platform is? Replacing the "Chief" with Paul Konerko? That's my hope.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sunday Morning Comics:

Frerichs Launches Website

Champaign County Auditor Mike Frerichs of rural Gifford, the Democratic candidate for Illinois State Senate, has officially launched his campaign website.

Friday, February 17, 2006

TV Ad Wars

Well it's officially primary campaign season now that the TV ad wars have begun. Here's the UIUC College Dems analysis of the various ads:

Bill Brady- The "tough on termites" reference is a little bizarre and slightly confusing, but overall this is pretty good ad. The message is good and Brady is telegenic. The question is how many more of these wil Brady be able to pay for? Overall grade: B+

Judy Baar Topinka- This ad is highly conventional, but I think it will be fairly effective. Topinka reminds GOP voters that she is by far the most experienced candidate, touts her fiscal conservatism, attacks the governor, and speaks directly into the camera. There's also a good shot of her with Jim Edgar. Overall grade: B+

Ron Gidwitz- Gidwitz had poured millions into TV ads over the last six months and most of them have been unimpressive: too flashy, not enough substance, unattractive graphics. The newest ad stands out because it is the first by any candidate to go negative on Topinka. The claims are a bit shaky and Gidwitz has gotten some negative media coverage over this, but if seen by enough GOP voters the ad may reinforce some of their apprehensions about Judy. Overall grade: C+

Rod Blagojevich- The governor has finally admitted that he's running for reelection with the launch of his first TV ad yesterday. At 60 seconds it's a tad long and the tone could be more upbeat, but the message is clear and presents an image of a strong record. His mea culpa is also a good preemptive move. Overall grade: A-

Edwin Eisendrath- He may be a first time statewide candidate and his campaign is underfunded, but even conceding those two points, this ad is just plain awful. He's not looking into the camera, he sounds heavily scripted, the message is all over the place, and it looks like it was filmed in a damn ski lodge. Plus this ad is only airing on cable in Chicago. Laurel Prussing ran a better ad for Mayor of Urbana. I give this one a D.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

College Dems Endorse Kirchner/Bell

The UIUC College Democrats voted unanimously to endorse challengers Bob Kirchner and Lisa Bell in the Democratic Primary for two seats in Champaign County Board District 9.

In a related story, the News-Gazette reported today that County Board Chair Barbara Wysocki was caught using county resources for political purposes. Wysocki used county stationery and the county postage meter to send a campaign letter to the UIUC College Democrats asking for our endorsement.

This action was clearly in violation of the county ethics statute, which "prohibits the use of any county "property or resources" in "support of or in connection with any campaign for elective office." Penalties for violating the ordinance can include up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 and discipline or discharge.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz has refused to investigate even though the State's Attorney's Office conducted an investigation of County Clerk Mark Shelden in 2004 for a similar offense. Rietz has endorsed Wysocki and former law partner Steve Beckett.

Friday, February 10, 2006


-Well I'm feeling lazy today so I'll just link to Kos's open threads.
-I urge everyone to check out Soap-Blox Chicago and start reading it daily (this goes for me too).

Well I may be gone for bit, and while none of you are asking "When will I be back?" I'll tell anyways. When I get my PC fixed and hooked up with linux so I can start blogging for real (I've decided to have as little to do with Microsoft as humanly possible).

A parting blow: Illini Pundit proudly presents us with the definition of a pundit (because you know, you're too dumb to know it already):

pundit: (noun) an expert or opinion-leader, particularly in the field of political analysis.

What's interesting is to see the site evolve from being run by a public official (illegal), to copy/pasting emails, and now gratuitous key-board orgies. Now compare this to ArchPundit, who can somehow gather political information expertly without the slaves of college-Republicans that Illini "Pundit" has come to rely on. Perhaps while they're upgrading they should change the definition of Illini to "a group of people who think they're way smarter than they actually are," at least then they'd get points for being honest.

Can you tell the difference?

So let's contrast what discussion looks like on a Democratic Blog versus what gets posted on Illini Pundit:

In the comments of this thread you can find this exchange:
(The quotes are from "anonymous")

McCain called out the bi-partisan poser...Barak Obama. McCain has a long history or working with Democrat on bills and has the voting record to back it up. What has Obama done to back-up his words of "one America"? He's voted party line every time. He SAID he would work with a bi-partisan group for ethics reform, but then DOES the opposite and decides to only support the Harry Reid bill, which if funny considering Reid has been in bed with Jack Abramoff for years -http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/02/09/D8FLR3380.html - Obama tried pulling his poser BS with the wrong guy and got called on it. The shine on this guy has dimmed greatly. Now he just looks like another Democrat. Sorry kiddies.

Interesting point "anonymous," if I follow your logic it's the DEMOCRATS who have been working in a bipartisan fashion for 10 or so years plus McCain.

The logic is that there are some Senators who DO work in a bi-partisan fashion and some who TALK about it. Obama is part of the latter while McCain is part of the former.

If you say so...sorry if Obama's thinking, disagreeing and changing his mind blows your[s] mind.

Barak Obama...the next great Democratic flip-flopper!

"sorry if Obama's thinking, disagreeing and changing his mind blows your mind."
- No, betraying your word and your rhetoric just plain blows, espically when thats all you have to offer.

"Flip-flopping," BETRAYL, rhetoric! Poor anonymous, have you been reading Illini Pundit all day again? Because you can't seem to think beyond its posts. Here is a gratuitous copy/paste job so you don't even have to go there anymore:
More Better Cops

Out of nowhere the following comment recently appeared in an open thread:

Does anybody know why there is such a sharp contrast between Urbana police and Champaign cops?
Every time I’ve interacted with an Urbana police officer, I’ve been pleased with the experience. They seem to be well-trained, educated, diplomatic, and intelligent.
When I’ve dealt with Champaign cops, in contrast, I’ve generally been pretty dissatisfied. They seem to be hostile, intolerant, illogical, dumb, and uneducated.
I just don’t get it.

Notice that Urbana has police and Champaign has cops. I was in a helpful mood, so I replied as follows:

Dear I Have a Question,
Have you tried moving the venue of your criminal activity from Champaign to Urbana? I have found that commission of a crime has a noticeable effect on an officer’s demeanor.
The other possibility is that since you are running into people who are “hostile, intolerant, illogical, dumb, and uneducated,” you might be mistaking a heretofore undiscovered tribe of badged aborigines for police officers. Just because these people are in donut shops does not mean they are policemen.
Do a little further research and let us know what you discover.
John (Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the inexcusable rudeness) Bramfeld

Another poster then weighed in with this showstopper:

Consider the possibility that one might have occasion to interact with, and observe the behavior of, police officers without engaging in criminal activity.
Try again.
I agee with the post. Urbana is a much better run community than Champaign, in every possible way.

So now the gauntlet has been thrown. Not only must we decide whether the Champaign Police are“ hostile, intolerant, illogical, dumb, and uneducated,” we must decide whether Urbana is “a much better run community than Champaign, in every possible way.”

I will start the ball rolling, but before I flatten anyone with it, let me tell you my background so you may fairly evaluate my opinion as coming from a superior vantage point.

I lived in a trailer in Urbana for three years.

I lived in a house on Vermont St. in Urbana for 14 years.

I practiced law in Urbana for 23 years.

I have lived in a house in the center of Champaign for 16 years.

I have practiced law in Champaign for 9 years.

I am the current Chairman of the Fire and Police Commission for Champaign.

I apparently flunked the Urbana Police employment test in 1975.

I have a degree in Administration of Justice,.

I have received one ticket from an Urbana Police officer and too many to remember from the Champaign Police.

OK, now let’s get briefly back to the initial charge against the Champaign Police, duly seconded by some anonymous or other: They, and this probably includes me and Chief Finney, are ”hostile, intolerant, illogical, dumb, and uneducated.” Because this complainant is obviously intelligent and educated, we should assume when he accuses the police of being “dumb” he is not simply repeating his “illogical” charge, because that would not be particularly logical or educated. Thus, based on my experience, we can knock out the charge that Champaign policemen are unable to speak. That leaves ”hostile,” “intolerant,” “illogical” and “uneducated.” Speaking in my official capacity for both myself, Chief Finney and all policemen west of Wright St., all I can say is “What’s wrong with that?”

Now that I have demonstrated beyond a doubt that the Champaign Police are superior in every way, it is time for citizens to step forward and tell us why Urbana, or Champaign, is “a much better run community in every possible way.” Before you liberals start crowing about your human rights record in Urbana, keep in mind that there is now twice as much Wal-Mart per capita in Urbana than Champaign. And you Champaign residents, let’s make Jerry proud.

That's really interesting John Bramfeld, did you orgasm all over your key-board after writing that? Oh, and anonymous, it's Barack Obama, as I found out the hard way yesterday. And believe it or not, just because someone is dealing with the police doesn't mean they've broken the law. I can't believe that even needs to be said, especially if half of his jizz-fest post is true. Ever try to return a lost dog jack-ass (probably not because he wouldn't even care to)?

Thursday, February 09, 2006


-Nora Ephron on why men get all weak-kneed at the sight of John McCain (and yeah, it's probably the torture thing).
-King George on the political corectness of leaking.
-Informed Comment gets a little creative.
-On music and group-think (shhhh, let's hope Fox doesn't figure this out).
-EFF sues AT&T to stop surveillance.
-The "Austin Mayor" posts on Abramoff/Republicans.
-Favorite blog I found this week.

Update: It's nice to have our first copy/paster, here I'll even link to it (oops...another one of my spelling mistakes).

Few of you will notice, but I have a strict policy of never linking to New York Times' articles because they're put up behind a firewall after a certain amount of time. It's bad enough that your paper has been publishing right-wing conspiracies on the front-page for years, but The Gray Lady is the most over-rated piece of trash on the planet and isn't even worth registering for, sorry (but the Village Voice...).

John McCain is the Idiot.

Yesterday I expressed some frustration with Armando for copy/pasting quotes of Dean and Obama from a horrid NY Times article, then calling them idiots with no real explanation. While I understand the need to vent and sympathize being frustrated with Democrats who fall into Republican narratives, calling Dean and Obama idiots just perpetuates a culture of victimization that we as Democrats need to get over.

So who do I think is an idiot? John McCain. While I think his intentions are sincere and fully-respect his service to our country, he is Bush's biggest tool. And that was before his attacks on Barack Obama.

First to summarize the exchange of letters between Obama and McCain (from georgia10's post):

I know you have expressed an interest in creating a task force to further study and discuss these matters, but I and others in the Democratic Caucus believe the more effective and timely course is to allow the committees of jurisdiction to roll up their sleeves and get to work on writing ethics and lobbying reform legislation that a majority of the Senate can support.  Committee consideration of these matters through the normal course will ensure that these  issues are discussed in a public forum and that those within Congress, as well as those on the outside, can express their views, ensuring a thorough review of this matter.

So McCain blows-up because Obama won't sit on his precious government-committee (instead wanting to work on real legislation):
Dear Senator Obama:

I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership's preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again.

As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn't always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.

Funny how "anti-big-government" McCain's writing is full of jargon and confusing sentence structures (a sign of his growing senility?) while Obama's is clear, to the point, and respectful:
[I] am puzzled by your response to my recent letter.  Last Wednesday morning, you called to invite me to your meeting that afternoon.  I changed my schedule so I could attend the meeting.  Afterwards, you thanked me several times for attending the meeting, and we left pledging to work together.

As you will recall, I told everyone present at the meeting that my caucus insisted that the consideration of any ethics reform proposal go through the regular committee process.  You didn't indicate any opposition to this position at the time, and I wrote the letter to reiterate this point, as well as the fact that I thought S. 2180 should be the basis for a bipartisan solution.

I confess that I have no idea what has prompted your response.  But let me assure you that I am not interested in typical partisan rhetoric or posturing.  The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

So, let's get this strait, the Republican Party for the past five years has been:And John McCain is upset that Obama won't sit on a government-committee? It's interesting that he's so worried about "bi-partisan" reform while his entire party is corrupt to the core. Don't forget it's King George who's campaign allowed slander to be spread about him and it'll be interesting to see what he does when Karl Rove does it again when McCain runs for President.
From the comments:

You fully respect John McCain's service to the country then call into question his commitment to ending torture?

I'm willing to bet John McCain got the shit kicked out of him in Vietnam more times than you can count, just so you have the right to post ridiculous hyperbole.

If Obama were smarter, he would realize that McCain can help him get things done in the Senate. Isn't a strong record of bi-partisan legislation what Obama will need when he runs for higher office? Looks like he made a freshman mistake.

I agree completely, McCain helped make the "blogosphere" with his and Feingold's campaign finance bill, but his letters to Obama were just rude and misinformed, sorry (but I'll moderate the ending's tone, thanks).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


-Bush proposes cuts in Social Security for widows an orphans, how compassionate.
-Jack Abramoff emails reveal he and Bush were friendly after all.
-Funny how there's always more money in the budget for the Pentagon.
-BagnewsNotes analyzes Bush at Coretta Scott King's funeral.
-Armando and I battle (he wins of course).

Oberweis: Spank 'Em

GOP gubernatorial hopeful/perennial candidate/dairy man Jim Oberweis' solution to Illinois' education woes: corporal punishment!

In response to a questionnaire from the Daily Herald, Oberweis suggested that teachers in public schools should be able to spank children whose parents approve specific methods and waive liability.

Well there you go, Oberweis has now officially been sapped of any remaining credibility as a candidate for public office.


My apologies to those over at Illini Pundit...I'll admit that as of now I don't have much knowledge of local/Illinois politics. I was more involved in Howard Dean and Barack Obama's campaigns, and reading national blogs. It is indeed Rod Blagojevich and not Rob as for some reason I always thought...oopsies. And I don't mind being corrected or admitting when I'm wrong. The internet and blogosphere is a strange land where we all get caught up in our own musings and mistakes. I think it's most important to not take it personally, have fun, and remember it's just a blog.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


-On the importance of blogging and checking traditional media's power.
-Josh Marshall has his thoughts on Obama vs. McCain.
-How surprising, King George's dream of a US-friendly Iraq isn't coming true.
-Four marines, nine Iraqis die.
-Russ Feingold has a Patriot Act update.


-Barak Obama refuses to play John McCain's games.
-Tom Tomorrow's thoughts on the Mohammed cartoons.
-Republican Senator Arlen Spector says BushCo's spying program was illegal.
-Nice summary at Soap Blox Chicago about Doctor Gill.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Democratic Blog Round-Up

Here's an incomplete list of important Democratic Blogs that any member can submit information to:

Daily Kos: Daily Kos is the most active and brutal of blogs: don't post there if you're not ready to back up everything you write there with fact. Make sure to read the FAQ fully before posting.

MyDD: Similar to Daily Kos but strictly political, here's the FAQ.

Our Congress: Like MyDD but concentrating on the US House of Representatives.

BooMan Tribune: I haven't much experience posting to BooMan, but you can find their FAQ here.

My Left Wing: The blog of outspoken Marryscott O'Connor, its FAQ can be found here.

Soap Blox Chicago: This blog is not just for Chicagoans, but state-wide Illinois races.

Democratic Underground: I've never posted here, but it's a great site.


-King George would like to read your emails for some reason, would you like to read his?
-If you ever need proof that for every Democrat with too much time on their hands there are a dozen Repulibcans read this.
-Rumsfeld still thinks relying on metaphors and fictional narratives will inspire Iraqis.
-Tom Delay is replaced by another clone.
-Informed Comment has the Iraq news BushCo hopes you don't know about.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hey everyone...

I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm a senior and Professional Writing major here at U of I, and I've spent the majority of the last three years trying to get Democrats legally elected over the internet. I have nothing to show for it, but in true blogging fashion that's no reason to stop now. I'm going to be very busy with school this semester, but will be around for at least the summer when I can blog full time. Until then if you have any info that you think I'd find helpful please feel free to email me at engray at: uiuc.edu thanks.

Jakobsson on a Roll

So despite what Illini Pundit (and the new junta that now runs that site) would have you believe, State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) has proven once again why she is an effective legislator.

Take a look at the flurry of bills that Naomi has introduced just this session:

HB4221- Provides that if ISAC student loans are privatized, the private entity must offer students the same beneftis/incentives currently offered by ISAC, including rate reductions for students with a history of timely loan repayment.

HB 4220- Creates a state income tax credits for landlords that offer recycling services to their tenants. Would help address the lack of apartment building recycling service in the City of Champaign.

HB4867- Seeks to address the soaring cost of college textbooks by requiring publishers and bookstores to over textbooks in an "unbundled" form. "Bundling" is when publishers bundle (usually by using plastic wrap) hundreds of dollars worth of extra materials with the required textbook, forcing the student to purchase the entire package.

HB5566- Creates a program to assist nurses with repayment of their college loans if they pledge to work in the State of Illinois. Seeks to address the dangerous nursing shortage in Illinois.

HB5568- Appropriates over $705 million for the University of Illinois for fiscal year 2007.

And in anticipation of the GOP attack, yes Naomi is the primary sponsor for all of these bills.