Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Foie Gras Idiocy

The Chicago City Council continues to vie for the title of "San Francisco east of the Mississippi." Poor Mayor Daley. He's kind of a meat and potatoes kind of guy but has to put up with a city council eager to make their little social statements. He's got to be thinking "These guys are a bunch of little (insert your noun of choice here)."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Kudos To Mayor Daley

There is a lot to like about Chicago Mayor Richard Daley when compared to other leading Democrats in Illinois. Sure, I take some umbridge to his ceaseless efforts to promote gun-control and his seemingly zany past support for reparations to the descendents of slaves -- which I still insist was probably just a harmless verbal bone to throw to win some black support without actually doing anything. Every once in awhile though, the Mayor shows that he is at heart a pragmatist with an understanding of how the world really works.

The latest example is his apparently strident opposition to the "big box" wage ordinance passed by the city council. Da Mayor got his hackles up over the comments made by officials from other cities regarding their support for the efficacy of wage and benefit regulations for retailers.
Mayor Richard Daley, who has given strong indications that he will veto the ordinance, scoffed at any comparison between Chicago and the much smaller and more affluent western cities. "They should get back and help their own cities," Daley said of the out-of-town visitors. "I will compare my record to Santa Fe anytime, and San Francisco. You manage your city. We manage here."
The Mayor then demonstrated that he has a basic grasp of the real fundamental issue:

"Why should we raise the wage of some people but not others and make it depend on the size of the stores in which they work?" he said.
Well said, Mayor Daley. It's good to know that there are still a few adults left in the Illinois Democratic Party.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More "Big Box" Nonsense

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn is trying to solidify his membership in the exclusive Moochers Club.

In a move reminiscent of something that would be pursued by the antagonists in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, Quinn wants the State of Illinois to compel "big box retailers" to pay their workers an amount in excess of the recently increased minimum wage in Illinois. An ordinance to this effect has already been passed by the Chicago City Council. It is almost assured that any law purposing to require one retailer to pay a higher wage than another retailer will bring about a challenge under the "equal protection" clause of the Constitution.

I'll tell you what Mr. Quinn, why don't you go out and invest your money to create a business that either produces a product or offers a service to consumers. Once you've created something of value, then you can take it upon yourself to pay your employees whatever wage you think is fair and offer them whatever benefits you think are just.

Wal-Mart and other "big box" retailers are producers in society. These stores provide jobs, wealth and affordable products for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. I'll never understand how someone who hasn't produced anything approaching the value of what a company like Wal-Mart has produced can think that they have a platform to dictate how Wal-Mart should compensate employees. Companies like Wal-Mart are far more indispensable and productive then these moralists will ever be.

Edit: Apparently this is part-and-parcel of a wider political gambit by Democrats.

Obama Speaks Out Against Iraq War

Democratic hero Barak Obama held a townhall-style meeting where he was critical of the Iraq War. His remarks included the following sentiment:
Enemies in Iran and North Korea, along with terrorist groups bent on doing the United States harm, are getting stronger while the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq, he said.
Why is it so hard to get through to progressive liberals like Obama that the very reason we went into Iraq was to prevent the rogue nation from getting stronger? If Hussein had achieved his nuclear ambitions it would have been too late for preventive action and the United States would have to deal with the possibility of both a nuclear Iraq and North Korea. The evil triumvirate of Iraq, Iran and North Korea could not be dealt with in the same manner simultaneously but we had to start with one of them. It might help our cause if the international community would take these emerging threats seriously instead of dithering with endless debates and meaningless resolutions that always seem to be written with the intent of providing the malcontent regimes with one more chance. This is what it now means to "give diplomacy a chance."

The Bush Administration is the only administration in recent history that has recognized the need to "preempt" the destructive ambitions of rogue regimes before they develop a full compliment of WMD. Meanwhile the left screams and howls at the entire notion of preemptive war. I guarantee that if President Bush had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had developed nuclear capability the Left would excoriate Bush for allowing it to happen.

Obama also used his speech to complain about the use of private contractors in Iraq while making sure to throw the left-wing nutters a bone by including a reference to Halliburton.

He then proceeded to try and draw a distinction between himself and the hard-left base of the Democratic Party by arguing that sometimes war is necessary.
Obama also criticized Democrats who are always opposed to war, even when force is necessary. In cases like World War II and, more recently, removing the Taliban government of Afghanistan, war can be the only option.
All this demonstrates is that progressive liberals can tolerate wars after the fact, especially those wars that are either vindicated by the history books (WWII) or were widely popular at the time (Afghanistan) and were seen as resulting in a quick victory. They unfortunately cannot be counted on to see a war through when times get tough. You can bet that the Democratic legislators who voted for the Iraq War and are now trying to distance themselves from their vote would do a sudden about-face if they believed the outcome in Iraq had taken a dramatic turn for the better.

When it comes to national security, Republicans act while Democrats sift through polling data and react.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Now We're Supposed To Trust Rod?

The Office of Governor Rod Blagojevich is trying to make the case that it had nothing to do with preferential hiring practices for the well-connected. Representatives of the Governor are trying to convince the state Civil Service Commission that two since-fired employees were responsible for the improprieties and were acting alone, thereby justifying their termination. I tend to believe that the Blagojevich people are just trying to throw these former employees under the bus. That has been, after all, the administration's modus operandi in so many things. This Governor is always in search of a scapegoat to demonize.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oink If You Love Illinois!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I'll try and do a better job of staying current, particularly as the gubernatorial race draws near.

In any event, I stumbled across a new blog and the title of the post caught my attention. The bottom line is that the Virginia Institute for Public Policy produces a study on state spending modeled after the federal Grace Commission report of 1980's fame intended to issue recommendations as to where government can be made more cost-efficient for taxpayers.

As far as I know, Illinois doesn't have an institution that publishes a similar report. If I find that such a report exists, I'll certainly post a link to the report on this blog. Heaven knows we have plenty of "piglets" holding office in Illinois. Placating some of them is one of the reasons we just had an overtime legislative session! One might even say that wandering through the halls of the state capitol is not all that different then trapsing through the agricultural section of the state fair. Either way you might just get splattered with mud and filth by the resident mammals.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ugly Cook County Racial Politics

John Kass has an interesting take on race and Cook County Board politics. John Daley, brother of Mayor Richard Daley, appears to be retreating from his bid to become interim Board president because of racial intimidation. Todd Stroger, son of incapacitated Board President John Stroger, apparently hasn't given up his desire to succeed his father.

It's a shame that Chicago/Cook County politics has descended into this morass. The recourse to racial politics simply means that a candidate, campaign or political movement has no legitimiate reason to be entrusted with governance. In fact, such race-baiters should be run out of town on rails.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Governor's Inspector General Weighs In...

...and it's not looking very good for the Blagojevich Administration. The Tribune carries the piece here. The choice excerpts are as follows:
"This effort reflects not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law," wrote Zaldwaynaka "Z." Scott, who served as Blagojevich's first executive inspector general under an ethics law he signed. Scott, who left the post to join a private law firm last year, said she could not comment on her report.
But the inspector general's report contended the governor's patronage office, whose head, Joe Cini, is under federal scrutiny, worked with Department of Employment Security personnel officials to manipulate job titles, candidate credentials and job descriptions to place applicants sponsored by the governor's office "without following state law or normal state hiring protocol."

"Evidence shows non-compliance with state hiring laws," the inspector general wrote. "In fact, it reveals a concerted effort to subvert the laws including veterans' preference and the hiring process" for jobs protected under a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as the Rutan decision.
Keep in mind that the Inspector General is the Administration's official watchdog on the issue of clean government.