Monday, January 31, 2005

Blagojevich's cynicism on gender equity

Plastered all over the CTA are advertisements that say

In Illinois, women earn 71 cents for every $1 a man earns.

Equal pay is the law.

If you are not receiving equal pay for equal work, call the Illinois Department of Labor to file a complaint.

The ads are sponsored by Department of Labor, Chicago Sun-Times and the State of Illinois. Of course Blagojevich's name and title take six to eight times the space of the state seal.

What's the purpose of this ad campaign?

Is it to address a public policy problem? If so, is this an effective way to reduce the gender pay gap? Is it the most cost effective way to affect the problem?

Or is this advertising campaign primarily about telling female voters Blagojevich cares about them? If the advertising is not effective at changing behavior is it just nurturing a grudge? And isn't this like publicly financing Blagojevich's political campaign?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

policy discussion; election reform

I want to intersperse discussions of policy into the posts about Blagojevich.

Part of my beef with Blagojevich, Madigan and the state Democrats is that they don't show a clear difference between the Democratic version of governing at the state level and the Republican version of governing at the state level.

For example, the Democrats have criticized Republicans on verifiable voting and other election reform issues on the national level. But what are Democrats doing to improving voting systems in Illinois?

Archpundit posted The RFP for the Voting Equipment and Documents and Chicago Voting Equipment Decisions.

But it really seems like the state should be taking the lead. In part my take is that the Fourteenth Amendment logic of Bush v. Gore seems to mandate that voting systems be uniform across whole states.

RB vs. his critics

The Chicago Tribune has a look ahead analysis piece on the upcoming state of the state address.

Two excerpts:

Blagojevich sees his record as one of impressive action and accomplishment, holding the line on taxes despite the constant struggle with deficits, trimming the state payroll and imposing higher ethical standards on a government in bad need of a cleansing.

To his critics, the Blagojevich era is highlighted more by grandiose claims, initiatives crafted primarily for the media pop, inattention to detail and a strategy of trying to humiliate those who get in his way....

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) was even more blunt. "He's a populist hot dog with mediocre follow-through," Dillard said. "Blagojevich is better at politics than he is at governing and even members of his own political party will agree with Republicans on that issue."

Do Blagojevich's accomplishments add up to a respectable record? Or is he defined by his off-key public pronouncements?

Governor targets deadbeat parents

The first paragraph of the Chicago Tribune article sounds good.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday is expected to outline state initiatives for pursuing and collecting child support payments from deadbeat parents in his State of the State address.

But then the article explains:

But up to one-third of the state's employers are not reporting new hires, likely because they do not know about the rule, said officials with the Illinois Department of Public Aid.

To remedy that, aides said Blagojevich would introduce a toll-free hot line for employers to get information and clarification about the law.

Doesn't it seem like there should be a system for the state to actively get information to employers? If there's a court ruling or the Department of Labor changes policy shouldn't there be the infrastructure to contact all employers?

Blagojevich's solution seems like he's trying to appear to being acting on the issue without actually devoting the resources to have much effect. Blagojevich is acting on the politics of the issue, but not the policy of it.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

fixes injustice; compounds political problem

callmewhentheshuttlelands took me to task for perpetuating the impression the Illinois DNR confiscating "Red" Burchyett's wheelchair was a new story.

A wise man knows when to say, "my bad".

The story broke in the Southern Illinoisan of Carbondale.

Burchyett's story appeared in The Southern Illinoisan Jan. 1. When it hit the pages of The Chicago Tribune Friday, Blagojevich took some administrative action.

Here's Blagojevich's problem with this story. The Tribune says Blagojevich was "incensed", but didn't know about the story until yesterday.

Blagojevich is saying that he ignores the Downstate media--and Downstate issues--until they make it into the Chicago media. Blagojevich is putting his own ignorance on the front page for everyone to see.

But Blagojevich is also putting his personnel and management on report too. Blagojevich is telling us the people he appointed don't have good judgment. And the "standing orders" he's provided to his people would allow this story to slip through the cracks. His instructions are either flawed or unclear. Or Blago has atrocious communications with his staff.

Of course Blagojevich could be lying. Maybe he knew about the story and only acted when he started getting bad publicity in Chicago. But incompetence seems more likely an explanation. Blagojevich is a politician and hardly any politician would sign-off on taking a 60 year old man's specialty wheelchair. Even really nasty pols would have intervened to help Burkett to show the common touch. And Rod is more inept than nasty.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Blago and the wheechair

The Chicago Tribune is reporting Blagojevich intervened and rehired the layed-off paraplegic DNR employee.

Obviously it didn't look good for Blagojevich's DNR spokeswoman to be explaining why taking Arthur "Red" Burchyett's custom wheelchair made sense.

The original story had this paragraph:

Blagojevich has long drawn the ire of Downstaters who complain that he pays little heed to the needs of their region and is too focused on the Chicago area.

If the Tribune is going to write this, don't they have to back it up with something more specific than the impression of the journalist and editor?

But how is Blagojevich viewed outside the Chicago Metro area? I've heard some people speculate that Downstate would be Blagojevich's base in the Democratic primary. Obviously Christi Parsons, the Trib reporter, thinks he's weak Downstate.


What have I got against Blagojevich?

A reader emailed and recommended I explain why I am dissatisfied with Blagojevich.

Last night I scribbled some notes.

The short version is that Blagojevich seems arrogant. He conveys that everybody else is beneath him. He shows scorn for politicians without acknowledging that he is one.

Blagojevich cares little about policy issues. He cares about politics, but not the substance of policy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Iraq War Rod

Does voting for the Iraq War count as a blunder?

In roll call 455 Rod voted for the IWR as did 80 other Democrats.

In roll call 453 Rod did have the sense to vote for the Spratt amendment which would have required Bush to get a UN Security Council resolution before invading. He was one of 147 Democrats and seven Republicans that voted for this.

In roll call 452 Rod was one of 136 Dems to vote against the Lee amendment. The Lee amendment called for resolving the situation through peaceful means.

So Blagojevich's votes were not heinous except for the big one. Has he ever said voting for the Iraq War was a mistake?

Purpose of this blog

What purpose does this blog serve?

1. I hope it will grow into a clearinghouse for information and anecdotes why Blagojevich should not be re-elected in 2006.
2. The audience (dare I hope for a "community"?) will be an "instant base" for a candidate that challenges Blagojevich in the Democratic Primary.
3. Aside from ragging on Rod I want to discuss a bold Democratic vision for the state of Illinois.