Independent grassroots organization of progressives, liberals and moderates promoting an activist democratic agenda in the state of Illinois.

Open Seat in Illinois

Disaster averted: Burris bows out.

Working Class Credentials Sham

A couple of people have commented on Ross Douthat's piece in the New York Times eulogizing the "democratic ideal" supposedly represented by Sarah Palin because she became a "success" (such as it was) even though she hadn't gone to "Columbia and Harvard".

Frankly, if you spend all your time in office representing the interests of the rich and powerful, it really doesn’t matter if you were were born to a bunch of sharecroppers and went to a one-room school house.

In any case, if you look at who actually supports the GOP in election after election, you'll see that people with modest backgrounds are about as numerous in their ranks as people from non-white ethnic groups and those under 40.

So sure, having someone in a leadership position who never went to Columbia or Harvard may be something of a phenomena for the GOP but incessantly pointing it out, like Douthat does, is merely the homage that aristocracy pays to our democratic way of life.

Formerly Unknown Lobby for Health Care Cooperatives Finally Rears Head on CBS's 'Face the Nation'

I found this discussion between Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Shumer (D-NY) on CBS's Face the Nation truly bizarre.

Most of the segment was spent discussing health care in the usual superficial, made-for-tv way with a handful of talking points and the obligatory promise of "bipartisanship". I felt dumber after watching the thing than before.

That said, what I found truly strange was the insistence by fill-in host, John Dickerson, of bringing up health care "cooperatives" as a substitute for a public option -- not once but twice.

He did so entirely on his own, entirely unrelated to what the Senators were saying. In fact, the 2nd time he did it, it was just after Schumer had said that 70% of the American public supported the public option.

But screw what 70% of the American public support. Apparently there's no story there. Dickerson wanted to know what Schumer thought about cooperatives!

I guess on the bright side, we now know there must be a lobby for cooperatives somewhere on planet earth since apparently they've got a spokesman in the form of fill-in host, John Dickerson.

Not surprisingly, CBS's description of its own show is the last place to go to figure out what truly went on:

Both senators see the option of an alternative patient-owned cooperative system as a possible point of agreement between committee members.

UPDATE: Ugh, The Hill provides background:

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and six other committee members, including Grassley, have been meeting behind closed doors to draft a bipartisan bill. At the urging of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the senators are leaning toward setting aside a true public option in favor of establishing not-for-profit, member-owned health insurance cooperatives to compete with traditional insurance companies. Though the notion appeals to Republicans and some centrist Democrats, supporters of the public option do not view it as an acceptable compromise.

Gov. Quinn at Evanston July 4th Parade

It was a bit rainy but that didn't dampen anyone's spirit at the Evanston 4th of July Parade. The first shot is just before the parade with Gov. Pat Quinn and DPOE President Daniel Biss getting their picture taken by Daniel's wife Karen. The second shot is a group shot taken afterwards.

Sun-Times on Solutions to Failing Schools

sun-times-logo.pngThe Sun-Times gets school reform right in this editorial:

There are lots of ways to improve failing schools. Charters are one way, but so is investing in traditional schools by offering smaller class sizes, better teachers, financial incentives for teachers and a longer school year.

There is no single solution. Pretending otherwise is just as harmful as pretending that scores have gone up miraculously when we know they have not.

[h/t CapitolFaxBlog]

$40k Marketing Campaign Yields Event with 700 People

I was happy to see all the ads in the buses and El's for the 'Young Chicago Republican' Event that took place on Monday. It's always nice to see them supporting public transportation in this way.

The write-up of the event from the Huffington Post had something that caught my eye.

First:

You are not alone. That was the message for the estimated 700 Chicago Republicans who packed into the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville Monday night for an open bar, like-minded people and the feeling that for once they belonged in a city long considered hostile territory. [emphasis added]

Then:

The summer membership event was the culmination of a month-long, $40,000 marketing effort intended to organize and energize young Republicans in Chicago as the party looks to rebound from its shellacking in 2008. [emphasis added]

That's something like $57 a person! At this rate, if they wanted to open up the tent and reach out to the entire state, they'd need to come up with close to $737 million.

DL21C Panel: Progressive Politics in the age of Obama

Panelists discussed policy issues, like health care reform, and how progressives should balance values, priorities and political strategy at the Hideout.

You Call These People 'Centrists'?

Paul Krugman encourages us to resist the temptation to define down 'centrists' and 'moderates'.

The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by "centrist" Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around "centrist," by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.

You Call These People 'Moderates'?

I love it how on NPR, Mara Liasson keeps calling the Blue Dogs who are against the Public Option, 'Moderates'.

She did it again this morning. Someone should tell her that 'moderate' is halfway or in the middle of where the American people stand -- not where conservative Dems leave off and even more conservative GOPers begin.

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