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The Evanston Democratic Meetup was back last Thursday! We met in the back room of the new Celtic Knot Public House across from the library. The Celtic Knot is a great addition to Evanston with a terrific atmosphere, good food and beer. Jamie, the proprietor, even stopped by to greet the Democrats with his Irish brogue and wish us well.
While we were missing some of our regulars due to conflicts, we still had a hearty and excited group of about twenty Democrats. Leo Klein spoke on the rapid growth of the Illinois Democratic Network and Sue Schell on the Illinois Media Core. Also Alex Armour, Jan Schakowsky's political director, spoke on various local races needing support over the weekend.
The Hard Schell Report -- By this title, you may be thinking I’m referring to the Terry Schiavo case, memorable for its legislative intrusion into a personal tragic situation, something that Congress had never tampered with before and left to the state’s courts. Nope! I don’t like that either, but I actually despise dishonesty as much.
I have had enough of Majority Speaker Tom DeLay. I am referring to his frequent misconduct and political transgressions repeatedly. Isn’t he the man responsible for leading the majority party in our U.S. House of Representatives to make principled and ethical laws of the land, which will serve the well-being of everyone? Yet, his in your face transgressions have contributed to making DeLay the poster boy for bad behavior leaping from one ethical landmine to another, while all along remaining---ehmmmm, untouched?...allowed to collect his nice salary for serving in Congress…never formally impeached like a past President for a breach of ethics?
THE HARD SCHELL REPORT -- Hard to believe, but the Evanston Grassroots Democratic machine is firing up again, and is meeting this Thursday, MARCH 31 at 7 pm at the recently opened Celtic Knot, a new Irish Pub in Downtown Evanston. This year's Meetups hold the promise of once again delivering results while forming new friendships!!!
How did we feel on the morning of November 3, 04, after our Grassroots Group had worked so hard to insure a Democratic victory?---NOT GOOD! However, I know for myself, I felt better than in 2000, because at least I knew that I had made an effort to effect change in this country--much needed change, and learned a lot along the way. We're we successful? In the short term "no", however, I do believe in the long term, "yes"! More people today are involved in watching our political system at work, and that in itself is a "win" for all Americans.
The Hard Schell Report -- I had promised myself, I was determined not to write anything about the Schiavo case, the woman who has lied in a vegetative state for the last 15 years, but when I came upon this information, I couldn’t contain myself. Really, I did try. I did not want to join the creepy media circus, which the Republicans decided to make out of this case. However, this little news bit, which I hadn’t heard in any of the media reports before, was just too much for me to hold back on.
Although signing the Advanced Directives Act in 1999, while governor of Texas, which gives hospitals the right to remove life support in cases where there is no possibility of revival, when the family cannot pay, no matter what the family's wishes are in the matter, George W. Bush has saw fit to make the Terry Schiavo case a "Right to Life Media Circus".
The Hard Schell Report -- I hope everyone has had an opportunity to see Alex Kotlowitz' thought provoking New York Times Magazine article "Suddenly, a Terrorist", in the Sunday, March 20, 05 edition of the paper. If not-- read on.
As many of you will recall, the Democratic Volunteer Media Corps. began addressing the Ibrahim Parlak case last July. Who is he? None of us have ever met him! However, a family member of Ibrahim's, Barbara Gazzolo, told us about his plight at an Evanston Democratic Meetup. It sounded confusing, but the closer we looked, the more we felt a momentous injustice was occurring. Upon closer examination, his case then began looking--horrifying!
[Message forwarded to Block Clubs, Community Orgs:]
In appreciation of the community outpouring to the Lefkow family, the judge sent the follow letter:
Our Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The compassion with which you have surrounded the Lefkow family is beyond measure. The food, cards, letters, flowers and phone calls have helped us enormously to remember that truth is stronger than a lie and good is stronger than the evil which has ruptured our family and neighborhood this past week. Most of all we thank you for the prayers that you are offering that we may be sustained through these dark days until light dawns by giving us peace in knowing that Michael and Donna brought grace and kindness to us during their sojourn on this earth. We are overwhelmed by the care you have expressed through the vigil tonight and pray with you the Great Prayer of St. Francis:
HERE'S A NOTICE THAT MAY HELP YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE
The Hard Schell Report -- Advise all of your friends and families to contact their State Senators and ask them to support--
ILLINOIS SENATE BILL 2100, WHICH WOULD CREATE
THE ILLINOIS REGENERATIVE MEDICINE INSTITUTE
The Illinois Democratic Network would like to pass on a few articles published on Friday, March 18 in Illinois newspapers covering the victorious passage of SB2100 in the Health and Human Services Committee on Thurs., March 17.
These articles offer a better understanding of the testimony that was presented on Wednesday regarding the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute. To view the articles, click on the links below, or cut and paste them into your browser.
The Hard Schell Report -- Did you know that in 1951, our U.S. Congress, out of concern for preserving Free Speech in America, prohibited the use of appropriated federal funds to be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States.
However, on 12 different occasions, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) found the George W. Bush administration in violation of this Act when they used funds from various Federal Agencies to create fake favorable television news stories for distribution to broadcast stations across the country from 2002 t0 2004
Then on January 4, 2005, the GAO once again ruled that a violations had occurred when the Office of National Drug Control Policy violated the publicity and propaganda prohibitions by using federal tax dollars to distribute fake television news stories to broadcast stations, and the Department of Education did the same to promote George W. Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ program.
The Hard Schell Report -- According to New York Times writer, Frank Rich, “at last weekend's Gridiron dinner, Mr. Bush made a joke about how "most" of his good press on Social Security came from Armstrong Williams, (the infamous gov’t paid political pundit), and the Washington press corps yukked it up. The joke, however, is on them - and us.”
Mr. Bush’s 60-stop “presidential road show on Social Security” is not being held with “ordinary citizens” as the administration likes to portray them to the media. These road show stops are billed as “town meetings”, however unlike most town hall meetings that we are accustomed to, the kind where you are likely to get the local wisecracker showing up and interrupting a speaker, or the likable community drunk, who stubbles into the meeting late, nary a one will be found at Mr. Bush's town hall meetings. In fact, most of us would probably be considered far too “ordinary” and not allowed to participate in the presidential road show at all.
The Hard Schell Report -- If ever you believed, as I do, that political scandals lead to political consequences think again. I consider myself to be quite well versed on government happenings, but I could not possibly recite for anyone the exact number of suspicious looking deals or conflict of interest opinions, which have been issued against this administration by the GAO. Could anyone possibly name all of the ongoing (or disappearing) administration investigations? "If you can, you should head to be a contestant on "Jeopardy" and perhaps you'll break that recent big winner's record." What about Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's old firm? Who remembers that the administration illicitly diverted $700 million from Afghanistan to Iraq? Or that, on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans stole strategy memos from Democrats, while a House Republican said he was offered a bribe during a crucial vote? Even the most conscientious citizen could not be expected to keep score.