Friday, September 29, 2006

Pedophiles Have a Friend in John Shimkus

Rep. John Shimkus is chairman of the House Page Board. One of his fellow Republicans, Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., has enjoyed an e-mail relationship with a former teenage male page over the past several months. Now the world is abuzz about the lastest scandal on The Hill.

CNN has some of the message traffic that appeared on the website for The Blotter from ABC News:

They say he used the screen name Maf54 on these messages provided to ABC News.

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.

Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley's prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

Adds up to soliciting underage children for sex, said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and now an ABC News consultant. And what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years.
And John Shimkus just let this happen. He has known about this for 11 months according to his interview with David Espo from the Associated Press published September 30, 2006, at 0257 GMT:
Six hours after Foley's resignation letter was read to the House by a clerk, the chairman of a panel that oversees the page program issued a one-page written statement that deflected any blame from House leaders.

The statement from Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., said the House Page Board he chairs investigated the allegations late last year, but Foley was not honest when he denied any improper conduct with the teenager.

[. . .] Shimkus, who avoided reporters for hours, worked out his statement with Speaker Dennis Hastert's office. He said he promptly investigated what he thought were non-explicit message exchanges.

It has become clear to me today, based on information I only now have learned, that Congressman Foley was not honest about his conduct, Shimkus said.

Shimkus said that in late 2005 he learned through information passed along by Alexander's office about an e-mail exchange in which Foley asked about the youngster's well-being after Hurricane Katrina, and requested a photograph.

Congressman Foley told the (House) clerk and me that he was simply acting as a mentor ... and that nothing inappropriate had occurred, Shimkus said.

Foley was ordered to cease all contact with the former page and assured Shimkus he would do so, the statement said. He also was advised to watch his conduct with current and former House pages, and gave assurance he would do so, Shimkus said.

He added there were no further complaints.
Too little. Too late. Typical John Shimkus. It is normal, routine, business as usual, for him to aid and protect crooks. The Abramoff Scandal was not that long ago. The Abramoff Investigation Resolution, H. Res. 746, was a simple tabling motion. It passed. Congressional investigations never happened. Rep. John M. Shimkus voted YES. No big surprise that he voted to table this resolution. He protects Republican crooks at any costs. He is a really nice guy!

Maybe he and his staffers should come out of the closet now -- before someone else does it for him.

Maybe the real question from the chairman of the House Page Board should be boxers or briefs?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Justification for Dan Stover Contributions

Danny Stover (IL-19) has fundraisers scheduled:

  • Trivia Contest Fundraiser, Metropolis, IL, September 23, 2006, from 7 PM to whenever. To register a team, the campaign or send an e-mail!
  • Party time at Ramone's, 1711 Collinsville Rd. (intersection of Collinsville Rd. and Rte. 157), Collinsville, IL, on Tuesday, October 3, 2006, from 5 to 7 PM. They will have the beer and nachos flowing. There is no cover charge for this event. Dan accepts donations of all sizes!
Dan has a new television commercial airing in Madison County. It costs $1,200.00 for just one airing on a local news program. Visit his website and click on video 3 to see his new commercial.

NOTE: The Downstate Democrats for Change held one. It was a blast!

If attend either fundraiser is impossible, here is the information for contributions. Send them directly to Dan (NOT the DCCC -- Dan gets NOTHING from them!).

Here is just one reason -- one of MANY reasons -- to contribute to the Stover for Congress Campaign and vote for him in November. This is a copy of a letter accounting a visit that Dennis Barker had with Republican incumbent Rep. John Shimkus in Washington:
Speaking Truth to Power
Report by Dennis Barker, Local 1899 Rapid Response Coordinator

Congressional Visit in Washington DC during the Steelworker National Rapid Response Conference with Congressman John Shimkus, from the Illinois 19th Congressional District. The meeting was held on June 21st in his congressional office.

Seven Steelworker Members from Sub District 2 attended the meeting. Local 1899 (2 members), Local 1063 (4 members) and Local 9189 (1 member).

The first issues we discussed was the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA);

John Shimkus’ first comment on the EFCA was I hate this bill. We asked what his issues are with the bill. He said he wants to maintain the NLRB election process, that signing union authorization cards could be done under pressure or someone not understanding what they are signing. We then explained how a card check campaign works also we told him that Illinois already has card check for public employees. We told John that even in campaigns after authorization cards are signed it’s still very hard to get that first contract. We told Shimkus the story of the Monroe County Nursing Home that it took 7 years to get a contract and under the EFCA it would require arbitration after three months to resolve first contract issues. John said the EFCA would give to much power to workers and weaken business in an organizing drive and he believes that the current law is fair to each side. We told him that in over 30 percent of organizing drives result in union activist being fired and it takes 3 to 5 years for the NLRB to rule resulting in companies violating the law with no fear of penalties and that companies hire anti union law firms and hold captive anti union meetings. He did seem to indicate some willingness to consider fixing the problems that occur between the card signing and the NLRB election but was firm on maintaining the status quo of the present flawed NLRB election process.

We then presented him the EFCA petitions asking him to become a co-sponsor of the EFCA from all the Locals in the Sub District with over 1,600 names and letters from seven Local Union Presidents representing over 3,000 members urging him to become a co-sponsor. He responded by placing his hand on his forehead and said, Now here comes the pressure. At the end of our discussion on the EFCA John made it clear he would not become a co-sponsor nor would he support the EFCA if it comes up for a vote.

We then turned to Health Care. We asked if he would co-sponsor H.R. 676, introduced by Congressman John Conyers, which would provide a universal single payer health care system. He asked if everybody here was in favor of a universal health care system when we said yes he went right into the Republican talking points against it.
  1. Why would anybody want a system where a Government Bureaucrat would decide what kind of treatment you would get?
  2. Or a system that would have Government ration health care?
  3. How would you pay for it?
  4. For a universal system taxes would have to be raised.
  5. His solution for solving the health care crisis is creating Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
We answered each right wing point he raised;
  1. We told him we don’t want Government to control health care decisions either we only want a system where Government has the administration of health care.
  2. We want a system similar to Medicare that excludes no one, a system that has comprehensive coverage with Government cost controls.
  3. The funding for a universal system would be the job of Congress and as a member that is part of his job to find the appropriate funding.
  4. For revenue we told him a good start would be if Congress would not pass the elimination of the estate tax.
  5. We told him that Health Savings Accounts would only increase the uninsured problem. For example only the well off, upper income families, could afford to put money in HSA accounts. When you take out the families who can afford the HSA’s of insurance pools then you will see insurance companies increasing the cost to families who can’t afford HSA’s the very families who are already struggling with high insurance premiums.
He then tried to compare the benefits of Health Savings Accounts care to driving an old car! He said when you drive an old clunker you only take out high deductible insurance and only repair the car if you have to. If people would treat health care like driving an old car it would reduce the cost for health care for everybody. And he said that he is not hearing the need for a universal system as he travels around the 19th Congressional District.

We told him that the problem is much worse than he is hearing about each year there are more and more families in his district living without any health care coverage.

The next topic was trade issues.

We told Congressman Shimkus there were two pending trade agreements being introduced by the White House one with Oman, a Middle Eastern County, and Peru. Both agreements are modeled after NAFTA. With record trade deficits and over 3 million manufacturing jobs lost in the last five years we asked if he would oppose these new trade deals. He replied, I am a free trader I’ve always have been a supporter of trade agreements. I will take a look at these if they are introduced.

We also talked about a new bill recently introduced that would ban the import of sweatshop goods. The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act, H.R. 5635, introduced in the House by Congressman Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio. Shimkus said he was not familiar with this bill but would take a look at it.

As usual John was not supportive of any of our issues and his AFL-CIO voting record is 25 percent and going downhill. The last thing we reminded him of was his broken promise to the voters of the 19th Congressional District to serve only 5 terms in office, which was his campaign promise in 1996. He replied, That is right I’m running again go ahead and put that out, that is what I promised in 1996 and I am running for a 6th term.
NOTE: Dan Stover, is on public record as supporting universal health care. Dan will also co-sponsor the EFCA if elected and he opposes the current failed free trade policies of the Bush Administration that are modeled after NAFTA.

Dennis Barker graciously gave permission to publish this letter. He recently has joined the Downstate Democrats for Change. The office location is 230 S. Buchannan in Edwardsville. 618-656-0370, The group invites every Democrat to contact them and join their fight to elect Dan Stover.

In November, EVERYONE can help John Shimkus keep his 1996 campaign promise of only serving SIX terms. Elect Dan Stover in November!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Online Petition for Dan Stover (IL-19)

Ron McBride of established an online petition to Senator Barack Obama encouraging him to appear in support of Danny Stover.

Ron called Sen. Obama's office in Washington and the one in Chicago. Someone from Madison County even visited him on The Hill with the same request. It is a completely justified request for the following reasons (in addition to all the environmental, social, economic issues):

  • The Democrats of IL-19 (30 counties in the largest geographical district east of the Mississippi River, larger than some states, and one-third of Illinois) have a grassroots effort to garner support for Danny L. Stover, their Candidate for Congress.
  • The IL Democratic Organizations, the DNC, and DCCC have failed to provide any support for Stover for Congress.
  • Through his numerous appearances throughout the district in support of Democrats, he deserves the support. Senator Durbin appeared with him at DuQuoin. Although he was there at the stage in Springfield, the Chicago Democrats completely ignored him.
  • This is a great opportunity to give Central and So. IL Democrats a reason to VOTE BLUE!
  • The Downstate Democrats for Change took upon themselves to provide the necessary support as Stover made his personal appearances and attended fund raisers.
  • This is a genuine effort to bring sanity back to Congress and provide a Democratic Congressman supporting both Illinois senators.
Members of the Democratic Party cannot afford to ignore Stover any longer. Everyone -- Please consider adding your name. Every Democratic candidate deserves support.

Remember -- STOVER equals VOTERS!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Senior Citizens Cause the Deficit

According to Rep. John Shimkus (IL19), the federal entitlements that senior citizens receive caused the huge federal deficit future generations will have to pay.

Members of the Downstate Democrats for Change (DDFC) recently met with Senator Barack Obama and Rep. Shimkus in their offices on The Hill. David Kiley, a proud DDFC member, posted the group's report in diaries on the Illinois Democratic Network and Daily Kos.

The group hoped to convince Sen. Obama that Danny Stover is viable as a Congressional candidate challenging John Shimkus for the IL-19 seat and absolutely deserves the sentor's support.

For their meeting with Rep. Shimkus, the group wanted to discuss the Prescription Drug Plan. The rest of the story is a must read:

Shimkus started their meeting by defensively stating that he knew that they were coming and that he was prepared. His replies to their questions and concerns about prescription drugs were confusing, ignorant defensive, degrading or off topic. When asked about the huge deficit created by President Bush and Congress, Shimkus loudly and forcefully answered that the members of the senior citizens group were responsible. He claimed that their entitlements that they receive were the only reason that the country was facing such huge deficits. In his opinion if the entitlements were eliminated, the deficit would disappear. In his reply, of course, he failed to mention or admit that the millions of dollars spent on the Iraq war fiasco, tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans or tax credits for corporations experiencing record profits had anything at all to do with the deficit.
Every senior citizen on a fixed income (not Mother Shimkus) depending on Social Security and Medicare for basic daily needs is responsible for the deficit. Working adults in other countries support their senior citizens. It is an honor to do so. In America, the Republican incumbent for IL-19 in the U. S. House of Representatives , John Shimkus, arrogantly considers it a financial burden. This is a nice guy? To whom? His near and dear only? John Shimkus is so far removed from nice that it is frightening! Hopefully, more people finally discovering the REAL man. In addition,
  • Chicago Democrats snub Dan Stover at the State Fair.
  • Madison County Democrats ignore IL-19 challengers in 2004 and 2006 because they have a hand-picked, self-funded, ambulance-chasing, millionaire crony for 2008.
What is wrong with this picture?

Voters decide who their representative will be. No one else! Central and So. IL regions are filled with democrats begging for a candidate worth their vote. Dan Stover is that man!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shimkus Promises, Neglected District Personified

For someone that the Democratic Party should NEVER allow to cruise though elections, Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) seems to get a free ride too many times. He does not deserve it. His constituents know this. They are tired of it. They are fighting back -- in every way possible.

D.R. Brown, a Maryville resident, submitted an editorial entitled Shimkus has broken promises, neglected district to the local print media. It appears in the Collinsville Herald, on Wednesday, September 13, 2006.

When people think about John Shimkus, especially in Madison County, several things often come first to mind: He's a nice guy, he once considered becoming a Lutheran minister, he's a Republican, and a graduate of West Point.

And they're fine attributes. It's easy to get the feeling he'd be a great next-door neighbor.

These first thoughts might be changing, though.

During the Collinsville High School commencement this past May, a school official spoke of how Shimkus is a CHS graduate. Behind me, I immediately overheard a man whisper, "He broke his promise." Of course, the man was referring to how Shimkus has broken his original campaign pledge to run for Congress no more than six times.

In 1996, when Shimkus first ran for Congress, the Republicans were making a big deal out of their Contract With America platform. They badly wanted to win control of Congress, and described (accurately, in many cases) the Democrats as entrenched Washington fat cats.

The cure they proposed was to promise the enactment of term limit laws, so that neither Democrats nor republicans could become the dreaded fat cats. It sounded like a fine idea.

In addition to the platform, Shimkus promised to run no more than six times. But, once the GOP gained congressional majority, they conveniently did not enact the promised term limit laws, and Shimkus announced last year that he feels free to run more than six times.

Shimkus has not only turned his back on the platform, which helped elect him, he's broken his personal promise to the 19th District. He says George Bush and GOP leaders want him to run again. So, has John Shimkus himself become an entrenched Washington fat cat who no longer effectively represents the citizens of his own district?

For the record, I'm neither Democrat nor Republican, neither "conservative" nor "liberal." I'm independent, middle-of-the-road, and that's how I like it. But I've never voted for a Democrat for office of president -- not until the last election, that is. I'm appalled and saddened at how far the Republican party has fallen, nationally and in Illinois.

Fortunes have changed since Shimkus was first elected. His campaign fund has grown and grown. Official records put it at $1,170,500 cash on hand. (It's hard to imagine how much cash that is, so I did the math, and it'll buy, free and clear, 58 brand new 2007 family sedans at $20,000 a pop.)

That's a lot of clout for a politician to walk away from. Incumbents with that much money tend to beat the pants off anyone who puts up a challenge. And if Shimkus kept his promise, a Democratic candidate might have nothing between he or she and a seat in Congress but blue sky and sunshine.

That thought must scare George Bush silly. Is it any wonder Bush encouraged Shimkus to abandon ship on the promise?

So what about his record in Congress? Shimkus tells us in weekly e-mail newsletters about lots of pork he's brought home. That's what politicians do, isn't it?

There's almost nothing in his newsletters, or his congressional Web site, explaining where he stands and what he's doing about major pressing issues of the day. Other legislators of both parties have taken the lead on crucial issues such as immigration, congressional corruption, global warming and conflict in the Middle East.

You'll find hardly any reference to our troops, who are doing difficult, dangerous duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you'd like to have some dialogue with Shimkus, through an open forum town hall meeting, you're out of luck. He doesn't have them. (Sen. Barack Obama has held 50 of them across the state in less than two years in office, and plenty of Republicans have them regularly, too).

And, I figure it's unlikely Shimkus will ever debate his Democratic challenger, Danny Stover; Shimkus has nothing to gain by public debate, only a lot to lose. You can't hide behind a pile of cash in a debate.

It sure looks as if Shimkus wants to stay in office, yet wants to avoid anything that puts him, and his record, front and center for public view.

About the only way to get a sense of what Shimkus thinks is to look at his voting record, and it's consistent and predictable as it can be. He votes for whatever George Bush wants, even for HR 5970, also known as the Paris Hilton Estate Tax Relief Act. If Shimkus can't find the nerve to vote against even that, is there anything, at all, ever, that he wouldn't fetch and carry for Bush?

I wish Shimkus' West Point education bettered his service to the citizens of the district and the nation, and, very sadly, it does not. Shimkus, of course, supported the Bush's administration's trumped-up rationale for invading Iraq. So did lots of other Republicans and Democrats.

But there were intelligent, thinking persons of both political parties who saw through the hype. John Hostettler is one. Hostettler is a Republican, Christian, social conservative who represents the neighboring 8th District in

He voted against the invasion of Iraq, and said why on the House floor: Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I must conclude that Iraq indeed poses a threat, but it does not pose an imminent threat that justifies a preemptive military strike at this time. He cited, among many sources, Saint Augustine, that war should not be conducted without necessity.

There you have it. It took character, courage, and moral integrity for a conservative Republican Christian congressman from the Midwest to stand fast against the tide of hype from the Bush administration, and to push back against Bush's desire to invade Iraq.

Hostettler refused to take the politically easy course of action, and followed good judgment instead. Now, that's what I call real character and integrity when you really need it the most.

Hostettler exemplifies what Theodore Roosevelt meant when he said, Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President.

John Shimkus acts as if he doesn't get it.

And the clinkers arrive in a long line. Hostettler had presence of mind to see through the hype, yet he has no West Point education, and has never served in the Armed Forces. Had John Shimkus (and others) had such judgment and integrity, over 2,600 of our precious troops wouldn't have died, and many more wouldn't have had arms and legs blown off.

Hundreds of billions of dollars would have been conserved for any number of important uses right here at home, or saved for a rainy day or two. How did Hostettler set the call so right, but Shimkus get it so wrong? Where's Shimkus' West Point education, not just when it adorns his resume, but when you'd think
it would benefit our country and our armed forces?

I'm sure Shimkus and Hostettler don't try to figure out which of them has basic grasp of Christianity. I've asked myself, on the question of whether to invade Iraq, "What would Jesus have done?" All I'll say is that Hostettler must have earned himself a very clear conscience.

I'm trying to see how the citizens of this district benefited by Shimkus' support of Bush's Iraq invasion, but the account rings up huge negative balances. Bush had a budget surplus when he entered the White House -- now Bush has borrowed and spent us back into red ink hell, hundreds of billions of it in Iraq.

Troops from our district are sweltering, getting horrible wounds and dying in a place which is one ocean and one sea away.

The Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen Web site shows 106 Illinoisans who have died as a result of the Iraq invasion, of whom eight had hometowns in our district.

Our troops are being placed repeatedly in the crossfire of warring factions of people who just don't think like George Bush. Our troops have done their job very, very well.

Bush hasn't done his job so well, so why are our troops, and their families, paying the heaviest prices of all for Bush's poor job? There's something seriously wrong in this picture, and John Shimkus isn't doing, and won't do, a thing about it.

It'd be justified to send Shimkus packing on Election Day, for no other reason than to enforce the promise he made to us. But there are more reasons to send him packing, chief of which are that he doesn't represent the people of our district any longer and can't say no to Bush, no matter what the cost or how poor the judgement.

He's become the entrenched Washington fat cat he said he wouldn't become. He gives constant and unconditional support to George Bush, whether it gives super-wealthy families of the nation a whopping tax cut, results in the misuse and abuse of our armed forces or breaks his promise to the folks back home.

If you want you voice in Washington to be a hand puppet for George Bush, Shimkus is the man. If that's unacceptable, praise our Founding Fathers and veterans for ensuring your right to say so and vote so.

If, after the next two years, Danny Stover has represented us well, we can give him another term; if not, we should send him packing too.
True. True. Every word.

The word on the street is that the Madison County Democrats are withholding their support this year (just like they did two years ago with Tim Bagwell) because they have a hand-picked self-funded millionaire crony to challenge Rep. Shimkus in 2008. That is the same as telling the voters who they are supposed to elect. It is supposed to be the other way around.

It gives IL-19 voters a choice. They can vote Democratic or Republican for their representative puppet.

Decisons. Decisons.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Truth about Inhumane Animal Legislation

Update 1: H. R. 503, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is on the schedule for today in the U. S. House of Representatives. Lexidiem provided a comment that reminds everyone what could happen if this legislation fails. No excuse is good enough to let this legislation fail.

Update 2: This is a step in the right direction:

The House brushed aside objections from horse doctors and the White House and voted Thursday to outlaw slaughtering horses for people to eat.

Critics of the practice made an emotional appeal, showing photographs of horses with bloodied and lacerated faces, the result of being crammed into trailers destined for slaughterhouses.

Celebrities also turned up the pressure: Actress Bo Derek was on hand for Thursday's vote, and country singer Willie Nelson and oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens have been campaigning against horse slaughter.
With a House vote of 263 - 146, most everyone can guess with 100 percent accuracy who the 146 are. The number certainly includes every Republican in the Illinois Congressional Delegation. There is nothing new there. Yet, there are other Republicans that understand why Congress needs to outlaw horse slaughtering:
It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today, said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.

Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.

They are as close to human as any animal you can get, said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.

Added Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.: The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens.
Now citizens need to convince their senators since many defenders of horse slaughter contend that the process is humane: These facilities provide a humane alternative to additional suffering or possible dangerous situations, said GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

The congressman's constituents should pity the man. He remains clueless -- especially about Exceller and Ferdinand.
The administration had the backing of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the biggest horse doctors' group. The American Quarter Horse Association also supports the practice.

Opponents had the backing of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as well as the Humane Society of the United States.
Euthanasia -- Horse slaughtering is the exact opposite. Defenders of this abomination should read the dictionary a little more.

A reader provided the following sworn statement regarding the practice of horse slaughtering at Cavel International in DeKalb, IL. It is in Speaker Dennis Hastert's IL-14.

*** WARNING ***
The following contains graphic descriptions
In July 1991, they were unloading one of the double-decker trucks. A horse got his leg caught in the side of the truck so the driver pulled the rig up and the horse's leg popped off. The horse was still living, and it was shaking. [Another employee] popped it on the head and we hung it up and split it open.

[. . .] Sometimes we would kill near 390, 370 a day. Each double-decker might have up to 100 on it. We would pull off the dead ones with chains. Ones that were down on the truck, we would drag them off with chains and maybe put them in a pen or we might drag them with an automatic chain to the knockbox. Sometimes we would use an electric shocker to try to make them stand. To get them into the knockbox, you have to shock them . . . sometimes run them up the [anus] with the shocker. . . When we killed a pregnant mare, we would take the guts out and I would take the bag out and open it and cut the cord and put it in the trash and sometimes the baby would still be living, and its heart would be beating, but we would put it in the trashcan
Disgusted yet? There is more.
When Horse Slaughter Hits Home -- Liz's Story -- Her horse was stolen. Now she had to go to the slaughter and identify Lady's hide. This would be a nightmare to all of us horse owners.

I bought Lady out of a warm up ring at a show that I was showing at. Silly me thought they were beating her to death, did not know that is how they trained halter horses when no one was looking. I walked her down the road (22 miles) to the barn I was boarding at, could not get her in a trailer she was so spooked. I spent the rest of the year working with her, loving her, telling her my whole life story so she would know who I was, and I never laid a hand on her. After about 7 months I took her back into the show ring, she took 5th out 27 in halter. She did absolute beautifully, and I never had to use a crop. I still have that ribbon and will to the day I die, to me it was gold.

Lady kept getting fatter and fatter and the work outs did not seem to help, we changed her grain rations fed her less hay but nothing seemed to work. I finally called the vet. Lady was in foal and would deliver in less then a month. Nice people did not let me know that they had bred her just before I purchased her. Lady had a beautiful filly which I kept until she was trained then I had to sell her do to financial reasons.

Lady gave me many years of companionship, she was there when I was pregnant with my son, she was there as I slowly lost friends to drugs, she was my rock, my one true friend who I could always count on, she was my therapist, she was my world.

After many years of service, I decided it was time for her to have time to be a horse, to frolic carefree in the pastures, to have horse friends of her own. I thought that moving her to a boarding facility that had trainers and vets on the premises would keep her happy and healthy for the rest of her life.

I called once a week to check on her, I visited once a month. Then as I was planning my wedding (second) I let time slip between visits something I will regret to the day I die. After returning from my honeymoon I called to check on her, they told me everything was fine. I decided to go for a visit the next week that is when I found out she had been gone for two months. I panicked called everyone I knew. I filed a police report and was assigned an investigator, a lot of help they were. I started combing the countryside, knocking on every door that had a barn, walking thru barns when I could not find anyone around, I talked to anyone I could. I sent the police to places I could not get in. I finally found traces of her, people started telling me of how they had her there for a week or two but then she was moved. I was only one day behind her when they panicked and took her to Dekalb.

This I found out after. When a horse arrives in good flesh and coat they are moved to the head of the line. They do not check for brands or tattoos, they will check for the chips but only to remove them before slaughter so they do not taint the meat. They also know that these horses are probably stolen. This was testimony under oath in the Dupage County Court House for those who do not believe that this is true, by three employees of the Dekalb slaughterhouse.

The police finally went into the slaughter plant after many phone calls to them, my worst fear was true. I would be allowed to pick her hide out of all the hides they had, seems they save for cases of stolen horses.

[. . .] These slaughter buyers are at auctions, outbidding the people trying to buy ponies for their kids
It only gets better. Rep. Don Sherwood (PA-10) provided testimony to the House Agriculture Committe on July 27, 2006, on H.R. 503. It would amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption. According to him, the testimony above is false:
[. . .] for the last 30 years, I have spent reeling, raising and showing Belgian Draft Horses.

No one is a bigger horse lover than I.

At most times my partner and I have had between 10 - 20 Belgians on our farm and more than most, understand the emotional attachment that we all have for horses.

But horse owners need a way to deal with horses that are no longer needed or no longer healthy and sound or that can't be trained or handled.

The market has developed a way that is economically viable to dispose of horses that are unwanted or unusable.

That slaughter market is important for the Equine Industry for the same reason that it is for the Dairy Industry.

A Dairy Cow ruined by mastitis or simply a poor producer quickly becomes a financial drain to her owner.

Fortunately for the Dairy Farmer the meat animal industry market is there to claim that cow, relieving the owner of a financial burden and providing useful and nutritious food.

Not the choice thick porterhouse steaks for the BBQ Grill but none the less good beef have huge negative economic consequences for rural America.

There is no reason Congress should destroy the similar market for unwanted, unusable or surplus horses. Even though we don't consume horses in our own culture, there is an active export market.

[. . .] It appears that there are about 90, 000 horses a year that for some reason become unusable or unwanted.

With the average cost to properly maintain a horse in most parts of the county at approx. $1,900 annually and with the exponential growth of these animals the economic costs would become huge.

With out sufficient facilities or funding many of these unwanted horses would be neglected and face poor care and in some cases even starvation.

The truly compassionate action for these horses is to continue to have an orderly market for their disposition.

Some proponents of HR 503 argue that the answer is euthanasia, even though this means that it would end the horse slaughter market and kill the horses.

This is economically unsustainable and it ends up with the same fate for the unwanted horses.

The Agriculture Market economy has worked well for over 200 years.

I do not see any rational reason that we in Washington should start down this slippery slope that would hurt our economy in a significant way, and probably end up with in-humane treatment of these surplus horses which we all feel so fondly about.
Conclusion: The man is one of MANY legislators suffering from delusions of a humane-legislation-induced economic catastrophe.

On the whole, Illinois legislators score poorly on humane legislation. It is a rather low priority for them. The Humane Society Legislative Fund publishes a Humane Scorecard illustrating legislator track records for the numerous amendments and bills the organization supports to protect animals. EXAMPLES:
  • Rep. Donald Manzullo (IL-16) voted NO on the Agriculture Appropriations Amendment to stop horse slaughter. In the other bills and the enforcement letter noted here, he did not show any support for animal protection on any of the issues. His score: 0.
  • Sen. Barack Obama voted for the Agriculture Appropriations Amendment to stop horse slaughter for food exports. However, he did not support any of the other legislation. His score: 20.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin supported ALL the applicable legislation and earned a rating as a leader in promoting animal welfare legislation. His score: 100+.
In Illinois, Biggert (R-13th), Luiz Gutierrez (R-4th), Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), and Sen. Richard Durbin are the only legislators with a perfect score of 100. John Shimkus (R-19th), Social Darwinist Extraordinaire, has a score of 34. For H.R. 503, there are 190 Cosponsors (125 Democrats and 65 Republicans). Very few of them are from Illinois:
  • Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-07] - 6/22/2006
  • Rep Evans, Lane [IL-17] - 4/28/2005
  • Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-04] - 7/26/2005
  • Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-01] - 3/2/2005
  • Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-09] - 2/17/2005
  • Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 7/24/2006
Everyone deserves better from their elected officials. Reminder: Congressional careers are FINITE. VOTERS have the power to REMOVE incumbents.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cahokia Hosts an Annual Pow Wow

Some spectators enjoy watching Native Americans perform authentic dances. For others, watching those performaces are even better in competition so they attend Pow Wows.

There are many Pow Wows from which to choose, and they are non-profit, too. They usually depend upon donations, raffles, blanket dances, etc., for support. Donations are a way to honor someone. Any participant can drop money onto the blanket to aid in the powwow expenses. Support the Committee and buy raffle tickets.

In Southwestern Illinois, there is a powwow in Cahokia the weekend of September 8 through 10. Men and women in full regalia perform authentic dances in competition. Dances typically include any of the following:

  • Gourd Dancing
  • Men's Fancy
  • Men's Grass
  • Men's Straight
  • Men's Traditional
  • Women's Buckskin
  • Women's Cloth
  • Women's Fancy Shawl
  • Women's Jingle
There are also many that spectators can join. The Committee only asks that people respect traditions and bring a chair.

Attending a Pow Pow (like any other activity on the planet) beats campus hubris -- period.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fanatical Campus Hubris

Once again, the foolish dancing caricature that the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), uses for a self-aggrandizing marketing gimmick has reared its ugly head -- again. Forcing the Native inhabitants from their lands was bad enough. Using a Plains Indian composite to advertise university sports and celebrates the genocide of Manifest Destiny is nothing short of fanatical hubris.

The original intent of the caricature was never to respect American Indians. It was to provide satirical entertainment for an unenlightened audience. Approximately 100 years after the Kickapoo ceded their lands and 80 years after Illinois lost it's last federally recognized tribe, a group of good ol boys pretending they are adults receiving a higher education could not or would not become members of the other official inter-fraternity junior social organizations (AKA exclusive clubs), so they created their own. Rather than allow an original thought to enter their minds or delve into a little autochthonous research, charter members created historically inaccurate accoutrements to include a caricature resembling a Plains Indian rather than the Central Original People (Algonquian) of the Upper Country (Great Lakes Region). They dressed their actor in traditional Plains Indian attire eventually acquiring authentic handmade Lakota (the historical enemies of the Kickapoo). The actors developed a dance that perfectly mimics a drunken, stumbling walk that includes hopping around like a manic mental patient on an acid trip.

Some people think respect equals bland. Others think it equals political. Both are schools of misguided thought. Respect simply equals common courtesy civilized people show one another.

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