Saturday, January 21, 2006

Similar -- Yet Different

A comparative analysis of John Shimkus (IL-19) and Judy Biggert (IL-13) gives the appearance that they are the same person just in different congressional districts. An anonymous visitor to the cyber world proves otherwise and corrects a past comment:

Actually, in 2004, Ms. Biggert 65% of the vote against a candidate who only spent $42,000. Can you imagine what would happen if a well-funded campaign challenged her?

I too shudder at the "conspiracy theorists", but I still want to be represented by someone other than Ms Biggert.

Let me count the reasons . . .
  1. She consistently votes and believes in "Faith Based Funding" without the usual amendment forbidding the recipient from delivering services or hiring using religion as a criterion. This means Federal funds can go to support specific religions. Hmmmm -- Some first amendment difficulties.
  2. She believes people should have more of a say where to invest their Social Security taxes (AKA she believes in privatizing Social Security).
  3. She co- wrote the impossible-to-be-compliant No Child Left Behind Act. Even her beloved Hinsdale schools failed -- school systems who believe in educating all students will ultimately fail.
  4. Leading to vouchers and charter schools which Ms. Biggert does believe in.
  5. She was one of the authors of the bill that would have taken away overtime for emergency workers like policeman, fireman, nurses, etc. I do not expect unions love her.
  6. She was very proud of obtaining a $2 million Port Security Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for the CITGO Lemont Refinery received in June 2004. I recall 400 plus companies from around the country received the 2 million. That money should have gone to the New York Port authority. I am more concerned about what is coming into our major cities via shipping containers.
  7. Check the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) site for her record on environmental issues.
  8. She truly believes in the importance of us being in Iraq.
  9. She also believes tax breaks to those in the upper 1% will spur on the economy and the estate tax is too high.
  10. Do we mention September being made Life Insurance Awareness month? Do we mention her hubby’s investments in the industry and that Ms. Biggert sits on the Finance committee? (see Mother Jones September 2005)
  11. She votes the way she honestly believes . . .
I believe the exact opposite -- there is no conspiracy here, just common sense about what is the correct tack for the bulk of the people. Ms. Biggert is not representing ME. Please support Bill Reedy.
At the very beginning, the anonymous person provides Gloria Andersen’s financial information and vote totals from her 2004 campaign against Rep. Biggert and an excellent question regarding a well-funded campaign (e.g., DCCC support similar to the Tammy Duckworth (IL-06) campaign). Therefore, gerrymandering does not hurt in keeping the congresswoman in office. It is the price of doing political business.

There are close similarities between the two members of congress, yet they are two different people. The final statement proves that difference. The congresswoman’s true belief in her Calvinist legislation is so destructive to the quality of life for her constituents and all U.S. residents.

John Shimkus has a different motive: John Shimkus.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Back in the News

Deb Detmers, the notorious District Director for Rep. John Shimkus, has been giving her testimony in former Gov. George Ryan’s trial. The CBS Chicago affiliate provided the January 18, 2006, article below:

[. . .]
Two big annual fundraising events known as "salutes" to Ryan -- one downstate and one in the Chicago area -- brought in a combined $500,000. She testified that one of her duties was to allot political fundraising tickets to such events to the various departments under Ryan when he was secretary of state.

State employees were then asked to accept an allotment of tickets and sell them as a way of gathering money to fuel Ryan's political campaigns. She said the total raised that way topped any other source of funds used to fuel Ryan's campaigns.
[. . .]
Detmers did testify that at least one state employee she knew refused to sell tickets and wasn't fired for it. She admitted that when she first went on the payroll at the secretary of state's office she spent at least half her time doing political work for Ryan's campaign fund.

After four months of that, she got a full-time campaign job, she testified. Under cross examination by Ryan defense attorney Dan K. Webb, however, Detmers testified that she enjoyed politics and spent much more than 40 hours a week doing her job.

"Do you think the State of Illinois got a fair shake from you," Webb asked.

"I think it got a fair shake," she said.
[. . .]
No wonder there was immunity for testifying.

The following text is from the January 19,2006, Chicago Tribune:
[. . .]
Detmers said Chicago-area employees who raised the most funds for Ryan were feted at lunches attended by Ryan.

She also testified she was aware of aggressive fundraising tactics used on employees at licensing facilities.

"What did you do about that?" asked Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins.

"I didn't do anything," she replied.

On cross-examination, Detmers acknowledged she initially adopted fundraising goals from former Secretary of State Jim Edgar's administration.
John Shimkus hired Deb came from the Index Department in Ryan's office in addition to Craig Roberts, Rodney Davis, and Mary Ellen Madonia. Steve Tomaszewski worked for Ryan when he was the Secretary of State concentrating on operations in Central and So. IL.

Obviously, Deb does her job well without feeling the need to twist arms. She also feels justified in her actions since she reasons that the State received a “fair shake”. In addition to all of this, Deb genuinely loves politics.

Now she is a federal employee on the John Shimkus payroll and has been since voters mistakenly put him in office. His constituents should wonder how much fundraising she –- and the other former Ryan employees -- are doing on AND off the job. The Office of Personnel Management is very specific about the prohibitions.

The congressman requires his staff (except for the higher-echelon “Ryan 4) to pay for his expenses and chauffer him around the 19th CD & the DC area without receiving the allowed reimbursement. It is not an easy thing to do when a staffer receives the lowest wage possible. At least when they are at the top echelon of his staff, they sometimes benefit. Deb's definitely at the top.

John Shimkus – “He is a nice guy”. He should be. He was supposed to become a Lutheran Minister. Instead, he chose to become a "nice guy" politician with very sharp horns that are quite obvious to anyone willing to truly see him – and admit what they see.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Candidate Forum in Madison County

A group of Madison County Democrats and Independents will host a candidate forum for congressional & appellate court Democratic candidates. Those candidates invited to attend, date, time, and location are listed below:

19th CD Representative:
Dan Stover
Vic Roberts

IL 5th Appellate Court:
Bill Berry
Bruce Stewart

Date: Monday, February 27, 2006

Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

The venue:
Holiday Inn
1000 Eastport Plaza Drive, Collinsville, IL 62234
(618) 345-2800
The group will have a press release available for all 37 counties of the 5th Appellate & 30 counties of the 19th CD. Additional details will follow.

If there are any questions, feel free to send an email message.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cut the Cards

Changes to credit card bills were inevitable. Illinois residents have their GOP Congressional Delegation to thank. Discover Card’s policy changes, effective April 1, 2006, are an excellent example of how hard they worked for their business constituents. Obviously, the right incentives played a key roll:

MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENT – The greater of: (i) $15 or the New Balance if the New Balance is less than $15; or (ii) any amount past due plus the greater of (a) 2% of the New Balance (excluding current Period Finance Charges, Late and Overlimit Fees) or (b) current Period Finance Charges plus Late and Overlimit Fees plus $15 (not to exceed 3% of the New Balance), with (a) and (b) rounded up to the nearest dollar. However, the Minimum Payment Due will never exceed the New Balance.

DEFAULT RATE PLAN – The rate increases by five percentage points (5%), not to exceed 28.99%, and remain as either a fixed or variable rate based on the type of rate in effect before the increase. If any other rate applicable to your Account is less than or equal to the new purchase Annual Percentage Rate, it will increase and change to be the same rate and type as the new purchase Annual Percentage Rate; if any other rate exceeds the new purchase Annual Percentage Rate, it will not increase or change type.

RETURNED PAYMENT FEE – Currently, the Returned Payment Fee is $29. The new the Returned Payment Fee is $35.

LATE FEE – If the sum is equal to or less than $500, the Late Fee is $15, and if the sum is greater than $500, the Late Fee is $39.

OVERLIMIT FEE – The amount of the Overlimit Fee is based on the sum of all outstanding purchases, cash advances, balance transfers, other charges, other fees and Finance Charges at the end of the billing period. If this sum is equal to or less than $500 and you exceed your credit limit, the Overlimit Fee is $15. If this sum is greater than $500 and you exceed your credit limit, the Overlimit Fee is $39.

PERIODIC FINANCE CHARGES – If the Prime Rate increases, the Minimum Payment Due could increase. Cardholders could also have multiple promotional and non-promotional rates that apply to their Account.

PERSONAL INFORMATION COLLECTION – Account balances, payment history, Account usage, the types of services from transactions and other dealings with the company and others, the balances of loans with other lenders and payment history with others from consumer reporting agencies, the Internet service provider, e-mail address, the computer's operating system and Web browser, Web site use, and product and service preferences from the Web site visits.

PERSONAL INFORMATION SHARING – Cardholders (unless they specifically change their preferences for each account) will receive for products and services are provided directly to them from Discover. If someone takes advantages of the products or services, the retailer may obtain personal information because only Cardholders with certain characteristics received the offer. Without prior approval, the company reserves the right to share personal information with other members of the corporate and non-members of the corporate family (e.g., mortgage lending services, securities and asset management services, investment opportunities and mutual funds, and may include non-financial service providers and retailers). Discover also reserves the right to share personal information with companies that perform support or marketing services on their behalf (e.g., mailing, market research and data processing; other financial institutions with which they have joint marketing agreements; or companies that are partners for co-brand credit card programs or reward programs). Federal law already permits credit card companies to share member information with consumer reporting agencies, service providers and financial institutions with which they have joint marketing agreements. It also permits them to share information about their experiences and transactions with you, such as your Account balance and payment history with us, with other members of the corporate family.
The good news is that cardholders have the right to reject these policy changes. All they have to do is notify the company in separate written correspondence with their name, address, telephone number and Account number(s). Once the company receives the notice, they will immediately close the Account.

Financial corporations (in addition to the Oil and Gas Industry, Health Care, Organized Labor (although Rep. Shimkus consistently votes against all pro-labor legislation), Communication, Technology, Finance, Insurance, Business - Retail Services)are the true constituents of John Shimkus, and they thank God every day. Their money was well spent. The residents of IL-19 thank God every month they can afford their high fuel bills and every day they do not suffer a financial emergency. Legalized loan-sharking will not be a pleasant experience for them. Even on the very best of days, their quality of life continues to suffer the consequences of John Shimkus in office – whether they voted for him or not. Voters have the power to remove him from office. It just takes a plurality.

As for the latest policy changes – got scissors?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Introducing Two Candidates

During the monthly meeting of the Madison County East End Precinct Committee, two Democratic candidates had the opportunity to introduce themselves. Dan Stover is a member of the Centralia City Council running for the House of Representatives in IL-19. William “Bill” Berry from Collinsville is running for the seat that Gordon Maag vacated on the 5th Appellate Court.

Daniel Stover

Mr. Stover’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in higher education with a concentration in political science. For the past 28 years, he has also been a professor at Kaskaskia Community College. He is a program coordinator, political science instructor, administration of justice instructor, and chairman of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He taught in Olney before that. He is also a former police firearms instructor and a criminal justice consultant. Mr. Stover has been a public servant of many years. He is a husband and a father of two sons.

Mr. Stover will address several issues during the campaign:

  1. Keeping promises are important to him. He would not have told people that he would limit his term in office and then justify hypocrisy telling people that no one has to keep “bad promises”.
  2. The federal response to the destruction in the Gulf was completely disastrous in itself.
  3. The gasoline prices need to come down.
  4. The war in Iraq should have a clearer, honorable exit strategy.
  5. He supports the troops and has concern about the quality of intelligence that put the country in this situation. He differs with President Bush. The level of corruption is equal to the Nixon Administration.
  6. He knows that the GOP scandals inside the Beltway will have an adverse effect on the GOP’s IL congressional delegation.

As a person completely familiar with politics, Mr. Stover feels that every congressional seat should have a challenger. Free rides are not an option. His primary concern is the hemorrhage of jobs in IL-19. It will never see an economic boost from outsourcing and suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the state.

Mr. Stover's opponent in the March Primary is Vic Roberts from Taylorville.

William “Bill” Berry

Bill Berry has been an attorney for more than 30 years practicing in St. Clair County and the St. Louis area. He received his B.A. from Millikin University and his J.D. from Washington University. He is a member of Dunham, Boman, & Leskera practicing. In the diverse firm, he specializes in family law. He also lectures often on legal issues affecting families of patients with Alzheimer's in Illinois.

Mr. Berry said electing an appellate judge is an important aspect of the voting process since it directly affects average citizens derive from an appellate court. Everyone has a right to appeal to the appellate court. The Supreme Court does not choose to listen to all cases.

Candidates’ associations are typically varied and have an agenda within legal constraints. They advocate several points of view. Mr. Berry promises to bring three important characteristics to the bench:

  1. Experience
  2. Integrity
  3. Independence

Some of the legal professions organizations have already recognized Mr. Berry abilities:

  • The Leading Lawyer Network elected him among the top 5 percent of attorneys in Illinois.
  • The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings awarded him the highest rating - an AV. That means that his Legal Ability Rating is Very High to Preeminent. His General Ethical Standards Rating (i.e., his adherence to the professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence, and other relevant criteria related to his professional responsibilities) is Very High.

Bill Berry has already visited some of the 37 counties of the 5th District. The residents have given him the opportunity to speak and have received him well. His opponent in the March Primary is Bruce Stewart from Harrisburg.

One of Democratic candidates will run against Stephen McGlynn (R) of Belleville in the November 2006 General Election.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bill Reedy for the 13th CD

Bill Reedy (D-Downer's Grove) formally announced his candidacy to represent IL-13. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) currently holds the seat. He has posted a diary to Daily Kos.

IL residents have been complaining about Rep. Biggert's ethics for some time. Her insurance industry constituents are happy with her. For $83,623, they have paid well for her services.

She has been on The Hill since the infamous year of 1994. The voters can limit her to 12 years.
It is time. She has done enough damage to the quality of life for regular working people. Beyond gerrymandering, there is no way she can succeed in maintaining her seat.

CORRECTION: The voters elected Rep. Biggert to Congress in 1998. It is still long enough. Time to leave.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

On the Air

From the YAHOO! JohnShimkusWatch Discussion Group:

During the current congressional recess, Rep. John Shimkus has been active on the airwaves. KWMU "St. Louis on the Air" hosted an hour long interview with him on January 04, 2006, at 11 a.m. It is available as an MP3 or through Windows Media Player.
It is a very interesting one hour. To those who have done their homework, there are a few obvious inconsistencies with reality -- right from the very beginning of the interview. The good news is that this is a radio interview. Listeners do not have to watch the congressman's class ring do all the talking for him.

Rep. Shimkus also has television covered -- if people are watching from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Unfavorable Opinion is an unemployed college co-ed and caught his public service announcement (albeit, no mention if his talking class ring).

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