Friday, April 27, 2007

John Shimkus is No Animal Lover

On April 26, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (277-137) for H. R. 249. to restore a 34-year-old prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of America's wild free-roaming horses and burros. This is good legislation on several levels.

Contrary to a common belief, horses slaughtered for their meat are not typically old and frail. There is no evidence to show that there has been an increase in the number of abandoned and unwanted horses in the United States, nor that a slaughter ban will lead to an increase in horse abuse and starvation or neglect cases — common arguments advanced by slaughter industry supporters.

A permanent slaughter ban would not only protect domestic horses from ending up on foreign dinner plates. It would protect a dwindling population of 30,000 horses left in the country, down from more than 2 million in the 1800s and 60,000 in 1971.

Survival of wild horses in the United States is already threatened by the loss of 13 million acres of the land originally granted to manage the species through reductions made by the Bureau of Land Management.
On the same day of the vote, a mare that survived the September 27, 2006, crash on Interstate 44 in Missouri gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Although federal law prohibits the slaughter of pregnant horses for meat, Mama was one of three pregnant mares in a livestock truck filled with horses en route to the Cavel slaughter house in DeKalb, Illinois (Representative Denny Hastert in IL-14), when the driver lost control and crashed into the median (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 04/26/2007).

The evidence is overwhelming. Every reason imaginable exists to vote for this legislation and only one to vote against it — money. Yet, four Illinois Republicans did just that. Dennis Hastert (IL-14), Ray LaHood (IL-18), Donald Manzullo (IL-16), and John Shimkus (IL-19) voted against the sale and slaughter of highly intelligent animals that adapt to human environments, work out solutions to problems, and possess human qualities (i.e., mischief, playfulness, loyalty, jealousy, stress). A NAY vote on this bill is nothing less than pure evil. Yet, the nice guy representing the residents of Central and So. Illinois voted NAY on this wonderful piece of legislation. Unfortunately, it was a foregone conclusion. Like always, John Shimkus never votes for legislation that protects animals — unless he is the animal he wants to protect.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Observing Election Night in Carbondale

Simon for Mayor Campaign signs greeted travelers as they entered Carbondale. The Cole – Our Mayor Campaign signs were in close proximity. For anyone knowing the differences between the two, the signs for Brad Cole were more foreboding than anything else. Radio and television coverage loomed large at the Simon gathering at Mugsy’s on Main Street. The room filled with people completely erupted in a 5-minute standing ovation when she walked in. One would think that Sheila Simon was an important person. She is not, and she would be the first one to say it. It was the palpable excitement of her supporters, the ones that truly know her and the differences between her and the incumbent mayor.

Brad Cole is a full-time mayor wannabe circumventing the current form of government and continue to draw a part-time salary. He can afford it. The trust fund baby has his family income to pay the bills. Generous to a fault, the former assistant governor even sent his mentor, George Ryan, a check for Christmas (guess he thought that his old mentor would need the extra prison ducats after the steel doors slam shut). Although he really could have self-funded his campaign, the Republican cash overflowed heavily in his direction. As assistant governor, he learned how important Party loyalty could be, and it certainly came handy with this election. Had he lost, very little would have changed in his life. He would still be an unemployed trust fund baby with the family bank account supporting him, enjoying his favorite hobbies, and desperately seeking a purpose in life.

With all the money that flooded Cole’s campaign, his slogan of our mayor belies the reality. Between the Republican-funded and supplied professional campaign staff and federal level donors like Keep Our Majority/Mission PAC (KOMPAC), he is an expensive puppet. Rental property owners put him in office the first time around and assisted quite generously in this election. During his time as a pretend full-time mayor, cole has made circumventing the city council an art form. The Target debacle is one example of his distain for the democratic process on the municipal level. The election confirmed what his campaign signs should have displayed: Cole -- Expensive Puppet.

The differences between the two candidates is striking. Sheila greets everyone individually with a warm smile and a ready hug. People like her because she is a truly honest person. They genuinely trust her. Throughout the campaign, she refused to take individual credit for her accomplishments during the past three years on the city council. It would be inappropriate since it is a city council is a team effort. To her, politics is not a hobby. She has a lifetime of political experience, ran the race she wanted to, and received over 43 percent of the vote. When she gave a room full of supporters the information, the reaction was the opposite of what anyone would expect. The deafening cheering and applause was overwhelming and amazing at the same time. Her audience responded very loudly with two words: next time!

While Brad Cole greases the Republican political wheels and pretends to understand the laws of government, Sheila is an attorney with trial experience and teaches law at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She began Election Day planting a tree in the morning. She has scheduled a Clean Up Carbondale event for April 21, and she will be biking and kayaking as often as possible. The election results change nothing for her. She remains the genuine article.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sheila is Still a Winner

Although Sheila Simon lost by over 300 votes, no one would ever know it. The response of her supporters is overwhelming and incredibly upbeat. In their eyes, she remains a winner. In their hearts, Sheila remains as close as ever. Her honesty and sincerity justifies their feelings because she is the genuine article.

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