A New Can Of Worms
13 February 2004
It's No Longer the President's Deficit

With 76 Senate votes for the budget busting highway bill, blaming tax cuts and the President for runaway spending just got a bit more difficult.
11 February 2004
Reality Hits Home

Legislators weigh exemption to local gun bans in Springfield:

"The proposal amounts to an election-year headache for many lawmakers wary of taking sides in the volatile gun-control debate. Its fate now rests with Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), an ardent supporter of handgun restrictions on the books in Chicago and several suburbs.

'Even though I'm for gun control, I regret to think what might have happened had he not had the gun,' the Chicago Democrat said, adding that he had not taken a position on the bill."

Something like 42 states have less restrictions on guns than Illinois, right now, and legislators are feeling the pinch in Springfield. Downstaters especially don't want to the Republcians to have this issue.

Maybe they have figured out that guns win elections for Republicans. And now only the ILGOP Chairman and George Ryan think otherwise.
I'm Shocked, Shocked

The Pension price tag is up $300 million according to today's SJ-R:

"The price tag for Illinois' state-funded pension plans is more than $300 million higher than the governor's office has estimated, a report from Auditor General William Holland's office showed Tuesday."

What really troubles me is this:

"We are absolutely condemning future governors to tax increases," said Sen. Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange."

Why wouldn't be be absolutely condemning future governors to reducing spending or streamlining state government? This demonstrates a mindset in Springfield which holds that no one at the feeding trough feels the pain of government inefficiency other than the taxpayer.

10 February 2004
John Lewis Gaddis on W

One of this country's most noted historians, John Lewis Gaddis, tells the Bostom Globe that our current President has joined the ranks of FDR and John Quincy Adams as a "Grand Strategist." He also notes that so far it is working, albeit not perfectly:

"Despite the dark predictions of critics, Gaddis writes, so far the military action in Iraq has produced 'a modest improvement in American and global economic conditions; an intensified dialogue within the Arab world about political reform; a withdrawal of American forces from Saudi Arabia . . .; and an increasing nervousness on the part of the Syrian and Iranian governments as they contemplated the consequences of being surrounded by American clients or surrogates.' Indeed, Gaddis writes, the United States has emerged 'as a more powerful and purposeful actor within the international system than it had been on Sept. 11, 2001.'

That's not to say that the Bush administration has behaved flawlessly. Gaddis says, 'They don't give enough weight to how frightening it can be if you have that much power and then you deploy it, and you deploy language foolishly.' Nonetheless, he stresses, 'I do take them very seriously. I do think Bush is in charge himself, and has been very underrated as a leader in all of this just as Ronald Reagan was underrated.'"

The piece does a good job of placing the President's foreign policy into some kind of historical perspective. It also notes the shift away from Western Europe toward the East -- both in Europe and Asia that began rightly began in the Clinton Administration.

The most important lesson from the article, I think, is that it is probably unwise to underestimate the President. He sees the big picture.
Bill Count In the GA

According to the State Journal Register:

"Lawmakers have filed more than 3,700 pieces of legislation this spring. Sprinkled among them are a few that deal with the obscure and offbeat."
09 February 2004
Durbin Under Investigation for Leaking?

According to Jill Stanek at the Illinois Leader he is.

It wouldn't surprise me if he was. He's been pretty cavalier this last year or so...

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