Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another Nomination Loss For Terry Link and Lake County Dems (UPDATED- Dems to Appeal)

The Lake County GOP is now five for five in its objections to the candidates slated by the Lake County Democrats for open positions on the county board and state representative races. We reported earlier regarding Chessmaster Terry Link's defeat on the four nominations for county board races, and just today, the panel ruled that Terry Hall, who was slated to run against State Rep. Sandy Cole, has been kicked off the ballot.

The gist of the Hall objection was that Hall filed on the last possible day, April 5th, with an address that was not her registered voting address--in fact, it was a "Mailboxes, Etc." type of PO Box address. The Lake County Dems then realized their mistake and tried to withdraw the nomination and refile with her correct registered voting address, but did not do so until April 9th, way after the filing deadline. The panel ruled that the improper address was not merely a scrivener's error, and the petition was therefore invalid. Ironically, by essentially admitting that they erred and tried to fix the mistake by withdrawing and refiling, it may have made their case even worse than it was. Tough luck, Terry.

As regular TA readers know, the GOP objection to Mark Beaubein's opponent, and the Dem objections to state senate candidate Keith Gray and state rep candidate Dan Sugrue are still pending.

UPDATED Thursday 6:30 a.m.: According to the Waukegan News-Sun, Dem operative "Sneaky" Pete Couvall said the Dems would "absolutely" appeal the Hall ruling. Well, no shocker that he'd say that to the press the same day they got their butts handed to them by the local electoral board. What's he supposed to say? "Yes, well, we got our asses kicked, so we're going to quit"? Not Couvall.

Well, we'll see if they actually appeal. You see, usually the notion behind an appeal is that you have a basis to win. Probably not the case here, from what I can tell (see discussion above).

The press also made the connection that Terry Hall is the sister of Lake County Chief Judge David Hall, who was arrested this week on DUI charges in Vernon Hills, and has pled not guilty. TA hears that Terry Hall did not show up to her own election hearing yesterday, and we suspect Terry has been keeping a low profile due to the David Hall story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Terry Link and Lake County Dems on Defense, For a Change

Lake County Democratic Party chairman Terry Link filed a pretty desperate objection to the nominating papers of his GOP opponent, Keith Gray of Mettawa, but more on that later. I'm proud to say that the Lake County GOP has taken some back some initiative from their rivals, the Lake County Democratic party. Based on comments to our last post, this hasn't gone unnoticed among even the rank and file Dems, who seem to fall into three camps: Those who support Terry Link, and his hatchetman, Pete Couvall; those who support the "do-gooders", among them Lauren Beth Gash, Nancy Shepardson and that bunch; and those that aren't clued in enough to the local scene to know any better and think anyone with a "D" next to their name must be better than the "R" alternative (think Green, anyone?).

In any event, the lawyer for the Dems is rattling his saber and has stated that he plans to file an appeal of the recent ruling that the four Dem slated candidates for county board will not be on the fall ballot. See the Daily Herald update here. Based on what I know of the cases, at least three of the four are very likely to stand up on appeal.

GOP objections to two state rep contenders, and the Dems objections to GOP candidates Keith Gray and Dan Sugrue (running against State Rep. Kathy Ryg), will be resolved in the next few weeks.

I like our chances, though. Especially in the Alexander v. Gray (Cynthia Alexander is a Link disciple and is the complainant in the objection) complaint, the jist of the complaint appears to be that the GOP had a meeting to nominate Gray in Waukegan, and then later that same day, had a meeting in Green Oaks to nominate Dan Sugrue. Therefore, the two meetings could not have happened and someone must be lying.

Seriously, that's it.

I guess only Democrats are so inefficient that they cannot contemplate actually getting a nominating meeting done in one place, and then driving a few miles to do another meeting. You can see the original Alexander v. Gray complaint, and then Gray's Motion to Dismiss with Affidavit.

It seems pretty clear that Link is desperate to avoid having an opponent this fall. First, he really doesn't like to have to work at campaigning; his interest is really playing power politics and being Emil Jones' hatchetman. Based on his troubles in doing the nuts and bolts of campaigning like getting petitions signed by actual living voters, you can imagine why he'd much rather simply waltz into another term. Plus, he'd much rather be out in other states stumping for Barack Obama this fall (if the opportunity arises) than waste his time here among the unwashed voters of the 30th District.

MARK KIRK IN THE NEWS: A nice spread this morning on Mark Kirk's involvement in the remediation of the former OMC plant in Waukegan in the News-Sun. Dan Seals, you taking notes?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Terry Link: Has the Evil Chessmaster Lost His Touch? Lake County GOP Wins All Four County Board Challenges! (UPDATED)

Today's big local story is that the Lake County Republicans have succeeded in challenging the nomination petitions of the four slated candidates that Terry Link and the Lake County Dems put up against a number of incumbent Republican County Board members, including County Board Chairman Suzi Schmidt.

The races affected are: 3rd District (Mark Nielsen challenging incumbent County Board President Suzi Schmidt); 5th District (Steve Pearson challenging Bonnie Thompson Carter); 10th District Sari Hurtig challenging Diana O'Kelly); and 20th District (Davita Siegel challenging David Stolman). More background here. Dem operative "Sneaky" Pete Couvall attended the hearings and looked pretty P.O.'d. Sorry, Charlie.

The challenge to State Representative Sandy Cole's opponent, Terry Hall, is in the process of motion practice, so that decisions will probably be delayed for some time. The GOP objection to State Representative Mark Beaubien's opponent will likely not be decided for some time because that is being heard by the State Board of Elections, as his district straddles two counties, Lake and McHenry. On the Dem side, the Dem's objections to challengers Keith Gray (running against Terry Link) and Dan Sugrue also are being heard by the SBE (those districts include Lake and parts of Cook Counties).

The GOP victory against all four of the county board Dem hopefuls gives the local GOP a much-needed shot in the arm, after months of dealing with Obama-mania. That, plus the hope that they will be successful in the as-yet undecided challenges, and the Dems' various troubles (Link's petition scandal, Blago's impending indictment, anyone?), gives the Lake GOP hope to carry on the battle, for now.

The Dems, of course, will claim that their defeats today are simply a political hatchet job. But TA hears that the decision of the panel was well-articulated, and if the Dems really feel they got railroaded, they can always put their money where their large mouths are, and appeal to the circuit court. They are also in a poor position to claim that the Republicans are unfairly beating up on their slated candidates, considering the Dems filed challenges of their own (including a challenge to the poor Green guy in the 10th CD).

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Pioneer Press filed this story on the GOP victory. Interestingly, it quotes Sneaky Pete and identifies him as the Dem's First Vice-Chairman. Is this a mistake or did the Dems reappoint him after reportedly booting him only a few weeks ago? TA wonders, if Pioneer Press got it wrong and Couvall is out, what's he doing covering the hearings for the Dems and talking to the press? I had surely believed that they had jettisoned Couvall so that they did not risk the chance that their sitting vice-chairman would be the subject of some anticipated election fraud indictments...

BACK TO THE BIG PICTURE: Israel's UN Ambassador calls former President Jimmy Carter a bigot. Yes, the Dems really know how to increase our standing in the world, don't they?

Also, check out this great post from Little Green Footballs on Reverend Wright's idiotic attempt to defend himself for his words that he claims have been twisted for political purposes. He then goes on to basically say that he thinks the only reason Barack Obama disavowed his comments is simply because politics demanded that he do so... not because he really means it. Read the whole thing, then tell me if you think Obama is going to get elected.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Check out this video snippet of Wright's interview by Bill Moyers. It illustrates pretty well the hypocrisy that is evident in both Obama and Wright, given that Wright basically comes out and says he's not insulted that Obama cut him loose (sort of) because Obama was just saying that because he had to as a politician. Swell. Just the kind of "say whatever you need to win" guy I want for my president. h/t: Backyard Conservative

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Can't Barack Obama Close the Deal? and Other Questions

I stayed up a bit last night to watch the Pennsylvania primary returns come in until I was fairly certain Hillary would get her 10% win, which she apparently did (with, perhaps, a little help from rounding), but was also curious to get the first batch of spin on Hill's big victory from both Dems, and even some Republicans (I even listed to Pat Buchanan talking on some show for a few minutes). Some of the issues being discussed were:

---> Why can't Obama seem to put this thing to bed? He outspent Hillary 3:1 in Pennsylvania, and yes, he closed 'the gap' from where it was weeks ago, but you could see the pendulum starting to swing back to Hill, which is where it ended up. Have the Wright and "bitter-gate" issues damaged him irreparably?

---> If you count the 300,000 or so net votes that Hillary got in Florida, added to 200,000 or so in Penn, she starts to get within striking distance of perhaps 'winning' the total popular vote, which would be a serious blow to Obama's claim of entitlement to the superdelegates based on the fact he's won more states and has more regular delegates.

---> Say what you want about Hillary's margin, it may have not be a blowout for her, but it re-legitimizes a campaign that for a while, looked like it was coming (or about to come) under serious presssure to disband.

---> Hillary seems to have some success with pretty negative campaigning, even invoking Osama Bin Laden in one ad. She's likely to continue with what works. So, does Obama get down in the gutter with her, and risk (further) "tarnishing the brand", or does he try to keep above it all and take the jabs?

So, what does all of this mean? It means that the Dems will likely have right up until their convention to continue beating the snot out of each other, which is good for everyone. It's time for McCain to raise money for his coffers and stand on the sidelines to chime in here and there, when appropriate. The Dems are doing the work for him now, and it seems like few people now think the eventual Democratic nominee will emerge stronger than he or she might have without a bruising primary.

What does this mean for us here in Illinois and the 10th District/Lake County? First, I understand McCain has promised that he will come to Illinois, and Congressman Mark Kirk's close relationship with McCain would seem to almost guarantee that, no matter how "blue" Illinois might seem. Some GOPers are petrified that Obama will lift all the local Dem races if he is at the top of the ticket, but I'm not certain. Right now, the Hillary backers are so mad at Barack, they SAY they won't vote for him. I bet they forget their anger by November and go Dem but we'll see. I also suspect that if Obama is the nominee, the Dems will empty the State and send workers everywhere they can, except Illinois, which they will believe they have sewn up. People like Terry Link will be mad if they have to stay home and defend their seats in the face of petition scandals and other issues, since they'd much rather have a safe race at home and be out working for Obama, building up favors ("I knocked on five doors in Iowa for Obama! Can you believe it? Maybe I'll get a cabinet post?")

In addition, the other new political shocker last night was that Governor Blagojevich seems yet another step closer to being known nationally as "Public Official A". The Tribune reported that Ali Ata, a former high-ranking Blagojevich administration official, admitted he bought his $127,000-a-year state job by bribing Tony Rezko and making campaign contributions to Blagojevich. Depending on how Rezko-gate continues to shape up, this may all cause some tough questions for Obama on the campaign trail, as the cesspool of Illinois political corruption and his non-existent record of bucking it will surely be an issue in the fall.

LOCALLY-- No update available yet on the Terry Link petition scandal, but the Lake County State's Attorney's office is still investigating. TA predicts that several indictments will be made, but how high they will go is anyone's guess. Assuming Link's GOP opponent, Keith Gray, survives his nomination challenge, that will be a huge issue in the fall election. The local GOP's task is to dirty up Link enough that Obama, should he win the nomination, won't touch Link (his old poker pal) as to endorsements or campaign support.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jimmy Carter Comes Up With the Goose Egg in Hamas Negotiations

Well, big shocker, folks... after his much-ballyhooed trip to meet with Hamas, former President Jimmy Carter was unable to get Hamas to recognize Israel, exchange Israeli prisoners, or even to agree to a simple one-month cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Read the Chicago Tribune coverage here.

State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey was quoted as stating that "What is clear to us is that there certainly is no change in Hamas' position. It does not recognize Israel's right to exist, it has not eschewed or walked away from terrorism and violence, nor has it said it will honor any of the previous agreements that have been made with the Israeli government."

Carter, of course, continues to 'blame America' and believes the problem is us, not them: "We believe the problem is not that I met with Hamas and Syria. The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with these people, who must be involved."

Hmm... so whatever happened to the notion that he was going over there as a simple representative of his foundation, and not an international diplomat? Sure sounds like he went over to try to manipulate U.S. and Israeli foreign affairs to me.

Well, now that Carter is wrapping up his little Middle East escapade, maybe he can get back home and start stumping for Barack Obama and do some damage where it would do the most good (that is, to the Obama campaign).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lake County GOP Spring Gala Features Congressmen Mark Kirk and Eric Cantor; Team America Gets a Plug!

This past Friday, the Lake County Republican Federation hosted its 46th annual Spring Gala, featuring Congressman and deputy minority whip Eric Cantor of Virgina, as well as our own Congressman Mark Kirk of the 10th District. This dinner is the largest annual gathering of Republicans in Lake County, and about 550 people were in attendance.

Congressman Cantor delivered a rousing speech, and declared that the GOP strategy was to provide a firewall against "Obama-mania." read more about the event in the Waukegan News-Sun here. Elected Officials and GOP candidates were introduced, as usual, including 8th CD candidate Steve Greenberg. But, the biggest applause of the night (including two standing ovations) was deservedly given up for Mark Kirk.

Speaking of Mark Kirk, Team America regulars know about all of the work Mark Kirk has been up to lately, but here's another one: taking the lead on ridding our streets of illegal guns.

All in all, it was a great evening, filled with camaraderie, energy and enthusiasm. Federation President Sandy Stuart even managed to work in a plug for the Team America blog in his welcoming address! Lake County Dems, eat your heart out. No matter how much they'd like to believe Lake County is turning blue, they still can't put on a show like this one, nor one that draws nearly as many people or raises as much money.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mark Kirk Sponsors Resolution Condemning Hamas (UPDATED)

Our own Congressman Mark Kirk has teamed up with Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) to introduce House Resolution 1110, which condemns Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization responsible for the murders of 26 U.S. citizens. So far, I believe about 30 other members have signed up to support the resolution.

AIPAC is pushing for additional support for the resolution, and notes the following in an e-mail making the rounds: The resolution calls on Hamas to renounce terrorism, fully disarm and recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. It also reaffirms the House of Representative's strong support for Israel's right to defend her citizens against continuing Hamas terrorism. It also notes the following points:
  • In light of former President Carter's meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, Congress needs to remind the world Hamas is a terrorist organization calling for Israel's destruction and responsible for the death of American citizens.
  • Since 1989, Hamas has killed more than 500 people, including 26 Americans, and has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States and the EU.
  • Hamas should be isolated until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and accept past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
  • Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorists have fired more than 6,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers. Hamas also continues to smuggle weapons and build up its infrastructure for future conflict with Israel.
  • Israel has been remarkably restrained in the face of continuing Hamas rocket attacks. If these attacks continue, Israel may need to take more vigorous action to exercise its inherent right to defend her citizens from such wanton violence.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter continues to meet with members of Hamas. Perhaps the only bright spot in this is that when Carter calls on Hillary Clinton to take a dive in favor of Barack Obama, that might be good for a 3 point jump for Hillary.

Get ready for another Dan Seals "Me too!" press release in a few days, after he's had a chance to think about it and huddle with his advisors.

UPDATED: Jewish Telegraphic Agency Notes Kirk Resolution: The JTA noted the house resolution condemning Hamas that was sponsored by Mark Kirk. Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va), who is the deputy minority whip, stated "We ought to be screaming from the rafters about the lack of judgment in the former president going to a known terrorist. Khaled Mashaal is the worst of the worst."

Coincidentally, Congressman Cantor will be in town tonight as the keynote speaker at the Lake County Republican Federation Spring Gala, at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. The Spring Gala is the largest annual gathering of Republicans in Lake County, with attendance this year expected to top 600 people.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Will Dan Seals Kiss Hamas, or Stand Up For Israel? (UPDATED- Seals Follows Kirk's Lead on Hamas, But What Took So Long?)

Former President Jimmy Carter continues his ill-advised tour of the Middle East, laying a wreath at the grave of "peace fighter" Yasser Arafat, and literally kissing a top Hamas terrorist, Nasser Shaer.

As far as I can tell, 10th Congressional District candidate Dan Seals, who is having his second go-round with GOP Congressman Mark Kirk, has been silent on Carter's trip. Will he kiss Hamas, or stand up for Israel's security and right to exist?

Meanwhile, Mark Kirk has been at the forefront of criticizing Carter and leading a bi-partisan effort to convince Carter that his actions are not conducive to Israel's security and its attempts to promote peace in the Middle East.

UPDATED-- SEALS (BELATEDLY) FOLLOWS KIRK ON HAMAS: It looks like several days after Mark Kirk has been leading the charge against Jimmy Carter's intention to warmly embrace terrorist Hamas, Seals finally decided that he'd better get on the Kirk train, or be left far behind at the station. Seals released this statement yesterday. I'm not sure what took him so long to decide where he was on this issue, which seems pretty clear-cut to most people. As our alert commentors have already pointed out, however, Seals' few paragraphs in a press release pale in comparison to the pro-active stance and bi-partisan leadership already displayed by Mark Kirk on this important issue, which has gotten loads of national attention.

So, Dan, if you agree with Mark Kirk, and he is already in Congress doing it quicker, better and smarter than you can, why do we need you???

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lake County GOP to Object to Flawed Slating of Democratic Opponents (UPDATED with Dem Objections)

The devil is always in the details, especially when it comes to filling out paperwork to slate candidates for vacancies in the upcoming election for the established political parties. The Lake County Republicans have taken a very close look at the nominating papers filed by the Lake County Dems and will be objecting to four slated Dem county board candidates and two state representative candidates.

For most of the four county board seats, the flaws in the nominating documents range from appointments by the Dem central committee (instead of a specific committee appointed for each county board district) to lack of proper notice or holding the proper nominating meeting. The races affected are: 3rd District (Mark Nielsen challenging incumbent County Board President Suzi Schmidt); 5th District (Steve Pearson challenging Bonnie Thompson Carter); 10th District Sari Hurtig challenging Diana O'Kelly); and 20th District (Davita Siegel challenging David Stohlman).

The State Rep nomination petitions have even bigger problems-- Sandy Cole's would-be opponent, Terry Hall, originally filed with the wrong address (she used a PO Box at a Mailboxes Etc.) instead of her registered voting address, and then tried to withdraw the papers and refile them with her correct address. So, not only is this new filing not effective to cure the mistake, it would seem by taking this action she admitted the first filing was flawed. Oops.

Mark Beaubien's opponent, Rich Garling, apparently also tried to withdraw a flawed nomination paper, but forgot to withdraw the original flawed petition first--thus, there was no official vacancy when the (second) nominating meeting was supposedly held. Double oops.

You can view the objection petitions here: 3rd District, 5th District, 10th District, 20th District. The House Repubs are handling the objections to the state rep candidates, so that may take a little longer to get up here at the Blog.

In the meantime, TA's snoops over at the County Building reportedly saw Dem operative "Sneaky" Pete Couvall nosing around the building today, and it is quite possible he was laying the groundwork for their own objections against the GOP slate of candidates (Keith Gray-30th District; Bill Anderson-60th; and Dan Sugrue-59th). Who knows if they have identified any legitimate flaws or not, but we will see what's filed today, which is the deadline.

UPDATE- DEM OBJECTIONS "ALL IN THE FAMILY": Among others, Senator Terry Link's goon squad today filed an objection against Link's GOP opponent, Keith Gray of Mettawa. The objecting party is none other than Cynthia Alexander of North Chicago, a well-known Link disciple, who happens to be the daughter of Terry Link's legislative aid, Evelyn Alexander (Cynthia Alexander also filed the objection against Link's primary opponent Jerry Johnson). The Dems also filed an objection against GOP State Rep. candiate Dan Sugrue for the 59th District. The objector? Shelia Schultz of Wheeling, who is State Rep. Kathy Ryg's mom. Mom to the rescue in the 59th!

In addition, Northfield Township Democratic Committeeman Michael Kreloff filed an objection against Green Party candidate David Kalbfleisch, who is the third candidate in the 10th Congressional District race between incumbent GOP Congressman Mark Kirk and Democrat Dan Seals. No big surprise, Kreloff appears to be a pretty big Dem contributor to Seals as well as other candidates. Remember that last time around, Sneaky Pete Couvall was the one who filed the objection and got Kalbfleisch kicked off the primary ballot. Also remember that Couvall was, until the most recent Democratic County Convention, Vice-Chairman of the Lake County Dems.

Wonder if Link was concerned that Couvall is going to be too busy in the upcoming months defending himself in the Link petition-gate scandal to be of any help in following through on these nomination objections.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dan Seals Gets His Immigration Policy From Old Cartoons, and Other Updates

Quite a bit happening in the last few days, from Mark Kirk to Dan Seals to Barack vs. Hillary, and everyone here is eager to talk about it. So, let's get to it.

MARK KIRK AGAINST CARTER MEETING WITH HAMAS (UPDATED): Mark Kirk was one of the first people to come out against former President Jimmy Carter's plan to meet with Hamas. On April 10th, Congressman Kirk delivered some stirring remarks on the House floor. Read them here. Kirk stated, in part, “The Washington Post reports that President Carter will visit Syria next week to meet with a Hamas assassin, Khaled Meshal. The State Department lists Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization, and it is responsible for the murder of at least 26 American citizens. *** President Carter, the voices from the grave beseech you – do not meet with the man that ordered the murder of these American citizens. I urge members to sign our letter asking former President Carter not to meet with the killer of American citizens.”

Most of us know that the U.S. labeled Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997, and Mark Kirk has been staunchly opposed to anything that helps Hamas, right down to sources of funding that have U.S. origins.

Heck, even Barack Obama wouldn't meet with Hamas, although Obama doesn't have the guts to criticize Carter... a move sure to cost Obama some Jewish support. Where's Dan Seals on this? Does anyone know/care? Seals has stated in the past that the United States “must isolate Hamas and make it clear to them that they will be international pariahs until they change their stated goals and activities.” Has he shown more guts than Obama and condemned Carter's visit like Mark Kirk? If not, he's clearly not willing to stand up for his convictions, even as set forth in his so-called policy statements.

Monday Update: Carter has begun his Middle East tour, and started off in Israel where he got about as cool a reception in Israel as you can get without someone actually giving you the diplomatic finger. Meanwhile, it's clear that Iran's influence in Iraq is still strong, and people are drawing parallels to the U.S.'s experience in Lebanon, where the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq noted that the ultimate lesson of the Lebanon parallel is that how the U.S. leaves is as important as how it got in. Finally, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer declares that we have already failed to contain Iran's nuclear program, and the only resort is to declare a policy that any attack on Israel will result in the unequivocal annihilation of Iran. Swell. Who was that out there again that wants to solve everything by "talking" to Iran and its nutbag president?

OBAMA: REVEALED (AGAIN) AS AN ELITIST SNOB (UPDATED): Lots of people are upset about this. In case you haven't heard, Obama was quoted at a private fundraiser as stating that "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama reveals, once again, that he (like his wife Michelle) believe that only the liberal elite are qualified to lead this country, and if everyone is smart, they will entrust their lives to Obama and the government, and let them take care of you.

Now Obama is having to do a lot of backpeddling to save his political skin. Hillary's people are jumping on this. Read 12 reasons "bitter" is bad for Barack here. Hmm, maybe it's time for another speech, Barack. Isn't this becoming kind of a habit?

Monday Update: Hillary and Barack just can't play nicely together. They are both turning up the heat, ahead of the next primary in Pennsylvania. Some also are saying that former Veep Al Gore and Carter will team up to try to talk Hillary into dropping out of the race; from what I've seen of Hillary, they may as well save their breath (good for her). Meanwhile, voters are (slowly) starting to think about exactly what an Obama presidency would really mean, once the shiny new paint of Obama's personal charm wears off. Most don't like it. In still other news, Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright just can't stop himself from revealing his true stripes, as he told mourners at a funeral for a Chicago judge the other day that America’s mistreatment of blacks is the result of the founding fathers, who “planted slavery and white supremacy in the DNA of this republic.”

DAN SEALS ON "AT ISSUE": Dan Seals was interviewed by WBBM's Craig Dellimore this week on the award-winning "At Issue" radio show. You can still catch it at 9:30 p.m. tonight.

Among other comments, Seals is opposed to legislation (which Kirk supported), to build a fence along the Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigration. "You build a 20-foot wall, and you'll see sales for 21-foot ladders go up, so people will come right over," Seals said.

Wow, that almost sounded like a good line. Trite, I'd say, but it kinda made a good sound bite. So, where did I hear that before? Turns out, that line has been used for almost as long as the fence debate has been going on. Similar lines have been used since at least 2005, including people like the Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano (although she talked about a 51-foot ladder). Not sure if Seals thinks he made it up himself or just doesn't care if he's recycling things other people were saying years ago when Dan Seals was still trying to make it in the private sector and had no aspirations for Congress.

For fun, you can also check out a famous political cartoon done by John Trever of the Albuquerque Journal that shows a 21-foot ladder shop going up on the Mexican side of the border from the 20-foot fence. I'd put up the cartoon itself, but it's copyrighted, so take a look on the Journal's archives on Sunday, September 24, 2006. Who knew Seals was a subscriber???

Dan, have you ever had an original idea? This is the change you're going to provide in Washington? Ho, hum. Is the election over yet so we can get back to our lives, and Mark Kirk can get back to business in D.C. and leave Dan Seals behind him as only a somewhat amusing memory?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dem Stunt to Incite Class Warfare Fails in House

Wow, finally a lame-brained measure proposed by Springfield democrats that got crushed before it got started. Yesterday, the House defeated a proposal that would have doubled the state income tax from 3% to 6% for those making over $250,000/yr. While that would have affected only about 107,000 Illinois taxpayers, I understand about 45,000 of them are located in Cook County. Wonder if that had anything to do with it. Fact is, a low, flat tax is about the only pro-business attribute of Illinois' economic environment that is left. Leave it to some Dems to try to tax us to death regardless. Maybe the next move will be for border counties to start seceding to Wisconsin. Heck, we'll even take Palatine with us if they want to come.

House GOP Leader Tom Cross said it best: "What are we doing? 'So, here's $3 billion, Gov. Blagojevich's administration. Go do whatever you want with it?' … Wait a minute," Cross said.

Let's face it folks, on balance, Springfield is broken. We look to be headed for more three-way battles between the Gov., Senate President Emil Jones, and House Speaker Michael Madigan. And, a poll released yesterday shows Governor Rod Blagojevich's approval rating at a miserable 13% (h/t: Capitol Fax Blog). One of the major GOP strategies this fall will be to tie every state legislator into the nuttiness in Springfield, and paint them as Blago's best friend. Think it will work? Consider this a state legislature (madhouse) open thread.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mark Kirk Leader in Fundraising (Again) in IL-10

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that incumbent GOP Congressman Mark Kirk outraised his Dem opponent "Professor" Dan Seals by about $100,000 in the first quarter of 2008. Read the story here. Kirk's totals for Q1 were about $715,000, compared to about $613,000 for Dan Seals. A lot of that money was raised and spent in Seals' primary battle against fellow Dem Jay Footlik, however. Meanwhile, Mark Kirk has been hoarding his cash, with about $2.25 million in the bank, compared with only around $715,000 cash on hand for Seals. Kirk has also roughly doubled Seals' total fundraising efforts for this cycle.

We won't know how Kirk did in terms of comparison to candidates nationwide until the official results are reported, but he is usually at the very top.

If this trend continues, Seals will have to rely heavily on DCCC to ride in on a white horse and save him, just to remain competitive. While D-Trip has reportedly pledged its support, there clearly have been no specific dollars committed. Maybe they are Team America readers and they are a little concerned about writing that big check while Seals is still taking media hits on Professor-gate and other issues...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Green Candidate Back On Ballot in IL-10; Likely Good for 3 to 6 Net Points for Mark Kirk Over Dan Seals (UPDATED)

David Kalbfleisch is at it again. The 29-year-old former Green Party candidate, who was kicked off the November ballot by Dem operative (and right-hand man of State Senator Terry Link) "Sneaky" Pete Couvall, has resurfaced as the Green Party's nominee to fill the vacancy created when Kalbfleisch was booted as a result of the Dem petition challenge. Read more here.

All you Green folks, we're happy to have you, but please don't waste your breath telling us how Kalbfleisch will pull more voters from Mark Kirk than Dan Seals, or any such nonsense. To the extent there's a anti-Kirk vote in the 10th District (which is based almost exclusively on anti-war, anti-Bush sentiments), that's where the Greens will pull some votes, not from those who voted for Kirk in 2006. If you voted for Kirk in last cycle's nationwide GOP bloodbath, you're not changing your mind now. And, it was notably the Dems who got Kalbfleisch booted in the first place, although we wondered greatly at the time as to the real impact of this strategy, since as an established party, we all knew the Greens could appoint their guy back into the open slot. Thus, it seems pretty clear that the Dems were worried about the effect of the Green candidacy in IL-10.

What does this mean for the 10th District race? Probably a net loss of anywhere from 3 to 6 points from Dan Seals compared to Mark Kirk. If Seals keeps getting beaten up in the media over his character issues like Professor-gate, Kalbfleisch might do respectably well. At the very least, you can expect Kalbfleisch to also join the chorus of Seals critics, to further his own ends.

Thanks, Dave, and welcome back!

GREEN UPDATE: Here's a Green Party Blog I found that has a complete list of Green Party candidates that have been slated (60 in Illinois)--mostly congressional, but also a fair number of state and county-level candidates too. Not all that many here up in Lake County, although the Greens did slate someone in the 53rd District, which is held by incumbent Republican Sidney Mathias, who has a Dem opponent. This slating should help Sid by sucking away a few points from his opponent.

There is also a Green contender, Kathy Cummings, for the U.S. Senate, held by incumbent Dick 'what gang problem?' Durbin, who is opposed by GOP candidate Steven Sauerberg. Not sure how that will work out--don't know anything about Kathy Cummings, but unless she has $10 million like Durbin, it could be a longshot ;-) Finally, for the 8th CD, the Greens have put up a challenger, Iain Abernathy, from Round Lake Beach, who may help GOP challenger Steve Greenberg in his quest to unseat Melissa Bean. Generally, you don't like to see third-party candidates when you are trying to unseat an incumbent, but given the disparity between the Dems and GOP when it comes to where the Green Party sucks away the most votes, this could also be a big boost to Greenberg.

LAKE COUNTY'S MOST WANTED: As we reported earlier, Mark Kirk has been leading the charge to put away Lake County's most notorious gang members, while Dick Durbin is just getting up to speed on the problem. Take a look at the mugshots of the three nabbed so far (as well as those still at large), courtesy of WBBM. More over at the News-Sun.

MEANWHILE, IN THE 8th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: Here's a nice write up from the Daily Herald on the 8th CD GOP candidate Steve Greenberg, who met with AP Government students at Mundelein High School. Incumbent Dem Congresswoman Melissa Bean has been invited but has not responded, according to the article. Way to go Steve- get 'em while they're young!

CHECK OUT BLOGNETNEWS.COM: Thanks to, which added the Team America 10th District Blog to its Blogroll over the weekend.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Congressman Mark Kirk Fighting for us in Washington and the 10th District

I'm tired of beating up Dem 10th District challenger Dan Seals over things like Professor-gate, Seals' otherwise thin resume, his sketchy job history, his lack of visible means of support, his lack of accomplishments in the community, his lack of residency in the 10th District after what seems like years of running for this office [editor's note: actually, it HAS been years]... the list goes on and on.

So, I thought this morning we'd do a little wrap-up of what our own Congressman Mark Kirk has been up to lately.

In Washington, as always, Kirk is promoting important measures such as a moratorium on earmarks. He is also on the right side of the FISA bill, which is aimed at keeping our ability to monitor terrorist communications that pass through the United States due to quirks in how the Internet functions. (TA's Note: For some insane reason, Dems like Nancy Pelosi and (I believe) Dan Seals apparently think that foreign nationals that make phone calls from Country A to Country B, which pass through the U.S., deserve the protection of OUR Constitution to protect them against warrantless monitoring. Somehow, if the Founding Fathers could be asked if they intended the U.S. Constitution to protect people in foreign countries, and make it more difficult for our country to protect itself by hamstringing our intelligence-gathering activities, I doubt they take the Democratic view).

Closer to home, Kirk is active in the community, taking a lead in the fight against gang activity (Did you know Senator Dick Durbin, until recently, had no idea there was a gang problem in Lake County???), helping law enforcement officials to round up the 10 most wanted gang members in Lake County (THREE captured so far, in just a few weeks!!!). Kirk is also engaging our young people and helping them become engaged in civics, with his continuing 10th District Model Congress. Kirk continues to blast Illinois lawmakers for jeopardizing $4 billion (that's "billion" with a "B") in federal matching funds for transportation because of Illinois' inability to come up with enough money to qualify for the full amount.

I could go on, but y'all get the point. Mr. Seals, what have you done to benefit the people in the 10th District in the last three years, besides have the courtesy to run for Congress? What can you provide besides empty promises of 'change'? Based on the accomplishments of Mark Kirk, as noted above (and this is nowhere near a complete list), why would the voters of the 10th District be insane enough NOT to send Mark Kirk back to Washington?

Hello, Dan, are you listening? Hello, hello?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Northwestern University Students Claim Dan Seals Has Jeopardized NU's Academic Reputation (UPDATED x3 with Class Report)

Dan Seals probably thought that "Professor-Gate" was going to quietly go away after he finally started teaching his night class at Northwestern University. Sorry, Danno, no such luck.

Team America regulars know that in his second campaign against 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, Dem candidate Dan Seals has claimed for months, since at least October, that he was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, despite not ever having spent a minute in an NU classroom teaching a student. On Tuesday evening, he finally began to teach his 10-hour night class, which was the basis for his long-made claim to 'professorship' (and which did not go too well, see comments to last post below). For some more background, see here and here, for starters.

A group of NU students are not so willing to let Seals slide, however. In addition to less formal protests against Seals from NU students, a formal letter has been sent to NU President Henry S. Bienen, and a letter has also been sent to the Daily Northwestern student newspaper. TA will hopefully have a copy of the Bienen letter later today.

Among other issues, these students have noted:

The School of Continuing Studies recently appointed Seals to teach a Special Topics class in Federal Policymaking one night a week for two months in Spring Quarter. While NU faculty members certainly have run for political office in the past, we are aware of no situation where the university has hired an active political candidate. Not only does this create a questionable legal dilemma, but it appears to be in violation of the rules and regulations as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Pages 16-17 of the handbook state: "Outside activities must not interfere with University responsibilities. In no case may such activities be carried on either directly or by implication in the name of the University without the consent of the president of the University, who shall from time to time report such arrangements to the Board of Trustees. Consent should be requested through the appropriate dean's office. Faculty members shall not use the name Northwestern University in connection with outside activities in a manner that implies the university's sanction or support, unless the required consent has been obtained..."

When responding to inquiries in their fields of professional competence or acting as private citizens on issues of general public interest, faculty members may use their academic titles for purposes of identification but should make it clear that they speak, write, and act for themselves and not for the institution."

Seals repeatedly uses the title of "adjunct professor" on his campaign material, in debates and in interviews with the media, even though the university has publicly responded that he is only a visiting lecturer. His own political Web site states, "Dan is a business consultant and adjunct professor at Northwestern University."

Many media outlets throughout the area also have referred to Seals as a professor here at NU. Despite his use of a university title, Seals has never indicated that he does not speak or politick on behalf of the university, as the Faculty Handbook requires. Failure to issue this disclaimer results in using the NU brand to further his partisan pursuits.

Read the whole letter here.

As the students so aptly put, "NU's prestigious name should not be used to pad the resumes of would-be elected officials."

Ow. Not only that, it appears that someone at NU whitewashed Seals' bio on the NU School of Continuing Studies webpage to delete the fact that Seals is a current congressional candidate, even though that information was there back in December.

Seals admitted to the Daily Herald as early as this past January that he may have improperly used the title of 'professor' instead of lecturer, but the claim to be a professor (without any disclaimers as noted above) is still apparent on his website.

What do you think the response from Seals' camp to the NU students and administration will be? Maybe they will call Barack Obama and ask him to write a nice 'apology' speech and change the subject. Or maybe he should call State Senator Terry Link, who has also had practice lately explaining away scandal.

UPDATED: THE SEALS APOLOGISTS ARE OUT: The Seals apologists are already active in the Blogosphere this morning trying to spin Seals out of this mess. Check out Archpundit and Illinois Reason, and you tell me if you have ever read two posts that were less on topic and more ridiculous than these two. Much of both rants are directed at Team America personally. I guess TA has gotten inside both of their heads, as well as Seals'. A good morning's work.

UPDATED x2: Here is the letter that was sent to the university president, Henry S. Bienen. It's very well-written and notes that this issue has been covered by the Daily Herald. It also makes the point that while NU can't stop current employees from running for office, hiring an active candidate is another totally different issue for the university.

UPDATED x3: REPORT FROM SEAL U: Someone who signed up for the Seals class has volunteered as a new TA cub reporter (codename: SealTracker). Here are a few observations s/he made on that first night:
  • A NU was security officer checking IDs outside 417 Wieboldt Hall
  • There were other classes on the same floor without an NU security officer checking IDs
  • Seals seemed nervous
  • Seals either had someone who worked for him, a friend or something who seemed like they were there to help him or something
  • Seals wouldn't allow a video camera to record the class
  • The lecturer did not seem prepared and seemed more concerned about who the students were in the class which seemed troubling... I paid for the class and showed up ready, but the lecturer wasn't prepared for us and was more concerned about himself
  • So this guy is running for office and it seemed like several of his supporters were in the class because several folks seemed to know the guy
  • I think it is unacceptable that we didn't get a reading list
  • He ended the class early
  • When a few of us noticed after class that the NU security officer walked Seals out of the building and presumably to his car...we wondered if there was a security threat or what Seals was afraid of because the NU security officer was only walking Seals out and only checking IDs going into Seals class in 417 Wieboldt
  • A few of us wondered, if this guy is a candidate for office, will he be having his campaign staff trying to teach the class, trying to get us to help him on his campaign
  • This was just the first class hopefully next week we can have a good discussion and not have the distraction of the NU security officers and whatever seemed to be on Seals mind at our first class

So, there you have it, folks. Thanks to our new boots-on-the-ground source, SealTracker!!!

LINK OPPONENT NAMED: The Lake County GOP has announced its opponent against Terry Link, Waukegan businessman Keith Gray. Read the Daily Herald article here. Lots more on this to come.