So, I've been campaigning, with little results yet (no polling). But am intrigued by some of the 
conversations I get when going door to door. One fellow, seemingly in his 80s, asked "Are
you an incumbent?" On being told No, he said "You've got my vote. I'm voting against anyone
who's in office."  A couple of people wanted reassurance that I had nothing to do with state-
level politics ... they're unhappy with the one known to one blogger as OBG (Our Beloved
Governor <two out of three is not bad>.)

I had to laugh when one politico said he'd received "fishing" calls about how a possible third
term would be viewed. He said he was familiar with only two Congressional districts, but that
OBG would be lucky to come in third in another race.  No wonder a poll reported last Sunday
put the governor's popularity/approval rating at 13 percent.

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Be Careful Out There

I've always heard you should be careful before you hit the "Reply All" button on  e-mail. Now I find that double-checking when sending something over the cell phone is equally important.

A 29-year old Macomb man was charged with disorderly conduct. He sent some lewd pictures of his girlfriend ... he thought ... to her. However, he transposed the phone numbers when dialing.

They went to the cell phone of a recently-retired, 6'5" sheriff's deputy, who tracked where they came from, found the unfortunate sender, and took the case to his friendly local sheriff.  The sheriff was kinda bemused by the whole thing.

Luckily, he just got a Notice to Appear.  And a lesson in being careful.

We had rain today and have broken the heat stretch. High today in the mid-80s instead of the 10 degrees warmer of the previous week.

And that's it for the moment. This is the weekend when 8,000 students return to campus. It's a good day to leave town for the day, so we're going to an open house at the organic farm near Golden, IL. Guy retired as a high-powered PR type in California to buy the farm, raise organic crops, llitle llamas, ostriches and buffalo. Should be interesting. Details forthcoming.

This 'n that ....

So it's summer in the midwest -- about 90 but not a humid as it used to be.
Prevailing entertainment is the Illinois or Iowa state fair ... both going on now. The new contest at the Illinois State Fair this year is "The Breakfast on a Stick" competition. I'm almost afraid to see the entries.
As a campus town, Macomb is quite quiet at the moment. 'Tis that lovely time of year when everything is open, but nothing is crowded. Even the campus bars are not showing up in police beat except for a few underage drinkers, home from other campuses for the summer.

However, we do have other entertainment in Springfield: watching the 70+ days overtime state legislature try to craft a budget.
The governor wants no new taxes, universal health care, and a lot of money for construction and schools. The Four Tops ( aka
minority and majority leaders, house and senate ) want something less. they finally crafted a budget, bu each passed a
different version. So, we're no closer to a solution yet.

I pass to you this bit from the blog of the teacher/ambulance driver/shooter who used to blog under the name of Gwinnie
the Pooh. It helps explain the nonsense/tomfoolery that is the Illinois legislature. You can see why a book of short
biographies of the governors was entitled, "Mostly Good and Competent Men."


Here we go again.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed a budget today. Yay, right?

Well, maybe. See, now that the annual budget ran out, AND the emergency 30-day overrun budget has ALSO run out, and the State of Illinois has been operating without a budget for-what's today? The tenth?--ten days, it seems that we may get a budget.

But then again, we might not. See, Our Beloved Governor (Long May His Hair Wave) says the budget still isn't good enough, because it doesn't have the things he wants. Chief among those things are universal health care, lots more state education spending, and huge spending increases in general with no way to pay for it. OBG wanted to increase Illinois taxes massively a few months ago with a Value-Added-Tax scheme that would have made a lot of sense to a French Communist party member, but the legislature said "NO." Unanimously. Undaunted, OBG decided that if he couldn't have massive spending increases AND massive tax increases, he'd settle for increasing spending with no revenue.

Anyway, OBG says he's "willing to wait as long as it takes" to get what he wants. And even if the Senate passes the budget, which they may very well do, he can still sit on the bill for 60 days without signing or vetoing it.

The irony is that Blagojevich says he's doing all this so that education will be better funded. The flaw in his master plan is that by delaying the budget, he's prevented the state from making one of two annual payments that constitute the schools' share of state tax money. My district is OK, because frankly they get a lot from local property taxes and do not rely on state money in the short term. In a lot of districts, though, especially very rural areas and the inner cities, local property taxes amount to nothing much and they rely on these state payments to stay in business. These places haven't hired any new staff for the new year because the money isn't there. And what's Blagojevich's solution?

"Interest-free loans." No kidding; he proposed giving the school districts interest-free loans in the amounts they're owed for the coming year. The state OWES the districts this money. They're obligated to provide it; they promised it. But now the districts can get loans. This is like your boss telling you that he's not legally allowed to pay you your wages, but he'll give you a loan instead and promise to forgive the loan--AFTER you agree to pay it back. It's just odious.

There is also the minor detail that Blagojevich doesn't have the authority to offer those loans in the first place, so now he's changed it to "low-interest loans." I don't know about you, but I can't think of an interest rate low enough to entice me into accepting a loan instead of my paycheck.

There's almost not enough room to detail this man's buffoonery . . . . on Monday, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes warned that if there were no budget by Wednesday (two days ago for those keeping score at home!) then state workers would miss a paycheck and other bad things would happen. Blagojevich told the press that Wednesday was "just an arbitrary deadline."

The man just doesn't care. And why should he? He's got our number. We knew what he was, and we elected him twice. We are now getting exactly what we deserve.

As the redoubtable Bill Dauterive once said: "Hank hears us. He knows we're here. He's leaving us to die in this tractor trailer to punish us.
Deservedly so."

Posted by Don Gwinn at 10:30 PM

Says Don J: The frightening thing is that perhaps we're getting the government we deserve? A Shuddering Thought indeed.

It's Monday again

But there times I  especially enjoy being in a college town. There were a couple of especially droll items from  police beat this morning. First was the fellow who complained to police that he was just standing in a front yard relieving himself (on Jackson Street, the main drag through town) when someone came up and hit him in the face. He was aggrieved.  (Police did not indicate  whether they were going to talk to the owner of the front yard the aggrieved party was using.

The second was someone charged with illegal disposal of waste. Apparently the water was turned off in
his corner of the campus neighborhood, so he emptied the slops bucket into a plastic trash bag and left it for Waste Management . Of course, it broke when they lifted it, and they complained.

That, and ten DUIs, some loud parties, and two fights over someone's place in line to enter The Forum, showed it was indeed a spring weekend in a campus town.  Now it's time to get some dinner and
head off to a county board committee meeting. The fun never stops.