MWRD Board Endorsements from the Chicago Sun-Times

This in today’s Sun Times. They have endorsed Matthew Podgorski, Kathleen Meany and Mariyana Spyropoulous for MWRD Board Commissioners. Congratulations and good luck to these three worthy candidates. John Presta.

Water Reclamation District

The race for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board, which plays a crucial role in protecting our drinking water and safely managing the treatment and disposal of our wastewater, has become as clear as a glass of H20.

The region is still reeling from petroleum giant BP’s nervy attempt last year to dump more pollution from its Whiting, Ind., plant into Lake Michigan, the source of our drinking water. We advocated a BP boycott on these pages.

This extreme yet necessary action underscored the need for the nine-member board to stay engaged in the scientific esoterica necessary to safeguard our water supply, protect against floods and pursue green technologies. Board members earn $50,000 to $80,000 a year to attend 24 regular meetings, not including study groups. Voters will elect three new commissioners, who should give taxpayers a return on their investment.

We’re encouraged by the energy and grit of Democratic candidate Matthew Podgorski of Park Ridge. Podgorski, a continuous improvement manager at Kraft Foods and Northeastern Illinois University professor, led a BP boycott and march. A willing vessel with no apparent political debts to pay, he would be a refreshing addition.

Kathleen Therese Meany, a commissioner since 1990, has gained the confidence of her colleagues by being selected as vice president. Meany, a Democrat, takes credit for launching the district’s illegal sewer dumping hotline and supporting the adoption of a “green” purchasing policy.

Democrats Mariyana Spyropoulous and Dean Maragos, both attorneys, are fresh voices who possess the ability to engage in creative, futuristic thinking. But we’re tipping our hat to Spyropoulous, who is endorsed by an impressive array of progressive politicians, including Democratic U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis.

Mark Pera’s needs your help: Donate, Volunteer and Vote

Mark Pera has raised $292,242 from 4740 contributors thus far on the Act Blue network. The goal is 5000 donors. They have a great volunteer effort in this campaign and will take the party by surprise. But they need more help. Take back control of your party.

Our party may have re-taken Congress, but our work is by no means done – in fact, this is just the beginning. Now, we need to support and strengthen our caucus. This page will feature candidates selected by DailyKos, OpenLeft, and the Swing State Project whose presence in Congress will make our party stronger.

John Presta.

Editor’s Note: Would you like to be a guest blogger on this fast-growing blog. Looking for authors, book reviewers, movie reviewers, knowledgeable people of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community specifically, the Chicago area generally, left-leaning political folks (well-formed ideas also considered).

We are also in the planning stages of several new blogs, specifically a gardening blog that will tie into the BHMP Garden Walk, possibly a fitness/health blog and several other areas.

Interested. Send me an email at just by clicking send me an email. Looking forward to hearing from you. John Presta.

Guest bloggers wanted

Would you like to be a guest blogger on this fast-growing blog. Looking for authors, book reviewers, movie reviewers, knowledgeable people of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community specifically, the Chicago area generally, left-leaning political folks (well-formed ideas also considered).

We are also in the planning stages of several new blogs, specifically a gardening blog that will tie into the BHMP Garden Walk, possibly a fitness/health blog and several other areas.

Interested. Send me an email at just by clicking send me an email. Looking forward to hearing from you. John Presta.

South Carolina Analysis by Daily Kos

This great analysis by georgia10 of the Daily Kos showing what a truly remarkable victory this was by Barack Obama. John Presta.

More Numbers

Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:29:04 PM PST

Almost final results:

99% of precincts reporting

Barack Obama 295,091 54%
Hillary Clinton 141,128 27%
John Edwards 93,552 19%
Dennis Kucinich 551 0%

And some other numbers:

  • Total 2008 South Carolina Primary Turnout

    Democratic: about 530,322
    Republican: about 446,000

  • Obama received more votes than all Democrats in the 2004 South Carolina Democratic Primary (292,383)
  • Obama received more votes in this primary than George W. Bush received in 2000 when he beat John McCain (Bush won 293,652 votes)
  • Obama has won more votes than McCain and Huckabee won in South Carolina–combined.
  • Republican turnout in the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary was about 573,000 (the state’s record). This appears to make this primary the second highest turnout in South Carolina history. In other words, Democrats are likely going to finish about 40,000 shy of what the GOP was ever able to crank out in a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a wide margin.

Sweet Caroline sings Obama’s praises

This news item, my partisan Obama friends, is huge. Caroline Kennedy endorses Barack Obama. Not only is she the daughter of a great and beloved President, she is an accomplished author and editor of many great books. After reading this endorsement, I am impressed by her writing ability and her ability to connect with people. John Presta.

The New York Times

January 27, 2008 Op-Ed Contributor

A President Like My Father

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Caroline Kennedy is the author of “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”

It’s the Republicans, Stupid, Volume 1

After Barack Obama’s great victory in South Carolina, it is time to focus on the real enemy in this campaign: The Republicans.

It’s the Republicans, Stupid, Volume 1.

The message should now be hung on all Obama headquarter doors and other open spaces, “It’s the Republicans, stupid.” It is now time for Obama, going into Super Tuesday, to show that he can and will defeat John McCain. It is now time to start defining and branding John McCain. Exposing him for what he is. A real Republican. He said yesterday that he doesn’t like labels, but now that you mention it, he likes to be called a “conservative Republican” in the Ronald Reagan tradition. Now we are getting somewhere. The beauty of it is you don’t even have to change, twist or mutilate his words because he’s a straight shooter. A Republican. A straight talking Republican. In the finest tradition of being a Republican.

John McCain will be a worthy opponent, but I say that Obama can defeat McCain on the issues. Obama can defeat McCain on being a “conservative Republican.” It is time to challenge just what he is straight talking about. For example:

Iraq War: McCain defends the “Bush Doctrine” and has said he will stay there for a hundred years. He gets votes from anti-war independents and when they catch on that he wants to stay there for a hundred years, they will support Obama in droves.

Social Security: McCain favors the Bush privatization plan.

War on Terror:
If you are tied up for a hundred years in Iraq (see the Iraq War position), you can’t effectively fight this war. Pick a battle. Can’t win on two fronts.

Taxes: Likes tax breaks for the rich.

Economy: Likes tax breaks for the rich.

More straight talking to come.

John Presta.

Will Burns for State Rep. from IL 26

To our friends in the 26th District of Illinois, support Will Burns. Some people I have a great deal of respect for are supporting him too.

Leading National Gun Violence Group Endorses
Will Burns for State Representative
CHICAGO, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Leaders of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its Illinois Million Mom March Chapters today announced they have endorsed Democrat Will Burns for State Representative in the February 5 primary in the 26th State District.

This past year has been extremely violent in Chicago. Thirty school-aged children were killed during the 2006-2007 school year. Chicago police confiscated 12,235 guns in 2006.

“Will Burns has a strong record of bringing groups together to pass legislation to fight gun violence. As Deputy Chief of Staff for the State Senate and staff person for then State Senator Barack Obama, he was effective in passing laws to reduce gun violence, such as the Safe Neighborhoods Act,” said Jim Brady, co-chair of the Brady Campaign. Brady was President Ronald Reagan’s Press Secretary when he was felled by gun violence.

Burns also received Mayor Richard M. Daley’s endorsement today. Mayor Daley cited his strong stance against violence and said Burns has a record of accomplishment and understands gun violence prevention issues. Daley also said Burns supports the same proposals he does in Springfield to reduce gun violence. One measure would ban assault weapons, while another would limit handgun purchases to one a month and a third would require licensing for handgun dealers.

Leaders of the Brady Campaign said Will Burns is best suited to lead the fight against gun violence in Illinois.

“Legislators representing urban areas must be unflinching advocates for strong gun legislation, and Will Burns will be a champion on the issue and he is the best choice,” said Brian Malte, State Legislation and Politics Director for the Brady Campaign. “It will take the election of more people like Will Burns to break the logjam of the NRA and others that are blocking common-sense gun legislation.”

As the nation’s largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

For continuing insight and comment on the gun issue, read Paul Helmke’s blog at Visit the Brady Campaign website at

Time to fight the real enemy: The Republicans

Curtis Lawrence of the The Chicago Sun Times reported on March 14, 2000 that:

Candidates in the 1st District congressional race hit the television airwaves Monday night, once again showing little disagreement on issues. “I don’t think there are a lot of ideological differences,” state Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) who appeared on WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” with incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).

“I don’t think there are a lot of ideological differences,” can also be applied to the 2008 Presidential race. The differences between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are negligible. The candidates need to stop bashing each other and unite behind the common political enemy, the Republicans. I certainly have my opinion on how the bashing startted (I’ve written enough about it), but we need to “Move On.”

The differences between the candidates are of style, energy, inspiration and vision. There are crucial differences about change and how we get there. And that is why I support Barack Obama. I think Hillary Clinton would make a fine President. I think John Edwards would make a fine President. Neither Clinton or Edwards would in any way embarrass this great nation, as our nation has been embarrassed by the current administration. Our standing abroad is at a low level.

We can split hairs on the issues, but they all want health care for all, the all want a peaceful world, they all want prosperity for all.

I believe that Barack Obama will make a “Great President.” He will bring an elevated level of style, high energy and inspirational vision to this nation. Yes, Camelot. “One brief, shining moment.” All that and more. He will take an already great nation and take it to the next level. President Obama would immediately elevate our standing in the world.

He is “one of us.” He looks you in the eye when he speaks to you. It was not too many years ago that he lived in a modest apartment living a modest lifestyle. He worked as a community organizer for small wages, because he cared. I saw many times over the years how he related to people. I saw him appear before 600 people that had never seen or heard of him before in a candidates forum and how he inspired and energized those people. And from there how it multiplied. Once I was in a parade with him and was impressed at the high energy he showed and how that high energy rubbed off on everybody around him. Whenever he spotted someone in the crowd in a wheel chair, he made sure to stop and speak to that person and offer an encouraging word. He had great compassion and empathy for people.

Barack Obama will take this nation to the next level. For the short term, the three candidates need to take the rest of these primaries to a higher, more empathetic level too. And Barack Obama will lead the way. John Presta.

Mark Pera Needs Your Help – Donate, Volunteer and Vote

And this from our friend MissLaura at the Daily Kos about attending a Mark Pera rally in Chicago and a great opportunity to volunteer. This is a great time to get involved and help change the world. I frame this as the powerless (us) standing up against the powerful (The Regular Democrats of Chicago). Giving voice to the voiceless. We need to send the “powerful” a strong message.

Burlington, VT — Democracy for America, our nation’s largest progressive political action organization, will hold a rally in support of Mark Pera’s campaign in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. The rally, scheduled for Sunday, January 27 at 1:00 PM at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Chicago, IL 60609, will be followed by door-to-door canvassing and phone banking by local DFA members.

DFA Chair Jim Dean and Mark Pera will be on-hand to address the crowd before going out to knock on doors and speak to voters and residents in the district.

“Mark Pera offers true, progressive Democratic leadership,” Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, said. “We are proud to support his campaign and we are excited to be in the district to speak with his constituents.”

“Change” has been a major theme this year in the Presidential campaign. Here on the local level, “change” can be made by supporting Mark Pera from Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. Send the party bosses a strong and effective message by not only supporting Mark Pera, but by rejecting Dan Lipinski. Here are the ways you can make change. Donating to Mark Pera. Another way is by volunteering for Mark Pera. And of course, by voting for Mark Pera. John Presta.

What Robert Reich, Clinton’s Labor Secretary, said about the "Clinton lies"

This quoted directly and without editing from Robert Reich’s blog posted today concerning the “deliberate lies” spread by Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s Old Politics

I write this more out of sadness than anger. Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former President, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic party. While it may be that all is fair in love, war, and politics, it’s not fair – indeed, it’s demeaning – for a former President to say things that are patently untrue (such as Obama’s anti-war position is a “fairy tale”) or to insinuate that Obama is injecting race into the race when the former President is himself doing it. Meanwhile, the attack ads being run in South Carolina by the Clinton camp which quote Obama as saying Republicans had all the ideas under Reagan, is disingenuous. For years, Bill Clinton and many other leading Democrats have made precisely the same point – that starting in the Reagan administration, Republicans put forth a range of new ideas while the Democrats sat on their hands. Many of these ideas were wrong-headed and dangerous, such as supply-side economics. But for too long Democrats failed counter with new ideas of their own; they wrongly assumed that the old Democratic positions and visions would be enough. Clinton’s 1992 campaign – indeed, the entire “New Democratic” message of the 1990s – was premised on the importance of taking back the initiative from the Republicans and offering Americans a new set of ideas and principles. Now, sadly, we’re witnessing a smear campaign against Obama that employs some of the worst aspects of the old politics. Robert Reich.

What I am particularly impressed with is the class that Senator Barack Obama is displaying in handling this two-on-one barrage from the Clintons. If he can handle this, he can handle anything the Presidency will bring before him.

And how, I ask you, will Hillary Clinton handle this out-of-control husband in the White House.

Let us please get back to debating the issues please. John Presta.