Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Former Governor and Fox Political Commentator Mike Huckabee to Headline Lake County Republican Federation's 51st Annual Spring Gala

From a press release from the Lake County Republican Federation:

Lake County Republican Federation Announces Governor Mike Huckabee
as Keynote Speaker for 51st Anniversary Spring Gala

Libertyville, IL – The Lake County Republican Federation is pleased to announce that Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) will be the Keynote Speaker for its 51st Anniversary Spring Gala.  The event takes place on  Friday, May 10, 2013 at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. The cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $125 per person and $1,250 for a table of ten.  Additional sponsorship opportunities are also available.

"We could not be more excited to welcome Governor Mike Huckabee as the keynote speaker for this year's Spring Gala," said Federation President Larry Falbe.  "Governor Huckabee's vast experience in politics, both as a governor and a presidential candidate, as well as his other endeavors such as his top-rated show on the Fox network, will no doubt provide many entertaining and insightful anecdotes for our supporters and guests."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is the host of “HUCKABEE” on the Fox News Channel, is heard three times daily across the nation on the “Huckabee Report,” syndicated on almost 600 stations, and is heard on “The Mike Huckabee Show” each weekday.  After his campaign for the Republican nomination for President in 2008, he formed HuckPac to assist conservative Republicans running for office nationwide and has amassed a volunteer team with thousands of activists.

From 1996-2007, Huckabee served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas and was recognized nationally for his leadership.  He served as Chairman of the prestigious National Governors Association as well as the Education Commission of the States and the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission.

The goal of the Lake County Republican Federation's Annual Spring Gala is to raise the funds necessary for a successful 2014 election campaign.  Proceeds will be used towards grassroots organizing efforts, upgrading technology, maintaining Lake County Republican Headquarters, and providing staff support for the Lake County GOP.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Escaping from the Illinois GOP Central Committee's Trick Box on Pat Brady (UPDATED x2- Meeting Postponed))

[UPDATE 3/9/13 7:00 am - late yesterday, the State Central Committee - or at least the group of committeemen who called the special meeting - postponed the meeting, obstensively because Brady had not confirmed his attendence by either phone or being in person.  It sounds like a dodge to save face to me, since they knew from the get-go that Brady was not going to attend, at least in person, but the important thing is it looks like perhaps cooler heads will prevail.  Original story below

Second Update 3/9/13 12:00 pm - In the Chicago Tribune's article today, they also note that it was long known that Brady was not going to be at the meeting.  But the Tribune also asserts that the folks behind the movement to oust Pat Brady are having trouble rounding up the votes.  Stay tuned...]

As much as I wanted to stay away from posting on this, I found that with the increasing news coverage, it's not an issue that any Illinois Republican can simply wish away.  I'm talking, of course, about the issue of GOP Chairman Pat Brady, and the calls of several Committeemen from the Illinois GOP Central Committee to hold a special meeting to consider just what to do about Chairman Brady in light of his recent statements on single-sex marriage (SSM).

If you are somehow not aware, Pat Brady came out publicly in support of the proposed legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to legalize "gay marriage."  The problem with this, as a fair number of Republicans see it, is that the State GOP Platform embraces marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Having Pat Brady take a public stand in favor of legalizing SSM, given the opposing view as espoused in the state GOP party platform, is anathema to many Republicans.  However, many other Republicans don't feel nearly as strongly about strict adherence to the platform, considering there are plenty of pro-choice Republicans (including many elected officials) just to name one issue that many Republicans don't unwaveringly adopt the party platform on.

In any case, whatever you might think about any individual's right to disagree with various planks of the party platform, the issue for many is that the Chairman simply doesn't have the unfettered freedom to disregard the platform -- at least, not without checking in first with members of the State Central Committee, which perhaps is really the root of the current bru-haha.  To be fair, many on the State Central Committee, and indeed the party at large, are less than complimentary on Brady's tenure as chairman, citing the drubbing we took last election, as just one concern.  However, for many, the straw that broke the camel's back is Brady's stance on SSM, despite the fact that he stated he was expressing his 'personal' viewpoint, and not taking a position as party chairman.  That explanation just doesn't cut it for many folks, however, as some feel you can't divorce yourself from your party position as a matter of convenience.  I think that has a certain about of truth to it, as no one would care about Pat Brady's position from the media perspective, if in fact he were not chairman.

But having said all that, from my perspective, the immediate issue is how to salvage the already tarnished issue of the State Republican Party and escape from the trick box that the Central Committee has put itself in by calling for a special meeting to discuss the issue.  If a vote is taken to oust Pat Brady, no matter what the Central Committee says to justify its vote -- such as the procedural issue of Brady not clearing his actions with the other members of the committee first, or having gone off the reservation just too many times -- you know that the media spin on this is that the GOP is the party of old, rich, narrow-minded white men, who are homo-phobic and wish to deny equal rights to others. -- not to mention the irony of the typical Republican mindset that big government should stay out of people's lives and bedrooms, but some GOPers wish to regulate marriage from a state perspective.

I spoke at some length with Mark Shaw, our State Central Committeeman here in the 10th District, and he told me clearly that if the vote at the special meeting (scheduled for this Saturday March 9th) is to oust Chairman Brady strictly because of his personal support of SSM, Shaw will vote against ousting Brady.  However, Shaw is less certain of how he would vote if the question is broadened to include other alleged malfeasance of Brady, since Shaw says he does not yet have all the facts and history, being relatively new to the Central Committee.

Regardless, I think there are some on the Central Committee who would indeed vote to remove Brady on that basis.  I think that would be wrong, but I don't get a vote.  But, I can give them some friendly advice, which is that if a vote is taken at the special meeting to remove Brady, NO MATTER WHAT the justification is given, the media will condemn the party for being close-minded and stuck a few centuries behind the times.

What to do?  I told Shaw I thought the only way out of this trick box is to have a vote on Saturday, and have the vote be specifically to remove Brady because of his stance on SSM, and have the vote total not be sufficient to remove him.  Given where Shaw and I expect at least a few others would lie, I would be hopeful Brady would survive that vote.  The story the next day then would be that the GOP did not in fact fire Brady over the SSM issue.  However, Brady's future could be determined in a more reasoned, less heated environment, hopefully, at the next regularly scheduled meeting in April.  Who can say if the vote might not then be different, presuming it was focused on Brady's track record and actions overall, but at least the GOP would have credibility to say that his ouster was not simply the reactionary, homophobic vote that the media will say it is.

I have no idea how open-minded the State Central Committee is to a little friendly advice, but one can always hope, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Never, Ever Give Up: Inspiring Video From Senator Mark Kirk

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has released a video chronicling his journey from suffering a massive stroke to him fight to recover and return to the Senate:

Definitely an inspiration to us all. h/t Lynn Sweet.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Today's the Day: Senator Mark Kirk Returns

After almost a year of recovery and hard work, Senator Mark Kirk plans to make his return to the U.S. Senate.  It's not a moment too soon, given how Congress seems to have conducted itself over the last year during his absence.  Check out coverage from the Tribune here and the Daily Herald here.  I looked at the Sun-Times, but their coverage was scant, and then when I scanned some of the comments over there, I was appalled.  Not even going to dignify it or their readers with a link.

It's great news that Kirk is back.  He's going to be slower and more deliberate in his communications, I think, but his mind is intact and we need him back, now more than ever.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Senator Mark Kirk Visits Office in Gearing Up for Return to Work (UPDATED)

Here's a nice Christmas present (and a belated Hanukkah present) for fans of Senator Mark Kirk - the AP reports that he visited his U.S Senate office briefly as part of his preparation for his return to work at the Senate, about a year after suffering a major stroke.  Great news, and we are really looking forward to Mark getting back in the ring.

UPDATE 12/31/12:  Things still seem to be on schedule for Senator Kirk's return to DC, according to the Sun Times.  And guess who will be there at the Senate to greet him on his return.  None other than "Uncle" Joe Biden.  Of course, as President of the Senate, Biden gets to swear and re-swear the Senate members, so it's not like Biden is making a special trip.  But it's almost enough to make you want to stay away...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is the Lake County News-Sun on the Chopping Block?

Word from the Sun Times is that it may be closing all of its suburban offices; whether that means not ending the various suburban publications (or some of them?) and trying to carry on their local coverages from downtown Chicago (ugh), or just abandoning them altogether is a little less clear.

I would miss the News-Sun if it closed; back in the heyday of Waukegan, it was quite a paper, and even now, it's nice to have additional local coverage beyond what the Daily Herald can provide, especially the goings-on in the northeast part of the county, including the center of county government in Waukegan.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Comic Book Drive for Children of Newtown, Connecticut

Everyone I know seems to be walking around in just a little bit of a fog lately, in the wake of the horrendous tragedy of the Sandy Hook School shooting, trying to make sense of the senseless.  While it's challenging to think of anything to say or do that would have any helpful effect in response to such an incredibly sad and tragic event, one person I know is trying hard to help, namely Russell Lissau of the Daily Herald.  In his off hours, Russell is a devoted comic book writer/illustrator (I know, I have been to one of his seminars) and he began with an idea to donate some of his Strawberry Shortcake comic books to the children of the area.  That idea was picked up by a group known as Reading with Pictures, which is organizing a nationwide comic book drive.  Here is the link to Reading with Pictures and a description of how you can help:

We at Reading With Pictures reacted to the tragic news coming from Newtown, CT with the same sense of loss and sadness that everyone else felt. As a nonprofit organization with a special tie to education and schools, to see the bond of safety and trust punctured was absolutely heartbreaking.

The outpouring of support all across the nation has been inspirational and we want to help in our own small way. An important time of happiness between families is reading together and we want to put together a collection of kid friendly comic books to send to the families in Newtown, CT.

We’ll be working with connections we have in that community to coordinate the best possible direction for this donation but we wanted to ask for your own help in this comic book drive.

If you have any children’s comic books to donate or want to assist in this, please email

We will accept donations through the end of 2012. Please keep the following in mind:

1. We want children’s comic books only. Nothing scary, violent, suggestive in anyway. We will be scanning all donations to ensure the content is appropriate.

2. If possible, try to donate a few sets so we can spread them out among families

3. Your donations are tax deductible and we will provide all donors with a tax receipt

4. Reading With Pictures will attempt to document as much as possible the donation’s progress up until we send it but after that, we will want to respect the Newtown, CT community’s privacy

From all of us at Reading With Pictures, thank you so much for not only your compassion and caring but also believing in the power of comic books in creating community.