Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mission accomplished

The W-imbecile said it. What mission was he talking about?

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, 1,792 Americans have died in Iraq. Another 15,000 to 38,000 have been wounded (Officially 13,819). And that doesn't count the 26,052 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people. (Yeah, I know, Saddam killed Iraqi civilians, too. But there's a difference.)
It has cost us $184.1 billion so far. Instead, we could have have built 1,658,282 additional housing units. Or we could have ensured that every child in the world was given basic immunizations for 61 years. How's that for exporting democracy?
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Quada connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps.
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
One accomplishment, however: while Iraq under Saddam was NOT friendly to terrorists, it's now a major terrorist staging ground since we opened the borders. Even the W-imbecile administration admits that.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?
Why, again, are we there? Has the W-imbecile administration admitted its lies yet?

And so it goes

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thanks, but...

I see in tonight's News-Gazette that another group of entepreneurs (actually a familiar group of entrepreneurs) is looking to build a major structure in downtown Champaign.

Yippie Yay! more downtown development.


Except that what they're planning to build the hotel and office/condo/retail building on are two of downtown Champaign's largest parking lots.
Jon 'Cody' Sokolski, chief executive officer of One Main Development, said he expects to know by the end of next week whether a hotel will be a part of a downtown building project that he and several other investor-owners are planning for most of the block between Neil and Randolph streets and Church and Hill streets.
Have you tried to find a decent parking space in downtown Champaign during the day?

Sure, we need development. It's great! Fuels the economy. I'm all in favor of development.

But do we need to close two more parking lots? Isn't there another location. One that doesn't eat parking lots?

UPDATE: OK, OK, I read the story wrong. Turns out the first phase of the project will be a 400- to 500-vehicle parking deck built in conjunction with the city. That sounds like public parking to me, too. It still takes two big lots out of the parking mix for however long it takes to build the deck, and the Old Guy ain't getting any younger looking for a downtown parking space so he can get his afternoon cappuccino.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

They said it

I've been meaning/wanting/dreading creating a post on the Chief ever since I started this blog some months ago. But until now, I was a little unsure how to start and more than a little apprehensive about the comments I might receive and the potential for hurt feelings and angry words. Even if some of those angry words were mine.

Enter Champaign Common Sense into the fray. Their post on Chief Illiniwek published Monday comes as close to my feelings as anything I've read on this subject in some time.

I really think it should be required reading by every UI alumni out there.

Not that it'll really change too many minds. But it can't hurt.

And to expand a bit, I have grown weary with the 'What about the Washington Redskins' 'What about the Atlanta Braves' 'What about the Cleveland Indians' arguments.

Honestly, I find them offensive, too. But I can't do anything about them. No one in C-U can. But we CAN, if we get our heads straight, do something about the Cheef.

Or we can go on insulting an entire race of people and their religion because we can.

It's our choice.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I don't often agree with our U.S. Rep., Tim Johnson. He's pretty much a pure Republican. But occasionally...

I was cheered to discover that Tim broke from the GOP lockstep last week and voted AGAINST extending the Patriot Act. Instead, he voted with the Democrats to make the extension temporary.

While Johnson generally follows the GOP line, he has his moments of clarity. This was one of them. Unfortunately, the GOP line carried the day, but it was still cheering to actually have MY opinion go up on the board.

From Sunday's News-Gazette Roll Call Report (which, unfortunately screwed up the most important of Tim's votes....):
Permanent Patriot Act: Members voted, 257-171, to renew the USA Patriot Act and make permanent most of its key sections. A yes vote was to renew the post 9/11 law, which expands police power to watch, probe and detain those suspected of terrorism and related acts. (HR 3199)
Johnson voted NO.
Temporary Act: Members rejected, 209-218, a Democratic bid to extend the USA Patriot Act for four years. Backers said government power over civil liberties must be limited, while foes said no abuses have been reported under the law since 2001. A yes vote backed a temporary law. (HR 3199)
Johnson voted YES.
Library Searches: Members voted, 402-26, to require the FBI director to personally approve library and bookstore searches under HR 3199 (above). The original Patriot Act and this renewal permit such searches based on secret warrants. A yes vote was to require FBI director approval.
Johnson voted YES.
Security Letters: Members voted, 394-32, to give recipients of a 'national security letter' access to counsel and standing to challenge the letter in court. These letters are subpoenas the FBI can issue without prior court review. A yes vote backed the amendment to HR 3199 (above).
Johnson voted YES.

Way to go, Tim! Some of us actually appreciate your efforts to preserve our liberties.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Looks like extra innings ... ?

Bombs in London.
Bombs in Cairo.
Bombs in Beirut.
Bombs in Iraq.

Remember how they said we're winning the war on terrorism?

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, 1,772 Americans have died in Iraq. Another 15,000 to 38,000 have been wounded (Officially 13,438). And that doesn't count the 25,915 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people. (Yeah, I know, Saddam killed Iraqi civilians, too. But there's a difference.)
It has cost us $182.6 billion so far. Instead, we could have fully funded global anti-hunger projects for seven years. How's that for exporting democracy?
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Quada connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps.
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
One accomplishment, however: while Iraq under Saddam was NOT friendly to terrorists, it's now a major terrorist staging ground since we opened the borders.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?
Why, again, are we there? No answers yet.

And so it goes.

Friday, July 22, 2005

We don't need no steenkin' rights

It's looking more and more like you can wave byebye to the Bill of Rights. If Congress gets it's way, it's gone.

Thanks in no small part to the second London transit bombing in two weeks, the House yesterday approved a bill making most provisions of the Patriot Act permanent.

The Patriot act is an interesting name. You have the right as a patriot to surrender the rights and liberties you and your ancestors have fought to preserve for 250 years. Strange definition of patriotism.

And of course, it all came at the urging of the W-imbecile administration;
From today's Chicago Tribune
The bill passed on a largely partisan vote of 257-171 after the Republican-controlled House--over Democrats' objections--limited debate to less than half the proposed amendments.
In both the House and the Senate, which will take up its version of the legislation soon, the GOP majorities seem to be moving toward something less than the blanket reauthorization of the Patriot Act that President Bush has publicly urged.
Bush wants Congress to make permanent all 16 provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of this year. The House measure comes close, making 14 of the provisions permanent.
Judging from the recent bombings, it's easy to see how Congress can be rushed into such actions. Unfortunately, surrendering rights isn't the way to protection, because without rights, what's left to protect? Again from the Tribune
Supporters of the law said the London attacks underscored the importance of the act. Critics had said Congress should more thoroughly review and amend a law that they contended was passed in haste and could allow government abuses of privacy and civil liberties.
Can't say I feel a bit safer after the House's actions.

I just hope that the Senate will make at least a minimal effort to protect some of my liberties.

Fat chance.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What's not to like?

Gee golly, President W-imbecile nominated a right wing conservative to the Superme Court. Who'da thunk?

Justice John Roberts. Anti-abortion. Anti affirmative action. Anti environment. Pro corporate America. Pro return to the 18th century.

You expected any different?

Actually, I did. I was completely braced for a right wing evangelical idealogue nutcase. W-imbecile has a penchant for that kind of critter. Roberts is a lot of things, but the early voting's in, and at least he's not that. Not quite. (We hope).

Is he confirmable? Probably, although Democratic, liberal and generally normal-thinking folks are lining up against the right winger. All with good reason.

For instance, the ACLU calls his nomination troubling.
While serving as principal deputy solicitor general from 1989-1993, he authored briefs calling for Roe v. Wade to be overruled, supporting graduation prayer, and seeking to criminalize flag burning as a form of political protest.

"All these positions were rejected by the Supreme Court," said Steven Shapiro, the ACLU's National Legal Director. "But the Supreme Court remains closely divided on many of these questions."
Yeah, that sounds like the kind of guy we want on the nation's highest court.

The League of Conservation Voters called the nomination 'troubling.'

The National Organization for Women calls him an extremist.
"Once again, George Bush has chosen partisan politics and paybacks over uniting the country," said National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. "Roberts' background shows a political ideology that is inconsistent with the independence we have a right to expect from the Supreme Court. He does not have a commitment to the basic values of fairness and equality, and our hard-won rights will be in jeopardy if he is confirmed."

And the Democratic Party calls the nomination disappointing.
Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement on the nomination:

"It is disappointing that when President Bush had the chance to bring the country together, he instead turned to a nominee who may have impressive legal credentials, but also has sharp partisan credentials that cannot be ignored.

Now, doesn't that brighten your Wednesday?

And so begins the confirmation fight.

MY opinions (based on nothing more than a few decades of politics watching) are:
-- Is he confirmable? Unfortunately, probably. He isn't so far right as to attract a MASSIVE negative campaign. As you can see from the above, a lot of folks are already distrustful. They'll need more ammunition. Let's all look closely.
-- Will the Democrats filibuster? I kind of doubt it. Unless his idealogue credentials begin to crystallize, it'll be hard to muster the troops.
-- Will the hearings be long, contentious and partisan? Damn betcha.
-- Will he be confirmed? Unfortunately, probably yes.
-- Will he be confirmed in time for the fall session? I sincerely doubt it.
-- Will he be the catalyst to overturn Roe v. Wade? Whointheheck knows? My non-supported in any way gut feeling is no. I have the feeling that although he's said he feels it's wrong, he also feels it's the law of the land. Sometimes conservatives can surprise you that way.
-- Will I be wrong in any or all of the above? You can absolutely bet on it.
-- Am I happy with the nomination? No.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Who knows?

We'll know soon enough:

From the AP
President Bush has made his decision about whom he plans to nominate to take Sandra Day O'Connor's place on the Supreme Court and will announce his pick to the nation in a prime-time address Tuesday night.
Wonder if anyone's told Bush yet who he's picked?
Again from the AP:
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the Bush administration was asking television outlets to broadcast the speech live across the country. Bush's spokesman would not identify the president's choice. But there was intense speculation Tuesday that it would be Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Bush has said he wanted to move quickly so the new justice could be seated in time for the fall term.

Wonder what universe he's living in? If he thinks any nominee is gonna sail through the Senate without protracted debate (not to mention wailing and gnashing of teeth...) he's been residing in a state of intense denial somewhere.

Personally, I'm hoping against hope that it's a moderate. I'm not that optimistic.

The best I could find about Judge Clement comes from The Washington Post in an article speculating about nominees. It's not cheering:
Edith Brown Clement, 57, is a judge on the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Judge Edith Brown ClementClement was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1991 and was elevated to her current post by the current President Bush in 2001.

Clement, a graduate of the University of Alabama and Tulane University Law School, worked as a lawyer in private practice in New Orleans for 16 years before beginning her tenure on the federal bench. She specialized in civil litigation involving maritime law, representing oil companies, insurance companies and the marine services industry in cases before federal courts. She is a member of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization.

As a district judge, Clement presided over such high-profile cases as the 2000 trials of former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D) and former state insurance commissioner Jim Brown (D) on fraud charges. Edwards was acquitted; Brown was convicted of lying to the FBI and sentenced to six months in prison.

Lawyers who know Clement or have tried cases before her describe her as a judicial conservative who leans toward the defense in civil cases, and as a no-nonsense judge who is strict about deadlines and insists on professionalism from lawyers.

Analysts say Clement has not attracted attention for her judicial opinions, so it is unclear which of her decisions, if any, might become the focus of a confirmation battle.
But now. at least, the fun begins.

And so it goes.

Drive time

Stuff I thought of while driving to work:

THE BIG KID Anyone in C-U who doubts the impact of the UI on everything C-U need look no further than the nightly news reports and the front page of the paper during the summer. While stories on churches raising sweet corn and on Roger Ebert getting a plaque in Chicago are nice, it's a bit of man bites dog while waiting for the big dog to return. Local governments seem to slow down while the UI's off for the summer. Even study sessions are scheduled to take into account the students (and professors) returning in the fall.

To put it another way, C-U is pretty boring in the summer. (On the plus side, I was able to drive all the way down Green Street in Campustown Saturday night without almost running over a single drunk student).

WILD WEST it's kinda disheartening in a way to see the degree to which drivers - myself included - ignore traffic laws. Stop signs mean, at best, slow down. Red lights the same; yellow lights are meaningless. Speed limits are mere suggestions. As long as the reasonable assumption is that you won't get caught, flaunting the laws (even inadvertent flaunting) will continue.

TAKE A ROLAIDS Can ANYONE make any sense of gas prices in C-U? They can go up nearly 20 cents area-wide in less than an hour. For no particular reason. And then slowly sink back down to merely unreasonable levels. Saw one station with a $2.25.9 price this morning and thought how LOW that sounded. Low? How sad is that?

HUNTING LICENSES I wonder in how many of Champaign's permit parking lots did the city oversell the permits? I know I've seen a lot of folks with visible parking hang tags slowly and endlessly circuling around city lots. Guess it's an added city revenue source to sell 20 permits for 15 spaces. It's also highly entertaining.

FIX IT Is it just my imagination, or is just about every street in Champaign-Urbana under construction?

And so it goes.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Book 'em

The Urbana Free Library (which isn't, of course, free) just completed an $8.6 million expansion. It's a beautiful addition, and much needed. Applause Applause

I read in today's News-Gazette that the Champaign Public Library (which isn't free, either) is finally getting ready to begin construction on it's $29.4 million new library project.

It's hard (impossible?) to argue that the Champaign library needs replacement. It pretty much needed replacement about a year after they opened the doors on the old glass and sheet-metal monstrosity.

For the next who knows how long, Champaign library patrons are gonna be crammed into limited space and forced to search for limited parking. But, judging from the pictures and schematics in the library's lobby, it certainly will be worth the inconvenience.

This is all, of course, dependent on the Champaign City Council finally deciding just how to pay for the project.
From the NG:
The council will meet at 7 p.m. at the City Building, 102 N. Neil St. After its regular meeting, the council will discuss how to borrow the money to pay for the $29.4 million library.
The borrowing will be in the form of city-issued bonds, and the discussion Tuesday will center around whether the council feels comfortable playing the interest-rate market or locking in a rate.
The city's financial staff is recommending the latter.
We're this far along in the proceess and the council hasn't decided this yet? I guess I just don't understand government....

My only other question is: Urbana spent $8.9 million; Champaign's gonna spend $29.4 million and what will we end up with? Sure, two very nice libraries. Two very nice main libraries with two sets of administrations, two governing bodies, two complete staffs, two everything.

Why isn't there ONE library district with ONE main library and a number of branches, governed by ONE body with one budget?

Or am I being naive again?

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Remember Iraq?

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, 1,762 Americans have died in Iraq. Another 15,000 to 38,000 have been wounded (Officially 13,190). And that doesn't count the 25,869 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people. (Yeah, I know, Saddam killed Iraqi civilians, too. But there's a difference.)
It has cost us $181 billion so far.
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Quada connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps.
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
One accomplishment, however: while Iraq under Saddam was NOT friendly to terrorists, it's now a major terrorist staging ground since we opened the borders.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?
Why, again, are we there? No answers yet.

And so it goes.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Blogs and stuff

A little of this, a little of that on a slow Friday:

LET'S ALL BE NICE: Champaign American proposes a blogging summit to try and avoid what happened with the DJWinfo blog earlier this week. (For those of you who missed it, the blog was hijacked by some lowlife hacker and then returned, sans all the archives). Matt's idea is a nice thought, but totally unenforceable. I totally support civility in the blogosphere. I often try to be civil; you probably do, too. But there are no laws, no method of enforcement and no rules or punishments available to halt others from acting like jackasses if they want. If there was, we'd never need anti-virus and anti-spam software. I can promise to be (relatively) civil. You can too, if you want. Beyond that....

HANGING IN THERE: For those of you who believe blogs and the internet are supplanting the MSM as the source for all news, sorry. The scoops were wrong; Chief Justice Rehnquist isn't retiring. But, damn, he sure looks frail....

START LOOKING CLOSER? The word that the London bombings may have been carried out by home-grown terrorists is definitely not a comforting development. It's a whole lot easier to track aliens in your country than citizens, who, up until you hear the 'boom' appear to be causing no harm. Can't imagine anyone sleeping quite as soundly anywhere in this funked-up world.

ROVE DEATHWATCH DAY 5 On Bush/Rove, a few thoughts.
-- I wonder of the W-imbecile is just keeping Karl Rove around because it's kinda nice to have people throwing shit balls at someone other than W for a change.
-- If I was a Democrat power guy, I think I might like to keep Rove around until the mid-term elections. He's a good target to say: See, here's what the GOP's got for you. Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!
-- At this point, I actually wonder if Rove's lost much/most/all of his political effectiveness. Sounds like he's damaged goods, to me.
-- And speaking of sounds, the GOP's pathetic attempts to paint this as a political witch-hunt is becoming more and more comical by the moment.

MTD-U-M-B: Cute: The Champaign County Board tried to appoint a lawyer from Savoy to the CUMTD Board. Maybe hoping with a little local representation the move into Savoy would be a little smoother, perhaps? Unfortunately, they forgot one critical little detail: Savoy isn't in the CUMTD district. Meaning Savoy lawyer Barbara J. Mann isn't eligible to serve. Oops.

From today's News-Gazette:
After a News-Gazette reporter questioned Thursday whether somebody who does not live within a mass transit district is eligible to serve on the district's board, County Board Chairwoman Barbara Wysocki, D-Urbana, asked her staff to find out.
"We just goofed," Wysocki said. "We cannot formally approve Ms. Mann to the MTD board. She is not within the district, so she is not eligible. I feel badly about all this."
Wysocki said the county board would re-advertise for the position beginning today. She said the board would likely talk about a replacement in September.
Is it just me, or is this whole MTD situation beginning to resemble a bad Keystone Kops Routine?

And so it goes

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hey, it's summer

I weary of politics....

You just can't beat Krannert Center's Summer Repertory Theater for great entertainment. Wife and I have been attending for years and years. It's informal, relatively inexpensive and above all extremely entertaining. I'm always amazed by the talent we have here and can attract here. I'm also amazed at the variety of the offerings they come up with every year.

And, if you're looking for other Saturday night entertainment, listening to jazz or blues while enjoying a glass of good wine outdoors at Alto Vineyards is as close to heaven as you're likely to get in the middle of a cornfield at 10 p.m. in east central Illinois.

I may be old, crusty and curmudgeonly, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna go out and get my copy of 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' this weekend. Yeah, I know it's children's literature, but damn, it's entertaining. And often uplifting. That said, I read Pope Benedict v.18 has said
the Harry Potter books "erode Christianity in the soul" of young people.
Bull. Teaching friendship, loyalty and good triumphing over evil, love conquers hate and strength of character is anti-Christian? Beats the heck out of Grimms' Fairy Tales and a lot of the Mother Goose stuff I was fed as a young-'un. And it's a lot more positive, too.

If you can't make Alto Vineyards music Saturday night (The Impalas are playing), check out one or more of the wine tastings around town Saturday afternoon. You'll usually find events at Sun Singer, The Corkscrew, at two different Piccadilly Liquor locations and often at Friar Tucks. If you time it properly ... better get a designated driver.

See, a whole post without bashing a single Republican.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I support him 1,000 percent`

Karl Rove Deathwatch Day 3

President W-imbecile issued a rather soft non-supportive statement of support for his chief political adviser today. Right in front of him. Beginning to sound like he's distancing himself, preparing for ...

From AP reports:
President Bush said Wednesday that he will withhold judgment about top aide Karl Rove's involvement in leaking the identity of a CIA agent until a federal criminal investigation into the matter is complete.
"This is a serious investigation," Bush said at the end of a meeting with his Cabinet, with Rove sitting just behind him. "I will be more than happy to comment on this matter once this investigation is complete.

Not exactly a vote of confidence. In fact, it's a pretty generic statement considering other Republicals are attempting to rally behind Rove and - given the lack of actual defensible facts - attempting to discredit the media for reporting the facts. Some are now even going as far as to try and discredit outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, saying she was just a desk jockey who wasn't put in jeopardy by any alleged outing which may or may not have occurred.

Smells of desperation.

Rove's Lawyer is even going as far as to say that, well, he didn't use Plame's name while outing her so whatever he did/may have/could have said wasn't actually treasonous.
Again from the AP:
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said Rove did not disclose Valerie Plame's name, a point that Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., called a distinction without a difference.
"The fact that he didn't give her name, but identified the ambassador's wife ... doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who that is," Biden said on CNN's "Inside Politics." "If that occurred, at a minimum, that was incredibly bad judgment, warranting him being asked to leave."

Don't know about anyone else, but to me it kinda makes a hum job in the Oval Office pale by comparision....

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What might have been

The Karl Rove Deathwatch, Day 2.

If we had a Democratic administration coupled with a Republican Congress, hearings would already have started.

Instead the W-imbecile Administration's denials are getting more cryptic and carefully worded:

From the AP:
The White House refused Monday to repeat earlier assertions that any administration official who leaked classified information would be fired, days after Karl Rove, one of President Bush's top aides, was fingered as the source of a news leak that exposed a CIA undercover officer in 2003.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan declined several requests Monday to reiterate the administration's vows to punish anyone who leaked Plame's identity. He said the special prosecutor who was probing the leak had asked the White House not to comment while the investigation was under way.

Democrats are calling for hearings. If Rove is proven to be the leak of the CIA operative's name, jail time could ensue. We can only hope.

Until then, we have these brave words:
"If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing," Bush said on Sept. 30, 2003, the day the Justice Department launched its inquiry.
McClellan went further a week later.
"If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates. That's not the way this president expects people in his administration to conduct their business," he said on Oct. 7, 2003.


And so it goes.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Gorilla hunting


Someone may have found a way of hanging a bell around the neck of Champaign-Urbana's 500-pound gorilla.

I'm speaking, of course, of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District.

The MTD last week annexed a whole bunch of area, from Wilbur Heights in the north to Cherry Hills, Rolling Acres and Sawgrass in the southwest.

Not one of those areas apparently had asked to be annexed.

It's next got its eyes on Savoy, among other places.

Although I think it's only fair that everyone pay their share of the cost of the service that's available to everyone, I find the MTD's tactics to be at best bullying. It's not illegal, but it's certainly less than completely democratic.

So the news that a group of folks in southwest Champaign have found an innovative way to fight back is an interesting development. (Savoy, take notes).

In today's News-Gazette:
Residents of southwest Champaign are beginning a petition drive to create their own mass transit district -- a move that the leader of the effort admits is designed to thwart the plans of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to annex the area.
Organizers say they need at least 500 valid voter signatures under state law to force a referendum.

Under the 500-pound gorilla law under which the MTD operates, it can annex just about any area it wants and the residents can't say no.

But these folks may have found a way around the gorilla law. By creating their own district, they may be able to lock out the MTD from their neighborhoods.
Again, from the NG:
"I'm certain gathering 500 signatures on this will be a piece of cake," Tapley said, "because 98 percent of the people I've talked to are in favor of this and sign the petition.
"The ultimate effect of this is to force the MTD to listen to the people out here," he said.


[The} area includes the Lincolnshire Fields, Trails at Brittany, Ironwood, Copper Ridge, Glenshire and Turnberry Ridge subdivisions, Tapley said.
If 500 or more valid signatures can be obtained, the organizers can petition the Champaign County Circuit Court to hold a referendum on the question of creating such a district.

Will it work? Maybe, but I doubt it. Ultimately MTD will most likely overcome the challenge. But it will take time. And it will cost money. And it just may wake up some of the MTD bullies.

From the NG:
H. George Friedman Jr. of Champaign, chairman of the MTD board, said the district plans to hold a hearing on annexing the southwest Champaign subdivisions in late August or September.
Asked his reaction to the initiative, Friedman called it "counterproductive."
"As I've said over and over again, a metropolitan service, whether you're talking parks, police, fire or street maintenance, ought to be funded by the whole community, not just the central part of the community," he said.

Although he untimately may be right, it still doesn't mean the MTD has to act like an out-of-control kid in a candy store, crashing around all over the place and taking whatever it wants whenever it wants.

This may end up resulting in an interesting little fight.

The MTD probably won't lose, but it may just lose it's aura of invincibility. Let us hope.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

War, what war?

The toll in London is at least 49 dead (with many more they can't reach yet) and more than 700 injured.

The war on terror goes well. (When does Osama's trial start? I forget).


Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, 1,752 Americans have died in Iraq. Another 15,000 to 38,000 have been wounded (Officially 13,190). And that doesn't count the 25,814 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people. (Yeah, I know, Saddam killed Iraqi civilians, too. But there's a difference.)
It has cost us $180.5 billion so far.
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Quada connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps.
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?
Why, again, are we there? No answers yet.

And so it goes.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Hard TIMES ahead

Get ready for more homeless men on the streets of Champaign-Utbana.

Oh, you may not notice it until this fall, but there will be more out there. And you can thank our finely-run, caring and compassionate state government..

As expected, the governor's office announced it wasn't renewing the state's $52,000 grant for the TIMES Center. As a result; jobs will be cut, services will be cut, hours will be cut, and ultimately, some homeless men will NOT be able to pull themselves up and back into productive society.

Because that's what the TIMES Center is really all about. Sure, it appears that all the center does is provide free food and a warm place to sleep for the homeless. It does do that. But there's much more.

What people almost never see is the work the people at the center do with the men there; the job training, the life-skills training, the money-management training, the educational training. The personal and mental health counseling. A lot of very dedicated people do a lot of work trying to help men who have fallen through the cracks of our society climb back through those cracks and rejoin society.

Don't dismiss the homeless with a cynical cry of 'get a job.' Many HAVE jobs. More WANT jobs. Most do not want to be homeless. But you try to get an apartment (security deposit, rent, first and last month's rent,.minimal furnishings, power deposit...) on minimum wage or on day-laborer's wages. You try starting with nothing and establish credit, get a bank account, transportation to and from work, and then put food on the table and a roof over your head.

It's not easy. And if you have no knowledge of how to even start the process, then you've got a problem. That's where the TIMES Center comes in. It's not just a shelter for the homeless; in fact, it really ISN'T a center for homeless. It's a center to break the homeless cycle.

It really needed that $52,000. Yes it gets funding from local governments. Yes it gets funding from local churches. Yes it gets funding from civic groups. And yes, it needs that state grant.

From a News-Gazette article last month:
The TIMES Center was developed in cooperation with the community, and a new facility was opened in February 2000 with a combination of federal, state, local and private dollars, she said.
On average, the TIMES CENTER houses 50 men a night, and it served 50,000 meals last year, Lewis said.
´Obviously the Mental Health Center has underwritten this program already because it serves a critical need for the community,´ [Rep. Tim Johnson spokesman Phil] Bloomer said. ´They are maxed out now in what they can provide. This is just going to put more people on the street.´

And from Friday's News-Gazette:
For all of those reasons, the TIMES Center has reduced its hours of operation as of July 1, Ferguson [Sheila Ferguson, chief operating officer for the Mental Health Center] said.
"We close at 8 a.m., we reopen for lunch and we close for the afternoon and reopen at around 5:30 p.m.," she said. "When we close, we are still providing our group services, our case management referral and linkage, so individuals at the TIMES Center who are participating in those services will continue to participate in them."
Toward the middle of this month, the center's eight and a half employees will be reduced to just six, with the goal in mind of maintaining the 50 beds it currently offers to the homeless, Ferguson said.
"We're continuing to work with DCEO, and as of today we are continuing to see if there are ways we can continue to provide our services," she said.

There are tough times ahead for the TIMES Center. It already provides a meal and a warm place to sleep for 50 men a night. During the winter, the shelter sends its overflow to an auxiliary shelter run by the first Presbyterian Church of Champaign. An average of 5-10 men per night.

No one's really sure what the impact on the community will be because of the loss of this funding. But it can't be good.
Ferguson said those seeking information on how to help the TIMES Center can call 398-8080.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

RE: London

I wish I could get my mind around WHY?

It makes no sense. None.

Life, ALL LIFE, is more precious than that.

It makes me embarrassed for humankind.

I cry for London and Great Britain.

And so it goes.

Yer outta here...

Gotta agree with Rich Miller at Capitol Fax Blog on this one.

Matt Varble over at Champaign American Blog is attempting to 'out' IlliniPundit over discussion and differences about Matt's smoke-free ordinance. I support the ordinance. I hate Varble's actions.

Matt on his blog states
I also believe a self proclaimed anonymous blogger posing as some authority is a big pile of horse manure (not to mention hypocritical) and should be held up to the light and exposed. All credible publishers are publicly identified or known as I choose to be and it should be that way if somebody begins hitting too close to home with local politics. As I've asserted thousands of times before, don't blog if you wish to truly remain anonymous.

That, Matt, is a load of crap.

There are many reasons to retain a bit of anonymity. I have because I'm confident that my employer wouldn't appreciate it. It also allows me to write some things I wouldn't or couldn't in other circumstances. It's as much to protect my employer as to protect me.

Matt, on the other hand, chose to write under his own name. Good for him. That's what the internet's all about: choices. Options.

Sometimes anonymity is the best option. We're not fighting the Revolutionary War here.

When Varble ran for ciity council, he was taken seriously. Lately his shrill diatribe has revealed more.

A reminder from our 16th president:
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
-- Abraham Lincoln

Capitol Fax Blog has urged other bloggers to remove their links to Varble's blog until he ends thos outing crusade.
I already have.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Damned if you do...

Hobson's choice \HOB-sunz-chois\, noun:
A choice without an alternative.

It's a difficult decision: Protect the First Amendment or expose Karl Rove for what he really is: a traitor.

Turns out, Rove, the Bush demagogue ("1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.) may, just MAY be named in the Matt Cooper documents. A lot of people are waiting with baited breath. Including Rove, I'll bet.

A little background from Editor and Publisher:
NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to a federal judge, revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source or sources in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant. Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.
This afternoon, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff confirmed that Cooper did indeed talk to Rove for his story, but Rove's lawyer denied he was the key leaker in the case.

According to Isikoff, Luskin told Newsweek that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He noted that Rove had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.
"He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told Newsweek that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove.

Wonder how well Rove's been sleeping lately? First the issued his moronic quote blasting liberals for being soft on terrorism (which has proven laughable) and now this.

Wonder if 'never knowingly disclosing' classified information is enough to keep a traitor out of jail? Even one as connected as Rove?

Still, Is getting Rove worth trashing reporter confidentiality?

Apparently it's a non-issue, as the reporter's already turned over his documents. Regrettably.

I hope it's worth it.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Osama bin George?

Could hardly say it better than this or this

OK, here are a few things I disagree with, but not many. (Most of my disagreements come in Part II).

And so it goes.

New look, same old drivel

If you've been here before, you'll notice that I switched the blog to a new template over the weekend.

In the last week or so, Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden started his own office blog. It's a good idea, probaby help his reelection(s) and maybe even keep people informed.

Unfortunately, he used the same Blogger template that I used.

Couldn't have that.

Besides, I think the new look is a little sleeker anyway. (Nevertheless, it was a pain to switch templates; carrying over the blog links just about stretched my brain to its llimits. Unfortunately, I think i lost a couple.).

And so it goes

Monday, July 4, 2005

Why we're here

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Sunday, July 3, 2005

The Crisis

IN THE progress of politics, as in the common occurrences of life, we are not only apt to forget the ground we have travelled over, but frequently neglect to gather up experience as we go. We expend, if I may so say, the knowledge of every day on the circumstances that produce it, and journey on in search of new matter and new refinements: but as it is pleasant and sometimes useful to look back, even to the first periods of infancy, and trace the turns and windings through which we have passed, so we may likewise derive many advantages by halting a while in our political career, and taking a review of the wondrous complicated labyrinth of little more than yesterday.

Truly may we say, that never did men grow old in so short a time! We have crowded the business of an age into the compass of a few months, and have been driven through such a rapid succession of things, that for the want of leisure to think, we unavoidably wasted knowledge as we came, and have left nearly as much behind us as we brought with us: but the road is yet rich with the fragments, and, before we finally lose sight of them, will repay us for the trouble of stopping to pick them up.

Were a man to be totally deprived of memory, he would be incapable of forming any just opinion; every thing about him would seem a chaos: he would have even his own history to ask from every one; and by not knowing how the world went in his absence, he would be at a loss to know how it ought to go on when he recovered, or rather, returned to it again. In like manner, though in a less degree, a too great inattention to past occurrences retards and bewilders our judgment in everything; while, on the contrary, by comparing what is past with what is present, we frequently hit on the true character of both, and become wise with very little trouble. It is a kind of counter-march, by which we get into the rear of time, and mark the movements and meaning of things as we make our return. There are certain circumstances, which, at the time of their happening, are a kind of riddles, and as every riddle is to be followed by its answer, so those kind of circumstances will be followed by their events, and those events are always the true solution. A considerable space of time may lapse between, and unless we continue our observations from the one to the other, the harmony of them will pass away unnoticed: but the misfortune is, that partly from the pressing necessity of some instant things, and partly from the impatience of our own tempers, we are frequently in such a hurry to make out the meaning of everything as fast as it happens, that we thereby never truly understand it; and not only start new difficulties to ourselves by so doing, but, as it were, embarrass Providence in her good designs.


We may not, perhaps, be wise enough to make all the advantages we ought of our independence; but they are, nevertheless, marked and presented to us with every character of great and good, and worthy the hand of him who sent them. I look through the present trouble to a time of tranquillity, when we shall have it in our power to set an example of peace to all the world. Were the Quakers really impressed and influenced by the quiet principles they profess to hold, they would, however they might disapprove the means, be the first of all men to approve of independence, because, by separating ourselves from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, it affords an opportunity never given to man before of carrying their favourite principle of peace into general practice, by establishing governments that shall hereafter exist without wars. O! ye fallen, cringing, priest-and-Pemberton-ridden people! What more can we say of ye than that a religious Quaker is a valuable character, and a political Quaker a real Jesuit.


The principal causes why independence has not been so universally supported as it ought, are fear and indolence, and the causes why it has been opposed, are, avarice, down-right villany, and lust of personal power. There is not such a being in America as a Tory from conscience; some secret defect or other is interwoven in the character of all those, be they men or women, who can look with patience on the brutality, luxury and debauchery of the British court, and the violations of their army here.


All we want to know in America is simply this, who is for independence, and who is not? Those who are for it, will support it, and the remainder will undoubtedly see the reasonableness of paying the charges; while those who oppose or seek to betray it, must expect the more rigid fate of the jail and the gibbet. There is a bastard kind of generosity, which being extended to all men, is as fatal to society, on one hand, as the want of true generosity is on the other. A lax manner of administering justice, falsely termed moderation, has a tendency both to dispirit public virtue, and promote the growth of public evils.

Excerpts from
The Crisis
By Thomas Paine

Copyright ©1999-2005 by the Independence Hall Association, electronically publishing as

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Lest we forget

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, 1,745 Americans have died in Iraq. Another 15,000 to 38,000 have been wounded (Officially 12,855). And that doesn't count the 25,814 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people. Every one is someone's son or daughter. (Yeah, I know, Saddam killed Iraqi civilians, too. But there's a difference.)
It has cost us $180.5 billion so far.
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Quada connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps.
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?
Why, again, are we there?

And so it goes.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Let the games begin...

Ah, and so it begins.

I see that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement.

Now, George W-imbecile will finally get his chance to nominate a justice. And we'll see if he uses the nomination to spend some of that imaginary political capital that he deluded himself into believing he earned in the election. Spend it wisely.

This could be a fun and/or frustrating time for politics watchers. Especially given the poll numbers recently out about W-imbecile. He's at the lowest point since ... since his father was there. And he's steadily falling. Even better, polls show that a quarter of Republicans (along with about 60 percent of Democrats) think impeachment proceedings would be a good idea. Can you say lame duck? Quack.

So, will W nominate a conservative idealogue? A conservative intellectual? A right-wing evangelical extremist? A nutcase? There's even a chance that W will reach back to the politcal center (of the GOP) to attempt to regain some of his lost base. (Sure...)

Only time will tell.

All we know now is that he's promised to act quickly.

From the AP:
President Bush said Friday he will pick a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a timely manner so her vacancy can be filled by the time the Supreme Court resumes work in the fall.
The White House said he would not decide before returning from Europe July 8.

Heading up the process in the Senate will be Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the panel's senior Democrat. Radical right-wing conservatives are not exactly dancing in the aisles about that.
Again, from the AP:
Shortly after winning re-election last fall, Specter angered conservatives long suspicious of him by warning a newly re-elected President Bush that anti-abortion judges would have a difficult time winning Senate confirmation, given Democratic opposition.
The comment sparked an outcry from social conservatives, who waged a campaign to pressure Republican Senate leaders to deny Specter the judiciary committee chairmanship he'd long coveted.
Conservatives eager to see more like-minded judges elevated to the federal courts worry about Specter's moderate politics and maverick style, but Specter ultimately survived that challenge.

So who's it gonna be? No one outside of W's 'handlers' knows for sure. You KNOW there's already a list and you can bet it'll be someone pretty darn conservative. You can pretty well bet it will be an anti-abortion conservative. Neither prospect bodes well for an easy coast through the confirmation process. If the W-imbecile wants a justice in place for the start of the fall term, he'd better put his list of extremist conservative idealogue nutcases back in the drawer and look at his 'potentially confirmable' list.

The AP put together a list of possible candidates, including lengthy profiles, which I've edited way down to a few pertinent comments. Culled from The Chicago Sun-Times:
Alito, 55, has been a strong conservative voice in his 15 years on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considered to be among the most liberal. On one hot-button issue, Alito was a lone dissenter in a case striking down a Pennsylvania law requiring women seeking abortions to inform their husbands.

Appointed a federal judge by President Reagan and elevated to the 5th Circuit in 1991, he has become best known for his views that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and that abortion regulation should be decided by state legislatures.

In McCorvey v. Hill in 2004. Norma McCorvey was Roe in the landmark 1972 case that legalized abortion. Jones asked the court to overturn the ruling, arguing that abortion has a detrimental effect on women's long-term emotional state.

The 51-year-old Luttig is considered a solid conservative choice. He wrote the 1999 4th Circuit decision that struck down a key provision of 1994 Violence Against Women Act.

A respected conservative legal scholar, he opposed President Clinton's impeachment and [opposed] the Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Bush v. Gore that made George W. Bush the president. Liberal interest groups are wary of McConnell because he is personally opposed to abortion.

Roberts, 50, has generally avoided weighing in on disputed social issues. Abortion rights groups, however, have maintained that he tried during his days as a lawyer in the first Bush administration to overturn Roe v. Wade.

He was part of a panel that ruled in 2003 that the government could indefinitely detain without legal rights American citizens captured overseas in the war on terror. The Supreme Court reversed that decision. He has less clear-cut views on the issue of reproductive rights.

Not a very cheerful list , is it?

If you're someone who considers proceses like this fun (or at least good theater), the next few months in Washington D.C. should be great sport.

Let the games begin!

And so it goes.