Thursday, January 21, 2010

For IL's 17th District United States Representative: PHIL HARE

Beginning today and continuing each weekday through Election Day on Feb. 2, I'll be posting my endorsements for races important to Fulton County and State of Illinois voters.  While they will likely have little impact, I still enjoy rationalizing and defending my votes, and I sincerely hope you'll consider and enjoy them.


            When Phil Hare won election and took over Lane Evans’ 17th district Congressional seat in early 2007, it’s safe to say the bar had been set pretty high.  And while no one can truly fill the shoes of Lane Evans, Congressman Hare has come pretty close.

            Congressman Hare is to the point, genuine, and down-to-earth and cares about people.  Perhaps, though, the greatest compliment I can give him is that he is legitimately (and sometimes unpopularly so) honest.  It’s often said by Hare’s staff that he would rather vote his conscience and lose an election than win an election by voting for something he didn’t believe in.

            Hare supports health care reform in Congress and believes that all Americans have a fundamental right to health care, but not for the same reasons that most do.  When justifying his vote (although in our eyes, he needs not justify), he tells the story of his father being so ill, many years ago, that his health insurance premiums were putting the family in a dire financial situation.  Hare returned home from his sister’s wedding to find the sheriff at the door with a foreclosure notice.  The health insurance companies led to the Hare family losing its home.  In his final days, Hare’s father pleaded with Phil to “make sure that this doesn’t happen to any other families.”

            Phil agreed, and he has done everything in his power to do so during his time in Washington.

            Hare’s presumptive Republican opponent in the fall, Rock Island native and East Moline pizzeria owner Bobby Schilling, opposes many of the key issues that push me to believe in Hare.  Schilling opposes the proposed federal correctional facility at Thomson, wishing to deny over 3000 jobs to a state in desperate need.  And although Thomson lies within the 16th district, its proximity to the Quad Cities mean that potentially hundreds of jobs could fall to open arms within the district Schilling hopes to represent.  Schilling also opposes lowering the corporate tax rate, further hoping to strengthen corporate ties over the country.  This is especially concerning after today’s Supreme Court decision.  Schilling opposes a woman’s right to choose, opposes federal government involvement in education issues, and perhaps most egregiously, considers himself a “9/12 candidate,” or one who supports the nine principles and 12 values of the founding fathers as laid out by Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

            Hare, on the other hand, is a champion of agriculture and veterans’ affairs – he worked tirelessly for the passing of the 2008 Farm Bill and served on the V.A. Committee in the House of Representatives during the last Congress.  “Congressman Phil Hare” is also synonymous with labor and union rights.  A member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Hare is a staunch supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of legislation requiring employers to recognize a union formed by majority sign-up.  He also is a member of the House Trade Working Group, fighting for fair trade policies that preserve American jobs, fight poverty, and protect our natural resources.  These practices are built upon Hare’s 13 years cutting lining for men’s suits at Seaford Clothing Factory in Rock Island and his time as union leader and President of UNITE HERE local 617.

            Congressman Phil Hare, although unopposed in the Democratic primary, faces re-election this fall.  I sincerely hope you will join us in supporting this friend of the 17th district, of Fulton County, and of so many of us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Pou Pou Platter

As the title suggests, this post will be a medley of subjects. I have far too much on mind and we all know how I love lists and organization.

#1- Anyone know how I can make my profile page look a little cooler? Or is it the blog page? I don't even know. I just know I want cool stuff on there. I suppose a picture of myself would be a good start. Too bad I don't have ANY. Well, not ones where I am alone. All of them seem to have this tall, gangly kid in them!! :-)

#2- I think I may have "checked out". This time in every semester, I hear professors warn students not to "check out" because there are still assignments and projects and finals left. I'm not sure where exactly I've checked out from. Is it some hotel where people do nothing but study? I've never gotten it. I've also never understood why people could "check out" at all. Every semester, I think to myself, "How could I just stop trying now?! There is the final to worry about!" I never let myself really relax until all my finals are finished. But this semester, I am really just ready to stop trying. Maybe it is because Thanksgiving break was two weeks before finals week. I'm not sure. But I know that finals seem like some distant horror for some other sad person to have to endure. Surely I won't have to deal with those terrible things. And my stats project? Meh, I'll finish it later. This is very unlike me. And I realize that this is not at all good for my grades. I definitely care about keeping my 4.0 intact. But none of these things are working to shake me from my slow, tired, lazy stupor. It doesn't help that I have had a constant headache for two days. It gives me an excuse to procrastinate on things. I think I need to check back in. I guess I should find this Hotel de Homework and throw a room for another two weeks on the debit card. Maybe it won't be as bad as I think. After all, the last hotel room I stayed in was lovely. Best bed I've ever slept on.

#3- Colin. I'm really extremely lucky to have him around. He truly keeps me sane. And he is definitely my best friend. I have a lot of friends, sure, but most are long-distance and very busy. We don't always do a good job of keeping in touch. But Colin is always there to listen, offer advice, be on my side, cheer me up, believe in me, or whatever else I might need. I'm not sure how he deals with me and my occasional, slight bouts of insanity. But he does. And I think that is pretty great.

#4- Another thing that keeps me sane, though not nearly to the degree that Colin does, is my iTunes playlist. Its great. Every Glee song, all my favorite Bruce songs, along with some good holiday songs.. Kristin Chenoweth! Idina Menzel! Hello? Its fantastic.

#5- Married people. This is extremely random, I know. But, I was thinking today. I think I know more married or engaged people that non-married or non-engaged people. I find this really weird. I mean, if you are married or engaged, then, awesome! I think its great! I think it just seems weird to me because married people are old, obviously. And these married people are my age! That makes me... old. Wow. I am just not in high school anymore. And not a kid. And this whole realization is weird for me. Makes me feel mature. Like, if I wanted, I could get married! I just think it is crazy. Now, disclaimer, since Colin will obviously read this. I am not wanting to get married. I am not going to circle rings in some jewelry ad and slip them in his coat pocket, car, etc. or book the reception hall and pick out the dress before getting engaged (like someone I know did last year). I am just saying that it is pretty incredible to me that I could get married. That I am able. Us kids grow up so fast...

All right. This has been Katey's extremely random pou pou platter of thoughts. Sorry I'm so horrible at updating this blog. But I am guessing that neither of my whole two readers is checking the blog every day and crying when I haven't posted. If you are, well, I really apologize. I'll do better in the future.

I wonder how Julie got so many readers. Should I cook all of Julia Child's recipes in one year, too?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My 2nd biggest problem with tonight's elections

My first is obvious.  I'm a raging liberal.  Raging.  I am half donkey.  Take a blood sample if you wish; I don't lie.  So the results thus far in the Virginia Governor’s race (VAGov), New Jersey Governor’s race (NJGov) and likely the upcoming results in New York’s 23rd Congressional District (NY23), are to my displeasure as a Democrat. 

As of posting time, calls had been made for the GOP in NJGov, and, even worse for the people of the commonwealth, VAGov.  In the former, Republican Chris Christie bested incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine.  In the latter, ultra-conservative Bob McDonnell took an easy victory home over Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds.

Outside of Mark Kirk, the representative from suburban Chicago that will most likely be the GOP nominee for the Illinois Senate seat my ultimate boss, current state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, seeks, McDonnell is now public enemy number one, as far as I’m concerned.

Although McDonnell says his views since writing it have changed, a thesis paper he wrote when 34 years old should give the nation pause as to where it is headed.  McDonnell’s thesis on feminism and family values essentially says that working women are a detriment to society and functional families, and that “homosexuals” are the main problem in America today.  Is this really who you want, Virginia? 

The bigger issue in terms of this blog, though, is the problem I have with so many people calling tonight’s results a referendum on President Obama.  Let’s break this down.  A historically red state with an unprecedented track record of electing a governor from the opposite party as the president (true since 1977) elects a GOP candidate against an extremely weak blue candidate with a Democrat in the Oval Office, and somehow, tonight’s vote somehow represents how they feel about Obama?

Aside from the fact that Deeds was, for all intents and purposes, a weak candidate, Obama’s approval rating in Virginia is still above 50 percent, and 56 percent of voters said their feelings on Obama had nothing to do with their vote today.  And of the voters who told exit pollsters that their Obama feelings influenced their vote, only 24 percent said that negative feelings toward Obama influenced them.

The same holds true for New Jerseyans.  Let alone Corzine’s approval rating treacherously in the 40s, New Jersey’s dead-last rank in economic development among states, and Corzine being an extremely wealthy former Goldman-Sachs executive; exit polls asking the same question to voters in NJGov showed that 60 percent said Obama had no impact on their vote, and of the 39 percent who said their Obama feelings did influence their votes, 20 percent voted to show support for Obama.

NY23 is perhaps the most interesting of the races with candidates tonight.  Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, for weeks the odds-on favorite to win the upstate district that hasn’t gone blue since the Civil War, trails narrowly the Democrat Bill Owens after GOP candidate Dede Scozzofava dropped out of the race over the weekend.  If the Republicans/conservatives can’t even hold a district which they haven’t lost since the 1860s, let alone win by a substantial margin, how is this a referendum on Obama?

And with all of these ultra-right conservatives becoming the “revolution” of the Republican Party, how can the GOP have room for moderates and win any elections except those in districts like NY23?

With 87 percent of precincts reporting, it looks like they might not even do that.

Suck it, Michael Steele.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Today I am thinking about college. Specifically, my college experience. It has definitely been unique.

In general, the word "college" makes me think of both ultra-intelligent, preppy people you'd find studying in a library in a big group- the kind of people universities like to put on brochures- and also the more social, sometimes slightly more unkempt people who spend more time drinking and partying than devoting time to class and studying. I have been to two universities in my college career and the first was full of the first people I described, while the second has many more of the second group. I transferred after one year for several reasons, the main one being that I thought I would fit in better, from the University of Illinois to Western Illinois University.

Now, the unfortunate thing is that I have discovered through all of this that I am really more of that first group. At least, I come to college to learn and get a degree rather than party all the time. I don't know so much about the ultra-intelligent part. I am not an extremely outgoing person and I have a hard time starting up a conversation with people I don't know. I don't like to go to big parties and drink all night. I don't have a problem with alcohol, but I don't see the point in drinking just to get drunk. It is expensive and you are sure to feel horrible the next day. These viewpoints make me a pretty big minority here at Western. They also make it pretty hard for me to find friends with similar interests. Though my roommates are not as extreme as the Western stereotype I painted above, they do have much more in common with each other than with me and have become best friends during this semester. They both are much more social than I and have many mutual friends that they hang out with all the time. This makes me often the third wheel. If I am invited to come along wherever they are going, I'm still left to my own devices once we get there, which basically means I stand alone awkwardly, since I don't know anyone. They also don't understand that I don't enjoy all the same things that they do, and therefore I am often just left out or ignored.

I realize this makes me sound pretty pathetic. I do have friends, but the majority of them don't go here. It just makes me wonder if I made the right decision back in the first semester of my freshman year. I honestly didn't give U of I much of a chance. I had applied to transfer by Christmas. Maybe I should have listened to Kelly, my first friend at U of I, one my best friends now, and my would-have-been roommate for sophomore year, when she told me to stay. I'm not saying I regret the decision to transfer, but I am not positive I did the right thing either. There are benefits to being at Western. I am much closer to both home and Colin and since the school is much smaller, I have gotten to know both professors and students in my major. But the part that bothers me is that I transferred to fit in better and ended up realizing I fit better at U of I. How ironic.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My turn!

I often worry that Katey talks me up to a higher standard than I can live up.  This may be one of those cases.

Hello!  I'm Colin.  I'm less new to blogging than my co-poster over in Leatherneck Land.  However, that doesn't mean I'm good at it.  It doesn't mean I'm a good writer, and I often forget to write on blogs when I should.  Also problematic is that I don't always come up with the most interesting blog topics.  There.  After the ego boost that Katey gave me, I think I'm finally back down to earth in my mind as well as yours.

I'm a junior political science major (history/journalism minor) at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.  I'm vice president of the Knox College Democrats, I've worked with and for many big names in my relatively short political endeavor, including both the President and Senate Minority Whip.

I say this not out of arrogance or ego -- although Katey I know would say it is oversized -- but because it's who I am.  Yes, I play college baseball, but who I am is what I am in the political field.  Anyway, more will come out about me as this blog progresses.  And as the co-blogger says more about me.

Now, I must also agree that Katey and I are so much alike, but yet just different enough to work flawlessly.  She compliments and completes me, and although she and I were friends well before we started dating, the bond she and I have is unmatched for two people of our age, and I see that only growing stronger as time goes on.

During Sunday's show, I couldn't help but worry occasionally that Katey wasn't enjoying her birthday present.  Let's not beat around the bush; I'm the Springsteen nut.  She likes he and the viagra-takin' E Street Band, but I love them.  Listening to them now, actually.  So naturally, when she said she wanted to go for her birthday, I couldn't help but be ecstatic.  Easiest birthday present ever.  

However, knowing now that she isn't really disappointed, and that, save the headache, she enjoyed herself, I'm thrilled.  I always have the time of my life at a Springsteen concert.  This was my fourth.  Anytime I can hear Backstreets (they played Born to Run in its entirety, with an emotional and rousing Backstreets that nearly had me dropping tears), it's a great concert.  But to be able to share it with Katey as another milestone in our relationship made it all the better.  She recently told someone she would go again, and I nearly drove to Macomb and proposed to her.  Ha.

I'll save the full review of the concert for the next post.  It's nearly time for baseball lifting.  Not cool.

When I actually get more time, I'll post more interesting topics: our relationship, my life, political viewpoints, news get the point.  They'll get much cooler than my introduction.  I swear.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hello readers! So, I started this account and we set up this blog, and I was extremely excited. And yet it has been.. three weeks? since then, and I have yet to write anything. I figured now (when I should be studying) is as good of a time as any!

I am new to blogging, with the exception of contributing 100 words or less once a week to a blog for class, usually about topics that are not at all my forte. But this is my (our) own blog! I can say what I like here. I suppose I should start with something about myself.

My name is Katey. I am a junior in college and I am working on a major in Accountancy and a minor in Spanish. I am also a member of a variety of other organizations and honor societies and clubs, most of which I have just joined this semester. These, combined with my classes getting much more difficult, make me extremely busy. When I do find some free time, I usually use it to catch up on my favorite shows, namely Glee, House, and Bones. Glee is absolutely fantastic. If you don't watch it, get yourself on over to right now and check it out.

Another extremely important part of my life is Colin, my co-blogger. We have been dating for nearly ten months (ten on the first of the month), but it seems much longer than that. In a good way! We had been friends for a long time before we ever started dating and he is now my best friend. We are exactly alike and complete opposites at the same time, and he understands me perfectly. I know that we will continue to be we for a long time. This may seem idealistic, readers, but I guess you will just have to stay tuned to see who ends up being right.

Now. My one exciting event I can tell you all about that has happened recently (I won't bore you with the classes I attended today) is our journey down to St. Louis (St. Lou) to see Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band. It was fantastic. Yes, I'll admit, I did get a crippling headache and didn't deal well with all the standing we did. But. That does not make the concert any less awesome. It was a learning experience. I now know that I should not be on the floor. I should get a seat right on the side (so Bruce can see my fantastic sign to request a song) and bring along some Excedrin Migraine, just in case. The tickets were my birthday present from Colin (thanks again!) and I loved it. My favorite part was seeing how incredibly enthusiastic they all were. They have been performing together for years and years, and yet they still have an extraordinary amount of energy every single night. I hope to find something in my life that I love that much.

I suppose I should now get back to studying. Or, to be more accurate, start studying. Hopefully Colin will find some time soon to put in his two cents. Stick around for it. He is more eloquent than I. :-)