Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010: already some choppy waters

Already, the new year is crazy.

Really, Rod? You're 'blacker' than the POTUS? I guess, for this guy, race and class are all the same.
Really, FOX?  I'll just let this speak for itself:

Her substantive deficiencies, even more dramatic than those that had previously been reported: her lack of understanding about why there are two Koreas, her ignorance about the function of the Federal Reserve, her belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

I guess there really aren't any standards left, at all.

And, really, Harry Reid?  But then, who in the world is surprised that some elderly guy from Nevada thinks this way?  I mean, come on!  On the other hand, isn't he really talking about code-switching? And most of us folks of color do it.  Or maybe he really is saying that some black fella could never  be president unless he was high yella and talked proper, I don't know.  I'm not an old white guy. 

But did anyone catch Liz Cheney on This Morning on Sunday? Good lord, the balls on her.  She actually said that this was the way 'liberal elites' talked to each other because no one she knows would speak this way.  It was a neat move:  acknowledge the problematics (but not really because no one around that table with the exception of the bearded guy was thinking about anything other than intent rather than impact) but throw the onus of Raqcism on the liberals.  (Not to say that libs on the left always get race right. Hello, Clintons during the primary.)  Kudos to her for that flexible piece of racial/linguistic gymnastics.

(Ta-Nehisi Coates has an aside on it here. Which you've probably already read because I'm late with this.)

Anyway, the legislative session starts today in Springfield. (God, I hate going down to Springfield.  I hate that there's only one train in/out of that place; I hate that the office maps make no sense whatsoever and I hate that it's so dingy and small and if you miss the 5 pm train, you're basically screwed.)

This session is going to be a hard one.  No one wants to take responsibility for the massive crisis Illinois is facing.  Gov Quinn is trying to do the right thing but he's so...un-smooth, he makes himself an easy target for both the GOP and Hynes.  And his tone-deaf mishandling of the last budget cycle did not leave a good taste in anyone's mouth.  Hynes is doing the best he can and has an inside view of the toilet our state budget is in, and how human services is on the bubble - since his office has about $5 billion in unpaid bills to address.  His plan is modest but, of course, since it relies on increasing taxes, the GOP is going to eat him alive.

[Update: I've heard some scuttlebutt that Hynes' plan to fix things is actually more far-reaching, and potentially painful to human services, than previously expected.  Drastically slimming down human services?? I'll have to follow up on that with some folks I know.]

And what's the IL GOP doing?  Not a single GOP candidate seems to have a realistic clue about the budget.  They all think it's only a matter of structural bloat and not of debilitating structural debt that needs revenue.  We don't have $13 billion in cuts to make in our budget.  If you try to cut $13 billion you start cutting into essential services, like education, medical care, public safety, etc.

A GOP Rep was on Chicago Tonight last week (I met him once - a nice, sincere, faith kind of guy) but when he said that the first priorities for any budget was for things like critical infrastructure like education, healthcare and public safety, I wanted to say, 'Who do you think does that work??' 

Who addresses issues of access and quality education in this state?  Non profits.  Who operates a gamut of services that provide medical care and health care access to communities?  Non profits.  Who often delivers services that impact the public safety of our communities?  Non profits.  Who delivers crucial food, shelter and violence services?  Non profits.  Who educates, trains and professionalizes our child care providers?  Non profits.


How do the Dems respond?  Some of them have quietly signed on to a modest revenue plan.  Some (like D'Amico) are stubbornly refusing to take responsibility and do what needs to be done to fix this train wreck. And what's the GOP response?  Strategic obstruction.

I was on a call yesterday and it was said that the House Republican leader is going to hold his caucus so tightly there will be no movement from any Republican on this budget issue until after the general election in November 2010.  They get to step back and deny any responsibility - they weren't involved so nothing is their fault.  But what do they think is going to happen to 25% of the non profits spread across this state, in the meantime?  And after the general election, and they may/may not have control of the Governor's office, how craptacular is the budget going to be when none of their current candidates  have the integrity to do what everyone knows needs to happen - RAISE REVENUE.

(When I say 'everyone' I'm talking about Crain's, Trib, Daily Herald, Bond Buyer, Pew Center on the States, etc.)

Leader Cross wants to 'move Illinois forward' but how can you do that when your plan is to delay movement - and won't actually fix anything?
So.  Here's to a tough session.

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