One year after some 600 jobs were in saved at the Hartmarx factory in Des Plaines, hundreds of workers and elected officials -- including State Treasurer and Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate Alexi Giannoulias -- gathered to celebrate the anniversary.
The controversy over Andrew Breitbart's smear of Shirley Sherrod has been burning up the blogosphere this week. For those new to the story, Breitbart's conservative website Big Government posted a highly-misleading, heavily-edited clip of Sherrod speaking at an NAACP dinner in Georgia early this year. It subsequently resulted in her being fired as the USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development. Yesterday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized for the department's premature action.
But there's now a local angle on this story, as well. This morning, Rep. Jan Schakowsky drew a connection between Breitbart and her GOP challenger, Joel Pollak. Specifically, she noted that Pollak has repeatedly published blog posts on Big Government and that Breitbart even hosted a fundraising event for his campaign. From her statement:
Andrew Breitbart’s web site, BigGovernment.com, has proven to be a major source of misleading and inaccurate attacks on individuals and organizations that work for social and economic justice. [...] I call on my Republican opponent Mr. Pollak to denounce Brietbart’s intentional distortion of the truth and to end any further association with his website, BigGovernment.com.
Hoping to take advantage off the deficit hysteria sweeping
Washington, liberals in the House -- led by Illinois' own Rep. Jan
Schakowsky -- are preparing to introduce
stand-alone legislation that would create a public option in the state
health insurance exchanges that start in 2014. Schakowsky is being
buoyed by new research from the Congressional Budget Office that
reinforces what public option supporters have argued for two years: Creating a public option would save
the federal government $68 billion in just its first six years.
While a long shot, it's a proposal worth discussing over the
next several months as lawmakers figure out ways to lower the nation's
long-term debt overhang. If nothing more, the push could reinvigorate state officials. After all, they still have the opportunity to add in their own government-run plan before their health exchanges are developed.
In other health care reform news, 159,900 small businesses in Illinois (with fewer than 25 workers and average wages of less than $50,000) are now eligible for a tax credit
that will reduce their health care premium costs by 35 percent. No one tell Peter Roskam ...
Three months after GOP Rep. Peter Roskam appeared on Fox Chicago Sunday and perpetuated the claim that the financial reform bill represented "another bailout," Rep. Jan Schakowsky finally got a chance to rebut it.
Back in March, we were excited to learn
that Illinois' own Rep. Jan Schakowsky would serve as a member of
President Obama's 18-member deficit commission, knowing she would add
a progressive perspective to the discussion about the nation's
long-term debt. Others, however, we're less sanguine about the
commission's potential. Because recommendations for revenue increases
and spending cuts could only be sent to Congress if 14 of the 18
members reached consensus, some feared that anti-tax conservatives
would be unwilling to cooperate.
After just two meetings, that cynicism seems to have been warranted. In an interview with Think Progress yesterday, Schakowsky called the success of the commission “unlikely” because conservatives are refusing to consider any
tax hikes, even though combined taxes are at their lowest levels in a
half-century. "[Conservatives] give some lip service to ‘everything
should be on the table,’" said Schakowsky. "Then, when it actually
comes to what kind of revenue can we raise, [they] are closing that door and
taking it off the table." Watch it:
At Rep. Jan Schakowsky's annual fundraiser in Chicago, Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sheila Simon called
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady "a step back in time." She went
on to rail Brady for not supporting women's issues and opposing
constitutionally protected rights.
In describing why he decided to challenge Rep. Jan Schakowsky this election year, Republican (and Fox News darling) Joel Pollak refers back to an August 31, 2009 health care town hall she held in Skokie. Here he is on Sean Hannity's Fox News program last Friday:
I came back home and saw the same thing happening in my community when Jan Schakowsky suppressed questions outside and inside her own town hall meeting. ... And that clinched my decision to run. I said, "You know what? I gotta stand up for people in my community who are just trying to be heard."
While Pollak has widely circulated a video of a health care activist instructing supporters to "block" reform opponents at the Skokie event, there is still a major problem with his narrative: Opposition voices were not actually "suppressed" at the meeting. To the contrary, there were many critics of the federal reform proposal there and they certainly got a chance to "be heard."
Like Pollak, Progress Illinois was in attendance, with our camera. Here's a sampling of some of the questions asked by reform opponents. In one case, you can even hear Schakowsky herself instructing the crowd to "Let him speak." Watch: