Sunday, July 29, 2007

London Calling? Or Havana?

Well, though still a few weeks away from getting into my new condo, I'm enjoying Skokie and the northern burbs (though I regret missing the DuPage County Fair; nothing like rows of cows and goats on a 90 degree day). Today I went to a house party -- and this was quite a house, in Highland Park -- for Daniel Biss, a young University of Chicago math professor who is running for the IL House in District 17, which covers Skokie and nearby. U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and a couple of current state reps were there. I was impressed by Daniel; obviously he's a bright guy, but he also seems to be well-composed and knowledgeable on many issues. ( I'm hoping to get involved with his campaign in some way.

Prior to going to the gathering, I thought I'd get myself in a political state of mind by seeing Sicko, the Michael Moore movie, which conveniently was playing at the Highland Park Theatre. I certainly admire Michael Moore and the dialogue he spurs, but sometimes I find him a bit too overt in presenting what to me (and I'd presume most Dems) seems to be an obvious message that the "other side" will opt to reject regardless. But I'm not sure I want to know anyone who can see Sicko and not feel a sense of shame for the state of health care (or more accuratly perhaps, coverage) in the United States. As Moore ( depicts with typical irreverence and incredulity, Canada, England, France and even Cuba(!!!) have universal health systems that seemingly provide comprehensive, quality healthcare for everyone (including visiting Americans) while still managing to make doctors wealthy. And as Sicko artfully depicts, even those of us fortunate to have health insurance would likely be far better off in a country where the public good takes precedent over the profits and lobbying power of insurance, health care and pharmaceutical companies.

I asked Cong. Schakowsky if Washington, on both sides, takes Michael Moore seriously, because it would seem obvious that they should. She said she and others got a private screening of the movie, and she certainly endorses some sort of universal coverage, but said it won't even be on the table until the next administration.

Friday, July 27, 2007

OTDB Young Democrats Success Story

Thursday, July 26th was a big night for OTDB and I would like to spend a few moments sharing what happened at the meeting. We met in a large meeting room filled with about 150 chairs, when 50 people showed up it proved the venue was a bit large. That being said, OTDB was represented by 8 people, by far the largest group in the room of 50. Truly what surprised me most was that no more than 15 actual young people were in the crowd. More than a 50% representation by OTDB was a surprising success. However, that being said, expansion will be quick and exciting. A little advertising, phone banking and spreading the word goes a long way. OTDB cannot wait to get started working with the Young Democrats on recruiting and winning elections. We all have the same goal in mind, registering new voters, educating voters, energizing voters, all these things will pave the way toward numerous Blue victories next November

Adults filled the night with lectures yet two young people outshined them all. Both Mike Keene (representing the South Chicago Young Democrats) and Magen Ryan of the Young Democrats impressed everyone in the room. Both had very interesting things to say and they both presented themselves very well. In addition to Mike and Magen there were a few highlights. There was much talk of a hypothetical "playbook" for Democrats and how to develop this playbook, that being said, there were never any specifics provided, maybe the venue was too large. We also discussed the impact of Pop Culture on the world of politics, again Mike and Magen shined by presenting very different views from the rest of the speakers. Both pointed out that Pop Culture is, in fact, what is POPular and therefore it would be a mistake to run an election without at least paying attention to what is popular. Harvey Wells of WCPT (listen now) presented a good point when he said that we need to flip around the fallacy that Liberals run the media while also paying attention to how to use the media to our advantage, truly the media defines pop culture, or maybe vice versa.

There was some time spent on a question and answer forum in which OTDB presented 2 of the 6 questions. Our questions were simple, yet left unanswered. First, "Is there any plan to expand the Young Democrats and if so, what is that plan?" Secondly, "Don't you think that this generation is ignored rather than apathetic?" While the questions were never answered both Mike and Magen displayed true passion on the subjects. The night went rather quickly and ended with the presentation of those who were there for election reasons and those who were organizers. All and all the meeting was a good first step, the OTDB Youth Action Board hopes to be included in the organizing of the next meeting with great ideas for expansion and further excitement. After the meeting our group agreed unanimously that the Young Democrats are a very determined group who have great ideas for the future of our county and country. Any worries you may have about us Young Democrats in general can be laid to rest. We will engage more young people than anyone can imagine, that I promise to you before November of 2008.

Be excited for the next generation, because if you are not, we will leave you in the dust. :)

Justin P. Heath

Let's Hear It For the DuPage Election Commission!

The below is a screen shot from the official election results, with highlighting added. Way to go, guys! I feel great that you'll be counting my votes.

This is What Censorship Looks Like

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Good Time for a Great Cause

Today, the Wheaton-based Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans ( held their 2nd Annual Golf & Grill fundraiser and Operation: Turn DuPage Blue was delighted to participate. OTDB sponsored a hole, Chair Bob Peickert led a foursome of golfers on a beautiful day and 10 of us joined a large crowd for dinner, highlighted by a full half-hour of generous raffle prize giveaways.

OTDB thanks the MSHV for a wonderful event and very much appreciates all of their vital efforts.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Comment on Comments

Comments on this site are now moderated. We've taken this step after our site was hit by spammers, both those of the garden-variety web-'bot sort and local Republican trolls.

For those who are going to denounce this decision as a violation of free speech, I say pardon my French, but au contraire. This is not a public forum, it is our own private corner of the Internet. You no more have carte blanche to post anything you want here than we have to barge into your homes uninvited and try to persuade your children that Republicans are evil. If you, whoever is reading this, don't like the way we run our site, you can plunk down $4 a month and get your own site. Or you can even sign up for free for a page on Blogspot. But this site (along with the parent Turn DuPage Blue domain) is our home; you are a guest here, and we expect you to behave accordingly.

We apologize to any legitimate commenters out there. If you are someone who's worked with O:TDB, contact us and we'll add you as a poster to this site. Otherwise your comments will need to wait for a moderator to approve them.

As for the Republicans who spammed their attacks into a whole slew of threads, we may post a response to your allegations once we've verified the relevant facts. For now, we'll just take it as a sign that DuPage Republicans, or at least some of them, are getting very, very worried. As they should be.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

DuPage deserves better than a political 'Schill'

In today’s Daily Herald, there is an article about how DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom—one of the county’s most powerful Republicans—is using his Democratic ties to enrich his private law practice on bond deals while awarding allies of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich taxpayer-funded lobbying contracts.

The article by Herald political writer Eric Krol can be found here:

Addressing the questionable intersection of public and private interests raised by the article, Bob Peickert, Chair of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue, sees the revelations about Schillerstrom as representing another example of what happens when one-party controls government.

“I find it interesting that Republicans constantly criticize the State Democrats, but are always there with their hands out when money is involved. You don’t deal with a $40 million budget deficit by handing out unnecessary political contracts,” commented Peickert. “And Schillerstrom wants home-rule in DuPage County so that he has more tax dollars at his disposal for unnecessary lobbyist and PR work. How do these contracts help the taxpayers in DuPage?”

In the article, DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett is quoted as saying he found the situation “troublesome.” And that “it’s the type of story that is going to attract scrutiny.”

Peickert considers this response both tepid and bothersome, especially in light of the ongoing charges against war protesters Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Hartfield (

“Joe Birkett’s office jumped on the Zurawski case, but his only reaction to this is that it’s “troublesome”. If that’s all he has to say, DuPage is in big trouble.”

Peickert believes Schillerstrom owes the taxpayers a full explanation as to the lobbying and public relations contracts. “Chairman Schillerstrom needs to fully explain his rationale for handing out what appear to be politically motivated and duplicative contracts. He needs to explain why these are necessary in light of budgetary problems. Then let the taxpayers decide.”

Reiterating his call for a 2-party system of government in DuPage County, Peickert concluded, “This would not happen if both Democrats and Republicans sat on the county board. When one party has total control, the system fails. The Republicans act like watchdogs in Springfield, but they will defend their turf in DuPage County and don’t want any Democrats “snooping” around.

“It's time to do something about it, and that is why Operation: Turn DuPage Blue exists.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Shouldn't Be Seen As An Endorsement

The state's top Democrat and Gov. Blagojevich pose together after the Cubs game on 7-15-07. No, I'm not giving him the "Loser" sign. I'm saying #1, as the Cubs had just won a great game. Unfortunately, I did not have any Operation: Turn DuPage Blue cards to give him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yahoo Accidentally Tells the Truth


Thieves have stolen nearly $300 million from a bank in Baghdad, police and a bank official said Thursday, in what is probably one of the biggest thefts in Iraq since the 2003 war to topple Saddam Hussein.

The 2003 war still holds the record as the biggest theft in Iraq, especially since it's four years later and Bush still hasn't given back the country.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Message from the OTDB Chair

Yesterday was a very special day for Democrats in DuPage County. DuPage Democrats gathered in 7 parades to celebrate our freedom and our right to voice our opinions, engage our passions, and encourage others to do the same. Operation: Turn DuPage Blue did just that by mobilizing 150 marchers in the 7 parades. We marched hand-in-hand with other Democratic township organizations, and we marched in other parades as the only representatives of the Democratic Party in DuPage. Yesterday, we were all Democrats marching together. Tomorrow, we will continue to be ALL Democrats working to bring change in DuPage County by electing local Democrats. And, it’s working as never before.

The freedom we enjoy that allows us to disagree, dissent, debate and challenge each other has resulted in activity that has been absent in DuPage County for years. OTDB and the DuPage Democratic Party have been engaged in ways that will allow us to make a difference in 2008. Democrats are grabbing headlines as we become more active and more vocal in our desire to see DuPage change to a 2-party system of government.

OTDB received an e-mail yesterday from a parade watcher in Glen Ellyn which says it all about what we are trying to accomplish.

“Thank you for marching in the Glen Ellyn parade today. …I was disgusted once again and quite frankly, seething, after watching Republican groups once again march in astounding numbers through the parade with absolutely no representation of the “other side”. However, my attitude changed a little while later, when I saw your group marching through. …I just wanted to thank you, though, for standing up and being counted for those of us in such a minority in DuPage County, and I wanted to tell you that if you had not walked in the parade, I would never have known about you. Keep up the good work and I will be seeing you soon, I am sure….”

Few things stir passions like politics, and OTDB owes its existence to people, like the person who wrote the e-mail, who are passionate about improving outcomes for Democratic candidates in DuPage County. At times, OTDB steering committee members, participants and non-affiliated supporters have voiced their passions in ways that may have struck an uncomfortable nerve with others within the DuPage Democratic Party. But while animosity has never been on our agenda and we regret hurt feelings among well-intentioned individuals, we will not apologize for “voicing our opinions, engaging our passions and encouraging others to do the same”. We will continue what we’re doing, with proud purpose but with lack of malice—despite any insinuations to the contrary. We invite anyone who shares our passion for furthering Democratic progress in DuPage County to assist us in facilitating success in 2008.

Bob Peickert
Chair, OTDB

Some Holiday Reading

Howard Zinn puts into words that which ought to be obvious but isn't.