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Gov JB Pritzker is giving the IL State of the State addy (I noticed Whitmer is doing a similar thing in MI) and he’s laying out how the state is finally balancing the budget. He’s explaining why it’s important to pay the bills on time; it means taxpayers not having to pay for interest payments. Instead, the state can work on investments such as improved behavioral health services, expanded pre-K, child care for unemployed parents etc. I did not hear anything about specific tax cuts for businesses, other than the film industry.


He’s got some explaining to do about Medicare Advantage for retirees. But I don’t expect any plans for it to be tackled this year since he is focusing on children and expanding pre-K education for them. I think it’s a good idea. I wish I’d had that opportunity for educational programs as a kid.

My favorite part of the speech:

Delivering what matters to Illinois residents and their families is what defines good governance. We’ve all been asked to represent our constituents with tenacity and honor. And to speak up when our common American values are challenged.

Our history is a series of stops and starts, of ups and downs, of our ancestors getting it tragically wrong and courageously right. The only thing we can hope for in this work is that the values we attach our names to will make our grandchildren proud.

After all, this is the Land of Lincoln. We have a responsibility to that legacy.

As Elie Wiesel said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

With that in mind, I want to take sides on something I feel obligated to speak out about, especially given the history of anti-Semitism and discrimination suffered by my ancestors and that persists for so many others today.

There is a virulent strain of nationalism plaguing our nation, led by demagogues who are pushing censorship, with a particular attack right now on school board members and library trustees. It’s an ideological battle by the right wing, hiding behind a claim that they would protect our children — but whose real intention is to marginalize people and ideas they don’t like. This has been done in the past, and it doesn’t stop with just snuffing out ideas.

This afternoon I’ve laid out a budget agenda that does everything possible to invest in the education of our children. Yet it’s all meaningless if we become a nation that bans books from school libraries about racism suffered by Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron, and tells kids they can’t talk about being gay, and signals to Black and Brown people and Asian Americans and Jews and Muslims that our authentic stories can’t be told.

I’m the father of two children. I care a great deal about their education. Like every good parent, I want to be involved in what they learn. I’m also a proud American. Our nation has a great history, and much to be proud of. I want my children to learn that history. But I don’t want them to be lied to. I want them to learn our true history, warts and all. Illinois’ young people shouldn’t be kept from learning about the realities of our world. I want them to become critical thinkers, exposed to ideas that they disagree with, proud of what our nation has overcome, and thoughtful about what comes next.

Here in Illinois, we don’t hide from the truth, we embrace it. That’s what makes us strong.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, officially announces she won’t run again

I hope she stays in until 2025. It needs to be a fair primary.


Well if she resigns Newsom is appointing her successor


And they would be the incumbent. Newsom will go with Schiff I think if there has to be an appointment, and the incumbent (see Alex Padilla) is likely to win the primary (and defacto, the GE). That’s why I hope she can hang in there.


I’m not sure he will go with Schiff. Optics of appointing another male to Cal Senate (which for years had two women) isn’t good. He will appoint someone he thinks will help him down the road in his inevitable run for President.


I agree that whomever he would pick would be strategic towards Newsom’s POTUS run–if Feinstein retires this year.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Baffled Dianne Feinstein walks out of Senate chamber wondering what just happened: ‘Did I vote for that?’


Dianne Feinstein didn’t seem to know what took place on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
The retiring California Democrat asked staff for confirmation about a vote she had just attended.
The latest flash of apparent confusion comes as Feinstein plans to serve out her term through 2024.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein emerged from the Senate chamber on Wednesday seemingly confused about what she had done during a two-vote series.

“Did I vote for that?” Insider overheard the California Democrat ask her long-time chief of staff, David Grannis, about approving a judicial nominee to the federal bench.

Grannis, who had just finished explaining to his 89-year-old boss that the six Senate votes scheduled throughout the day would be on Biden appointees, shook his head and said, “No.”

The most jarring part about the public episode was that Grannis was trying to map out what Feinstein — whose cognitive ability has increasingly come into question — needed to know about what was happening later, but she couldn’t recall what had transpired minutes before.

Feinstein’s latest stumble comes less than 24 hours after her staff announced that she wouldn’t run for a seventh term in 2024.

Her looming retirement seemed to catch the decades-long politician off guard, causing Feinstein and her staff to clash over her career plans.

The last time Feinstein blew up at staff in Insider’s presence, she was taking some junior aides to task for rushing her into a continuing resolution vote she appeared unprepared for.

“I don’t even know what that is,” Feinstein told staff last fall on her way through the Senate subway.

Feinstein aides did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why she would have been thrown by the judicial nominees’ votes.

Several House Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, have already announced they’re running or are reportedly preparing to mount a bid for her Senate seat.


Nikki Haley announces presidential campaign, challenging Donald Trump

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, announced her candidacy for president on Tuesday, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.

The announcement, delivered in a tweeted video, marks an about-face for the ex-Trump Cabinet official, who said two years ago that she wouldn’t challenge her former boss for the White House in 2024. But she changed her mind in recent months, citing, among other things, the country’s economic troubles and the need for “generational change,” a nod to the 76-year-old Trump’s age.

“You should know this about me. I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels,” Haley said. “I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president.”

Haley, 51, is the first in a long line of Republicans who are expected to launch 2024 campaigns in the coming months. Among them are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

President Joe Biden has said he intends to seek reelection in 2024, stalling any jostling for the Democratic nomination.

Haley has regularly boasted about her track record of defying political expectations, saying, “I’ve never lost an election, and I’m not going to start now.”

If elected, Haley would be the nation’s first female president and the first U.S. president of Indian descent.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley grew up enduring racist taunts in a small South Carolina town and has long referenced that impact on her personal and political arc.

In the three-and-a-half minute video, Haley referenced that past, saying she grew up “not Black, not white — I was different.”

Haley never mentions Trump by name in the video, instead saying “the Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again,” Haley leans into a call for “a new generation of leadership,” which has become the refrain of her messaging leading up to the launch.

She was an accountant when she launched her first bid for public office, defeating the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House in 2004. Three terms later and with little statewide recognition, Haley mounted a long-shot campaign for governor against a large field of experienced politicians.

She racked up a number of high-profile endorsements, including from the sitting South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea party darling.

With her 2010 victory, Haley became South Carolina’s first female and minority governor — and the nation’s youngest at 38. She earned a speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention and gave the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union in 2016.

The defining moment of Haley’s time as governor came after the 2015 murders of nine Black parishioners in a Charleston church by a self-avowed white supremacist who had been pictured holding Confederate flags.

For years, Haley had resisted calls to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, even casting a rival’s push for its removal as a desperate stunt. But after the massacre and with the support of other leading Republicans, Haley advocated for legislation to remove the flag. It came down less than a month after the murders.

In the 2016 presidential primary, Haley was an early supporter of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, later shifting to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. She ultimately said she would back the party’s nominee.

Shortly after Trump’s victory, he tapped Haley to be his U.N. ambassador, a move that rewarded Henry McMaster, the lieutenant governor who was the nation’s first statewide elected official to back Trump’s 2016 campaign. Haley’s departure cleared the way for McMaster to ascend to the governorship he had sought, since losing a bruising primary to none other than Haley seven years earlier.

With her Senate confirmation, Haley became the first Indian American in a presidential Cabinet.

During her nearly two-year tenure, Haley feuded at times with other administration officials while bolstering her own public persona.

One of her most memorable moments as U.N. ambassador came in 2018 after National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested Haley had suffered “momentary confusion” when she said Russian sanctions were imminent.

“With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” she responded. The first half of the quote became the title of her 2019 memoir.

Her departure from the job later that year fueled speculation that she would challenge Trump in 2020 or replace Pence on the ticket. She did neither.

Instead, Haley returned to South Carolina, where she bought a home on the wealthy enclave Kiawah Island, joined the board of aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co., launched herself on the speaking circuit and wrote two books, including the memoir.

After the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, Haley initially cast doubts on Trump’s political future but said she wouldn’t challenge him in 2024. She later shifted course, citing inflation, crime, drugs and a “foreign policy in disarray” among her reasons for considering a White House campaign.

During his South Carolina stop last month, Trump told WIS-TV that Haley had called to seek his opinion on running for president. Trump pointed out her earlier pledge not to run against him but said he made no attempts to stop her.

“She said she would never run against me because I was the greatest president, but people change their opinions, and they change what’s in their hearts,” Trump said. “So I said, if your heart wants to do it, you have to go do it.”


Thanks orl



As congressional Republicans threaten to cut Social Security and other key federal programs, progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren led a group of lawmakers Monday in unveiling legislation that would increase Social Security benefits by at least $200 per month and prolong the program’s solvency for decades by finally requiring wealthy Americans to pay their fair share.

The Social Security Expansion Act, introduced by Sanders (I-Vt.) and Warren (D-Mass.) in the Senate and by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Val Hoyle (D-Ore.) in the House, would put an additional $2,400 in beneficiaries’ pockets each year and ensure the program is fully funded through 2096.

The bill would accomplish this by lifting the cap on the maximum amount of income subject to the Social Security payroll tax—a change that would not raise taxes on the 93% of U.S. households that make $250,000 or less per year, according to an analysis conducted by the Social Security Administration at the request of Sanders.

Currently, annual earnings above $160,200 are not subject to the Social Security payroll tax, which means that millionaires will stop contributing to the program later this month. The legislation proposes lifting this cap and subjecting all income above $250,000 per year to the Social Security payroll tax. If enacted, the bill would have raised more than $3.4 billion from the nation’s top 11 highest-paid CEOs alone in 2021, including $2.9 billion from Tesla and Twitter executive Elon Musk.

“The legislation that we are introducing today will expand Social Security benefits by $2,400 a year and will extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 75 years.”
“At a time when nearly half of older Americans have no retirement savings and almost 50% of our nation’s seniors are trying to survive on an income of less than $25,000 a year, our job is not to cut Social Security,” Sanders said in a statement.

“Our job is to expand Social Security so that every senior in America can retire with the dignity that they deserve and every person with a disability can live with the security they need,” the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions continued. “The legislation that we are introducing today will expand Social Security benefits by $2,400 a year and will extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 75 years by making sure that the wealthiest people in our society pay their fair share into the system.”

“Right now, a Wall Street CEO who makes $30 million pays the same amount into Social Security as someone who makes $160,000 a year,” the Vermont Independent added. “Our bill puts an end to that absurdity which will allow us to protect Social Security for generations to come while lifting millions of seniors out of poverty.”



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for a minimum salary of $60,000 for public school teachers, capitalizing on the push by President Biden in his State of the Union speech to give public school teachers a raise.

“We should be paying public school teachers a minimum of at least $60,000 a year,” Sanders said at a town hall at the Capitol on Monday night with national teachers union leaders. “I am proud to tell you I will soon be introducing legislation to do just that.”

Sanders’s call for a minimum salary for public school teachers comes after Biden made a pitch for a number of education policies during his State of the Union, including providing increased access to preschool and giving teachers a raise.

“If you want to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to preschool for 3- and 4-years-old,” Biden said in the speech. “Let’s give public-school teachers a raise.”

Sanders blasted the pay of public school teachers in the U.S., and cited rising levels of stress and increasing trends of teachers quitting as the reason why the federal government needed to support them.

Jan. 6 rioter pleads guilty to attacking former DC police officer with taser Rep. Angie Craig calls out DC over handling of alleged assailant’s previous assaults
Sanders was joined by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at the event, who co-signed the idea of raising teacher pay.

“We need higher wages for teachers, for teaching assistants, for early educators, for paraprofessionals,” Markey said. “We have to do something about it. … We don’t have a choice.”

Lawmakers in the House introduced legislation late last year to increase the minimum wage of teachers in the U.S. to $60,000. The American Teacher Act, sponsored by Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), would encourage states to raise their minimum salaries for teachers through a federal grant program.


Some voters in northern Wisconsin village got absentee ballots that were already filled in; clerk blames ‘human error’

Mitchell Schmidt | Wisconsin State Journal Feb 12, 2023 1
Bad ballot
One of the test ballots accidentally sent out to voters in Kronenwetter appeared to have pre-selected votes for state Supreme Court and village president.

Mitchell Schmidt | Wisconsin State Journal
An unknown number of voters in the village of Kronenwetter have received absentee ballots for the Feb. 21 primary that appeared to have already been partially filled in, while others received ballots that had not been initialed by the clerk, the clerk’s office said.

In both cases, according to a post on the Marathon County village’s website, the mistakes were the result of “human error” and not evidence of fraud.

Voters who received one of the faulty ballots were asked to contact the clerk’s office as soon as possible to deactivate the ballot and have a new one issued.

“We understand residents are concerned and we wanted to address the remedy immediately,” according to the unsigned post. “There is still plenty of time to request a new absentee ballot.”

According to the statement on Facebook, which was posted on Feb. 2 and 3, “a few” village residents received test ballots in which the computer-generated ovals for some races were already filled in.

Some ballots mailed out on Jan. 30 and 31 — it’s unclear if they were the same ones — were also missing initials by the clerk or deputy clerk, which the post called “an oversight.”

“Having a clerk/deputy clerk initial an absentee ballot is an additional measure and something voters should be looking for to reassure their ballot is authentic and official,” the post said.

Voters who received the bad ballots were urged to call the clerk’s office at 715-693-4200 or email Birk-LaBarge at bbirklabarge@kronenwetter.org or deputy clerk Jennifer Poyer at jpoyer@kronenwetter.org or visit the village hall during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. “We will deactivate your ballot and re-issue you a new ballot,” the post said.

“With so many accusations of voter fraud that have been happening in the past few years, the Village wants to assure the voters this is definitely not the case,” the post concludes. “It was a human error, an oversight and a mistake that will take extra work to remedy by the clerk and deputy clerk, but it will be remedied. Any future ballots mailed out WILL be triple checked to assure a set of clerk/deputy clerk initials are on the absentee ballots.”

I have a question; the GQP in Wi screams that Madison and Milwaukee are hot beds for voter fraud. How come when something suspicious is found it in a Red county or R voter for the most part?


Benny’s Bar is open and serving chocolate martinis. A little bit of Moody Blues to go with it.

chocolate martini.jpg
Benny's Bar.jpg



Well if we are doing Moody we need some White Satin




Thanks for all the classics Benny


Happy Valentines from the pups




A little levity for Valentine’s…

Nurse Screenshot 2023-02-14 173133.jpg


Happy V Day everyone. Here’s a few Love songs.






I’ve not seen this version of the song on YT. Message is pretty simple.


These right wing judges need to be reined in.


It will take a little time to respond to this.


LOL Even DK thinks Nancy made a misstep in trying to push SPM as a Labor secretary. (“Rare mistake” though 😂🤣😂)




When I interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders, during one afternoon last week, he’d had a busy day. In the morning, he had presided over his first hearing as the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, his old-school Brooklyn accent ringing out across the hearing room. At lunchtime, he held a press conference with a group of labor-union officials to demand paid sick leave for railway workers, a cause he has long championed. Speaking from his office, he told me he was amped up about heading the health committee, a position previously held by Senator Patty Murray, of Washington.

“I think the first thing we have to do is to talk to the American people about what is going on in our economy, and that is something Congress or the media does not do very often,” Sanders said. Then he went into a familiar spiel, similar to the ones he delivered in 2016 and 2020, about how the American health-care system is “dysfunctional and broken,” nearly twice as costly as the systems in other industrialized countries, yet leaving eighty-five million Americans uninsured or underinsured. “Meanwhile,” he went on, “the insurance companies make tens of billions a year in profit.” Sanders also castigated Big Pharma, noting that, earlier in the day, he had spoken to someone from Finland, who had told him that drug prices in that country were, in some cases, a tenth of the prices in the United States. “So we have to pick on the incredible greed of the pharmaceutical industry, who make huge profits every year and pay their C.E.O.s huge salaries and compensation packages,” he said. “That’s something we are going to go into big time.”

Chairing a Senate committee isn’t new to Sanders, who has been in the Senate since 2007. In 2013 and 2014, he helmed the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where he worked with the Republican John McCain to successfully reform the health-care system for veterans. From 2021 to 2023, he was the head of the Senate Budget Committee, where he helped to craft the 1.9-trillion-dollar American Rescue Act, a bill he has described as the most significant piece of legislation for working-class people since the Great Depression. Subsequently, Sanders played a prominent role in the Democratic effort to enact most of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda in one huge spending bill, and lamented its demise. Chairing the health committee, it seems, has reënergized Sanders and given him a new platform that he relishes, one from which he can address many of the everyday economic issues that he has always felt passionately about.

In January, he wrote to Moderna and rebuked the company for raising the price of its covid vaccine. Last week, he and other Democrats on the committee asked Howard Schultz, the C.E.O. of Starbucks, to testify next month about his company’s efforts to suppress union-organization efforts at its shops. “Starbucks has been cited dozens and dozens of times by the National Labor Relations Board for breaking the law,” he told me. “They are attempting to break the unions, and it happens to be illegal to do that.” I asked when we should expect to see the top executives of Amazon and other companies that have fought against unionization campaigns following Schultz up to the Hill. “We’ll see, we’ll take them one at a time,” Sanders replied. “But right now we’ve got around to Starbucks.”

As a politician, Sanders has three great strengths. First, he is always on message. Second, the pathologies of twenty-first-century American capitalism insure that message continues to resonate broadly. Third, at the age of eighty-one, he still exudes energy and enthusiasm for the task at hand. (“I just turned thirty-four, and he runs circles around me every day,” Mike Casca, his communications director, told me.) In 2020, Donald Trump caricatured Sanders’s political philosophy as communism. Actually, it’s a lot closer to Scandinavian social democracy, and it also contains a distinctly American strain of moral outrage, which can be traced back to the Wobblies and Eugene V. Debs, as well as to the Progressives and William Jennings Bryan. Later this month, Penguin Random House is publishing a book, which Sanders and the journalist John Nichols co-wrote, titled “It’s OK to be Angry About Capitalism.” He’s going on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to promote the book, then flying to England for an event in Oxford.

Sanders is also planning to get members of the health committee out of Washington and onto the road, at a series of public hearings that he will hold around the country. “I am excited about that,” he told me. “Look, one of the great political crises facing this country is that many millions of working-class people no longer believe that government is capable of responding to their needs.” He continued, “We’re gonna hear from workers about what’s going on, the wages they are earning. We are going to talk to senior citizens about the high cost of prescription drugs, talk to young people about the affordability of college and what student debt is doing to them. We’ll talk to parents who can’t afford to send their kids to child care.”

That seems to be a good idea, but will it help facilitate the passage of legislation to tackle some of these problems? In the past, some of Sanders’s own Democratic colleagues have questioned his record as a legislator. The Republican Mitt Romney, who sits on the Senate health committee, recently dismissed Sanders’s style as “a lot of storm and fury” and predicted that “very little will reach the floor.” During our conversation, Sanders freely conceded that he doesn’t have the votes to get through the Senate a Medicare for All bill of the sort that he has long supported. But he insisted that he could work with Republicans on such issues as expanding nonprofit community health centers and reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

“The primary health-care system is even more broken than the general health-care system,” he said. “You have tens and tens of millions of people who, even if they have insurance, can’t find a doctor. Hospitals are shutting down. We don’t have enough doctors. We don’t have enough nurses. We don’t have enough dentists or mental-health providers.” In 2010, Sanders and Jim Clyburn, the Democratic congressman from South Carolina, championed a provision of the Affordable Care Act that provided eleven billion dollars to build and expand community health centers, including in rural regions. Since then, the program has been expanded, but it needs reauthorization later this year. Sanders wants to renew and further expand it, with a long-term goal of securing basic health coverage for all Americans. “Community health centers have a long bipartisan history, and in many Republican areas it is very hard for people to access the medical care they need,” he said. “I think the Republicans understand it, so that is definitely an area where we can get Republican support.”

Building on last year’s Inflation Reduction Act—which included a landmark provision that empowered Medicare administrators to negotiate a very limited number of prescription-drug prices—is another Sanders goal. “Generally speaking, Republican voters are older, and they are getting crucified by the cost of prescription drugs,” he noted. Right after saying this, however, Sanders pointed out that there are more than seventeen hundred registered lobbyists in Washington for pharmaceuticals and health products. When I asked if he could defeat this highly paid army of corporate-privilege defenders, he replied, “These guys are enormously powerful—so I am not predicting victory, but I am saying that they will know they have been in a fight.”

Sticking it to the corporate plutocracy may be what many of Sanders’s admirers will remember him for (that, and Larry David’s timeless impersonations of him during the 2016 campaign). But he’s also hopeful that history will credit him with something more lasting: shifting the terms of the political debate inside the Democratic Party. “I take pride in the fact that we have, to a significant degree, changed the conversation as to what is achievable in this country,” he said. “I’m very proud of the fact that large numbers of young people and working-class people are prepared to think big and not small.” If, as is often said, Joe Biden occupies the very center of the Party, Sanders surely helped to move that point leftward. He didn’t do it alone, of course. But, in one example of how things have changed, the Biden White House last year proposed an annual wealth tax on billionaires—a proposal that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren campaigned on in the 2020 Democratic primary, and which Biden called for again in his State of the Union speech.

When I suggested to Sanders, only partly in jest, that Biden had sounded a bit like him, he replied, “I wouldn’t go that far, but I thought it was one of the better State of the Union speeches I have heard.” Since attacking each other during the 2020 primary, Sanders and Biden have established a good working relationship. Sanders appreciated Biden’s efforts to reach out to his supporters after he won the nomination: he included some of them in a policymaking task force that endorsed some progressive goals. A couple of weeks ago, Sanders told me, he went down to the White House and chatted with the President for an hour about his agenda for the health-and-labor committee.

Despite this cordiality, there has inevitably been some speculation about Sanders’s intentions for 2024, and whether he could possibly launch a third Presidential bid. When I brought this up, Sanders had a scripted answer. “Right now,” he said, “my assumption is that President Biden is running for reëlection, and, if he is, I will be supporting him.” Biden is expected to confirm his candidacy soon. Meanwhile, Sanders is focussing on matters that he insists are more important. On Monday, he joined Warren and other Democrats in both houses of Congress to introduce legislation that would expand Social Security benefits by twenty-four hundred dollars a year and fund it for the next seventy-five years from higher payroll taxes on the rich. Later in the day, he held a town-hall meeting in Washington about the “teacher pay crisis in America.” On Thursday, he will preside over a hearing on the shortage of doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers. The senator from Vermont is as busy as he’s been since he was first elected to the House as a forty-nine-year-old independent socialist in 1990—and he seems to be revelling in it. “There is an enormous amount of work to be done,” he told me.