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September 04, 2006

Labor Day with the Dems

The people in the big picnic shelter, next to the road, noticed Lane Evans first. As the congressman came slowly down the slope, hunched foward by Parkinson's, with Jerry Lack by his side, they stood and applauded long and loud.

His way through the shelter was a series of hugs, handshakes and photographs. Later, during the program, when RICO chairman John Gianulis presented him the annual service to party award, the applause was again long and loud.

"I'm going to miss him," Gianulis said as the 12-term congressman exited right, to more applause.

Evans' farewells aside, 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards was the big draw at the Dems' annual Salute to Labor chicken fry at Illiniwek Park Monday.

The former North Carolina senator was pretty much mobbed by handshakers, picture-takers and question-askers for close to 30 minutes before making his way to the stage for the speech-making, which proceeded uninterrupted by off-and-on rain.

Edwards, sheltered under an umbrella held by State Sen. Mike Jacobs, hit the right notes for the event, getting in a mention that his family was millworkers and saying that "the greatest anti-poverty program in history was organized labor." That bit of truth won him a round of cheers.

So did his support for universal health care and a hike in he minimum wage to $7.50.

He also won cheers for his declaration that Americans have a "responsibility to humanity; a resposibility to show you care about the world."

He said we'd promised after Rwanda that we'd not stand by again as geoncide occurs. But one's occurring in the Sudan, and "where is America?"

He said his travels, to the Mideast among other places, have shown clearly that "the world does not see your character."

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has on hand, and spoke briefly, as did congressional candidates Phil Hare, who's seeking the seat Evans is vacating, and Bruce Braley, who's running in Iowa's lst District.

All are in favor of hiking the minimum wage.

Posted by jcb at September 4, 2006 08:57 PM


Does anyone have any feelings about the comment Edwards made "the greatest anti-poverty program in history was organized labor?" For the most part I agree, but I feel like we are in a transition period. I feel like the demands of unions helped puch many of the manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. (though similar to NAFTA, I think they would have left eventually, just not as soon)

I am young and have never been in a union, so maybe its ignorance, but I just thought I would bring it up.

Posted by: Robbie at September 5, 2006 01:14 PM

jcb, thanks for your report on the Democrat's Labor Day picnic. I think that we all can agree with Edwards' statement that "the greatest anti-poverty program in history was organized labor". So true, at least in the US. But that was then, this is now. The UAW and government workers now in unions can hardly be considered as "downtrodden". Just like all Democrat programs, from FDR's New Deal to LBJ's War on Poverty, the Democrats have accomplished all they set out to do, and good for them.

Unfortunately for them, they are still living on past glories and not addressing the problems of the 21st Century.And let's get real here, even the head of the UAW said that the union idea of more money for less work was dead.

Backing up my claim is a recent Zogby poll showing that labor unions are at their lowest approval rating since 1981. When asked if they approved of labor unions generally, only 55% of the 803 employed persons polled said yes. When asked if they would personally like to belong to a labor union, 74% of workers said no. The unions have a huge problem and in order to remain relevant, they need to think about what they will do in the future to help the truly downtrodden, not just fat and happy UAW members.

Posted by: paladin at September 5, 2006 02:05 PM

I love it! The same people who are railing against George Bush's deficits are the same people who are promoting universal health care.

You can't make this stuff up.

A new party slogan: Brain dead, and PROUD of it! (This would work for either party, BTW)

Posted by: paladin at September 5, 2006 04:27 PM

Cutting back on fat tax cuts to oil companies, trimming the big interest payments on the enormous federal deficits (after Clinton handed over a budget surplus to the Bush-Cheney team), cutting bureaucracy in the health care sector -- these alone would help us back on the road toward fiscal solvency.

And speaking of unions, they are trying to adjust to the changing economy. They are investing in higher education for their employees as advanced manufacturing is required.

But one thing I think they do a terrible job of -- their own PR. QC-area unions are constantly donating volunteer time to charities, donating dollars to charities, building homes for charity, etc. They don't toot their own horns.
And then they let union haters blast them right and left. Come on, labor, get with a good PR program.

Posted by: values matter at September 5, 2006 05:29 PM

I think it is true -- that labor unions helped build the great American middle class that sent kids to colleges and universities, that bought cars and good homes. For a number of complicated reasons, but let's just sum it up by saying "globalization," American jobs are heading overseas. It's gutting small towns throughout the country, and it's sad.

To your point, yes, I agree to some degree, unions need to be reasonable, need to accept compromise, need to stay very competitive. But corporations also need to have some loyalty to American workers and American culture (ala Maytag).

Posted by: values matter at September 5, 2006 06:39 PM

It's gonna take more than PR to revive unions, vm.

Posted by: paladin at September 5, 2006 07:55 PM

I know it's going to take a combination of things to keep unions healthy, Paladin. But our trade policy has to remain both free and fair -- not just free. That's one factor. Public service employee unions -- teachers, etc. -- have to be held to standards of accoutability.

But my point is that around the QCs there is a set of snobbery toward unions. It emanates from a group of folks who don't associate with unions and don't give them any credit. My point is that I know local unions and I see them building homes for the poor, I see them volunteering for the Red Cross, I see them donating major dollars to QC charities. And I don't read much good press about all of their charitable contributions around here. And that's not right.

Posted by: values matter at September 5, 2006 11:23 PM

"Globalization" and the spiral toward a renewed hot war between Islam and Christianity are the over-arching issues of our time.

Globalization, so far as I can tell, is primarily driven by a never-ending search for lower-cost labor, whether it's to build washing machines in Mexico or to write computer programs in India.

'course you need markets, hence the never-ending attempts to further codify trade rules through the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Entire industries can be decimated in one country and made prosperous in another by some sub-paragraph in any of those, and the negotiations are never ending.

I'm not sure what labor unions as we know them can do to stem the flood. Go organize in Mexico? And Indonesia? and Maylasia? And Belize? And Honduras?

The thousands of programmers and phone-service center workers whose jobs are now in India probably don't see organizing a union as a realistic way to get the jobs back. And what would a union do, short of organizing Indian programmers, and demanding pay equivalent to their American counterparts?

And if you got that far, well, they're churning out hundreds of thousands of college grads in China, with nothing for them to do at the moment. They'd be glad to undersell American and Indian programmers.

Capital rides high at the moment.

Posted by: jcb at September 5, 2006 11:51 PM

Did you notice the new poll on the govenor's race? Blao was up by about 8 points or so. Topinka was behind, but certainly within striking distance.

What really caught my eye was the small number of people that said they would vote for the third party candidate. In fact, the Green Party's number was so low (2%) that satistically it may not even exist (+/-4% margine of error).

Doesn't this fact fly in the face of your anti-two party rhetoric. Do you think this is a case of your being ahead of the people, or are you smarter than the rest of us?

Where are the people you say you represent?

Posted by: RobertJohnson at September 5, 2006 11:55 PM

RobertJohnson -- if the question is for me, the answer is I've never said I represent anyone.

The fact that the Greens -- or any other minor party -- don't get big numbers in a poll does nothing to demonstrate there isn't great dissatisfaction with the performance of both major parties.
(And how the system did struggle to keep the Greens off the ballot! Managed to pretty much break them financially, what with the legal expenses they incurred fighting to get listed.)

Posted by: jcb at September 6, 2006 12:08 AM

Actually I was speaking to paladin, but since you interjected, if people are so dissatisifed with the performance of both major parties, why do you think the third party didn't get more votes? Are you saying voters only want a new party for certain offices? Is that what you are saying? Please advise as what you said didn't make sense.

Posted by: RobertJohnson at September 6, 2006 12:43 AM

To Paladin's skoffing comment about those who decry Bush's rampant deficit yet support universal heath care, I don't know if your smug ridicule is quite warrented.

All I can say about that issue is that I, and I'm sure millions of others, would damn sure rather have a deficit resulting from extending quality health care to all than from killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and our troops around the globe.

Given the choice, I think the people would overwhelmingly favor spending billions on health care over misguided adventurism abroad.

Posted by: Uncle Albert at September 6, 2006 07:24 AM

Unions have indeed served our Country well. However, if this area is so strong with the union mentality, why is Eagle Foods (union labor) dead while (non-union) Hy-Vee ruling the roost?

Apparently, backing the union goes only as far as one's one wallet...

Posted by: Anonymous at September 6, 2006 12:06 PM

I agree with the wallet thing. I have noticed that the great union man Phil Hare never uses union printing and always has made in house on his literature.
Is this the stance of the local unions that it is OK for him to bypass the union printers as long as it says made in house. With all of his money he should be passing some of it around. Helping the unions not only with the talk.

I for one am holding my nose on this one.

Posted by: Union supporter at September 6, 2006 01:16 PM

jcb, I think you've hit on a key. Globalization will happen regardless of what we do here in the U.S. What role will labor union take in the next decade will determine organized labor's relevence. If business goes global, so should the unions. In the long run, it will be more effective for labor to fight for decent working conditions in global sweatshops than to jack up labor rates here in the U.S.

Posted by: Huck Finn at September 6, 2006 03:43 PM

jcb, you make some great points on globalization.
we all need to read and talk about that book, "the world is flat." the quad cities should have a blog yak fest on that topic.

Posted by: values matter at September 6, 2006 04:07 PM

VM -- I haven't read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, except for a few pages I scanned while my seatmate on a long flight was reading it.

There's quick overview on Wikipedia, complete with links to both positive and negative reviews.

If you've read it, give us your quick summation; I'll make it a point to get a copy and read it.

Posted by: jcb at September 6, 2006 06:10 PM

This issue of Hare not using Union printing or union labor whenever he can is something that has driven me crazy also. He says that he is pro-union. You have to walk the walk not just talk the talk. We are watching. A response from Phil Hare is in order here.

Posted by: Where is the label at September 7, 2006 07:18 AM

"Where is the label" -- are you suggesting that if Hare doesn't cow-tow to the unions the unions will vote against him? Hardly.

jcb -- I definitely recommend The World is Flat. It goes into great detail how companies like UPS are using technology and the globe to creatively provide comprehensive value-added services with a wide range of support. The wikpedia page doesn't do much to describe it.

Posted by: Huck Finn at September 7, 2006 09:20 AM

That's like saying Jacobs is pro-union also. He called them a bunch of meatheads. What a silver spooned Dem we have in office.

Beals is a much better choice and comes from a line of hard-working Democrats.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 8, 2006 07:10 AM

7:10 reminds me of something I saw yesterday while I was out running errands. As I drove past the UAW hall on 19th St. in East Moline, I noticed that all the yard signs in front of the building were for Hare and Huff----none for Jacobs.

What's up with that?

Posted by: paladin at September 8, 2006 09:00 AM

Jacobs has the highest AFL-CIO rating inthe state of Illinois. He is endoresed by the UAW, Plumbers & Pipefitters and the Quad City Builiding Trades. I think that answers that question. I suppose since Jacobs race is not expected to be close, he does't feel the need to pu up signs as of yet. Hope this helps.

While Beals' parents may be Democrats, he himself is a no-good Republican that is in lock step with Bush. Both men are ardently againt choice!

Posted by: Ialsowonder at September 8, 2006 09:50 AM

It's ridiculous that the democrats are for hiking the minimum wage like that. Prices for everything will jump, and many people will be bumped up to the next higher tax bracket. Why don't the dems just advocate more tax cuts for the low-income? That would be better in the long run.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 8, 2006 05:32 PM

What happened on Labor Day?

Beals was working and Jacobs was holding umbrellas. I'm sure glad the voters have a choice.

Beals will be the next Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 9, 2006 10:49 AM

Labor Day was the day Democrat Judge Vicki Wright stood on the stage with John Edwards and boosted her candidacy for Third District Appellate Judge.

Posted by: values matter jr. at September 9, 2006 01:14 PM

Only non-union scabs works on labor day. Democratic Senator Mike Jacobs was keeping the heavyt rain off the next President of the United States. If Beals guy, President Bush, had any coattails Beals would galdly hold them as well. it just so happens that the Democrats are about to run it up on the Republicans!

Posted by: Ialsowonder at September 9, 2006 03:26 PM

Not only is Mr. Beals a relentless worker, he is the only candidate with a full time job who also happens to be pro-labor. That was published in the D/A. This is an indicator on how he would represent his constituents, working evenings and weekends for the benefit of the 36th District.

Who said Mr. Beals was pro-Bush. He shook hands with President Clinton when he received his diploma. Mr. Beals is appealing to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Glad the voters got a choice to vote FOR Mr. Beals.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 10, 2006 07:56 PM

After the next two elections there won't be a two party system. And that will be a "party" for everyone.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 11, 2006 12:29 AM

Beals a relentless worker??? That's a good one. Did he finally learn and start showing up to work when he's supposed to?
Here's a guy who wont even identify himself as a Republican on his own website. Beals is trying to appeal to everyone. Unfortunately, for him, he appeals to hardly anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous? at September 11, 2006 10:40 AM

Mr. Beals has been riddled with smear bullets and they just bounce off his chest.

When are these internet clowns going to learn that smear does not work. The Jacobs smear machine will not work on this candidate.

Mr. Beals is the real deal and appealing to a majority of the voters.

Eagle Scout
West Point
Army Veteran
General Electric
John Deere
International Business Experience

Jacobs campaign can't think of what to do except as daddy for help and use the same old smear tricks used agaist poor Paul Rumler.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 11, 2006 01:38 PM

Unfortunately for you James, they're not smear tactics, they are the truth. How much is the Republican party supporting the Beals juggernaut? Did the Republican party approve the website mentioning only the party affiliation of Beals parents?

Posted by: Anonymous? at September 11, 2006 03:17 PM

People can attempt to smear Mr. Beals all they want, but it won't work. His education and work experiences speak for themselves.

Do you really want to go down the path of attacking a veteran? The Lane Evans campaign would have gone ballistic.

We have the chance to elect an ALL-AMERICAN candidate that is willing to represent and work for the people, all people. I really like the resume of James Beals and his website which shows that he listens and truly is "one of us". He may be running as a Republican, but was raised by Democrats and strongly appeals to Indepedents.

Unlike Mike Jacobs, Mr. Beals does not need permission from his party to tie his shoes.

Nobody likes silver spooned politicians that got their job from daddy. Bye-bye Mikey. You might be better off dealing cards.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 12, 2006 12:04 PM

Did anyone else think that John Edwards was just too handsome for words? He's got charisma too.

Posted by: JS at September 12, 2006 12:27 PM

Poor Beals. To think that he thinks because he worked for John Deere for 1 year that he will gain support. He needs to realize that Mr. Jacobs and Paul Rumler are both Democrats and they have burried the hatchet. Jacobs Will defeat Beals because he has been a big part of opening the Thompson prison and has worked tirelessly to bring WIU into the area. This is a project that will be great for everyone in the QC. I think that if you read between the lines in Beals web site it says that he is running not to win but to help Judy Bar Topinka.

Posted by: Burl Wies at September 12, 2006 04:59 PM

Poor Mikey, taking credit for other peoples work.

How many jobs at Thompson and how many millions of taxpayers dollars have been spent to flush to toilets, mow the lawn, and provide security for an empty prison.

NO WIU expansion either. That will be lame duck legislation for Mikey that will never obtain the required super majority.

Mr. Beals, I should say Senator Beals is playing smart and will catch Mikey sleeping. That is what happens to spoiled silver spooned kids, they take their lifestyle for granted.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 13, 2006 12:20 AM

I grew up with the Jacobs kids and never realized they were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Don't know where that idea came from but it's very unrealistic.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 13, 2006 09:48 AM

Why all of the Mikey business. I guess disrespecting others and name calling is what Mr. Beals has reduced himself with.

What a shame to have to turn to this sophmoric behavior. It is a true sign of desperation. It turns people like me off. The very people that he is trying to convert.

Posted by: Sue Thompson at September 13, 2006 11:10 AM

I know the Jacobs kids well also. One thing they do not have is a SILVER spoon in their mouths. They actually are all extermely kind and generous people. Maybe the anon above should take some great lessons from this distinguished family. JEALOUSY REARS A VERY VERY UGLY HEAD!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous at September 13, 2006 12:07 PM

I have noticed the juvinile approach that Beals has been using also. I hope that this isn't the kids doing and some of his followers. I know that Beals answers on this site and for me an independent like me it would be nice for Beals to come out and denounce these negative posts.

Posted by: Joel Johnson at September 13, 2006 03:13 PM

Has beals gone underground or what is he doing. He used to come on this site and communicate his views. I was impressed with his ability to come out and speak in this blogging environment. I hope he comes back as himself and stops doing Anon.

Posted by: John Stephens at September 13, 2006 10:15 PM

Never did Anon. Nice Try.

James M. Beals, State Senate Candidate, 36th District

Posted by: James Beals at September 17, 2006 06:54 PM

Instead of these little sayings that don't say anything maybe you could explain why youy have missed the first two debates.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 18, 2006 07:45 AM

Didn't someone explain that Mr. Beals was overseas on business travel. I even believe I read somewhere that Mr. Beals stated that he was going to be in India.

Looks like the Jacobs internet thugs are attacking again.

Mike Jacobs, why don't you explain why YOU missed over a dozen parades and most of the fairs.

I guess Mike Jacobs does not care about the little people, only those with money and the 3 large towns that are the voting majority.

We already know Mike Jacobs promises things and does not deliver.

Beals is one of us, he will be our next and elected Senator. I believe he will do a good job and get results.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 19, 2006 06:11 PM

Beals has never been elected to anything. Not even student council.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 20, 2006 09:00 AM

If you think you win elections by attending parades, you are sorely mistaken. You win elections because people like you. That is part of the equation you will never understand Beals!

Posted by: Anonymous at September 20, 2006 09:53 AM

Anon 9:00, 20 SEP
I have been elected twice as a precinct committeemen.

Anon 9:53, 20 SEP
I have built name recognition and met several thousand people during the parade and fair season.

So far, over 26,000 pieces of campaign literature have been handed out.

You win elections because people vote for you.

James M. Beals, State Senate Candidate, 36th District

Posted by: Anonymous at September 23, 2006 01:21 PM

I am glad that you won as committeeperson. I would be interested if you won as a Democrat or a Republican. I would also like to know if you won unapposed or whom you beat for that position.

Posted by: Undecided at September 24, 2006 09:14 AM

Mr. beals, I would like to know if you plan to be at the womans event for a face to face with Mike Jacobs? I have read that you were not able to make it to the other two events due to personal conflicts. I hope that you can come and tell us what your views are.
This should be a good forum.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 24, 2006 09:34 AM