Monday, November 28, 2005

Anatomy of a Decision

(Long post warning - I'm not saying that it is or isn't worth the read, just that I felt like I needed to write down some of my thoughts. So don't blame me if you read it and feel that it was a waste of your time.)

Astute readers will note that way back on August 14th, in announcing at that time that I wasn't interested in running for Treasurer, I made the following statement:
I won't get into who I think will run, but I think that we would be remiss not to field a strong candidate for what is a very winnable race. That is to say, don't just throw somebody from downstate on the ticket to say that we have balance, but support a qualified candidate who can articulate the issues and strengthen the overall party.
I meant it then and I mean it now. But I can honestly say that I didn't realize what my comments a few weeks ago would put in motion. When Judy Barr Topinka indicated that she was going to make the race for Governor, I said in part, the following:
It's just that I think that in a blue state, with an open statewide seat up for grabs, the race is now begging for somebody with legislative experience and a broader perspective of state issues than one would get in (Mangieri's) present position...As such, the Dems best bet is to put the most qualified candidate forward regardless of geographic or other considerations. And that means that there are now a lot of people that are going to give this race a fresh look.
At the time, my comments were candidly made from the mindset of observer, not participant. I wasn't trying to throw the door open for myself, rather it just seemed obvious to me that at least one or two seasoned Democrats would make a move to take the open seat. In fact, I even placed calls to a couple of current and past Democratic office holders encouraging them to seek the office. But oddly enough, nobody really had the interest.

Then the phone calls started and I found myself again considering whether or not this was something that I wanted to do. And while it would have been easier just to ignore the fact that the race was viable (to say the least), that would have simply been a way to avoid making a decision.

The technical analysis of the race was actually the easiest part of the decision. Based upon the commitments which were graciously extended to me by key individuals from around the City and County, I am confident that Chicago and Cook County would prove to be a very significant asset in my campaign. As important, however, have been the numerous calls that I have received from downstate Democrats, including some Downstate Chairmen with whom I had never previously spoken, indicating their support as well.

A review of the field really didn't sway me one way or the other. About a week ago, I met with Alexi Giannoulias, a 29 year old alum of my high school who has stated his intentions to run. Alexi reminds me of myself at that age, although much more focused and with a lot more money :) I think that he is intelligent, sincere, and that he and I would find ourselves to have much in common on the issues.

Slated candidate, Paul Mangieri came by for a visit a couple of days later. Paul exudes the confidence that a slated candidate should carry, and strikes me as a good and decent man. In any event, out of deference and my commitment to both men, I am not going to discuss the content of our meetings other than to say that I thought that they were both positive and that I like both of these guys.

On the Republican side, I just don't see anybody out there that can make a real go of this race. Without going after anybody personally, let me just say that the Dems should be ashamed of themselves if we don't pick up this seat.

I then needed to take a fresh look at the substantive nature of the office. A review of the work of past Treasurers convinced me that the job is much more than that of a glorified banker. The Treasurer has a unique ability to implement and direct policy through the monetary leverage that is the state depository amount. A meeting with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and a review of his tenure as State Treasurer shows the ability, through link deposit programs and the like, to work on issues ranging from agricultural incentives to veterans' programs to affordable housing.

I also took into consideration that I was making a decision that, one way or another, would forever change my path of public service. As such, properly or not, the question that I focused on wasn't whether I wanted to run for Treasurer, but in light of how I have seen things fall into place, whether I want to be Treasurer. I have always said that I would never seek an office solely for the sake of doing it. But it is also quite possible that there will never be a better chance to seek the honor and privilege of being a statewide constitutional officer and of doing the service that I could do in such an office.

After numerous discussions with friends, both political and non-political, and with my immediate family, a couple of questions kept resurfacing - One, was I leaning toward running because of a sincere desire to become the State Treasurer or simply because I believed that the campaign would be a successful one? Two, is this the capacity in which I feel that I can best be of service? And most importantly, is this the direction that I want to take with my family at this juncture?

It would be disingenuous to say that my thoughts haven't been back and forth numerous times. But I am now reassured that I have actually meant it all these years when I said that I would not run just for the sake of it.

I believe that there are issues and causes that I still want to work on, and I do not believe that the office of Treasurer is the best place for me to do that. For that reason, I will not be a candidate for the office in 2006. Rather, I will seek re-election to represent the 11th District in the Illinois House.

Often times, people shy away from a race that seems like an uphill battle. Let me assure you that that is an easier decision to make than this one has been. I appreciate to no end the calls of friendship and offers of support that have poured in, and the patience of my friends and colleagues as I worked to come to a decision.

I have no idea what, if anything my political future holds. Heck, I'd be lying if I said that I am positive that I am making the right decision. But I am going to look forward to the future and continuing to work, not just on substantive issues, but on making our party and the process the best that they can be. And I will continue to put those interests before my own.

On an related note, and maybe a topic for anoter day, this exercise has clarified for me that the future of the Democratic Party in our state rests in the ability and commitment to put forth ideals before individuals. There are people from one end of the state to the other prepared to step up for a candidate, regardless of location or background, whom they believe can give them a vision for leadership. The Party must strive to put those candidates forward.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank - God?

First off, let me wish a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to all, regardless of politics, personalities or anything else that may serve to create rifts between any of us throughout the year. One of the best things about the holiday season is that it's a nice opportunity for everybody to put things in perspective and remember those things that are truly important. All too often, especially in political circles, it is easy to get immersed in the moment and forget to take a step back and take stock of how fortunate we are on so many levels.

(As for the picture, it was just too good not to use)

On a related note, I came across the following yesterday and wanted to share it. With all the debate about trying to find the proper relationship between government and religion, I think that it is interesting to read the Thanksgiving Day proclamation of our first president. So without further comment, I will let you make what you will of the following:
Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation:

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our sasety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Monday, November 21, 2005

A New Sheriff in Town

Looks like Cook County Sheriff Mike Sheahan will not be seeking re-election in 2006. This relatively late-breaking, but long-rumored, development throws this seat up for grabs. A leading frontrunner has to be my friend and former colleague Tom Dart, who is presently working in that office after a good run in the House and a bid for Treasurer in 2002.

Other names may include Jim Burns. I'm sure that there are countless others who will test the waters of this situation that is in flux.

THE Democratic Party in Chicago

ChicagoPAC is an organization that I started to support candidates and causes around the City and State. Last year, we had our inaugural young professionals event and we packed the place with people involved in politics, wanting to be involved in politics, and people just coming out for a great evening.

So while I may be a bit biased, I think that the event that we put on last year was probably the most entertaining 'political' event I have ever been to. Between Sen. Obama being gracious enough to speak at the event just days before the election, the venue, and the crowd, it was a great night on all fronts.

This year's event is at Cabaret, a establishment that is opening up this week, and should prove to be another great time. Last year's event sold out, I have a hunch that this one will too. So if you plan on attending, don't wait to get a ticket.

Click on the image to enlarge it, and if you need more details, e-mail or call 773-477-VOTE (8683).

Not So Smart Paul

So by now, I guess that, even though I have been trying to make a decision quickly and quietly, it's no secret that I have been weighing a run for the Treasurer's office, (and no, this post is not a going to be a pronouncement one way or the other-very soon though), so I read with some interest Rick Pearson's article today discussing the fact that with Judy running for Governor, the race has a whole new dynamic to it.

What surprised me in the article was the flippant tone of Knox County State's Attorney Paul Mangieri's comments. It's one thing to have an air of confidence, as you should, even if you were tapped to pitch because there was nobody left on the bench. But it doesn't strike me as smart politics to gamely take a reporter's bait, and in so doing, deride "Chicago liberalism" (is he talking about the Speaker?) or more so, "the courage of the convictions" of myself or others by not getting into the race at the time of slating. If he doesn't get that the race is wholly different now than it was, he is missing something. And I don't know if that is a quality that I am comfortable with in any of our candidates.

And while he may be personally confident of his vote-getting abilities downstate, he would have been well-served to talk to some of the downstate County Chairmen first to see just where they are on the race.

Furthermore, I find it interesting that while he is quick to tout his 'conservative ideology on soical issues', he said nothing about why he substantively wants to be Treasurer. Given that this is now at least the fourth different office for which he has run, I guess I'm not surprised.

If he wants to thump his chest, more power to him. It's an appropriate tactic when used judiciously. But doing it the day before he was supposed to be coming in to meet with me probably wasn't the best move on his part.

For Love or Money?

When I first read Phil Kadner's article in Sunday's Daily Southtown, I just took it as another hard-hitting piece about George Ryan.

Ryan does not think of himself as a prostitute.

Yet he solicited money from people during the course of his political career. And in exchange for that money, it is apparent that he performed certain acts.

His claim that he "earned every penny of it," does not distinguish him from the common street walker.

But it also raises some interesting thoughts about the whole role of money in the Illinois political process. Nothing new necessarily, but I think that it's worth pondering the impact of all of the scandals over the years.

The public is already rightfully dismayed by campaign finance issues, but I think that the scandals cause the public to see no line whatsoever between any legitimate role of campaign contributions and the acts that lead to the indictments that have become so commonplace. I don't really have time to pontificate on this right now, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bring the Noize!!

On the right of this blog, you will now see a feed for Illinoize. Illinoize is the work product of Rich Miller (good work Rich), and consists of an updating feed of selected political blogs from around the state.

Just another way to keep informed of what's happening.

Lost in Translation

One of the difficulties faced by the present administration is that the general cynicism that envelops it may well obscure even the best ideas put forth by the Governor. Some of the coverage of All Kids serves to underscore this point.

In its national round-up, U.S. News and World Report leads off by calling the program 'a costly safety net for Illinois kids', saying:

Other states are sure to be watching closely as Illinois implements an ambitious plan to provide health insurance for all children in the state, including those from middle-class families.

The new law, signed last week by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is the most sweeping and comprehensive in the nation. It aims to extend health coverage to 250,000 children, half of them from families that earn over $40,000 a year.

With its price tag of $45 million for just the first year, the law could seriously strain the state's already tight budget. And critics worry that residents from other states will flock to Illinois to collect benefits.

As usual, there is a political twist. Blagojevich, who pushed the bill, has recently been involved in a federal investigation of hiring practices. Republicans charge--and Blagojevich denies--that the bill is a way of diverting attention from the controversy.

Not exactly the warm and fuzzies that they had been hoping for.

Things weren't much better closer to home. The Champaign-Urbana-based News-Gazette (by the way, that's as many hypens as you're likely to see in a row) focused more on the press release than the substance of the bill, pointing out that the release was actually wordier than the enacted new law.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich this week issued what was probably the longest press release The News-Gazette Capitol bureau has seen since it reopened in July 2000.

The 8-page doozy of a release announced the governor's signing of the All Kids legislation, designed to make sure no child in Illinois goes without health insurance.

It contained supportive quotes from no fewer than 34 different individuals, plus the governor.
Not counting the 50 or so words in the headline portion, the release contained 3,980 words (according to the word count tool in Microsoft Word.)

That's more words than in the Declaration of Independence (1,337), the Articles of Confederation (about 3,400) or the 1783 Treaty of Paris (about 2,000).

The governor's press release for the signing of All Kids contained even more words than the number of words added to state statutes in order to enact the new law (2,227).
While I am seeing signs that the Executive Office is trying to get more focused on a consistent message, Tusk's opinion piece in the Journal-Register last week is a good example, they are really going to need a sustained and concerted effort if they expect the substance to break through the clutter.

Monday, November 14, 2005

March Madness-UPDATED

Primary madness that is. I heard about this a few days ago and was actually surprised to see it in Sunday's Chicago Tribune when I got back in town since it was supposedly being kept well below the radar screen:
Former Chicago alderman and one-time city housing chairman Edwin Eisendrath said Saturday that he was giving "serious thought" to challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in next year's Democratic primary.

"I've been asked to consider it, and now I am talking to my family and friends," said Eisendrath, 47, who is vice president for academic affairs at Kendall College. "I'm very flattered that people have asked me."...

The wealthy Eisendrath, a former 43rd Ward alderman, was defeated in a 1990 primary challenge to a North Shore political icon, the late U.S. Rep. Sidney Yates. Under the Clinton White House, Eisendrath was named Midwest regional director of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and he became chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority when the federal government took over it in 1995.
Word is that he is pretty close to a decision and we should have an answer within a week. If he gets in, it will make for some very interesting politics over the next few months, and will impact races at both the state and local level by affecting Dem primary turnout. It's always something...
UPDATE - After a number of calls and conversations today, barring anything unforeseen, I'm saying that Eisendrath is IN THE RACE. While there is no official announcement, I think that it is safe to say that this train has left the station.
As I said before, this changes a LOT of calculations for a lot of people, not just the Governor. So roll up your sleeves, sit back and get ready to witness some fascinating politics.

Friday, November 11, 2005

To Our Veterans

As the son of a Vietnam veteran and grandson of an WWII veteran, and as somebody proud to have the liberties that we do and cognizant of how and why we have them, I want to say thank you to all of the men and women, living and deceased, who have been willing to serve and put their lives on the line for each and every one of us. God bless you all and your families.


I'm going to take a couple days of R+R, so no posts until Sunday night or Monday. Have a good weekend everybody.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dorothy Left Just in Time

So I don't know why I'm weighing in on this issue, but hell, if it's good enough for Sen. Bill Brady, it's good enough for me. According to, the Kansas Board of Education has voted to allow the teaching of alternate theories to evolution in their schools.

Even more baffling to me than the fact that this vote is being cast in 2005, is the stated underpinning of the concept:
The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. (Emphasis added)
Listen, I don't know how my plasma television works either but I just figured that it was some really smart guys in a lab somewhere, not devine intervention.

Let me be clear - I am NOT making light of anybody's deeply held religious beliefs. But some of the most fervent Christians I know do not support the teaching of intelligent design. So what do you call it when religion and faith don't exactly jibe? Faith. Even members of the leity concede that there is not a way to perfectly harmonize the scriptures and science. But just as scientists shouldn't go around trying to debunk religion, people should not use the Bible to attempt to discredit established scientific constructs.

But that premise apparently doesn't apply in the Sunflower State. Figuring that they were on a roll, the Board decided to keep going in their version of education reform:
In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
That's right, we don't want to restrict science to using provable facts. That would take all the creativity of it.

Now I'm not going to get any further in the midst of this debate, so let me just close with the words of one of the dissenting board members:
"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Judy Judy Judy

Well, now things are going to get interesting. Judy's all but in, and the resulting buzz has been fast and furious. Personally, I think that the most interesting story right now is what happens to the rest of the Republican ticket. One would think that they would be smart enough to craft a slate out of the people still standing in order to put together a unified ticket. But on the other hand, there may be enough ego and animosity to keep it from happening.

Assuming that JBT comes out of a primary relatively unscathed, there will be more twists and turns next summer and fall than in a David Mamet story. There are so many unforeseeable variables that it is almost futile to try to predict how things are going to spin out.

The national perspective is going to be interesting as well. Jake at Cross' blog found this tidbit on

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is not an especially popular guy. Among other things, he ranks in the bottom tier in gubernatorial approval, a poll in early October gave him just a 35-42 re-election number, and by most accounts, he hasn't had a very successful first term in office.

So it's not much of a surprise that the most popular - only popular? - Republican in the state, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, has decided to toss her hat into the Republican primary ring. There are five guys already in the race, but they are mostly low name-rec nobodies, with the possible exception of uber-conservative Jim Oberweis, best known for losing in the IL Senate primary last year to disgraced ultra-loser Jack Ryan. Topinka stands at 81% name recognition and holds an impressive lead (31-15 over her nearest challenger) in a hypothetical primary matchup.

However, don't fret too much. Blago has somehow managed to amass an enormous warchest - $14 million and counting.That's some serious Hillary-level scrilla. Plus, IL has become very blue of late, so that's a natural advantage - plus, as I need remind no one, the national GOP is imploding, which is yet another natural advantage for us. Nonetheless, this race probably just got moved into the "interesting" category thanks to Topinka.

Interesting could be the tamest thing that this race gets called going forward.

The other aspect of note is what happens to the Dem slot for Treasurer. With the office now way in play, it is hard to believe that Paul Mangieri is going to be the best that the Dems put forward. And I mean that with absolutely nothing against Mr. Mangieri, whom I've never met. It's just that I think that in a blue state, with an open statewide seat up for grabs, the race is now begging for somebody with legislative experience and a broader perspective of state issues than one would get in his present position.

Plus, having successfully navigated the med mal bill through the Legislature, the Speaker is likely not as concerned as he once was about the vulnerability of some of his downstate members. As such, the Dems best bet is to put the most qualified candidate forward regardless of geographic or other considerations. And that means that there are now a lot of people that are going to give this race a fresh look.

Thirty Years?!

Say what you will about Lee Daniels, who is going to be leaving the House after three decades, the man fought like nobody else to improve the anemic state of how we fund and handle programs and services for developmentally disabled individuals in this state. His passion on the issue is personal and persistent. Everything else aside, for that he is to be commended. I hope that somebody will fill the void in those efforts that will exist after he leaves.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Giving New Meaning to Deputy Press Agent

Maybe it's just me, but somehow I don't think that this is the type of activity that you want to be involved in right now. From the Southern Illinoisan:
SPRINGFIELD - State parole agents have been told to distribute letters promoting Gov. Rod Blagojevich's record on fighting crime - a move critics say borders on asking state workers to campaign for the governor during work hours.

An internal memo detailing the request indicates that employees at some state parole offices are supposed to hand out at least five letters per week to groups, individuals and churches.

"There should be no reason that each of your offices can't distribute five letters per week," wrote Kenneth Knox, regional parole supervisor for the state's central and southern region.
As I have said before, the Governor has some smart people around him. So I can't understand how, regardless of the probable legality of the activity, that somebody wouldn't have jumped up at some point and said 'Hey, this just isn't going to look good, and will probably blow up in our faces.'

But sure enough, when taken to task on the issue, state officials tried to defend the practice and sound as if they couldn't even envision that it would look, um, awkward.
The Illinois Department of Corrections, which is overseeing the "community outreach" campaign, said it is a parole officer's job to inform the public about new laws.

"We all work for the governor. We wanted the public to know the good things the administration is doing," said DOC spokeswoman Dede Short.
No matter how many good things the Governor may do or try to do, if he doesn't get a handle on these types of stories, he's going to find himself in a one step forward, two steps back situation.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

State of Emergency

A number of readers have asked me to comment about the state of our emergency preparedness. And while I don't have any specific insight to add to the issue, AP writer Maura Kelly Lannan did a good job of reporting on where Illinois and Chicago officials think that they are at should disaster strike. In the aftermath of recent disasters, it's understandable for officials to hedge their bets. Local officials are sticking to this same game plan.
"I believe that we are as well-prepared at this point as we could be. We're better prepared than we were Sept. 11, 2001," said Mike Chamness, policy adviser to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. "I think we would handle any disaster well in Illinois, but I am not at all content to say we're just going to sit back. We have to test our system and find out what parts work and what may not work."
Monique Bond, spokeswoman for Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, believes the state and city of Chicago are well-prepared for a disaster.

"But we have to continue to do more. We're never going to be 100 percent prepared," she said. "It's critical that we constantly revisit the (evacuation) plan, look at it, refine it, see what are we missing here, what have we overlooked."
These days, with the ever-present threat of natural disasters or terrorist activity, we must do all that we can to function normally yet responsibly in our daily lives. We must learn from the mistakes of others though, and make sure that people in positions of responsibility are qualified to be there and are vigilant in their jobs.
At the end of the day though, what it boils down to is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sox Storm Springfield (Photos)

All stops were pulled out as the White Sox Nation came to central Illinois. The only thing missing was tickertape coming from the top of the dome. There was so much hype, you would have thought that All Kids was being called again for a vote. But seriously, both Ozzie and Jerry were gracious and, if even possible, even further endeared themselves to the crowd. It was a unique and special event, and who knows when we'll see this again. And I have to add, I don't care how old you are, there is nothing like touching the World Series trophy to make you feel like a little kid again.

Kudos to Gabe Lopez and everybody else that helped pull this together.

Power Play

"He's not going to make it through this process, so it's almost like piling on at this point."

And with those words, Sen. Ricky Hendon has appeared to put the final nail in the coffin in the ICC nomination of former CUB Executive Director Marty Cohen. Hendon's comments came in response to news that Marty hadn't been registered as a lobbyist for the past few years, although he had been so previously. I won't bother to get into the details of this spat other than to say that both sides have colorable positions.

I have known Marty for a while now, and in addition to being a constituent, he is a good and honorable man. But politics often, if not usually, trumps substance down here, and it looks as if the Cohen nomination will be the latest example of that.


In our Springfield rendition of Nomination Musical Chairs, the next question is what happens if Cohen does indeed go down in defeat or withdraws? I think that the Governor will use the opportunity to make a politically valuable stand on behalf of consumers. But then it gets a little trickier. He needs a pick that can get through confirmation, without backing down from his pro-consumer position.

Early money line - Former State Sen. Patrick Welch.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What's Up with the Blog?

In case you haven't noticed, I have now added a consolidated news feed on the right side of this blog. I figure that it might let people see some stories that they wouldn't ordinarily come across. But that's not the point of today's post.

Some folks have asked me why I haven't been posting as regularly of late, so I figured I'd address it here. (Hey, an unitentional reason to post!) And while I still post most every day, plain and simple, I just don't think that there's been that much to discuss over the last few days. It's not my intention or desire to simply retread other stories that are being covered in the media. The point of this particular blog was, and is, to bring a unique viewpoint to various stories or issues.

So if I think that I can add something to a story being covered, I will post about it. Similarly, if there are issues out there which simply seem to be interesting or may be something that I think that readers of this blog wouldn't ordinarily come across, I'll probably weigh in here as well. Or if there is something that just prompts me to write, I'm in.

I guess what I'm saying is that I think it is better to have whatever the blog equivalent of 'dead air' is here and there, rather than to post for the sake of posting.

Trust me, I'm sure that there will be enough material in the upcoming days, weeks, and months to keep me going (much to the dismay of some people). But at the same time, if there are items that you'd like to discuss, as always, let me know. Carry on.