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June 2013 Archives


WASHINGTON--In the wake of revelations the U.S. government secretly asked Verizon for massive amounts of data on tens of millions of phone calls, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) asked Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday if the National Security Agency monitored calls placed from the Capitol.

Holder said there was no intention to "spy" on Congress and said he would not go into details on the calls in a public setting.

Kirk quizzed Holder during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing where Holder was testifying on the Justice Department fiscal 2014 budget request.

Kirk used the occasion to ask Holder about the government Verizon snooping.

"Mr. Attorney General, I want to take you to the Verizon scandal and -- which I understand takes us to possibly monitoring up to 120 million calls. You know, when government bureaucrats are sloppy, they're usually really sloppy. Want to just ask, could you assure to us that no phone inside the Capitol were monitored of members of Congress that would give a future executive branch, if they started pulling this kind of thing off, would give them unique leverage over the legislature?

Holder replied, "With all due respect, Senator, I don't think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue. I'd be more than glad to come back in a -- in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that you have raised," noting they were speaking in public.

Kirk, a Naval intelligence officer, was not satisfied with Holder's answer.

Said Kirk, "I would interrupt you and say the correct answer would be say no, we stayed within our lane, and I'm assuring you we did not spy on members of Congress."

Holder didn't want to discuss the secret snooping in public and offered some assurances about spying on members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

"And I would be more than glad, as I said, in an appropriate setting, to deal with the question. And Senator Kirk, please do not take my response as something -- as being anything but respectful of the concerns that you have raised. There has been no intention to do anything of that nature -- that is, to spy on members of Congress, to spy on members of the Supreme Court."

WASHINGTON--The Democratic National Committee's Executive and Rules and Bylaws Committees will meet in Chicago this Saturday and as of Thursday, nothing controversial is on the agenda.

Executive Committee members will be addressed by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.)

The DNC meeting is at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan.

WASHINGTON--EMILY'S List hits Chicago on June 27 for a fund-raising event featuring a panel with EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan; City of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely and MSNBC's Karen Finney.

EMILY'S List helps to bankroll the candidacies of viable females who support abortion rights. EMILY is an acronym from "Early Money is Like Yeast"--it makes the dough rise."

The EMILY's List Chicago Luncheon will be at the Willis Tower with a variety of price points:

*$5,000 Host (includes 10-top table and 4 tickets to Reception)
*$2,500 Sponsor (includes 10-top table and 2 tickets to Reception)
*$1,100 Majority Council Membership* (includes 1 ticket to Reception)
*$100 Renewed Majority Council Member (includes 1 ticket to Reception)
*$150 Luncheon Only Ticket

Why Chicago? According to a spokesman, "Last year we had our first Chicago Regional Conference as part of our Regional Conference series in Houston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco to come to our members' communities. We are back in Chicago this year because of the overwhelming amount of support from the community. ....Event will be attended by dozens of EMILY's List members and donors, many of whom contributed last year when we raised $52 million for women candidates."

Updated with Durbin comments....

WASHINGTON--Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice-Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on Thursday defended the Obama administration secretly gathering phone data on tens of millions of users because "I think people want the homeland kept safe to the extent we can," Feinstein said.

Congress approved the surveillance, Feinstein said in a hurriedly called press conference in the Capitol, because of the threat terrorists pose. "I know people are trying to get to us," Feinstein said.

Just as the Transportation Security Administration officials screen people at airports, the purpose of the snooping, Feinstein said, was "to ferret this out before it happens."

Feinstein and Chambliss were reacting to the revelation in the British newspaper the Guardian that a judge sitting on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court signed an order in April allowing the collection of data on calls.

The Guardian posted a copy of the four-page "top secret" court order allowing the collection of information on calls--referred to as "telephony metadata" --from a Verizon subsidiary signed in April by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Roger Vinson. The order expires on July 19. To be clear: at issue is collection of information as to a number called and length of call; the U.S. government is not eavesdropping.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued on Thursday his long held concerns about a program he has argued for years is too broad. The phone record collection raises "a fundamental question of personal freedom and privacy against our concerns for security."

Durbin said he has had to be "circumspect" about his views because he has been privey to classified briefings.

Durbin told reporters the revelations in the Guardian were not surprising to him. "I've been concerned about this program and what's been involved in this for some time. I've been trying to be careful in how I've expressed that concern because we are dealing with classified information."

In 2009 Durbin offered an amendment to narrow the authority for government data collection. In 2009 Durbin said, "The real reason for resisting this obvious common-sense modification of Section 215 is cloaked in secrecy. Someday the cloak will be lifted and future generations will ask whether our actions today meet the test of a democratic society - transparency, accountability and fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution. I believe our oath of office requires every member of this Committee to seek a classified briefing to truly understand this issue."

Speaking on Thursday, Feinstein said, "I understand privacy. Sen. Chambliss understands privacy. We want to protect peoples private rights and that is why this is carefully done."

Chambliss said, "we review every program in the intelligence community on a regular basis, including this program. ...Where we find abuses, we're going to take corrective action."

Analysts are looking through the compiled data--what Feinstein called "a phonebook of numbers"-- for intelligence that may reveal "credible suspicion" of a terrorist plot. Once a call pattern is established, further court orders must be obtained if probers want to pursue the leads. Chambliss said the information they are looking for is "at the other end of the call."

A senior White House administration official told the Sun-Times in a statement, "the article discusses what purports to be an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court under a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that authorizes the production of business records.

"Orders of the FISA Court are classified. On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call.

"Information of the sort described in the Guardian article has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.

"As we have publicly stated before, all three branches of government are involved in reviewing and authorizing intelligence collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Congress passed that act and is regularly and fully briefed on how it is used, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizes such collection.

"There is a robust legal regime in place governing all activities conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That regime has been briefed to and approved by the Court. And, activities authorized under the Act are subject to strict controls and procedures under oversight of the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FISA Court, to ensure that they comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties."

WASHINGTON--Verizon handed over tens of millions of phone records of U.S. customers to the National Security Agency, under a secret court order, the British newspaper the Guardian reported. On Thursday morning the White House was not denying that snooping goes on as part of the ongoing fight against terrorists.

The Guardian posted a copy of the four-page "top secret" court order allowing the collection of information on calls--referred to as "telephony metadata" --from a Verizon subsidiary signed in April by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Roger Vinson.

The order said the "substantive content" of the call or the name of the subscriber or customer was not to be included. The surveillance is legal under a variety of laws Congress passed and former President George W. Bush signed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The Obama administration now has another major privacy issue to confront, coming in the wake of the IRS scandal and pursuing leak probes against the Associated Press and Fox News.

A senior administration official told the Sun-Times in a statement, "the article discusses what purports to be an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court under a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that authorizes the production of business records.

"Orders of the FISA Court are classified. On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call.

"Information of the sort described in the Guardian article has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.

"As we have publicly stated before, all three branches of government are involved in reviewing and authorizing intelligence collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Congress passed that act and is regularly and fully briefed on how it is used, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizes such collection.

"There is a robust legal regime in place governing all activities conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That regime has been briefed to and approved by the Court. And, activities authorized under the Act are subject to strict controls and procedures under oversight of the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FISA Court, to ensure that they comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties."

P060513CK-0148
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago, Ill., in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, June 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

WASHINGTON--A group of Harper High School students met with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle during a visit to the White House on Wednesday; Obama showed the students the original Emancipation Proclamation hanging in the Oval Office.

The group-- 14 boys and 10 girls-- all from the school at 6520 S. Wood the First Lady visited in April were at the White House as a result of an invitation issued by Mrs. Obama, a South Sider herself. The students came to Washington expecting to see Mrs. Obama; the Oval Office meeting with the president was a special addition.

Mrs. Obama wanted to visit the school in April because in the past year, students at the school have been touched by gun violence and the deaths of their classmates. At the time Mrs. Obama met with the Harper students last April, 29 current or former students have been shot in the past year; 8 of them died.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped round up the financing for the trip here, asking Chicago attorney Chuck Smith, a partner in the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to donate himself--and round up other contributors to cover all the costs of the bus trip, hotel and meals.

Mrs. Obama's Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen said in a statement provided to the Sun-Times that the "First Lady was delighted to welcome the students from Harper High School that she met with in April to the White House today. In their conversation, the First Lady and the students caught up and discussed their graduation, prom, and post high school plans. The students are very much looking forward to their visit to Howard University on Thursday."

The student included a freshman, three sophomores, seven juniors and 13 seniors.

WASHINGTON -- Well, this was one heck of a productive meeting. Sen. Mark Kirk, dropping his bravado, didn't bring up his "big project"-- the mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples in Chicago. Rep. Bobby Rush, purging himself of race-based insults, sweetly talked about how Kirk's heart "is in the right place."

Despite different views on how to battle murderous gang violence in Chicago, Kirk, a Republican who lives near Highland Park and Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Calumet near 35th in the city, agreed Tuesday to work together after meeting for about an hour in Kirk's suite in the Hart Senate Office Building.

The Illinois lawmakers emerged to talk to reporters about what now is their joint effort to fightg gangs in Chicago. Neither man took questions, deciding before coming out to leave well enough alone.

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama will tap United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to become his National Security Advisor on Wednesday, to replace Tom Donilon and will appoint Samantha Power--who has advised him on foreign policy since he was a U.S. Senator from Illinois--to replace Rice.

Power led the Obama White House efforts to address genocide, stepping down several months ago as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Power won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide."

In April, 2012, Obama named her as chair of his then new Atrocities Prevention Board.

Power worked for Obama when he was in the Senate for about a year--during parts of 2005 and 2006-- taking leave of her post at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Power joined Obama's presidential campaign early--but departed in March, 2008 after she called then Democratic presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton a "monster" in an interview with The Scotsman newspaper and the Clinton campaign organized a push for her to resign.

After a time in exile--she never really left the informal Obama fold--she joined the administration in the first term. She was in her post at the top anti-genocide adviser when Obama decided to support military air strikes against Libya,
faced with then strongman Moammar Gadhafi's threats to slaughter his own people.
In a speech Obama said America had "responsibilities to our fellow human beings" to act. To do nothing, Obama told the nation, would "have been a betrayal of who we are."

Power is married to former University of Chicago professor Cass Sunstein, who--like Power--recently left an Obama administration post. The couple--who met in the 2008 Obama presidential campaign-- have two young children.

From a White House Official: "This afternoon in the Rose Garden, the President will announce that after more than 4 years at the National Security Council, Tom Donilon will be departing as National Security Advisor in early July and will be succeeded by Ambassador Susan Rice. The President will also announce that he will nominate Samantha Power to succeed Ambassador Rice as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations."

WASHINGTON -- First Lady Michelle Obama, at a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee here on Tuesday told a heckler, "One of the things I don't do well is this," according to the pool report.

Obama left the lectern after being interrupted by a woman associated with the pro-LGBT group GetEQUAL, petitioning for tighter anti-discrimination measures against those who act against contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The first lady told the heckler, and the crowd "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."

The complete pool report below - UPDATED AT THE BOTTOM



Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) mending fences on Tuesday, agreeing to work together to combat gang violence in Chicago. The two spoke outside Kirk's Hart Senate Office Building suite. (video by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Putting aside differences for now, Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Bobby Rush agreed after a meeting on Tuesday to work together to combat the Gangster Disciples in Chicago, with Kirk promising to tour Chicago's South Side and consult with Rush "to guide me to the most effective programs that could defeat the gangs."

After huddling together for almost an hour in Kirk's Hart Senate Office Building suite, the Illinois lawmakers emerged to discuss what now is their joint approach to battle gangs in Chicago. Neither man took questions from reporters. Rush requested the meeting in the wake of Kirk's proposal for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples in Chicago--and Rush's own harsh words attacking Kirk as a suburban no-nothing when it came to battling Chicago gangs.

"This meeting shows that Bobby and I can work out any differences because we love Chicago so much that we won't give up," Kirk said.

"My feeling is the elected Representative of the First Congressional District knows it best and that he will be able to guide me to the most effective programs that could defeat the gangs. ...Bobby and I have agreed to tour the First Congressional District and I have asked him to show me the worst of the worst where officials may fear to tread and actually listed to kids."

Rush said, "He and I have agreed to not only work together, he said he will visit Englewood and other communities there. I am looking forward to him listening to young people." Rush gave Kirk a book to read about the high incarceration rates of African Americans and the impact on communities, "The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarcerations in the Age of Colorblindness," by Michelle Alexander.

After that listening tour--no date has yet been set--Rush said "we are going to roll up our sleeves and see what we can do legislatively to impress upon the administration how some of these issues need to be addressed."

Absent from the remarks of Kirk, a Republican, was the bravado of recent weeks when he announced his proposal for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, to be bankrolled with $30 million he would be requesting from Congress.

Rush, a Democrat, for his part, drastically toned down his rhetoric after offering scathing criticism of Kirk's plan last week in an interview with the Sun-Times, saying "It's a sensational, headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic, unworkable approach" that was an "upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about."

On Tuesday, Kirk and Rush needed each other.

Kirk launched a round of meetings with federal and local law enforcement officials to get input for his arrest plan but did not seek a buy-in from the three Illinois lawmakers--all African-American--whose districts would be most impacted by mass arrests of what would almost most likely be young, African American males. With Congress cash-strapped, Kirk would have a tough time in any case finding $30 million. With Rush and fellow Illinois Democrats Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly against Kirk's plan, the path to funding would be almost impossible to find.

Rush found himself criticized for using race-based language in blasting Kirk's plan. While it is not known if he offered any apology, his new tone seemed to speak for itself.

Kirk never backed down from his mass arrest plan and did not discuss the multi-front assault on youth violence championed by Rush--in particular finding jobs for at risk kids.

Though "we disagree on some aspects" of what to do, Rush said, "...I think over due time, he will understand what is from my perspective a more comprehensive approach."

As Rush was departing and Kirk turning back towards his office, Kirk paused. He shouted out, "OK Bobby, see you in Englewood."

WASHINGTON--Last April 10, First Lady Michelle Obama, in Chicago to address the issue of gun violence and youths, met with Harper High School students. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will meet again with a group of Harper High School students--this time at the White House.

According to Mrs. Obama's office, the students are in Washington for a trip-- and their meeting, closed to the press is set for 2 p.m. ET.

Harper High School, the White House said last April, "has been profoundly affected violence--29 current or former students have been shot in the past year; 8 of them died."

Most of Mrs. Obama's April visit at Harper was private; in remarks that were open to the press she talked about her South Side roots, saying, "you all know there isn't much distance between me and you. There really is not."

Mrs. Obama's main event in that April visit was to deliver a keynote address for Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a luncheon thrown to encourage donations to the fund the mayor created to bankroll programs to help at-risk kids. So far, Emanuel has collected $41 million in pledges.

TRANSCRIPT OF MRS. OBAMA'S PUBLIC REMARKS AT HARPER HIGH SCHOOL, APRIL 10, 2013 IS HERE.

UPDATED TUESDAY, JUNE 4

The motion for Jesse Jackson's lawyers--filed on Monday-- to get his records sealed was denied--for now--on Tuesday. Judge Amy Berman Jackson (no relation) said she would not make a ruling until she reads the Jesse Jackson sentencing memo due Friday.

"Without the pleading, the Court cannot make a reasoned judgment about the necessity for the order. Therefore, the motion for leave to file will be denied without prejudice. In accordance with the rule, if the defendant ultimately files his memorandum in aid of sentencing accompanied by a motion to seal, "[t]he document will be treated as sealed pending the outcome of the ruling."

END UPDATE

WASHINGTON--Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) wants to keep information about his medical condition--which his lawyers will cite as a reason a judge should give him a break at his July 1 sentencing--out of the public record because, according to a document filed on Monday, it will contain "sensitive details" about Jackson and "one of his family members."

Friday is the deadline for separate sentencing memos due for Jackson and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson in advance of their July 1 sentencing. The two pled guilty in February in federal court here to looting $750,000 from campaign funds for personal use.

Last April, federal prosecutors told U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson that if Jackson's lawyers raise his bipolar disorder as a mitigating factor in trying to reduce his prison sentence--they may call their own witnesses to evaluate Jackson's mental condition.

On Monday afternoon, Jackson's lawyers filed a motion that showed they were going the route of using his medical condition in making an appeal to the judge.

In asking for "a portion" of a sentencing memo to be filed "under seal," that is out of public view, Jackson main defense lawyers, Reid Weingarten, Brian Heberlig and William Drake said the memo due Friday "will contain personal sensitive details about (Jackson's) medical condition, as well as the medical condition of one of his family members.

"In addition, Mr.Jackson plans to submit letters from two medical professionals regarding his medical condition. Disclosure of these materials would unnecessarily expose to the public intimate details of Mr. Jackson's and his family member's medical diagnoses and treatment."

The defense lawyers said in the motion the federal prosecutors did not oppose their motion, "but reserves the right to request" that the information be "unsealed" after a review.

Jackson vanished from public view on June 10, 2012, only to finally surface at Mayo Clinic, last July, where he was treated for bipolar disorder, with most of the details never disclosed.

Last August the clinic said the disorder is "most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors" and says that the "gastric bypass surgery" he underwent a few years ago could have changed "how the body absorbs food, liquids, vitamins, nutrients and medications."

WASHINGTON--Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) offered Chicago-style context to a House hearing Monday on the IRS scandals, saying lawmakers don't yet have all the facts and in any case "it's hard to shock and awe someone who's from Chicago, Illinois about scandals." He noted, without naming them, that two men who have held his Fifth Congressional District seat--the late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich--were both convicted of corruption charges.


Blagojevich is now serving his 14-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado.

Quigley made his comments about the comparability of the gravity of scandals during a hearing of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee about the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

While Quigley and other Democrats did not exactly defend the IRS at the hearing, they did try to diminish some of the sting aimed at the Obama White House. Quigley, in his questioning of Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel made the point that it is still not clear who did what--and then launched into a Chicago comparison when it comes to scandals.

Quigley asked Werfel, "And inasmuch as the anger exists and the anger is justified, without knowing exactly what took place, it's hard to find people accountable in the correct way.

If you don't know exactly what happened and who ordered what and who did what, it's hard to immediately find people accountable...and so forth and prosecute and investigate is there, it's just going to take a little bit of time. Correct?"

Werfel replied, "That's exactly right. We have to get the facts in a fair and thorough way."

Responded Quigley, " Listen, the chairman began this hearing talking about scandals and people being embarrassed and how far this is. You know, it's hard to shock and awe someone who's from Chicago, Illinois about scandals. My last two previous governors either went to jail or are in jail. Two of my last four predecessors sitting in my seat are in jail or went to jail. So I get it.

"But this is getting there. And clearly, this makes -- I'm often asked what the real cost of corruption is. Clearly there is a loss of trust here. That loss of trust is probably the greatest thing because it makes it very difficult to lead when you don't have the public's trust.

"So gentlemen, that's your task."

WASHINGTON--Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will meet Tuesday here in the wake of Rush's stinging criticism of Kirk's call for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, a Rush spokesman said Monday.

Kirk last week said he will seek $30 million from Congress to bankroll the project. Rush wants to discuss channeling more money to youth unemployment. Rush will also tell Kirk that "he is willing to show him around his district," spokesman Debra Johnson told the Sun-Times. Johnson said Rush sought the meeting with Kirk.

Later on Tuesday, in a separate meeting, Rush will discuss gun violence with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Rush also requested the Durbin meeting, Johnson said.

The Sun-Times analysis of the formidable hurdles Kirk must clear to implement his plan is HERE.

Excerpt from analysis: "Before going public with his plan, which would overwhelmingly affect African-American gang members, Kirk did not seek any buy-in from the three Illinois members of Congress who are black and whose districts would likely be most affected by the sweep.

The three Democrats -- Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly -- are all critical of Kirk's idea.

On Friday, Davis told the Sun-Times that Kirk's plan is the "most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in my life. I am totally amazed that something like this could come out of the senator's office." Davis said he "would have loved to have had some discussions" with Kirk to offer his input before the senator started talking about it in public.

Kelly told the Sun-Times on Friday, "While I agree with Sen. Kirk that we need to do more to crack down on gangs and other violent criminals, I don't think his plan is viable. Ending gun violence requires a more nuanced approach that includes creating access to jobs and job training, mental health counseling, mentoring and other social and community supports that offer young people alternatives to violence. It also requires passing commonsense gun control measures that keep guns out of the wrong hands."

Rush was the first to blast Kirk's plan, telling the Sun-Times on Wednesday that it was a "headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic" and "upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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