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Blogroll additions

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2004

I’ve added a few blogs to the roll.

I thought Gapers Block was already there. Oops. It’s not really a blog, but it’s worth a look.

Spontaneous Solutions is the new blog of the Illinois Policy Institute. Greg Blankenship does some very good work for the conservative cause.

I’ve been a longtime reader of the Os-blog, which is written by a young member of the DeKalb County Board. He’s on fire these days about a scandal in the College Republicans organization. Not sure why this wasn’t on my original list, either.

Truth Girl was the author of the Truth About Keyes blog, and now she writes about evangelicals and the Democratic Party.

I’ve been fascinated with The story of why for months. It’s not a political blog, but I like it anyway.

Got any more suggestions? Leave them in comments.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

The Law of Monkey

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2004

Take a few minutes and read this. Some of the language is a bit saucy, but it’s your must read of the day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Governor Hairbrush

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2004

As promised, here is the link to the ABC- I-Team story about the governor’s security detail, which included such delectable moments like state troopers carrying the governor’s hair brush and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters at the guv’s home.

I gave you most of the details in today’s fax, but here’s an enlightening section:

“They don’t know what they’re doing…there’s no need for that many people,” said Larry Esper, former governor bodyguard.

Larry Esper spent 34-years as an Illinois state trooper, most recently on the governor’s detail. He was what’s known as “the body” for former Governor George Ryan. The body is the closest guard to the governor.

“I’m a trained, experienced officer in executive protection,” said Esper.

Esper says the day after Rod Blagojevich was sworn in, most of what is officially called the Executive Protection Unit, was quickly replaced.

“That’s why I often refer to it as the bloodbath. I was banished to a desk inside the mansion to assist the mansion secretary in answering the telephone,” said Esper.

A spokeswoman for the governor contends Esper and some other former bodyguards are just angry because their overtime pay was cut by Blagojevich’s spending restraints .

In a written statement, the administration cites a “common practice” for new governors to “replace” security “from top to bottom.” But police sources say that wasn’t the case in-between governor’s Walker, Thompson, Edgar and Ryan and that the last four governors kept most.

“The old guard is gone…this has regressed into a political party kind of maneuver,” said Esper.

Esper and several current state troopers claim that newly assigned bodyguards lack the judgment and on-the-job training of those they replaced.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Just read the sign

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2004

To make your own road sign, click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Getting while the getting’s good

Friday, Nov 19, 2004

I’m leaving town for a couple of days and I don’t want to worry about comment postings, so I’m turning them off until I get back.

It’s not that I don’t trust you, understand, it’s just… well, I don’t trust some of you. Have a good weekend.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Dvorak link

Friday, Nov 19, 2004

As promised in today’s fax, here’s the link to that fascinating series in the Des Plaines Journal newspaper about how formerly mobbed up politico James Dvorak scored the rights to erect ten billboards in the city for a pittance and sold them for millions.

And here is a link to a good background story on Dvorak.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Friday Topinka blogging

Friday, Nov 19, 2004

Because posting this photo has the same effect on some people as flashing a Crucifix at a vampire.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Whitley speaks

Friday, Nov 19, 2004

I’m planning a profile of Illinois Chamber President Doug Whitley for Friday or next week. In the meantime, here’s an op-ed piece he submitted to news outlets.

Voters Begin to Dismantle Political Fraternity

For too long, Illinois has been home to a legislative and judicial fraternity whose members’ shortsighted decisions have tarnished our state’s reputation, eroded the state’s job market, undermined the healthcare system and jeopardized the overall quality of life. The arrogance of these office holders, exemplified by Gordon Maag and Pat Welch, reflects an outdated system founded in anti-employer attitudes. During their tenure, businesses have been viewed simply as “deep pockets to pick” and anti-employer legislation prevails over the need to promote a pro-growth, pro-jobs economy for Illinois.

With Illinois’ diminishing reputation and our economic future at stake, voters took an important step in the 2004 election to dismantle this out-of-control brotherhood and swing the pendulum back to center by demanding change in two critical elections: the 5th District Supreme Court race between Lloyd Karmeier and Gordon Maag and the State Senate race between Gary Dahl and 22-year veteran Pat Welch.

By voting “yes” for Karmeier - and rejecting Maag for both the Supreme Court and the Appellate Court - voters stood up for retaining and restoring access to quality healthcare, assuring employers that Illinois is a safe place to create jobs and, most importantly, diminishing Illinois’ reputation as a magnet for class action lawyers seeking huge fees and a haven for frivolous lawsuits that cost American business millions to defend. Voters confronted the stigma that Illinois is anti-business by supporting a candidate with a judicial demeanor that exemplifies trust, balance and fairness.

Voters’ message to the Illinois judicial system: We will no longer tolerate the unbridled influence of a legal fraternity that has controlled judicial selection for too long. Moreover, where retention is concerned, judges will no longer get a pass just because they’re at the bottom of the ballot.

On the legislative side, voters chose Gary Dahl over incumbent Pat Welch, who sponsored anti-employer legislation and reveled in anti-employer rhetoric. In Welch’s final years in office, more than 16,000 jobs and $120 million in Illinois business investment were lost due to excessive fee increases; more than 45 percent of employers increased their costs to consumers by an average of 5 percent; more than one in five businesses shifted costs, such as health insurance premiums, to their workers; and employers’ share of state and local taxes increased to an exceptional 50.8 percent — substantially above the U.S. average of 42.6 percent. Welsh symbolized the anti-employer attitude that saturated the 2003 and 2004 legislative cycles. Voters took notice and took action.

Voters’ message to Illinois lawmakers: Job growth is our greatest need. Characterizing employers as villains won’t create jobs or bring prosperity.

Votes count and what happens on Election Day matters. The Illinois Chamber praises voters for supporting candidates who will bring moderation back to our judicial system and compromise back to Springfield. We thank voters for stating loud and clear that if the existing fraternity can’t clean up its act, we are prepared to elect new leaders. The public spoke loudly on Nov. 2, 2004. Hopefully our state’s political leaders heard these important messages and will be more receptive to changing their ways.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Tip the pundit

Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

The Peoria Pundit had a little trouble with PayPal, but that’s now been resolved. If you tried to donate before and couldn’t, he still has the tip jar out to pay for a move to a new server, so click here and look for the PayPal link on the right side of the page. It’s easy and quick and you don’t have to open a PayPal account.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

The clarity of leadership

Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

The governor was at his cagey best this week when talking to reporters about where he stood on casino gaming. Aaron Chambers at the Rockford Register-Star filed this must-read report.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, at the center of continuing debate about whether Illinois should have more casinos, said Tuesday that he stands behind a campaign pledge not to approve more gambling.

At the same time, the Chicago Democrat said he is open-minded about gambling expansion — and that he has been since he took office as governor in January 2003.

“I’m trying to be as consistent as I’ve been for the past two years,” Blagojevich said. “I have said repeatedly since I became governor that I’ll have an open mind on some of the ideas that the men and women here in the General Assembly may have when it comes to more gaming options.”

When Chambers asked the governor about House Speaker Michael Madigan’s comments that the House won’t do anything on gaming expansion until the governor tells the world where he really stands, Blagojevich had this to say:

“They don’t talk to me about a variety of different things that they do,” he said. “If their position is that they won’t do anything on this issue and they’re gonna accede to me the right to be able to decide all the other issues, I might take them up on it.”

Fat chance of that happening.

The governor was also asked about a questionnaire his campaign submitted to an anti-gambling group during the 2002 campaign. Blagojevich told the group he was against every form of gaming expansion that the group asked him about. But when he was asked if he was now poised to violate his pledges, Blagojevich had this to say.

“I’m where I’ve always been since I’ve been governor.”

In other words, he was absolutely opposed to all gaming expansion before he was elected governor, and nobody knows where he has stood since his inauguration, and that’s exactly where he stands today. Clear?

Definitely presidential material.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, here’s a good rundown on all the cases that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled on today.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

County Republican Party Chairman Kirk Dillard publicly smacked county board chairman Bob Schillerstrom in the Tribune today. Schillerstrom is a potential statewide candidate, and he and Dillard have never been particularly close. It showed today.

Two companies with ties to a top fundraiser for DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom have been paid more than $4.6 million since late 1999 for county construction work. [Snip]

There appears to be nothing improper in the way the contracts were awarded, but the process has raised concern among some DuPage Republicans, particularly as the GOP criticizes Gov. Rod Blagojevich for rewarding political contributors.

“Even though Mr. Vondra’s work is bid and not illegal, I would urge my County Board chairman to err on the side of caution when it comes to public perceptions about a big county contractor being his campaign finance chair,” said state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), GOP county chairman in DuPage.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Back to Chicago

Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

Heading back home soon. The biggest news today was probably a failed attempt by the Senate Democrats to allow stem cell research - the floor amendment fell two votes short of passage.

Meanwhile, the Illinois State Rifle Association had a pretty good week, and the group crows about it here.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, the Illinois House overrode Gov. Blagojevich’s veto of SB2165 - the Homeowner Protection Bill.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s 433 million dollar lawsuit against gun manufacturers and dealers. In ruling against Chicago, the Court dismissed the notion that lawfully manufactured products are the cause of violent crime. The Court ruling brings to a close an expensive and divisive attempt by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to run the nation’s firearm manufacturers out of business.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Good idea

Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

The Southern Illinoisan’s Jim Muir has come up with a way to settle the ongoing spat between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Rod Blagojevich:

Instead of you two fighting it out for control of the Democratic Party by taking cheap shots through the media, why not fight it out in a steel cage match like the one on WWE.

Just think of the possibilities and the revenue that would be generated by the millions of people who would pay to see “Rowdy” Rod Blagojevich meet “Menacing” Mike Madigan in a no-holds-barred, knockdown drag-out, slugfest. The event could be held for a live audience at the United Center in Chicago and then sold on a worldwide pay-per-view basis. Now, there’s a revenue stream!

The loser, of course, would walk off into political obscurity while the winner would be crowned as the King of the Democrats.

I, for one, would pay big money to see that one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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