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Monday, Feb 28, 2005

Saw a teaser on Fox Chicago last night about an interview with Maya Keyes, the not-so-right-wing daughter of the infamous Alan Keyes. The station will run the story Tuesday night at 9. I’ll be in Springfield, so I’ll miss it, but this ought to be interesting.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


HST would love this one

Monday, Feb 28, 2005

The Rockford Register-Star’s Aaron Chambers has written one of the best Hunter S. Thompson tribute column without ever mentioning the dead writer’s name.

On Tuesday, [Governor Blagojevich] explained during a news conference that Flushy, the steer he bought at an auction for $9,600, appeared destined for another auction to benefit 4-H, the agriculture development program for youth.

AFTERWARD, I asked Blagojevich if that meant Flushy would not be the subject of a finger-licking barbecue.

“There was an idea,” he told me. “Brunsvold (Joel Brunsvold, the natural resources director) recommended why don’t we just let him off, just kind of let him go and then go hunt him.”

With assault rifles?

“Right,” Blagojevich said. “But there’s no sport in that. Can you imagine? We’d take him down to Pike County and just kind of let him loose. We’d all kind of get dressed up in those fatigues, in the camouflage, and we go out and there’s stationary Flushy just kind of standing there. We’re like all positioned ourselves. And the way that would probably work is they’d probably give the governor the best first shot. Right? Like in ‘The Deer Hunter.’ But we’re not going to do that.”

Would you give him a head start?

“Yeah we’d give him a head start. But I don’t see him going that far. Do you? I’ve met Flushy, and he’s kind of (got) weight there,” Blagojevich said, motioning toward his midsection to indicate Flushy’s diameter.

If you hit him hard enough, don’t you suppose he would run?

“Anyway, I rejected that option, totally rejected it,” the governor said. “I thought it was unsportsmanlike.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Feeling yucky

Monday, Feb 28, 2005

Bad chest cold, hacking all the time. No energy. No fax today, sorry. Very little to no blogging expected today.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Things that make you go “Hmm”

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005

Another “old” story, but generally missed by the mainstream media. Illinois Issues looks into a controversial state contract with a private company.

The Blagojevich Administration has doled out at least $68 million in consulting contracts, eyeing cost savings of up to $1 billion.

But a look at one of the administration’s most lucrative arrangements, a $24.9 million contract with a politically connected Chicago firm designed to help CMS streamline its property management practices, suggests savings projections were overblown. […]

CMS says its contract with Illinois Property Asset Management LLC, a Chicago consortium, saved taxpayers $6.5 million. But the contract was supposed to save at least $14 million last year. […]

In an interview last spring, CMS Director Michael Rumman estimated that the contract with Illinois Property Asset Management could eventually save the state $100 million a year. The budget proposal Blagojevich unveiled a few months earlier estimated savings of $120 million by 2006. Today, that estimate has been cut in half. CMS spokeswoman Nicole Grady now puts the total savings at $57 million over a three-year period. […]

And at least two real estate deals signed since Illinois Property Asset Management came on board raised questions about the effectiveness of the high-priced advice CMS is getting. The first is a two-year no-bid lease for storage space near the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. The Illinois Lottery inked the $48,000 deal with Mark IV Realty, which also rents billboard space to the agency and donated $90,000 worth of billboard space to Blagojevich during his campaign for governor.

The second deal involves the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. At the suggestion of Illinois Property Asset Management, DNR employees moved out of the Thompson Center last summer and into $61,000-a-year office space in the Chicago Loop. The five-year no-bid lease was signed a few months before the agency laid off 124 employees. […]

Documents released by CMS do not indicate that Illinois Property Asset Management has suggested reforms that would have made those no-bid deals any less likely. In general, the advice the state is getting remains a mystery outside the administration. […]

With CMS taking its cues from the private sector, the business of state government is increasingly becoming a private matter for this administration. Critics argue this sells short the 12 million Illinoisans who are the de facto shareholders in the business of state government. While the private sector might produce a better work product, so far Illinois taxpayers aren’t seeing much more than the price tag.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Tattoo artists, rejoice!

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005

I suppose the rationale for the current law is that people shouldn’t be allowed to legally get a tattoo until they can work up the courage by legally getting drunk.

The Illinois House Friday approved a proposal that would allow 18- 19- and 20-year-olds to get tattoos without parental permission.

House Bill 29 also would bar anyone younger than 18 from entering a tattoo parlor or body-piercing shop unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, cleared the House on a 73-35 vote. There was no debate.

At present, anyone younger than 21 may not legally get a tattoo without parental consent.

This story is old, by the way, but I came up with the (allegedly) funny line this week, which is why I’m posting it now.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


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