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Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

Carl Hawkinson retires. From a press release:

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Colonel Jill
Morgenthaler, manager of the Emergency Response Center at Argonne National Laboratory, to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety.

Col. Morgenthaler replaces Carl Hawkinson, who is retiring from state government after almost 30 years of public service. The Governor thanked Hawkinson for his three years of service to the administration.

“For more than three years, Carl served as my chief advisor on issues of public safety and homeland security. I appreciate his hard work, dedication and commitment. Carl served the people of this state very well, not only as my Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety, but as a state senator, state representative and state’s attorney,” said Governor Blagojevich.

The resume looks impressive.

Col. Morgenthaler brings extensive experience to state government, both as an Army Reserve colonel and as one of Argonne National Laboratory’s Emergency Response Center managers. As an Army officer with close to 30 years of experience, she has worked extensively in command centers in Korea, Berlin, Bosnia, and Iraq; handled disaster recovery during the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 and evacuation operations for Kosovar refugees in New Jersey. As Argonne’s Emergency Response Center manager, she supervised the center during incidents and exercises. She led the center during the national exercise, TOPOFF 2, receiving accolades from the Department of Energy. Col. Morgenthaler has participated in training conducted by the Department of Energy’s Emergency Operations Training Academy, Department of Defense Anti-terrorism programs, Department of Homeland Security, and the State of Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

Continuing our theme this week, what do you think was the most positive development of 2006 2005? The most negative?

Please keep your responses Illinois-centric. Thanks.

(Oops. It was late and I wrote the wrong year. I was wondering why the comments seemed so off-kilter.)

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Blagojevich most vulnerable?

Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

Governing Magazine’s Josh Goodman is preparing a story for February and gives us a sneak peek in his blog:

For a preview of the 2006 governors elections that I’m writing for the February issue of Governing, I’ve spoken with the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato and Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report. Here’s their analysis, as well as information I’ve gleaned from other sources […]

There’s no clear consensus as to which Democratic governor is most vulnerable next year. Sabato leaned toward Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, although he also mentioned Ted Kulongoski of Oregon and Brad Henry of Oklahoma. Blagojevich has been coping with ethics charges and could face moderate Republican Judy Baar Topinka in the general election.

Gonzales also named Blagojevich, but he said he has heard Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm, who faces a Republican willing to spend his personal fortune to unseat her, mentioned too.’s Chris Cillizza ranks Granholm as being in the most trouble, with Kulongoski second. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin will also have credible opponents, although none of these Democrats is probably in as much trouble as Ehrlich and Schwarzenegger.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

The culture wars

Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

Aren’t we supposed to try to be joyful at Christmas? What’s with all the carping this year?

A survey by, a Web-based news service covering state governments, found that 37 of the nation’s governors sent greeting cards this season carrying an inoffensively festive “holiday’’ greeting. Just nine state leaders specifically mentioned “Christmas’’ in their cards. […]

Stateline’s report arrives just as fruitcake flies between feuding “Merry Christmas’’ and “Happy Holidays’’ camps. Traditionalists argue the religious spirit of Christmas is being buried in a blizzard of secular greetings and customs. Others argue that ‘tis the season to be sensitive in a multi-cultural society. […]

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is sending out cards picturing himself and his family wishing Illinoisans Happy holidays.

“This is mainly to celebrate the number of holidays this time of the year,” said Rebecca Rausch, a Blagojevich spokeswoman.

I try to keep myself disconnected from these ridiculous and often deliberately manufactured “culture war” debates because I truly don’t care what our self-appointed national nags have to say. I am, however, interested in what you think about all of this.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

I don’t even want to look.

As CBS 2’s Alita Guillen reports, we knew these big bills were coming, but to actually see the bill is painful no matter what your income.

The taped windows and extra blankets fight the cold but don’t seem to do much when it comes to 71-year-old Gwen Stewart’s heating bill.

“How in the name of Sam Hill could my bill go up this high?” said the Peoples Energy customer.

Over the past three months Stewart’s bill has gone from $200 to more than $500. […]

Keep in mind, most of the bills that are arriving right now are only for the beginning of December, which means those days when it was about five degrees outside won’t appear on the statement until next month.


- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

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