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Lauzen live

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

I forgot to mention that Sen. Chris Lauzen is live-blogging today from 5:30 to 6pm. Sorry for linking this so late.

Thanks to Bill for the reminder.

Also, when that’s done, head over to Illinoize for lots of lively discussion.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

“Classic political puffery”

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

Most of you have probably seen this already, but I thought you might want to discuss it here.

Facing lawsuits from fired prison officials who say Gov. Rod Blagojevich broke his pledge to keep good employees, lawyers for the state offered a surprising defense: His promises were “classic political puffery.”

In a political year, the premise that Blagojevich made promises he didn’t intend to keep could be troublesome for the governor to explain. But the puffery defense proved to be a sound legal strategy. […]

The administration argued successfully to dismiss allegations in some of the cases, which maintained that some of Blagojevich’s public statements constituted an offer of extended employment to the prison officials. One of the Blagojevich statements was reported in the State Journal-Register, the Springfield paper.

“We’re not looking to purge state government of different men and women who are hired during Republican administrations,” Blagojevich said in August 2003. “I would say to the men and women working in state government that, if they’re doing a job necessary for the public and doing it well, they have nothing to fear from this administration.”

The state, in multiple cases, argued that “it is clear that the classic political puffery relied upon by plaintiff cannot give rise to liability for the state.”

The state argued that Blagojevich’s statements weren’t clear enough for any employee to believe they constituted an offer. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the governor on that issue in the case of Kibby-Brown, but she was allowed to proceed on the patronage count and other matters.

Three cases, including the one brought by Pierson, have been dismissed outright by the federal appeals court but the workers are considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

The latest New York Times poll (scroll down for the pdf file) shows that just 20 percent of Americans believe that abortion “should not be permitted.”

38 percent said “Abortion should be generally available to those who want it,” and 39 percent said “Abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now.”

The numbers have been essentially unchanged for the past 15 years (page 28 of the poll).

The question is should candidates who advocate for a ban on abortion be considered “out of the mainstream”?

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

Morning shorts

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

The governor regifts.

‘Twas the week before Christmas in 2003 when Gov. Rod Blagojevich showed up in the metro-east to pass out $187 million worth of gifts. Among the road projects on his list:

• $22.5 million for the Interstate 55-70 interchange at Illinois 162 in Troy.

• $15 million for Illinois 3 in Waterloo.

• $12 million for Illinois 159 in downtown Belleville.

• $13.5 million for the Governor’s Parkway in Edwardsville.

“I just love doling out this money,” Blagojevich said with a laugh.

He wasn’t kidding. He likes it so much that he has decided to regift many of the projects — to the same recipients.

In his recent State of the State address, he proposed a $3.2 billion capital program. The four projects mentioned above are all part of the new list. The Republicans say there are similar examples like this all around the state.

Jim Oberweis compares government healthcare to the old Soviet Union and says the free market is better.

Ron Gidwitz has already spent $33,000 on TV ads in Quincy alone.

Governor’s Keno explanation challenged.

Is one of Congressman Lipinski’s opponents a ringer? Sure looks that way.

It appears the governor overestimated the number of qualified familes for All Kids.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Early voting debated

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

For those of us who work on election day, early voting is much welcomed. Others see it differently.

Illinois’ new early-voting law will be tested in many Illinois election systems prior to the March 21 statewide primaries, including those in Madison and St. Clair counties. Under the new system, voters will be able to vote as much as a month prior to the election, rather than having to wait until the appointed Tuesday.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the measure into law last year, with the goal of increasing voter turnout. It allows local election officials to institute voting more than three weeks before the election. Previously, the only option for voters unable to go to the polls on election day was to fill out absentee ballots, which is a more complicated process and requires an explanation. […]

Republicans have long expressed concern that measures making voting easier can also make vote fraud easier to commit. In addition, said state Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, there is a philosophical reason for conservatives’ reluctance to throw open the polling places.

“If voting is so important, you need to make that extra effort to do it,” said Luechtefeld, who voted last year against the early-voting measure. “It isn’t just the idea of getting more people out to the polls - it’s getting informed people out to the polls.”

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Duckworth hit on residency, Emanuel

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

The Daily Herald fills us in.

Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth found herself Sunday defending against opponents’ charges she can’t win in November because Republicans will paint her as an out-of-district plant controlled by the Chicago Democratic machine.

“There’s nothing that riles people up more in DuPage County than to be told by Chicago, ‘This is what you should do,’” 6th Congressional District Democrat hopeful Lindy Scott of Wheaton said after raising the criticism at the start of a candidates’ forum in Villa Park. “I think the Republicans will probably state that over and over again.”

Duckworth, who lives just outside the district in Hoffman Estates, was recruited for the race by top Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. Democratic candidate Christine Cegelis of Rolling Meadows said both will be issues if Democratic primary voters pick Duckworth as their nominee March 21. The winner will face a Republican challenger in November.

“(Republican nominee) Peter Roskam is from this district. He’s got family in this district. He’s going to use that as an issue, absolutely (against Duckworth),” said Cegelis, a technology consultant.

Duckworth also disagreed with her two opponents after they both called for the announcement of a timetable to withdraw from Iraq.

“This is basic military tactics, people. You do not tell your enemy when you’re going to ambush a bridge because guess what, he’s not going to show up there,” said Duckworth, who called for returning home one U.S. battalion for every Iraqi battalion that’s trained.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

As seen in today’s Capitol Fax…

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

This column lays out many of the pitfalls of Indiana’s attempt at leasing its tollway system.

This story outlines many of the objections to the way the pile of cash will be split. Here’s another one.

And here is a pay-to-play story.

Finally, the Joe Birkett saga is played out here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

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