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Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

I use the Almanac of Illinois Politics all the time. It’s an indispensable tool of the trade.

The new edition is now out and the publishers asked that I let you know where you can get your own copy. That way, the next time your local paper tries to make you believe that an area legislative race is hot, hot, hot, you can see for yourself that the incumbent’s party won the last statewide race there by 40 points.

From a press release:

Since its first edition in 1990, the Almanac of Illinois Politics has been a leading source for information on the key players in Illinois government. This widely popular publication is considered an invaluable resource by legislators, governmental staff, lobbyists, reporters, teachers, students, and citizens.

The Almanac of Illinois Politics — 2006 is available for $45 plus $3 postage and handling. Contact Center Publications/Illinois Issues, One University Plaza, Mail Stop HRB 10, University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, IL 62703-5407. For information, call 217/206-6502. Or visit our Web site.

Let’s make this an afternoon open thread. Illinois politics only, please.

Also, don’t forget about Illinoize. A great place to visit.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

(The following is a paid advertisement)

ComEd talks a lot about California but it wants us to forget what actually happened in that state. The California energy crisis was caused by Enron and other shady energy companies manipulating an uncompetitive market that lacked appropriate state oversight.

Don’t take our word for it. Listen to the Enron tapes available at

Here are two of the more revealing quotes from these tapes:

(1) “He just f—s California,” “He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”

“Will you rephrase that?”

“OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,”

(2) “They’re f——g taking all the money back from you guys?”. “All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”

“Yeah, grandma Millie, man”

“Yeah, now she wants her f——g money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her a—— for f——g $250 a megawatt hour.”

Now ComEd wants to eliminate state oversight here in Illinois and import a risky auction scheme that has caused massive rate increases in New Jersey. Let’s stay the course and extend the rate freeze like we did in 2003. The only thing that’s changed since then is that both Exelon-ComEd and Ameren are billions of dollars richer. Vote Yes on HB 5766.

- Posted by Capitol Fax Blog Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

Should the General Assembly impose a statewide ban on all cigarette smoking in public places? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

Black legislators not happy with guv

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

What goes around, comes around.

Black lawmakers urged Gov. Rod Blagojevich to take back his no-tax-increase pledge because of its impact on schools, warning Monday that the position could cost him votes.

“The governor cannot take the African-American vote for granted in the general election,” said Sen. James Meeks, chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “There is no guarantee that that vote is going to be there, especially since those individuals who are African-American, their priority is educational funding.” […]

Caucus members haven’t discussed their concerns with Blagojevich, who announced his pledge last week when he launched his re-election campaign.

“Since we had to find out about it in the press, then he’ll find out about how we feel in the press,” Meeks said.


I thought the governor’s response was interesting.

Blagojevich declined to comment, issuing a conciliatory written statement:

“We…share many of the concerns expressed today.”

And here’s that quote from Meeks that I had in this morning’s Capitol Fax:

“If the governor does not take back his pledge, and if the governor is not willing to work with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, it’s a third candidate that I’m hoping will step forward,” Meeks said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Oberweis challenges Topinka

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

After staying relatively quiet for the past week or so, Jim Oberweis emerged yesterday to demand answers from the gubernatorial frontrunner.

Republican governor candidate Jim Oberweis called on foe Judy Baar Topinka to release a 2003 inspector general probe into whether political work was being done on state time at her treasurer’s office.

“Her internal investigation is over. Let’s see what it found,” said Obeweis at a Monday news conference in Chicago.

The probe began about three years ago after U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office subpoenaed documents following an ex-employee’s complaint that treasurer’s employees did campaign work on state time.

Topinka’s deputy treasurer, Martin Noven, dismissed Oberweis’ request as “disingenuous at best.”

“Legally, we’re not allowed to release that information,” said Noven, citing a state law that bars inspector general reports from being released unless misconduct is found.

Noven said there was no misconduct. If such a finding had been made, it would have been forwarded to the state’s office of executive inspector general. That office would have had to release a summary of the misconduct and any punishment.

While Topinka’s office makes a valid point, anything that keeps that old investigation in the public’s eye can’t be great for JBT. Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

More on the weapons ban snag

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

There were three of us present when Senate President Emil Jones said yesterday that the assault weapons ban wouldn’t fly. Kurt Erickson was one of them. Here’s his take.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s renewed push for a statewide ban on assault weapons may not be called for a vote this spring.

On Monday, one of his top allies in the General Assembly said the issue might be just too contentious to move forward before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the spring on April 7.

“I don’t think anything will happen with that,” said Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, who is co-chairman of the governor’s re-election effort. “It would be very difficult to pass that over here.”

That assessment comes just five weeks after Blagojevich made the assault weapons ban a cornerstone of his State of the State speech.

A federal ban on the weapons expired in September 2004 and Blagojevich wants Illinois lawmakers to approve legislation to ban the manufacture, possession and delivery of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapons attachments, large capacity ammunition feeding devices and the .50 caliber rifle.


- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Morning shorts

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006

· I forgot to link to this yesterday, but here is the Tibune’s congressional endorsement list.

· Topinka blasts the governor for raiding special funds.

· The Crestwood library board badges story refuses to die.

· Gidwitz profiled.

· Leach celebrates a decade at WMAY. Congratulations!

· Cleanups happening, Weinberger says, but you’d never know it.

· Good political advice from OneMan.

· Claypool scores a hundred grand from Bruce Rauner.

· Frank was good in his day, but I’m sticking with Ken on this one.

· More later.

· Vice President Dick Cheney will travel to Addison next month to raise money for Sen. Peter Roskam’s 6th District congressional campaign. Cheney’s national polling numbers are horrendous, but his boss is still doing well with Illinois Republicans. Also, check out this poll if you have time.

· This was pretty much expected, but early voting starts slowly. UPDATE: Check out Texas’ top early voting counties in 2004.

· Latest SurveyUSA trackers for Durbin and Obama.

· No pay hikes.

· Fireworks at Ryan trial.

· Sun-Times editorializes about Farrakhan ally on guv’s panel.

· Gutierrez prepares to run for mayor, no matter what Daley decides.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

* Happy Thanksgiving!
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