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Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

This just in… Court denies Ryan bail motion *** Another appeal for bail possible ***

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* 12:25 pm - The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has denied an emergency motion by George Ryan’s attorneys to continue Ryan’s bail.

From the opinion…

The voluminous record here demonstrates that the appellants were guilty of the crimes with which they were charged. Although they would undoubtedly like to postpone the day of reckoning as long as they can, they have come to the end of the line as far as this court is concerned. Two different panels of this court have already decided that bail ends with the issuance of the mandate. Because we are affirming the district court’s judgment, the district court’s receipt of the mandate will not require that court to take any new action on the case. The motion to stay the mandate is therefore DENIED. By separate order, we also have denied the motion insofar as it seeks reconsideration of the decision to terminate bail with the issuance of the mandate.

* The opinion is here
* The order is here

* From the dissent by circuit judge Kanne…

The trial was riddled with errors that ultimately rendered the proceedings manifestly unfair and unjust, notwithstanding the production of overwhelming incriminating evidence against the appellants. Therefore, because the trial was “broken beyond repair,” there is good cause for a stay and the appellants have a reasonable probability of succeeding on the merits.

* 1:42 pm - From the AP

Trial Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer has said Ryan and Warner must report to prison Nov. 7. They now are expected to appeal for bond to Justice John Paul Stevens, the Supreme Court justice who oversees matters originating in the Chicago-based 7th Circuit.

* 2:25 pm - Another update from the AP

Ryan’s attorney, former Gov. James R. Thompson, said he was preparing to ask Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to grant bond to Ryan while he takes his case to the nation’s highest court.

“We’ll probably do it within the hour,” Thompson said Wednesday afternoon, though he acknowledged it would be extremely unusual for the high court to grant an appeal bond.

“It hasn’t happened for the last 35 years, I don’t believe, but I’ve never seen a stronger case,” Thompson said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

It’s Halloween, so write something scary.

But, please, no violent stuff. People can get in big trouble for that. Also, let’s try to keep it state and locally focused. Thanks.

…Adding… I posted this video a few years ago, but many of you weren’t around back then. Watch and listen closely and you can just barely make out a ghostly image that was accidentally picked up while a car company was filming an advertisement…

- Posted by Rich Miller   99 Comments      

Another “secret” plan?

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* Could there be some movement on the transit bailout bill?

The transit union that represents 600 bus drivers, facing layoffs on Sunday, was planning a news conference to claim that layoff notices were not sent out in a timely manner and the CTA has enough cash on hand to keep operating at full tilt. Those allegations could have been followed by a lawsuit, a work stoppage or some other type of job action, but all of the threats are now on hold, because Illinois’ political leaders are reassuring the president of the transit union that a bailout will be approved in Springfield this week.

“He is very confident that there will be a resolution, a legislative resolution, to the transit funding crisis,” said Melvin Caldwell, transit union lobbyist.

* But, there’s a catch, as always

“The legislature will take action and will be responsible and not allow one of the largest mass transit systems become paralyzed,” Melvin Caldwell, ATU Local Union 241, said. […]

A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says he’s not aware of any breakthrough.

Another “super-secret” plan from the governor, perhaps? I’ll believe it when I see it.

* Meanwhile, this is a concern that most of us don’t think about when the topic of transit cuts is discussed…

Chicago Police are planning to pull desk-duty officers onto the street to help shore up patrols around schools that will be most affected by the upcoming CTA cuts.

Officials are bracing for more children being on the street for longer periods of time as they search out a new route or wait at a stop because of packed buses.

Another concern is that students will be crossing gang territories and walking in neighborhoods they don’t know. After-school programs that have youth staying well after dark are expected to be affected as well.

* The Sun-Times did a story about the gang turf problem earlier this month

About 400 Steinmetz High School kids use the bus on Narragansett — not even a block away — to quickly get to and from the Northwest Side school every day.

But under the proposed CTA “doomsday” cuts on Nov. 4, they would have to scatter to new bus routes for longer commutes — some crossing through gang turfs.

One police officer in the area estimated there are more than a half-dozen gangs around the school.

* And the horror stories are really coming out with the deadline approaching…

Holding a cane in one hand and a piece of notebook paper less than an inch from her face in the other, Mary Anne Sullivan begged Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman and the agency’s board Tuesday night to spare the bus routes she uses as they make budget cuts for 2008.

To make it to work on time, “I have to be [at a CTA bus stop] at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sullivan, 41, a Park Ridge resident who is visually impaired. “If I have to depend on Pace, I have to walk a mile and a half.”

* More CTA and session stuff, compiled by Paul…

* Clout Street: Daley calls out lawmakers on mass transit

* Sun-Times Editorial: Get going on the CTA

* Tribune Editorial: Four days and counting for the CTA

* State, SIUC officials tout capital bill

* Tribune Editorial: In search of teeth on gift ban act

* Phil Kadner: Spinning the wheel for a casino

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Tribune puts governor back in the bunker

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* The governor is in the bunker again

NBC 5 was unable to track down Blagojevich to ask him directly what he thinks about the Madigan plan — but it isn’t for lack of trying.

In looking for Blagojevich, NBC 5 came first to his Ravenswood campaign office on the third floor. With no sign of the governor there or at his house on the Northwest Side, his staff finally told NBC5 Blagojevich was working out of the Thompson Center looking for a solution to the CTA crisis — just too busy to talk or for his staff to talk, either.

* That Tribune editorial musing about a possible recall is undoubtedly a big reason why he’s unavailable, but this governor has spent more time in the bunker than out during the past few years, so it’s no big surprise that NBC 5 couldn’t find him. Speaking of the Trib’s editorial, the SJ-R didn’t think much of it…

There is no doubt that Blagojevich has angered a lot of people, and that he has failed to act as an effective leader in many instances. But the Tribune’s insistence that Blagojevich is the last straw and that Illinois now must become the 19th state to allow for recall comes across less as a sound public policy than a personal vendetta.

* Even Mayor Daley got into the act

Daley may well agree with some or all of the Tribune’s assessment. But he’s not about to support removing the two-term governor from office.

“Calling [for] a recall is unnecessary. I may have differences with the governor. But I really believe his mind is on public transportation and on infrastructure as [much as] everyone else. You can’t say just because I’m upset with [him about] an issue, two issues that you’re gonna have a recall. I disagree with that,” the mayor said.

“He is very, very smart. He’s been a state representative. He’s been congressman. He’s elected twice governor of the state of Illinois. It’s unfair. He’s a very smart and bright and emotional governor. Let’s be realistic.”

Hizzoner really wants the Olympic games to go that far.

* The Tribune was apparently so pleased with the responses to that recall editorial that it’s now soliciting comments about another issue

What do you think? Do you support a regional sales tax increase for mass transit? Why or why not?

I wonder how they’ll respond if the public disagrees with their position in favor of the tax hike.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Jackson wants to give big bucks to wife’s campaign

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* Congressman Jackson hopes to expand the family empire

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is seeking the go-ahead from the Federal Election Commission to help write the final chapter in a high-profile family feud that has roiled Democratic politics in Chicago for years: the Jacksons vs. the Beaverses.

The Illinois Democrat wants the FEC to determine whether he can provide financial backing from his reelection committee to the campaign of his wife, Sandi, for 7th Ward committeeman of the Cook County Democratic Party. The post is currently held by William Beavers, whose daughter, Darcel, was crushed by Sandi Jackson last February in the race for 7th Ward alderman. […]

The seven-term lawmaker said he would be willing to give $100,000 or more to his wife’s party campaign if that’s what it would take to win.

* I’ve had the results of a poll in that committeeman’s race for a couple of weeks, but completely forgot about them. The survey of 382 respondents was conducted for Ms. Jackson in early October by Lester & Associates…

Suppose the democratic primary election for 7th Ward Committeeman held today and the candidates were William Beavers and Sandi Jackson — for whom would you vote?

Jackson 69
Lean Jackson 3
Beavers 16
Lean Beavers 1
(Don’t know / Not sure) 11

Total Jackson 72
Total Beavers 17

Generally speaking, would you say William Beavers deserves to re-elected as 7th Ward Committeeman or would you say it is time for someone new?

Reelect 17
Someone new 71
(Don’t Know / Not Sure) 12

Would you say you approve or disapprove of the job William Beavers is doing as 7th Ward Committeeman?

Approve 25
Disapprove 49
(Don’t Know / Not Sure) 26

The poll also found that Mayor Daley was viewed favorably by 73 percent of people in the ward, while Congressman Jackson was viewed favorably by 82 percent, Ald. Jackson was viewed favorably by 75 and Bill Beavers was viewed favorably by just 36 percent and 42 percent viewed him unfavorably. Download the poll here.

* Meanwhile, if you had any doubts that the DCCC was serious in its targeting of freshman Republican Peter Roskam, then check this out

Congressman Peter Roskam is one of seven Republican Congressmen targeted in radio ads by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for his vote backing President Bush’s veto of an expansion of a children’s health insurance program.

The DCCC said it bought a week’s worth of radio ads on a syndicated traffic and weather report that runs on dozens of Chicago radio stations.

The ad says “Did you know Congressman Roskam gets health care at taxpayers’ expense, but Roskam and Bush are blocking health care for 10 million uninsured children? Tell Peter Roskam to put kids first,” according to the DCCC. […]

In a prepared statement, Roskam said he supports reauthorizing SCHIP, but is opposed to its expansion, which he claims will cover “countless adults and illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense.”

* As I’ve told you before, Jill Morgenthaler is the Democrats’ candidate to run against Roskam. Morgenthaler’s primary opponent isn’t exactly a serious contender. Otherwise, she might have to answer for this

Morgenthaler said that she normally backs Democratic candidates, but according to state election records, she voted in Republican primaries in 2002 and 2005, and only began voting in the Democratic primary last year.

You can see her voting history here. I’ve had it for a few days, but got busy with other things. Her campaign said in response: “If you want someone who can and will work work for people of both political parties, Jill is your girl.”

* Morgenthaler is resigning tomorrow from her state post as homeland security director, which brings up this problem

She will also have to distance herself from Blagojevich, who has taken a beating over questionable campaign contributions and allegations he dispensed no-bid contracts to benefactors. […]

“She’s going to try and run as an outsider, but there’s stuff that she’s going to be tagged with in the Blagojevich world that could trip her up, message-wise,” said one Illinois Democratic operative. “It’s certainly not fatal, but it’s a distraction.”

* And, of course, this…

Meanwhile, her involvement as a spokeswoman for the Army during Abu Ghraib drew controversy even before she announced her candidacy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Morning shorts

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* Reports says state’s juvenile defense system stretched too far

* Study finds lack of justice for juveniles

* Recieiver hikes hotel profits

In the first six months after Hostmark Hospitality Group began running it, the hotel showed a profit of more than $927,000.

During the same six-month period in 2006, the hotel showed a profit of only about $126,000, said Scott Burnham, spokesman for Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

Profit margins are important because the hotel was built with the help of a state-backed loan. Under a refinancing deal, the hotel’s owners had to make payments on the state loan only when the facility showed a profit. Giannoulias’ office said the hotel had made only two payments on the loan since 1998 and none in the past four years.

* Whistleblower accused of leaking report fights to keep state job

* Don’t extend Ryan’s bail, says Fitzgerald

* Editorial: Ryan has avoided prison for far too long

* Did Illinois students do too well on tests?

“That has to make you ask questions,” said Jack Jennings, head of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy. “It could be the schools are just highly focused — and that can be a problem if all they’re doing is preparing kids for the test. Another possible explanation is the test is too easy.”

Illinois education officials deny that’s the case, saying coursework closely tracks the concepts tested, giving teachers a clear roadmap — and better results.

* Girls outpace boys on state tests

* Nearly a tenth of Illinois schools are ‘dropout factories’

* State test scores plunge at high school level

* Student test scores: some up, some down

* School report on time this year

* Chicago’s student achievement gap

For students shut out of the selective college preps like Payton, it can be like a “death sentence,” one activist said.

“Either you get into those schools or you’re in schools where you’re more likely to end up in prison than in college,” said Madeline Talbott, head organizer for Illinois ACORN.

The news of the growing achievement gap comes six years after passage of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which explicitly aims to narrow this gap. The law is up for re-authorization

* Chicago Public Radio: City plans to expand its surveillance system

* Illinoize: No the Christian right doesn’t drive up the abortion rate, but thanks for asking

* More ‘quality hiring’ by county

Stroger can fill about 500 jobs at will, and spokesman Ibis Antongiorgi said he’s left dozens vacant and can fire anyone from those jobs at any time.

He did that this month when the Sun-Times revealed he had hired Patty Young, girlfriend to his ally, Commissioner William Beavers. Stroger called that hiring “a red herring” that didn’t reflect actual hiring patterns.

* Carol Marin: Why is city hiding scandals?

* Sen. Brady decries inaction on health board

* State set to review bids for $27 million military center

* CPR: Chicago pushes for more expensive beers

When you crack open and pour a beer you’ve already paid the city 9 cents for your six pack. If the mayor has his way, you’ll pay 17. The city wants to raise its taxes on beer more then 80 percent. The tax on wine and liquor would jump 50 percent. The city hopes to bring in an additional 13 million dollars.

* DuPage Co. likely to see flooding because of budget cutbacks

- Posted by Paul Richardson   8 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s Capitol Fax (Use all caps in password)

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Happy Thanksgiving!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Five unanswered questions
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* Crossing the line
* Moody's warns Illinois
* The Credit Union Difference
* *** UPDATED x1 - Franks responds *** Uh-oh
* Then and now
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