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Friday, Nov 30, 2007

Bizarro World - otherwise known as Illinois politics - can wait for a while. I’m planning to forget my cares at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s 50th Anniversary fundraiser Saturday night in Chicago.

If you wanna keep talking, head over to Illinoize. They never stop…

Jeff Tweedy is one of the performers at Saturday’s fundraiser, so let’s kick off the weekend with a tune by the man himself…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Brian Cross; Watson; Boland; Foreclosures; Pension crisis? *** Updated x1 ***

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

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A message to commenters

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

I’ve already deleted several comments which speculated on Michael Sneed’s top story today

Sneed hears rumbles a former top adviser and close friend of Gov. Blagojevich is this/close to being indicted soon. Stay tuned.

As most of you know, I don’t allow commenters to speculate on rumors like this. Today is no exception. You may think you know what’s going on. Maybe you’re right. We’ll all find out soon enough whether it’s true or not. Be patient. And be responsible.

Unless and/or until this rumored action occurs, keep your idle speculation to yourself or go someplace else.

Thanks for your cooperation.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day - Holiday Party

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

* This looks too perfect to pass up…

* Check out the description

From the company that brought you the critically acclaimed holiday spectacular Requiem for a Department Store, or how Jesus taught me to shop at Macy’s, comes the latest in holiday satire!

Santa and the Mrs are on the outs, the Vick brothers are up to no good, Grandma won’t stop singing and to top it all off it takes forty five minutes to go two blocks on the CTA because a certain Governor lost that holiday spirit.

More here.

Tickets are only ten bucks a head, so I’m thinking this should be our Capitol Fax and The Capitol Fax Blog holiday party.

* Question: If we chose Sunday, December 16th, could you - and would you - attend? The show is at seven o’clock. Gorilla Tango Theater is at the corner of Western and Milwaukee.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Governor Hockey Puck

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

* The governor’s decision to skip the House floor debate on the mass transit bailout plan in favor of attending a Blackhawks game sure looks like it has “legs”. The SJ-R editorializes today

As these and many other initiatives blew up in Blagojevich’s face, the governor withdrew more and more. He calls special sessions without showing up. He attends hockey games in Chicago while important votes are taken in Springfield. And, according to Flannery, he spends much of his “work” time at home. He is not connected to the process — and that is untenable. But why?

We are not trying to be flippant when we say this — the governor appears afraid. But you can’t govern scared. And if you can’t govern, you should not be governor.

I don’t think he’s afraid. I just think he prefers the bunker. In the bunker, you can’t hear anybody scream at you.

* Blagojevich tried to explain his attendance, but nobody really bought it…

The governor said he had been invited to the first home game under new Blackhawks president John McDonough and that he chose to attend as a favor to McDonough, “an act to help him as a friend.”

Blagojevich wouldn’t say if he would consider reimbursing the state Treasury for the $5,800 it cost to use a state plane to shuttle him from Springfield to Chicago and back again to watch a sporting event on a day he ordered lawmakers to be in Springfield.

He was ridiculed in the House, where Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) brought a hockey stick to the House floor to make a point.

“If he’s truly up there working on commerce, that’s one thing. But this is him going to a hockey game to enjoy himself at the expense of the people of the state of Illinois. You can’t get any more plain than that,” said Sullivan, who called on the governor to cut a check to the taxpayers for his airfare.

* The Republicans picked up on it, as did just about everyone else at the Statehouse…

Politically embarrassing visual evidence of Blagojevich watching the Blackhawks at the United Center dominated conversation Thursday in the Statehouse, where lawmakers were perplexed by the governor’s lack of support for a solution he publicly endorsed.

“Perhaps a stint in the penalty box would be appropriate,” said Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville).

Senate Republican leader Frank Watson of Greenville, who is working with the governor on a multibillion-dollar public-works program, said Blagojevich’s absence is a failure of leadership that hurts the state.

“The governor has a way of governing that baffles me,” Watson said.

* Speaking of the Republicans, the Illinois Republican Party has announced a new contest: “Governor for a day”. From a press release…

In light of the recent expose on the carefree lifestyle led by Governor Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Republican Party is conducting a special drawing across the state to make one lucky Illinoisan Governor for a Day.

“While we can’t give you a $155,000 taxpayer funded paycheck to do nothing, we will attempt to come close by giving you what we believe one day in the life of Rod Blagojevich might be like,” said ILGOP Spokesperson Lance Trover.

The winner of Governor for a Day will begin the day at the hour of their choice. From then, they will be ushered to a salon for a haircut and massage. Following their time at the salon they will be treated to a first-class lunch which will be followed by a tour of the City of Chicago including visits to the Sears Tower and other Chicago landmarks. Ensuring they are treated just like our current governor, the winners will end their day by attending a Chicago Blackhawk’s game.

“While it is clear this sort of lifestyle is normal for Rod Blagojevich on any given day, it’s far from normal for the average Illinoisan,” added Trover. “Hopefully this day will give one hardworking Illinoisan the opportunity to live like the Governor they help fund with their hard earned tax dollars.”

The special drawing will kick off at noon on Friday, November 30, in front of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and the Illinois Capitol in Springfield. ILGOP staff will be present handing out free drawing tickets at both locations.

To ensure all Illinoisans have a shot at being Governor for a Day, anyone can email their name and contact information to and they will be assigned a specific number for Wednesday’s drawing. One entry per person.

The winning number will be announced on at noon on Wednesday, December 5, 2007.

Best of luck to all entrants. And just remember: being Governor of Illinois is not hard work, as long as you don’t show up.


- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

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Friday, Nov 30, 2007

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Lauzen is a Blagophile?

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

* Yesterday, “Illinois Shadow” had this to say at Illinoize about congressional candidate Jim Oberweis and his history of strange behavior. So far, Oberweis has remained fairly quiet, but IS didn’t think it would last…

But Oberweis will soon insert his size 10 shoe into his size 12 milk hole, as he has done in all his quests for mediocrity. As always, the best person to slay Oberweis is Oberweis, and that will be the most satisfying part of this sequel.

* Little did the mystery blogger know that Oberweis had already displayed some of his old habits. Oberweis appeared this week on “Politics and Issues,” a show produced by Elgin’s WRMN radio and hosted by Tom Sandor…

I believe that voters are tired of the typical politicians… My main competition for this office is somebody who has been part of the Ryan-Blagojevich Springfield culture for the last 15 years.

He was referring, of course, to state Sen. Chris Lauzen. Now, say what you will about Lauzen, but he’s no insider, and he’s no “typical” politician. He’s definitely an outsider and, um, he’s about as far from typical as you can get.

The statement has a nugget of promise, however. Voters are almost as flabbergasted with the Statehouse crew as they are with Washington, DC. Still, it’s way beyond the pale to connect the dots between Chris Lauzen and Rod Blagojevich.

Listen to Oby’s comments…

* Meanwhile, in yet another clear example of the utter disgrace that is our national political media, the Washington Post ran a story yesterday that mentioned just about every single “Barack Obama is a Muslim” rumor without once noting that the rumor is completely false, except to print some denials from Obama’s campaign.

* The Sun-Times, on the other hand, took the journalistic route on one of Obama’s claimed strengths: Ethics

Seven years ago, Sen. Barack Obama was on the board of a Chicago charity when his former boss, Allison S. Davis, came looking for money.

At the time, Davis was a developer represented by the law firm where Obama worked, as well as a small contributor to Obama’s political campaign funds. He wanted the charity to help fund his plans to build housing for low-income Chicagoans.

Obama agreed. He voted with other directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago to invest $1 million with Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners L.P., a $17 million partnership that Davis still operates.

It’s not clear whether Obama told other board members of his ties to Davis, whose family would go on to donate more than $25,000 to Obama’s political campaigns, including his bid to be president of the United States.

“Let me get back to you on that,” Obama presidential campaign spokesman Bill Burton said when asked about that two weeks ago. He never did.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Morning shorts

Friday, Nov 30, 2007

* High court won’t hear casino license case

‘’The case is over with as far as I’m concerned,'’ said Aaron Jaffe, chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. The board will soon begin the process of auctioning the license off to a new casino company, he said.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the decision moves Illinois ‘’a significant step closer to being able to reissue the license to suitable owners and generate much-needed revenues.'’

* Casino ruling narrows Emerald’s options

* Court ruling may end Emerald license battle

* Emerald Casino rolls snake eyes at Illinois Supreme Court

* Kadner: Hoosier casino czar scoffs at Illinois

But here’s what Yelton said, according to the newspaper.

“One of our advantages to Illinois is they, historically, seem to do everything wrong. Everything they seem to do has backfired, and it’s been to our benefit.”

I’ve stated the same thing in this column, but hearing Indiana officials giving our state lawmakers the horse laugh ought to make the competitive hairs of every taxpayer in Illinois stand on end.

I mean, we’re talking about Indiana here, the land of fecal greaseballs. This is the state that has slimed Lake Michigan with its industrial and biological waste products.

* Lawmaker urges Feds to do more for veterans

* Editorial: Elected officials shouldn’t get special legal treatment

* The loss of Henry Hyde; more here and here and here and here

* Tribune Editorial: The principled Henry Hyde

* Editorial: Henry Hyde, eloquent statesman

* 18th-CD candidates sound off

* Michael Sneed: Sheriff Dart begins ‘hotbunking’ program

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is “hotbunking” it these days.

Explanation: Taking a page out of the military’s handbook to solve jail overcrowding, Dart has instituted a new pilot program at Cook County Jail.

Translation: In the new sleeping arrangement at the jail, three inmates, assigned to one bed, will now sleep in eight-hour shifts … hence, the term “hotbunking” — ‘cuz the bed is always hot due to continuous use.

* Ald. Brookins sued over failure to pay rent

Brookins, a Democrat, learned of the lawsuit from the Chicago Sun-Times, but said he and his landlords at 100 N. La Salle had been “going back and forth” about the rent owed and he was surprised it had advanced to legal action.

“I need to go talk to them and figure this out,” Brookins said. “I’d been working with those guys and I was not aware of this.”

* Editorial: Beavers is wrong on facts and political tactics

* McQueary: Policy, not racism, causes Stroger’s budget failure

* Budget blowup may be coming at County Board

* Tribune Editorial: Stroger, Daley, and chicken

Why is Todd Stroger obeying his inner Blagojevich — trying to revive a dead-on-arrival tax plan that infuriates voters? Why is John Daley complicit in Stroger’s game of “chicken” with the Cook County Board? And why do these two officials expect taxpayers to give one more cent to an agenda that Stroger advanced, Daley echoed and both of them failed to deliver?

* Daley picks FBI agent to lead Police Dept.; more here and here

* London to Chicago: Be clear on Olympic costs

Officials say releasing a detailed tally before submitting their bid plan in February 2009 for the Games would put it at a competitive disadvantage with other cities also vying. Chicago officials said they would make the bid book public only after it is submitted to the International Olympic Committee.

British Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, speaking at a downtown business luncheon, put the London Games price tag at about $18.5 billion — a figure that is almost three times the cost estimate submitted in 2004.

* Friday Beer Blogging: Beer Maid Edition

- Posted by Paul Richardson   14 Comments      

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Friday, Nov 30, 2007

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* 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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