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Readers comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

Alright I’m out. Thanks to everyone for helping me while Rich was gone, and for making it a fun week. Have a great weekend and head to Illinoize for updates.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   Comments Off      

Caption Contest!

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* This was a story back in July. Here is the background info.


- Posted by Kevin Fanning   48 Comments      

Facebook, the future for legislators?

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* More and more public officials are realizing the value of the social networking site Facebook. Many have used the site to help spread awareness about their campaigns. I remember seeing the “One Million Strong for Barack Obama” group when I was in school. Now candidates of all levels of office are joining in.

However, some are also beginning to notice its potential for advancing their legislative agenda:

The online social networking site is home to a group of young voters who supported a measure in the Illinois House to legalize civil unions between same-sex couples, which some opponents say is a form of gay marriage.

The group, Students for the Illinois Marriage Equality Bill, has attracted more than 8,000 members from across the country and directs members to write or call state representatives to talk to them about the bill.

* Soon after, Rep. Greg Harris contacted the administrator to ask about his group.

“I had no idea there was this much grassroots organizing going on,” said Harris, the rep. who is sponsoring the civil union legislation.

Harris said he is still working with the group to see what type of awareness he can raise through the Web site. For now, he has posted a message on the group page asking members to continue lobbying for the cause and offering his office contact information.

The bill would grant the same legal rights to same-sex couples as it would a married couple, such as hospital visitation, health care choices and funeral options. However, no church or other religious institution would be forced to sanction the union:

“This is not same sex marriage,” Harris said. “This is just basic rights and obligations that the state can afford to give these people.”

* Currently Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire all allow civil unions and Massachusetts will grant marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Voters in Missouri overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as “only between a man and a woman.” Since then, there have been no major efforts by state legislators to legalize civil unions in the state.

Harris said he is unsure of when the civil union bill could get called to a vote before the entire Illinois House. It narrowly passed a House committee last March and then was amended to remove all references to marriage in hopes of attracting further support.

* Sites like Facebook and MySpace, once seen as teeny bopping pastimes, could become an integral part of the future of politics. Discuss.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   7 Comments      

Ald.’s son receives $75,000 in City Hiring case

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* In a follow-up to a post the other day, court-appointed monitor Noelle Brennan has doled out an average award of about $8,400 to more than 1,400 people for the City Hall hiring fiasco. Another 104 people who submitted claims were found ineligible for a half-dozen reasons.

One person got $100,000 from the $12 million pool of money. Brennan also awarded $45,000 to two people; $55,000 to three people; $65,000 to six people; and $75,000 to another half-dozen individuals.

The 18 people in the top tier of awards “provided detailed accounts of discrimination and numerous pages of supporting documentation,” according to her report:

“Some claimants detailed sham interviews in which they were asked irrelevant questions and told that the position was already filled by a pre-selected candidate. Claimants were told that they would never be promoted unless they contributed time and/or money to city-sponsored candidates,” the report states.

You can view the report here, however, none of the people getting money were named in the report.

* One of the biggest winners was the son of Ald. Bernie Stone.

Jay Stone was awarded $75,000 because of his claim that he was a sure loser in his 2003 aldermanic election against Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd) because Matlak had the support of the political army commanded by now-convicted former First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak:

“I’m in shock. I’m in awe,” Jay Stone said. “The message is we should hold fair and competitive elections in Chicago. I never stood a chance because I was up against a seasoned political army that was being paid for by the taxpayers of Chicago.”

This strikes me as a little crazy. I can understand the argument for doling out compensation to people who may have lost city jobs or appointments because of a rigged process. (Even though I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that because it hasn’t actually changed the system.)

But to give an alderman’s son $75,000 because he lost an election because “he didn’t have any clout”? If you go by that logic there are people all over the city who should be cashing in. Discuss.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   14 Comments      

Gov. Blagojevich weighs in on Wrigley

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* After returning from spring training in Arizona, Governor Blagojevich talked a little baseball with the press:

“The Yankees tore down Yankee Stadium,” Blagojevich said. “The Cubs oughta play baseball at Wrigley Field forever.”

He then added that as a Cubs fan, he would he’d love to see Mark Cuban take over the Cubs:

“Look, I like him as an owner,” Blagojevich said. “I think he’d be a very hands-on owner who cares and would spend money to put a winning team out there.”

* The governor also said that the stadium is a top tourist attraction. While he says he is concerned that the stadium should stay, he also believes that the state shouldn’t use tax dollars to make it happen.

Blagojevich also said that if there is a deal, the stadium’s name should stay. A spokesperson for the Illinois Sports Authority, which owns and runs the White Sox’s US Cellular Field, says discussions are ongoing.

* Additionally, many Cubs fans are buying a local company’s “Keep It Wrigley” T-shirts to wear to Monday’s home opener.

The “Keep It Wrigley” shirt is the brainchild of Chris Festa, who launched the company five years ago with the shirt “In Dusty We Trusty.” He also designed the popular “(773) For-Ever/I’ll Never Move to Naperville” and “South Side/You Wouldn’t Last A Day Down Here” shirts.

“Keep It Wrigley” is his best-selling sport shirt since “In Dusty We Trusty,” he said. He has shipped the anti-name-change shirts to Cubs fans in North Carolina, Arkansas and Florida.

The Sun-Times is having a contest where they will be giving away 100 “Keep It Wrigley” shirts to the best limerick authors:

The limerick, popular with rugby clubs and men from Nantucket, is a five-line poem where the last words of lines one, two and five rhyme (hint: Trib, bib, crib). Lines three and four should end in a separate rhyme (think Sam Zell and more cowbell).

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   22 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* Wally Phillips was Chicago radio

* Tax hike gives Palatine no good options

* More taxes to come?

* Is $35 too much for a movie ticket?

* NYSE tells Sun-Times Media of non-compliance

* McCulloch Verdict a Template for a Future Terry Link?

* ICC approves 5-year, $139 million plan to improve safety at rail crossings

* IHSA gets clean bill of financial health

* Rezko’s lawyers visit him in jail

“You do not know where a witness is going to go off the paper,” Halprin said. “And it happens at every single trial.”

* Illinois wants to check drivers license applicants for warrants

* State alters rules, now says Plainfield needs a hospital

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s latest assessment of Edward Hospital’s plan for a hospital in Plainfield shows a need for hospital beds in Plainfield — the opposite of what the state agency has said for four years.

* Illinois’ kids fare better, but problems remain

* Durbin to update progress at Marion’s scrutinized VA hospital

A VA investigation found that at least nine deaths between October 2006 and March of last year were “directly attributable” to substandard care at the Marion hospital.

* Dean to Clinton and Obama: Bickering could hurt party in November

* McCain Launches First General Election TV Ad

* Laura, Jenna Bush to promote new book in Naperville

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   6 Comments      

* Aldermen behaving badly
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* *** UPDATED x1 - LIVE VIDEO *** Kirk taking page from Trump debate playbook
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