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Quinn sworn in *** Granberg likely out at IDNR; Parks, historical sites to reopen; Pontiac, IDOT moves to be “reviewed” *** Blagojevich security pulled ***

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 5:42 pm - Taking the oath now. All constitutional officers are present. Speaker Madigan and Leader Cross are also present.

“The ordeal is over.”

“My parents taught me that everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”

Lots of applause lines.

“Together we can” is the phrase Quinn used to symbolize the future.

* 6:01 pm - Gov. Quinn is holding a press conference right now.

Meanwhile, former Gov. Blagojevich will speak to the media at 6:05 pm. The guy can’t let go…

He sees this as an opportunity to speak directly to the people who twice elected him governor of the great state of Illinois.

He will not take any questions.

The former governor wishes to spend this time with his family and asks all media to respect his privacy.

Privacy? Sheesh.

* 6:06 pm -
Back to Quinn, who is promising to reopen the state parks closed by the governor.

“We don’t really know the real size of the deficit.”

Move the budget address from Feb 18 to March 18.

“I think the governor has to level with the people of Illinois. That’s what they want.”

Avoid income tax increase? “We’re going to have to take a look at what the damage is.”

No staff announcements for a week or so.

Going to governor’s mansion tonight for dinner. “I look forward to living in the governor’s mansion. It is the peoples’ house.” “I think our governor’s mansion is going to get a good workout this year.”

“What we’ve seen in the last 50 days is something that’s in the rearview mirror.”

* 6:11 pm - Citizen Blagojevich: Not surprised but saddened

Back to Quinn: “I’m an organizer. Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize.”

Pontiac closure and the IDOT transfers to southern Illinois to be “reviewed.”

* Asked about the late appointment of former Rep. Kurt Granberg to run IDNR, Quinn said: “I believe there should be a natural resources professional at the Department of Natural Resources. I’ve said that for 6 years.”

* Quinn: “We need a humble governor who’s proud of our people.”

* Blagojevich: “Will fight to clear my name’”

* Quinn: April 15th is not my favorite day. Never will be. But price of living in a democracy is taxes.

* Quinn: Pulled Blagojevich’s state police security team. Quinn said he did say that he spoke with the Chicago police about making sure they had adequate protection.

* 21st Century capital plan that invests in sustainability. If we’re building a road, we should have trenches along the road for fiber optics.

* Historical governor to model administration on? Altgeld. (For those playing along at home, Google: Haymarket Square pardon)

* Quinn was asked about his past support of Gov. Blagojevich. He pointed to his strong support of recall, particularly last year. “This may be the moment for recall.”

* 6:30 pm - OK, we’re done. Heading to the Alamo.

- Posted by Rich Miller   103 Comments      


Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* I’ll be at the Alamo in Springfield tonight. This is for all of us…

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 4:36 pm - There will be two votes. The first will be to remove the governor from office. The second will be to ban the governor from holding any public office for the rest of his life.

Each Senator will be called upon individually to answer Yes or No, with a Yes vote for removal.

* 4:41 PM - The 40th vote has been reached. A two-thirds majority means that the governor has been removed from office.

* 4:43 PM -

There is a technical difficulty because the Senate President’s button isn’t working. He’s going to the front of the chamber to vote his switch there.

Still a problem. Stand by. They might have to revote. We’ll know in a minute.

The rules say that Senators have to vote orally and electronically. Since the button didn’t work, Cullerton hasn’t officially voted. The Chief Justice is about to make a ruling here. They’re going to redo the roll call. Same result. 59-0.

* Sen. Michael Frerichs (D), a Tier One target in the 2010 elections, moved to disqualify the governor from holding any future public office.


* Chief Justice Fitzgerald thanked the Senate and the staff and said he had learned a lot about the legislative process “which will be a help to me in my day job.”

The Senate has passed a resolution praising the Chief Justice and presented him with a framed copy signed by every member of the Senate. Nice touch.

* 5:08 pm - Impeachment tribunal has been adjourned sine die.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

The Senate deliberates

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 2:10 pm - They’ll have five minutes each…

* As I predicted to my subscribers this morning, Sen. Rickey Hendon is asking that the question be divided so that some of the charges can be separated out from the single article of impeachment.

Chief Justice: I believe that the only one at this late juncture even possibly authorized to make such a change would be the House itself. The CJ also cited a trial rule that prohibits such motions.

Motion denied.

Sen. Cullerton will now preside over the deliberations.

* Sen. Haine (D)
- (A former state’s attorney) Thanked the House and the House prosecutor for bringing the Senate a “Well-founded bill of impeachment.” Thanked Speaker Madigan for his “constancy over the years” and for “upholding the constitutional system here in this state” as well as the “rule of law.”

The evidence is clear that this governor and his associates… not only misused a position of great power and authority… but he misused good public policy to enrich these associates and himself to further his political gain.”

The governor’s argument is “consistent” with his patter of abuse in office. “He did not present any evidence to contradict the sworn statements under oath.”

“We must act consistent with our oath and we must find him unfit for this great office.”

* Sen. Righter (R)
- The executive is not solely responsible for what has gone wrong. But Rod Blagojevich is the focus, so our attention should be there.

“Repeated and intentionally and apparently without reservation, violated federal law [and his duties].” Said the governor should be removed and forbidden from ever holding office again.

* Sen. Dillard (R) - “How pathetic is it that we have a governor who says he’s concerned with healthcare” and then tries to shake down a hospital administrator for a 50K contribution?

* Sen. Murphy (R) - “He reminded us today in real detail that he is an unusually good liar.” “He lied about the process [rules].”

* A few stories of interest. Illinois Issues: Blagojevich makes his case… Trib’s Clout Street coverage… Lots of quotes at SJ-R Twitter page

* Sen. Delgado (D) - Very, very sad day in the state of Illinois. We’re here to restore that public trust, to make sure that our communities are at the table and not on the menu. (He didn’t actually talk to the issue, however.)

* Sen. Raoul (D) -
“The House prosecutor was right. Being governor is not a right, it’s a privilege and it’s one that’s been abused by our governor.”

“It’s a lie for him to say that he didn’t have an opportunity to present evidence. A lie… The governor presented absolutely no evidence in this case, absolutely no evidence.”

* Sen. Rutherford (R) - “The greatest offense by this governor is that he effectively paralyzed our state government.” As he played his “bizarre political theater,” families have suffered. “Rod Blagojevich has actually hurt real people, and you know what? I know that.”

“If he was sincere about providing healthcare he wouldn’t be trying to shake down the chief executive of Childrens Hospital.”

“All the evidence is overwhelming.”

* Sen. Luechtefeld (R) - If things don’t change, we’ve been spending an awful lot of time for naught.

* Sen. Viverito (D) - Offers prayers for the Blagojevich children and the rest of the family, as well as for the citizens of Illinois “who have suffered through this ordeal.”
* Sen Brady (R) - Athough we are closing this chapter today, our work is not done. We know from the evidence we heard that corruption still exists in this state…. We know that we need to pass whistleblower laws…

* Sen. Burzynski (R) -
The governor has proven his disdain for us as legislators.

* Sen. Noland (D) - No one is above the law. Illinois needs a new business model for politics

* The Senate GOP has posted all the audio from earlier today (prosecutor and governor) on this page.

* Sen. John O Jones (GOP) - “The governor put the icing on the cake today when he said ‘I did not intend to break the law.’ He did break the law.”

“He named those people [potential witnesses] for a reason, because he knew they could not come here and testify.”

* Sen Bomke (R) - “Instead of cleaning up corruption and pay to play, he’s epitomized it.” Auditor General Holland had the most compelling testimony when he said this governor has violated both state and federal law.

* Sen. Link (D) -
“…Well, the whole world is watching Illinois again today. And you know what? I’m sick and tired of it.”

“We’ve been duped again. You were (pointing to Republicans) with the last governor, we were (Democrats) with this governor.”

“We in this chamber can do something about this now. This isn’t a partisan problem.”

What we do today is history, but… “It’s not going to be a footnote that you’re going to be happy that your grandchildren are reading.”

* 3:40 pm - In case you’re wondering, some of us will gather at the Alamo in Springfield today to contemplate the trainwreck and look forward to the future. A few will begin arriving after work. I’ll be there after this is over. There will be another announcement after the vote.

* Sen. Syverson (R) - “The governor gave a good speech today. But his speeh doesn’t change the facts of this case.”.

* Sen. Sandoval (D) - “This day truly will go down as a day of infamy.”

* Sen. Schoenberg (D) - There is no disputing, as the evidence and testimony has overwhelmingly proved, there is a consistent thread tying all the behavior together that demonstrates an abuse of power.

* Sen. Sullivan (D) - “His appearance today was, to say the least, too little, too late.”

“As a colleague told some of us today, ‘I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.’”

* Sen. Koehler (D) - We shouldn’t use impeachment for policy reasons, “and I don’t think we’ve done that in this case.”

* Sen. Martinez (D) - Claimed she heard a joke on CNN this morning, but said she wasn’t sure it was a joke, that nothing would come to Illinois from the federal stimulus package as long as Blagojevich was governor. Not true, of course.

“I think tonight I’m probably going to sleep a little better.”

* Sen. Meeks (D) - Praising the constitutional process of removing a governor from office without any need to resort to violence.

“We have this thing called impeachment and it’s bleeping golden.” Quote of the day, particularly since it came from a minister.

* Tribune

“They’re doing an impeachment when they didn’t prove a single wrongdoing, didn’t prove a single wrongdoing. And now they’re even saying things like we don’t have to prove anything wrong, we just want to move in a different direction,” Blagojevich said. “I probably shouldn’t say this…I’m getting ready to go run. I’ll see you on the way and one of these days you guys will go back to what you used to do, right?”

* Sen. Hendon (D) - “This is a sad day. It’s a sad day for the citizens of Illinois.” Hendon criticized some for blaming all corruption on George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. He said he was for recall, and criticized the House for “playing games” with the recall measure. He pushed publicly funded campaigns. “Let’s get something out of this for the people of Illinois, for the people of America.”

Hendon also predicted the impeachment vote would pass 59-0.

* Sen. Hutchinson (D) - Mentioned “the absence of a defense” as a main reason for believing that Blagojevich should be removed from office.

* Sen. Watson (R) - Teared up while saying he might have played a role in the this tragedy. Talked about the strain put on staff during this process.

“Yesterday’s testimony by Bill Holland was it… It focused the attention of all of us to what was going on….

“We’re only as good as the people we have around us… Where were the good people who were around Gov. Blagojevich?”

“He wouldn’t look at me when we talked about I-Save RX.”

* Sen. Radogno (Republican Leader) - “This isn’t about disagreement with the governor, as he would have us believe.”

“The totality of evidence shows the governor has abused his power repeatedly and over a long period of time.”

* Sen Clayborne (Majority Leader) - In my previous life I was a prosecutor. “They did an excellent job.”

Clayborne is making an excellent point. The governor talked about how he wanted to call Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin, etc. as witnesses for his defense. But Clayborne asked why didn’t the guv want to call his brother? Why not others mentioned as alleged co-conspirators? This is a point that has been way overlooked by everyone, but particularly by the NY bloviators who took up Blagojevich’s cause as their own. He didn’t mention calling them because they wouldn’t have helped his case.

“I believe that, governor, you are unfit.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   133 Comments      

The prosecution’s rebuttal

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 1:02 pm - As mentioned below, the governor was not sworn in before he gave his closing argument, so that will likely be mentioned by the House prosecutor.

Blagojevich did speak about the US Senate seat and the racetrack allegations, but conveniently left out the very damning evidence about how he held up $8 million for a pediatrict hospital program in exchange for a rather large campaign contribution.

We’ll see how the rebuttal goes, but those would be things I would mention, including the other point I wrote about below: A great speech, but he asked members to trust his word that he didn’t do anything illegal, nor intended to do anything illegal. His word is not exactly golden in this town.

* Prosecutor David Ellis:
“I can’t give a speech like the governor… When the cameras are on and he thinks people are listening, the governor can give a pretty good speech. But I want to talk about Rod Blagojevich when he’s off camera and he doesn’t think people are listening.”

When the camera’s on he wants healthcare, particularly for children. When the camera’s off, I’m going to hit him for 50. “We can pull it back if we need to, right? Budgetary concerns” That’s Rod Blagojevich when he’s not on camera.

Our case is not built on what other people did after the governor directed them to do things…. Our point was on the governor’s words…. The governor himself. He could have put himself under oath and faced my questions, and more importantly your questions. He wouldn’t put himself under oath.

He simply says there’s no evidence and walked off the stage. No evidence. 60 recorded conversations by the federal government.

Federal agent was put under oath and swore that those tapes are true. Unrefuted testimony. 60 different conversations where the governor is using his powers as a chit for personal gain.

As always, the governor plays by the rules that he chooses.

Under the governor’s rules, he talks, you listen, no questions.

Everybody in this room is taking this seriously, nobody is taking this casually.

Why do we have impeachment? We have it to protect the citizens. It’s not about punishment. The governor talks about the impact on him.

He doesn’t think for one minute about the people. He just thinks about himself. He does not have a constitutional right to govern. And that’s what the governor doesn’t understand Being governor is not a right, it’s a privilege.

I think the people of this state have had enough. They’re looking to you now and they want to know: Is today going to be more of the same?


* Caucus for one hour. Come back then and we’ll have the deliberation, followed by the vote.

* Personally, I thought Ellis did a very good job. He hit all the right points, and perfectly focused much of his rebuttal on the governor’s self-obsession. The “when the camera’s off” lines were spot on.


Not that it matters. But a great job.

- Posted by Rich Miller   89 Comments      

The governor speaks *** Refuses to resign: “I have done nothing wrong” ***

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 11:04 am - I’ll be live-blogging this one. Fasten your seatbelts, campers…

All quotes are paraphrased. Mistakes are my own.

The governor is being escorted into the chambers.

The guv said he’s been talking to people about his desire to appear before the Senate and tell the “whole story” and tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Never intended to violate any law.

Once again trashes the Senate rules and talked about all the witnesses he wanted to bring, like Rahm Emanuel and Dick Durbin, etc.

When he made his case to people, he said, they were “mostly sympathetic,” over his claim that he couldn’t confront his accusers. Emanuel, by the way, is not an accuser.

So, people said that he should go to the Senate and tell them this.

Think about if you knew were you right and you knew you were innocent.

The guv said he wanted to tell the truth. Warts and all, the truth. Unadulterated truth. And there was never a conversation where I intended to break the law.

There was no criminal activity on those four tapes. You can express things in a free country, but those four tapes speak for themselves. Those are conversations… that all of us in politics do.. to win elections.

That’s why I am appealing to you, that unless I’m allowed to bring this evidence in [then it should be heard in a court of law.]

Articles 1 through 8 don’t prove a criminal case. So how can you throw him out of office. Used impact it could have on other officeholders here and out of state.

I’m appealing to you and your sense of fairness. Since the articles don’t prove any criminal activity, I don’t know how you can throw me out of office.

He’s on to the health care stuff now and the JCAR fight. JCAR members, he pointed out, are in good standing with legislative leaders. In nine other states, he said, there have been court challenges to their JCARs. I’ve respected that committee. My legal advice, and I believe they’re right, that JCAR is an advisory committee, that it cannot dictate to the executive branch. If you want to stop an executive branch, the House and Senate passes a bill, I veto it, it goes back to you and then you override my veto.

12 lawmakers picked by the legislative leaders cannot constitutionally thwart the executive branch. In nine states, this has been upheld.

Flu vaccines: In 2005… there were warnings coming from the Center for Disease Control about the worst flu season in American history. There was a shortage of vaccines because of a contaminated supply.

So, take the flu vaccine, bring them in. Wouldn’t be the first time I’d be criticized. Bill Richardson asked for help.

If it is an impeachable offense, it should’ve been done during the first term. The people chose me again. They evidently approved of what I did.

Drugs from Canada. How many of us talked about those things in speeches? How many of us railed against the FDA because they wouldn’t allow seniors go to Canada? How many of us believe in free trade? Yet, somehow, we don’t have free trade on this issue. So, we found a way.

Rahm Emanuel came to me and suggested the solution. Go to Canada. I loved the idea and we did it. And so did Wisconsin, and so did Kansas and so did Vermont. Those governors ought to be impeached if you’re impeaching me for it. Expel John McCain and Ted Kennedy. President Obama should fire Rahm Emanuel.

Auditor General. And what did I do there? The AG had a misunderstanding with CMS. Almost nothing I’ve done, couldn’t have been done without you in the state Senate.

We streamlined to save money. They saved over $500 million for taxpayers. In this particular case, they found a way to save money, but then the AG got involved and said stop, don’t do it.

When the Inspector General and the Auditor General said don’t do it, we didn’t do it. How can that be an impeachable offense? And, again, this was an issue that took place in the first term, not the second term.

* Inspector General report on hiring. Allegation, nothing proven, nothing shown yet to be true, that someone may have violated some of the hiring rules. Never an allegation that I ever knew anything about it. How can I be thrown out of office for something that was never claimed that I knew anything about? Again, it took place in the first term, not the second term.

* So far, a crime has not been proven. How can you throw a governor out of office for insufficient and incomplete evidence?

Again, pleas with Senate to allow him to bring in witnesses.

I know, we’ve had ups and downs. Praises SDem caucus for working with him. Philosophical differenes with Republicans, honest differences.

But we worked together on public works program.

We’ve had disagreements, but isn’t that how a democracy is supposed to work?

Talking about his past, his parents, his dream of higher office.

Said he came from humble beginnings, wouldn’t have dared mess up his chance. Wanted to help people and change priorities of state government.

* So far, this has been a pretty darned good speech. Perhaps the best of his life. He’s made some decent points, but glossed over the criminal complaint, asking members to trust his word that he didn’t do anything illegal, or intended to do anything illegal. That’s his biggest problem.

“I confess, maybe, I pushed too hard. I confess, maybe, I fought too much.”

Is it the right precedent to set to throw a governor, twice elected, out of office. Think about the dangerous precedent you’ll set… Quoting prosecutor Ellis, the ends don’t justify the means.

Impeachments are very rare… designed to be used only in extreme cases. That’s why I stand before you in a unique and lonely place.

You haven’t been able to show wrongdoing in this trial. If I could call witnesses I could show that I haven’t done anything wrong and have done a whole lot of things right.

Appealing to the Senate’s sense of fairness, sense of responsibility. “I’m asking you to aquit me… or extend this process to allow me to bring my witnesses in to show I did nothing wrong.”

”Walk a mile in my shoes.” Imagine going to bed one night thinking everything is fine… And then the next morning your whole world changes… Not even aware or knowing what it’s all about… Then the whole world is outside your house. And before you can even catch your breath the whole world has convicted you.

*** “I didn’t resign then, and I’m not resigning now because I have done nothing wrong…. Let me show you I have done nothing wrong.” ***

* The governor has finished speaking. Both parties will caucus until 1 o’clock.

* Sen. Mike Jacobs walked over to the press box a few minutes ago and quoted an old legislative proverb: “I’ve heard a lot of great speeches in my life. A few changed my mind, but none of them changed my vote.”

* Something to keep in mind: The governor was not under oath when he made his statement.

- Posted by Rich Miller   212 Comments      

The prosecution makes its closing arguments

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 10:00 am - Here we go.

FYI, Mike is handling live blog duties on this one in comments.

Also, the guv is in the building.

More FYI: The gallery is full enough that the doormen are allowing people in only when people come out, I’m told.

Awaiting the governor. There’ll be a fresh thread soon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   108 Comments      

Final day impeachment trial roundup

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* I’ll post another thread once the prosecution begins making his final arguments…

* Gov’s pension safe, even if he’s booted

* The defense doesn’t rest: “Sen. Cullerton asked him to come down,” said Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero. “I don’t think he’s going down there to resign; I think he’s going to make his appeal to senators,” Guerrero said.

* Will Blagojevich cause last-minute mischief?: Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said that anything Blagojevich does will be well within his rights as governor, but that he doesn’t plan anything “grandiose.”

* Expect the unexpected: “He’s all about PR,” Radogno said. “He’s all about press releases. I mean that’s how he’s governed for the whole time that he’s been here.”

* Governor will finally speak to Senate: “Unfortunately, all the testimony was heard. The things we will consider, all that has taken place,” said Sen. James Clayborne, a Belleville Democrat. “He had to put on evidence.”

* Blagojevich and the Politics of Diversion: If you turned on a radio, a television or cracked open a newspaper earlier this week, there’s a good chance you caught Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. In an attempt to overshadow his own impeachment trial in the Illinois state legislature the governor went on a national media blitz. Blagojevich’s attempt to divert attention from controversy was not a new strategy. WBEZ’s Ben Calhoun reports that in less public ways, Blagojevich has been using similar tactics for years.

* Senate trial Day 3: Gov. wants to give closing statement: “He is entitled to a fair and thorough process,” said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. The GOP objections provided a glimpse of partisan bickering in a trial where most lawmakers had said they wanted to avoid such fighting. “The trial shouldn’t be driven by a time schedule,” added state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon. “It should be driven by the evidence.”

* Senate trial Day 3: fewer witnesses

* Is impeachment trial moving too fast?

* Context? Truth? In the end, it’s really your call

* Showdown In Senate: Governor To Speak At Trial

* The governor speaks

* Mr. Blagojevich Goes to Springfield

* Let gov have his say at impeachment trial

* The Governor’s Closing Argument

* Idiot governor takes center stage

* Senators wonder what Gov. Rod will say

* Rod Blagojevich to inject new drama at impeachment trial

* Bernard Schoenburg: What will he do? With Blagojevich, nobody knows

* Hey, Rod: After you’re ousted, need lift home?

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Quinn at the ready

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* Everybody has been getting interviews with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn lately. Here’s one by CBS2

Q: You’ve been called a gadfly, a consumer activist. You’re the only guy that I know of who got a standing “boo-vation.” The Illinois House stood up and booed you for 3 minutes.

A: When they introduced me to the House of Representatives, they stood up and booed, as you said, for a long time. Led by Mike Madigan, who said I wasn’t worthy of being called an Irishman, for goodness’ sake.

Well, he and I are good friends today. He maybe over spoke back there in 1976. And I look forward to working with him on more ethics legislation. I think we can do a great job this year.

Times are changing, campers. In a huge way.

* Sun-Times

The Bible is ready. The oath has been prepared. The lieutenant governor and his family are on their way to Springfield. And the current governor’s belongings are boxed up and waiting to be picked up at the Executive Mansion.

“I definitely plan to be in Springfield and I will be ready,” Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday. Quinn said he has been careful not to be “presumptuous” over the last seven weeks as the Legislature has marched toward today’s expected impeachment and removal from office of Gov. Blagojevich. […]

If the Illinois Senate votes to remove Blagojevich from office, Quinn will immediately head with his mother, sons and supporters to the state House chamber and place his hand on a Bible while his longtime friend, Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, will administer an oath of office prepared by Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

At that moment, Blagojevich will no longer be welcome in the governor’s office.

“The attorney general has already made it crystal-clear that under the law, if the Senate acts, then the governor is no longer the governor of Illinois,” Quinn said. “He is a private citizen and the appropriate thing for him to do is leave the office and go home.”

“Private Citizen Blagojevich.” It has a nice ring to it, no?

* Related…

* Your tax dollars at work

* Tollways will be free of Rod Blagojevich’s name, Pat Quinn promises

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* In Illinois, politics and ethics go together like oil and water

Case in point: It took the ragtag operation of the Cook County Republican Party to draw attention, as recently as last week, to the routine practice of campaign activity inside Chicago aldermanic ward offices.

The Illinois Supreme Court last week sided with the Cook County GOP in its years-long expose of ward office abuses, remanding a case to the Illinois Appellate Court for further review.

Need a city sticker for your car? You might fetch it from a ward office where political yard signs also are distributed. Staff therein, paid with your nonpartisan tax dollars, might be working on a traffic plan for the ward - or raising campaign cash for their boss, either one. At least 16 Democratic campaign operations are housed inside ward offices in Chicago.

Hello? Has anyone heard of the U.S. attorney’s office?

* Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

* Stimulus bill could pay for Chicago-area transit projects

* Reps. Manzullo, Bean disagree on stimulus bill

* Halvorson backs huge stimulus bill

* Gov’t to report on jobless claims as layoffs rise

Economists forecast that about 575,000 initial claims were filed, down from 589,000 the previous week. Still, last week’s figure matched a level hit in November that was the highest in 26 years, although the labor force has grown by about half since then.

* Opponents of Chicago Olympics come under e-attack

* 6,200 college students get another chance to receive state aid grants

* Scholarship help vital as college costs escalate

* Allstate Posts Loss, Plans to Cut 1000

* Coal company seeks new mine permit

* America’s immigrants split by education levels

America’s foreign-born population is highly fragmented along educational lines, with a large portion of immigrants possessing relatively low levels of education while sizable elite have attained advanced degrees, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report found that a much smaller percentage of foreign-born adults had completed high school compared with their native-born counterparts—nearly 88 percent of native-born Americans versus 68 percent of foreign born adults.

But that 20 point difference shrinks close to zero when looking at adults who have attained a college degree. Almost 28 percent of native-born adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 27 percent of foreign-born adults.

* Hospital expansion rejected

An Illinois public health board on Wednesday rejected the expansion plans of a suburban Chicago hospital whose CEO helped a federal investigation that led to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest. […]

Edward Hospital President and CEO Pamela Davis told reporters earlier this month that she believes staff members at the board have blocked the project because she helped blow the whistle on what federal prosecutors say was major corruption on the panel

* Blizzard of I-PASS violations buries recipient

* Luciano: Loophole in DUI law is the problem

* Wait for license saving lives?

Since last January, Illinois teens have had to wait nine months instead of three months to get their licenses, and new drivers must wait a year before they can carry more than one teenage passenger. New statistics indicate that the “graduated driver licensing” law is having an effect — the number of Illinois teens 16-19 who died in car crashes dropped more than 40 percent in 2008 to 92 deaths, from 155 in 2007.

* Secretary of state cites new laws for drop in teen driving deaths

* Attorney general proposes strengthened law on stalking

Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to introduce legislation to strengthen state stalking laws and increase the protection available to victims.

* Worker admits to forgery in Lake Co. election

One of two men accused of forging signatures on nominating petitions for state Sen. Terry Link was placed on probation Wednesday after pleading guilty.

Kenneth Davison, 50, pleaded guilty to nine counts of perjury for signing a sworn statement on the petitions that the signatures were legitimate… Link was not charged with any wrongdoing in the case.

* Northwest suburbs expect lively local election season this spring

* Let’s have a clean fight, candidates

* Ron Huberman booed, heckled at his 1st school board meeting

* Boos greet new school chief

* Fans, schools adjust to Chicago Public Schools’ ban on visiting fans at basketball games

* Downtown Protests Over School Closures

* Cook County workers’ jobs depend on balanced budget

* Investigation into tow-truck bribery grows

A federal investigation into the shakedown of tow-truck operators by Chicago police has expanded with the unsealing of charges against another officer.

Jimmie Akins is charged with attempted extortion for allegedly taking bribes in 2006 and 2007. It is alleged Akins received $100 per towed car in a bribe scheme

- Posted by Mike Murray   4 Comments      

Hey, CMS!

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

Your new e-mail system is apparently blocking the distribution of Capitol Fax to some state agencies. Please fix this. Thanks.

Rich Miller

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sens. Murphy, Righter on governor, trial process

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in… Governor’s PR guru talks about new public push

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Late afternoon question *** UPDATED x1 ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* What do you think the governor will say and do tomorrow during his 90 minute “closing argument” at the Senate impeachment tribunal? Explain fully.

Try to hold down the snark, please.

*** UPDATE *** From Lee News

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the governor has no plans of resigning tomorrow

Emphasis added.

- Posted by Rich Miller   182 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sen. Syverson explains SGOP concerns

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Fresh impeachment trial live-blog *** Prosecutor to finish witness list today *** CULLERTON: GUV WANTS TO SPEAK ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* 12:49 pm - There hasn’t been much talk about this extremely important segment of the criminal complaint filed against Gov. Blagojevich. The NY bobbleheads never broached it with Blagojevich, and it was barely mentioned yesterday during the trial, but it strikes directly at the governor’s state of mind…

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that his decision about the open Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.”

Every decision, not just the US Senate decision, but every decision he confronted, the governor said, had to be based on his own legal, personal and political situations, in that order.

If that doesn’t show a willingness, even an eagerness to abuse his powers, nothing does. And if it doesn’t show how easily he veered into lawlessness, I’m not sure what planet you’re from.

He also said this about the US Senate seat…

According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.”

And this…

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is “struggling” financially and does “not want to be Governor for the next two years.”

* Take everything Blagojeivch is caught saying on those FBI surveillance tapes, run it through that “legal, personal, political” filter, add in those two other quotes about struggling and wanting out of his job, mix vigorously and this is a slam-dunk case.

* Anyway, the trial resumes at 1 o’clock. Comments on the morning live-blog post are now closed, so all comments on the trial go here.

* 1:12 pm - With a hat tip to a commenter, this is from the governor’s PR firm Twitter page

Alert from The Publicity Agency: the gov is not making any public statements today and will be doing no media interviews whatsoever

* 1:13 pm - The trial is resuming now. We’ll have questions from both Dems and Repubs this time around.

* 1:16 pm - The Chief Justice said he may change the way questions are read to the witnesses. The Senate secretary may read them. No explanation why. The CJ has had trouble pronouncing names.

* From Illinois Issues

[GOP Sen. Kirk Dillard] said he was particularly worried about why Rep. Constance Howard, a Chicago Democrat, was scratched from the list. She originally was scheduled to testify about the injury to the people that has happened since the governor’s arrest, including a dropped bond rating that makes it more expensive for the state to borrow.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno said the evidence intended to demonstrate the governor’s mismanagement of the state “seems to be getting truncated at this point.” She added: “I think it’s not good for the public. The public is the one that’s been harmed by this … I think that it’s incumbent on us not only to give the governor a fair trial, but to let the public know that we have a good handle on the extent of this corruption.”

* 1:21 pm -
Sen Hendon just asked whether JCAR is favoring the House over the Senate, pointing to a bill that passed the Senate on health care that didn’t clear the House. That bill was then essentially turned into an executive order that JCAR tried to block and which eventually wound up being blocked by a court. Hendon sponsored that Senate bill.

* 1:36 pm - JCAR witness excused. No news there except the Hendon questions, which he telegraphed earlier in the day.

Announcement that Rep. Lang will not be called as a witness. The executive ethics commission report is being distributed.

* 1:37 pm - Radogno again complains about the shortened witness list. Give the people an opportunity to see the full case against the governor. “Live witnesses really help” the case “come alive.” Not sure I agree with her, considering the witnesses to date.

Andrew Morriss is being called as a witness. He’ll also speak about JCAR, and is a law professor.

* 1:43 pm - From the Sun-Times

Meanwhile, a small stir occurred this morning outside the governor’s Statehouse office when a staff member was seen carting out several bank boxes of documents. But Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the documents were part of a “routine” transfer of documents from Springfield to Chicago, not anything the governor wants to take with him should he be forced out of office this week.

“These were just documents coming back to Chicago,” Guerrero said. “I don’t know what was in it. But what wasn’t in it were the governor’s personal effects.”

The governor isn’t packing up anything from his state offices or the Executive Mansion in anticipation of being forced out, Guerrero said. “It would be presumptuous for the governor to start packing,” Guerrero said.

* 1:48 pm - President Cullerton just said that he was under the impression that the House prosecutor will finish calling witnesses for the entire trial today. Prosecutor: One more witness, Auditor General Holland. One hour for his testimony.

* 2:40 pm - OK, they’re back. Witness questions. The Secretary of the Senate will be reading the questions for now.

* Interesting question about whether the professor had ever seen such an example of gubernatorial overreach as the JCAR maneuver. He said he hadn’t.

Sen. Hendon asked if any other professors might disagree with his opinions, and he responded that none he knew of disagreed with him on this particular question. Zing.

* Witness is finished.

* Senate President Cullerton: House prosecutor will give a one-hour closing argument tomorrow at 10 o’clock.

*** Cullerton said the governor wants leave to appear tomorrow and give his own statement after the prosecutor’s closing statement. The governor will apparently act as his own attorney.

The governor will be allowed to speak for 90 minutes.

The Senate would have to vote to allow the governor to speak. Sens. Cullerton and Radogno have both said they will urge the chamber to allow the governor to give a closing argument. The prosecutor would then be allowed a 30 minute rebuttal. ***

* 2:58 pm - Auditor General Bill Holland is on the stand now. Kind of an anti-climax after that last announcement.

* 4:37 pm - OK, they’re back for questions of Bill Holland. Mike will handle most of the live-blogging in comments.

* 5:13 pm - Holland questions are finished. No redirect. No questions for the House prosecutor. The prosecutor is handing out the special investigative committee’s final report.

The prosecution rests.

Chief Justice Fitzgerald: No defense can be presented since the governor is not present.

Closing arguments tomorrow.

Senate adjourned until 9:45 am tomorrow.

- Posted by Rich Miller   206 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Again, this is a bit late. Sorry for that. Forgot about it.

I’m rooting for the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl for a couple of reasons. The Cardinals have the second-longest championship drought in professional sports, following only the Chicago Cubs’ 100-year slog. A Cardinals win would be just one more ding at Cubdom.

Sorry, but I can’t get beyond the hate.

Also, the Cardinals started out in Chicago, so they’ve got that going for them. And they are one seriously exciting team.

* The Question: Your Super Bowl predictions are…? Explain fully.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sen. Hendon on the guv, the trial, the tapes and the charges

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Sen. Brady on the trial and the mystery boxes

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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5th CD roundup *** UPDATED x1 ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Forrest Claypool is set to endorse Mike Quigley for Congress this morning at 10 o’clock. It’s no big surprise, but I’ll have the press release when it’s sent out.

Quigley, of course, is running in the 5th Congressional District special election. The Claypool endorsement could help Quigley, if his own poll is to be believed

Forrest Claypool is extremely popular among 5th District Democrats (66% Fav / 9% Unfav), with a favorability ratio of better than 7 to 1. A Claypool endorsement could play a major role in this race, with 56% of primary voters more likely to vote for a candidate with Claypool’s support.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the press release…

“No one has fought the old, failed politics of Todd Stroger longer or more effectively than Mike Quigley,” Claypool said.

“Mike is just the kind of ally President Obama needs in Congress to
change America,” Claypool said.

Quigley welcomed Claypool’s support, saying that “there is no leader
in Cook County whose endorsement sends a stronger signal about my
commitment to reform.”

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, Fox Chicago finally caught up with another candidate in the 5th District special election, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. The station has been trying to get an answer about a poll Feigenholtz ran that used some pretty harsh and misleading questions about two of her opponents, Quigley and Rep. John Fritchey. Feigenholtz didn’t answer many questions. Watch it by clicking here.

* As you may already know, Rosanna Pulido of the Illinois Minutemen Project is running as a Republican in the 5th District race. Her nominating petitions are being challenged by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights director Josh Hoyt. Via Progress Illinois, here’s Hoyt’s statement

“For years Ms. Pulido has poisoned the immigration debate with her vitriol, preventing rational debate on reasonable solutions for our broken immigration system. Now it is clear that her demagoguery was only to build a platform for her political ambitions […]

“If Ms. Pulido’s has not followed the rules and does not have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot, then the 5th CD will be mercifully spared from her hateful rants in pursuit of her own political ambitions.”

More from PI…

Back in 2007, [Pulido] told a House subcommittee that Chicago is “under siege by illegal aliens who speak Spanish, use public services and take jobs away from citizens.” During a May 2008 appearance on a local radio show, she suggested that the Chicago Police bring AK-47s to an (ultimately peaceful) protest by a group of immigrant rights activists. She also opposed a bill to allow detained immigrants to receive visits from members of the clergy here in Illinois. Furthermore, she is the regional field coordinator for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose leadership is linked to white nationalist views.

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

Quinn prepares to assume power

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* The Pantagraph takes a look at the transition

If Gov. Rod Blagojevich is convicted by the Senate and removed from office, the transition of power is designed to be virtually seamless.

Under the state Constitution, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn automatically becomes the state’s 41st governor if Blagojevich is ousted, but he would not be able to execute the powers of chief executive until he signs a formal oath of office.

That document is likely already prepared and ready to be forwarded to Quinn from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. […]

“I think probably Thursday, maybe Friday,” said state Sen. Dan Cronin, R-Elmhurst. […]

Under the state constitution, Quinn wouldn’t have to be formally sworn into office by a judge, but could choose to do so as a ceremonial gesture.

* And the infamous Tollway signs will be taken down

Should the Senate vote to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday that he would immediately begin erasing some of the imprints his former running mate made on the state.

One target would be the signs displaying Blagojevich’s name over state tollways, which Quinn called a symbol of “pompous government.”

“The signs will go down, and we’ll probably have a ceremony to do it,” Quinn told the Tribune. “I might even ask some toll payers to help us out.”

Speaking in his Chicago office with the Senate impeachment trial blaring in the background, Quinn said he would end a period of “imperial governorship” that began under Republican Gov. George Ryan and was continued by Democrat Blagojevich.

* Quinn’s also been doing some hiring

e Better Government Assn.’s executive director, Jay Stewart, plans to resign Wednesday from the organization.

Mr. Stewart, who has worked for the non-partisan watchdog group for nine years, said he has taken a job with Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Mr. Stewart served as general counsel for Mr. Quinn for a year in between jobs at the BGA.

He informed the BGA board president on Monday of his intent to resign.
“I am sorry that I did not have more time to give the BGA notice of this development, but as you are all well aware, the situation with Gov. Blagojevich has thrown the normal course of business out the window,” Mr. Stewart said in an e-mail to BGA’s board.


- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Impeachment trial live blog

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

[Comments are now closed. We have a fresh thread open. Click here.]

* They’re starting now. Have fun in comments.

* 9:31 am - The Senate Democrats have no questions for Rep. Rose. But the Republicans do want to question him about his testimony yesterday.

* 9:45 am - The Senate Republicans asked for a caucus to reformulate their questions to Rep. Rose, apparently because their original questions were outside the scope of Rose’s testimony. 30 minute caucus.

* 10:17 am - Senate Republicans want to ask some questions , but there will be no live witnesses to ask. So, the House prosecutor just offered to answer those questions himself. The Senate agreed. The SGOPs are complaining that some witnesses have been dropped.

* 10:25 am - The Senate Republicans have a strange agenda today. For instance, a questioner just asked Rep. Rose whether it was true that removing the governor would not solve the state’s budget deficit. The focus now is on the state’s credit rating.

The trouble with this line of questioning is that Rep. Rose testified yesterday about Ali Ata and Joe Cari. The Republicans are asking him about completely unrelated topics, like the governor’s security clearance.

* 10:35 am - Two storage boxes were wheeled in to the governor’s Statehouse office not long ago and then four boxes were wheeled out a short time later. No comment yet from the governor’s office about what’s going on.

* 10:40 am - The SGOPs appear to have gotten their questions back on track with Rose.

* 10:58 am - The Senate will take a short recess. The Chief Justice wants to see both party leaders in his chambers. Interesting. By the way, Senate President John Cullerton is getting more direct about his criticisms of Blagojevich today

“Before I suggested that perhaps the governor had just been misreading the (Senate) rules, now I’m pretty sure he’s lying about the rules,” Cullerton said. “He’s had plenty of time to read these rules. I saw him on television last night. He flat out misrepresented what these rules said.”

The Senate president went on to add that he’s “pretty sure” the governor is “lying” about the trial rules.

“He wants us to change the rules,” Cullerton said. “I’ll tell you one rule that I would be willing to change, and that is for us to ask questions directly, not in writing, of the governor.”

* 11:03 am - Sen. Hendon was just talking to reporters. He repeated his assertion that he wants the single impeachment article split up. He also said that he wants to listen to all the federal wiretap tapes.

* 11:05 am - The Chief Justice is back at the podium. He’s calling them back to order.

* 11:09 am - Vicki Thomas, the executive director of JCAR, is now testifying.

* 11:30 am -
They’ve taken a lunch and caucus break. Will return at 1 o’clock to ask questions of Director Thomas.

[Comments are now closed. We have a fresh thread open. Click here.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

A slip by guv? We’ll see

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Rachel Maddow thinks she got Gov. Blagojevich to admit to some questionable things last night. I’m not so sure, except for one point. Here’s the video

This is the one area where the guv probably slipped up but good. From the transcript

BLAGOJEVICH: That Cubs deal was an example, a legal process, but an example of the legislature not willing to do something to keep Wrigley Field in Illinois. So we found a creative way, through the Illinois Finance Authority, to keep the Cubs in a place where it was in their interest and the interest of the people, I thought, where they could stay.

That was something, the sort of thing that they would say is an impeachable thing ‘cause I’m using the executive office, they think, without the legislative approval. The Tribune editorial board was advocating that I be impeached for those sorts of things.

And so again, without going into detail, they’re getting the benefit of these things to try to help the Cubs. We just would prefer that they don’t, look, that—that the things that they’re advocating that I be impeached it’d be nice if they they laid off on an issue like that.


BLAGOJEVICH: No. And there was never any discussion with anybody at the Tribune.

MADDOW: John Harris never told them to lay off on your behalf?

BLAGOJEVICH: Never directed to do any of that. But, again, I shouldn’t get into this. That’s the wrong thing to do.

If you read the criminal complaint, Harris and others were told to get the Trib to lay off.

* Meanwhile, don’t worry too much about this because the guv is a goner. But Sen. Lightford did make some good points here

The much-anticipated sound bites of Blagojevich reverberated through a political body whose members often have walked the fine line between pushing legislation for a special interest and taking campaign contributions from supporters.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), an assistant majority leader feeling pressure from constituents to oust Blagojevich, said she and a growing number of colleagues believe the “federal case isn’t strong.” At the same time, she criticized Blagojevich for boycotting the proceedings in favor of a national media campaign blasting the trial as unfair.

“The governor [and his defense counsel] should have been there, in my opinion, to defend themselves,” Lightford said. “I think they would have had a grand opportunity to take some context and turn it into substance because I just felt like there wasn’t much substance to it today.”

* This Sun-Times editorial is right on the mark about the recorded tapes played yesterday…

Instead, the secretly recorded tapes of Blagojevich played in the Illinois Senate on Tuesday are most disturbing because they suggest just how routine scheming by our governor appeared to be.

* More on the alleged shakedown attempt caught on those tapes

…Tuesday night the attorney for Johnny Johnston - the racetrack owner at the center of the alleged shakedown on those tapes - was talking.

Johnston’s attorney Dan Reinberg says his client never made an inappropriate campaign contribution and when asked for one in exchange for the governor’s support on a gaming bill, Reinberg says his client passed.

Asked if Johnston realized he was the subject of an apparent shakedown attempt, Reinberg said, “Well, he certainly was put in a horrible spot by virtue of this request, and yes he understood the request… let me just say this. He was not comfortable with the request.”

Reinberg said Johnston has been told he will be a witness in the criminal trial.

* Related…

* ‘I’m just the opposite of Nixon’

* Gov.’s management style in Senate cross hairs today

* Gov. Blagojevich’s impeachment trial rolls along

* Not a pretty picture for our governor

* Senate trial Day 2: FBI recordings

* Gov not only one who wants full story told

* FBI agent ‘confident’ it’s Blagojevich on the wiretaps

* FBI plays wiretaps of Rod Blagojevich at state Senate impeachment trial

* Governor’s words ring loudest at impeachment trial

* Blago’s own words haunt him at trial

* Blagojevich’s voice makes appearance at trial

* Tale Of Tape: Blagojevich’s Own Words Haunt Him

* SJ-R Opinion: Tapes show governor put himself first

* Blagojevich on the line

* Let’s make a deal

* Rod remains defiant on Day 2 of media blitz

* Blagojevich’s Media Circus Costing Taxpayers

* National media fail to follow the money

* Don’t let governor’s sideshow distract you from reality

* A sideshow? Not our Blago!

* What should Blagojevich tell his daughters?

* Fact-Checking Blagojevich’s Claims

* ‘Biggest Loser’ would be good show for gov

* Despite bizarre behavior, experts say Blagojevich isn’t crazy

* Experts say gov isn’t crazy, but he may have a narcissism disorder

* Our View: Is there no end to narcissism in Illinois politics?

* No sympathy for crooked governor

* Blagojevich has no golden parachute if impeached.

* Blago should have to pay cost of impeachment

* Even jobless, governor can be bleepin’ golden

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Lipinski seeks $10 bil. for transit in stimulus

* Roskam, Kirk unchanged on stimulus package

Suburban congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam came away from a sit down with President Barack Obama and other House Republicans Tuesday unchanged in their opposition to a $825 billion economic stimulus plan.

* Taxpayers told not to worry

The City of Vancouver is considering borrowing $375 million or more to finish construction of its 2010 Olympic Village.

The budget for London’s 2012 Olympic Games is four times what was initially projected.

* Labor Bill Could Have Big Impact in Illinois

* Suburban officials are struggling with record snowfall, salt costs

* Chicago museum attendance healthy

* Regulators greenlight two hospital projects

* Another Illinois hospital’s discounts for uninsured

* Ailing Hartmarx hopes to size up a sale

* Daley standing by school chief choice

* Another Manager for CPS

* Good choice for schools

* Huberman moving from CTA to oversee school system

* CTA improved under new Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman

* Numbers battle clouds Cook Co.’s planned cuts

Cook County Board members Tuesday tossed around the idea of roughly 4 to 6 percent cuts for the 2009 budget in the face of strong opposition to borrowing $326 million.

* State holding $1.5 billion in unclaimed property

* Illinois vault holds more than $1.5 billion left behind by residents

* Puppy mill law long overdue

- Posted by Mike Murray   16 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Moody's: Illinois ratings will be based on whether state can deal with revenue problems and show it can make required pension payments
* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* Oh, for crying out loud
* Not as simple as it may look
* *** UPDATED x1 *** State complies with court order on DD payments
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Nuding praises Arduin
* YOU Matter to Illinois Credit Unions
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Point, counter-point
* Not there yet
* Will remap reform proposal hurt Democrats?
* Where are they now?
* Putting two and two together
* No excuse for this loophole
* From a "trap" to a "magnet"
* FOP wants override of AFSCME bill veto
* Report: 34,000 losing independent living services
* No movement yet
* Today's number: $58.1 million
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
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          * Body found in river after motorists see man jump off overpass near Hodgkins
          * Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million
          * Country Club Hills suspends firefighter who filed porn, sexual harassment suit
          * A mayday and tense moments as extra-alarm fire guts Lincoln Square Lanes
          * Shermer Road closed as garbage truck flips
          * Judge acquits attorney on charges he coached witnesses to lie
          * Fans remember Lincoln Square Lanes
          * Illinois' history museum is latest target in political fight

          * Illinois State Museum is latest target in political fight
          * Moody's warns Illinois lawmakers of budget stalemate impact
          * Rauner signs law toughening penalties on drunk drivers
          * The Rev. David Hoefler: Springfield diocese not targeting non-Catholics
          * Exelon mulls closure of unprofitable Quad Cities nuclear plant
          * Illinois investigates parole board members' bankruptcies
          * Our Opinion: Drop in Illinois State Fair attendance not such a mystery
          * Bernard Schoenburg: 'Great conversation' has Rep. Rodney Davis hopeful about VA head
          * Statehouse Insider: Illinois State Fair: Fair or flop?
          * Statehouse Insider: Illinois State Fair: Fair or flop?

          * HS Golf: Champaign County Meet
          * Truck strikes building in Champaign
          * Peoria evangelist organizes effort to 'take the prayer to the streets'
          * Pickup truck hits building near downtown Champaign
          * Syrian official: Extent of damage at Palmyra temple unclear
          * Legal experts see no criminal trouble for Clinton thus far
          * Inaugural Winterfest will bring outdoor ice skating rink to Downtown this winter
          * Where Am I? Aug. 31, 2015
          * Video: Where Am I? Aug. 31, 2015
          * 08-31-15 Penny for Your Thoughts

          * Harbaugh can't accept losing, even preseason games
          * Panthers acquire Seahawks WR Norwood for 2017 draft pick
          * Vikings put Carter Bykowski on IR, Josh Robinson on PUP list
          * Cause of mysterious Maine Township deaths traced to car
          * LSU coach Les Miles goes to hospital after not feeling well

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Ribbon Cutting For Completion Of Levee 37 ......
          * Illinois' Durbin gets a shot at political ......

          * Kirk: Keeping seniors safe from identity t......

          * Give a shout out to Forrest Claypool.
          * On the 14th day, religious leaders make their appeal and Claypool does what we predicted he would do.
          * Sarah Blaine: The practice of teaching.
          * AFT President Randi Weingarten joins #FightForDyett hunger strikers.
          * Life in Rahm’s Chicago. Welcome back, Amer.
          * REALTORS®: Use today’s email to sign up for new member-customer benefit
          * Helping tenants can help you gain credibility with future first-time buyers
          * Time to reserve Inaugural Gala tickets and sponsorships
          * Former State Child Care Chief Leaves Rauner Administration
          * State Budget Impasse Could Force Shutdown Of Cook County Independent Living Center

          * State-Teamsters One Step Closer to Finalizing Agreement
          * Veteran Spouse Ada Ruth Cripps Honored As The IDVA Volunteer of the Year
          * Governor Announces Appointments
          * State to Issue $16 million in Credits to Reverse Penalties for Monthly Electronic Wage Reporting - Rules provide relief for nearly 13,000 employers over the next six months
          * Two Deaths at Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy

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