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Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* I could not figure out why I was in a Stevie Ray Vaughan mood all week. But then I came home and realized we kicked off the weekend with all sorts of storm warnings. Perhaps this video is appropriate.

Rich will be back on Monday. Thanks for putting up with the interns today!


Like a train that stops at every station
We all deal with trials and tribulations
Fear hangs the fellow that ties up his years

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   Comments Off      


Senate Dems talk borrowing and pension notes

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

[Posted by Barton Lorimor]

* Most Senate Democrats were mum on the talking points of this afternoon’s caucus meeting. However, Sen. Louis Viverito said an unspecified amount or type of borrowing is being discussed. Take a look…


* Speaking with Christopher Wills of the Associated Press, Sen. Donne Trotter talked about issuing pension obligation notes. The challenge there, he said, is getting other Democrats on board with the idea…


* Both chambers canceled their weekend sessions and plan to reconvene at noon on Monday.

Round-up of afternoon stories:

* Quinn tones down rhetoric on income tax hike proposal

* Zorn: Illinois as a low-tax state

* House OKs revamping DuPage Water Commission

* Bill Banning Synthetic Cannabis Heads To Governor’s Desk

* City gets more time to privatize Midway

* Metra chief on leave as compensation is probed

* Metra board hires attorney to investigate its director

* Cook County Board acts to curtail Stroger spending

* Ford Heights village board member hit with drug charges

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   6 Comments      


*** UPDATED w/ Video *** POLL: Brady leads Quinn, Kirk over Giannoulias, Home prices, National Guard

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

[Posted by Barton Lorimor. Video by Dan Weber]

* The latest Rasmussen poll puts Republican Sen. Bill Brady ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn by seven percentage points. Five percent of the respondents favor another candidate and 11 percent have yet to decide. From Rasmussen…

Brady posted a 47% to 37% lead over Quinn in early March just after the former was officially declared the GOP nominee by a 193-vote margin out of 750,000 cast.

The two are battling most notably these days over an income tax hike the governor has proposed as an alternative to a $1.3 billion cut in education funding.

Forty percent (40%) of voters in the state now approve of Quinn’s handling of the governorship, down three points from the previous survey. Fifty-eight percent (58%) disapprove. This includes seven percent (7%) who Strongly Approve and 28% who Strongly Disapprove.

* Rasmussen also showed Republican Congressman Mark Kirk leading state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the U.S. Senate race…

Kirk now attracts 46% support in Illinois’ race for the U.S. Senate, up from 41% in early April. Support for Giannoulias is at 38%, virtually unchanged from the previous survey but down from March, when he earned 44% of the vote. Five percent (5%) currently support some other candidate, and 12% are undecided.

Kirk picked up 46% to Giannoulias’ 40% in the first survey after the two won their party primaries in February. But the race was a virtual toss-up by March. Still, despite the Broadway Bank controversy, Kirk has been unable to push past his previous high. Giannoulias got a much-sought-after boost of support from President Obama after the survey was taken, so it’s unclear at this point whether the bank issue has caused the candidate any long-term damage in a state that has trended Democratic in recent years.

* Meanwhile, homeowners believe their home is worth more than their mortgage….

Forty-seven percent said their house was worth more than they owe on the mortgage, but 44 percent believed they owed more than their house was worth.

And…

Other polls conducted by Rasmussen included a poll that questioned how the violence in some Illinois neighborhoods should or should not be handled.

It was determined that 37 percent were in favor of using the National Guard to fight crime in violent neighborhoods, while 48 percent were not. Sixteen percent were not sure.

Since the poll was conducted statewide, it was unclear whether those polled actually lived in the violent neighborhoods mentioned.

You may recall earlier this week state Reps. Fritchey and Ford suggested Gov. Quinn deploy the National Guard to Chicago to control violence. The governor said he would only send troops with Mayor Daley’s approval.

*** UPDATE 2 p.m. *** A day after the redistricting plan introduced by Senate Democrats was defeated in the House by two votes, Sen. Kwame Raoul had some harsh words for Gov. Pat Quinn. Raoul, who became chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee last fall, spoke against Quinn for not falling behind the plan. Here’s Raoul speaking with CapFax intern Dan Weber on the Senate floor earlier today….


- Posted by Barton Lorimor   31 Comments      


*** UPDATED 1x *** No subpoena for Obama…Monk enters new ‘guilty’ plea

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

[Posted by Barton Lorimor]

* Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s former chief of staff Alonzo Monk entered a new guilty plea in federal court this morning. The Sun-Times reports…

Monk, 51, admitted to attempting to extort a horse-racing businessman for a campaign contribution in exchange for getting a bill signed.

Monk is cooperating with investigators and pleaded guilty again after prosecutors filed new charges, crafted to deal with a possible future ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that experts say could strike down of the federal “honest services” fraud statute.

Monk has agreed to serve 24 months in prison.

Monk is reportedly going to testify against his former employer. The Tribune has more…

Monk is expected to testify that Blagojevich and three of his closest friends - including Monk - schemed from the outset of his administration to enrich themselves by leveraging the powers of Blagojevich’s office.

Monk is expected to tell the jury how the four — a group that also included key fundraisers Christopher Kelly and Antoin “Tony” Rezko — planned to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions they could split up when Blagojevich left office.

*** UPDATE *** 12:45 p.m. President Obama will not be served….

The judge overseeing the corruption case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has denied a defense motion to issue a subpoena for the testimony of President Barack Obama.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he does not believe Obama’s testimony would be material to the charges.
Zagel said the defense motion fell “very short” of demonstrating a need to subpoena the president.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   26 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* STAR Bonds plan for Glen Carbon retail development is dead

“On Thursday, in a final attempt to reach consensus, we met with several mayors who told us there is nothing more we can do to secure their support for the project.”

* Developer gives up on STAR bonds — for now

* Taxpayers come out ahead on public works projects

In Tinley Park, overall costs are down by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Public Works Director Dale Schepers. One bid was 48 percent below the town engineer’s estimate.

A bid for landscaping in Naperville’s Riverwalk reconstruction project came in at $702,000, 46 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate, because of intense competition among eight bidders. Carey Plazak, purchasing manager for Schaumburg, recently accepted two roadwork bids considerably under budget.

In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley recently challenged all city vendors to negotiate a 10 percent cut in spending on their contracts.

* Panel rejects $162 million rate hike for Ameren’s Illinois customers

Instead, the commission on Thursday approved a rate increase of just $4.7 million, or about 97 percent less than what the utility giant had requested.

What this means for you: The rates that Ameren’s 1.1 million Illinois customers pay for the delivery of electricity and gas will remain unchanged at least for another year.

* Ameren receives sliver of rate hike request from Illinois Commerce Commission

Almost a year ago, the company asked to increase what it charges for delivering electricity and natural gas by a total of $226 million. The utility had since changed that request to $162 million and was awarded only $5 million.

* Ameren upset by reduced rate increase

* Pace union seeks arbitration

* City gun turn-in program in need of cash

* Hinz: Cook commissioners move to curb Stroger spending

* County Board may limit Stroger’s hiring, buying powers

* Mayor’s brother calls Stroger aide contract scandal ‘a disgrace’

* Huberman Unveils New School Closing Plan

Chicago Public Schools says it will now involve the community in figuring out what to do about its worst performing schools.

It’s become an annual ritual: officials announce a list of schools they want to shut down for low performance. And parents, teachers and students protest to keep them open.

Ron Huberman says the district’s new school closings plan hinges on parents being told EARLY their child’s school needs help. Letters will go out soon to that effect.

* New Lenox police agree to wage freeze

* Homer Glen trustees mull giving up their salaries

* West Chicago may cut police civilian staff

* Aurora firm loses IDOC contract

The company housed ex-cons in two homes in Aurora, one at 14 S. Lancaster Ave. and the other at 838 N. View St., and the Department of Corrections paid TA Reentry to take parolees once they were released from prison.

* Officials said red-light cameras should be a go, but some in public not so sure

* Will County towns are raising taxes, fees

* State debt won’t cause Rock Island County layoffs

* Central Illinois airport traffic up

Peoria shows 1.5 percent first-quarter increase; Bloomington up 2.8 percent

* Springfield mayor counting on free dinner

Time to pay up, Peoria.

Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin on Thursday morning announced the results of a friendly bet made with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis over whose city would have a higher percentage of its residents mail in their 2010 U.S. Bureau of the Census forms.

Springfield won, with 77 percent of residents participating to Peoria’s 75 percent.

According to the terms of their competition, Ardis will have to travel to Springfield and buy Davlin dinner. He also has to wear the city’s lapel pin for a week and issue a proclamation acknowledging - in writing - that Springfield is better than Peoria. (Springfield doesn’t have a city pin, so they’re going to find something else for Ardis to wear.)

* Trustees approve raise for LLCC president

* IT restructuring could save university $10 million, report says

* Are police department staffing issues compromising safety in East St. Louis?

* Manhunt continues for suspect in slaying of Washington Park mayor

* News-Democrat: Why provide escape clause?

A few hours after Washington Park Mayor John Thornton was shot to death on April 1, police had his suspected killer in custody.

Then they had to let him go 48 hours later because the overly cautious St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office wasn’t ready to file charges. The police couldn’t legally hold him any longer without charges.

Now a few weeks later, prosecutors have concluded that yes indeed, the police arrested the right guy. On Wednesday, they filed first-degree murder charges against Aaron B. Jackson.

But surprise, Jackson is nowhere to be found. He apparently decided not to sit home and wait for the police to pull up and lead him away in handcuffs.

* Blagojevich case back in court today

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   3 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* Have you, your family or your friends been impacted by the state budget crisis? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Bill Brady’s excuse will never fly

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* Here is Sen. Bill Brady’s reason for telling reporters that they had to travel to Springfield to view his tax returns last Friday afternoon…

“I think we’ve often criticized governors for not living in Springfield, not being in the state capital,” Brady said, referring to complaints raised about disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s avoidance of Springfield. “We picked a location–the state of Illinois’ capital.”

That’s not gonna endear him to Chicago reporters, who are accustomed to getting their way and who often bite back hard, as we’ve seen time and time again.

Frankly, I don’t think the Springfield decision is a big deal. Just about every paper, TV and radio station in the Chicago area belongs to the AP. They could’ve set up something with the wire service in advance to make sure they got as much detail as they could ever want. The huffing from the TV stations is a bit strange, considering this isn’t exactly a “visual” story.

But this is an easy story to write, so we keep getting it over and over again. The much tougher story is figuring out what to do with all the data we’ve collected. I’m still in the planning stages myself. It’s time-consuming and will probably include lots of blind alleys, but there may be a nugget or two therein. The Peoria Journal Star editorial page hinted at one possibility

Meanwhile, others have noted that the federal income taxes he did pay over the last five years were considerably less than the tax bracket he occupied would suggest.

* And our quote of the day goes to Judy Baar Topinka

“I love Springfield,” she said. “I could never understand how that Looney Tune Rod Blagojevich always felt, why he didn’t want to live here — the greatest place in the world.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      


Snubbed Repubs will snub back, and the impact on the “real world”

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* A Republican refusal to vote for a budget they’ve been shut out of was expected, but GOP Rep. Mark Beaubien’s statement is ominous for the Democrats, who will need three-fifths majorities in both chambers to borrow money to make billions in pension payments

“They (Democrats) haven’t come to us, they haven’t asked us for anything, they haven’t informed us of anything,” Beaubien said. “Since we haven’t been included, you’re not going to see any Republican support.”

That budget is gonna be ugly, man. Just ugly. Democratic Rep. Frank Mautino fills in a few blanks

Democrats are being asked about a series of potential revenue generators, although Mautino said the budget being formulated does not include the income tax hike sought by Quinn. The options do include higher taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and eliminating some business tax breaks.

* Meanwhile, in the real world

For 26 years, the Holy Angels Shelter in East St. Louis has been there to help homeless moms, women and families get off the streets and into their own homes.

But if the state doesn’t come through with an $80,000 grant by the end June, the shelter will have to close.

“We run it bare bones,” said Joe Hubbard, director of Catholic Urban Programs. “We’ve run it that way for 26 years. They can give us a grant, but if they don’t pay us in a timely manner, we can’t pay our bills, and if we can’t pay our bills, we have to close. We need to come up with other funding.”

If the shelter doesn’t find enough money to fill the hole the state is expected to leave, the homeless shelter will be forced to close its doors.

“And that will be a disaster,” said shelter director Pat Lewis. “They’ll be under the bridge with the tent people, and pretty soon, there won’t be room for them, either.”

* Related and a roundup…

* Vouchers for CPS students advances to House floor: The action would give vouchers not only to the schools where students are poorest and lowest performing. But it also would extend vouchers to students from poor families in the most-overcrowded schools, a change from the bill when Meeks won Senate approval.

* Obama and Quinn Discuss Money for Illinois Education, No Promises: Quinn reportedly said he would ask President Barack Obama for federal money to help pay for education. When asked if the president had obliged, the governor changed the subject… QUINN: We talked about that in general, but I can’t say that he had a pot of gold.

* U46 one step away from $22 million

* Evanston leaders press city’s needs in Springfield

* Illinois House pushed to boost tobacco tax

* Bill would cut tuition on extra college years

* Evaluation shield bill goes to governor

* State mulls show-floor rules at McCormick Place

* Latest slot machines at horse tracks pitch faces uphill climb

* Local video gambling bans could clear way for slots at Arlington Park

* Lawmakers push slots for horse tracks

* SouthtownStar: Tracks a good place for slot machines

* Harristown fourth-graders hold press conference with Quinn

* House panel OKs bill to save DuPage Water Commission

* New law requires stopping for pedestrians, not yielding

* Law seeks to monitor red-light cameras

* Tollway chief sets new course for challenged agency

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


League drops petition drive as remap reform fails

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* Back in 2008, the Illinois League of Women Voters decided to oppose a state constitutional convention. This was one of the big reasons

The serious problems suggested as a reason for a Con-Con can actually be addressed by legislation or constitutional amendment. Kaszak noted that there have been ten successful amendments since the 1970 Constitution, and the current Lt. Governor has successfully amended the Constitution (the Cutback Amendment of 1980 which reduced the number of members of the House of Representative by 59 and abolished cumulative voting) and could guide individuals through the process;

This year, the League has joined with Republicans and others to support a constitutional amendment on redistricting. They’ve discovered it ain’t as easy to amend our constitution as they thought two years ago. Their proposal went nowhere in the General Assembly and they announced yesterday they were abandoning their petition drive

In a letter sent Thursday evening to The State Journal-Register’s editorial staff, however, the Illinois League of Women Voters — which coordinated the Fair Map effort — said that coalition had fallen short of the nearly 300,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

“We simply did not have enough time to finish the kind of statewide campaign necessary to meet the constitutional requirements of a citizen initiative,” League executive director Jan Czarnik wrote.

Well, look on the bright side. Maybe the League will favor a con-con the next time it comes around on the ballot, in 2028.

Sheesh.

* We have some video of yesterday’s redistricting debate. Rep. Jim Watson gave a passionate speech opposed to the Democratic plan, which fell two votes short of the required three-fifths majority (Democratic Rep. Jack Franks voted with the Republicans). It’s a must-view


* Rep. Eddie Washington accused the Republicans of excluding minorities in his controversial speech


* House GOP Leader Cross’ comments, Part 1


Part 2


* Lou


* Majority Leader Barbara Currie took questions afterwards


* Related…

* Remap fails in the House: “It gives an edge to the majority party. That’s not the way redistricting should be. It should be a level playing field … and it should not be about us taking care of our own districts. These are not ‘our’ districts,” House Minority Leader Tom Cross said after the vote.

* Illinois House votes down redistricting reform

* Redistricting Reform Dead in Illinois Legislature

* Twin Defeats On Plans For Drawing Ill. Districts

* Illinois district remap plan defeated

* Dem Redistricting Plan Fails, Citizens Initiative Falls Short

* Ill. Democrats’ redistricting proposal fails in the House

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


The bloodlust is out of hand

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* We’ve talked about the subject of my Sun-Times column most of the week. The silliness of the media as they engage in a feeding frenzy on the Giannoulias campaign. But you might want to read it anyway…

Political reporters, columnists and pundits don’t always band together as one, but when they do, watch out, especially when they’ve decided somebody is a bad guy and they’re going to “do something” about it.

Sometimes, it’s justified. The alleged hooker-knifing, wife-abusing Scott Lee Cohen is a case in point. Once we figured out that we had really goofed by not looking into the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee’s background more carefully, we pounced and tore him to shreds. But it was the right thing to do. Our mistake was not doing it earlier.

But it’s almost as if Cohen’s political blood tasted so good that members of the media wolf pack have decided that they just gotta have another kill. The bloodlust is leading some of them to resort to distortions and outright fabrications to achieve their goal.

The Cohen story practically wrote itself. It had just about all the elements of the perfect political scandal: sex, lies, drugs, lawsuits and violence. There was no need to embellish it.

But far too many of the stories being written about U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias are taking embellishment to a whole new level.

The Chicago Tribune published a story earlier this month revealing that Giannoulias’ family bank had loaned two apparently mob-connected criminals $20 million. A banking consultant from Texas handed the Trib this ready-made quote: “Banks are not supposed to be doing business with criminals.”

But I searched Cook County Chancery Court records and found no less than 27 lawsuits, foreclosures, etc. filed by banks, financial service companies and a couple others against the two men over the years. Of those 27, just five were filed by Broadway Bank, which was owned by Giannoulias’ family before it was shut down a week ago by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Deutsche Bank, First American Bank, CitiMortgage, Austin Bank and more have all filed legal actions. Some were dismissed, some are still pending. The point is those two fellows did business with a bunch of different banks and had trouble with quite a few. But you’ll never read about that in the Tribune. The paper’s story was designed to look like Broadway was the exclusive go-to haven for mobsters. Turns out, there was nothing exclusive about it.

Seemingly seconds after the announcement that President Obama had planned a visit to Downstate Quincy, the chattering class speculated whether Obama would invite Giannoulias or throw his old friend and protege under the bus.

When asked last week if he had been invited, Giannoulias said he hadn’t, so the commentariat instantly leapt to the conclusion that “death by Trailways” was in Giannoulias’ immediate future.

Trouble is, no reporters bothered to see if any other Illinois VIPs had been invited. Nobody had been. The official invites didn’t go out until Monday.

That didn’t deter the feeding frenzy. The subject even came up at a White House press conference. Hours before the visit, Giannoulias was taunted by a Chicago reporter who wanted to know whether Giannoulias’ campaign needed “a presidential hug.”

All of the breathless anticipation was for nothing. Obama gave Giannoulias a shout-out from the podium and hugged him after the speech, and his top political adviser, David Axelrod, brought Giannoulias backstage for a friendly meeting.

I recently obtained a letter written by a Chicago reporter begging one of those two above-mentioned alleged mob guys to spill his guts about his dealings with Broadway Bank. He was lured with the promise that he could “change history.”

Instead of trying to “change history,” how about just focusing on telling a full and accurate story once in a while?

* Lynn Sweet helps shoot down this whole “Obama will push Giannoulias out of the race” stuff

Admitting he had no evidence, Sen. John Cornyn, who runs the Senate GOP political operation, suggested Thursday that the White House may try to force Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias out of the race — speculation that was flatly denied by the White House.

When I asked Cornyn, who’s from Texas, why he thought the White House would do that, he said: “I don’t know. Giannoulias is a flawed candidate and they are realizing it and I think they are worried. . . . I hope they respect the choices of Democratic primary voters and don’t engage in some sort of back-room shenanigans.”

A Giannoulias campaign spokeswoman said Cornyn’s comments were “ridiculous.”

Cornyn’s comment came a day after President Obama, in Downstate Quincy, gave a shout-out to Giannoulias, calling him the “soon-to-be senator” in a remark I think was calculated to quiet talk about distancing himself from Giannoulias.

“No one here is trying to ‘muscle’ him from the race. That should have been clear from the president’s comment yesterday,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Thursday. “Kind of ironic that on the day that Gov. [Charlie] Crist was forced out of the Florida Republican primary that Sen. Cornyn would be suggesting we would muscle someone out of a Senate race.”

* And, man, is this headline ever silly: “Rahm for Senate? He may be one of the Democrats’ most viable candidates in Illinois.” Yeah. Emanuel would do so well statewide here…

One intriguing idea being considered: Force Mr. Giannoulias out of the race and replace him with . . . Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel is still popular in Illinois and there was a big push to get him handpicked as the Obama successor back in late 2008. Democrats have used the shaft-and-shift strategy before, as in New Jersey in 2002 when they dumped a walking wounded Bob Torricelli as their Senate candidate a few weeks before Election Day.

The first person to publicly suggest this was Rod Blagojevich, so that gives you an idea of how wonderful it is.

* Related…

* Chris Kennedy to Don & Roma: “Lexi got in and I didn’t, and he deserves credit”

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


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        * Child with fever admitted to Chicago hospital to check for Ebola
        * Chicago restaurants that repeatedly failed health inspections in 2014
        * Broadway bike lane among 'Top 10' in the country
        * 5 people hurt in separate shootings
        * Metra train fatally hits pedestrian in Oak Forest


        * Matthew Schultz’s Music Career – From Dark To Light
        * Rents may be going up, but residents not going anywhere
        * Rents may be going up, but residents say they're not going anywhere
        * IIAA Teaches Life Skills Through Sports
        * Jordan on the Frontline: An International Town Hall
        * Report: Illinois Fails To Monitor Runaways
        * Parties' Power Grabs In Battle For Comptroller; Quinn Calls Legislators Into Special Session
        * Let's Talk Kids - "Your Phone-a-Friend List"
        * Vatican signals new tone on US nuns
        * StoryCorps: Bilingual pre-school teacher describes the state of education in Chicago


        * E.J. Dionne: Chuck Schumer: Take two
        * Esther Cepeda: The rainbow that isn’t
        * Raoul, Righter, Nekritz, Sandack: Clarifying privacy, eavesdropping bill
        * Quote of the day: Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
        * Quinn calls legislature back to Springfield to approve special election to replace Topinka
        * Audit: DCFS loses track of runaways
        * Audit: Illinois fails to monitor runaway kids
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Schmidt considers challenging Sgro for park board president
        * Brian Sauder: Faithful decisions for the holidays
        * Eugene Robinson: The price of being hacked


        * IYB sneak peek: New Cage up and running
        * Bond set at $50K for man found with 21.2 grams of cocaine in Energy
        * Board OKs Champaign-Champaign County enterprise zone
        * St. Charles students expelled after computer hack
        * Despite loss of Topinka, state checks still flowing
        * Stephen Colbert retires his 'Report' and the host he played
        * 8 children killed, mother stabbed, in Australia
        * Theater shooter's parents plead for his life
        * East St. Louis youths learn respect for law enforcement
        * A change in weather ahead for Christmas Week


        * Opinion: Notre Dame police subject to records law
        * Prosecutor begins probe into 2012 Valencia F1 GP
        * Key Profumo scandal figure Mandy Rice-Davies dies
        * AP source: Padres to acquire OF Justin Upton from Braves
        * AP Top Sports News At Noon EST

        * Meet Mike Bost, a Must-Watch Freshman Cong...
        * Video Of GOP Lawmaker's Meltdown Resurface...
        * 8 things new members of Congress definitel...
        * Lawmakers Give Advice to New Members of Co...
        * Bost in DC, Enyart postpones return
        * Bost Readies to Join Congress
        * Bost to resign early from state house, hea...
        * Illinois Rep. Mike Bost flips his lid over...
        * Rep. Mike Bost
        * Kilquest and Bryant to Face Off for 115th ...

        * Durbin backs federal budget despite 'odiou......

        * GOP senator wants 'The Interview' shown at......
        * Sen. Kirk suggests raising campaign money ......

        * A Very Angry Bears Fan Christmas
        * City of Chicago releases youth violence report. Recommends more spending.
        * Durbin to GOP: Get Cruz under control
        * Government labor unions file lawsuit to stop Chicago pension overhaul
        * Illinois Watchdog Radio - Live on IR
        * Republican analysis calls for Rauner to pick new state comptroller for 4 year term
        * Crain’s Business slow pitches a snowball in hell.
        * An Illinois constitutional crisis. Who will keep an eye on our cemeteries?
        * DNA Info: Residents Rip CPS' Rejection of Private School's Offer To Buy Vacant School
        * The Joke Is On The #Bears


        * Governor Quinn Calls Legislative Special Session - Governor Urges Legislature to Set Up 2016 Special Election for Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Announces Illinois’ Unemployment Rate Hits New Low - Illinois’ Economic Comeback Continues; Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level in More than Six Years
        * Illinois Ranks #1 in Volunteer Rate Among the Country’s 8 Largest States - 2.57 Million Illinoisans Give $7.2 Billion in Service
        * Law Enforcement, IDOT Make Final Push to Save Lives in 2014, Roadside Safety Checks Planned Over Holidays - New Episode of “The Driving Dead” Premieres Friday as Holiday Travelers are Reminded to Drive Sober and Buckle Up
        * Department of Insurance Announces Two Convictions Resulting from its Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigations - Former Crystal Lake Police Officer and Former Business Owner Convicted




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