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Enough, already

Friday, Aug 27, 2010

* My Sun-Times column makes it clear that I’m sick of the stupid

Maybe I’m just stupid, but I find it hard to get too excited about what passes for public discourse these days.

For instance, I probably have more reasons to hate Muslims than just about anyone I know. My wife’s Christian family was literally run out of Iraq by Muslim terrorists. Their house was bombed three times, and a gang of Muslim thugs threatened to take my wife’s brother hostage and make him a martyr by strapping a bomb to his chest.

But I don’t care at all about the Islamic center that some group wants to build two blocks from Ground Zero in New York, partly because I know all too well how the First Amendment was designed to protect unpopular speech and unpopular religions from the majority.

If you want to debate a zoning issue 800 miles away, go right ahead, but you also have to realize that you can’t legally stop it, so turn down the crazy knob, please. This looks more like a pogrom than a debate.

The only gun I’ve ever owned was an old, broken pistol given to me by a relative. I don’t know what happened to it, and I don’t want another one. But Gov. Quinn’s new TV ad blasting his Republican opponent, state Sen. Bill Brady for being soft on an assault weapons ban doesn’t particularly move me.

Maybe that’s because I live in a very safe neighborhood. Maybe it’s because I don’t easily succumb to fear tactics. Maybe it’s because I know gangsters’ weapons of choice are cheap, easily concealed and disposable pistols, which were banned in Chicago for years. Maybe it’s because the ad isn’t particularly well made.

Or maybe it’s because I noticed that two of the three Brady votes cited by Quinn’s TV ad took place in the 1990s. The Democrats have been bludgeoning the Republicans with this subject for decades. Tired, old subjects rarely strike fear into my heart.

My political newsletter is still doing well despite the Great Recession. But I am borderline enraged that unemployment is so high and nobody at any level of government seems to be talking about what to do.

Unlike some of my other positions, I think I’m with “the people” on this one. A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 87 percent of Illinoisans know someone who is unemployed or looking for work. And a solid majority of 55 percent named “economic issues” as their No. 1 priority for choosing a candidate.

Instead, the media want to spend their time yakking about that Islamic center, and Quinn is spending a half-million dollars on that assault weapons ad.

And then there’s Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, who has spent a fortune this summer railing against “mob banker” Alexi Giannoulias.

Giannoulias, on the other hand, has talked about jobs since he kicked off his campaign last year. That issue has kept him in this race, despite all of his obvious problems. You’d think other candidates and pundits would learn from Giannoulias’ survival miracle. They haven’t.

It’s as if nobody even noticed that 500,000 people applied for new unemployment benefits last week alone. People are scared to death out there, and they are completely justified. But I’m thoroughly disgusted that the powers that be are channeling legitimate anger into useless “debates” over stupid “issues” rather than addressing the real problems head-on.

Dishonesty and incompetence must be exposed. The role of government absolutely needs to be debated. I don’t expect or want a one-note campaign here.

But we are in desperate need of ideas about this economy and I’m more than willing to listen if the candidates and the media would simply engage.

Rasmussen’s latest poll has Giannoulias leading Kirk by 17 points among those who put economic issues at the top of their list of things they’re looking for in a candidate.

* Related…

* 1 in 10 Illinois mortgage holders missed payments‎: The Mortgage Bankers Association, in their second quarter delinquency report, also found that the percentage of home loans in Illinois that were in foreclosure rose to 6.02 percent in the second quarter, from 5.85 percent in the year’s first quarter.

* Unemployment increases in 8 Illinois metro areas

* Alton jobless rates reaches 13 percent

* Unemployment rate remains above 10 percent in metro-east

* Unemployment ticks upward in Springfield area

* Jobless rate highest for July in McLean Co. since ‘76

* July’s unemployment rate in Boone and Winnebago counties jumped to 15.7 percent, or 27,895 people, according to data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. That’s up 0.9 percentage points from June, but down 0.3 percentage points from a year ago.

* Unemployment rates in West-Central Illinois increase second straight month

* Decatur area finally gets some good news in lower unemployment rate: It was 12.4 percent in July, according to Illinois Department of Employment Security statistics released Thursday.

* The unemployment rate for the five-county Peoria metropolitan area was 10.5 percent in July, up slightly from 10.3 percent in June, but down considerably from 12.8 percent in July 2009.

* Q-C jobless rate remains at 8.4%

* Jobless rate rises in Champaign-Urbana, Danville areas: The Champaign-Urbana metro area – which includes Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties – had a 9.8 percent unemployment rate in July, up from 9 percent a year ago. The Danville metro area – which consists of Vermilion County – had a 12.4 percent rate, up from 11.8 percent a year ago.

* Unemployment declines in some cities but not Illinois Valley: Unemployment increased to 12.7 percent in July 2010 from 11.6 percent the previous July in the Ottawa-Streator Area, according to IDES. Job declines occurred in the sectors of manufacturing (minus 650) and leisure-hospitality (-325). In Bureau County, the increase in the unemployment rate was from 10.2 percent to 11.2 percent. In La Salle County, unemployment was at 13.3 percent in July 2010, compared to 11.9 the previous July.

* Birth Rates Fall Amid Economic Uncertainty: Recent data indicate that Illinois’ birth rate is at its lowest level since the Great Depression, with similar trends appearing in California and Arizona.

* Taxpayers Subsidize Low-Paid Warehouse Jobs

* Cost of Filing for Bankruptcy Increased Substantially

* Brady, Quinn launch dueling TV ads in governor’s race

* Sen. Scott Brown headlines fund-raisers for Mark Kirk’s Senate campaign

* Brown in Illinois to raise Senate money for Kirk

* Senate hopefuls agree on transit needs, disagree on funding

- Posted by Rich Miller        


86 Comments
  1. - shore - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:19 am:

    good post, but I am not sure kirk will listen. It’s pathetic they are only having 2 debates. there should be one each week starting labor day.


  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:20 am:

    But the mosque, as an issue, helps some raise money.


  3. - Deep South - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:21 am:

    Too many politicians….not enough statesmen.


  4. - Stones - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:21 am:

    Well written Sun Times article. I think you’ve hit the mark with this one.


  5. - Davey Boy Smithe - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:23 am:

    I was thinking about this the other day, and I’m sure I could probably do the research on this, but does anybody know which sector(s) the jobs in IL have been lost? I haven’t heard the four major candidates (PQ, BB, AG, MK) discuss why the jobs were lost, where they’ve gone, and how we can bring them back. I’ve heard a few fluff answers, but not one with real substance.


  6. - Anonymous ZZZ - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    Great Sun-Times article, Rich. Thanks for stating what so many of us are thinking.


  7. - neo state worker - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    From your “mouth” to their ears….. Please!


  8. - Justice - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    When you don’t have a solution, use diversionary tactics. Talk about guns, talk about a Mosque, talk about anything but the economy. Pit one against the other.

    Legislators are paid well, are career politicians, and most have a staff or consultants to help keep them employed. Most have second jobs.

    They do not feel the pain, have no clue about what to do, and honestly I don’t think most of them could find their butts with both hands.

    It’s the economy stupid. But unfortunately we have a House and Senate full of career politicians who never miss a meal, and have precious little resolve to do anything other than what they are told to do by their so called leaders.

    We are so screwed until we start firing them and getting folks in office who listen to their constituents, understand the economy, and work toward creating jobs. We need positive leaders, men and women of ideas and action.


  9. - Really?? - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:31 am:

    Well said.


  10. - Fan of Cap Fax - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:34 am:

    Thanks for a great article, Rich. I, too, hear it over and over from D’s and R’s alike. People are downright scared. But no-one is really listening to “the people”. From top to bottom.


  11. - WRMNpolitics - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    Rich: A well written and cogent commentary on the state of politics.This should be required reading for all candiadtes. Nothing is going to change until candidates and office holders, along with their everpresent handlers, address the issues head and tell the electorate their positions and solutions without weasel word and platitudes.


  12. - Objective Dem - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:37 am:

    Very good column.


  13. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    Fine column, Rich. If only our elected officials were/could be so reasonable.


  14. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    I smell a huge Kirk push in ads about jobs and the economy. Alexi’s smaller warchest will be hard pressed to counter what’s coming.


  15. - Levois - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:41 am:

    Great column Rich. Kirk might want to talk about jobs than some of Alexi’s negatives. And if you want to talk about Quinn talk about the fact that Brady is talking about jobs.


  16. - Walter Sobchak - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    I think it is a legitimate question to ask if Islam, at its core, is compatible with liberal values or democracy? There are fundamental questions that are generally ignored about the role of women and the treatment of gays and lesbians in Islamic thought. I remember a very sympathetic front page story in the Trib of a Muslim girls basketball team’s difficulty in scheduling games. The difficulty? No men other than direct relatives were allowed to watch and the opposing team’s uniforms had to comply with Islamic rules. The Ground Zero mosque controversy is a ridiculous tempest in a teapot used by both sides to confuse and divide, but, it is unclear how a liberal democracy assimilates Islam or are we going to be forced to accommodate things that strike at the heart of who we are?


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    ===unclear how a liberal democracy assimilates Islam ===

    You’ve got it backwards.


  18. - BigDog - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    It drives me crazy too when hot button issues are repeatedly brought up in campaigns for candidates who will likely never have any direct affect on those issues (such as guns, abortion, etc.). Create job growth and don’t create additional stupid debt that we can’t afford. I will vote for that.


  19. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    ===unclear how a liberal democracy assimilates Islam ===

    “You’ve got it backwards.”

    Call me stupid, but I do not understand either comment.

    There is no assimilation of Islam. In liberal democracies, there is tolerance. In Islamic countries there is none. Even those formerly tolerant Islamic countries (think Lebanon and Turkey) have swung to the influence of the more radical elements.

    To repeat, there is no assimilation. Only tolerance. There should be nothing more, and we should demand nothing less.

    Politically, Rich is right in that unless framed in the thoughts of opening dialog between Islam and the US, the Mosque (I no longer call it a community center, use the Googles to find out why), is not a great thing to talk about here in Illinois. But Rich, I think you are wrong to say it is nothing more than a zoning issue. That is cynical at best. I guess using your logic, the attacks on 9/11 of the WTC and the Pentagon was just a local explosion.


  20. - Walter Sobchak - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    Such a comment indicates a complete lack of historical context or understanding of how society works. It is not even wrong. There are core values of tolerance, acceptance, and equality that even the slippery moral equivalency of a professional journalist would have a hard time denying in a righteous rush to kumbaya.


  21. - Say WHAT? - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:08 am:

    Good article Rich. I take calls all day from desperate people, losing homes, cars repossesed, unable to feed their children, maxed out allowed visits at the food pantry, can’t go back for many months, still unable to find work, unemployment has run out, FAILED TO EARN ENOUGH IN A CERTAIN QUARTER TO QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL EXTENSION??? But they were on unemployment! Isn’t this extension of UNEMPLOYMENT for those who have been ON it, thus an extension? What bean-counter came up with this plan? It is overwhelming. Going home at night and watching the news, and the positive spin makes me feel like somebody is gaslighting me!

    Got a call from a single Mother with six children, abandoned and left homeless - ALL shelters FULL past capacity, nowhere to go, no family. This was just one call. All I hear from people is how bad things are, but when I turn on TV, all I hear is recovery is slow, but it is happening. WHERE? I want the talking heads to tell us where!

    Thank you Rich for being sane. For digging beneath the surface, and searching for actual truth - not the legalese speak, politically correct, well spun version. Thanks for backing it up on the blog with articles proving the point. Time for a reality check!


  22. - bcross - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    Amen!! Unfortunately, like email phishing, “stupid” will survive as long as a reasonable number of people are susceptible to it.


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    Walter, I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about, or even what you’re trying to say. Assimilation is up to them. Acceptance of their differences is up to us.


  24. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    ==There are fundamental questions that are generally ignored about the role of women and the treatment of gays and lesbians in Islamic thought.==

    Replace Islamic with Christian—still works.


  25. - Say WHAT? - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    I failed to express that I think that much of the media is focusing on things that distract, instead of the real issues facing real people.


  26. - Patriot - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    “Dishonesty and incompetence must be exposed. The role of government absolutely needs to be debated. I don’t expect or want a one-note campaign here.”

    Isn’t that exactly what everyone is doing with the issues you cite? Aren’t candidates debating the G’s role in regulating guns and regulating free establishment in the instance of the mosque at ground zero? I’m confused. In one breath you seem to want candidates to only focus on job creation while in the next you admonish candidates for debating our government’s role.


  27. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    ===I’m confused. In one breath you seem to want candidates to only focus on job creation===

    You can’t read very well, which is why you’re so confused. Try again.


  28. - Patriot - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:28 am:

    Forgive me. I forgot that legitamit questions will be promptly responded to with insults rather than substantive discourse.


  29. - ZC - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:29 am:

    I agree that guns rhetoric from Quinn seems odd. On the other hand … You’re obviously -not- the target voter he’s trying to move, Rich, and I’m a firm believer, if you haven’t seen the polling data, and the benchmark surveys, you’re basically guessing as to campaign strategy. And when anyone’s guessing, he’s usually wrong.

    Not to tell you anything you don’t know … but it’s not necessarily the #1 issue on voter’s minds, that you should campaign on. It’s the issue that moves the truly undecided, “swing voters” from your opponent to you. I’d -presume- that should be the economy … But maybe they’ve wholly given up on Quinn, for economic credibility. Maybe the gun issue has shown more traction in Quinn’s internal polling. Maybe that will move African-Americans back into his camp. African-Americans, Otis McDonald aside, are I believe still very pro-gun control.

    That assumes of course Quinn -has- competent internal polling and a clear roadmap for how these attacks get him over 50% + 1. I concede that with Quinn, you can never be sure of that.


  30. - ZC - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    If the internal polling shows that campaigning on the economy doesn’t move undecided swing voters to Quinn, that’s yet another sign why the Dems should be scared to death of holding the governor’s mansion this November.


  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    ZC, it’s their job to run ads. It’s my job to whack them when they won’t pay attention to the most important issue.


  32. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    Patriot, if you ever had a legit point, maybe the responses wouldn’t be so hostile. Just sayin…

    You love to twist words, so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you’re illiterate.


  33. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    Politician look like they are doing silly dances because they are trying to find a way to either salvage, or begin, their political careers. Few have enough confidence to take a stand and remain on it, because most people running for office aren’t running for office because they believe in something. They run for office because they believe they can have a career and glory in it.

    Giannoulias is a classic rich kid who between dreams of being an NBA star, had to tend his family business. His family put him into public service, which is quite common in politics. He didn’t run for public office because he believed in something, he ran because he believed in himself.

    Kirk’s every move since the age of 12 has been to polish his imaginary resume for the White House. If he stood for anything, he wouldn’t have been able to be a Congressman from the kind of congressional district he represented for so long.

    So during these crazy times, we have politicians gravitating away from taking stands and latching upon crap that they hope can float them to victory. They stick their fingers into the air and paste on their smiles.

    Don’t expect details. Don’t expect strong stands from these career politicians. They could be for or against any political position. They are empathetic enough to feel for every political position.

    So here comes a white hot political issue without substance. You can’t find better issues for career politicians to ride towards victory than issues that are emotional, powerful and resolve themselves without forcing them to actually take a stand. When voters are 71% in agreement on anything, you have to be a complete BOOB to go against them openly. Don’t yell at these 71%. Don’t claim they are bigots. Don’t insult them. When your Senate leader and Party Leader is among the 71%, you have a choice to either shut up and let this nonsense pass, or become a former elected official.

    Life is too complicated to pretend that a single vote for a single candidate means more than it does. We have the freedom to base it on anything we wish.

    The discussion about what is a real issue, and what isn’t, is politics itself. If your side is losing, you try to present your side differently. Telling the side that isn’t supporting you that they are wrong, is rarely a successful tactic.

    Ask the Whigs.


  34. - Tangerine - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    Patriot, he could have insulted you further by pointing out that you spelled legitimate wrong. Instead, he shortened it to legit. He’s a nice guy. You’re just inarticulate.


  35. - Cool Hand Luke - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:37 am:

    Mark this one on the wall. I am in agreement with you on all of your statements on everything on this one, Rich.(Hades must be freezing over? Just teasing you).

    I am going to a fundraiser for Mark Kirk this evening. It isn’t because I love Mark Kirk as the GOP candidate. It is because I believe that Alexi is definitely “the wrong guy”. Maybe I will walk away feeling comfortable after meeting Kirk? Maybe I won’t? If I don’t have a comfort level with Mark Kirk after meeting him tonight, then I will refrain from voting for either man. The economy in the last 6 months has now started to impact people and friends that I thought would never be touched by it.Friends of mine in the banking business tell me (over a beer) that the enormity and seriousness of what they see going on is so bad that they worry if we will be able to ever climb out of it in less than the next 5-7 years.


  36. - SAP - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    Patriot: Let me help you. The complaint is about candidates using hot button “issues” like the mosque to hide from the important issues like joblessness.


  37. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:47 am:

    Cool Hand Luke,

    You post finally caused me to distill my support for Kirk into some easy to understand thoughts:

    The first vote that Kirk or Alexi takes as a member of the new Congress will be for Leader of the Senate. Harry Reid is totally unacceptable, at least for me. Alexi would vote for Reid. That seals the deal.

    The Corollary:

    There might be mischief in the lame duck session. Kirk would provide some assurance this Congress does no more damage before November. Advantage Kirk.


  38. - Secret Square - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:05 pm:

    I knew this would happen eventually… according to the Trib, DuPage County is seriously considering a total ban on ALL new construction of religious or fraternal organization facilities in unincorporated areas. They claim this has nothing to do with recent disputes over mosque construction. Yeah, right. Be careful what you wish for — you might get it!


  39. - Richard Afflis - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:12 pm:

    Rich,
    Your Sun-Times article is on the money for what we should expect from people who take the important responsibility to LEAD government. Those who wish to do so should provide how they plan to provide the leadership that is believed to get us out of this mess and why they believe it will work. I like what Brady says about attracting business to Illinois to expand the tax base even though he does not go into specifics of HOW he will do this.
    The problem is as Vanilla Man says (to paraphrase) is that telling people what they NEED to hear does not win elections or advance the office seeker’s career. Look what happened to Richard Ogilve. Unfortunately what happens too much these days is those seeking office are simply putting out what they feel will advance their careers. Whether it is shoring up a base, scaring those who may lean toward an opponent, name-calling or any number of motives behind the advertising and sound bites, these tactics will continue until the electorate gets better engaged and expects more substance from politicians.
    Your call is a good call for the electorate to get engaged. I know that people who read this blog and other such blogs are already on board with you on that. I am just curious what it will take for more of the electorate to engage more than it does now and dig beneath the surface to find out more about candidates. The information is out there for any reasonable person to find if they look.


  40. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    Great article Rich.

    I have wondered if the reason we have heard so little about jobs is becuase te cnaidates are either out of ideas, or afraid to discuss how public works projects help pull economies out o recessions, since this owuld invovle increasing spending.


  41. - Vole - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    When the lords of our economy cannot figure out what to do with this mess it might be asking too much for the average politician to figure something out. Quinn may have at least put the finger in the dike by keeping as many government workers employed as long as he has. But the dike has too many cracks to keep back the rising tide.

    We have some very basic questions to ask ourselves about where we are headed. Has consumerism run its course? Has the engine of capitalism — growth — run its course? Are there alternatives such as ecological capitalism that are not as dependent on unsustainable growth as is our form of global capitalism? Do we need to redefine growth and prosperity to account for many important ecological, environmental, and social values that are presently discounted or ignored in our economic scales?

    We need some leaders with vision who are not afraid the question the status quo. At some point we need to take off the blinders and assess what is at the bottom of this sinking ship. We are in a state of mass delusion.


  42. - Vole - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    I might add a note to my last comment:

    Had it not been for the two previous economic bubbles we could now be into about year 15 of recession or very weak economic growth. It appears that it will take most of this decade to get us back to the employment level of the year 2000.

    I must restate my proposal: What greater potential source of employment could there be for the entire earth right now and far into the future than global ecological restoration? If the environment is not the basis of all security, economic prosperity, and human health, then should it not be the central organizing principle of our lives as asked of us by Al Gore many years ago? We need to go to our roots. We are lost otherwise.


  43. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    Rich’s Sun-Times article was spot on. Congrats for hitting the nail on the head.

    I think Rich Daley also read your column this morning. At the ground-breaking ceremony for the new National Hellenic Museum in Greek Town, Chicago, Daley did a detour and went into a rant about how people do not want higher taxes, they want government to do what it is supposed to do, and that government doesn’t feel the pain individuals feel when the economy goes south. (I’m paraphrasing, I didn’t take notes.) And he got huge applause for those comments.

    Who is the next Democrat ready to start talking like a Republican this election season?


  44. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:02 pm:

    The problem is as Vanilla Man says (to paraphrase) is that telling people what they NEED to hear does not win elections or advance the office seeker’s career.

    No one favors the status quo because it really doesn’t exist. It is a political term used to present change to voters. Ask someone you claim is in the status quo if they are in the status quo, and you’ll discover that no one is.

    What we have is extremely bad incumbents playing extremely bad politics. What is happening is that we have incumbents who are telling voters that they are bigots, homophobes, narrow minded, stupid and ignorant, instead of telling voters that while they agree with their concerns, there is a balance we must first meet in order to ensure that these issues are handled respectfully.

    Back when the Tea Party first showed up last year, was when Incumbents needed to start siding with Tea Party concerns, then demonstrating that concern by taking actions to address them. No one at that point was screaming to throw everyone out of office. It started eleven days after Inauguration when we saw a President who ran as bipartisan, sign a near-Trillion dollar spending bill without bipartisan support. It started when Congress stopped listening and started ramming legislation that was not bipartisan or publically supported.

    It doesn’t matter which party. It doesn’t matter what the issue was, really. What mattered was the unprecedented amount of disrespect shown to voters. What mattered was hearing a Majority Leader and a Speaker of the House denouncing those questioning the legislation they were passing without even reading. The sheer arrogance of the current government is in our faces, calling us names. This is just bad politics. It is just inviting retaliation. It was completely unnecessary as well.

    We have leaders who are unafraid to question the “status quo”, (however you wish to define that), but instead of respectfully presenting their ideas and respectfully building consensus, they are tearing the country apart. While this may appeal to partisans, it isn’t going to win elections. The current governments are not supported by independants, and regardless of political party, you must have independant support right now.

    2010 is the year of bad politics. Not because of voters, but because of the incumbents. Consequentially, it will not surprise me to see a staggeringly huge party change in eight weeks. It will not surprise me to see an unprecendented of non-career politicans challenging incumbents next year.

    I think what happened is what happens when one party takes over and doesn’t need to find bipartisanship, consensus or build any bridges. This seems to be what happens when some power-hungry politicians get unadulterated power. They think they are appointed by some god to remake the world into their image, instead of working with everyone within the world.

    I am flabbergasted by the sheer incompetence of the politicians within my party. They had it all! Now they will lose it all. Considering the historical nature of this turn of events, the current “status quo” in political office has perhaps exposed itself as some of the worse politicians in US history. It doesn’t matter the issue. You can have the greatest product in the world, and give it away - but if you don’t respect the people you are giving it to, they will tell you to stick that glorious product right up your keyster.


  45. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:14 pm:

    On the econmy, we did great under the Clinton era, and the Govt operated at a surplus. Bush entered office and implemented a number of tax cuts and tax breaks designed to “grow” the economy. The tax breaks and cuts rew a couple of CEO pocket books, but the economy has collapsed and the govt is operating a a deficit. Our hole would be a lot less right now if we hadnt reduced taxes for the wealthy and on dividend type income.


  46. - ZC - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:16 pm:

    Why am I somewhat skeptical about what folks in the banking industry say, about the best policies we need to move this economy forward? What could have possibly compromised their industry’s credibility, over these past two years?

    Why can’t I put my finger on it ???


  47. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:27 pm:

    - Ghost - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    Great article Rich.

    “…how public works projects help pull economies out o recessions, since this owuld invovle increasing spending.”

    Proof? Good luck finding it.

    “On the econmy, we did great under the Clinton era, and the Govt operated at a surplus. Bush entered office and implemented a number of tax cuts and tax breaks designed to “grow” the economy.”

    Loose money, lax housing qualifications, 9/11, and split government during Clinton explain our current situation much better than the effects of Bush’s tax breaks. And wait a couple of more days, Obama will soon come out supporting those tax cut by endorsing an extension.


  48. - shore - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    in defense of kirk the media has done a pretty awful job this year. there were more interviews on chicago tonight this month with blago’s attorneys than there were with alexi and kirk combined and more stories about reporters waiting for the blago verdict than the senate race. the chicago media basically decided it wanted to abdicate its responsibility to cover policymakers for the infotainment that was the blago trial.

    You are welcome to criticize the congressman, but when there was no one who bothered to cover the race for the last 7 months aside from this blog and maybe a random post or 2 from greg hinz it’s hard to say his message made a difference.


  49. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:42 pm:

    Shore, seriously, what is Kirk’s “message?” His resume? He degraded that with misrememberings.

    Kirk has $4 million. Alexi has $1 million. They’re tied in the latest polls.

    Why aren’t they at least, going medieval negative on Alexi?


  50. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:44 pm:

    Cinci @ 10:56:

    ==But Rich, I think you are wrong to say it is nothing more than a zoning issue. That is cynical at best. I guess using your logic, the attacks on 9/11 of the WTC and the Pentagon was just a local explosion.==

    That last sentence is just stupid and you know it. Your comment is just another in a line of ignorant comments about this project in NYC. These people have a right to build it there - end of discussion. I don’t care about sensitivities or any of the other garbage people use to argue against the Islamic center. The fact is that a lot of people against the center are anti-Islam. If that is your view, fine. Don’t try to hind behind other arguments, like we don’t care if you build it but do it somewhere else. If this project ends up not happening, I will be ashamed to be an American. Also, to those who claim to be all about the Constitution, they to should be outraged by the hoopla over the project. Funny, but I haven’t heard one of those people support the center.


  51. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    Demoralized,

    If you don’t think that a national discussion on Islam is long overdue, it is you that is just stupid. The GZM represents an opportunity to have this dialog, a dialog that is being avoided by the left and the right.

    Just as 9/11 launched our national discussion on terrorism which years before percolated under the surface (maybe you would prefer “human caused tragedies”), the GZM shows the wide gap between Islam, understanding it IN America, and its understanding OF America.

    Not a single person I know or see quoted says that the GZM does not have the right to build, the questions are is it right to build there. Its not a racist issue, except to fringe elements on both sides. Dodging the debate… that’s what people, and especially politicians, do.


  52. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:55 pm:

    This ain’t a national discussion. Look at Tennessee. This is the beginning of a pogrom. And, by the way, to your comment on 9/11 directed my way?

    Bite me.


  53. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    ==When the lords of our economy cannot figure out what to do with this mess….==

    Vole, you speak the truth and this is why everybody is so scared. Economists, historians, and politicians have theories and ideas. But nobody knows for sure what will work to right our economy (if anything).

    I’ve read a bunch of well written and well researched books about the great depression. Even now, 70 years later, there is no real, clear consensus on what caused it, what contributed to its length, what policies may have worsened it or may have helped ease it. The only thing everyone agrees on is that it was the employment from industrial manufacturing production supporting WWII and then immediately afterwards, that finally and decisively ended the great depression. Nobody who is sane wants that same “solution” for our current economic crisis and unemployment.


  54. - shore - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:05 pm:

    fyi to rich, in the spring I had to do a written play by play of debates held in chicago area. with the advent of technology we need to figure out a way , I or perhaps a more technologically advanced of your followers or perhaps the campaigns could livestream the debates to the website if the stations don’t do it.


  55. - train111 - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:06 pm:

    responsa

    Ask a fiscal conservative and they’ll tell you that the New Deal and its associated spending needlessly prolonged the depression.
    Ask a liberal and they will tell you that the sharp recession in 1937 occurred because New Deal spending was cut back due to concerns about how much the government was spending.
    Same political arguments as today, and in 100 years they will still be the same.

    train111


  56. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:09 pm:

    Thanks for making my point, Responsa. No amount of government stimulus short of war can produce growth. Government spending and “incentives” do nothing more than redistribute wealth.

    Since you seem to be a bit of a student, I suggest you spend an hour becoming familiar with the “mini-depression” of 1920-1921. Here is an article that glosses over the high points. Bottom line was that fiscal restraint, which allowed a greater percentage of the GDP to flow into private investor’s hands, allowed the economy to recover quickly than we are seeing today, and that we saw in the 1930’s.


  57. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:09 pm:

    @Cinci:

    Islam does not equal terrorism. There is no debate to be had. If people don’t understand it they never will. It would be nice to have understanding on both sides but it is not required.

    As for the question of whether it is right to build the center there, the question is irrevelavent. Rich was right on that point; it’s a piece of land and they are doing it within zoning rules.

    If we wanted to make a certain area around Ground Zero a national memorial area or a restricted building area, then that should have been done. In fact, I think it maybe should have been done given the continuing discoveries of remains and other items on the site.

    Look, I am in no way attempting to brush past the significance of what happened there and the horror of that day that none of us will ever forget. But this center is not being built on the site, only near it. Don’t forget, many Muslims in the buildings died that day too. I am ashamed at how my country is treating this particular group because some people have become programmed that Islam = terrorism.


  58. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:26 pm:

    Demoralized,

    Couldn’t agree more that Islam does not equal terrorism.

    As far as what Rich said, he made it sound like it is nothing more than a zoning issue. In the most limited interpretation, again true. But there is a much larger issue just under the surface, no? You do recognize that there is a sensitivity on both sides (your idea about a national memorial area is good). Americans have not come to grips with the mutual respect required by both parties. I think Rich trivializes it by saying it is nothing more than a local zoning issue, somehow unworthy of nationwide debate. As a example of the two way troubles, the GZM is appropriate. Sweeping American/Muslim relations under the carpet won’t make the problem go away.


  59. - Objective Dem - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:32 pm:

    Cincinnatus

    Do your really believe “No amount of government stimulus short of war can produce growth.Government spending and “incentives” do nothing more than redistribute wealth.”?

    Didn’t the national highway system contributed to growth by making it more economical to transport in the US? Water and sewer lines certainly led to greater productivity of the workforce since people weren’t dying from disease and caring for the sick. I don’t think many would argue with the idea that spending on education created an intelligent workforce capable of building great businesses and in a some cases inventing new technologies. And I can think of countless other ways government contributes to growth.


  60. - Objective Dem - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:39 pm:

    Likewise, I think that Obama’s Stimulus was smart because it will help create jobs in the long run as well as short term. For instance energy saving improvements in government buildings will reduce future costs to government and reduce the export of dollars to oil-rich countries. Or the development of medical information technology will reduce medical errors and improve the effieciency of doctors and hospitals. It was part of Obama’s strategy and I am so thankful that he is our president rather than a neo-hooverite like McCain.

    Additionally, everything I have read indicates that 99% of economists agree that the stimulus was needed and help divert us from a more serious recession/depression. You may be able to find someone somewhere that disagrees but they don’t represent the consensus.


  61. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    Objective Dem,

    “Didn’t the national highway system contributed to growth by making it more economical to transport in the US?”

    Built in the 1950’s when the government was flush in cash because of increased revenues due to exploding private wealth. Was not a remedy to an economic downturn, but instead was allowed by prosperity.

    “Water and sewer lines certainly led to greater productivity of the workforce since people weren’t dying from disease and caring for the sick.”

    Again, these systems were built during good economic times, and mostly by local municipalities. I don’t know of any examples, off-hand, where this type of spending lifted the country out of a recession or depression.

    “I don’t think many would argue with the idea that spending on education created an intelligent workforce capable of building great businesses and in a some cases inventing new technologies.”

    Agreed again, with limited involvement of the Federal Government. Decreasing test scores track fairly well with increased Federal expenditures and involvement in curriculum, though.

    “And I can think of countless other ways government contributes to growth.”

    Outside of Federal funding of fundamental R&D and applications engineering, I can’t. Edison wasn’t funded by the government. Neither was Bell, Ford, Gates, Jobs and countless others. These guys are the engine of growth, not government.

    Fiscal restraint and prioritized targeted spending at the Federal level is appropriate. We have clearly lost our way.


  62. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:53 pm:

    “No amount of government stimulus short of war can produce growth.Government spending and “incentives” do nothing more than redistribute wealth?”

    You really need to back away from that statement because it simply isn’t true. The problems we have today cannot be solved by borrowing and spending money already in the Market, true. Additionally, we see how important it is for stability within the Market in order to create a growing environment. While your statement is currently making the rounds in blogs, it isn’t true. The fact that it didn’t work, or won’t work now, doesn’t mean it can’t, or hasn’t worked in the past.

    We have plenty of evidence to the contrary.


  63. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 2:57 pm:

    Objective Dem,

    “For instance energy saving improvements in government buildings will reduce future costs to government and reduce the export of dollars to oil-rich countries.”

    If this talk is about lifting the recession, this is not good spending. It is temporary, and will not provide sustained economic growth (and jobs). This spigot is turned off in a few months, what then? The end idea of reduced energy consumption is noble, but is this the best use of scarce dollars in a recession? I would argue the priority should have been set aside and scheduled in during better times.

    “Or the development of medical information technology will reduce medical errors and improve the effieciency of doctors and hospitals”

    Ignoring privacy concerns, this will be interesting to follow and see how it shakes out. There are certainly burdensome requirements associated with this top down mandate from the Feds. They are unfunded, and will be passed along to the consumer through higher costs to small doctors offices. Again, whatever this effort is has nothing to do with recovery.

    “neo-hooverite like McCain.”

    Right. We can lay a lot of the blame for the recession on Hoover (high taxes, increased government regulation). Roosevelt continued Hoover’s policies, and juiced them to the extreme. Better to look to Coolidge for answers.

    “Additionally, everything I have read indicates that 99% of economists agree that the stimulus was needed and help divert us from a more serious recession/depression.”

    Do not mix TARP up with the Stimulus package. Almost every economist agreed that TARP, as originally envisioned. was necessary to eliminate a credit block. Since 2009, it has been misused as a bailout slushfund. Of the originally intended companies earmarked for TARP, the money has been recovered, and the taxpayers actually got a break because of interest charges. The expanded use of TARP funds have been a black hole, with hundreds of billions expected to be never paid back.

    There is a huge schism among economists about the effectiveness of the Stimulus. There are three schools of though, and the economists are split among them.


  64. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:01 pm:

    VanillaMan,

    I have no problems with the TARP, as originally envisioned. If we had stopped there, and assisted in the puncturing of the housing bubble, I believe the stability you mention would already have seen the beginnings of a strong recovery.

    Instead, the Stimulus and subsequent bailouts are only artificially propping things up. Let’s not even discuss the rest of the Administrations agenda and its effect on stability.


  65. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:03 pm:

    C proving it is very easy.

    The Coolidge and conservative era of the twenties hurled us into the great depression.

    The great depression was reversed by government deficit by Roosevelt and his works programs stimulating the economy. Roosevelts programs were so successful in helpin pull the united states out of the great depression caused by conservatives that he was elected to na unprecedented 4 terms in office. Roosevelt showed us


  66. - steve schnorf - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:04 pm:

    Vole, and if it wasn’t for daylight it would be dark all the time. If it weren’t for rain it would be arid. If it weren’t for business cycles…. Your point?


  67. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:16 pm:

    Ghost,

    Not correct. See Herbert Hoover and his fiscal and economic policies. Roosevelt just amplified his policies… in spades.


  68. - Objective Dem - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:21 pm:

    I must be the product of the liberal education system because they completely covered up Hoover’s new deal programs. I always thought Civilian Conservation Corp, Works Progress Administration, Social Security etc. were done by FDR. I think I need to start watching Glenn Beck to understand the hidden truth.


  69. - steve schnorf - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:28 pm:

    The more we make this exclusively about Republicans or Democrats, the less we talk about good. competent women and men holding office and doing a good job regardless of their political affiliation.


  70. - Objective Dem - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:31 pm:

    Cincinnatus,

    You should also check on your dates. The Interstate Highway system started in 1956 but took decades to build. That included good times and bad times.

    Sewer and water lines certainly started long before federal involvement but a large number of sewer treatment plants were built in the seventies after Clean Water Act with federal money.


  71. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:36 pm:

    Does Beck talk about Hoover? If so, good. Your liberal education paid only short, and biased, attention to economic issues, I’m sure. You mention some of the New Deal projects, but did those books ever mention a word about the economic and other long-term consequences of those programs? Even a hint of skepticism, or were the books a one-sided ringing endorsement of the New Deal?

    Smoot-Hawley
    2cent surcharge on every check written
    Raised corporate taxes by 15%
    Raised income taxes by 40%
    Doubled estate taxes
    Roosevelt used Hoover’s big spending as a campaign issue, but then used Hoover’s plans as the basis for the New Deal


  72. - McGrupp - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    Rich, I know it’s been rough for you lately, but you are WAY hostile! I read here because this board is not like all of the other anonymous trash talking places on the net. Sure, the occasional knucklehead posts here, but your comments here today are very uncharacteristic.

    Anyway, I see the outrage at all of the “career politicians,” I also see many of these politicians continuing their career after this election. The two sides are just too far apart any more. I like nothing about PQ, but I hate everything about Brady, my options are less than limited…


  73. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    OD,

    The bulk of the Interstates were built before 1970 and during a fairly prosperous time in US history. Notice how Ike handled the economic downturn in 1958, he did nothing and the economy quickly recovered. Here’s a relatively interesting summary of the GDP, government revenues and percent of government spending as part of GDP which shows how stable things were during this period.


  74. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:50 pm:

    @McGruff:

    The two “sides” (i.e. parties) don’t have to be so far apart. They have determined it be that way and have declared each other the enemy for whatever reason. Whether they will acknowledge it or not, working together and compromising is the only method that will work. But they have even twisted compromising into a zero sum game by declaring that if one side doesn’t get everything they want then it isn’t compromise. Until we get rid of the minsets of those like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Keith Olberman, etc., this will continue.


  75. - Vole - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:59 pm:

    Steve,
    The point is that there may not be much that government or politicians can do about the economy now. I believe that there are limits to growth, be it economic, demographic, financial, military, … whatever. If the economy does rebound globally and we resume 4% economic growth, China will probably be hitting 10% again. Then what? Likely another big spike in oil prices will put a big whammy on growth.

    We have run through several stages in economic development — exploitation of natural resources, industrialization, the building of cities and suburbs and infrastructure associated with autos, the service economy (which conservatives like Cheney thought would keep us strong and sustain us), and the consumerism bubbles partially financed by China. One of our last great growth centers is medical care which in large measure treats many of the maladies associated with our way of living and previous growth stages.

    My main point is that capitalism is running on empty. I don’t see the next great “thing” coming along to keep it healthy. Our faith in technology as ratcheting savior to fix the last mess is eroding.

    The point is that we are deluding ourselves if we think the politicians are going to be able to pull out tit out the ringer. And the public, delusional as may be, are probably not open to alternative visions.


  76. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:12 pm:

    Yeah, this country has gone to hell since FDR. The last sixty years have been nothing but misery and stagnation. Or so some people say (very lucrative these days).

    Seriously, Cincy, were you literally born yesterday? How do you think economic growth occurs? You lay down the best infrastructure first. It increases value, making it easier to get loans, making it easier to invest, making it easier to get to market, to network, etc. It promotes commerce.

    Do you live out in the woods or something? How do you make a living, panning for gold and swapping eggs with the Clampetts?


  77. - fredformeranon - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    my 2 cents. Rich, I read your opinion and I don’t think people today are stupid. I think people today are smug, arrogant, smarmy, sarcastic, and spend zero time trying to understand other points of view. That said, I understand your point of view, but people who oppose the Mosque are not stupid, dumb, racist or bigots, whatever you want to call them. That are just the words of someone who gets upset when other people don’t agree. But this is your megaphone, so you can rant and diatribe all you want. Thanks for reading.


  78. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:20 pm:

    How in the world are you interpreting my words, word?

    Economic growth does not occur BECAUSE of government policy, but by entrepreneurship SUPPORTED by government policy. Any misuse of capital by the government robs the economy of the most vital asset available for business and individuals.

    I may live in the woods, but at least my head isn’t stuck in the sand, or someplace else a bit higher off the ground.


  79. - Chayadina - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:28 pm:

    Rich, I am so with you. I am definitely one of the 85% of the population who knows several people looking for work. Most are women but until recently a few of my male friends spent up to two years finding something new. All middle class throughout their lives, educated, all experienced, all midlife. Most have at least one Master’s degree and in one case a PhD. Several of the women are single parents or haven’t worked outside the home because of their children (and recently divorced). Its excruciating. The ones who currently have benefits will run out in a few months and have no back up resources. Most do not have family or friends who can help significantly. Most are not multiskilled where they can turn around and suddenly become computer techs or medical personnel. They did everything right except work in technical fields of high demand and/or high salaries so there is no financial safety net. I am frightened for them as they are for themselves. I help where I can, send job listings, send resource recommendations, etc. At the moment only a few qualify for food stamps or welfare because either their families are “too small” or they made just a little too much $ in the past year. There are no support groups on how to access resources for these folks and they must humble themselves completely for the first time to partake in any support.


  80. - Vole - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:30 pm:

    “Any misuse of capital by the government robs the economy of the most vital asset available for business and individuals.”

    Could that misuse of capital also apply to much of what has happened on Wall Street in the past two decades? “SUPPORTED by government policy”?. I might add that much of that policy was bipartisan starting with Clinton and accelerated under Bush.

    We was robbed.


  81. - Well.... - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    Rich,
    First I agree with you about politicians, but while I am sorry for your wife’s family. This mosque issue is just stipid!
    To compare Iranian terrorists to the Muslims who attend the mosque in ny is wrong!


  82. - Anonymous ZZZ - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 4:49 pm:

    fredformeranon, I don’t think Rich was saying people who oppose the mosque/community center are stupid. I believe what he was saying is that it’s stupid for our candidates for public office to ignore and avoid the issues that most voters care about (the economy) in favor of focusing their energies on issues that, frankly, relatively few people give a damn about.


  83. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:14 pm:

    good analysis and explains why Alexi is growing on me in spite of me original opinions


  84. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 7:49 pm:

    =People are scared to death out there,…=

    Yup.

    And, Cinncinatus: Kirk’s “big push” so far has again been to blast Giannoulias for the “Hartmarx” (was it?) “failure” at another location (was it?).

    Real world solutions there from the Kirk Campaign? Fire, fire, fire.

    And how does the Kirk Campaign believe that was perceived? A “kid” like Giannoulias AT LEAST reaching out and…TRYING.

    Kirk’s Campaign, it’s solutions, and response? Fire, fire, fire…at the opponent…in spite of HIS efforts.


  85. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 7:52 pm:

    Oh, BTW. While the “fire, fire, fire” thing seemed to have worked during the Primary, I don’t think it “translates” that neatly into the General, or should it.

    Just sayin.


  86. - NRA associate - Saturday, Aug 28, 10 @ 6:10 am:

    Good article Rich, to the blogger who thought it was out of character for you….he is wrong. When people feel the pain of others who have lost their jobs, homes..it makes them angry that the focus is on all the other BS from our politicians. It is crazy. Thank you for feeling our pain and our families pain. Rock on Rich!


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        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * When Punishment Is Torture: An Open Letter...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. placed in solitary confi...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Transferred To Alabama P...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Maneuvers Himself Into M...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Changes Prisons, Could B...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr Moved to Alabama Prison C...
        * Inmates Sent To Solitary Confinement For H...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. sent to solitary then tr...
        * Friend — Not Feds — Transports Jesse Jacks...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. transferred to minimum s...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * The Library of Congress Pkwy?
        * Sen. Mark Kirk pokes at Eric Holder: Did NSA spy on Congress?
        * Democratic National Committee Executive Committee meeting in Chicago June 8
        * Emily's List hits Chicago June 27: Sebelius, Lisa Madigan, Neely, Finney to speak
        * Feinstein, Chambliss defend phone data snooping to "keep the homeland safe." Durbin has concerns. UPDATED
        * President Obama official schedule and guidance June 6, 2013. North Carolina, California
        * Verizon phone records secretly collected by the National Security Agency
        * Obama to tap genocide fighter, Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power to become new United Nations Ambassador
        * President Obama official schedule and guidance June 5, 2013. Lew, Baltimore Ravens
        * President Obama official schedule and guidance June 4, 2013. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera


        * Governor Quinn Announces Investments to Conserve Lake Michigan Shoreline - Visits Volunteer Beach Clean-up to Announce Investments That Will Support Environmental Education and Stewardship Projects
        * Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
        * Proposed Rules for Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act Filed
        * Adopt-A-Highway Spring Cleanup Begins Today - Annual Event Honors Earth Day, Tackles Roadside Litter After Harsh Winter
        * Illinois Schools Win No Child Left Behind Waiver - Federal Government Approves Flexibility Needed for Successful Implementation of State Strategies to Improve Student Learning




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