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The right way and the wrong way

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* I’ve received just two press releases about this hopefully thwarted terrorist plot. One was from Gov. Pat Quinn’s state office…

Statement from Governor Pat Quinn

CHICAGO – October 29, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement regarding the terrorist threat to Chicago:

“Since learning that packages containing explosives were addressed to places of Jewish worship in Chicago, I have committed the full resources of the state of Illinois - working cooperatively with federal and local officials - to ensure the continued safety and security of everyone in our state.

I have been in touch with leaders of Illinois’ Jewish community and will remain in close communication with leaders of Illinois’ faith-based communities. My thoughts are with Illinois’ Jewish community, and I urge everyone to stand together in unity during this time.”

The other was from Republican congressional candidate Joel Pollack…


NILES, IL–October, 29: Joel Pollak, Republican challenger in the 9th congressional district of Illinois, issued the following statement in response to Al Qaeda’s attempted terror attack against synagogues in Chicago:

“All Americans stand in solidarity against Al Qaeda. This evening, I will be staying in West Rogers Park to spend the Jewish Sabbath there, in solidarity with the people of the 9th congressional district who were the direct targets of Al Qaeda terror. We must not fear, and we must not stop fighting to eradicate the twin evils of terror and hatred.”

No, that’s not from The Onion. I swear.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Reader comments closed for the weekend - at least for now

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* I may reopen comments if the need arises, but it’s just much easier to get away from the computer if comments are closed. And I really need to get away from this keyboard, man.

* You’re going to want to turn this one way up. Here’s Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with a little Halloween music

He took the Fourth of July he put it in May
He took this morning for a drive yesterday…

That cat was mad!

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

More new lows

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* OK, now they’ve really gone too far. Check out the cover of the latest Democratic mailer that’s attempting to skim hard-right votes away from Mark Kirk. Click the pic if you need a larger image, but notice the rally sign: “Terrorists won’t kill us… Cap & Trade will!” Sheesh…

It’s also repeated on the back…

Let’s zoom in…

Here’s the Kirk hit…

And then to make it all legit, here’s Giannoulias saying the two boys are not playing well with each other…

Oh, for crying out loud.

* Meanwhile, things are deteriorating fast all over. Remember that interruption of a debate by Republican Joe Walsh supporters who “demanded” to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Well

The incident has inflamed the conservative blogosphere. Professional lightning rod Glenn Beck assailed Tate-Bradish and the League of Women Voters on his Fox News show earlier this week.

Tate-Bradish, a retired teacher, notified police after taking dozens of phone calls and e-mails at home and viewing “scary” comments in online forums, she said.

“They believe that I, personally, Kathy Tate-Bradish, mother of three, am planning to bring this country down,” she said.

Jan Czarnik, executive director of the Illinois League of Women Voters, said she reported to the FBI that death threats had been posted online against her and Tate-Bradish.

* And then there’s this

Incumbent Democrat Deanna Demuzio and Republican challenger Sam McCann were in studio for WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind” program.

During the interview, McCann likened those attacking him to terrorists.

“There’s a lot of folks out there that want to run for office,” says McCann. “You know why they don’t? They give me the same answer everytime. I say, ‘Why don’t you run?’ They say, ‘I don’t want to go through what they’re putting you through.’

“Instead of being public servants, it’s like they’re being terrorists.”

Let’s all chill out a bit, eh?

* Maybe we should all just have a cold beer or other adult beverage and listen to our old buddy Dave Dring on WBEZ’s Best Game in Town

We meet up at Gene & Georgetti for a conversation about the final stages of the campaigns for governor, senate and the Illinois house. We also break down the latest on the race for Chicago mayor, after this week’s announcement that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will not seek the office.


Victoria M. DeFrancesco Professor, Northwestern University

Dave Lundy: Political strategist

David Dring: Political strategist and republican lobbyist

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

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Friday, Oct 29, 2010

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Who the heck knows? And Radogno has always left open the tax hike door

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* TPM looked at the difference between US Senate polls

When only Giannoulias and Kirk are involved, the TPM Poll Average gives the edge to Giannoulias, 42.4-41.8

When Jones is added to the mix, Kirk gets the edge in the TPM Poll Average, 44.6-42.0-4.8

With all four candidates, the TPM Poll Average swings once again to Giannoulias, who barely leads over Kirk 40.4-39.7. Jones comes in at 5.0, with Labno at 3.6

Seven polls have tested just the two top candidates since August, ten have asked about just three of the candidates and twelve have asked about all four.

* However, five of those 12 polls which tested all four contestants are Democratic candidate polls (one was taken for the DGA and included Giannoulias). Take those out and you’ve got a 2.5-point average lead for Kirk

So, go figure.

* Well, 538 actually did the figuring and came up with a significant advantage for Kirk

But the likely election results are still very close

Nate has Bill Brady’s chances of beating Gov. Pat Quinn at 76.2 percent, by the way.

* Meanwhile, some outlets may play this up, but I really don’t think it’s all that newsworthy

The state’s highest ranking Republican, Christine Radogno, the GOP leader in the Illinois Senate, tells WLS a tax increase most certainly wouldn’t happen any time soon after the election, but then she left the door open.

“I’ve never been one to say no, never on any kind of a tax increase. And there are others that believe absolutely under any circumstances, no. But I think we need to wait and see. I’m willing to be convinced we don’t need a tax increase,” Radogno said.

From February 23rd of 2009

While calling for a look first at cutting state programs, both Radogno and Cross said Monday that spending cuts alone can’t fix the problem, which threatens education and health-care funding.

Many expect Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, to propose tax hikes, perhaps even an income tax increase, in his budget plans set to be delivered March 18.

Radogno and Cross bristle at the notion.

“A major tax increase is not the first place to look,” Radogno said. But they concede more tax dollars are needed.

From Greg Hinz today

But her timing is pretty awkward for Mr. Brady, who’s having lots of trouble convincing lots of voters that his unspecified spending cuts add up to a balanced budget.

Ms. Radogno’s comments won’t help. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has called for an increase.

That’s true. But, other than that, this is nothing new at all.

*** UPDATE *** From the Quinn campaign

“Today, the Illinois Senate’s GOP leader Christine Radogno revealed that Republicans are talking about a tax increase.

‘I’m willing to be convinced we don’t need a tax increase,’ Radogno said.

Sen. Brady has said for months we’ll have to wait until after Election Day to see his budget plan—did Sen. Radogno—his leader in the Senate—just reveal it? Apparently, she didn’t get the memo: the GOP is isn’t planning on revealing their secret tax increase plan until AFTER the election—just as Gov. Edgar and Gov. Thompson did.

What does it mean when Sen. Brady’s leader in the Senate, and one of his biggest allies, raises doubts about his position on one of this election’s biggest issues?”

-Mica Matsoff, campaign spokesperson

* From the Brady campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady today released the following statement in response to eleventh hour assertions about future tax increases in Illinois:

“Despite Pat Quinn’s desperate political assertions and wishful thinking, let there be no mistake – a Brady Administration will not raise taxes,” said Brady. “Period.”

“A Brady administration will force state government to live within its means, cut taxes, and raise long term revenue by enacting pro-growth economic policies that help create real jobs for families across Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

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Friday, Oct 29, 2010

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Question of the day

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* Looking back over the past year, what were the campaign moments that will most likely stick with you as you get older?

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Libertarian mailer mystery ain’t solved yet, plus Kirk trying to shoot down Giannoulias’ Hartmarx claims

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* A quick read of a CBS Evening News story seems to clear up the mystery surrounding those mailers that promoted a Libertarian US Senate candidate here

Never perhaps have there been stranger political bedfellows. In Nevada, a pro-Harry Reid group — he’s the Senate’s lead Democrat — promotes a little-known Tea Party candidate running against Reid: Scott Ashjian.

Illinois Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is running for Senate, yet funding ads propping up his Libertarian opponent. […]

Democrat Giannoulias helps a long shot Libertarian to try to take votes from Republican opponent Mark Kirk.

Some Democrats openly disclose their efforts. But for others, the tie is harder to find. You’d think this one flyer was put out by conservatives: it calls Iowa’s Republican candidate for Governor Terry Branstad “liberal” like “Clinton, Obama and Pelosi.”

But IRS filings show it’s the Democratic Governors Association behind the ads. They’re hoping to split Republican votes.

Turns out, this may just be sloppy writing. The DGA copped to the Iowa mailer when I called them today, but their communications director emphatically denied that the group had anything to do with the Illinois mailings, saying they don’t involve themselves in Senate races.

I’ve left a message for Pete Giangreco, who was quoted in a Politico story about the mailers, to see what he says. He’s at a friend’s funeral, so I’ll let you know what he says later.

*** UPDATE 1 *** So, apparently, I missed this one from the Sun-Times

After the debate, Giannoulias admitted his campaign, in coordination with the Democratic Party, funded a mailer to Downstate conservatives touting Libertarian Senate candidate Mike Labno as the “pro-life, pro-gun” alternative to Kirk, who supports abortion rights like Giannoulias and who at least previously favored restrictions on handguns.

The Democrats hoped to divert votes from Kirk to Labno. Is that deceptive?

“No,” Giannoulias said.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, the Kirk campaign has been pushing this story for a while now without success until yesterday

(T)he Kirk campaign suggested Mr. Giannoulias is overstating his claim that he saved Hartmarx and its jobs by leaning on its lender, a division of Wells Fargo, in his current post as Illinois treasurer.

In fact, it says, the California bank was paid only about $96,000 a year by Illinois at a time when Mr. Giannoulias says he threatened to yank $8 billion in bank business.

Team Kirk also points to a TV ad by Sen. Charles Schumer that focuses on the New York Democrat’s work to save a Hartmarx subsidiary in his state.

Team Giannoulias replies that the Kirk folks have been trying to peddle this story for a while; that Wells Fargo indeed was “custodian” of $8 billion in Illinois funds, investing that money at the treasurer’s direction, and that lots of people worked to save Hartmarx.

The Giannoulias campaign has said repeatedly that it worked closely with organized labor and others, but freely admits that the treasurer didn’t speak more than a few minutes with the company’s former president. The factory’s union rep is fully behind Giannoulias, which greatly undercuts the Kirk claims that Giannoulias wasn’t sufficiently involved. A Politico blogger posted a story on the topic today

I spoke to a former Hartmarx official, who agreed to speak on background and suggested that Giannoulias was making more of his role in the crisis than may have been the case. The official said that Giannoulias had just one contact with the company and heavily credited other officials, including Schumer and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), with working to get the bank to agree to a plan to save the jobs. […]

“I can’t say he did nothing,” the source added of Giannoulias but insisted that much of the work came from elsewhere.

I reached out to a Giannoulias spokesman, who told me that the campaign had never claimed that Giannoulias was the only force involved in saving Hartmarx, and that it was an effort of labor groups, elected officials and others.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Joe Costigan of UNITE-HERE just called to insist that Giannoulias played an “essential” role in keep the Hartmarx plant open. Costigan said Giannoulias was instrumental in making sure that this just wasn’t another anonymous factory closing in Chicago and worked hard with his union and others to make sure it stayed open. He also sharply criticized the Kirk campaign for attempting to minimize Giannoulias’ role.

…Adding… Kirk’s latest TV ad

* And Kirk can’t even get off his tight talking points when making a YouTube video in front of his campaign volunteers

Loosen up a bit, dude. It’s the Internet.

* Related…

* Senate hopefuls stress differences

* Groups that backed Kirk endorsing Giannoulias

* Giannoulias: Kirk ads ’straight negative’

* Obama Targets East and Midwest in Final Weekend of Campaigning

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Quinn’s project announcements total about $800 million just this month

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* That’s a lot of cabbage

As Gov. Pat Quinn heads toward a showdown at the polls Tuesday against Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, he has spent much of October announcing construction projects he says could create more than 100,000 jobs.

The running total for the amount Quinn has announced in October stands at $472 million, ranging from a new school in Carterville to a new rail station in Moline.

Most of these programs Quinn has “announced” are already on the books, and have been so for more than a year. But the Republicans knew full well that Quinn would use these projects when they agreed to the proposal. Why? Because they’re using them, too. Even Bill Brady has appeared at some ribbon-cutting events, including one at the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station.

And it’s not just state money the governor is handing out…

In addition to state construction money, Quinn also has highlighted more than $300 million in federal spending heading to Illinois that will pay for projects ranging from the clean-up of the Waukegan harbor to improving passenger rail service in Chicago and northwestern Illinois.

* Chuck Sweeny rode along with Quinn on one of those state money-handout expeditions the other day

Quinn’s campaign operates out of a suite of rooms on the third floor. There’s not much furniture except for desks with papers strewn every which way. Campaign staffers’ names are taped to doors. I figure we’ll begin talking to Quinn when he’s done with his interview and comes inside.

Wrong. From a window we watch Quinn hop into a car and speed away. We are left to talk with Quinn’s key campaign staffers, all of whom seem to be about 25. We learn that the governor has gone to his offices on the 16th floor of the Helmut-Jahns designed James R. Thompson Centre at LaSalle and Randolph, for a meeting. We’ll meet him there in an hour.

The campaign people have fetched bagels and coffee for us. But they won’t be going with us today. Spokeswoman Mica Matsoff explains that we will be traveling with “Governor” Quinn, not “candidate” Quinn, so we’ll be accompanied by the governor’s official staff. Ethics rules require that never the twain shall meet, Mica explains.

Also, I’m thinking that “Governor” Quinn doesn’t have to use money from “candidate” Quinn’s campaign. Today’s trip, which looks a lot like a campaign, will be billed to taxpayers.

Go read the whole thing. It’s a good piece. Chuck learned something most of us who cover Quinn have long understood…

On the road I learn quickly that while I had to coax Brady into talking at length about anything on my road trip with him, rarely today will I get a word in edgewise. Quinn is a filibuster machine.


* Related…

* Southtown: Merry Christmas! Another present right before Election Day

* Quinn Funnels Money to Belvidere Chrysler Plant

* Illinois sets aside $4 million for Embry-Riddle campus

* Belvidere Chrysler Future: Chrysler announced a huge investment to build more vehicles at the Belvidere plant and bump hundreds of part-time workers to full time status.

* Illinois helps secure Belvidere Chrysler plant’s future

* State making huge investment in Belvidere Chrysler plant

* State provides $32M for Joliet transportation hub

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* More than half of Illinois schools now “failing” under No Child Left Behind

This year, Illinois schools had to get all 77.5 percent of students—and subgroups of students, such as low-income or Latino students—to meet state standards. The Obama Administration wants to re-write the law so that schools would be measured on growth.

* Ill. schools fall further behind federal standards

* Report: Illinois Schools Falling Short

* Schools fail to push students on state tests

* School officials look for alternatives to No Child Left Behind as most Illinois schools fail

* Unemployment in Illinois metro areas fell in September

The metro areas with the largest declines in unemployment include Peoria, Decatur and Metro East.

* Jobless rate in Peoria continues to improve

The unemployment rate in the five-county Peoria metropolitan statistical area was 9.4 percent in September, down from 11.3 percent in September 2009 and from the 10 percent figure recorded in August 2010, the state reported.

* Chicago’s jobless rate fell in September

The jobless rate was 9.4 percent for the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area, compared to 10.4 percent a year ago, the agency reported Thursday.

* Chicago foreclosure activity up 35% in third quarter

* Fitch downgrades Chicago bonds

The New York-based firm on Thursday lowered its rating on $7 billion in outstanding general-obligation city debt to AA- from AA, particularly citing the city’s increasing reliance on one-time revenues to fix its budget. […]

Fitch applauded layoffs and other payroll trims implemented by outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, but added, “The ability to make further expenditure cuts to personnel is extremely limited” due to union contracts.

* Minimum age for Chicago cops raised to 25, exam set for Dec. 11

* Register-Mail: Yes to sales tax; hold school boards accountable

* Davlin owes IRS $90,000; liens placed on mayor’s home

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   15 Comments      

Watch the governor’s debate

Friday, Oct 29, 2010

* If you didn’t get a chance to see Gov. Pat Quinn debate state Sen. Bill Brady last night, you can now. Watch it

I’ll post news stories here in a bit.

…Adding… The Tribune skimmed over a few things, which I suppose is necessary in any debate roundup. But they were pretty important. For instance

The candidates also clashed on social issues, which have become a hot-button topic in the last week following remarks by state Sen. Rickey Hendon that Sen. Brady was “racist, sexist (and) homophobic.”

Asked by moderator Carol Marin if his stance against civil unions for same-sex couples promotes a hostile environment for gays and lesbians, Brady said “not at all.”

Marin also asked Quinn about his statement to a gay lifestyle magazine that Bill Brady would rather gay people “not exist.” Quinn said he never said that and claimed he called the reporter yesterday to tell him so. That took Brady a bit off-guard. He was obviously preparing to pounce.

And here’s another important Trib skim

Quinn found himself on the defensive over the state’s legalization of video gambling as a way to pay for a massive statewide construction program. Quinn said he didn’t like the idea but made sure cities and counties could opt out.

Brady said Quinn’s willingness to go along with the plan is a failure of leadership.

What the Tribune omitted was Quinn’s claim (which is verified) that House Republican Leader Tom Cross came up with the video poker idea and wouldn’t support other revenue schemes. Brady said he’d never heard that. He must not have been reading his Capitol Fax.

* Chicago Public Radio also skimmed over something important

When discussing the state’s fiscal situation, Quinn touted a “landmark” budget accountability plan known as “budgeting for results.”

Brady jumped in. “Budgeting for results means balancing the budget, a part of the Illinois Constitution that you seem to have failed to follow,” he said.

Quinn also noted that Brady voted against the proposal. And it is a landmark plan. No scare-quotes needed. Even so, that was a heckuva comeback by Brady.

* The Sun-Times didn’t skim over this part

Brady repeatedly tied Quinn to Blagojevich, his two-time running mate and now-convicted felon, leading up to perhaps the debate’s nastiest exchange.

“You were Gov. Blagojevich’s partner for eight years. You can’t blame it all on him,” Brady said.

“He never talked to me. Everybody knows this,” Quinn answered, to some laughter from the debate’s audience. “I mean, as a matter of fact, he announced to the whole world that I was not part of his administration. I led the effort to recall.”

“Is that why four years ago you called him a decent, honest and honorable man?” Brady said.

“He lied,” Quinn said.

“Wait a second, governor, you knew he was under investigation at the time,” Brady continued, before Quinn turned the tables.

“What did you tell George Ryan? When George Ryan was running and even after those six children died, what did you say to him?” Quinn said, pointing to Brady’s support of Ryan in 1994 and 1998.

But, I don’t see why they didn’t skip over this. TMI.

* ABC7 directly contradicted one of Brady’s debate comments, but split up its story to separate the comment from the actual facts….

Brady began the day with questions about his campaign’s finances after several Chicago TV and radio stations, including ABC7, pulled his commercials because of unpaid bills.

“It was a glitch. It’s been taken care of and everything’s back in place,” said Brady.

” I don’t know about that. Sounds like you didn’t pay your bills,” Quinn responded.

After four grafs about social issues and the other candidates came this

ABC 7 received a payment from Brady’s campaign for ads late Thursday afternoon. Those ads purchased by Citizens for Brady will be back on the air Friday.

* Something you can’t see on the Internet but can see on a big screen is that Brady’s upper lip was covered in sweat for much of the debate. Not sure if that’ll matter much.

…Adding More… For a blow-by-blow account, check out our live-blog. Our commenters, as always, did a heckuva job, although it just wasn’t the same without shore’s efforts.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

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* I'll be back later
* Gray hired by Trump
* MLB playoff open thread
* Once more, with feeling
* B3 fallout?
* Unclear on the concept
* Yesterday's blog posts

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