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Today’s numbers

Monday, Jan 14, 2013

* I’ve banned four commenters so far today.



Two were over the top gun rights advocates who’d never commented here before. One was a disgusting homophobe. And the other was somebody trying to comment multiple times on the same thread using different names.

Take it easy, people.

* I’m a semi-regular at Springfield’s Butternut Hut tavern. They have a stage and are serious about hosting good music. I went last week during session and almost nobody was there. But they do have five of those new video gaming terminals. A couple of friends played briefly, one won a few bucks.

Anyway, I checked the Illinois Gaming Board’s December video gaming revenue report and noticed that $517,078 had been bet at that little bar in December alone. Half a million bucks. Wow. In that little place.

* Speaking of big things from tiny places

In a tiny office in rural Sycamore, next to a chiropractor and an attorney, United Airlines buys billions of dollars in jet fuel.

But the jet fuel never gets anywhere near Sycamore, which is 100 miles west of Chicago.

It goes to O’Hare, and that upsets the Regional Transit Authority, which says it is out at least $96 million in lost sales taxes as a result of the actions of United and another company, American Airlines.

The RTA filed suit Monday against United and the city of Sycamore, contending United operates a “sham” office in the DeKalb County town in order to avoid higher sales taxes in Cook County.

We’ve discussed this scam several times in the past. So far, though, nothing has been done to close this loophole.

* Bulking up

FBI records show a spike in the number of firearm background checks initiated through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The figures do not represent a one-to-one correlation between background checks and firearm sales, but they do show an increased interest in qualifying to acquire firearms.

In Illinois, background checks through the FBI system increased 43 percent from October to December. A total of 1,036,061 background checks were conducted statewide in 2012, compared to 828,962 in 2011 — a 24.9 percent increase.

Nationally, Kentucky requested the most background checks with more than 2.5 million, while Hawaii initiated the fewest with 17,428.

* Other number stories…

* Shedding more light on the United Center tax break

* Why the race to succeed Jackson Jr. is a bargain

* Illinois coal production on increase, bucking national trend: Preliminary figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show Illinois mines produced 47 million tons of coal in 2012, the most since 1995.

* State budget cuts mean many women to wait for mammograms: More than 4,700 low-income women throughout the state, including dozens in Sangamon County, could face months-long waits for mammograms because of funding cuts to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.

* Medicaid’s best-selling drugs in Illinois

* A suburban gunmaker is overwhelmed with orders, for now

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - GOP4EVER - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    What’s the difference between VGT Income and VGT Wagering Activity?

  2. - Belle - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    It was cheaper to rent space in the Willis Tower and move staff than to pay full price to
    Cook County.

  3. - OneMan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    What’s the difference between VGT Income and VGT Wagering Activity?

    It appears to be current credits, which I am guessing is how much money in the machine someone has when the report from the machine is generated.

    Trying to get an answer from the IGB about if the machines report after each bet or if it just happens a given time slice. Regardless assuming the ‘reporting time’ is the same for all machines then odds are they ‘catch’ players in the middle of a play or players with credits on a machine.

    That’s a guess, but a fairly logical one IMHO.

  4. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    The people who are rushing out to buy guns in fear that Barack Obama will come to their homes and confiscate all their guns (thus the spike in background checks) are morons. Pure and simple - they are too dumb to own guns or even cars.

    People - there are no black helicopters with blue helmetted UN troops giddy at the prospect of taking away a few of America’s 300,000,000 firearms. That’s not a good reason to buy a gun.

  5. - Been There - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===What’s the difference between VGT Income and VGT Wagering Activity?===
    The VGT income is the actual amount put into the machine. The Wagering Activity includes the churn. As an example, you put in $10 and bet $1. You win $5. But then you end up betting your way down so you have no credits. The Wagering Activity would show $15 as the amount played even though you put in $10. The Net Wagering Activity and the Net Terminal Income are what you should look at if comparing to the Riverboats. Those numbers are the equivilant of their Adjusted Gross Revenue figures.
    The Butterhut Nut is averaging around $223 per day per machine. That would be the equivilant of a riverboat doing $100 mil per year with 1200 machines.Not bad

  6. - Notacop - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    Chicago Cynic -

    You aer right, they are not talking about confiscating guns. But if you ever wanted to own one of the rifles that are going to be labeled as assault rifles and banned, now is the time to buy. If you buy now, chances are you can be grandfathered in under the ban. Wait too long and your chance of owning one will be gone.

    People aren’t running out to buy single shot shotguns.

  7. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    Notacop, getting legislation through Congress to ban assault weapons will be nearly impossible. But even if you believe it may happen, it will take many MONTHS, so there’s no rush whatsoever. If you hear true squealing from the NRA for weeks on end, then you’ll know maybe, just maybe, some watered down piece of crap might be on the verge of passing. Then, feel free.

    In the meantime, I stand by my statement (and realize I owe an apology to morons).

  8. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    BTW Notacop - I didn’t mean that moron crack about you.

  9. - Notacop - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    I agree that it will be tough to pass, but the people in charge are really leveraging Newtown to try and get something done FAST. If the assault/magazine bans that graced our recent lame duck session are any indication, the quality of the legislation may be secondary to the desire for fast action.

    Despite the facts that show how ill-concieved is, I am fairly certain that SOME form of assault weapons ban will pass. The only questions are when will it go into effect and which guns are affected.

    I am not advocating panic purchases and mass hysteria, but I definitely can see the logic behind many of the recent purchases.

    On the positive side, maybe all that spending will help boost the economy. Have you priced an AR-15 lately?!?!

  10. - Bill - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Those machines can really suck up the cash…especially after you have had a few.

  11. - Enemy of the State - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    I believe that Kentucky has the most firearms background checks because they run their concealed carry permit holders every month.

  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    Chicago Cynic is right, as usual. Mike Quigley was at City Club today. He was asked the odds of this Congress passing meaningful gun control legislation. In true Quigley fashion, he said Sammy Sosa had a better chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame than a gun control bill (any gun control bill) has of making it to the House floor.

    The gun manufacturers and their allies in the NRA want you to believe that your 2nd Amendment rights are about to be taken away. They need you to believe this so you’ll buy as many guns as possible and send them more money to line their pockets.


  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:52 pm:

    –* I’ve banned four commenters so far today.–

    Good for you. There’s no lack of avenues for expression for the crazies and the haters on the Internet.

    I remain amazed at the the bastions of American journalism that give their bandwidth to the nuts. All of them.

    At the danger of sounding like a kiss-ass, thank you brother, for allowing a real-time, statewide forum for thoughtful discussion of the issues of our time.

    It’s unique. And I didn’t see it coming when I was dozing hungover in the back row of Jack Vanderslick’s class at SSU, waiting to go for pitchers at Kane’s, while you were in the front row torturing Jim Nolan and Doc Davidson with questions.

  14. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    The Hut seems to have quite a bit of action, upper 5% I’d say from a quick look, but you’d never find it in there if it were named 215 LLC or something like that. It’d be nice to know where some of these big-raking sites are, like the $700k+ wagering activity attributed to a proper name. But I guess that’s just a little too much transparency for the Gaming Board’s comfort level.

  15. - Jaded - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    You want to talk about suckers, everytime Rahm comes up with another crazy anti-gun idea, the NRA brass probably buys lunch for the office because they know the checks are gonna start rolling again.

    Heck, Rahm might even get the politician of the year award from the NRA for all his contributions toward their success.

  16. - OneMan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 4:30 pm:


    You can get from names to locations here sort of..

  17. - Maxine on Politics - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    Chicago Cynic, your name suits you. When Troopers, military, and others swarm to buy it is for the security of home, against Tyranny, and protection for family. Try to buy even 9mm ammo, there isn’t any! Not just 308 or 223 ammo. Hand gun sales are soaring through the roof and are at least bringing REVENUE into Illinois. Ask most retailers of guns/ammo/sporting equipment and they will likely tell you they have sold more guns/ammo in 2 months than they have in 2 years. Personally, I have that right and will utilize it until I decide, not the government. Got it? Mental Health needs the support of our Governor and our President…don’t hear much about the “reason” just the method of illegal use.

  18. - sal-says - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:05 pm:

    “A total of 1,036,061 background checks were conducted statewide in 2012″

    Hmmm. I understand that this is done using something called: “National Instant Criminal Background Check System”, and I think I recall that many courts don’t supply ‘mental illness’ info to databases.

    Some years back, wife wanted to work for ISP. THAT background check went back to where she was born; talked to friends; relatives; previous employers. Thoroughly vetted. She got hired.

    Guess there’s a lot of ‘types’ of ‘background’ checks. Or maybe ‘background checks’ aren’t what they used to be? 1M in a year? Sounds like a lot. Wonder how thorough?

  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:11 pm:

    Maxine, just where is the tyranny?

  20. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:37 pm:


    Let’s assume you’re right and that you own a Bushmaster and a variety of other weapons, and all the ammo you can stock into your home. How exactly is that going to help you stand up to the national guard should they come calling? Clearly at the end of the day you’ll be on the losing end of that fight.

    So in order for you to “defend” yourself against some mythical future or present US government, doesn’t that mean the 2nd amendment gives you a right to an RPG or an M1A1 Abrams tank or an F22? Obviously that would be crazy, though that is the clear logical extension of where you’re heading.

    And btw, if you really can’t find ammo at your local Sports Authority, or Wal-Mart or Dick’s, have you tried the Internet? I mean you must be the only person in American short on ammo.

  21. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:38 pm:

    I have a friend who has a bumper sticker that says, “I sure miss Geo. W and my liberty.” I would like to ask him what in the world that means, but I don’t.

  22. - yinn - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 5:56 pm:

    I have written twice about the airlines’ (at the time at least United AND

  23. - yinn - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:03 pm:

    Oops, sorry about the duplicate comment; I hit a button too early.

    I have written twice about the airlines’ (at the time, at least, both United AND American had fuel-selling offices in Sycamore. I do not know about now). This has been going on about nine years. It would not only be a great loss for Sycamore, but no doubt for DeKalb County as well because — at least at the time of the posts in 2006 — the fuel sales had effectively doubled the sales tax take of the county.

  24. - yinn - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:04 pm:

    *Sigh* It’s been a long day! Here’s the link to both stories:

  25. - DRB - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:05 pm:

    Why cannot UA place an office wherever it desires? Why does govt feel it can tell a private company where their offices can be located?

  26. - What is to be done? - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:09 pm:

    FBI records show a spike in the number of firearm background checks initiated through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

    The figures do not represent a one-to-one correlation between background checks and firearm sales, but they do show an increased interest in qualifying to acquire firearms.

    Help me out here, they only do the background check when you pay for the gun, so unless you are rejected by the Fed’s it should be pretty damn close to a one-to-one correlation.

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:10 pm:

    –When Troopers, military, and others swarm to buy it is for the security of home, against Tyranny, and protection for family. –

    Help me out here, as I’m first-generation American, relatively new to the United States, so maybe I donta speaka da sam lingo.

    Tell me about tyranny.

    Maybe something is being lost in the translation. I learned about tyranny from my folks.

    When the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached the farm in Nazi-Occupied Norway, my 12-year-old mother and her sisters relieved the milk cows of their burdens, dolled themselves up as best they could and ran down the cow paths to the village.

    Where they danced. And laughed. They all whistled the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth — four dots and a dash — Morse Code — V, for Victory — The Resistance.

    The German solider boys, the conscripts, the ones who didn’t want to be there, cried. They just wanted to go home.

    The bad men, the men in black, the SS and the Gestapo, swallowed their testicular virility.

    They all knew, one way or the other, that the Yanks were coming, as was the Day of Reckoning.

    By Dec. 7, 1941, my 21-year-old pops had been put to slave labor, an enemy of The Reich (as he was, and totalitarians, forever).

    He’d been arrested early in the game, identified by collaborators as bad news. They put him to work gathering food for the 11 German divisions occupying the country. They got fed first.

    He and his crew robbed them blind, stealing food from the Nazi warehouses for months, and distributing it to the folks, until he was betrayed by a collaborator, and dragged out by Gestapo in the middle of the night. He did hard time for two years.

    His twin brother was the most wanted man in western Norway, at 21, hiding in plain sight, armed with a radio receiver for the BBC and a typewriter, and whacking collaborators when the opportunity arose (tricky business; you couldn’t whack a known collaborator, as that would bring retribution by ten-fold).

    Two other brothers were at sea, making the New York to England run with the Arsenal of Democracy. One made it through the end, one was sunk by U-Boat in the Irish Sea off Galway in 1943. He was 17.

    You know what? I could go on and on and on about my many family members’ experiences under the Nazis, and the threats of the Soviets, and why my young brave parents seized the promise of America, and their fight against the scourge of American apartheid, and the profound lessons of our Lutheran Faith …..

    But please — tell me about more about tyranny in the United States in 2013.

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:33 pm:

    DRB, try to pay attention and learn to read before commenting here again. Thanks

  29. - Langhorne - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 6:48 pm:

    Rich, i love it when you ban people. I don’t read newspaper blogs bec of the wackos. Good of you to maintain a fairly high level of discourse here. Gotta go now, my martini arrived

  30. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 8:17 pm:

    word, that is a great family story. I would like to hear more of it someday.
    I understand more directly now why some of the wingnuts here ruffle your feathers on occasion.

  31. - Maxine on Politics - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 8:19 pm:

    For the record on ammo: Scheels, Gander Mt., and Farm & Home did not have any 223 or 308 ammo as of Sunday evening. 9MM ammo was back ordered at several of the sporting retailers. As for the internet, we choose to try to buy locally not via the internet. Never have we purchased ammo or guns at Wal-Mart. Illinois is very different than all other states concerning gun policy. By tyranny I meant - defense of country, oppression, etc. In the 60s, George Wallace tried to use the military to block civil rights and desegregation issues. Remember now - armed militia escorting a child to school. Theodor Roosevelt needed a “irregular” militia (civilians) to aid the US military forces, which became the National Guard. It is just my belief and opinion to be pro-gun. I do not propose to know it all, it is just by belief and how I was raised. No one in my family is a member of any gun associations either; NRA, ISRA, etc. So what has taken some collectors their entire lives to collect is wrong just because a mentally ill (or terrorist) person perpitrates mass murder with a certain gun? That is why I like Rich’s forum, we can be some what civil and hear various opinions and discuss issues that affect us all. This is interesting for world policy Maybe I was wrong about this site, since I am not a subscriber or political. Just wanted to state my opinion.

  32. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 8:28 pm:

    “TEST” just wanted to dash your hopes and let you know I’m not blacklisted so far this year; yet.

  33. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 8:54 pm:

    Thanks Maxine. Diverse opinions are welcome here, it’s just that we prefer it when those opinions are grounded in facts and evidence. Gov. Wallace didn’t use his National Guard to enforce segregation, President Kennedy nationalized the Alabama Guard to enforce desegregation. As for private ownership of firearms as a bulwark against tyranny, the real world examples don’t line up with your thinking.

  34. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:10 pm:

    Word, I’m also fascinated by your family war experience in my ancestral homeland. Sounds like it would make a good book or series of articles. If you haven’t done so already, I believe there are some internet sites that let you create electronic books to sell. I’d be interested in reading it while eating some warm Kringlas.

  35. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:33 pm:

    sal-says @ 5:05 pm

    I think that is just a basic criminal check to make sure you haven’t lost your rights due to a conviction or reported mental health issue.

    Back about 1970, I had to undergo the same kind of full in-depth background check you described because of the position I was being hired for. Must have passed because they hired me but I’m sure the IBI had some interesting interviews; I know friends they talked to were from both fringes of the spectrum.

  36. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:41 pm:

    AA, Norseman, it’s quite a yarn of sinners and saints.

    My people came up in Western Norway, Rogaland, where the Vikings came from. It’s about the only place in Norway you can put in a consistent crop if you’re willing to pick the rocks out of the field every spring (they don’t build those rock fences for show).

    My MorFar (mother’s father) was here before my folks, who came after WWII. About 1910, my MorFar got in a beef with his old man, left the farm in Norway and steamed for New York.

    He worked for a couple of years on the docks in Brooklyn, then on his cousin’s farm in Sycamore, then at the old U.S. Steel plant on the Union Pacific Line on Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

    Even though he was a Norwegian citizen, he volunteered for the American Expeditionary Force to France, where he fought in the Argonne Forest before the Armstice.

    As soon as he got back to New York, he learned his old man and mother had died of the Spanish Flu and sailed to Norway to take over the farm (that’s the way they rolled then; it didn’t matter what kind of Black Sheep you were, if you were the oldest son, you got the farm).

    He married, and he and my MorMor worked it like you can’t imagine without today’s technology. Believe me, I’m an old farm boy and it’s hard to believe how you can maintain all those dairy cows and milk them twice a day on hardscrabble land and a short growing season.

    He and MorMor had seven daughters in a row, and, he, um, rather insisted they “keep on trying” until they got a boy to take over the farm. That included a couple of dead births for my poor MorMor. When they finally got a boy, the old boy wanted a safety, and they had another.

    MorMor worked every day, by the way, except on the days after giving birth.

    When the Nazis invaded, he supported the Army and militia with food. The outnumbered Norwegians fought mano-a-mano longer than any other people in Europe outside the Soviets, took no prisoners (if you know what I mean) and in resistance sabotaged the Nazi nuclear program at Telemark.

    In resistance, out on the farm, my people hid Jews, Roma, gays and escaped Soviet prisoners of war, as they tried to make their way east to Sweden.

    And when the drunken German boys came around to “inspect” the farm with seven girls, the old boy followed them every step and sent them on their way armed with nothing but a stone-cold stare.

    What do you do with people like that? Who looked the Devil in the eye and spit in his face?

    My parents did it when they were kids, for crying out loud, and still had a lifelong, irrational optimism that brought them here to raise a family and help build a country. They never, ever, stopped working to make it better and they never, ever got rattled by anything. Wears me out.

    But all I can do is pay my dues. I owe a lot. I’m lucky, way lucky, to be where I’m at, and it’s on me to make it better than it was given to me.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever pay it back, but I’ll neve stop working for it.

  37. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 8:43 am:

    I really have to wonder about these people who think their home is going to come under some kind of military or paramilitary attack and they aren’t safe unless they’re armed accordingly. Just what do they think is going to happen?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Tightening L-1 Rules in Grassley/Durbin Bi......

* Manchin, Kirk introduce bill targeting gov......

* Paying for incarceration? What stops demands for better accommodations?
* Maryville Vote Took Place Tonight, Results Tomorrow
* Chicago Winter Overnight Parking Ban Starts Tonight
* Officer In Laquan McDonald Shooting Released After Posting $1.5 Million Bail
* Judge: State Must Make Payments For Home Health Care Worker Insurance
* Obama's State Of The Union Address Set For January 12
* Politicians Join Call For Anita Alvarez To Resign As Laquan McDonald Case Unfolds
* Democrats make bid to take over Chicago Republican Party
* Michael Malatesta interviewed on NTNM
* 7th Subcircuit race getting crowded, other last-day filings

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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