* 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