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Dillard claims Rahm-Rauner conspiracy

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to help his friend Bruce Rauner win the crowded Republican primary for governor by endorsing incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard charged Thursday.

Dillard offered that Machiavellian theory, one day after Emanuel endorsed Quinn for re-election, in spite of his rocky relationship with the governor and his close friendship with Rauner, the millionaire venture capitalist challenging Dillard for the GOP nomination.

“Rahm is very smart. He knows he helps Rauner in a Republican primary by strongly endorsing Quinn,” Dillard said Thursday.

As a loyal Democrat, Dillard said Emanuel is always going to pay lip service to the Democratic nominee.

But, he said, “I suspect he’s really rooting for Bruce Rauner. . . . Bruce Rauner is the man who made Rahm Emanuel rich right after he left the Clinton administration. Chicago Magazine just had a story with pictures of the two vacationing together. He’s a member of Rahm Emanuel’s inner circle. . . . That cozy relationship is problematic governmentally. It’s too close for comfort.”

I think that photo was of the two hugging each other at a Chicago event, but whatever.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

World Series open thread

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* There are probably enough Cardinals fans/Cub haters out there to justify this post. A cautionary note

With [last night’s 8-1] win, the Red Sox have now taken nine World Series games in a row, last losing in Game 7 against the Mets in 1986. Boston started the streak by sweeping St. Louis in 2004 and continued it by routing the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The latest victory ties the Red Sox with the Cincinnati Reds for the longest active World Series winning streak, though the Reds haven’t been to the Fall Classic since 1990.

The Yankees are the only team in baseball to have enjoyed a longer winning streak in World Series games, doing so three times. The Bombers won 10 straight between 1937–1941; 12 straight between 1927–1932 and 14 straight between 1996–2000.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* What is the one thing you dislike most about Gov. Pat Quinn? Make sure to explain your answer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

Pollster pushes back against Oberweis

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* State Sen. Jim Oberweis has been touting the results of a recent poll to bolster his contention that he could defeat Sen. Dick Durbin

But the pollster whose company generated those numbers said it is not a typical head-to-head poll, so the numbers might not reflect, even at this stage, how a race would shape up […]

“That poll was designed to see which of two candidates did better against Durbin,” Gregg Durham, CEO of the polling firm, said Wednesday. “It wasn’t designed to say if he ran against Durbin, how well he would do.”

The Illinois Review website reported some of the poll numbers Sept. 25. The comparisons were how Oberweis and former U.S. Rep. JOE WALSH, R-McHenry, would each do against Durbin.

But Durham said that what he called the “curiosity poll” was informational, and respondents were told in recorded calls that the poll was testing two candidates against Durbin.

“Right there, it changes the parameters of the poll,” Durham said. “It then becomes, for lack of a better term, a beauty contest as opposed to a real head-to-head.

“Clearly, Senator Oberweis did slightly better than former Congressman Joe Walsh,” Durham added. “But in our opinion, he would have a very steep hill to climb to find success” against Durbin next year.

* Meanwhile

Associated Press is reporting that at the Capitol Wednesday, State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) told a rally of traditional marriage supporters that he has launched an effort to run for U.S. Senate. However, Oberweis told Illinois Review that’s not exactly what he said or meant.

“I said that if we get enough petitions, I will run,” Oberweis told Illinois Review in an email response. He did not elaborate any further on whether he’s actively organized a petition drive, nor did he say when he’d make a formal announcement. Candidate petitions can be submitted to the Illinois State Board of Elections beginning November 19th.

He’s leaving the door open just a tiny crack, perhaps because the behind the scenes effort to keep him out of the race is gathering steam.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Harold says Republicans attempting to “deprive voters” of a constitutional right

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* A Decatur talk radio station posted a statement from Republican congressional candidate Erika Harold on its Facebook page this morning…

Members of the Republican establishment continue their attempts to make this primary a coronation. From day one, party leaders have angled to ensure that Congressman Rodney Davis is the only person on the Republican primary ballot. This is despite the fact that he received the nomination last time through an appointment by county chairmen and not by an election of primary voters.

Elections are not coronations. They are the Constitutionally protected right of voters to compare candidates’ ideas and qualifications. Unfortunately, party leaders have sought to deprive voters of this right. Party leaders have barred me from speaking at Republican Day at the state fair, denied my campaign access to the voter data contained in the Data Center/Voter Vault, and attempted to discourage people who wanted to support or contribute to my candidacy. Party leaders have sought to ensure that Congressman Davis does not have to compete against anyone else for votes in the primary. But votes must be earned; no one is entitled to a nomination.

I am calling upon the Republican leadership to end the political obstructionism and allow the voters of the 13th District to make their own choice regarding who would best represent their interests and defend the Constitution. The voters of the 13th District are more than capable of thinking for themselves. Voters routinely tell me that they are looking forward to hearing where each candidate stands on the key issues and comparing our leadership skills through the process of debates. I commit to giving them that opportunity and hope that Congressman Davis will do the same.

* The statement came after a former supporter urged her to drop out…

Earlier this week former Macon County Republican Chairman John Davis urged Harold to drop out of the 13th District race, saying that her campaign had proven to be “inexperienced.”

But Phil Bloomer, a spokesman for Harold, said she issued the statement Thursday “to clarify her position and her resolve” to stay in the race.


- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - Durbin appreciates clarification - White House taking blame *** Either name the culprit or apologize

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* You’ve probably read the stories about Sen. Dick Durbin’s Sunday Facebook post…

Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a “negotiation” meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: “I cannot even stand to look at you.”

* Republicans have flatly denied it happened, and so did the White House

White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted that Durbin’s story just wasn’t true. “I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting, and it did not happen,” Carney said. And Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, said, “The speaker certainly didn’t say that and does not recall anyone else doing so.”

* But Durbin’s spokesman said the Senator stands by his claim

Max Gleischman, a spokesman for Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, said, “Durbin stands by his comments.”

Even so, Durbin has so far refused to name the alleged insulter.

* And he’s even doubled down in a campaign fundraising letter

Please, click here to send my campaign $16 — one dollar for every day of the reckless and irresponsible Republican Shutdown — or whatever you can afford.

There was one incident — largely unreported — that I cannot get out of my mind.

As Republicans went around the table telling the president their complaints and demands during a “negotiation” meeting, it came to a member of the GOP House Leadership who said these words to President Obama:

“I am so disgusted. I cannot even stand to look at you.”

I share this story because many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will often say that the president just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans.

Let me ask you: What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said “I cannot even stand to look at you”? […]

Please, click here to send my campaign $16 — one dollar for every day of the reckless and irresponsible Republican Shutdown — or whatever you can afford.

One dollar for every day that our federal employees sat at home wondering when they could get back to work.

One dollar for every day the reputation of the United States as a world leader was weakened by the Republican threat to default on our debt for the first time in history.

I really think that if you’re gonna make a comment like that, you have an obligation to name names once everyone in the room has denied such a thing was ever said - especially if you’re gonna try to raise money on it.

*** UPDATE *** Hat tip to some commenters for this report by Lynn Sweet

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told a gathering of Democratic senators that a GOP House leader said in a private meeting with President Barack Obama he could not stand to look at him–an exchange reported by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and denied by the White House.

The Huffington Post’s Jen Bendery and Ryan Grim confirmed this exchange with two Democratic senators at the meeting and two Senate Democratic aides. I confirmed this with one Democratic aide who told me about Reid’s remarks at a meeting with the Democratic senators last Tuesday. […]

The GOP lawmaker in question is Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). His office is denying that he made the comment.

So, this makes it easy for Durbin. Just explain where you first heard it and say who it was about.

*** UPDATE 2 *** More damage control

The White House is taking back Thursday a slam leveled at Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) by Press Secretary Jay Carney over an alleged insult to President Barack Obama by a GOP House leader.

A White House official told me “While the quote attributed to a Republican lawmaker in the House GOP meeting with the President is not accurate, there was a miscommunication when the White House read out that meeting to Senate Democrats, and we regret the misunderstanding.”

So, it was the White House’s fault?

*** UPDATE 3 *** Durbin has posted something new on Facebook

I appreciate this clarification from the White House that explains recent conflicting reports on the GOP quote. It is important now to move beyond the unfortunate events of the last few weeks and work together constructively so that we’re not faced with another shutdown showdown or debt-ceiling debacle.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

“Emphasis added” roundup of the anti gay marriage rally

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* As expected, there was some over the top rhetoric during the Illinois Family Institute’s anti gay marriage rally yesterday

“Our religious freedoms are under attack here. Our faith is under attack here. Where we go to church on Saturday or Sunday is under attack here,” shouted the Rev. Lance Davis, pastor of New Zion Covenant Church in Dolton, bring many in the crowd to their feet. “And we need to stand up and defend our rights, defend not only our rights, but our own family. And I tell you, God will move on our behalf.” […]

Davis said he thinks he has “60-percent” of the 20-member House black voting bloc in his corner against the bill and said anyone who votes for same-sex marriage can expect a political challenge either in a primary or general election.

“Frankly, we have been meeting behind the scenes and making sure those who are for Senate Bill 10 are those who are on our radar as relates to replacing because they do not speak for the constituency and the majority of our people,” Davis said.

* More

“Once homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land here in Illinois, the state and public school system takes over the moral teaching of our children…this by forcing acceptance of this dangerous, disease-filled, deviant and dead-end lifestyle as a good choice for our kids,” said Christian activist Jim Finnegan, president of Illinois Choose Life.

* Gay marriage proponents estimated Tuesday’s rally size at about 5,000, while the Secretary of State Police estimated the number at 3,000. Illinois Review estimated Wednesday’s anti gay marriage crowd size at 4-5,000, above the SoS Police’s estimate of 2500. IR is casting some doubt on the SoS numbers

Questions are being raised over how many each side of the marriage debate had in attendance at the Capitol between Tuesday and Wednesday’s rallies.

Other than some photographs, no real evidence was provided.

* Bruce Rauner skipped the event

“There was no compelling reason for him to be in Springfield,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told the Chicago Sun-Times.

* From Sen. Kirk Dillard’s prepared remarks

I want thank David Smith and the Illinois Institute for bringing us together today and a special thank you to the African American clergy who are protecting our religious liberties under heavy pressure to the contrary. You are the backbone of our state and I am so proud to fight this battle with you.

Ever since “The Campaign” came out, “backbone” quotes should probably be avoided by all candidates.

* And we’ll close with a pic of a somewhat outdated sign…

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Something just doesn’t seem right here

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* Insurance giant Health Alliance claims it seriously under bid all of its competitors to provide Medicare Advantage for thousands of Downstate public employee retirees

Health Alliance said it learned Tuesday that the four winning bids to provide Medicare Advantage coverage for retirees ranged from 24 percent to 120 percent higher than its own bid.

* We’re talking pretty big money here

“I think if you’re looking at something in the magnitude of some $50 million in savings — they said they didn’t know but that was one estimate put out by Health Alliance — $50 million is a lot to leave out there.” [said Sen. Mike Frerichs]

* So, why was the company disqualified? State experience requirements

Health Alliance spokeswoman Jane Hayes said the contract selections are puzzling, “because we’re often seen as too expensive.”

“Of course, they probably didn’t even look at the pricing, because we were thrown out on a technicality that the (state) chief procurement officer could have waived,” Hayes said.

The technical requirement Health Alliance didn’t meet pertained to experience administering large-member Medicare Advantage contracts.

The state required insurance vendors seeking the Medicare Advantage contracts to show they have at least five years’ experience administering Medicare Advantage plans — plus at least three years’ experience administering Medicare Advantage plans for at least one employer with a minimum 1,000 participants enrolled. Bidders also needed to show they had at least one year’s experience administering a Medicare Advantage plan for a government employer with at least 500 participants.

* The Quinn administration’s decision to disqualify the company, which has provided retiree health insurance for decades, isn’t sitting well with retirees and Downstate legislators

Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, said that made no sense since Health Alliance already provides regular health insurance to thousands of state workers.

“We are talking about Health Alliance like it’s some mom and pop shop that just got into health care,” Hays said.

Bonneville said Health Alliance asked for a waiver of the requirement, but it was not granted. Frerichs said it may be time to review the state’s procurement laws that establish rules for the state soliciting contracts.

“I really think our procurement policy needs to have a thorough review,” he said. “What I heard is we became slaves to following policy rather than seeking the greatest savings for the state. Clearly, we don’t want any back-room, insider dealings. Our number one goal should be providing the best services at the least cost for the most people.”

* More

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, another member of COGFA, said he believed the requirements were a ruse to keep Health Alliance from winning the contract.

“There’s no doubt in my mind they deliberately went out of their way to make sure that Health Alliance could not bid this contract,” Rose said. “Why would you write a requirement knowing that these guys can’t qualify? Then twice they asked to have it waived, and Matt Brown said no.”

State Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, said, “I have people openly asking me, does this reek of a vendetta?”

But Janice Bonneville, deputy director of benefits for CMS, said the requirements were developed “after consultation with Segal Consultants of Chicago” which said the requirements were “lower than what they’ve seen in other states who are bidding these same kinds of products.”

The state tried to dump Health Alliance during the Blagojevich era and that decision wound up being probed by the feds.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

Emanuel says he’s backing Quinn

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

* Some regular commenters here have somewhat snarkily suggested that a Rahm Emanuel endorsement for Gov. Pat Quinn would get Bruce Rauner off the hook for his close ties to hizzoner. I dunno about that, but either way, Emanuel told Crain’s editorial board that he is fully backing Quinn and “vigorously” disagrees with his old chum on policy and philosophy

Mr. Emanuel left no wiggle room in his endorsement of Mr. Quinn, with whom he’s quarreled over casino gambling, tax policy, pension reform and other matters.

Mr. Quinn “will win” the Democratic primary, Mr. Emanuel said, indirectly referencing the recent decision by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley to pull out of the the contest.

“Pat Quinn is going to be the (Democratic) nominee. I’ll support him.”

The mayor and Mr. Rauner are longtime business and school-reform compadres, and Mr. Emanuel described Mr. Rauner as “a friend.”

“But we vigorously disagree on policy,” Mr. Emanuel said, particularly government philosophy.

“He thinks government is the problem,” Mr. Emanuel said. “I wouldn’t be talking about (revamping) education and other things if I didn’t think government was the solution. . . .While (Mr. Rauner) may be a friend, we disagree. I’m going to support Gov. Quinn for re-election.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Will wonders never cease?

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* As we discussed a few months ago, some truly awful investment and spending decisions made by Chicago’s elite financiers on behalf of some of the city’s museums and cultural institutions have put those institutions in very real financial danger.

Also as I told earlier, partly in reaction to this problem, the General Assembly passed a bill with a large bipartisan majority that would allow museums and aquariums to reduce the number of required free admission days by half, from 52 down to 26. Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the legislation

“Many Illinois families can only visit these museums on the 52 days that they are currently open to residents free of charge,” the governor wrote in a letter to lawmakers that explains his veto.

“Limiting the number of days our aquariums and museums are available free of cost would disproportionately limit access to our lower-income families,” he said. “I cannot support any legislation that seeks to reduce exposure to the vast educational resources on display at our museums, particularly for those in our state that are most vulnerable.”

* The bill received 79 votes in the House back in April, but impassioned speeches on the House floor today by members of the Black Caucus helped turn the tide in favor of Quinn’s veto and just 49 House members voted to override.

Also helping to kill the override motion was a speech by Rep. Jack Franks, who before today has rarely if ever had anything nice to say about Gov. Quinn. Franks said the veto had changed his own perspective and urged his colleagues who’d never changed their minds to do so on today’s vote.

“The governor is right!” Franks said.

That’s not a misprint.

…Adding… Statement from Gov. Quinn…

“It’s always important to ensure that our residents with modest incomes have equal access to our world-class museums and cultural institutions.

“I commend members of the House for their vote today. They did the right thing.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* Sen. Kirk Dillard to John Kass

“The inevitable outsider characterization makes me laugh,” said Dillard. “No, I don’t think he’s inevitable. And while I respect Mr. Rauner’s success in the private sector, his inner-circle status with Rahm Emanuel is not a plus in a Republican primary.” […]

“In one of your columns I had to laugh, because Rauner tried to backtrack how close he was with the mayor,” Dillard said. “There’s nothing wrong with a relationship. But you have to be able to tell the mayor ‘no.’ As chief of staff for Gov. Edgar I told Mayor (Richard) Daley ‘no’ when he wanted casinos the size of several football fields. Rauner is the man who made Rahm Emanuel rich. That’s the fact. And governmentally, it’s a problem to be that close to the mayor of Chicago.”

* Kass’ take

Some argue that Rauner is beholden to the mayor of Chicago. But Rauner is the one who helped Emanuel make several million dollars in private deals when Emanuel was between political posts. Besides, guys like Bruce Rauner don’t dance for politicians. It’s the other way around.

I think both guys make good points. No way can Bruce Rauner be considered an “outsider,” and polling has shown this to be a killer GOP primary issue.

But he’s an insider who does, indeed, make politicians dance for him. And he’s lately taken to criticizing Emanuel over the way the mayor handled the teachers’ strike.

* The Question: Will Bruce Rauner’s insider experience help him govern if he’s elected? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

surveys & polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

About 2,500 attend anti gay marriage rally

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* Red meat for the faithful from our live session coverage post

* The official crowd estimate from the Secretary of State…

As of noon, Secretary of State Police estimate today’s rally, both inside and outside the Capitol, at about 2,500 people.

An inside photo…

* Back to the rally…

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

Getting It Right For A Change

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

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- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Caught on tape

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* Yikes

In September 2008, Cook County Board of Review analyst Thomas Hawkins was talking about an alleged scheme to lower property tax assessments for a corrupt Chicago police officer when he mentioned that the “boss” had grand plans for how to make even more in bribes in the future.

“This is the move…Joe’s gonna run for assessor…he’s gonna win,” Hawkins allegedly told the officer, Ali Haleem, who was secretly recording the conversation for the FBI. “And then he’s gonna appoint his top deputy for commissioner. So now Joe’s gonna get paid double. He’s gonna get paid for raising taxes and lowering (them).”

The “boss,” according to the Tribune, was Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios, who was then on the Board of Review and eventually won his race for county assessor.


Berrios hasn’t been charged with any crime, and he wasn’t in court Tuesday as hours of wiretapped conversations defendants Tommy Hawkins and John Racasi had about their alleged bribe scheme were played for a federal jury.

But he was center stage nonetheless as both defendants repeatedly implicated him in the secretly taped conversations with an undercover FBI informant.

In one, recorded Sept. 17, 2008, Hawkins, 49, boasts that he was “with Berrios… having lettuce salads” — code, the feds say, that the defendants used for accepting cash bribes.

In another, recorded Sept. 11, 2008, Hawkins was recorded explaining that he planned to bypass “red tape” on an allegedly corrupt property tax appeal by going “straight to Berrios and get a signature.”

“You know, with the lettuce, say here you go, man — sign this. Put this through right away,” Hawkins was taped saying.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Defending Gov. Dangerfield

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* House Bill 3717 was introduced yesterday by Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights). The measure would cut the governor’s office budget by a million dollars

Reduces a Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation from the General Revenue Fund to the Office of the Governor for operational expenses from $5,521,100 to $4,521,000. Effective January 1, 2014.

This is almost undoubtedly a ploy to get some media attention rather than an actual legislative threat.

Harris talked to WUIS about his bill

“It’s my contention [Gov. Quinn] and his staff haven’t done their job, because it’s a cooperative venture here in the state, between the legislature and the chief executive,” Harris says. “We passed 600 bills in the spring session. Six hundred bills. Because we didn’t pass one single bill he claims we haven’t done our job.” […]

In response, a spokesman for the governor sent a summary of task forces, deadlines and public pronouncements Quinn has made to help resolve the pension issue, and says the governor isn’t taking a paycheck until that’s done.

That isn’t enough for Harris, who says Quinn has job perks most legislators do not.

“I’m not driven around by state troopers, I have to buy my gas myself, kay? I have to put food on my table and it doesn’t come from the state coffers at the executive mansion. So there’s a little bit of a difference here,” he says.

Harris also notes that, unlike he did for legislators’ pay, Quinn did not veto his own salary; he is just making a temporary choice to not take a paycheck.

OK, but Harris is now getting paid. And Quinn didn’t use his veto to touch staff salaries. Harris’ bill is focused on staff. That’s a bit much.

* And speaking of no respect for Quinn

The chairman of a legislative panel considering a pack-age of tax breaks for Archer Daniels Midland signaled Tuesday the General Assembly may move forward with a plan despite the threat of a veto from Gov. Pat Quinn.

Earlier this month Quinn said he would oppose any legislation offering tax incentives to the Decatur-based agribusiness giant to keep its world head-quarters in Illinois unless the House and Senate sign off on a plan to overhaul the state’s massively underfunded pension systems.

State Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat from Marion, brushed off the governor’s demands following a Tuesday hearing on a separate set of possible tax breaks aimed at helping Illinois beat out Florida as the headquarters of newly merged OfficeMax and Office Depot.

“We’re used to rhetoric like that coming out of the governor’s office,” Bradley told reporters after chairing a meeting of the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Maybe so, but there’s no great love for this bill in the GA right now.

* And this is incredibly misleading

llinois Gov. Pat Quinn says publicly that public-pension reform is “a paramount issue right now,” but that’s not stopping him from asking for more than $100 million to hike the pay of unionized public employees.

“In terms of fiscal issues, there’s a paramount issue right now, and that is pension reform,” Quinn told reporters on Tuesday. “We must not step back from it, we must step forward.”

At the same time, however, Quinn is asking lawmakers for $200 million in new spending, more than half of which will go to pay promised pay raises for the state’s public employees.

And that’s not sitting will with some lawmakers.

“Our unpaid bills have gone from $4 billion to $7 billion, this guy is a reckless ship when it comes to financial management,” state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington said. “Yes, we need to live up to pour obligations, but (Quinn) needs to learn to live within our means.”

OK, first of all, that proposed approp is actually about paying off an old, unpaid bill. It’s for pay raises going back to 2011 which weren’t funded by the Legislature. A court has ordered the raises have to be paid. And the raises weren’t negotiated by Quinn but by Rod Blagojevich. And then there’s this

Quinn’s staff is urging lawmakers to pay them sooner, so less interest is piled on. Some agencies have already been able to find the money for back pay in their budgets.

So despite the lede of that first story, paying the raises is basically the same argument that Quinn is making on pension reform. Deal with it now or the costs will increase with every day of delay.

You can make the argument that Quinn ought to find the money to pay the raises from within his existing budget, but then you might be asked where he ought to make his agency cuts. And just about every time he lays off workers or closes a state facility, a large group of GOP lawmakers screams bloody murder.

Also, revenues are coming in about $360 million higher than original estimates. So if you treat the back pay as a past-due bill like all the others, then there’s a very logical argument to make that the supplemental appropriation should be approved.

* For his part, Gov. Quinn refused to directly criticize Senate President John Cullerton over the whole “is the pension debt a crisis or not” argument despite this story’s spin

Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday reiterated that the state’s pension problems are an “extreme emergency” that demand lawmakers’ attention now.

Speaking at a Statehouse news conference, Quinn dismissed a statement from Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, over the weekend that the pension problem does not rise to the level of a crisis.

“I think it is a matter of extreme emergency, it is urgent,” Quinn said when asked about Cullerton’s comments. “Whatever word you want to use, when taxpayers are paying $5 million a day more in pension liability, to me that’s a matter of grave importance. We have to resolve the issue right now.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Credit Union (noun) – an essential financial cooperative

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

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- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x1 - Oberweis says he’s in *** Caption contest!

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* State Sen. Jim Oberweis is taking advantage of the “Defend Marriage Lobby Day” crowd to circulate his US Senate nominating petitions…

…Adding… So far, anyway, the crowd isn’t all that huge. From our live session coverage post

*** UPDATE *** From the Twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

“Emphasis added” gay marriage rally roundup

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013

* So were Springfield police officers enforcing a religious dress code yesterday, or were they just keeping the peace? Sun-Times

Throughout the day Tuesday, activists rallied, marched and met face-to-face with House members. Later in the day, a trio of Roman Catholic gay-rights activists — greatly outnumbered by police — silently prayed the rosary in support of Harris’ legislation at Springfield’s largest Catholic cathedral.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, head of the Springfield Catholic diocese, warned earlier in the day that anyone wearing rainbow sashes — a sign of solidarity in the same-sex marriage push — would be barred entrance to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception because their defiance against church policy on marriage amounted to “blasphemy.”

The activists who showed up at a late-afternoon mass at the church were not wearing the sashes.

* Belleville News-Democrat

Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, said people have strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

“But I do believe that it could be categorized, to a large extent, as generational,” Hoffman said. “People who are my daughter’s age believe much differently than older individuals. That’s just kind of the sense I’ve gotten from the calls I receive.”

Hoffman voted in favor of civil unions but has previously said he’s opposed to gay marriage. In an interview this week, however, he left open the possibility of voting in favor of it.

“I haven’t decided. I’m still reviewing some of the information that’s been provided by both sides. Until we see a final draft of a bill, I think it’s premature,” Hoffman said.

Um, dude, the bill was drafted months ago. It passed the Senate in February.

* SJ-R headline

Hundreds rally at Capitol for same-sex marriage

* Sun-Times lede

Saying it’s “criminal” gays and lesbians can’t marry in Illinois, more than 1,000 gay-rights supporters braved a steady rain at the Capitol Tuesday to push stalled same-sex marriage legislation — but faced a harsh backlash from a top Catholic leader.

* Chicago GoPride headline

Record-breaking crowds rally in Springfield for marriage equality

* The official Secretary of State Police estimate

“This is our hour. This is our moment,” Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn told the estimated crowd of 3,000 that had gathered under a cold rain.

* Speaker Madigan was the center of attention for some leaders who addressed the crowd

Noticeable absent was Lisa Madigan’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D), who supports the measure but has yet to call the bill in the House.

“Mike Madigan’s House failed us,” said Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network. “We have a message to Mike Madigan, pass the damn bill this fall veto session.”

Thayer continued his impassioned message, “It is time. It is time Mike Madigan!”

At one point the energized crowd started chanting, “Call the bill!”

Lambda Legal’s Jim Bennett, chair of the Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition, continued on message, “It’s time for Speaker Madigan to show some leadership and pass this bill now.”

* But this was unbelievably stupid

The tension was on display through the day, as some in the crowd shouted “Call the vote” while [gay marriage bill sponsor Rep. Greg Harris] spoke. Others took to the stage in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln’s statue to declare they were prepared to vote out of office lawmakers who got in the way — including Harris.

Yeah, that’ll help. Primary the most ardent gay marriage supporter in the entire Illinois General Assembly. Great.

Anybody who does that is a moron, plain and simple.

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* One more day
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* Sign of the times?
* Question of the day
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
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* Report: "A billion-dollar giveaway rife with failure"
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