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Jak Tichenor named interim Simon Institute director

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Great news for Jak

Jak Tichenor, whose journalism career with WSIU Public Broadcasting spanned nearly 34 years, will become interim director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on Nov. 1.

He will replace David Yepsen, who is retiring at the end of this month after leading the institute for the past seven years. The university will conduct a national search for a permanent director. […]

“Our granddaughter was born with spina bifida, making it very difficult for her to walk,” Tichenor said. “One of the bills that Paul passed while in the Illinois General Assembly required children with disabilities to be able to attend public schools like every other child in the state. He did it here in Illinois and he did it later in Congress. Paul once told me that bill never generated a single headline or editorial, but it was one of the things he was most proud of getting accomplished. Thanks to his good work, she and countless other children living with disabilities are able to go to school and get a good start in life.”

His immediate plans for the institute are to continue working on projects “that David Yepsen and his staff have been working on that need to be successfully implemented and carried out well into the spring semester and beyond.”

In addition, the institute will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year “and we want to organize a series of events and speakers that recognize Sen. Simon’s legacy in an appropriate way, but more importantly, continue to grow that legacy by developing projects and activities that reflect his priorities and engage the citizens of today and tomorrow in meaningful, measurable ways.”

Way to go, Lester!

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Board of Elections states the obvious to the clueless

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* It’s sad that they even have to do this…

The State Board of Elections has received inquiries from voters, the media and public interest groups concerning the integrity of the November 8, 2016, General Election. The State Board of Elections wishes to assure voters that the allegations of a “rigged” election are completely unfounded. A brief overview of the election process illustrates the numerous safeguards built into the election system to secure the integrity of the voting machines and tabulation of election results.

Initially, the Voting and Registration Systems Division of the State Board of Elections thoroughly tests the voting equipment to ensure compliance with both Federal and State standards prior to approving its use in Illinois elections, and also conducts testing of the voting equipment prior to each Election. This testing takes place in jurisdictions selected by the State Board of Elections both randomly and in those jurisdictions where it is deemed advisable due to any problems in previous elections, and is open to the public.

Each of the 109 election authorities in the State must conduct errorless pre-tests of its automatic tabulating equipment and program to verify that they will correctly count the votes for all offices and public questions. A copy of that program is filed with the State Board prior to the election. Thereafter, not less than 5 days prior to Election Day, the election authority must publicly test the equipment. The public test of the equipment takes place at a minimum of 48 hours after notice is published, and is open to the public and all interested parties.

Following these mandatory public tests, the voting equipment and memory cards are locked and sealed in tamper-proof containers until Election Day. The containers are unlocked and unsealed on Election Day in the presence of the election judges and any authorized watchers that are present. If any tampering has occurred, it would be evident at that time.

In addition to the mandatory testing, the law requires training for all citizens who serve as election judges. Each election authority must establish a 4-hour training course for its judges. Also, the State Board of Elections conducts schools for the training of election judges throughout the State of Illinois. These schools, conducted by Board staff, are well-attended and on-going. Between July 25, 2016, and November 2, 2016, there are 62 schools scheduled.

Significantly, on Election Day the polling places are staffed by 5 judges – composed of both Democrats and Republicans - in each precinct. There are approximately 10,000 precincts in Illinois, which translates to 50,000 election judges present to assure the integrity of the process. Additionally, authorized poll watchers are eligible to be present in each precinct.

Following the close of the polls, the election judges process the ballots in the presence of all the judges and any authorized poll watchers in attendance.

Elections in Illinois are conducted not by the State Board of Elections, but by each of the 109 election jurisdictions. Thus, an attempt to “rig” the election would require involvement with multiple jurisdictions. The results from each of the precincts are totaled by each election jurisdiction and there is no connection to the internet. There is a paper trail in Illinois for each ballot cast, by whatever means it is cast.

Following the election, in those jurisdictions where in-precinct counting equipment is used, the election authority retabulates the total number of votes cast in 5% of the precincts within the election jurisdiction, as well as 5% of the voting devices used in early voting.

Any voter who is concerned about the integrity of the election process may want to consider becoming an election judge. Election authorities are always seeking election judges and serving as such allows the voter to experience first-hand the system from the opening of the precinct to the tabulation of the results. Voters may also consider volunteering as a pollwatcher though to do so they must be affiliated with a candidate, political party or civic organization engaged in overseeing the election process.

The State Board of Elections will provide updates, as necessary, prior to the General Election.

The State Board of Elections is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of having general supervision over the administration of election laws of the State of Illinois. Elections are administered locally by the State’s 109 election authorities.

* Earlier today, I asked the SBE and the Chicago Board of Elections about this Russian Television story

The US has rejected a Russian proposal to send diplomats to monitor the upcoming presidential elections and some states have even threatened to bring criminal charges against any that appear at ballot stations, Russian election officials report.

Sources in the Central Elections Commission have told Izvestia daily that its representatives held a series of talks with the US State Department to discuss sending a delegation of monitors to US polling stations on November 8. US officials categorically rejected even the possibility of such a mission, however, instead recommending that Russia join the international mission of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The request was also rejected on a state level, and in three states – Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas – officials used “very harsh formulas” to do so, the sources said. “In violation of all principles of democracy and international monitoring, in Texas they even threatened to hold monitors who appear at ballot stations criminally responsible,” they added.

I was told that neither board received such a request from the Russians. And, by the way, good on Texas.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Vote Yes On Safe Roads Amendment

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Pay Now coalition asks Supremes to review state employee pay issue

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Check out the last, highlighted paragraph in this excerpt

Today the Pay Now Illinois coalition requested the Illinois Supreme Court to take a direct appeal of their case and confirm the state’s obligation to fully pay social service providers it contracts with to care for vulnerable Illinoisans. The appeal also asks the court to resolve constitutional questions and safeguard the rights of every Illinoisan to be treated fairly and seek legal recourse when dam- aged by illegal business practices. The appeal marks the latest chapter in a story that has garnered national headlines since May, when 97 service providers from across Illinois sued Governor Bruce Rauner and leaders of seven state agencies for impairment of contract.

The defendants do not dispute that plaintiffs have suffered irreparable harm as a result of the state’s illegal business practices, which left hundreds of providers unpaid for an entire fiscal year. And while the election-season “stopgap” bill passed in June allowed the state to pay many of the contracts that were issued a year earlier, this measure expires December 31st. Moreover, it does not include the necessary funding for FY17 contracts, which the state continues to issue and enforce, with no guarantee of payment and no clear access to a remedy, the appeal contends.

In August, when Circuit Court Judge Rodolfo Garcia dismissed the suit, he urged plaintiffs to bring the case to a higher court to expedite redress of the constitutional questions raised by the state’s business practices. In bringing this case to the Illinois Supreme Court, the plaintiffs are asking the Court to clarify an interpretation of a previous court decision that has allowed the state to continue to pay employees, even as it avoids payment to providers the state contracts with to provide services on the state’s behalf. […]

The appeal also asks the Supreme Court to clarify a court decision that has enabled state employees to earn $3.2 billion since 2015, while avoiding payment to hundreds of state contractors that employ thousands of Illinoisans who provide services on the state’s behalf. Pay Now Illinois is seeking only to have its contracts be honored and paid in full in a timely fashion. The initial suit sought payment of $161 million for services rendered.


The petition is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Alan J. Ortbals, president and publisher of the Illinois Business Journal, writes about the state government impasse

For the good of the state and its nearly 13 million people, Rauner should put this fight off for another time and negotiate a balanced budget with the legislature. We’re not as far from solvency as many people think. This is fixable.

The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, an independent, bi-partisan Illinois think tank has put forward a clear and simple plan that would correct our fiscal path in a few years. […]

I understand that the governor believes that adoption of his Turnaround Agenda is necessary to make Illinois competitive again. Others disagree. So, let’s let the voters decide.

In 2018 Rauner and much of the legislature will be up for election. I think the Republicans should make that election a referendum on his Agenda. Like Newt Gingrich did with his Contract With America in 1994, have all the Republican candidates sign it and run on it. If they can convince the majority of Illinoisans that the Agenda is crucial to our future, they’ll not only return Rauner to office but give him the majority he needs in the legislature to pass it. If he continues on his current path, he’ll not only do great damage to the state but he will be held responsible for it by the voters.

Governor, a good general not only picks his battles, he also picks the time and place. This isn’t it. Put this fight off to 2018 and, in the meantime, get Illinois moving again.

It’s worth reading the whole thing.

* The Question: Agree or disagree? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

bike trail guide

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Vote no because driverless cars!

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* An otherwise pretty well-reasoned Better Government Association argument against the proposed transportation “lockbox” amendment includes this weird little dot point

The lockbox could restrict the use of new funds that might not be necessary for decades, including revenues from driverless cars and biking, which could decrease the need for road maintenance.

A bit of a stretch, particularly since “driverless cars” (which aren’t yet driverless and won’t be for a long time) will undoubtedly cost more money because their backers are already demanding things like special lanes and blocked off streets.

* Related…

* Illinois League of Women Voters statement on Transportation Lockbox

* Ray LaHood and Ed Rendell: Vote ‘yes’ on roads amendment

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

ILGOP ups ante on anti-Bradley ad, shows Dem comparing MJM to Lincoln

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Illinois Republican Party press release

Lawyers for John Bradley and Mike Madigan are attempting to pull down an ad featuring Bradley endorsing Madigan in his own words.

Watch the ad here.

Bradley is scared because the video, which shows him nominate and praise Mike Madigan for Speaker, is proof that Bradley is a typical Springfield insider.

Watch Bradley swoon and compare Mike Madigan to Abraham Lincoln here.

John Bradley in his own words:

    “I rise to second the nomination of Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 97th General Assembly of this great state of Illinois. Perhaps our greatest Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, said nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. For his many years as speaker, Mike Madigan has been tested time and time again. And his character has always prevailed. I don’t think any of us can appreciate the pressures, the challenges, the amount of work our speaker faces on a daily basis. The difficult decisions, the heart wrenching choices. But I believe that it is his love of this state, his respect for this institution, and his devotion to principle that keeps him going. As he once again is nominated to assume this great responsibility, he becomes one of the longest serving public figures in the history of this state and the history of this great country. Lincoln also said; whatever you are, be a good one. Speaker Madigan has done just that. He has given his all to this job, and he has given his all to this state, and the mark that he has left and hopes to continue to make is immeasurable. Thank you.”


* Watch

Background is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Creamer tries to explain away the undercover video

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Bob Creamer talked to the Sun-Times about the now infamous O’Keefe undercover video

Creamer told the Chicago Sun-Times that O’Keefe’s allegations that he and his firm had a role in inciting violence at Trump events “are completely untrue.” … A female activist in the Project Veritas Action video identified as Zulema Rodriguez told an unidentified interviewer using a hidden camera that she had a hand in organizing protests at a Trump rally at the UIC Pavilion last March. … Creamer said Rodriguez was organizing anti-Trump protests around the UIC event but wasn’t working for him at the time. […]

White House visitor logs show Creamer has made 340 visits since Obama took office in January 2009.

Creamer told the Sun-Times, “The Obama White House has regular meetings of progressive organizations every week. Lots of people go, including me.”

Explaining the video scenes that included him, Creamer said he thought he was talking to a man who was a potential large donor to Democratic causes. In reality, that man was posing as a donor and secretly recording Creamer. […]

Project Veritas also was able to plant an intern in Creamer’s Washington, D.C., office to secretly video workers. Creamer said she posed as the niece of the fake potential donor, who asked Creamer to give her a job.

He gave her a job before he got a check? That’s awful trusting of him.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Caption contest!

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Your own caption?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

A bit much

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* From an action alert

SAVE THE NUKES! Assembly and Criticality
Who: Pro-nuclear environmentalists from all over the country.

What: Hone your advocacy skills, help build a movement, and take direct action to save Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Plants.

Why: Because nuclear power is in crisis, and we need a unified movement to protect the planet from climate change while lifting all people out of poverty.

Where: The Congress Plaza Hotel — 520 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

When: 5 pm on Saturday, October 23rd 5:30 PM October 24 2 PM

Clinton and Quad Cities are at Risk –
Nuclear is the only source of clean power to have declined in absolute terms over the last 20 years. The reason is the same everywhere: people fear nuclear. The nuclear establishment (government, academic and industry) has tried and failed for several decades to address public concerns. Over a decade ago, the nuclear establishment, discouraged by its failures, largely withdrew from public engagement. For decades, anyone who dared to speak of the environmental benefits of nuclear energy was branded as an industry shill.

The Boston Tea Party. Gandhi’s Salt March. The Civil Rights March on Washington. Stonewall. These protests helped win freedom and fairness for millions of people. [Emphasis added.]

You gotta be kidding me.

They even have their own fight song: “The Battle Hymn of the Atom.”


* This same group is giving away goodies at UIUC today

The American Nuclear Society & Women in Nuclear University of Illinois Student Sections will be out on the Quad giving info about nuclear power, the state of energy in the U.S., and collecting survey data on the public opinions of UIUC students.

Thursday 10/20! There will be a prizes for participation. You could be selected to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a $25 DD giftcard and a Nuclear T-shirt!!

A nuclear t-shirt. Just what I’ve always wanted.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Munger puts Rauner’s $1 million contribution to good use

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Man, that’s a good ad

* As I’ve already told subscribers, Susana Mendoza tries to tie Munger to Rauner and Trump and actually uses the topic of legislator paychecks against Munger in her first negative TV spot

* But Munger’s first negative ad is also pretty good

Your thoughts?

…Adding… From Munger’s campaign…


Just wanted to add two things.

1) For whats it’s worth, saw Wordslinger’s comments about hired actors but those are all [Munger] volunteers

2) Susana really went out of her way to cut up and isolate that audio for her commercial. Here is the interview with Tom Miller where he is acknowledging Leslie’s actions in delaying the payments to politicians before the statement.

The audio

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

IDES says Illinois lost 800 manufacturing jobs last month

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* From IDES…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate in September held at 5.5 percent and nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,400 jobs over the month, based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and IDES. Job growth is still below the national average, with Illinois -38,800 jobs short of its peak employment level reached in September 2000.

“Job growth has been uneven over the past several months,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Even with net job growth this year, Illinois still lags the nation in its recovery from the recession.”

“While we are seeing growth for some in the service sector, Illinois continues to lose middle class manufacturing jobs,” Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Acting Director Sean McCarthy said. “In the last year, Illinois has lost 12,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s an average of 1,000 families losing vital income every month, while manufacturing grew nationally. We need reforms to make sure these families aren’t left behind.”

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+5,100); Educational and Health Services (+1,500); and Other Services (+1,200). The three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Financial Activities (-1,300); Manufacturing (-800); and Leisure and Hospitality (-500).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +43,400 jobs with the largest gains in two industry sectors: Professional and Business Services (+23,500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+21,600). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines in September include: Manufacturing (-12,700) and Information Services (-4,000). The +0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is less than the +1.7 percent gain posted by the nation in September.

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September 2016, which inched up to 5.0 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.9 percent. The unemployment rate stands at its lowest (for the second straight month) since January 2008. The number of unemployed and the labor force edged down over-the-month, the fifth consecutive drop this year.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -0.9 percent from the prior month to 360,500, down -5.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The number of unemployed persons stands at its lowest level since September 2007. The labor force grew by +0.8 percent in September over the prior year, but decreased -0.1 percent over-the-month. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. [Emphasis added.]

Needless to say, we can ill afford to lose those manufacturing jobs. And more losses are on the way.

* Crain’s

One of the main suppliers of the boxes for the iconic Frango Mints is shifting a portion of its operations to Wisconsin, taking advantage of government incentives worth up to $1.6 million.

Colbert Packaging will relocate about 65 jobs from a facility in Lake Forest 25 miles north to Kenosha, Wis. The company plans to add another 40 to 45 jobs there over the next two years. President Jim Hamilton said the move allowed Colbert to keep the same skilled employees and easy interstate access while reducing taxes and real estate costs.

“Wisconsin rolled out the welcome mat,” said President Jim Hamilton. “This state has no welcome mat. It’s like, ‘You’re here. Good.’” […]

While Wisconsin offered incentives, Colbert faced the expiration last year of a useful Illinois tax credit Illinois that applied to the purchase of printing presses. A new press costs the company $3.5 to $5 million, Hamilton said, the company would have had to pay sales tax on that purchase if it was made in Illinois.

Wisconsin’s tax package was matched in Illinois by the expiration of a tax exemption carved out for the state’s printers. A press costs the company $3.5 to $5 million, Hamilton said, and with the exemption expiring, it now has to pay sales tax on that equipment purchase.

Scream all you want about corporate welfare, but allowing that credit to expire last year cost us those jobs and likely several more. This impasse just isn’t hurting people who depend on the budget.

Also, where the heck was DCEO on this one? I thought we had a pro-business governor?

…Adding… From the IMA…

In the wake of another dismal jobs report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Greg Baise, CEO and president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association released the following statement in reaction to recent manufacturing job losses from Colbert Packaging and GE Lighting.

“Another disappointing jobs report punctuates the dilemma Illinois has in keeping middle class jobs,” Baise said.

“The General Assembly must act as soon as possible to fix the problems plaguing Illinois. This news is the latest example that government policies are destroying the manufacturing sector and our middle class jobs. The Illinois economy will continue to worsen until the state has a balanced budget and passes real economic development reforms that will get our economy moving again.”

* Related…

* Matton’s GE Lamp Plant Announces Official Closure

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

IDOC moves to reform solitary confinement rules

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* More like this, please

Acknowledging that in the past, inmates have too often been housed in segregation, the Illinois Department of Corrections is proposing new restrictions on the practice.

“This is going to be a culture change, frankly, for the Illinois Department of Corrections,” department attorney Nancy Vincent said Wednesday in Springfield during a public hearing on the proposal. “And we also want the public to understand that this is just the first step, both in that culture change and in how we administer discipline and segregation.”

Among other changes, the proposal would require that mental health professionals play a greater role in determining whether segregation is an appropriate disciplinary measure for inmates who have committed offenses while in prison. For example, if an inmate is determined to be “seriously mentally ill,” the recommendations of a mental health professional would have to be considered if an inmate has committed an offense for which segregation is a possible punishment.

The department also proposes allowing inmates in segregation to shower and shave at least three times per week rather than just once and requiring that segregated cells “provide visual access to natural light.”

The rules also would require that a mental health professional make rounds in each segregation unit at least once a week and that a chaplain make weekly visits as well.

* Solitary confinement can drive people insane

In the largest prison protest in California’s history, nearly 30,000 inmates have gone on hunger strike. Their main grievance: the state’s use of solitary confinement, in which prisoners are held for years or decades with almost no social contact and the barest of sensory stimuli.

The human brain is ill-adapted to such conditions, and activists and some psychologists equate it to torture. Solitary confinement isn’t merely uncomfortable, they say, but such an anathema to human needs that it often drives prisoners mad.

In isolation, people become anxious and angry, prone to hallucinations and wild mood swings, and unable to control their impulses. The problems are even worse in people predisposed to mental illness, and can wreak long-lasting changes in prisoners’ minds.

“What we’ve found is that a series of symptoms occur almost universally. They are so common that it’s something of a syndrome,” said psychiatrist Terry Kupers of the Wright Institute, a prominent critic of solitary confinement. “I’m afraid we’re talking about permanent damage.”

And then we let those insane people out of prison where they too often can’t get the help they need, and then we all act surprised when more bad things happen.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

A massive game of “chicken”

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* This is a very good roundup of some of the major challenges facing Exelon’s push to pry loose ratepayer subsidies for two of its Downstate nuclear power plants during the upcoming veto session

“The first question we get from the speaker’s office is, ‘Where’s the governor?’” Exelon executive Tim Hanley said last week during a meeting with the Quad-City Times editorial board. “The governor’s office asks, ‘Where’s the speaker?’” […]

Gov. Bruce Rauner has repeatedly declined to comment on the Exelon drama. Democrats in the General Assembly find it ironic that they are being asked to save hundreds of union jobs in a Republican-held Senate district, while Rauner continues to do battle with public unions.

Rauner might have no option but to give in, if Quad-Cities Generating Station is to survive 2018. And Democrats know it. […]

Lawmakers have said that a bailout for a coal-fired Dynergy plant in Southern Illinois would have to be part of the overall package, Hanley said. That’s sure to be another strike against any sweeping energy deal, as far as the influential Clean Jobs Coalition is concerned.

So, in a nutshell, there’s a proposed rate-hike that would include cash from taxpayers in the mix. There’s a politically prescribed bailout for a coal plant just to get any package out of committee in the House. The governor has done little but waffle. And the entire thing hinges on a six-day veto session, three days on either side of Thanksgiving.

It’s basically a game of chicken. Somebody is gonna have to blink first, but then that somebody is gonna catch the blame for a rate hike.

* More

[Sen. Donne Trotter] and other sponsors of the [Exelon] legislation, including Republican state Sens. Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Neil Anderson of Rock Island, say negotiations with Exelon, environmental and consumer groups, the renewable energy industry and downstate utility Ameren Illinois have continued in the intervening months.

“It’s coming together, and hopefully by the time we get back on Nov. 15, there’ll be enough consensus that we can move forward with it and get it through the Senate as well as the House,” Trotter said, noting that some House members were in attendance and that House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, made a brief appearance.

But, of course, there’s more to this package than just Exelon’s big asks. ComEd, for instance, wants an unprecedented new pricing plan.

* Joe Cahill at Crain’s says we need some baby steps on ComEd’s idea and proposes a pilot project instead

Commonwealth Edison is pushing Illinois lawmakers to approve a dramatic change in electricity pricing based on little more than the utility’s assurance that most customers would save money under the novel approach.

ComEd says it has examined customer usage patterns and determined that “demand pricing” would reduce bills for two-thirds of its customers. Under a demand-based pricing system, bills reflect the amount of power each customer uses during periods of peak electricity demand.

ComEd would track how much power each customer uses during the half-hour period of highest electricity use every day—perhaps a time when a hair dryer, refrigerator, washing machine and air conditioner are running simultaneously. The utility would set rates and compute bills based on the average of those daily peaks over the course of a month (excluding weekends and holidays).

Vice President Scott Vogt says the new system would allow customers to control their electric bills by avoiding big spikes in usage. But he emphasizes that two-thirds would save money even if they don’t change current consumption patterns. Those who see their bills rise could mitigate or reverse the increase by adjusting their electricity usage. “We think this is the fairest way to do it,” Vogt says.

Really? It will take more than ComEd’s say-so to convince me, and legislators should be equally skeptical. ComEd is asking them to lead Illinois into unknown territory. No state has yet authorized mandatory demand pricing for residential electricity customers. So far, proposals to impose demand pricing on all residential consumers have been withdrawn or rejected in 13 states, according to the Alliance for Solar Choice.

* Related…

* Rivals aim to halt New York subsidies that would mean billions to Exelon

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Why was that anti-Bradley ad taken down by YouTube?

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* You may have noticed that the online version of a Republican TV ad has been taken down by YouTube. The video uses footage of Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) seconding the nomination of Michael Madigan for another term as House Speaker. If you saw it yesterday, you know it’s brutal.

YouTube explains that it removed the video “due to a copyright claim by Advanced Digital Media, Inc.,” the company which owns The company sells its video to TV stations, etc., but it also has some other strict rules

Programming produced on cannot be used for political, campaign or commercial purposes without permission. Any re-editing, re-broadcast, or re-use without permission is strictly prohibited.

Tony Yuscius at told me yesterday that a video snippet of Rep. Bradley testifying in a committee hearing is actually theirs.

* After YouTube removed the video, Yuscius received this e-mail yesterday from the Illinois Rebuild Project, which is sort of the social media arm of the GOP’s paid media this cycle…

Today you submitted a youtube takedown request for our campaign video, hosted on youtube -

The video in question contains no video footage sourced from Advanced Digital Media. All video content contained was sourced from either the Office of the Clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives or the following Youtube video - - which was not posted by Advanced Digital Media and contains no notifications that it is your copyrighted work. In addition, the roughly four seconds of silent video footage would be allowable under the doctrine of fair use even if it were your copyrighted work.

We request that you retract your takedown request with all haste.

That claimed source video has now also been taken down by YouTube after a copyright claim was filed by Advanced Digital Media.


* Tony’s e-mailed response to me…

At this point the illegally obtained video has been removed from YouTube. I intend to pursue legal options and strongly protect our copyrighted content. The e-mail received states the video with Rep. Bradley’s audio came from the House Clerk’s office. Perhaps Mr. Brown may want to comment on that?

* Madigan spokesman Steve Brown’s response…

Our lawyers are pursuing the use of the material

* From the General Assembly’s website

This live session video/audio broadcast is the property of the Illinois General Assembly. Any use of this broadcast without the prior written consent of the Illinois General Assembly is prohibited.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

By popular demand, here’s that Madigan/Trump/Clinton photo

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Todd Wessell

A desk drawer full of campaign flyers and brochures charging local candidates with everything from being a hypocrite to endangering the well-being of senior citizens and children are being circulated to voters throughout the Northwest suburban area.

The four-color, double-sided pieces, all printed on heavy coated paper stock, focus on the negatives of candidates. The materials are funded by the political committees of some of the candidates and well-financed political action committees.

This suburban area is home to three high-profile election contests that state party leaders desperately want to capture in order to gain or maintain control or leverage of the Illinois General Assembly. Parties and PACs are literally spending millions of dollars collectively in these races.

Here’s a sample of some of the campaign pieces:

• “Blank Check Murphy created this monster”, a reference to State Senator Laura Murphy in the 28th Senate District that includes parts of Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Elk Grove Village and communities to the west. The flyer’s main focal point is a photo of House Speaker Mike Madigan wearing a Donald Trump wig. “Chicago Democrat boss House Speaker Mike Madigan combines the worst qualities of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.” This was paid for by conservative PAC Liberty Principles.

* That same Dan Proft mailer was mentioned often in yesterday’s Question of the Day because the Madigan/Trump/Clinton (notice the earrings and jacket) photo was used in several districts. So here it is in case you didn’t get one of your own…

* Now, watch him morph in real time during the Proft TV ad


- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Good for the goose…

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

[Oops! I accidentally closed comments on this one. Sorry. They’re open now]

* An ILGOP press release from mid-afternoon yesterday

ICYMI: Susana Mendoza’s Campaign Cash at Odds with Her Labor Message

“When Susana Mendoza isn’t double-dipping, she’s double-talking. Mendoza’s Chicago-style campaign rhetoric and tactics are exactly why Illinoisans are fed up with career politicians who will do or say anything to get elected. We can’t let Susana Mendoza be a rubber stamp for her self-proclaimed mentor, Mike Madigan, and his reckless agenda of tax hikes, pension holidays, and budget-busting deficits.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

Classic concern trolling with the usual 2016 Madigan twist.

* The reference was to this Sun-Times story

In her first run for statewide office, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza hustled across Illinois on Labor Day weekend, marching in parades on the city’s Southeast Side and in Rock Island to show solidarity with union members.

Just a few weeks before that, though, Mendoza’s Democratic campaign for state comptroller accepted a contribution from an O’Hare Airport contractor who has feuded with organized labor for years.

Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger called on Mendoza to give back $1,000 from former Chicago cop and janitorial contractor Richard Simon. Despite heavy union opposition, Simon’s United Maintenance Co. Inc. landed a five-year, $99.4 million deal with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration in 2012.

In calling on Mendoza to return the Aug. 12 contribution from Simon, the Munger campaign cited his company’s recent settlement of a federal wage-theft lawsuit filed on behalf of O’Hare janitors. Without admitting wrongdoing, United Maintenance agreed last month to fork over more than $845,000 to settle the case.

Munger also called on Mendoza to refund a campaign contribution from a contractor for a local charter school chain that’s come under scrutiny from federal investigators.

That’s quite a lot of hype over two $1,000 contributions. Particularly these days.

* But the ILGOP press release ended with this statement from Comptroller Munger’s campaign

“Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza is asking voters to trust her with the state’s checkbook, but these contributions create real questions about her judgment,” said Munger’s campaign manager, Phillip Rodriguez. “She can show her commitment to ethical behavior by returning those contributions.”

* And then, a few hours later, Munger reported receiving a $1 million contribution from Gov. Rauner.

Here’s the Mendoza campaign’s response

What Illinois needs during the worst fiscal crisis in state history is an independent fiscal watchdog as comptroller, a separate executive office as set out in our constitution, not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Governor’s office.

Governor Rauner, whom Comptroller Munger should be serving as a checks and balance to, just wrote a $1 million buy out check to his self-proclaimed wingman. By accepting it, she has demonstrated her utter lack of independence and complete reliance on her political sponsor.

The only way for Leslie Munger to keep the constitutionally mandated independence of the Comptroller’s office and not subvert the state constitution in the eyes of the voters is to give back this $1 million takeover bid from Governor Rauner.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

About last night…

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

* Oh, no…

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

* This just in... $12 million contribution to Leader Durkin, $2 million to Munger
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