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Strange reactions

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

· Watch this CBS2 video of the governor’s strange reaction when asked what the state can do about high gasoline prices.

· After you’re finished with that, head over to Jim Leach’s blog for this weird back and forth with Judy Baar Topinka about whether she thinks President Bush is taking the nation in the “right direction.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Ethics; Robocalls; Rockford

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

First, the setup:

One bumper sticker handed out in 2000 by a group critical of then-Gov. George Ryan may have best summed up the public’s often cynical view of Illinois politics: “Our governor is a bigger crook than your governor.”

Ryan’s conviction on federal corruption charges adds yet another chapter to Illinois’ already voluminous history of political missteps, shenanigans and scandal.

From Ryan’s subordinates barbecuing documents trying to cover their tracks to cash-filled shoe boxes in the hotel room of a dead secretary of state, Illinois - the state that gave rise to Honest Abe - is arguably best known for its less-than-honest political pedigree.

But are we really that bad?

“Yes” is the resounding answer from many, but not all, political reformers and pundits.

“I think that it’s important for people to step back and look at Illinois at this moment in history,” said Cindi Canary, the director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “The breadth and volume of the problem in this state is absolutely without compare. And it’s nothing to be proud of.”

Do you think Illinois is the most corrupt state in the nation? Why or why not? And what should be done about it?

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Congressional stuff

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

Rush blasted:

An Englewood community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a key player on telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation’s largest phone companies.

The chief of a congressional watchdog group says Rush’s ongoing association with the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation and his role in shaping telecommunications law as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee is a conflict of interest. Using charitable giving as a backdoor way to curry favor with lawmakers is coming under increasing scrutiny, figuring in controversies associated with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who was forced to temporarily step aside as the ranking Democrat on the Ethics panel.

· McSweeney may have goofed:

Republican 8th Congressional District candidate Dave McSweeney put himself in an unusual political position this week. Newly-nominated congressional candidates tend to play it safe politically, staying above the fray in internecine conflicts. Not McSweeney. He waded into the battle over who’d become the next Lake County Republican Party chairman. McSweeney backed Tom Gooch, the Cuba Township highway commissioner, over Dan Venturi, the Lake Villa Township supervisor. McSweeney’s guy lost, and McSweeney loses a bit of face as a result. With even House Speaker Dennis Hastert admitting it’ll be an uphill climb against Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean this fall, McSweeney needs every Republican vote he can get. Risking the ire of Venturi backers definitely did not follow the political playbook. I asked McSweeney Friday to explain the unorthodox move. He said he “made some phone calls for” Gooch. Loyalty, it seems, was the reason. “It’s not a question of looking weak, Eric. Tom was one of my original supporters,” McSweeney said. “He was there Day One for me.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


Guv: “Stay tuned” on tollway leasing

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

Is the guv really thinking about leasing the tollways?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Monday he’s waiting to see how Indiana’s experiment of leasing its toll road fares before deciding whether to act on a suggestion to do the same for the suburban tollway.

“Stay tuned,” said Blagojevich Monday. “This is an idea that we’ve talked about for years, actually. You’ve got to explore all kinds of creative ways to utilize the assets of the state. It sure is better than putting more burdens on the hard-working people and asking them for their tax dollars.”

Indiana is getting $3.8 billion for leasing its toll road to a foreign business group, and Blagojevich said he’s “looking with great interest” at how it plays out. Critics blast provisions in the Indiana contract that will allow the new operator to raise tolls by 2 percent a year after 2009.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat, has suggested the idea of leasing or selling Illinois’ tollway system, but Blagojevich said he won’t consider it until next year at the earliest. Schoenberg said he’s working independently on the idea, asking a state agency to look at how much a tollway lease could bring into state coffers.

What do you think of this idea?

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Morning open thread

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

· State awards $10 million for stem cells. More here and here.

· Topinka pumps plan to cap state sales tax on gasoline. More here.

· I hope he wins this case so we can finally open up this process, but I’m not sure why he’s bringing it: Parole officer sues to get report criticizing how he got his job

· They’d have more money if they stopped raiding the Road Fund: The escalation in oil prices is affecting virtually all aspects of how Illinois road-building companies bid for and carry out construction jobs, and the likely upshot for motorists is a delay in some much-needed projects because money will run out, experts say.

· Remember Mongo? His owners were so mad at how they were treated (the guv called their daughter a cheater) that they’ve taken their case to the appellate court and won: Mongo the steer wins on appeal

· Editorial: Prison plan shouldn’t be hard cell

· Brown: 11th Ward election high jinks have John Daley crying foul

· Sneed: No names

· Your turn

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* State Journal-Register endorses Rauner "with reservations"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker campaign lawyer hints at defamation suit, claims campaign was never served
* Rauner says he's "trying to eradicate" the Madigan machine "cancer," but the "treatments are tough"
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 - Speaker Ryan to campaign for Davis *** Trump likely coming to Illinois to boost Bost
* Musical Interlude: Try (just a little bit harder)
* Tell me another fairytale, Grandpa
* Rauner again denies any delays at Quincy veterans' home
* "Speed dating" candidates
* Lawyer won't answer simple questions as some anonymous former Pritzker staffers speak out
* AFL-CIO launches "massive" digital ad buy
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