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READER COMMENTS CLOSED FOR THE WEEKEND

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

I was looking forward to heading to Chicago on Sunday to spend a few days checking out the local elections there, but that’s now a no-go. The House has called a meeting of the Committee of the Whole for Tuesday afternoon to discuss electric rates. Bummer for me.

Anyway, have a great weekend and if you haven’t collectively burned yourselves out from posting hundreds of comments this week, head on over to Illinoize, where the party never ends.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Obamarama - Memo to pundits *** Updated x2 ***

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

[Updated and bumped to the top.]

The coverage and analysis in the national media of how Obama’s support is supposedly shaping up in the black community has irked me for weeks. So, I decided to literally send the pundits a memo via my Sun-Times column

Memo to all national political journalists, columnists, pundits, etc.: Please, get a clue.

Perhaps because I live in and cover the politics of a state which has elected two African-American U.S. senators, a black mayor of our largest city and a black secretary of state who four years ago carried all 102 counties, I find your coverage of the ‘’race issue'’ in the presidential contest to be utterly devoid of insight and context. I’ll try to fill you in.

First, just because a prominent African-American leader endorses Hillary Clinton, that doesn’t mean Barack Obama’s campaign has suffered a mortal wound. It may seem unusual to you that some black leaders aren’t supporting a black candidate, but, take it from me, this happens all the time. […]

Next, you “experts” assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.

Wrong again.

Go read the whole thing for plenty of examples, context and more analysis, then come back here and discuss.

*** UPDATE *** Not all the national coverage is mindless. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good article on Obama’s time at the Statehouse.

…a lawmaker of lofty, liberal rhetoric who nonetheless pragmatically accepted bipartisan compromises that won over foes — and sometimes left supporters dissatisfied. […]

As for sharp elbows, the scraps for which Mr. Obama is remembered — including near-fisticuffs once on the Senate floor — were with fellow black Democrats, some of whom were resentful of his ambitions and his successes. […]

When the legislature revisited the ethics issue in 2003, Mr. Jones was among those who resisted changes Mr. Obama promoted. “He wouldn’t buck Emil Jones,” Ms. Canary said. The Senate and House agreed to a weaker bill.

The credit that went to Mr. Obama for the racial-profiling and videotaping measures stoked tensions among black colleagues who had sponsored similar proposals only to see Mr. Jones promote his protégé’s efforts. One was state Sen. Rickey “Hollywood” Hendon, an outspoken Democrat, who once had to be separated from Mr. Obama in the Senate after confronting him for reasons that witnesses don’t recall and Mr. Hendon won’t discuss.

*** UPDATE 2 *** By the way, I was there during that fight with Hendon. I thought this incident looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember the details. It all came back to me when a former PAR intern sent me an e-mail this afternoon reminding me that he was there in the press box with me.

As he remembers it (and I’m pretty sure he’s right), Obama had voted against one of Hendon’s amendments for the South Side. Then Obama spoke in favor of a different amendment for the region. Hendon rose to complain during debate.

Afterwards, the two talked, and Obama wagged his finger in Hendon’s face. Well, Hendon didn’t like that much so he swatted Obama’s hand away. There was a throwdown and then they were separated.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

We’ve had a similar discussion here before, but we might as well do it again.

First, the setup

(S)upporters of a proposed statewide indoor smoking ban say that aside from the health benefits of clearing second-hand smoke from the air, it can quell competition issues among smoking and smoke-free establishments.

The plan took its first step toward becoming law Wednesday when a legislative committee approved it by an 8-0 vote.

But, Wednesday’s committee vote doesn’t guarantee success when the full House or Senate debates the idea.

In the committee, for example, state Rep. Mike Boland voted ‘’yes.'’ But, he said he may not support the measure when it reaches the full House. […]

Among the coalition of health groups lined up to support the measure was Barb Nation, a Springfield resident who says second-hand smoke gave her a tumor. A part of her lung was removed.

As I noted below, just because a bill passes a committee doesn’t mean it will pass (the often-goofy Boland is a perfect example here).

With that in mind, here’s the question: Would you prefer a statewide smoking ban to allowing individual localities to impose their own bans?

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


“Teen driver on board”

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

Just how tough do we really want to get on teenagers? One legislator wants them to display the equivalent of a scarlet letter on their cars when driving.

Getting a driver’s permit or a license is big news for a teenager - and one Peoria lawmaker wants to make sure everyone hears about it.

Under legislation introduced by Republican state Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria, any Illinois driver younger than 18 who has a learner’s permit or graduated driver’s license would have to attach a sign to their vehicle indicating that they’re a new driver.

The sign would have to be up every time a minor takes the wheel until he or she gets an unrestricted license at age 18.

The proposal, approved by a House committee Thursday, originated with one of Leitch’s constituents, Metamora resident Amy DeFreitas.

According to the article, some other countries have similar laws.

And for those of you unfamiliar with Statehouse ways, just because a bill passes a House committee doesn’t mean it will pass the full House. It’s pretty easy to get a bill out of committee in that chamber. But reporters have to do something with their time, so we get lots of stories (and blog posts) this time of year about unusual legislation like this one.

Anyway, have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Phones vs. cable

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

A battle of the titans is looming at the Statehouse, with AT&T (through its front group which advertises here) and the big cable companies squaring off.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers on Thursday touted a proposal they say would save money for Illinois’ cable television subscribers.

But opponents of House Bill 1500 do not believe those claims. Gary Mack, a spokesman for the Cable Television and Communications Association, called the plan “a Trojan horse” and “absolutely terrible legislation.”

The debate figures to shape up as a showdown between traditional telecommunications businesses, specifically AT&T, and cable TV companies. Because of technology advances in recent years, the two industries overlap in some areas, such as high-speed Internet service. […]

At a state Capitol news conference, Brosnahan said that cable rates have increased by 93 percent nationwide in the past 10 years. In Illinois, he added, they rise by about 7 percent a year. […]

Mack rejected that assertion, saying: “We already have competition. They are able to get into any market that they choose.”

I haven’t written much about this yet, but I plan to soon. Also, there’s more to the story than the above article reports, and I’ll try to post some stuff in the subscriber-only section.

I’m not sure what sort of debate we’ll have on this, but I suppose you could talk about your cable bills and the benefits of competition. Remember, though, it’s not as simple as it looks. If it was, AT&T wouldn’t be ready to spend a fortune to pass it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

* Questionable deals in Steele’s 16-week tenure

* No board vote means Chief is still U. of I. symbol: says trustee

* Neil Steinberg: U of I made mess with Chief Illiiniwek

* Stroger wins $3 billion budget battle: it appeared Stroger had locked up 10 of the 17 votes necessary, including winning the support of Republicans Peter Silvestri, Gregg Goslin and Liz Gorman, along with surprise support from Mike Quigley.

* Budget debate goes well into the night

* Illinois’ campaign finance laws are nation’s worst says national advocacy group

“Illinois is one of the only places in America where literally anyone can walk in the door and spend whatever they want to influence the outcome of an election. The system is almost an open invitation to corruption,” said Suzanne Novak, lead author of the report.

* Forum to discuss possible gender bias at state agencies

* Steve Huntley: Some rules we ignore

* Campaign worker calls Gorecki voice mails a “shock”

* Audit report call for overhaul of Chicago Regional Transportation Authority

But as the General Assembly prepares to address what the RTA and the three transit agencies portray strictly as a funding crisis, the audit said more money alone would not remedy many core problems.

* Editorial: Make sure Fitzgerald keeps his job

* Eric Krol: Blagojevich getting ready to sock it to business with budget

* Bill introduced to ban horse slaughter

* Friday Beer Blogging

- Posted by Paul Richardson   7 Comments      


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* EXCHANGE: Veteran talks about building during wartime
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* ATF mobile ballistics testing van dispatched to Houston
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* Corrections
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* After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?
* Former Indiana sheriff’s office chief indicted for lying to FBI
* At least 3 wounded in Woodlawn shooting
* Enclave Avenir is pinnacle of Buick luxury
* Woman dragged as person steals her van in Little Village
* Bomb squad responds to CTA bus for suspicious boxes
* Delivery driver charged with marijuana, gun possession in Evanston
* Police seek Chicago man who fled traffic stop in northwest Indiana
* Man, 19, wounded in Jeffery Manor shooting


* For family of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, hopes that renewed interest translates into a monument
* Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. making most of leadoff time
* 8 shot in Chicago attacks, including 3 in South Side triple shooting
* Three people shot, 1 fatally, at party on the South Side: 'We weren't supposed to be here'
* White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar passes out in dugout, taken to hospital during Friday’s game
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 4/21/18
* Elderly mother's friend pressures her to donate money
* Dorothy's goats, Rauner's broken eggs and more Kasstigations
* Downers Grove home near woods: $924,900
* Authorities investigating packages left on CTA bus


» Official: Pop Tax Repeal Could Mean Late Tax Bills, Budget Headaches
» Casino Sale Raises Questions About A Windfall - Or A Conflict - For Pritzker
» Eliminating Golden Parachutes in Illinois; Children’s Author M.J. Mouton; Illinois Budget
» Obamacare Protection Measure Fails in Illinois House
» State Week: McCann Makes Three; Blagojevich Makes Appeal; Preckwinkle Makes History
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: April 20, 2018
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* Statehouse Insider: Governor's race could set records beyond spending
* Guest View: A nation at risk
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* Thumbs Up: To women who break down barriers
* Bill: Put therapists, not armed security, in Illinois schools
* Report: Improvements to veterans home could cost $265M
* Rauner's point person on Legionnaires' outbreak makes $20K monthly
* Guest View: New bill would set a dangerous precedent for cybersecurity in Illinois
* Eugene Robinson: Trump's foreign policy is more like international lurching
* Presidential library publishes digital archive of papers from Lincoln's first 33 years


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* Daily Digest: Housing grant awarded
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* What is the future of online learning in higher education?
* Apple Introduces Apple Teacher For Teachers To be Inspired, Build Skills And More
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* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters
* Governor Rauner activates State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield
* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties

  
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* Shields, White Sox stumble vs. Astros in opener
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* White Sox Minor League Update: April 20, 2018
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