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Weekend reading

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Chicago Sun-Times now has a printable “afternoon edition,” so I figure we can have a not-so-printable weekend edition. Here are some bits I missed earlier today and stuff that came in later as I was working on other things…

* This fight has also been playing out at the Statehouse, and I’ll have more on that next week…

FBI agents visited Joliet last week and asked questions about a land deal involving labor leader Joe Ward and the construction of his upscale Shorewood home overlooking the DuPage River.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently appointed Ward to the Department of Labor Advisory Board.

Ward, 56, is the longtime treasurer of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, a powerful, politically connected organization. It represents 20,000 workers who run cranes and other pieces of heavy construction machinery in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. The union has a business office and hall in Joliet, 1050 NE Frontage Road.

Ward is in a bitter race with current union President Bill Dugan to become the next Local 150 president. In recent months, the candidates have filed dueling lawsuits including allegations of defamation, palm greasing and dirty dealing.

* Anita Mahajan, of leaning out the window and denying to a reporter that she knew the Blagojevich’s fame, was indicted today…

A woman with close ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patricia, has been indicted on charges that she bilked the state of more than $2 million for services her company never performed, Cook County prosecutors said today.

Anita K. Mahajan, 56, who was originally charged in March, appeared today before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Hennelly who announced the indictment and set May 24 for her arraignment.

* It was alleged in a couple of different Lee Newspaper articles that Sen. Gary Forby gave Senate President Emil Jones a “high five” after Jones killed off Forby’s amendment to include ComEd in the Ameren rate rollback and freeze bill. Those articles caused Forby a whole lot of headaches back in his district, but now the Marion Daily Republican has Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson backing up Forby’s claim.

Senator Forby characterized the report of a friendly exchange of high fives as a “complete and utter lie.”

Senator Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete, District 40) told the Marion Daily Republican Monday that she was sitting next to Senator Jones when Gary Forby walked up to the Senate President’s desk.

Senator Halvorson said, “After the vote, Forby came over to the senate president’s desk and his hand was clenched.

“He went to bang his fist on the Senate President’s desk and the Senate President reached across his desk to shake his hand. But Senator Forby’s hand was clenched. “Then Gary continued to bang his fist on the table. Anyone hearing what Forby said could not have thought it was a pleasant exchange. And in no way was there a high five,” said Senator Halvorson.

* MDR columnist Tom Kane takes the newspaper chain to task on the Forby story…

So here’s my point. If I could find a corroborating witness for Senator Forby’s claim in 20 minutes, why didn’t a newspaper with more resources than mine make the same effort?

Here is my opinion: the media are arrogant and assume their practitioners are in the right without doing an investigation. The public knows this and would be surprised if a newspaper behaved any differently than the one in question.

It’s one of many reasons that newspapers are losing their subscribers.

* I’m not even sure if I have a septic tank. I guess I should find out before I get hit with this fee

The Illinois Senate has passed a bill that would exempt home owners with septic tanks from mandated testing that could cost 500-dollars a year in fees. However, Co-sponsor Senator John O. Jones of Mt. Vernon does have some concern about the future of the bill after a Chicago legislator grabbed the bill in the house at the request of the EPA. Jones says the EPA doesn’t like the bill and wants to charge everyone a fee. He reports the bill would grandfather everyone in that has a septic system that does not have the effluent leave their property.

* GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a swipe at US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during the debate this week. Cal Skinner has a nice catch at Illinoize

Fitzgerald’s name was not mentioned, but Romney went into a virtual rant about what the Federal prosecutor did to Vice President Scooter Libby in a question of whether each thought Libby should be pardoned. Fitzgerald, of course, was that Federal prosecutor.

Nothing was mentioned about Fitzgerald’s fight against corruption in Illinois. […]

Bob Kjellander is Romney’s Illinois chairman.

* Dog Fight in the 50th blog had some good analysis of broken down warhorse Ald. Bernie Stone’s win…

* A Vote Divided

* It was a Turn-Out Election

* Voter Registration Effort Favored Stone

* You may have noticed a few new additions to the blog as we await connection to our new web hosting service. (The people over there have been great so far, but they’re working out some bugs and it will likely be Monday or Tuesday before we’re connected to a new, much faster server.)

Paul has conducted a dead link safari and killed or updated a whole bunch of links in the pulldown menus.

I’ve added a couple of three new news feeds, one for Dick Durbin and another for High Tech stuff, plus one for Illinois and local-related blogs.

I’ve also added two new legislative searches in the center column. You can now search for legislation by bill number or keyword right here at the blog.

* Friday Beer Blogging: Pretzel Edition

* And, yes, I know this is national, but I couldn’t resist. Is Karl Rove an atheist?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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