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Caption Contest!

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

Y’all are kinda boring me today. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, the best caption for this weird little photo wins a free t-shirt or other choice of merchandise at our charity site.

And, for the love of God, don’t get me in trouble with the Catholics. Daley I can handle. Nuns, no way. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Pride Parade leaflet; More on Froehlich; Sacia; Mitchell (Use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      


This just in…

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

* 10:35 am - Today’s leaders meeting is at 1 o’clock.

* 10:53 am - Attorney General Lisa Madigan is not giving up her fight to represent the governor’s office in the Better Government Association’s FOIA case. The BGA wants to see the federal subpoenas that have been served on the guv’s office.

The AG filed two appeals with the Illinois Supreme Court yesterday. From the AG’s office…

One is asking the Supreme Court to reverse Judge Kelly’s ruling removing us [from the case], and the other is asking the Supreme Court to direct the Appellate Court to change their mind and accept our appeal.

The first [download here] asks the Supreme Court to reverse Judge Kelly’s ruling removing the AG from the BGA case, and asks that the Supreme Court deny the motion to appoint independent counsel in lieu of the AG.

The second [download here] is in response to the 4th District Appellate refusal to accept the AG’s appeal of Judge Kelly’s order. The AG is asking that the Illinois Supreme Court — by way of a Petition for Leave to Appeal - direct the Appellate Court to accept the AG’s appeal of Judge Kelly’s order.

* 10:56 am - I should’ve mentioned earlier that I’ve heard that the “budgeteers” made significant progress over the weekend on crafting a one-month budget. There are still a couple of big issues for the leaders to mull over before the end of the month, however. That almost always happens with the budgeteers. They do the small and mid-size things, and leave the big picture stuff to the tops.

* 12:33 pm - I tell you what, that intern of mine never ceases to amaze me. Check out what Paul wrote on Illinoize the other day - something I should have linked to right away…

I’ve noticed that overtime has strange effects on the statehouse gang. After May 31st, the senses of the capitol residents are altered. The marble floors seem harder on the feet. The air seems a little more stale. The tourists are peskier. As vacation plans fade into nothingness, I’ve seen more permanent scowls appear on once happy faces in the building. It reminds me of the Disney movie The Lion King…the once flourishing, ripe, and bustling pride lands of the African jungle are plunged into a barren field of misery with the mismanagement of its leader.

* 1:55 pm - Leader Cross just walked into Blagojevich’s office, so hopefully the leaders meeting is starting soon…. And now the rest are filing in.

* 3:23 pm - I hear that members were told today to expect to be in town until Saturday.

* 3:44 pm - The meeting is over.

* 4:34 pm - We’ll have the audio up soon. They’ve apparently reached agreement on a one-month budget.

* 4:50 pm - Audio following today’s leaders meeting:

Speaker Madigan

President Jones

Leader Cross x 2

Leader Watson x 2

* 5:30 pm - Here are some excerpts from the leaders comments:

-Madigan-

“Much of it [the one-month budget] is an extension of what we did in ‘07, but there are some changes.”

Regarding Paul Froehlich…”I would just rely on his statements that he felt more at home in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party; I’d leave it at that.”

On 12-month budget…”No, I don’t think it will happen this week.” …”I think we will be here for a long time.”

“We will adjourn on Friday. We will come back the 2nd week in July.”

-Emil-

“I resent all of the stalling that has been taking place as it relates to those [electric rate] negotiations and we just may, even though I am opposed to it, go ahead and have the freeze…I’ll see what happens when my members get here tomorrow.”

“A week off, then I plan on being the week following. I’ll call all my members in for five days, at least five days.”

-Cross-

“I think everyone is on the same page [on one-month budget]..It was as good a meeting as we’ve had.”

On Paul Froehlich…”Well its one less vote we have to put on in the emergency budget…If people that know Paul saw this as a move that was politically expedient for him, it’s kind of characteristic of his political career.”

“He actually met with our chief of staff three times, and all three times he said he wasn’t going to do it….I don’t accept it, I don’t agree with it, but there is nothing I can do about it.”

“He will be on a list with others where I think we can have success in the Fall of ‘08″

-Watson-

“It was just all talk about keeping the doors open and making sure people are paid…I would say that we are just taking it one month at a time, that’s the way it looks like.”

“There’s negotiations continuing on the whole electric rate issue, and I don’t know that that will be a sticking point before we vote on a temporary budget…I can’t believe that this issue is still going on…it just seems to me to be a lack of leadership.”

On Sen. Dillard in Obama Ad…”I have to say I was very disappointed in Senator Dillard and his judgment…He is a member of our leadership. He is a leader in the Republican party. I don’t think it was appropriate thing to do.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

We have plenty of divisive political topics for today, so let’s switch gears.

What the heck is up with the White Sox? Should they just start dumping “talent” and rebuild or is there still any sort of hope? Should Ozzie go? Should Ken Williams be dumped? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


The Democrats have their own problems

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

I think for the first time since he ran for the state’s highest office, Gov. Rod Blagojevich did not attend Chicago’s Gay Pride parade last Sunday.

Blagojevich was, however, apparently represented by some flier-toting folks who tried to undercut some of his fellow Democrats. Rep. John Fritchey fills us in

So in the latest effort to attempt to work with Democratic House members, the Governor’s office was behind an anonymous flier that was distributed to attendees at yesterday’s Pride Parade. […]

[The flier] essentially calls out Sara Feigenholtz, Greg Harris and me by name for voting for the House budget and tells people to call us about it. But it does so in such a clumsy way that it is almost laughable. Almost. […]

The frosting on the cake is that the Governor’s office, directly and through another legislator, denied having any knowledge of the flier. Without wanting to put anybody in a bind, let me just say this. They’re lying.

More than one group that receives state funding has indicated that they were contacted by the Administration and asked to assist in the effort. I’m believing them.

Memo to the Administration: If you’re going to go after legislators (especially ones from your own party) on issues, have the decency to stand behind it. Otherwise you’re just making a bad move worse.

Strong-arming not-for-profits that receive state money to hand out politically motivated fliers at a public event might not be totally on the up-and-up. This is just bad all around.

* It won’t help solve the budget impasse because goofy stuff like this just hardens positions.

* It demonstrates, yet again, that the governor judges political right and wrong by how people feel about his ideas. He’s supposedly a history buff, so the guv ought to look into how that very same supremely arrogant attitude led directly to Woodrow Wilson’s failure to get his League of Nations idea approved by the US Senate. There were other factors involved, of course, but the Senate was tired of being pushed around.

* As I told subscribers this morning, the divisive move offers up a stark contrast to the supposedly un-Democratic House Speaker, who just recruited a Republican to walk across the aisle.

* And, finally, why not just give the US Attorney a handwritten invitation? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


More on yesterday’s Republican meltdown *** Updated x3 ***

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

* Eric Krol has a full Q&A with Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg) posted online. Here are a few relevant excerpts.

On his treatment by fellow House Republicans…

“[The House Republicans have] killed some of my bills that are totally non-controversial bills. Heck, I had a (Republican state Sen. Randall) Hultgren bill on gang tattoos. When I called it, members of my own caucus started railing against it. I realized it’s not the bill, it’s me. And it’s not the Democrats who are jumping up and down on me, it’s the Republicans.”

On whether he was taking the easy way out and saving his own hide by switching parties…

“I’m doing it the hard way then. My district is still significantly more Republican than (former neighboring state Rep.) Terry Parke’s is. There’s changes happening in mine, there’s no question. But it’s not at the same rate as (Democratic Rep. Fred) Crespo’s (who defeated Parke).” Here, I’m going to be a big target now. How is that the easy way? I’ll be the subject of some pretty uncomplimentary comments. If I wanted the easy way, I would have just run for re-election as a Republican, win or lose.”

On his meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan…

“I met with him on Saturday. In his political office on Pulaski (Road) by the (Midway) airport there. The meeting went very well. He was very welcoming. I didn’t realize because I’d never talked to him much before, but he’s a personable guy. I was welcomed in with open arms, which was a change for me to feel really welcome in a caucus.”

And this exchange is pretty funny…

Q. So, you’re a Democrat now. I assume you support Gov. Rod Blagojevich then?

A. I don’t anticipate I’m going to suddenly be impressed with the effectiveness of his leadership. But you know, that puts me in the company of a whole lot of Democrats. I think the governor still has a whole lot of improvement to do on leadership.

* The Tribune had a response from Madigan’s spokesman…

“The speaker believes that Paul has always been a responsible and conscientious member of the House and will expect the same moving forward. He will be a very good member of the Democratic caucus.”

* The State Journal-Register’s story quoted Madigan’s spokesman as saying “Our practice has always been to support the incumbent.” and had this analysis…

But Schaumburg - like other parts of suburban Cook County -– is no longer a rock-solid Republican area, as conservative white residents have moved out and many Democratic leaning Latinos have moved in.

In the 2006 elections, Gov. Rod Blagojevich captured 48 percent of the vote in Schaumburg Township, election records show. Just four years before, Blagojevich lost the township by almost 12 percentage points to Jim Ryan, the GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Also last year, longtime GOP Rep. Terry Parke lost his House seat in the adjacent 44th District to Democrat Fred Crespo, who just two years prior was an up-and-coming Republican figure.

Waning Republican power in his district was a likely factor in Froehlich’s decision to switch parties, said Kent Redfield, a political studies professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

* One of my favorite lines to fellow bloggers, “There ain’t no hat tips in the mainstream media for us,” was proved false today in the Sun-Times

Froehlich confirmed the switch to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rich Miller, who publishes the Capitol Fax political newsletter.

* The Sun-Times story has some good quotes. One from Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson, who is close to Froehlich and will play a big role in defending him against his formerly fellow Republicans next year…

“Paul talked to me about this a while back. He indicated his frustration with getting things done and being an effective legislator,” said Schaumburg Village President Al Larson, a longtime Froehlich friend. “Increasingly, he felt as though somehow he wasn’t getting the support he felt he should be getting for some of his initiatives.”

And this one from Sen. Millner…

“I don’t know how good this will be for Paul in the long run,” said state Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), whose Senate district covers the area Froehlich represents. “I think there are a lot of Republicans in the district, and I think they may feel betrayed by this.”

* Suburban Democratic blogger Hiram Wurf tries to make sense of it all…

I am reminded of Ronald Reagan’s famous description of why he left the Democratic Party [the party left him, Reagan said]. We have here… another Reagan moment, this time for why people are leaving the Republican Party

* Illinois Review blogger Bruno Behrend looks at the Froehlich move and the Dillard ad for Obama and calls for a mass exodus from the Illinois Republican Party…

In the 1850s, a ragtag anti-immigrant party destroyed itself, and took the declining Whigs with them. In the ensuing chaos, the Republican Party was born, and held sway over the nation for about 60 years. It’s time for that to happen again. You can’t fix this. Leave it and start anew, keeping faith with the Principles, not the party hacks who have destroyed a good name.

* Speaking of Dillard, the Daily Herald quoted Dillard about his TV ad for Obama (which you can see here)…

“It’s Iowa, and it’s a Democratic primary and I’m for (Arizona Republican) John McCain for president,” Dillard said. “And maybe if my party understood issues of racial reconciliation, less partisanship and hope, they would be the majority party.”

Still, it’s an interesting political change for Dillard from 2004 when he blasted Obama as a big-spending Democrat whose policies would “eat the average family out of house and home.”

Heh.

*** UPDATE *** CBS2 managed to get Obama on the record about Dillard’s ad, and quoted Hillary Clinton’s campaign about it as well. Click the pic to go to the story…

*** UPDATE 2 *** From Rep. Froehlich’s press release, which accompanied his press conference this morning…

I disagree with some of the trends happening at the national level and feel that the party, at the national and state levels, has lost touch with regular rank-and-file Republicans,” Froehlich said. “I want to be clear: my disagreement is not with the average person who considers himself or herself a Republican. Until today, I was just like them. Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand that the party has drifted away from people like us and there’s no reason to think it’s coming back anytime soon.

The full release can be downloaded here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** I should have mentioned this yesterday and completely forgot. Illinois Review was the first to report that Froehlich might switch parties back in early May. Froehlich flatly denied the rumors at the time.

Yesterday, IR editor Fran Eaton, who interviewed Froehlich in May, had this to say on the site…

In reviewing the May interview with Rep Froehlich when he denied he was switching parties, I can’t help but believe he intentionally misled me as a journalist and as a fellow Republican. Let’s just say that Benedict Arnold Froehlich will fit well in the dirty Dem-coat he has donned today. Now I understand why he didn’t answer our query. Who would have believed anything he had to say anyway?

* And IlliniPundit is just plain bummed about Froehlich and Dillard…

I love being out in the grassroots, working my tail off, and seing things like this. Very motivating, it is.

It’s going to be even more frustrating watching our state’s “leadership” react impotently and unwisely to these events

Grrrrr.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Good news, bad news

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

This story in the Pantagraph starts out simply enough…

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s few public comments about the politically sensitive topic of high electric bills have suggested that he would sign off on a plan to cut Ameren and ComEd rates back to their 2006 levels.

But lawmakers are trying to abandon that plan in favor of convincing Ameren and ComEd to help customers under different terms. A Blagojevich aide says the governor could go along under certain conditions.

“He’s open to an alternative to a rate freeze as long as it provides immediate relief to consumers,’’ spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said.

But then…

Blagojevich’s office hasn’t been represented in ongoing talks among lawmakers, corporate officials and others.

The fact that the governor hasn’t been involved is both pathetic and a positive.

It’s pathetic because the governor has insisted that he supports rate relief for beleagured consumers, yet hasn’t bothered to insert himself into the process.

It’s positive because if the guv had joined the talks, he might have screwed them up. He would’ve been in that room yapping about baseball, or ties or property tax assessment caps or anything else as long as it had nothing to do with the actual topic at hand. From what I can tell, he doesn’t negotiate, he speechifies from carefully crafted talking points.

A couple of weeks ago when House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said that she was authorized to represent Speaker Madigan in the leaders meeting on assessment caps, the governor had to huddle with his top aides for several minutes before he could come up with a response.

That’s not the kind of guy you want at the table when you’re negotiating with corporate CEOs. So, yeah, it’s a “positive” that Blagojevich hasn’t been in the room, but what does that say about him?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s issue of Capitol Fax (Use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

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Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

* Lawmakers warn of impending transit needs

* Editorial: Governor should sign bill raising truck speed limit

* Opinion: Inadequate congestion funding threatens Chicago’s future

* Editorial: Meth dangerous but all pushers and drugs deal in death

The list came about after Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation last year requiring state police to create the registry. OK, so it’s a start. Maybe the information listed there will be of use to someone, but the site has a ways to go before it’s complete and of consequence to people who are living with drug dealers who have been destroying urban neighborhoods long before anyone even heard of meth.

* Opinion: Smoke-Free Illinois Act will help all of state’s residents

* Hillary or Barack: Who’s got the Chicago fundraising juice?

* Lynn Sweet: Clinton outgains Obama here for one day, but not in long run

* Lawmaker asks state for help easing crowded schools

* Latino parents tired of CPS school squeeze

* Editorial: Cook Co. can’t put residents’ health at risk

* Tolls proposed for funding of $90M Fox River span

* Chicago’s Olympic bid wins backing of U.S. Mayors

* Rockford mayor trying to override governor’s veto

- Posted by Paul Richardson   3 Comments      


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