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Live CBS 2 broadcast *** Updated x1 ***

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

Click here or on the the promo pic below to watch tonight’s live broadcast of CBS 2 News at 10…

If you need a refresher on what this is all about, here is the promotional script for the story we’re tracking…

How would you like a job which pays you $155,000? You don’t have to talk to co-workers, very much, or attend important meetings. And you don’t even have to go to your main office every day.

Sorry, job’s taken by Rod Blagojevich.

CBS2’s Mike Flannery tracked the governor to see how he’s conducting the State of Illinois’ business. And we’ve got one question: If the governor’s not governing, what’s he doing?

“Exposing Blagojevich” tonight at 10, only on CBS2 News

*** UPDATE *** In case you missed the live broadcast, click here for the full script and the video.

- Posted by Rich Miller   63 Comments      


This just in… *** Governor predicts all of his House loyalists will vote for transit bill *** Hoffman claiming to be a “Yes” vote *** HDEMS to see gaming bill tomorrow *** Not looking good ***

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* 1:10 pm - I told subscribers about this problem earlier in the week, but Senate President Emil Jones just confirmed that he doesn’t have enough members in town to even bother calling the mass transit bill, if it somehow makes it out of the House…

Senate President Emil Jones says its outlook is not good.

Jones says the Senate will have too many members gone today and tomorrow to approve the plan if the House passes it.

He also says downstate senators are refusing to support mass transit help unless a deal for road and school construction projects statewide is also reached.

* 1:27 pm - Republican presidential filing begins today in Illinois. Rudy Guiliani and Ron Paul didn’t file delegates at all, and Fred Thompson only filed delegate slates in five districts: 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 17th and 19th. More from the SJ-R.

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who heads the Thompson effort in Illinois, said his candidate’s late entry into the race didn’t leave as much time to collect signatures as some other candidates had.

Joe Becker of Denver, chief legal officer of the Ron Paul campaign, said Illinois delegate and alternate slates will be filed later.

* 1:32 pm - If you’re wondering why session hasn’t started yet, it’s because the leaders are meeting in the governor’s office.

Rep. Jay Hoffman, the governor’s House floor leader, is reportedly at the meeting. Hoffman was telling people yesterday that he would vote “No” on the new transit bill, but the governor’s been putting the arm on him, so he’s now said to be in the “undecided” camp.

As I told subscribers this morning, if Hoffman votes “No,” practically nobody will ever believe that Blagojevich really worked on behalf of this bill.

* 1:36 pm - The House is starting up. Listen or watch here.

*** 1:41 pm *** The governor reportedly told the leaders today that all of his House Democratic loyalists will vote for the transit bill. The House will likely go to caucus soon.

* 1:49 pm - Rep. Gary Hannig, who is sitting in the Speakers chair, was just asked whether the House would conclude business today after caucus and committees, or tomorrow. Said Hannig: “I’m advised that there will be an effort to try and conclude tonight, but that’s not for certain.”

* 1:57 pm - Rep. Mautino just brought up a big issue for Downstate House Democrats: Project reappropriations. Lots of projects didn’t get reappropriated in the final enacted budget this year. It’s just another log to throw on the gigantic pile of what members are demanding for a final solution to this session.

The House has now recessed for caucus and committees.

*** 2:06 pm *** Rep. Jay Hoffman has now confirmed to someone else that he and the governor’s other four ducklings will be voting “Yes” on the transit bill today.

That means all eyes are now on House GOP Leader Cross. If he succecssfully pushes for the bill, then it will likely pass the House and the mess will arrive in the Senate.

*** 3:46 pm *** It looks like we’ll see a gaming bill tomorrow. The House Democrats are planning to caucus on Madigan’s new expansion proposal after the 10 o’clock session.

The plan today, so far, is to run the transit bill after caucus and committees. Right now, it looks like there will be enough HGOP votes to pass this thing, but one can never be certain in this climate, so stay tuned. The Repubs are still caucasing as I write this.

*** 7:25 pm *** Members have been dropping off like flies for the past few hours, and it now appears that not all the governor’s minions are going to be on board as promised, and that several other House members of both parties are turning against the bill. I’ll have more on the “why” in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax.

Leader Cross, who predicted a couple of minutes ago that the transit bailout bill would fail in the House, got an earful in caucus about the absence of a capital bill agreement and has now called for a special session on the topic. Cross’ people say they want the governor to keep members in session as long as it takes until the capital/gaming issue is resolved.

…Adding…
I was a bit in haste when I wrote that House Dems would see a gaming “bill” tomorrow in caucus. They will discuss Speaker Madigan’s proposals. The draft is not yet finalized.

- Posted by Rich Miller   75 Comments      


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

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Question of the day

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times had this to say in today’s column….

A few weekends ago, I was flown to the old Virginia House of Burgesses in Williamsburg to be a representative in a kind of assembly. McNeil/Lehrer Productions had chosen 47 people from around the country as part of a program on America in the 21st century. Each of us arrived with the thought, “Why me?” […]

The McNeil/Lehrer folks divided us into four groups to debate resolutions. They further divided us into twos to write the resolutions. My co-conspirator and I were assigned to write a definition of citizenship. In five minutes we came up with this:

Citizenship means to take responsibility for ourselves and our families so that we are not an unnecessary burden on others; to keep abreast of public questions, participate in public deliberations, to speak out when necessary and serve our country in time of need; to live exemplary lives and pass on our values and wisdom to the next generation.

That would be bland enough for unanimity, I thought. But I was wrong. I have read the italicized statement to several folks and asked them to pinpoint the offending clause. So far, none of the conservatives has been able to find it. Liberals see it right away. I think of it as a kind of litmus test.

The offending phrase is, “an unnecessary burden on others.”

That grated on the ear of Lisa Madigan, the Illinois [Attorney General]. It put an unfair onus on the acceptance of help. She moved that the words be taken out.

Question: How would you define “citizenship”?

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Tricky politics *** Updated x4 ***

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* While others may have slobbered over Mayor Daley’s endorsement yesterday of the Blagojevich/Cross mass transit bailout plan, Kurt Erickson kept his head and asked questions

As the General Assembly returns to action Wednesday to deal with a financial bailout of Chicago-area public transit systems, observers say the lack of agreement on other top issues makes it a virtual certainty that the already record-setting overtime session will drag into December, and perhaps beyond.

Along with the mass transit funding, lawmakers are pressing for passage of a statewide construction program. But, there remains no consensus on how to pay for either of those proposals. […]

But, its prospects in the Senate remain dim, with a bloc of downstate lawmakers pledging to reject the bailout if a separate statewide construction program isn’t put on the table.

“I refuse to support one without the other. We need jobs. We need to fix our crumbling schools and bridges,” said Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete, who is running for a seat in Congress.

* But when Daley talks, the Chicago media always plays it up. Don’t get me wrong. Daley is very important. But the actual roll call is much more important, and it’s not there yet…

Mayor Richard Daley Tuesday came out in favor of a measure in Springfield that aims to provide enough money to keep the Chicago Transit Authority running , insisting he’s optimistic about its passage despite questions surrounding its feasibility.

* More

Now that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has folded his hand in the legislative poker game that has stalled long-term funding for mass transit, so has Mayor Daley.

Following Madigan’s lead, Daley today endorsed a plan by Gov. Blagojevich and Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) to redirect at least $385 million a year in state sales taxes on fuel to mass transit. The mayor said he’s optimistic the plan will pass both legislative houses at Wednesday’s special session.

* Listen to all of Daley’s press conference at Chicago Public Radio, or just hit the button below…

* To get a small idea of how politically volatile the new bailout proposal is, read this commentary by former state Rep. Cal Skinner…

Say you are from Downstate, also known as anything outside of the six-county Chicago metropolitan area served by the Regional Transportation Authority.

$385 million [GRF transit bailout] divided by the state’s population of 12,831,970 (Commerce Department figure) is what?

$30.

So, an opponent could send a mailing to a Downstate legislator’s district saying anyone who voted for this deal voted to force a family of four to send $120 to Chicago.

Or robo calls could be made. Even cheaper.

Whatever you may think of Cal, he’s right.

* More transit and session stuff, compiled by Paul…

* Blagojevich’s CTA ‘rescue’ took from other programs

* Editorial: Capitol…your tax dollars at work or maybe not

* Lawmakers could talk road improvements

*** UPDATE 1 *** Metro Networks‘ Springfield bureau chief Ben Yount has an excellent analysis that you can listen to at the Illinois Farm Bureau site or below…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Fox Chicago’s Senior Political Editor Jack Conaty scored an exclusive interview with Speaker Madigan yesterday that I just noticed thanks to a commenter here.

Madigan told Conaty that it was “very, very sad for Illinois government” that some leaders demand a “linkage” between a mass transit bailout and a capital casino plan. Madigan also patted himself on the back for making “a major concession” on the transit issue.

Conaty asked Madigan if we are now “at the end of that unfortunate legislative drama or is this simply one more act?” Madigan’s reply…

“This is simply one more act because of the politics of Rod Blagojevich. The politics of Rod Blagojevich is not a politics of conciliation. It’s a politics of confrontation, conflict.”

“Despite the optimism in Chicago,” Conaty says, “the funding crisis at the CTA is likely to continue.”

Click the pic for Conaty’s full story…

…Adding… Many thanks to Fox Chicago for their prominent placement of my blog on their political news page.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The Tribune editorialized on gaming expansion again today. Take a look.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Cogent analysis from the SJ-R’s editorial board…

For some reason, and we suspect it is about as straightforward as a long Russian novel, Madigan now has decided to abandon the Hamos plan and sign onto a measure being pushed by Blagojevich and House Republican Leader Tom Cross. That plan would rely on about $385 million in existing sales tax money from gasoline receipts in the Chicago area to bail out Chicago transit. But that money is already in the state budget, which means it would either need to be replaced or blow a big old hole in that budget. No one seems to have a plan for replacing the money. The plan is opposed by many for that reason and by others because it does not deal with a capital plan.

We suspect Madigan knows he signed onto a poison pill of a bill. It’s almost sure to die. And, so, if you were hoping for a resolution of this mess as a Christmas present, you better go to the second item on your list. We’re asking Santa to give the feds extra patience in dealing with our screwed-up state so they don’t yank that $6 billion from our stocking.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Hit on three fronts

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* The governor will probably want to talk about how he’s “saving” mass transit today, but reporters will probably want to ask him about this development as well

A state employee fired for leaking an internal investigative report critical of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration testified Tuesday that he was recently interviewed by FBI agents.

Matthew Magalis, who is trying to win his job back through a civil service proceeding, did not say what federal agents had asked. But he said an FBI investigation is exactly what he was seeking when he decided to give a copy of the report in October 2006 to Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune. […]

Magalis said he gave the report to the press instead of the FBI because he feared for his job if it became known that he was cooperating with outside investigators.

“People are retaliated against in my department, so I didn’t want to be part of whatever investigation there was going to be,” said Magalis, who was fired in October from his $82,000-a-year job as an agency administrator after an investigation by the state’s Office of the Executive Inspector General.

* The General Assembly could be in session two days this week. If that’s the case, then reporters will likely press the governor tomorrow about a story which will appear at 10 o’clock tonight on CBS 2. Click the pic for the station’s promo, which is running in heavy rotation…

How would you like a job which pays you $155,000? You don’t have to talk to co-workers, very much, or attend important meetings. And you don’t even have to go to your main office every day.

Sorry, job’s taken by Rod Blagojevich.

CBS2’s Mike Flannery tracked the governor to see how he’s conducting the State of Illinois’ business. And we’ve got one question: If the governor’s not governing, what’s he doing?

“Exposing Blagojevich” tonight at 10, only on CBS2 News

Oof.

I’ve been hearing about this piece for weeks. Apparently, the station staked out the governor’s home and monitored his work habits. We’ll have to wait and see if the hype matches up to the substance, but I’m sure it will be a fun viewing.

I’ve asked the station to provide me with a live link to tonight’s broadcast. So, if you’re outside the Chicago area, check back tonight and you’ll probably be able to watch it right here.

*** UPDATE *** I have the link ready to go and will post it later tonight, so check back.

* And then there’s this

A suburban man filed the first lawsuit against Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s unilateral expansion of state-subsidized health care.

Richard Caro of Riverside charged in his complaint, which was Monday filed in Cook County, that Blagojevich’s expansion of the state’s FamilyCare program is unconstitutional because lawmakers never agreed to appropriate that spending.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Rate the ads

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* It’s time, once again, to play “Rate the campaign TV ads,” campers. First up, Jay Footlik’s first second TV ad of the season. Footlik is running against fellow Democrat Dan Seals for the right to take on GOP Congressman Mark Kirk…


* Next, we have Democrat Bill Foster’s new ad. Foster is hoping to challenge whatever GOP candidate emerges in retired Congressman Denny Hastert’s district…


* And, finally, Republican Kevin Burns, one of the Republican candidates in the race to replace Hastert…



What do you think of each?

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Morning shorts

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

* Some Illinois school keep moment of silence…

Many Metro East educators will continue opening each school day with a moment of silence, rather than trying to predict the outcome of a constitutional showdown over the new state law that may or may not require it.

* Silence law challenged by federal court

* DuPage Co. ‘doomsday’ budget approved

The DuPage County Board voted Tuesday to adopt a “doomsday” budget that calls for cutting 240 jobs, but passed a moratorium that will prevent any layoffs until the results of a Feb. 5 ballot referendum to add one-quarter percent to the county sales tax.

* Stroger floor leader says budget would pass if Todd ‘were a white man’

Commissioner William Beavers said “if Todd was a white man, he wouldn’t have half these problems,” further alleging “this is a remake of the Harold Washington days” at City Hall, where racially fueled votes often ended in 29-21 decisions.

“Who’s gonna control the county — white or black — that’s all this is,” he said.

* Stroger’s take: ‘We are stuck’

* Chicago Public Radio: Cook Co. budget battle continues

* Filing for special election to replace Hastert has already begun

You’d better already be putting together your campaign. Although no one knows yet just when the special election will be held to replace Hastert in the 14th Congressional District, it’s likely already well into the pre-filing period when candidates should be getting their petitions and paperwork together, state election officials said.

So far, the only concrete information anyone has about the special election is that there will be one. Hastert’s resignation on Monday assured that — his exit with one year left on his term demands a special election to replace him for the remainder of that term.

* Quinn wants count of veterans scholarships

Van Der Hooning said he was ordered to cut back the program out of concerns over cost and the worry among some on campus that admitting dozens of “jar heads” would dilute the quality of the MBA program.

The university has disputed Van Der Hooning’s version of events, and denied any university officials made references to jar heads — slang for Marines.

The scholarships, university officials have said, were never meant to be awarded at once, nor all in the Chicago-based executive MBA program. Some of the recipients have been on the Champaign-Urbana campus.

* Opinion: Public suffers if aldermen fail to debate

* Top cop candidate threatens to withdraw if name goes public

* Michael Sneed: Tipsville

Is a U.S. ambassadorship in the offing for former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert?

Maybe, maybe not: But Sneed hears rumbles President Bush would like to reward Hastert for his exemplary tenure in office.

Meanwhile: Hastert, who submitted his official resignation Monday, is devoting his time to the Hastert Center at Wheaton College and raising money for incumbent Republican candidates facing a tough race. Example: U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk.

* Tollway to hold hearing on tentative 2008 budget

The $236 million operating budget shows a 5 percent increase over 2007 and provides funds for new customer-service and public-safety projects, as well as additional spending for new road and I-PASS construction.

An additional $230 million in revenue, combined with bond proceeds and other capital reserves, will provide $1.4 billion for the fourth year of the tollway’s rebuilding and widening program.

* Editorial: Checks at casino good way to keep addicts out

* Tribune Editorial: Bring FutureGen to Illinios

* Phil Kadner: A ‘Chose Life’ plate for Illinois

* Illinois farmers enjoy record harvest

- Posted by Paul Richardson   31 Comments      


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

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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