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Question of the Day

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* Oliver Stone is directing a movie about George Bush called “W,” and Josh Brolin will be playing the embattled President.

Our Question of the Day consists of two parts. If a movie was made about Governor Blagojevich….

a) Who would you cast to play our embattled governor?

and

b) What title would you give the film?

* Let’s have some fun with this one…

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   81 Comments      


Your Daily Dose of Blago Blunder

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* The administration was doing so well today. No slip-ups, and some praise for the ‘deadbeat’ parent program. Then I came across this little diddy:

The Illinois auditor general says the state Public Health Department overpaid seven grants for stem-cell research by $863,000.

Auditor William Holland claims that more than half of the grants given by the administration were for more than originally agreed. Additionally, He says Public Health officials have no documentation explaining the overpayment.

The seven grants were supposed to amount to about $6.4 million. Instead, the recipients got $7.3 million. It gets better:

Holland also says there’s nothing to indicate the method used to determine how much Public Health would pay toward the governor’s failed court defense of restrictions on violent video games.

Public Health paid 14 percent of the total bill, plus some attorney fees. Administration spokeswomen haven’t returned calls for comment.

* In 2005 the governor made the controversial move of inserting millions of dollars into the state budget for stem cell research without telling lawmakers in advance.

Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says that the state doesn’t currently have a budget for stem cell research, but doesn’t know what the next year could bring. Arnold and a spokesman for state Auditor General Bill Holland’s office both agree that the appearance of being over budget is a paperwork error:

“It is simply a difference in documentation,” Arnold said.

For lawmakers’ part, they’ve in past years considered various proposals concerning stem cell research, but Blagojevich moved largely on his own to begin awarding grants for such work.

That doesn’t sit well with some.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for private medical research,” said Dave Smith, director of the Illinois Family Institute.

* It’s a shame too, I had my fingers crossed that we could go 24 hours.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   16 Comments      


Misdirected woes over Stateville

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* The Chicago Tribune published a story today about the possible effects of Stateville Prison’s closing of its maximum security wing on the families of the inmates.

Stateville is home to 3,280 prisoners and is the closest state correctional facility to Chicago and its growing suburbs. Rather than spend an estimated $100 million to renovate Stateville to the level of other maximum-security prisons, Blagojevich wants to close the section that houses the most violent criminals and ship them to more secure rural prisons hours away.

Some of the families have begun writing letters and speaking to lawmakers at budget forums, such as one held Tuesday at Kennedy-King College. They are organizing a bus trip to Springfield, where legislators will vote on the governor’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

* Department of Corrections spokesman Derek Schnapp said, “We understand families are a very important part of an inmate’s success when they go out. That’s part of what makes this so tough. But the No. 1 issue for us is safety and security.”

If Stateville closes, some prisoners will be sent to the maximum-security wing of the next closest facility in Pontiac, 100 miles from Chicago. But others could be transferred to Thomson, which is 150 miles away from Chicago; to Menard, 350 miles away; or Tamms, 363 miles away.

The article cites the difficulties that will be placed on the families who would be affected by a transfer:

“I’m honestly afraid we’ll lose my brother if we can’t see him and talk with him face to face,” said Paula Carballido, 25, of Waukegan, whose 21-year-old brother, Juan, is four years into a 35-year murder sentence. “We don’t want him to disconnect, to break off from the family.”

and:

Similarly, Cicero resident Pearlie White frequently comes to Stateville to visit the father of her 17-year-old son. The man, Steve Robinson, has been serving a life sentence, but White often brings her son so the two can have some kind of a relationship. Despite his incarceration, Robinson is a “father figure” for her son and teenage daughter, she said.

“They would not have a man in their lives if not for [Robinson],” White said. “It might not be the best situation, but it’s all we’ve got.”

* Buried in the article, however, is this caveat:

While the closing could mean the loss of hundreds of jobs at Stateville—and deal a financial hit to the communities around it—state officials acknowledge the blow to families could have the most far-reaching effect.

While I am sympathetic to the families that would be inconvenienced by this proposal, I think the focus of the article is on the wrong subjects. How about those hundreds of people who could lose their jobs?

This could result in the most far-reaching effect. In an economy that is inarguably in a recession this would be devastating to these families, and the surrounding community. Discuss.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   31 Comments      


Millions for the cloutless

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* It’s a good day for ex-employs of City Hall who lost their job to a rigged hiring system. Federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan plans to send out letters notifying around 1,400 plaintiffs of their awards:

To qualify for cash, claimants had to prove they were bypassed for jobs and promotions since Jan. 1, 2000.

“We ended up with about 1,500 submissions. Somewhere between 1,350 and 1,400 will be eligible for some award,” Brennan said last week.

The monitor refused to say whether anyone would receive the $100,000 maximum. With 1,400 claimants, the average award would be $8,571.

* Michael Shakman filed the landmark lawsuit that was supposed to end political hiring and firing.

Shakman said Tuesday he’s not surprised that Brennan has exhausted the $12 million fund. “The scale was massive,” he said. “There were wholesale violations of the rules on political hiring, promotions and discharge.”

* Over 1,500 people applied to be eligible to part of the $12 million fund created to compensate victims. Thoughts?

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   12 Comments      


State program cracks down on ‘deadbeat’ parents

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* A new state program is matching up hunting licenses against lists of parents behind on their payments is the state’s newest way to chip away at the long-standing problem of child-support collection. In the six months the program has been in effect, the state has collected nearly $130,000 from 90 parents.

Gov. Blagojevich vowed to improve on Illinois’ ranking among the nation’s worst at child support collection when he took office in 2003. Last year, the state collected a record $1.2 billion in payments. Despite some improvement in the last few years state officials say custodial parents, mostly women, still are owed $3.2 billion in back child support.

The new program is just one way to help chip away at the problem. A program launched several years ago withholds professional licenses, such as medical or accounting licenses, from parents behind in their child support.

In January, the state began sending warning notices to deadbeat parents threatening to suspend their driver’s licenses if they fail to start paying up within 60 days. More than $127,000 has been collected since.

llinois is trying to duplicate the success of other states, where people have paid large amounts to hunt. In Maine, one hunter paid $30,000 in back child support after being selected in an annual lottery for one of only 3,000 coveted licenses to hunt that state’s majestic moose.

The program seems to be working, and many are singing its praises:

“We think the program is good if the intent is to collect child support due to dependent minors,” said Jered Shofner, president of United Bowhunters of Illinois. “If that’s what they have to do to track them down, it’s a good thing.”

* What other avenues do you think the state could pursue to aid the problem?

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   25 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008

* Transit backers seeking money

* Cops may face fitness tests

* Harassment suit against state fails

* Rule aims to limit non-medical laser use

* Naperville to dole out millions to cultural events, projects

* Skunks appear to be making a comeback in Illinois

“There aren’t too many things that really care to tangle with a skunk,” Bluett said. “Some of the raptors will, particularly owls. Skunks are nocturnal for the most part. Owls are nocturnal. They’re the ones that are more likely to pick them off and they don’t have a sense of smell so it doesn’t bother them.”

* Bottled water tax brings less revenue than expected

* Facebook Activism Adopted By IL State Rep Greg Harris - Civil Union LegislationPalatine Opportunity Center

* Lakeview Museum V.P. joins race for 18th District

* GOP congressional hopeful has history of giving to Democrats

* Republican Seeks Vacant House Slot in Illinois — Amid Democratic Flak

* Throwing big rocks

For sheer mean ignoramus-osity, we give the nod squarely to 8th District Republican congressional whizbang Steve Greenberg who has stirred up a 1,500 year blood feud by arguing his foe, Melissa Bean, is a secret friend and agent of Serbian Neo-Fascist terrorists.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   12 Comments      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Transitions: Baise, Denzler, Demmer, DeWitte, Mazzochi
* Caption contest!
* *** LIVE *** Campaign finance reports
* Rauner denies tacking to the right with Pence praise
* Rauner signs Firearms Restraining Order Act, 72-hour gun purchase waiting period, will veto gun shop regulation bill
* John McGovern: "An honorable man in politics"
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner to veto *** Raoul to Rauner: "Get us out of Crosscheck"
* Unclear on the concept
* Mitchell is "a foot in the door for the next generation"
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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* Rauner OKs bill so families can cite mental iss.....
* With New Illinois Gun Law, 'Red Flag' S.....
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* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner to veto *** Raoul to Ra.....
* Unclear on the concept..
* Gillibrand in Chicago boosting Pritzker, Underw.....


* Chicago activist demands all footage from police shooting
* Rauner signs gun order of protection, waiting period laws
* Groups getting $11.5 million for children’s mental health
* Authorities: 2-year-old child dies after Illinois house fire
* Jeff Keicher to finish Bob Pritchard’s term in state House
* Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist
* The Latest: Video: Chicago man ran away, reached to waist
* CVS apologizes after managers call cops on black customer
* Injuries at poultry processing plants often underreported
* Woman fatally shot in Chicago during attempted carjacking

* Londrigan outraises Davis in 2nd quarter; Davis has more in fund
* Gov. Rauner signs two gun control bills
* Londrigan outraises Davis in 3rd quarter; Davis has more in fund
* Durbin not confident Illinois election systems are secure
* Jeff Keicher to finish Bob Pritchard's term in Illinois House
* New Illinois program to offer retirement savings plan
* Illinois Governor's Mansion reopens to public
* State agency director Mays has spent $66K on travel
* Governor's Mansion reopens to public on Saturday
* State officials: Illinois was Russian hackers' target

* FCC rejects Sinclair plan for TV station sales in Tribune deal
* Tribune, Sinclair fall as FCC rejects TV station spinoff plan
* Chicago's first food boat serving up Texas BBQ
* DTF? The Chicago Transit Authority isn't
* To sue Trump or not to sue Trump: That's the question in Illinois AG race


* Ms. Lauryn Hill, Raphael Saadiq, Chaka Khan & 7 more acts to catch at Pitchfork
* Bears position breakdown: The defensive line
* Some heart drugs being recalled
* Crystal Lake man charged with 11 counts of child pornography possession
* Prince Louis christening photos released by Kensington Palace
* Should Bears fans worry about Roquan Smith’s contract?
* Unneeded task force puts naturalized citizens at risk
* Judge halts deportations of reunited families
* Inspector general: Some city workers not getting #MeToo message
* Soccer diplomacy: World Cup host Vladimir Putin gives Donald Trump a ball


* Former Illinois Congressman clarifies: 'Does Joe Walsh believe kindergarteners should be armed? No.'
* Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight by Loyola hospital with Sheriff Dart
* Prime time: A day of deals at Amazon, and at its rivals
* Rauner doesn't want Illinois pulled from multistate voter registration system that Democrats call prone to hacking
* Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunified families
* Roquan Smith unsigned as Bears rookies report to training camp
* Woodman's Food Market to open early September in Buffalo Grove
* Guns can be removed from those deemed dangerous under law signed by Rauner
* Jared Kushner's family firm accused of pushing out tenants
* Reactions to Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Who is America?': 'One of the bravest uses of comedy' that 'sparks a very deep moral conversation'


» Durbin Says He Hasn't Taken Position on SCOTUS Pick — Also Has Doubts About Election Security
» Look Inside The Renovated Governor's Mansion
» Angry Crowd Protests After Chicago Police Fatally Shoot Man
» Chicago Police: Man Killed By Police Appeared To Be Armed
» State Week: SCOTUS Nominee, Dan Ryan Protest, Misleading Ads
» Controversy Over Firing Of Popular Chicago Public Schools Principal
» Russia Indictments Likely Cover Illinois Hack, State Official Says
» Science Heroes In Children’s Books; Creating Manufacturing Jobs; The Miller Park Zoo
» WBEZ’s Chicago And Illinois News Roundup: July 13, 2018
» The Week in Review: Hate Crime Charges Follow Forest Preserve Rant


* Londrigan outraises Davis in 2nd quarter; Davis has more in fund
* Gov. Rauner signs two gun control bills
* Londrigan outraises Davis in 3rd quarter; Davis has more in fund
* Durbin not confident Illinois election systems are secure
* Jeff Keicher to finish Bob Pritchard's term in Illinois House
* George Will: Don't fix baseball, even if it may be broken
* New Illinois program to offer retirement savings plan
* Illinois Governor's Mansion reopens to public
* Our View: A year after the impasse, all is not well
* UIS perspectives: UIS campus stays busy in summer


* Rep. Mike Bost recognizes O’Fallon Boy Scout
* Columbia man broke into Millstadt garage and a tavern, police say
* Breakers coaches dive in to help raise money for cystic fibrosis
* Breakers remain undefeated after posting wins against Highland, St. Clair, Westhaven
* Cubbie Conversation, July 16, 2018
* Noon update: Mostly sunny this afternoon
* Primus to perform at Adler Theatre in October
* July 18 Illinois basketball chat
* Years ago, his dad died in a motorcycle crash. His mom was just killed in one, too.
* Did a mysterious star inspire Cahokians to build Monks Mound?


* Boy seriously injured after boat hits him on Fox River
* Trump and Putin end historic summit that Trump says 'changed' bad relations
* Feder: FCC throws Sinclair/Tribune deal in doubt
* Tens of thousands welcome Croatia home after World Cup final
* Chicago activist demands all footage from police shooting

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* Davis Pursues Bipartisanship
* Midterm elections could test GOP's pat...
* Key area congressional votes on campaign f...

* Durbin not confident Illinois election sys......
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* Democratic Voters Want To See A Fight Agai......
* Dems reveal plan of attack; focus on impos......
* Have Democrats forgotten their manners?...

* Seeking clarity on racial disparities, Dem......
* Senator Tammy Duckworth Doesn't......
* DRAMA on the South Side — City Club JAW-DR......
* Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki...
* Bernie Sanders: Bold Politics Is Good Poli......

* Thorner: Be Grateful Trump Won the Presidency
* Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh explains how he was pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen
* Di Leo: When the Rights of the Many are Trampled by the Rights of the Few
* Thorner: Kavanaugh in line with Hamilton's thinking in Federalist No. 78 to interpret laws, not make them
* The [Tuesday] Papers
* How The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites
* Former Presidents Support Trump's Immigration Plan
* Left's Grand Idea: Illinois Professor Argues Need to Expand Supreme Court in Order to Save It
* Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe
* Good News: Trump Rescinds Obama’s ‘Affirmative Action’ Guidance


* Gov. Rauner meets one of oldest living WWII veterans
* IDOT reopening lanes where possible for July 4 travel
* Bellock named DHFS director
* Follow-Up Samples from the Illinois River Show No Microcystins
* Illinois Department of Public Health Heat Safety Tips

  
* A Raspberry Pi 3 is the key to making coding fun
* The Verge guide to Amazon Prime Day 2018
* Instapaper is going independent — again
* Chrome and Firefox gain Windows 10 Timeline support with a new extension
* Huawei Mate 10 Pro at $499.99, that’s $300 off at B&H
* It’s telling that we don’t know if Samsung’s CEO is holding a Galaxy Note 9 or Note 8 in this pic
* Nathan Fillion stars as Nathan Drake in what might be film’s only good video game adaptation

* Lambert, Johnson on Pipeline Team of the Week
* AZL White Sox Weekend Wrap-Up
* White Sox rout Royals 10-1
* White Sox prospect Michael Kopech on Triple-A experience
* White Sox Take Two of Three From KC
* White Sox strengths lie in farm system
* White Sox Weekly: Turn back the clock to 1993 with Ozzie, Ro...


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