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Illinois’ own Ghidorah

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008

[Comments are now open]

* A little late in posting it, but I’m still on break. Here’s my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Women and children literally are being thrown into the street while the three-headed monster that runs Illinois government continues to do battle with itself.

More than a thousand protesters gathered at Chicago’s Thompson Center last week to demand an end to the ugly political war that has engulfed Springfield. The protesters wanted the restoration of millions of dollars vetoed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich from alcohol and substance abuse recovery services. The programs keep drug and alcohol users out of jail by giving them an opportunity to clean up and get their lives back in order.

The governor vetoed the money - and a whole lot more - after the House and Senate failed to pass a balanced budget. Actually, the House did pass a balanced budget, but it’s still sitting in the Senate. The proposal that made it to the governor’s desk was favored by the Senate Democrats but required additional revenue, which the House didn’t approve during the spring session.

The House came back to Springfield to override some of the governor’s vetoes, including the alcohol and substance abuse cuts. But the House Democrats, who run the chamber, never took up any funding proposals, claiming the House Republicans had refused to negotiate with them at the request of the Democratic governor. The Senate refused to come back to town as long as the House failed to pass revenue bills, and then the never-ending finger-pointing ritual, which passes for leadership here, fully engaged.

The governor blamed the House, the Senate blamed the House, the House blamed everybody but itself, the Republicans blamed the Democrats, and the Democrats blamed the Republicans.

Meanwhile, A Safe Haven, a facility for homeless families that houses 80 women and 40 children in Alsip and relies solely on state funding through the alcohol and drug program, is preparing to close its doors and evict its residents.

“It’s like our lives (aren’t) important,” said Demetria Woods, who works for the facility. The SouthtownStar reported that Woods once was a resident of the facility who had changed her life to the point where she was hired to help others. Except now there will be no one to help.

Back to the blame game.

The governor’s people had predicted the Illinois House would bear the brunt of the blame in this budget fight, but that hasn’t happened so far. He made the vetoes, the House overrode some of them, and the Senate won’t return. Politically, the governor and the Senate are taking most of the heat at the moment. And the more the governor cuts (he has said much more is on the way as he manages his way through hundreds of millions in additional red ink), the more blame he will get.

But this no longer is a merely political story. We’re talking real people with real problems blithely tossed to the four winds while the “leaders” seek to use the crisis to their own advantage. Blagojevich and Jones want to destroy Madigan, and Madigan is trying to do the same to them.

Illinois always was known as a rough and tumble state that still got the job done. No longer. The rough and tumble has increased exponentially to the point where “the job” now is a distant second to “the fight.”

I’m reminded of those old Godzilla movies. You may remember Ghidorah, also known as the “King of Terror.” Ghidorah was a three-headed monster who made even Godzilla tremble. Well, in the Illinois version, Ghidorah’s three heads (Blagojevich, Jones and Madigan) are now fighting among each other without taking even the slightest notice of the devastation they are causing to the people and infrastructure below. It may be thrilling to watch, unless, of course, you are those Thompson Center protesters or Demetria Woods, and then your cries of anguish go unheard while the monster tramples you to a bloody pulp.

Apparently, the rest of us are doomed to letting this three-headed monster fight itself until a “win” is declared or until Ghidorah is too exhausted to continue. And there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot we can do about it until the war is over, whenever that may be.

I’ve never been so disheartened by this state’s government as I am right now.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Frank Booth - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 7:21 am:

    Mothra rules!!!

  2. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 7:43 am:

    Rich said….> “We’re talking real people with real problems”

    I would’ve expected a line like that to come from the governors office.

  3. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 7:58 am:

    And I almost forgot, welcome back.

  4. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:15 am:

    Welcome back, Rich (and Kevin). Hope you enjoyed the break…I know it allowed me to focus on the Cubs/Brewers series. Holy Cow!

  5. - meanwhile, I'm still thinkin' - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:19 am:

    Are you sure it’s not more like the three-headed knight from “The Holy Grail” at this point?

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:25 am:

    How do you deal with unique political probelms in Illinois? Unique up on them.

    How do you deal with tame political problems? The tame way.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:26 am:

    VQ do you think Rich stores kevin in a mud pit when he goes away on break… Rich: “It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the COTW meetings again.”

  8. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:32 am:

    lol…I think Kevin got stuck making sales calls to Mark Warner.

  9. - Kevin Fanning - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:35 am:


  10. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:40 am:

    Ooops those last two anyonymous where me, forgot to type in me Nick.

  11. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:44 am:

    thank goodness you’re back-I know the situation is dreary, but someone needs to keep us politics informed–

    do you think the feds are waiting until after 11/4 to make a move on the Blago front so as not to dirty up someone who might be running for Pres?

  12. - anonymous46 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:51 am:

    That’s interesting. I’d really like to take a closer look at that balanced budget that the House passed. Could you give me the bill number so that I can look it up, Richie? Or, maybe you could just tell us the bottom line approp amount and the revenue level it was based on.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 9:06 am:

    anonymous46, now would be a very good time for you to learn how to use the GA’s website.

  14. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 9:20 am:

    It is very heartening to see that the study of quality cinema can fit into current political discussion/analysis. Many happy hours with a bag a chips and Rodan, the Italian Hercules series, and Ming the Merciless now have a completely new perspective. Welcome back.

  15. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:04 am:

    I am waiting for the Kung Fu theater analogy.

  16. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Can you hear them? I hear two small voices talking in unison.

    There they are, two little Japanese fairies. What’s that their saying?

    “Omotha has heard of the damage the three headed monster is doing to the State of Illinois and is sending his champion Giannilla to defeat Ghidorah. All citizens should be careful not to get crushed during the fight.”

  17. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:24 am:

    At least the White Sox won.

  18. - Ahem - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    Way to go Rich. You are a mighty wordsmith in the tradition of Melville.

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:55 am:


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