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Obama replacement speculation jumps the shark

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* Marc Ambinder is usually one of the best political reporters around, but the last line of this post made me spit out my coffee

Looking to the future….near term and far term…

1. if the Obama-Biden ticket wins, when do they resign their Senate seats?

2. Is Jesse Jackson. Jr. the favorite in IL? What about Tammy Duckworth? Speaker of the House Michael Madigan?

Michael Madigan?


…Adding… I’m pretty sure the above Ambinder post was just a simple mistake, and we all make mistakes. I make more than my share some days.

The point of this post is to ridicule all the rampant speculation about whom the governor will choose, not to single out any one person.

- Posted by Rich Miller   89 Comments      

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Monday, Oct 27, 2008

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Roskam perhaps wonders aloud too much***UPDATED X1***

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* If this Peter Roskam quote gets picked up, it might do some damage in the closing days

[Roskam] asked in the Pioneer Press interview why women can have abortions if rapists cannot be executed.

Here’s the response from Roskam’s Democratic opponent…

Lumping women who have abortions in with rapists and the death penalty? It’s offensive, demeaning to women and just downright creepy. It tells you all you need to know about Peter Roskam and what he thinks about women, even if he really doesn’t want you to know it.

*** UPDATE 1 *** [Posted by Kevin Fanning] Adding a quote forwarded to us from the Pioneer Press:

Roskam: “You know, my position is the same as Henry Hyde’s. And Henry Hyde put it best when he said, when somebody is the victim of a crime, the law currently says that a rapist can’t be put to death. That’s the law. A rapist under the court doctrines can’t be put to death. He said, why is it that the baby who is the result of that criminal behavior can be put to death? He said, isn’t that a sad, sad thing. So my feeling is, look, in the case of that, that’s the hard case, right? That’s the ultimate painful and difficult case. And what we need to do is love that person and encourage them and support them. But once people are categorized by how they were conceived and the circumstances of their conception, you end up going down a route that ultimately I don’t think we want to be.”

* Roundup…

* Young voters could rock the polls this year

* More than 40,000 turn out for early voting - Naperville home to busiest DuPage polling place

* LaHood unhappy with Schock

* Did Schock fib to a reporter?

* Newcomer, 18th district candidate says she’s not seeking political career

* Schock: Energy, defense, taxes the big issues

* Callahan demands answers from Schock while Durbin asks for funds

* Congressional hopefuls differ on energy, Iraq

* Two seek to unseat Shimkus in U.S. House district

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

It’s all politics all the time as the nation lurches towards another presidential election day. So, let’s give ourselves a little diversion, shall we?

Are you watching the World Series? Why or why not? Also, which team is your favorite? Explain fully, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

George Ryan… umm… Rod Blagojevich roundup

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* John Patterson made an excellent point the other day. After noting this AP story about the governor’s reaction to the Tribune poll…

The governor says his 13 percent job approval rating is unrelated to the federal corruption investigation that’s been swirling around his administration.”

…Patterson digs into his memory bank and realizes that former Gov. George Ryan made essentially the same argument…

When Ryan’s popularity tanked early on, he said it had far more to do with his 1999 decision to push higher alcohol and vehicle taxes – which paid for construction spending – than the federal investigation of his administration. There was also his decision to support O’Hare expansion after telling suburban voters he’d fight against more runways.

The federal proble was merely something of media fascination, he and his aides argued.

In case you forgot, and I doubt you have, that investigation no one was paying attention to ultimately caught up to Ryan. He’s now in prison.

* Patterson adds this thought today

The Chicago Tribune had an interesting political poll last week that showed Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s approval rating at 13 percent. Of those polled, 75 percent said they don’t want to see him re-elected.

I just happened to be digging through some of my George Ryan files recently and came across the Oct. 31, 2000 Daily Herald story on the poll we did back then with news partner ABC-7. 65 percent said Ryan should not seek re-election.


* Our state’s ongoing political gridlock and internecine warfare is now apparently taking a toll on charity events

Big parties require work. And no one works harder than the volunteer in charge of invitations or seating — not even the chefs who prepare fancy meals for hundreds of picky eaters.

It’s the invitation committee that must navigate the treacherous minefield of contentious relationships.

Consider the Joffrey Ballet gala held earlier this party season.

Organizers were faced with the predicament of waiting for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s RSVP before inviting Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In the end, neither attended.

Though their staffs deny any animosity, party planners say the two politicos aren’t likely to be seen at the same soiree.

* Meanwhile, this is no real surprise

And Blagojevich, the financial wunderkind who has shattered campaign money records, isn’t even involved in races this fall.

His campaign told the State Board of Elections last week it isn’t giving money to support other candidates or ballot issues this election.

So that means Democrats running for legislative seats won’t reap the rewards of cash from a governor whose administration is under the cloud of federal investigations, whose poll ratings are at all-time lows and whose fights with lawmakers have dominated government in recent years.

No doubt tears are flowing on campaigns throughout Illinois.

A quick check of campaign records shows just one actual campaign contribution to a legislative candidate in 2006 (Rep. Eddie Washington), one in 2004 (Rep. Bob Flider) and none in 2002.

Blagojevich set up an “independent” Move Illinois Forward PAC a few years back, which doled out $30,000 to Emil Jones and about $70,000 to legislative candidates in 2004, but that was the only cycle he really played in.

* House GOP Leader Tom Cross finessed the Blagojevich question in his local paper and it was printed without question…

Cross sets himself apart from the infighting among the state’s top Democratic leaders, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He said he works well with Democrats in his district.

“Here in Will County,” he said, “I feel pretty good about the fact that we work in a bipartisan way.”

All of Cross’ House campaigns are blasting Democrats for real and imagined ties to the governor. Ironic, ain’t it?

* Some say the public’s ire at Blagojevich will impact the constitutional convention referendum vote next week

…the ballot’s convention question could essentially become an approval poll of Blagojevich and the state’s other top Democrats who control almost all aspects of state government.

“That’s basically what they’ve been telling me,” said state Rep. Mike Boland, an East Moline Democrat and convention supporter.

Blagojevich’s position may only help the “Yes” folks

For his part, Blagojevich is mostly staying on the sidelines of the debate, with an aide saying the governor is “leaning towards no.”

* More…

* Kurt Erickson: Tackling the election, Blagojevich and a constitutional convention

* Gov the wild card in push for Obama’s seat

* If Obama wins, Jackson Jr. should take Senate seat

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Is the Lottery lease against federal law? *** UPDATED x2 ***

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* The Bond Buyer has a fascinating article behind its firewall which was forwarded to me by someone at the pubication…

In an opinion that could impact revenue-raising proposals from a number of states, the U.S. Justice Department has ruled that long-term leases of state lotteries would violate federal law. […]

The 13-page opinion issued Oct. 16. can be found at [this link]. It said a statemust “exercise actual control over all significant business decisions made bythe lottery enterprise” in order to comply with the federal lottery statuteexemption.

Federal law currently prohibits the promotion and advertising of lotteries ininterstate commerce with an exemption for those that are operated by a state. In addition to maintaining control over business decisions, a state must retain a majority share in the profits and losses of a lottery, as well as the rightsto the trade marks and other essential assets of the state lottery, the rulingstated.

While federal law does allow a state to contract with a private firm to “provide goods and services necessary to enable the state to conduct its lottery, including management services,” such a company cannot receive more than a minimal interest in the profits and losses of a state-run lottery.

The House and Senate have both passed competing legislation to privatize the state lottery in order to pay for the capital construction package. This DoJ ruling puts all of that in doubt.

* Here’s the report’s conclusion…

We conclude that the statutory exemption for lotteries “conducted by a State” requires that the State exercise actual control over all significant business decisions made by the lottery enterprise and retain all but a de minimis share of the equity interest in the profits and losses of the business, as well as the rights to the trademarks and other unique intellectual property or essential assets of the State’s lottery. It is permissible under the exemption for a State to contract with private firms to provide goods and services necessary to enable the State to conduct its lottery, including management services, as discussed herein. [emphasis added]


As we have discussed above, we believe that the ownership by the private management company of a significant equity interest in the profits of the lottery would go beyond the scope of the exemption. We understand that some States have proposed to enter into agreements with private management firms under which the private company would assist in the management of the lottery and receive a significant share of the lottery’s profits or bear a significant share of the risk of losses.

In return, it has been proposed that the management company would make a significant upfront payment to the State or make annual disbursements to the State. We believe that such an arrangement would not be consistent with the limited exemption for lotteries “conducted by a State.” If a private management company were to oversee the lottery’s operations and receive a significant share of the lottery’s profits (particularly in return for an investment of capital), we think it clear that the company would not be a mere contractor or agent, assisting the State in operating a lottery that the State conducts, but rather a co-participant in the conduct of the lottery with substantial managerial responsibilities and a significant equity stake in the lottery’s success or failure. In such circumstances, the private management company’s incentives and ability to influence the lottery would be significant.

Where a State has a reduced stake in the profits or losses of a lottery, its incentive to exercise the actual control over all significant business decisions required by the exemption is necessarily diminished. Indeed, in practical respects, an arrangement in which the State cedes to a private firm a significant economic interest in the profits and losses of the business may be functionally quite similar to an arrangement whereby the State licenses a lottery concession to a private company. As described above, these incentives and characteristics are precisely what Congress sought to avoid in enacting the exemption for lotteries “conducted by a State.” [emphasis added]

I’ve asked for a comment from the governor’s office and will update this post with any response. The office did not offer up anything to the Bond Buyer.

However, the article reports that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has now decided to drop his lottery lease idea as a result of this opinion.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the governor’s office…

We are reviewing the advisory opinion, but we believe the facts and circumstances of the Illinois lottery lease proposal are different than the other state’s proposals.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Pantagraph now has a story online that has a response from Speaker Madigan’s office…

A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said the federal opinion is a cause for concern, especially in light of the governor’s numerous legal battles on other policy initiatives.

‘’We don’t want to be embroiled in another costly lawsuit,'’ Brown said.

Brown said the federal decision could be used as a template to design a lottery lease plan that complies with federal law.

‘’It is certainly something that should be reviewed,'’ Brown said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Is AG Madigan a disappointment or a fighter?

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* More like this, please

Brian J. McPartlin quit as Illinois Tollway director last week. But he can’t start his new job with a politically connected engineering consulting firm quite yet.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked the Illinois Ethics Commission to delay approving McPartlin’s request to join Chicago’s McDonough Associates, a firm that has done millions of dollars of work with the Tollway.

McPartlin, 42, had asked for a waiver of the “revolving door prohibition,” which requires state officials to wait a year before taking a job with a company they hired or regulated. An ethics law loophole allows the commission to grant these waivers. Only one request out of 14 has been denied since 2005. […]

The commission gave McPartlin until today to respond to the motion. After that, the commission can act on the motion. If it’s granted, the commission will set up time frames in which the attorney general can conduct fact-finding.

McPartlin says he won’t do any tollway-related work for a year, but could he have obtained this job had he not been the director for two years? Doubtful, at best.

* Attorney General Madigan aggressively fought attempts to change the horribly biased ballot language on the constitutional convention question. Then, when she lost the case, she sent a letter to the state Board of Elections claiming that the ruling applied to all counties…

An appellate court affirmed the ruling on Oct. 16, and on Wednesday, Oct. 22, Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent a letter to the State Board of Elections which concluded, “Because the opinion in this case is binding throughout Illinois, I expect each local election authority in the State to follow the mandate of the Appellate Court of Illinois.”

…But no follow-up action has yet been reported, even though there are at least some reported instances of counties refusing to comply. Perhaps she is reticent because one of those counties is in the Metro East, a Democratic primary voter haven.

AG Madigan has done a pretty good job on consumer issues, as have most of our attorneys general in the past 30 years or so, but she has been average, at best, in fighting political corruption and the old boy network.

Tons of those afore-mentioned revoving door waivers have been approved without a peep from Madigan.

* Related…

* Chicago torture victims face uphill legal battle: The state attorney general’s office hasn’t agreed to new trials for those claiming coerced confessions and the city opposes paying damages to alleged victims, they say.

* Attorney General stays out of zone fight

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Anti arguments just don’t hold up ***UPDATED X1***

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* My weekly newspaper column looks at what I believe are two of the most talked-about objections to a constitutional convention….

The pricetag and our state’s failed politics appear to be the two biggest arguments against holding a constitutional convention.

Every 20 years, Illinois voters are given the right to call a constitutional convention. I want you to vote “Yes,” but various interest groups are spending millions to convince you to vote “No.”

The “Vote No” ads claim the projected cost of holding a convention is too high, especially considering that the state is running a horrific budget deficit.

They aren’t telling you something.

1) The state constitution itself is partially responsible for our current budget problems because glaring loopholes allow politicians to ignore balanced budget “requirements.”

2) Most of the interest groups opposing a constitutional convention are themselves responsible for our budget situation. They’ve pushed countless tax breaks and spending increases. And now they’re using the very budget problems they helped create to argue against a solution. Ironic, eh?

My opinion is we can’t afford not to call a convention.

Another argument against a constitutional convention is: “The same politicians who got us into this mess will be the ones controlling a convention.”

I wouldn’t be too sure of that.

Right now, both political parties in the Illinois House are stretching themselves to the limit over eight House campaigns. They’ve dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into those races and are struggling to find the money from interest groups to continue the pace.

So, if the powers that be are straining to control the outcome of eight races, how can they control a process that will elect 118 constitutional convention delegates at once?

Legislators will be allowed to run for delegate, but they can’t be paid for both jobs at the same time, which will likely discourage most of them from seeking the position.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is so horribly unpopular now that he’s the political kiss of death. If he lends support to delegate candidates, they will almost surely lose.

Delegates won’t be running for reelection, so they will be far less beholden to any assistance they do receive from interest groups than state legislators, who must run again every two to four years.

The Chicago machine will certainly become involved, but recent prison terms for Daley’s former patronage chieftains have hobbled the organization. Besides, the machine elected delegates to the last convention 38 years ago (at the height of the organization’s power and strength), but the hacks failed to exert much influence because they simply didn’t care enough about policy. That hasn’t changed.

The machine’s biggest loss back then was a provision which moved the statewide elections to the “off” years. Illinois used to elect its governor the same year it voted for president. The first Mayor Daley was horrified at the move, telling a young delegate, Michael J. Madigan, that the change would mean no Democrat would be elected governor for the next 30 years. After the change took effect, no Democrat was elected governor until 2002. Daley’s prediction was right on the money.

Constitutional convention delegate campaigns have historically attracted large numbers of young, smart, issue-oriented candidates, not just in Illinois but all over the country. Also, never forget that voters get the final say on the convention’s finished product via referendum.

“But what about the stupidity of Illinois voters?” some ask, pointing to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger as examples of the danger of putting such an important decision into the hands of clueless voters.

If Rod and Todd were wildly popular today I would agree with that analysis. Instead, they are two of the most despised politicians in all of Illinois history. The overwhelming majority of voters clearly regret those decisions, and I think they’ve learned from their mistakes.

If you want to stop state politicians from running multi billion-dollar deficits, then vote to spend a relatively paltry sum to hold a constitutional convention.

If you are afraid of the voters, well, you might as well just move somewhere else because you’ll be stuck with their choices for legislators and statewide officials for the rest of your life.

If you don’t want any change, then vote “No.”

I can’t promise you massive amounts of change if we do get a constitutional convention. I can promise, however, that nothing will change if you vote “No.”

Please, vote “Yes.”

* Meanwhile, Kristen McQueary’s column, entitled “In the simplest terms, we’re too stupid for con-con,” is spot on…

There they stood, like an old Archie and Edith. Gov. Jim Edgar and his 1992 gubernatorial opponent, Dawn Clark Netsch, side by side in the Thompson Center press room last week to unite behind a cause. They want you to vote “no” to a constitutional convention on your Nov. 4 ballot.

Frankly, I was insulted.

Their bottom line, along with all the special interest groups weaving fear into their messaging, is this: Anything you want to change about Illinois government - the players, the stalemate, the governor himself - can and should be done through the legislative process. The problem is not the constitution. It’s the people we send to Springfield. If we did a better job vetting them, we wouldn’t be stuck in this mess.

I disagree. I am voting for a convention for two very specific reasons: Article IV, Section 3, Legislative Redistricting, and Article X, Section 1, Education.

Go read the whole thing.

* Related…

* Ballot language still at issue: County Clerk Bob Delaney said Thursday that he had not been distributing the “corrective notice” because he and the county state’s attorney didn’t think the original ruling applied statewide.

* Voters will decide whether Illinois needs to rewrite state constitution

* Broken system can be fixed

* Give power back to citizens

* Illinois Constitution targeted

* Court: Ignore Convention Language On Ballot

*** UPDATE 1 *** Adding…

* Dysfunctional state needs leadership, not a convention

* Leaders need changing, not our constitution

* Editorial: Politics, not constitution, state’s problem vote ‘no’

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Morning shorts

Monday, Oct 27, 2008

* Illinois in recession? That could be just the beginning of our woes

“Both in terms of financial industries and credit downturns that impacted the economy and markets nationwide, we’re still ahead of the curve,” Rowen said. “We could even come out of this ahead of the rest of the United States and international economies.”

Other experts weren’t as positive and felt Illinois was at the edge or already in a recession and possibly headed for worse. Moody’s issued data this week that said Illinois was one of 27 states already in a recession.

* Press Release: National Legal Association Asks Illinois Banks Receiving State Investments to Consider Hiring Minority- or Women-Owned Businesses

* Durbin has big lead in campaign’s final days

The poll of 800 likely voters conducted last week by Maryland-based Research 2000 found that Durbin holds a 59 percent to 34 percent lead, with 7 percent undecided. Durbin also has a 59 percent favorable rating — the highest in two years under the poll. Sauerberg, a physician, has a favorable rating of 41 percent, and his unfavorable rating is 44 percent.

* Senate race 1 of contrasts

In an election where Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is heavily favored, Republicans are getting what they want from their challenger, suburban family practice physician Steve Sauerberg.

* Setting up shop

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), another alumnus of the Clinton White House, is advising on inauguration matters, process, personnel and priorities, if indeed Obama wins. On Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Emanuel whether he would be interested in serving as Obama’s chief of staff. Emanuel did not rule it out.

* Ald. Stone vows to ‘destroy’ city watchdog agency

Nine months after an inspector general’s probe led to the indictment of his ward’s Streets and Sanitation superintendent, Ald. Bernie Stone (50th) vowed to “destroy” the agency at a Friday budget hearing.

“It is my intent, Mr. Inspector General, to wipe your entire office out of the budget,” Stone told Inspector General David Hoffman. “It is my intent to submit a budget amendment which will destroy your department.”

* Cook County workers feeling heat

So far this year, former inspector general Joseph Price — a Todd Stroger appointee replaced this month by Pat Blanchard — started 91 investigations. Among the allegations Price looked into involved employees reporting to Chief Judge Tim Evans and Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

And the number of new investigations is expected to skyrocket, the Sun-Times has learned. Since Blanchard was sworn in last week, his office has been in steady contact with sources offering up information.

* Library Fines Likely to Come Up at Budget Hearing

Budget hearings continue this morning as Chicago aldermen try to find ways to make up a $469-million deficit. One of the suggestions for bringing in more money is expected to come up at today’s hearing. That’s increasing the fines for overdue library books from ten cents a day to twenty. Alderman Ed Smith says there are better ways to raise revenue than increasing fines on overdue books.

* Wind knocks out power for more than 6,600 ComEd customers

* State’s largest indoor sports complex set to open in Lake Barrington

* Surge in Iraqi immigration expected

The Chicago area is poised to become a top destination for Iraqi war refugees, according to Illinois officials who worry about finding housing and jobs for the newcomers in a struggling economy.

In the first years of the war, fewer than 200 Iraqi refugees came to Illinois, but more than 1,000 have landed in the state in the last year, and nearly 1,400 more are expected in the next 12 months.

Efforts by U.S. officials to admit Iraqis by the thousands could lead to 20 years of Immigration on par with the area’s roughly 30,000 Vietnam War refugees, said Ed Silverman, who directs the Illinois Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services.

* State offers more help for winter heating bills

Illinois officials say the state will have an extra $118 million this year to help low-income families with their winter heating costs.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in statement Sunday that Illinois has $265 million in money from the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

* State offers grants to farmers markets

Grant money to help farmers markets pay the cost of advertising will be available through the state next year, according to a news release from Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office.

The Illinois Farmers Market Advertising Grant Program will provide up to $7,500 to qualifying farmers markets to help with advertising and promotions in 2009. The funds — $132,565 the first year — will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the release said.

* Ideas for airports take wing

Richard Rodriguez would like hungry passengers to have more choices of ethnic foods to buy while traveling through Chicago’s airports.

As the city’s aviation commissioner, Rodriguez wants folks to rumba with their roller bags to the sound of live bands in the concourses. He wants to see more uniquely Chicago artwork hanging on the walls.

And he envisions nail boutiques, like those located on hundreds of Chicago streets, offering manicures and fake fingernails that can be glued on while passengers are waiting between flights.

* Sun-Times circulation up

The Chicago Sun-Times, setting itself apart from most American newspapers, is reporting an increase in circulation in the latest six-month reporting period.

The paper said that from March through September, its average weekday circulation rose 0.3 percent to 313,174 copies. For the Sunday edition, the paper reported a 3.4 percent increase to 255,906 copies.

* Lawrence leaves public policy institute to go back to journalism

After 11 years administering and teaching at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Mike Lawrence is leaving to return to his roots.

Lawrence, who has spent the last four years as the institute’s director, said recently that it’s been a rewarding experience, but Friday will be his last day at the institute.

* Media: What is going to happen to post-GateHouse-collapse Journal Star?

Wednesday was the last day GateHouse Media — the company that owns the Peoria Journal Star and most of the other daily and weekly newspapers in the area — was traded on the New York Stock exchange. It’s trading price at the exchange closed? Seven cents per share. At one point, it sold at more than $20 per share.

* Conrad Black: Con, blogger

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

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Monday, Oct 27, 2008

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Sunday campaign roundup *** COMMENTS NOW OPEN ***

Sunday, Oct 26, 2008

[Comments now open.]

* Sources have said for months that Paul Vallas has reportedly been not so subtly promoting himself behind the scenes for an appointment as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education. Perhaps that didn’t work out too well

Chicago’s former schools chief has flunked the education foundation headed by Barack Obama and founded by 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers - saying it failed to monitor projects and funded school “reform” groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards.

“There was a total lack of accountability. If you went back and asked, you’d be hard-pressed to find out how the money was spent,” said Paul Vallas, the city’s school superintendent when Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Foundation from 1995 to 1999. […]

“Very little of the money found its way directly into the classroom,” Vallas said.

Most frustrating, Vallas said, was that Annenberg under Obama and Ayers funded groups that fought his mission, under Mayor Richard Daley, to impose uniform standards and stricter accountability in low-performing schools.

Vallas is respected here as a straight shooter, so it’s very possible that his comments had nothing to do with politics. Then again, his brother has been promoting Vallas as a possible Republican candidate for Cook County Board President in 2010.

* First it was the Tribune, then the Daily Herald, then the Rockford Register Star, and now the Bloomington Pantagraph becomes the latest Republican paper to endorse Barack Obama for president…

He has all the qualities to be a great president. It’s up to him.

The end is nigh.

* The Pantagraph also has a new poll that shows Obama with a huge lead here

The poll of 800 likely Illinois voters gives Obama a decisive 59-35 lead over McCain in a state already assumed to be an Obama stronghold.

Toplines and crosstabs are here.

The only fault I can find with this poll is it shows McCain with a 52-41 lead in the collar counties. Recent congressional and legislative polling in Lake, Will and even DuPage and Kane are showing Obama doing quite well.

* A Daily Kos front pager looks at who might replace Obama in the Senate, but it’s not exactly a solid piece of work.

Among its problems is its claim that Senate President Emil Jones “holds a position of exceptional prominence in Illinois politics,” and that the governor “may also be reluctant to send one of his few friends in Springfield out of the state.” Jones, we all know, is retiring at the end of his term.

* I didn’t hear the conference call, but this article sure makes it sound like Republican congressional hopeful Martin Ozinga III sees the light at the end of the tunnel and suspects it’s a freight train headlamp

Republican Martin Ozinga sounded a somber note during a conference call with reporters last week as he charted a course for the final days of his congressional campaign.

The Homer Glen concrete company owner and first-time candidate for public office said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending overwhelming resources in the 11th Congressional District in an attempt to “financially bury us.”

“That’s the circumstances we find ourselves in,” Ozinga said.

With just a over a week to go before voters in the 11th district head to the polls, Ozinga finds himself down in some polls and behind in money in the race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller of Morris.

* Republican incumbent Peter Roskam throws the kitchen sink at his Democratic opponent. She’s a Blagojevich crony, tax-hike lover and doesn’t live in the district…

* An ultra conservative 527 is dumping big bucks into the avowed moderate Republican Mark Kirk’s reelection bid

A conservative group with ties to the Bush administration has donated about $453,000 for television ads to benefit GOP Rep. Mark Kirk’s tough re-election bid in Chicago’s affluent suburbs.

The ads funded by Freedom’s Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization, accuse Democratic challenger Dan Seals of favoring higher taxes.

Freedom’s Watch has made three major advertising-related expenditures of around $150,000 each since late September and as recently as mid-October, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

One ad says, “Families are hurting, small businesses are struggling, times are tough, that’s why Dan Seals plan for higher taxes is so wrong.”

* Pay raises an issue in Biggert’s reelection bid

As the race for the 13th Congressional District draws closer to the finish line, Democratic challenger Scott Harper is criticizing Republican incumbent Judy Biggert’s approval of pay raises for members of Congress.

At his Naperville campaign headquarters Friday, Harper, 47, pledged to vote against any Congressional pay raise if elected.

“Judy Biggert has … voted against raising the pay of combat veterans and increasing the minimum wage but voted for giving herself $33,000 in pay increases over the past 10 years,” Harper said in a statement. […]

“She’s never voted for an actual pay raise while in Congress,” Biggert campaign spokesman John Noak said. “All of those were part of larger appropriations bills, for the departments of Treasury, Transportation, and Health and Human Services.”

The cost-of-living increases for Congress ranged from 1.9 percent to 3.4 percent, he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
* Tribune drops bombshell on Biss running mate
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner: "Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker"
* New Ives radio ad claims Democrats are trying to help Rauner, while Brady does Rauner robocall
* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Jones; IEA/IFT; Reis; Mitchell; Edgar
* ISRA, Drury both try to claim Raoul inserted "poison pill" into gun bill
* Pro-life group launches GOTV effort for Lipinski
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner opens new online track against Ives
* Erika Harold still can't remember comments, but says "I was wrong"
* Rauner calls Madigan "a unified force of bad, of evil"
* Sen. Duckworth gets involved in another state central committee race
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has Pritzker gone to ground?
* Illinois House Bill HB 4900 Wastes Government Resources
* McCann, barred from SGOP caucus meeting, claims Rauner threatened to "destroy you and your family"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!
* Obama mailer kerfuffle in Lipinski district
* Rauner attended Quincy campaign event after Quincy veterans' home presser
* After spending millions in Dem primary, Rauner accuses "Washington liberals" of "hijacking" the GOP primary
* Yesterday's stories

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* Place your bets? Illinois preparing for legal s.....
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* Illinois primary puts focus on security of state voter rolls
* EXCHANGE: Historian doesn't want hero's story lost
* EXCHANGE: Losing a limb has not handicapped Pekin bowler
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Judge gives FBI more time in alleged serial killer case
* Michigan shipwreck hunters find schooner that sank in 1873
* Immigrant reunited with child months after separation by US
* SIU consolidating student housing to west side of campus
* Illinois lawmaker seeks to abolish townships to lower taxes
* Police presence across Illinois upped for St. Patrick's Day

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th
* Trump factor looms large in Illinois governor primary campaigns
* Ray LaHood brokers deal for O'Hare expansion
* McCann says Rauner threatened to 'destroy' him in 2015 over vote
* Rauner looking into state buying vacant nursing home in Quincy
* Luciano: What if Downstate dumped Chicago and formed new state?
* AP review: Push for gun laws faces resistance in most states

* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Amazon search team in Chicago next week
* Amazon HQ2 search team visiting Chicago March 21-22
* Pension mess? You'd hardly know it from 2018's gubernatorial candidates.
* The Best New Event Spaces in Chicago 2018

* Sean Bean on his many deaths and ‘Game of Thrones’ legacy
* Man shot in Gage Park
* Sun-Times/WBBM Religion Roundup: Anti-Semitic incidents in Illinois up sharply
* 2 wounded in shooting on Dan Ryan
* Man wounded in Portage Park drive-by shooting
* Man accidentally shot at Englewood apartment
* Man shot while standing on sidewalk in Homan Square
* 3 injured, 2 critically, in DeKalb crash
* Missing 76-year-old man last seen driving in Park Manor
* Police: 1 shot dead, 1 grazed by bullet while driving in Back of the Yards

* Turtle racing's had a long, slow burn in Chicago
* LeBron James' triple-double too much for Bulls as Cavs pull out 114-109 victory
* 'Saturday Night Live': John Goodman, Fred Armisen make surprise appearances
* Kyle Schwarber's improvements evident in spring training
* Russia votes but outcome is clear: 6 more years of Putin
* North Korean diplomat heads to Finland for U.S. talks
* Turkey says its forces take control of Syrian town of Afrin
* Loyola headed to Sweet 16 after Clayton Custer hits game-winning shot in final seconds
* For 'Black Panther' fans, what to know about the suburban hamlet of Wauconda

» A Feisty Debate, Offshore Accounts — And Some Side-Eye
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: March 16, 2018
» The Week in Review: Pritzker Slammed Over Offshore Holdings
» Web Extra, The Week in Review: American Airlines Changes Stance
» How Parking Ticket Debt Punishes Black Drivers In Chicago; The Best Illinois Movies
» State Week: Rauner's Gun Veto; Dem's Mean Debate
» #642 Songs About the Music Industry & Antibalas
» March 15, 2018 - Full Show
» Illinois Has Issues: Gov Candidates Talk Marijuana
» Rauner: Replace Legionnaires’-Stricken VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Statehouse Insider: Sadly, the primary campaign is coming to an end
* Bernard Schoenburg: My predictions for Tuesday's primary election
* Our View: A recap of The State Journal-Register’s endorsements
* Bernard Schoenburg: Guessing who will be celebrating Tuesday night
* Madeleine Doubek: Time to end gerrymandering in Illinois
* United Way: Reporting results that matter
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th

* The primary election is Tuesday. Here's what you need to know before you vote.
* Good cause, fellowship, food draws thousands to Mennonite Relief Sale
* Significant Structures: Burnham Athenaeum
* All-Area Girls' Basketball 2018
* Silver anniversary
* Few choices appear on primary ballot
* Decatur and Macon County Neighbors: Obituaries published today
* 'It is going to be extremely difficult': Southern Illinois leaders prepare for cuts from governor's proposed budget
* Area Calendar 3/18/18
* Daily Digest 3/18/18

* The reasons behind Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane's warmup tradition
* Podolski goal powers Vissel Kobe to 1st win in J-League
* India: Pakistan shelling kills 5 family members in Kashmir
* North Korean diplomat heads to Finland for US talks
* The Latest: Turkey says allied forces reach center of Afrin

* WATCH: Gutiérrez says 'lonely' Trump can c...
* Final battle time for the Democratic civil...
* River Town Chronicles: Randy Hultgren is T...
* 7 Democrats talk strategy for winning prim...
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* 14th District candidates agree: Global war...
* ICOs Draw Fire at US Congressional Hearing...
* What to Expect When Congress Talks ICOs To...
* 7 Democrats talk strategy for winning Tues...

* Congolese mother and child finally reunite......
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* Sen. Durbin receives Healy Award for servi......
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* Senator Durbin Receives Alumni Award...

* Congolese mother and child finally reunite......
* Schatz to convene field hearing on false m......
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* Duckworth on Zinke's improper use of Japan......
* US government denies Afghanistan War veter......

* Tucker: Washington not worried about male wage crisis
* State of the Legal Industry: A Leading Innovator Concludes that Inefficiency Prevails
* Wednesday, March 14, 2018
* Monday, 3/12/2018
* Online University Programs and Microcredentials Enhance Professional Learning
* AI is the new electricity, says Coursera’s Andrew Ng
* Bolstering Academic Integrity in the Online Classroom
* Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Study An Online MBA In 2018
* 3 Technologies that Education Needs, But Have Not Been Created
* Coursera to offer degrees from UK universities

* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties
* Winter Storm Warnings for Areas Along and North of I-80
* IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes

* Counterclockwise: the story of Galaxy S phones, part 2
* Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’
* Oculus Go standalone VR headset rumored to launch at F8 developer conference
* In Past Tense: The story of Paul's phones
* How Uber ghost rides are linked to online money laundering
* What the GDPR will mean for companies tracking location
* Weekly poll results: Galaxy S9+ beats its smaller sibling 3:1

* Cool with No. 2? Avi paces Sox 5-2 win
* Lefty Ross making case for bullpen spot
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields to start for White Sox on Opening Day
* Shields to start for White Sox on Opening Day
* Your guide to pronouncing all those tricky White Sox names

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