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Morning Shorts

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* In Illinois, politics and ethics go together like oil and water

Case in point: It took the ragtag operation of the Cook County Republican Party to draw attention, as recently as last week, to the routine practice of campaign activity inside Chicago aldermanic ward offices.

The Illinois Supreme Court last week sided with the Cook County GOP in its years-long expose of ward office abuses, remanding a case to the Illinois Appellate Court for further review.

Need a city sticker for your car? You might fetch it from a ward office where political yard signs also are distributed. Staff therein, paid with your nonpartisan tax dollars, might be working on a traffic plan for the ward - or raising campaign cash for their boss, either one. At least 16 Democratic campaign operations are housed inside ward offices in Chicago.

Hello? Has anyone heard of the U.S. attorney’s office?

* Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

* Stimulus bill could pay for Chicago-area transit projects

* Reps. Manzullo, Bean disagree on stimulus bill

* Halvorson backs huge stimulus bill

* Gov’t to report on jobless claims as layoffs rise

Economists forecast that about 575,000 initial claims were filed, down from 589,000 the previous week. Still, last week’s figure matched a level hit in November that was the highest in 26 years, although the labor force has grown by about half since then.

* Opponents of Chicago Olympics come under e-attack

* 6,200 college students get another chance to receive state aid grants

* Scholarship help vital as college costs escalate

* Allstate Posts Loss, Plans to Cut 1000

* Coal company seeks new mine permit

* America’s immigrants split by education levels

America’s foreign-born population is highly fragmented along educational lines, with a large portion of immigrants possessing relatively low levels of education while sizable elite have attained advanced degrees, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report found that a much smaller percentage of foreign-born adults had completed high school compared with their native-born counterparts—nearly 88 percent of native-born Americans versus 68 percent of foreign born adults.

But that 20 point difference shrinks close to zero when looking at adults who have attained a college degree. Almost 28 percent of native-born adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 27 percent of foreign-born adults.

* Hospital expansion rejected

An Illinois public health board on Wednesday rejected the expansion plans of a suburban Chicago hospital whose CEO helped a federal investigation that led to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest. […]

Edward Hospital President and CEO Pamela Davis told reporters earlier this month that she believes staff members at the board have blocked the project because she helped blow the whistle on what federal prosecutors say was major corruption on the panel

* Blizzard of I-PASS violations buries recipient

* Luciano: Loophole in DUI law is the problem

* Wait for license saving lives?

Since last January, Illinois teens have had to wait nine months instead of three months to get their licenses, and new drivers must wait a year before they can carry more than one teenage passenger. New statistics indicate that the “graduated driver licensing” law is having an effect — the number of Illinois teens 16-19 who died in car crashes dropped more than 40 percent in 2008 to 92 deaths, from 155 in 2007.

* Secretary of state cites new laws for drop in teen driving deaths

* Attorney general proposes strengthened law on stalking

Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to introduce legislation to strengthen state stalking laws and increase the protection available to victims.

* Worker admits to forgery in Lake Co. election

One of two men accused of forging signatures on nominating petitions for state Sen. Terry Link was placed on probation Wednesday after pleading guilty.

Kenneth Davison, 50, pleaded guilty to nine counts of perjury for signing a sworn statement on the petitions that the signatures were legitimate… Link was not charged with any wrongdoing in the case.

* Northwest suburbs expect lively local election season this spring

* Let’s have a clean fight, candidates

* Ron Huberman booed, heckled at his 1st school board meeting

* Boos greet new school chief

* Fans, schools adjust to Chicago Public Schools’ ban on visiting fans at basketball games

* Downtown Protests Over School Closures

* Cook County workers’ jobs depend on balanced budget

* Investigation into tow-truck bribery grows

A federal investigation into the shakedown of tow-truck operators by Chicago police has expanded with the unsealing of charges against another officer.

Jimmie Akins is charged with attempted extortion for allegedly taking bribes in 2006 and 2007. It is alleged Akins received $100 per towed car in a bribe scheme

- Posted by Mike Murray        

4 Comments
  1. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 29, 09 @ 8:45 am:

    Obama to Blago: It was the best of time it was the worst of times…

    TII


  2. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jan 29, 09 @ 9:14 am:

    Well, the proposed Illinois percentage of the total bailout package is disappointing although it represents a little under 3 percent of the total, which parallels Illinois’ percentage of the total US pop. I think Illinois should have gotten more. We have a higher than average unemployment rate for one thing. Not sure our US
    Sens and Reps did their job here.

    Likely, however, there will be more. The financial industry is already lining up for second helpings of TARP–and getting them in some cases, I believe. The states are almost sure to follow.

    But this is Illinois and there is enormous potential for corruption and for waste of what we already have (money is fungible) in light of this windfall. No matter how many restrictions the feds put on this cash tsunami, Illinois is still a pay to play state.

    Quinn has a good rep for honesty and experience but let’s not sit back and assume he’ll do the right thing. We’ve done that too many times in the past decade. Taking down tollway signs and
    talking about ethics reform is fine, and might even help him win the Dem primary in less than a year. He’s going to have to do a lot of that stuff. But the real test will be how does he
    handle the money–the money we have and the money
    that is about to fall on us.


  3. - Beowulf - Thursday, Jan 29, 09 @ 9:24 am:

    A good first move by Pat Quinn would be to replace the current members of the Illinois Public Health Board with all new people. This state board and it’s members are stained by the previous actions of Tony Rezko and Bill Cellini. How many others were compromised but have not been indicted yet? That thought looms large with the residents of Illinois. I am not saying that the remaining board members have done anything wrong. I am saying that a complete “broom cleaning” of this tainted organization is needed before it will have any credibility with the residents of Illinois.

    The CEO of Edward Hospital (Pamela Davis) was courageous to wear a wire for the FBI in order to uncover the rampant corruption within this organization. Pat Quinn needs to scrub this tarnished state board down and get all new members in it in order to get it antiseptically clean once again. Otherwise, the doubt will continue to plague the citizens of Illinois. The people of Illinois deserve no less.


  4. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 29, 09 @ 9:50 am:

    Replace the members of the Illinois Public Health Board. How about simply abolishing it? It seems that this agency makes medical care more expensive and more remote through most of its rulings.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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