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Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* I’ve been happy to be back at work all week. It’s been a fun one, what with the State Fair and all. Plus, I kinda missed you folks.

* The’s will play us out with “I’m Blue”…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Laborers endorse Hynes; Inside that Rasmussen poll; Conservatives bash Kirk

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* Comptroller Dan Hynes has been endorsed by the Laborers’ Union in the Democratic primary for governor. That’s a pretty big one. Gov. Quinn dinked around with the capital bill so long that he alienated lots of unions in the process. And Hynes has worked hard to win union support over the years.

The Laborers also endorsed Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for US Senate today.

* Speaking of Giannoulias, take a look at some of the crosstabs from that recent Rasmussen poll between him and Republican US Senate candidate Mark Kirk. Kirk leads Giannoulias by 3 points, 41-38, according to the poll. But African-American voters favor the Democrat by just 61-27. That’ll probably change unless something really bad happens in the primary race against Cheryle Jackson.

Democrats break 63-22 for Giannoulias. That many self-identified Democratic voters favoring a declared Republican candidate is not good news for the Dems. Cheryle Jackson’s numbers with Democrats are worse - 51-28. Republicans are more solidly behind Kirk, 71-13 against Giannoulias and 76-9 against Jackson.

Independents and others go 45-18 for Kirk over Giannoulias. Those numbers ought to set off alarm bells. Not just for Giannoulias, but Democrats.

* But a group of conservative activists has sent a letter to Republican county chairmen asking that they support Patrick Hughes for Senate instead of Mark Kirk. From the letter…

We find the candidacy of Congressman Mark Kirk for this key position on the 2010 November ballot completely unacceptable.

At this time when grass roots voters of both parties are outraged by the attempts of liberal Democrats to unnecessarily expand government at the expense of tax payers, we believe it is necessary to nominate a candidate for U.S Senate who clearly articulates mainstream Republican values. Unfortunately, Congressman Kirk’s record in Washington has not represented the fundamental values and positions of the Republican Party on issue after issue.

We remind you that only mainstream, right of center Republican Candidates… Al Salvi and Peter Fitzgerald… have run competitive U.S Senate races since 1980. We believe it is important for you, the Republican County Chairs, who represent the real grassroots of the Party to express your view on the matter.

We strongly recommend to you the candidacy of Patrick Hughes, a successful attorney and developer from Hinsdale who shares our mainstream conservative values. Pat Hughes is 40, married with three children, a leading opponent of Pat Quinn’s 50% tax increase, and a vocal opponent of Barack Obama’s plans to bury tax payers under cap and trade, socialized medicine, continued growth of our national debt, and a complete rejection of our fundamental moral values.

The letter was signed by Paul Caprio of Family-Pac, Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch of Concerned Cristians of America, David Diersen of Taproot Republicans, former state Rep. Penny Pullen, talk show host Sandy Rios, Ralph Rivera of Illinois Citizens for Life, Tom Roeser, Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum and David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute.

* US Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the NRSC, speaks about Alexi Giannoulias…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* Here are a few very short vacation videos I took in Pierre, South Dakota, the state capital. The first is the outside of the Statehouse…

Inside the Statehouse rotunda…

Please remove all hats…

* The Question(s): About how many statehouses have you visited? What do you remember most? How did they stack up to Illinois’ statehouse?

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Not a bad day at all

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* This story’s first two grafs contradict each other

On a day when Illinois Republicans got a chance to show voters they’re ready to capitalize on the scandal of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, their message was stepped on by an unexpected leadership upheaval that underscored a chronic lack of cohesion.

Andy McKenna stepped down as Illinois GOP chairman Thursday, and stunned party leaders quickly selected Pat Brady, the state’s liaison to the Republican National Committee, as his successor.

Pat Brady’s quick election to party chairman “underscored” that the IL GOP appears to be getting its act together and is becoming more cohesive, not less. McKenna’s surprise announcement was just a typical stunt by a man who loves himself a bit too much. Brady appears to be a worker, not a publicity hound, but he still handles himself well in front of the cameras…

* I haven’t seen a GOP Day crowd like yesterday’s in many a year

The old timers say there was a larger turnout this year for the party’s picnic and earlier breakfast. And one reason, for sure, is the fact that six candidates for governor showed up looking for statewide name recognition while pushing reform.

A bigger reason is that the Republicans smell blood in the water, and for once it’s not their own.

* Quote of the day goes to Sen. Matt Murphy, a GOP gubernatorial candidate who had this to say about the Illinois Democrats…

“Can you smell the opportunity?” Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) said. “Have they put the damned ball on a tee for us or what?”

* Yes, there is opportunity, but the Republicans still have some big weak spots

Republican leaders also introduced a candidate for secretary of state, Aurora business consultant Robert Enriquez. Until now, the GOP had no takers for the job of challenging popular Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White.

The GOP still lacks a major candidate for attorney general.

* And Congressman John Shimkus’ admission that the Republican position is “Just say no” probably could use a rethink…

* Related…

* Illinois GOP chairman McKenna quits; ex-prosecutor will replace him

* Illinois GOP chairman McKenna quits

* Brady: 2010 will be ‘phenomenal year’ for Illinois GOP

* Republican transition

* Change becomes theme of Republican rally

* Quinn to fairgoers: Guv’s mansion is ‘the people’s house’

* Video: Murphy on ad attacking GOP opponent

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Quinn sets another trap for himself

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* Eric Zorn lays out the trap that Gov. Pat Quinn set for himself on the U of I trustee “scandal” pretty darned well. Here’s a little, but you should definitely read the whole thing

The commission report was clear that some trustees were more deeply involved in attempting to game the admissions process than others. But rather than try to sort them out, he decided to go for a clean sweep and rely on the trustees to participate gladly in the grand symbolism of it all.

It’s also safe to assume Quinn didn’t anticipate the holdouts would be the only African-American members of the board.

“In my community, resignation is a sign of guilt,” Carroll told WTTW-Ch. 11’s Rich Samuels in an interview broadcast Tuesday. “I am not guilty and I have nothing to do with the admissions scandal.”

She added: “I think I’m due a little bit more respect than to be treated like chattel — thrown out. And I kind of resent that.”

Chattle? Hmm. Nothing like gratuitously employing a word associated with African-American slavery to raise the political stakes.

The other targeted African-American trustee is a wealthy lawyer, and he plans to fight any dismissal in court. The state Constitution allows the governor to remove anyone he has appointed for cause…

The Governor may remove for incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office any officer who may be appointed by the Governor.

But the Supreme Court has ruled that appointees can fight their dismissals in court.

* If the racial rhetoric cranks up further, we may expect to see the same sequence of events that transpired with Roland Burris. Quinn loudly demanded Burris’ resignation for weeks, then backed off after a group of black politicians and clergy met with him privately and told him to shut the heck up.

Quinn has already extended the deadline for mass resignations several times. Last week, he said he’d give the trustees the weekend to mull over their fate. Earlier this week, he said he would wait until the end of the week. Now, he’s saying next Monday is the drop dead date. That backtracking shows Quinn knows he’s in a bind here.

It’s usually best to think grand edicts through before issuing them. Quinn just never learns. Remember the end of July doomsday? He was forced to back away. Remember his rhetoric about the absolute, desperate need to pass a “mini” capital bill by April? He still hasn’t issued the bonds for that program. Remember his strident vow to fumigate government? Whatever happened to that?

* Related…

* Quinn on the trustee problem

* Quinn postpones deadline for action on U of I trustees

* Campaign finance reform bill isn’t ready for sign time

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Judge calls IL GOP “trailer trash” *** UPDATED x2: Or not ***

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

*** UPDATE *** Judge Kelley just called and said he has zero recollection of saying the phrase “trailer trash,” and said he doesn’t usually say things like that. The judge did say, however, that he used the term “trailer park” numerous times, and admitted that it was probably a poor choice of words. He was apparently displeased when the GOP didn’t completely abide by an agreement hashed out the previous day, and he said he was flabbergasted when the two sides began arguing loudly in his court room.

Anyway, he doesn’t have a transcript at the moment and neither do I, but I’ve been an admirer of Judge Kelley’s work for a long time, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** A lawyer who was present claims the judge didn’t use the trailer trash phrase.

[ *** End of Updates *** ]

* This got absolutely no news coverage today, but a pal of mine was in the courtroom yesterday and confirmed that Judge Kelley did, indeed, call the Illinois Republicans “trailer trash.” From a press release

A visibly angry Sangamon Circuit judge Thursday chastised Republication Party leaders for seeking to silence U. S. Senate candidate Andy Martin. The judge compared the Republican tactics to “trailer trash.”

“I feel as tough I am overseeing a trailer park,” Chief Sangamon Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley said in an emergency hearing. The court protracted [sic] Andy Martin’s free speech rights for the second day in a row.

Among other things, the Republicans allegedly attempted to prevent the perennial candidate Martin from campaigning on the State Fair’s Director’s Lawn, the location of the annual Republican Day event. Judge Kelley ordered them to allow Martin to campaign.

Martin is what you could call a rather “colorful” character. He regularly sues people whom he believes have slighted him. But the man did receive over 240,000 votes in the GOP US Senate primary last year and won quite a few counties.

Still, it is rather surprising - and wholly newsworthy - that the widely respected Republican jurist Kelley would direct such harsh remarks towards his own party leaders.

* I want all of you to use extreme caution in comments on this post. Extreme. I don’t want anybody filing lawsuits. Not that anyone would succeed, but I don’t need any aggravation. Lifetime bans could be issued for violators. Understood? Thanks.

* Meanwhile, speaking of lawsuits, this was quick…

A federal lawsuit filed by Cook County political insider Victor Santana against the county’s tax appeal board has been tossed out.

U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur determined Santana’s lawsuit, which alleges he was made a “scapegoat” in a brewing corruption scandal, was improperly written and in some cases appeared to lack merit.

“Neither the defense counsel nor this court may fairly be required to cope with such an obviously noncompliant pleading,” penned Shadur of Santana’s 70-page lawsuit that alleges everything from conspiracy to constitutional violations.

The lawsuit was filed by Santana against the Cook County Board of Review for banning him from the private office areas and allegedly implying to the media that he was part of a scandal over fixing property tax appeals.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Mark Kirk may be rattling Dem nerves

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* How afraid of Mark Kirk are the national Democrats? Well, Sneed reports that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has been approached to run for the job…

• • The report: Several Sneed sources claim that Dart, who has had a boatload of national publicity this year, was approached several weeks ago by a top top Dem to seriously consider running for the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by President Obama.

(The “top Dem,” who has heavy influence in Cook County and the Obama administration, verified the report, but asked to remain unidentified.)

• • The response: “The sheriff is seriously considering it and will announce his decision by the end of the month,” said a top Dart source.

• • The reason: Dem sources, who are furious that Chris Kennedy “went underground” and pulled out of the Senate race late in the game, tell Sneed they feel the present list of Dem Senate candidates, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and the Urban League’s Cheryle Jackson, is fairly weak.

Sneed admits further into the story that few believe Dart will actually run, but stories like this won’t help either Giannoulias or Jackson.


- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

* Family health premiums jump 30% over five years

The average cost of family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in Illinois jumped 30 percent from 2003 to 2008, according to a Commonwealth Fund report.

The average family premium was $9,693 in 2003 in Illinois. It increased to $12,603 in 2008. The average premium for single coverage jumped from $3,692 in 2003 to $4,643 in 2008, a 26 percent hike, the report found.

The five-year increase averaged 33 percent across the nation, ranging from a high of 45 percent in Indiana and North Carolina to a low of 25 percent in Michigan, Texas and Ohio.

* Illinois jobless rate rises to 10.4 percent

Illinois’ jobless rate rose to 10.4 percent in July even though the pace of job losses is slowing.

That’s up slightly from 10.3 percent in June.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the new figures Thursday. They show the state lost another 13,000 jobs in July, bringing the number of unemployed statewide to 692,500.

* Nearly 14% of Illinois mortgages behind or in foreclosure

Nearly 14 percent of home mortgage loans in Illinois were in foreclosure or behind on payments at the end of the second quarter, up from 9 percent a year earlier, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Past-due loans hit 9.2 percent, up from 6 percent a year earlier. The percent of loans in the foreclosure process stood at 4.7 percent, up from 3.1 percent.

Illinois ranked 14th in delinquencies and 17th in foreclosures started.

* Foreclosures rise, driven by poor economy and joblessness

* Caterpillar machinery sales to retailers fall in July

Machinery sales for the three months through July fell 48 percent from a year earlier, compared with declines of 47 percent in the period ending in June and 43 percent in May, Peoria-based Caterpillar said in a regulatory filing.

* Deere posts 27 percent decline in third quarter profit

* City plan would move Lake Shore Drive east

* Chicago seeks $800 million more in federal stimulus funds

* Daley won’t judge aldermen on expenses

* School supplies: Teachers, parents shoulder a rising share of the costs

* A look at child obesity and elementary school lunches [IL Childhood Obesity Among Highest in U.S.]

* Chicago schools are sweet on dessert

Illinois suffers from the fourth-highest level of childhood obesity in the nation, with Chicago kids checking in heavier than the rest of the state. Yet, while many school districts are phasing out sweet treats, Chicago Public Schools officials continue to say, let them eat cake.

* What’s just compensation for wrongful jail time?

A McHenry County jury refused late Thursday to award damages to a Richmond man sentenced to death after he was wrongly convicted of the 1993 murders of his parents.

* Burr Oak still shuttered, out of cash

But Szabelski didn’t return multiple calls Thursday, leaving more questions than answers.

* Will County prosecutor placed on leave following sexual assault allegations

* Will County restricts outdoor burning

* RTA raises fares to keep paratransit service going

* Shutdown of RTA’s paratransit service averted

* CTA sidelines the purchase of 140 buses; cites lack of state funds

The Chicago Transit Authority is delaying the purchase of 140 accordion-style hybrid buses because the state has not provided promised funding to complete the $122.7 million deal, officials said Thursday.

* County has new CFO, CTA has new board member

* Quinn names Grimshaw to CTA board

* Stroger names new Cook County financial chief

* Flowers’ recently retired deputy back at school office

* Tribune Co. in final inning on Cubs deal

Tribune Co. is expected to seal its deal to sell the Chicago Cubs to the family of bond salesman Tom Ricketts by early next week, according to a person close to the transaction.

- Posted by Mike Murray   23 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax

Friday, Aug 21, 2009

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Report: Kennedy's hands shook during speech, dropped mic
* Rauner honors tireless volunteer
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* What could Chicago lose?
* It's just a bill
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Harmon doesn't see budget passed until 2019, Biss agrees
* Sen. Bill Brady, others hit with fake news robocall
* *** UPDATED with live coverage *** Today's quotable
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Two sides battle over CPS funding lawsuit
* *** UPDATED x1 *** DC publication looks at Biss' Madigan ties
* *** UPDATED x1 - Speaker Madigan responds *** Rauner wants tollway vote this week
* Kankakee transit agency still struggling with impasse
* React rolls in to legislator pay case
* Poll: 66 percent of Illinoisans support legalization of "recreational marijuana"
* Where are the women candidates?
* "This is basically fraud"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Chris Kennedy busts the contribution cap in governor's race
* Yesterday's stories

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* Campaign donation limits lifted in Illinois gov.....
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* FairPoint, Consolidated shareholders to have say on merger
* Chicago man wanted in carjacking spree arrested in Atlanta
* Jury convicts Chicago-area man in girlfriend's killing
* Lincoln Museum plans informative events on WWI
* Illinois plans $8.4M repair to Lake Shore Drive bridges
* Medical marijuana use rejected for intractable pain, autism
* Suit alleging Home Depot negligence in killing revived
* Fort Worth's LaGrave Field in disrepair after no baseball
* Michigan police: Office, home of state Sen. Johnson searched
* Job pulled for wife of Chicago officer charged with murder

* Manar files new school funding reform bill
* Medical marijuana use rejected for intractable pain, autism
* Campaign donation limits lifted in Illinois governor's race
* Luciano: Metamora compromises on scandalous sign -- for now
* Rauner wants OK from legislature on Chicago-area I-55 project
* Two years later, universal license plate still isn't in production
* Illinois considers legalizing marijuana for a fiscal boost
* Lincoln museum director considers what can be added
* Preserving Lincoln’s legacy: Museum director considers what can be added
* State lawmakers look again at pension buyouts

* Cat, UAW reach new labor contract
* Caterpillar, UAW reach new labor contract
* Plan for I-55 toll lanes still stuck in Madigan rut
* Despite poll, no vote now on legal pot
* Passengers on United 'welcome' to wear leggings

* Dear Abby: Mexico trip with baby worries woman’s mom
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for March 28, 2017
* Police: Shooting investigation shuts down inbound Eisenhower
* Experience gives North Carolina edge over Final Four foes
* Man injured in Indiana crash
* Man, 86, missing from Norwood Park
* 4 teenage boys wounded in Monday shootings across Chicago
* Willson Contreras homers twice, Jon Lester pitches 6 in Cub loss
* Maddon: No timeline for Addison Russell’s return from sore back
* Full lineup for 2017 Chicago Blues Fest announced

* Democratic governor hopefuls unified on Rauner attacks, divided on need for self-funding challenger
* Chicago chooses vendor for massive streetlight replacement program
* Church announces death of retired priest who survived brutal robbery in 2011
* Nunes casts doubt on GOP impartiality on Russia investigation
* Cincinnati police say no active search for suspects in nightclub shooting
* Monday's recap: Indians 4, Cubs 3
* Ian Happ makes favorable impression on Cubs ace Jon Lester before sent to minors
* White racist charged with murder as act of terrorism in killing of black man in New York
* Nunes admits he met source for surveillance claim at White House; Dems call on him to step aside
* UConn Heads To Final Four With 90-52 Win Against Oregon

» Rauner Pushing Privatized Toll Lanes On I-55
» Chicago State Delays Decision On New Job For Former CPS Chief
» Cook County Democratic Party Hears From Field Of Governor Hopefuls
» Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Sanctuary Cities Must End
» No Injuries When Amtrak Derails While Arriving In Chicago
» New 'Surge' Parking Pricing Okay By Some Wrigleyville Business Owners
» U.S. Investigating Whether Its Mosul Airstrikes Caused Mass Civilian Casualties
» Study: Dramatic Drop In Chicago Stop-and-frisk Procedures
» State Department Instructs Embassies To Beef Up Screening For Visa Applicants
» Illinois Unemployment Drops To Ten-Year Low

* Sen. Andy Manar files new school funding reform bill
* Medical marijuana use rejected for intractable pain, autism
* Kathleen Parker: Governing by ultimatum
* Manar files new school funding reform bill
* Campaign donation limits lifted in Illinois governor's race
* Luciano: Metamora compromises on scandalous sign -- for now
* Rauner wants OK from legislature on Chicago-area I-55 project
* Two years later, universal license plate still isn't in production
* Our View: The injustice of the lawmaker pay ruling
* Illinois considers legalizing marijuana for a fiscal boost

* How dental mercury seeps into the environment
* PODCAST: Champaign City Council candidate Vanna Pianfetti
* PODCAST: Champaign City Council candidate Debra Medlyn
* PODCAST: Champaign City Council candidate Brian Ames
* PODCAST: Champaign City Council candidate Angela Slates
* Notes @ Noon: BBQ RV ready to roll with side of Puerto Rican flavor
* Bowl for a Buddy benefits pet shelter
* Skatepark renovations begin Monday
* Workshop offers job interview tips
* Event supports Women's Choice Center

* Monahan has goal, 3 assists in Flames' 4-2 win
* Girls soccer scoreboard: Monday, March 27, results
* Softball scoreboard: Monday, March 27, results
* Leonard scores 25 as Spurs dismantle ailing Cavs, 103-74
* IN Current Conditions

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* Is toll road rejection the payback for governor’s refusal to do a budget?
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Immigrants Deported Under Obama Share Stories Of Terror And Rights Violations
* 46th Ward Zoning Committee Gives Green Light For Sheridan & Wilson TOD
* Lollapalooza 2017 lineup: Chance the Rapper takes a victory lap with a bunch of predictable acts
* New Algren bio slanders my poker table
* How will Illinois Republicans vote on Obamacare repeal bill?
* Next generation of taxpayers step up to run for Chicago area local offices
* "Chicago PD" Back In Uptown Filming March 29
* Enjoyed Get Out? Try The Belko Experiment and Raw.

* Rauner, Durkin Call on General Assembly to Pass I-55 Resolution
* Rauner Urges Swift Action on State-City Pension Deal as House GOP Readies Its Votes
* Governor Announces Appointment
* Governor Takes Action to Protect Taxpayers
* Vendor Contracted by Illinois Department of Employment Security Data Breached

* PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 7 gets modded for black facade
* Prototype 2017 Moto X showed up briefly on Google Plus
* Remember those iPhone 7 shells? An iPad bomb might’ve come into a terrorism plot
* Google silently fixed the Pixel’s Bluetooth disconnect issues
* How to Use Theater Mode on the Apple Watch in watchOS 3.2
* Moto X (2017) leaked to be somewhat uglier than the Moto G5
* Samsung’s refurbished Galaxy Note 7 won’t be sold in the United States

* Swarzak credits White Sox for added velocity
* Melky, Frazier launch blasts; Holland goes 6
* Soto happy to play mentor role for White Sox
* Rebuilding White Sox loaded with trade options
* Frazier relishing new situation on South Side
* Shields gets tuneup, Pena hits walk-off for White Sox
* Shields fires 5, Pena has White Sox walk-off

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