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*** UPDATED x1 *** Afternoon campaign roundup: Giannoulias questioned, McKenna backtracks, Hoffman endorsed, Hynes wants ACT adjustment for vets, New Hamos ad

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* Democratic US Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias unveiled his financial services reform plan today and, as expected, was peppered with reporters’ questions about his own family’s bank

But he immediately was hit with questions about Broadway Bank, which faces huge defaults on loans for high-profile real estate deals, many of them out of state, even though Broadway is considered a neighborhood institution.

“You saw greed everywhere,” Mr. Giannoulias said in response to a question about Broadway. A moment later, he conceded that he personally approved loans for projects in Florida, New York and other states. But “hundreds” of community banks are dealing with similar woes that have driven many of them to insolvency, he added.

“I don’t think anyone even as smart as you could have foreseen” the near-total collapse of the economy and real estate market, Mr. Giannoulias said.

Mr. Giannoulias did not directly talk about what will happen to Broadway. But he said his brothers who run it are “concerned about the future. . . .I hope they can make it through.”

That forecast doesn’t sound good. I’m a bit surprised that the banking stuff didn’t find its way into the AP story. Then again, the AP didn’t even bother to cover the banking reform stuff, focusing instead on Blagojevich. Progress Illinois has a summation of Giannoulias’ plan

…the application of commercial banking regulations to non-bank lending institutions (think mortgage brokers and payday lenders) and the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a public exchange on which derivative transactions would be conducted, and an emergency bailout fund bankrolled by firms deemed “too big too fail.”

David Hoffman’s campaign responds…

Mr. Giannoulias continues to tout his experience as a banker, but based on his record he has no credibility. As Vice President and Chief Loan Officer of Broadway Bank, he was directly involved in several questionable loans. Further, he and other owners of the Broadway Bank received $70 million in dividends, just as the financial collapse was taking place, which has left the bank on the edge of insolvency.

Rather than offering warmed over proposals, he should come clean and let voters know whether he intends to put his portion of the $70 million back in the bank to avoid it being taken over by the FDIC.

That’s not as hard of a hit as I expected.

*** UPDATE *** From a press release…

Statement from Tom Bowen, campaign manager for U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias:

“The only candidate who is funding his campaign with bank money is David Hoffman. His holdings in JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were protected by the very TARP money and system Hoffman rails against. Now Hoffman has put $500,000 of that money into his campaign. Bailout dollars saved Hoffman’s investments and now he’s using that money to fund his campaign.”

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Like Congressman Mark Kirk before him, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna is also backing away from his earlier over the top remarks on the proposed sale of Thomson prison

He said when it comes to turning northwestern Illinois’ Thomson Correctional Center into a federal prison he is not certain that either Quinn or President Obama have “explained the betterment of this move.”

“I see it as it being appropriate for it to be used as a federal prison but so much is being made of what prisoners be going to it that nobody is focusing on the jobs that would be created and how many,” McKenna said.

When the story first broke, McKenna sent out this statement

“As governor, I would not support this extreme plan and I call on the General Assembly to act swiftly and decisively to put a halt to Governor Quinn’s attempts to put terrorists in our neighborhoods.”

Quite the sea change in attitude.

McKenna also stressed his outsiderdom in a recent visit to Pontiac

McKenna, the former state Republican Party chairman, feels he will be bringing a new face to Springfield and by doing so can get a lot more done.

“I don’t have a crew that is already in Springfield with deals being made. There are a lot of good people in the race for governor but I, with no ties, can bring a new dimension,” McKenna said.

Um, Andy, didn’t House GOP Leader Tom Cross endorse you? Isn’t that a ready-made crew in Springfield?

* Speaking of Mark Kirk

A resolution that may come before RNC members in Jan. would have the effect of eliminating several prominent GOP recruits from receiving party money.

The resolution, offered by IN national committeeman Jim Bopp and nine fellow RNC members, would forbid the national party from spending money on candidates who do not meet at least 8 of 10 criteria set down as party principles.

Those principles include opposing abortion rights, opposing same-sex marriage, opposing the stimulus package and cap and trade bills and supporting surges in Iraq and Afghanistan and gun rights, among others.

Kirk would be excluded from being helped, but don’t expect that resolution to pass.

* Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman scored a pretty big endorsement today

Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle said Tuesday the political climate for Democrats is rough and “it’s going to get rougher.” Del Valle says he supports Hoffman because voters want a fresh face.

Del Valle says Hoffman has the best chance of beating Republican Congressman Mark Kirk.

Hoffman says he supports comprehensive immigration reform “as quickly as possible.”

* Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes has a new veterans education plan

Hynes said his proposed legislation would require public colleges and universities to admit veterans over other students, if all other factors are equal. And veterans would get a bump in their ACT scores of several points, though Hynes said he didn’t know exactly how many yet.

A bump in their ACT scores? That kinda rubs me the wrong way. I don’t think we should be messing with those scores. Give veterans some additional cash, pave the way a bit for their entry, but we should probably leave their entrance exam scores alone.

* State Rep. Julie Hamos has a new TV ad in her 10th Congressional District bid. Rate it


* Related…

* Chicago Democrat Doyle running for treasurer

* The challenge to Ill. Rep. Deb Mell’s petitions

* Foster talks jobs, economy while visiting Aurora’s Hesed House

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* The setup

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Americans say they are more thankful this Thanksgiving than they were last year at this time.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 11% are less thankful, while 35% are about as thankful this year as they were last year.

* The Question: Are you more thankful this year than last year? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Unsolicited advice

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* Dear spammers,

This is definitely not your best work…

Goodday,

I require a partner to transfer $8.6m that belonged to a dead customer of my bank.

Reply for more information on the procedure.

Regards,

Liu Yan.

Yeah. I’ll get right on it - just as soon as I finish writing a very large check to Rod Blagojevich’s legal defense fund.

* Dear Gov. Quinn,

You should definitely pay attention to the editorial in today’s Sun-Times taking you to task for not following through with your “fumigation” pledge

We understand the governor might be facing a tough political reality.

Many of these Blagojevich hires still on the payroll have political sponsors — politicians Quinn may not be eager to offend just before the primary.

So far, the governor has been removing these folks piecemeal, but it may be more effective to get rid of them all at once, as part of a single effort.

Governor, you’re a man who has built his political career on doing the right thing.

Do it again.

That piecemeal approach has been counterproductive. When he tries to fire one staffer, that person’s sponsor(s) raises holy heck. Quinn should dump several at once to dilute the response and prevent it from focusing on a single person or ethnic group or special interest or whatever. And he should do it soon.

* Dear State Board of Elections,

I will support your appropriation request if you promise to hire an entirely new Internet staff and revamp that awful site of yours…

The Illinois board overseeing elections has put a price tag on campaign finance legislation. That legislation would make campaigns file fundraising reports far more often, and put new limits on most donations. […]

In a report dated last week, the agency says it would need an extra $1.5 million next year, a chunk of this for computer programming changes it says are “absolutely essential” to comply with the bill, and for the hiring of six staff members. In future years, the document estimates a cost close to $800,000 a year.

Seriously, dudes, your website is just so horrible on so many levels that it ought to be put out of its misery - and ours. Get a freaking clue already.

* Dear education establishment,

A friend of mine in Kansas City, MO sends her daughters to a French immersion charter school. It’s an excellent school and you won’t find anything like it in Illinois. So, while I always hesitate to agree with the rabidly and reflexively anti-union Chicago Tribune editorial board, I have to say their idea appeals to me

[Sen. James Meeks] plans to push to remove the cap on the number of charter schools in Illinois. The legislature raised the cap this year. But there should be no cap at all.

We’ve known for decades that the industrial model for schools just doesn’t work. How about something new?

* Dear Eric Zorn,

I agree with you about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His buildings may have inspired decades of Soviet building projects, but they are a blight on the landscape here. So, like you, it doesn’t really bother me that one of them is being torn down

I have to say, in full knowledge it will marks me to some as a rube, that Mies has never done much for me. He may well be the equivalent of Mozart, as Lifson suggests, but I’ve never found his buildings particularly interesting to behold… I’m not saying we should tear them down, but, well, even after reading Lifson’s impassioned post, I find myself unexercised.

* Dear Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch,

I wish there was a way to censure you for your goofy rants and false leaks on Chris Kelly’s suicide

Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch previously said Kelly took a combination of pain reliever and rat poison, but a toxicology report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office only found pain medications in his system. The office said he overdosed on salicylate, used in such medications as aspirin, and acetaminophen, Tylenol’s main ingredient. A toxicology report also showed diphenhydramine, commonly sold as Benadryl.

Your turn.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


Taking a breath and looking closer

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* One of the better responses I’ve seen to this Thomson prison situation was from state Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon)

Bivins said much more information is needed before a decision is made.

“At the briefing and tour Monday … I asked the Governor’s (Pat Quinn) chief of operations Jack Lavin if there is a plan in place for using the proceeds from the sale of the prison (to the federal government. His response was, ‘I think we are getting ahead of ourselves,’ ” Bivins said in a news release. “I responded that I thought we should get ahead of ourselves before making a decision of this magnitude.”

…Bivins recommends taking some of the proceeds from the sale of the prison and putting that money toward helping the state’s overcrowded corrections system. Some 1,600 inmates could be housed at Thomson, requiring 800 to 900 employees.

“Compare that to the prison in Dixon with 2,200 inmates and fewer than 600 employees,” he said.

And then there is the small matter of the big debt. Bivins said the state still owes $80 million on the Thomson prison. The village floated about $12 million in bonds for a new wastewater treatment system, which still needs to be paid.

“We need to look at the entirety of the situation,” the senator said. “We should open up the process. If we are going to sell Thomson, let’s get the best possible price for it. Are there any other bidders out there?”

So, there’s about $90 million in outstanding debt still owed on Thomson. If the state sells the prison for cost, Illinois is gonna clear just a few million dollars. That would be very stupid.

And Sen. Bivins is right about the state’s current prison system. Selling Thomson means dumping our most modern prison facility, and not having anything to replace it.

* I guess this statement by Gov. Quinn depends on how you define the word “swift“…

Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday he expects swift action on a proposal to sell a northwestern Illinois prison to the federal government to house Guantanamo Bay detainees […]

Quinn is pushing hard for the federal government to take over the Thomson facility, promising that it will help create jobs in a struggling area. Critics question the economic impact.

“I think this will move along rather quickly,” Quinn said.

One reason why this won’t move as fast as Quinn is implying is because of something Senate President John Cullerton told the AP last week. It doesn’t appear that the AP really knew what it had because it buried the important part

The president of the Illinois Senate says state lawmakers have no formal control over whether terrorism suspects wind up being housed in the state.

President John Cullerton says lawmakers can’t take an official vote allowing or blocking the plan. The Chicago Democrat said Thursday that the only role for lawmakers is to have a committee review the idea and take an advisory vote.

I checked with Cullerton’s press secretary on this, and the “committee” Cullerton referred to was the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s role in implementing the State Facilities Closure Act. Here’s how a state facility is defined in the law…

“State facility” means any facility (i) that is owned and operated by the State or leased and operated by the State and (ii) that is the primary stationary work location for 25 or more State employees. “

Thomson qualifies.

Closure requirements…

Before a State facility may be closed, the State executive branch officer with jurisdiction over the facility shall file notice of the proposed closure with the Commission. The notice must be filed within 2 days after the first public announcement of any planned or proposed closure. Within 10 days after it receives notice of the proposed closure, the Commission, in its discretion, may require the State executive branch officer with jurisdiction over the facility to file a recommendation for the closure of the facility with the Commission. In the case of a proposed closure of: (i) a prison… operated by the Department of Corrections… the Commission must require the executive branch officers to file a recommendation for closure. The recommendation must be filed within 30 days after the Commission delivers the request for recommendation to the State executive branch officer. [Emphasis added.]

After that, the governor must wait at least 50 days to close the facility. So, this could go on for a few months after the feds approve it - and the president has said that the final plan isn’t imminent. So, I guess it’s “swift” for government work.

The commission, by the way, is bipartisan. It contains six members from each party and a co-chair from each party. Two statewide GOP candidates, Sens. Bill Brady and Matt Murphy, sit on the commission. Sen. Dave Syverson, who is close to visceral Thomson opponent Congressman Don Manzullo, also sits on the commission. GOP Rep. Raymond Poe, a commission member, is a co-sponsor of HR 762

Urges Governor Patrick Quinn and his administration to immediately halt all negotiations or contacts with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and all other relevant federal offices and departments, relating to the proposed transfer of the Thomson Correctional Center to the federal government for purposes of a Military Commissions Act of 2006 detention facility, until they initiate consultations with the Illinois General Assembly and receive their consent to undertake this move.

Expect a slow-walk.

* Meanwhile, Congressman Mark Kirk is trying to repair the damage he’s done to his reputation by walking back his hysterical tirade over Thomson

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk turned down the rhetoric [yesterday] on Democratic-backed plans to use the largely vacant Thomson Correctional Center to house suspected terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying he wants a “dispassionate and specific” discussion of the issue.

“The key point is, is this a necessary risk?” asked Kirk, a five-term congressman from the North Shore. “And in my judgment, it’s not a necessary risk. But then I’m practical. I’m from the Midwest and I understand when a deal has been cut. So then the question is, if we are to move forward, then how do we move forward?” […]

[Kirk’s] previous comments have warned that the Chicago area could become “ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots, recruitment and radicalization.” He’s questioned the safety of O’Hare International Airport, the Willis Tower and a nuclear power plant near the Quad Cities.

Kirk said much of his earlier rhetoric had to do with the fact that the federal interest in Thomson was “a rather surprise announcement” and that he was “going with the information that we had available.”

So, he admitted that he was caught off guard, didn’t have all the facts, but went ahead and jumped the gun anyway with his dire warnings that we were all gonna die.

Oops.

One of Kirk’s earliest backers was former Gov. Jim Edgar, who, unlike Kirk, waited to react until he had seen some facts

The two-term Illinois governor said he understands the concerns, but probably wouldn’t worry about safety too much.

“I can appreciate folks may not want these people in their backyard, but they’ve got to go someplace, it appears,” Edgar said during a visit to the Capitol. “And I’m sure that will be an extremely secure prison. I wouldn’t worry about folks breaking out.

“If the right safety guarantees are there, then I would say that it makes sense just to create some economic opportunity in that part of the state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Viewership of ad-supported cable continues to surge

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

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- Posted by Capitol Fax Blog Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Rate the responses

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* Gov. Pat Quinn has responded to Andy McKenna’s new TV ad, which accuses the governor of “hiding the truth,” via a press release…

[Yesterday], former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna launched an ad that claimed Governor Pat Quinn is attempting to hide the state government’s deficit from taxpayers, citing a Chicago Tribune “headline” that was completely fabricated by the McKenna campaign.

It is unfortunate that Chairman McKenna believes the only way to win Republican votes is to misrepresent the facts about Governor Quinn’s honest and responsible handling of the state budget crisis. In these difficult economic times, real families are facing real challenges in every corner of Illinois. We need leaders with real plans to create real jobs, not political ads with made-up facts or quotes from non-existent news stories.

Governor Quinn’s campaign has no need to rephrase or repurpose reporting of the Governor’s continuing, tough-minded efforts to manage the worst deficit in Illinois history. And Governor Quinn’s lifelong commitment to transparency and open government speaks for itself.

Quinn also sent out a fundraising e-mail…

We’ve got a fight on our hands, and we need your help. The Illinois Republicans are pulling out all the stops to smear Governor Quinn and his plan to bring jobs and growth to Illinois. Just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday, Andy McKenna released an ad that used fake headlines to attack Governor Quinn. We can expect even more of this kind of deception and fear-mongering from the right-wing Republican candidates for Governor. Kirk Dillard even went so far as to call President Obama “a socialist.”

We’ve seen these kinds of games before. Politicians like McKenna, Kirk, and Dillard will try to use fear, doubt, and misinformation to divide us. But you and I know that we can’t afford to waste any more time. Illinois needs jobs and economic relief now, not more political games.

Please donate $100 or more to help Governor Quinn beat back the lies and bring jobs to Illinois.

Republicans are resorting to misleading ads and negative attacks in an effort to distract voters from Governor Quinn’s accomplishments, but Pat’s record speaks for itself. Just last week, Governor Quinn signed legislation to bring in an additional $1.1 billion to pay for the state’s medical bills. Earlier this month, Pat worked with the Illinois Finance Authority to make $3 billion available for renewable energy projects and jobs. And within months of taking office, Governor Quinn did something no other governor had accomplished in more than a decade. He spearheaded, negotiated, and signed a comprehensive jobs bill, Illinois Jobs Now!, which will create and support over 400,000 Illinois jobs. Pat knows that investing in job creation and economic development is the best way to get Illinois back on track.

However, the road to recovery isn’t easy, and Republicans will say anything to derail the Governor’s agenda. Take action now to prevent the Republican politicians from smearing Governor Quinn and his plan for recovery. We can’t afford to let fear mongering, lies, and deception get in the way of our plan for a stronger and more prosperous Illinois future. Please contribute $100 today:

And McKenna responds to Quinn’s responses via press release…

Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna called on Governor Pat Quinn to stop hiding the truth from Illinois voters about the fact that Illinois is on the brink of bankruptcy and that our unemployment is at record levels.

“It is time Governor Quinn leveled with the people about the fact Illinois, with an eleven billion dollar deficit, is on the brink of bankruptcy,” said McKenna. “

The Chicago Tribune reported that yesterday, responding to the latest McKenna/Murphy campaign ad saying he’s hiding the truth, Quinn defended his statement that he has “missions accomplished” on the issues of the budget and job creation by saying, “I think the people of Illinois are a lot happier today, in November of 2009, than they were at the beginning of this year.”

Quinn made this claim despite the fact there are 286,000 less jobs than a year ago and our budget deficit has swelled to $11 billion.

“There are 286,000 people who have recently had to confront the challenge of unemployment and likely are not happy about this,” added McKenna. “The fact Governor Quinn says people are happier today than nearly a year ago proves he will do anything to hide the truth from the people of Illinois”

Unemployment in Illinois is at 11% - higher than the national average.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009

* Stroger says no again to county tax rollback

But this time, commissioners confident they have override vote

* Todd Stroger vetoes roll back in Cook County sales tax

* It’s your call, Cook County

* Chicago aldermen balk at property-tax relief plan

Finance Committee questions how much it would help homeowners

* Alderman wants to ban relatives from stealth payroll

* Board of Eduction’s Expense Accounts Will Be Scrutinized

* Outside Lawyers Will Scrutinize Chicago Board of Education Members’ Spending

* Chicago Housing Sales Go Up

There’s encouraging news out of Chicago’s housing market. A new report from the Illinois Association of Realtors says home sales are going up in the Chicago area.

The report says in Chicago’s metro region, October home sales are up 33 percent over a year ago. The Association of Realtors attributes the increase to buyers finally coming off the sidelines during the housing market collapse.

* Archdiocese Steps Up Latino Housing Aid

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago says it’s investing in affordable housing for some heavily Latino parts of the city. The announcement follows criticism that the church skimps on charity in those neighborhoods.

* Chicago-area toll roads seek $280 million Build America bonds

* Attorney general offers guide to recalled products

- Posted by Mike Murray   7 Comments      


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* California air regulators say Scott Pruitt didn’t tell the whole truth to Congress
* Apple makes iTunes available in the Microsoft Store

* Anderson playing with vigor in 3rd season
* AL Central closers: Jones holding down 9th
* Super Stats Pack: Hitters/Pitchers (Game 20)
* White Sox Minor League Update: April 25, 2018
* Kopech, Adolfo among prospect performers
* Your Fan Questions Answered!
* Giolito opens 5-game set in Kansas City


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