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No Cairo visit by Quinn

Friday, Apr 29, 2011

* Imagine, if it’s at all possible, that you’re a poor, black resident of Cairo, Illinois. The floodwaters are almost to the top of your local levee. The attorney general in the next state over is suing to prevent the federal government from blowing a key fuseplug levee to keep your town from drowning. And the federal judge presiding over the decision to save your home is Rush Limbaugh’s cousin.

Not exactly optimum.

I figure I’d be feeling more than a little scared, helpless and forelorn right now if I lived in Cairo. I’d also probably want a little encouragement from the state’s top dog while forces beyond my control were conspiring against me.

But Gov. Pat Quinn didn’t visit Cairo yesterday. He flew over the town in his helicopter. His staff says there was no place to land. Sen. Dick Durbin is reportedly choppering into Cairo today, but Quinn’s people says he won’t be going. He went to southern Illinois yesterday, they said. The governor has no scheduled events on today’s public schedule.

Quinn appeared in Marion, a few minutes from the town’s airport, to discuss the flooding yesterday. During his appearance, he was asked what towns he intended to visit. Quinn compared himself to General George Marshall, who was Army Chief of Staff during World War ll. Watch

Marshall was not a front line guy. True. But he was chief of staff. Quinn has a chief of staff and agency directors to handle the micromanagement. In my opinion, he ought to be out there showing some support for his constituents.


* Meanwhile, here’s the best report I could find about what happened in Judge Limbaugh’s court last night

Judge Stephen Limbaugh took the motion under advisement just after 7 p.m. Thursday, and Koster says the judge has a tough call to make.

“It’s a hard set of facts and there are a lot of interests that have to be weighed on both sides of the state line and throughout the federal justice system, said Koster. I think the judge took in the information. I think he’s got a very difficult decision that he has to make overnight.”

For its part, Corps lawyers countered they have “unreviewable discretion” when it comes to implementing the floodway plan that “could” result in the blasting of that levee.

They also stressed the blasting option does not come into play unless and until the river overtops the levee at its lowest points, or 60.5 feet.

Federal Judge Stephen Limbaugh told the court he’s not sure if he even has the authority to rule on the motion under current case law.

We could get a ruling today.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 7:37 am:

    Quinn should be on the scene … but be careful to not over promise what the State can do.

    I never thought I would say this, but in this case Blago would handled it better than Quinn. Blago have been there feeling their pain … at after, it would have been a photo op!

  2. - Timmeh - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:17 am:

    ==Blago have been there feeling their pain … at after, it would have been a photo op! ==

    Blago is still on trial right? If he wasn’t, he probably would be there and it would be a photo op.

  3. - Downstate Illinois - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:24 am:

    You’re confusing Blago with Bill Clinton. Southern Illinois suffered major weather disasters during Blago’s beleagured reign and the governor couldn’t be bothered to leave Chicago for a flyover.

    Quinn should have visited Cairo in person. His excuse is ridiculous. Likewise his two-hour delay arriving in Marion is too much of a reminder of his predecessor.

    His executive action Monday was a day or two later than it should have been. What, doesn’t anybody work weekends for a disaster? If the levees hold it won’t be remembered, if they fail it will be the first thing pointed out.

  4. - Draznnl (Rhymes with orange) - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:24 am:

    “The governor has no scheduled events on today’s public schedule.”

    That overnighter to watch the royal wedding must have really worn him out.

  5. - railrat - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:35 am:

    “photo op” I wait with baited breath!! for the Jesse Jackson “save the people” stop!

  6. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    How about a compromise? Skip the trip ti Cairo, but use the money saved from the helicopter ride to stock their food pantry.

  7. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:41 am:

    “And the federal judge presiding over the decision to save your home is Rush Limbaugh’s cousin.”

    Ahem. This is a pretty unfair shot at a Federal judge. The implication is that the judge is somehow racist, and unable to fulfill his duties because his cousin is a talk show host. I guess the family members of the judiciary are no longer off limits, I’m sure we can find some pretty whacko lefties in the family trees of several liberal judges. Shall we try?

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:49 am:

    Get off your high horse, Cincy. Ten minutes ago you were going off on “liberal loons” from Chicago. Your hypocrisy is showing.

  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:50 am:

    ===The implication is that the judge is somehow racist===

    How in God’s good name can you make that leap of logic? Cinci, you are a piece of work.

  10. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:54 am:

    Imagine, if it’s at all possible, that you’re a poor, black resident of Cairo, Illinois. The floodwaters are almost to the top of your local levee. The attorney general in the next state over is suing to prevent the federal government from blowing a key fuseplug levee to keep your town from drowning. And the federal judge presiding over the decision to save your home is Rush Limbaugh’s cousin.”

    I have no idea how I jumped to my erroneous conclusion…

  11. - Secret Square - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:56 am:

    In time of disaster the head of state belongs on the scene. Pres. Obama understands this and is heading to Alabama because of their horrible tornado disaster. I’d think Quinn would want to follow his example.

  12. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:01 am:

    –Federal Judge Stephen Limbaugh told the court he’s not sure if he even has the authority to rule on the motion under current case law.–

    I’d been thinking the same thing — maybe the Missourians are just showing the folks they’re trying everything.

    The Corp has federal mandates to manage the river. When I lived in the Quads, various groups would bump against them on different issues regarding the Mississippi and get nowhere. They were all-powerful in running the river.

  13. - Han - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:02 am:

  14. - Shore - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:17 am:

    In case there was ever any question that Illinois never fails to disappoint at anything the fact that a story involves Rush Limbaugh’s cousin and marshall in something as mundane as this settles all.

  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:20 am:

    WHy would the Governor open himself to comparisons to W’s flyover of the Katrina disaster?

  16. - ArchPundit - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:31 am:

    The Governor should be there–even when Blagojevich was hugely unpopular his visit to Quincy during some flooding was welcome by the locals and it raised moral.

    Rich’s point is still valid about how you would feel as a resident of Cairo, but Limbaugh is a very good judge who has handled a number of cases I’ve followed professionally and fairly. He even dealt with deseg for many years and handled it according to the law and precedent, but also compassion for the students.

  17. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:32 am:

    I guess Quinn didn’t carry Alexander County…

  18. - Both Sides Now - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:35 am:

    I’m getting really tired of the race card in relationship to Cairo. According to the latest Census info there are 1,162 whites and 1,891 blacks. The median family income is roughly 58% of the national average. Yes, there are “poor, black residents” in Cairo but there is poor, WHITE residents too! Not every issue is black and white!

  19. - Jason - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:40 am:

    If he thinks he is really in the same league as Gen. Marshall, then he’s as big a clown as our previous governor.

  20. - 47th Ward - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:40 am:

    Cinci, you don’t think black residents of Cairo have radios? That maybe they listen to Rush from time to time too? They might even guess Rush is a very conservative fellow too, and wonder if his cousin is also conservative.

    Conservative is not a synonym for racist. You said Rich implied the judge was racist, when a fair reading of that would suggest Rush Limbaugh’s cousin might be similarly conservative.

    Rush is a proud son of Cape Girardeau. I assume his cousin might also favor the Missouri side of this dispute. Again, none of that leads an objective reader to think Rich was implying race might be a factor in Judge Limbaugh’s decision.

    But if you honestly believe Rich was implying a racist element to this story, then you should take your outrage elsewhere so you don’t have to endure anymore of this stuff here.

  21. - Because I say so - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    If Gov. Quinn doesn’t understand the importance of being on the ground at the site, don’t his advisors? This seems pretty basic.

  22. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    Chicago Tribune is reporting the judge ruled the levee could be blown up.

  23. - vole - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    Connecting the code words, “dots” if you will, in the first paragraph can lead to your interpretation. You are acquitted. Not outrageous at all! But why don’t we let Rich parse it a bit more to be sure.

  24. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 9:59 am:

    Reuters is reporting…. “U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. ruled that the Corps had the right to breach the levee to prevent flooding in Cairo, Illinois, as permitted by a 1928 law.”

    Not an unexpected outcome….

  25. - mokenavince - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    Quinn is world class when it comes to twiddling his thumbs. Check out the video. I think dispite
    the fact, the Judge is Rush”s is his cousin he will rule fairly.

  26. - Swimming Lawyer - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    Judge Limbaugh is a very well respected jurist, and has now reached a difficult but correct decision which benefits the residents of Cairo. The link to his cousin (apparently intended to be negative) implies something which has no basis in fact, and is just an attempted cheap shot. Come on Rich, you’re better than that!

  27. - Kirk Dillard - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 11:39 am:

    I will be makng an appearance in Cairo later today o let the residents there know this wouldn’t have happened when I was Jim Edgar’s Chief of Staff.

  28. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    I remember alot of people on this blog taking shots at NJ gov Christie for not being around for a snowstorm. Quinn is showing real leadership here. that will teach down staters to vote against me in numbers to small to matter. Anyways with Quinns track record of lies who really wants him tonstop by and make promises he won’t keep.

  29. - Bill F. - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 1:19 pm:

    My understanding is that the Limbaughs not named Rush are generally rational citizens and historically good public servants. The ruling seems to confirm that.

  30. - Checkers Nixon - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 1:23 pm:

    I used to own a couple of helicopters. I find it “mighty strange” that Pat Quinn couldn’t find a single spot to land his helicopter down there in Cairo. Every pilot I know can easily land a helicopter on somebody’s front lawn or on a 3000 square foot parking lot as far as that goes. Maybe Pat is actually flying over the Cairo area in a 737 aircraft rather than in a helicopter and his staffers got confused? I guess that both aircraft might look the same to somebody that is working on Pat’s staff.

  31. - zatioichi - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    This is perfect PR time for a Gov, Pres, Sen, and any other politician. There is always a place to land a helicopter. After that get in a boat and do a fast tour with photos. Getting some good sound bytes wearing muddy shoes in downtown Cairo with your back to the water never hurts. Pledge to help while you are there because you know you’re going to later anyhow. Timing is everything in PR and how you handle it is remembered for a long time.

  32. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 3:04 pm:

    ===I remember alot of people on this blog taking shots at NJ gov Christie for not being around for a snowstorm===

    Disney World (thousand miles away and home to a man named Goofy) vs. Marion, IL (Only about 50 miles away and the site of the command center for the flood). The analogy doesn’t quite hold up.

    That said… he should be there up front as our Governor. If that is not a good enough reason than he should be there for political point scoring as zatioichi mentions. Images of the Gov. filling sandbags, handing out bottles of water and encouraging weary volunteers would make for great campaign mailers.

  33. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===would make for great campaign mailers. ===

    Forget that crud. It would be good for his constituents. And that’s all that should matter right now.

  34. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    I don’t know that it’s that big a deal that Quinn isn’t on the ground in Cairo. I’ve never known him to pass up a camera, maybe he just doesn’t want to get in the way. Maybe it’s a sign of maturity that he’s passing up the obvious photo op. Lord knows that hasn’t been the history.

    From the above reports, it sounds like state employees are rocking the house. God bless them, and good luck.

    Maybe the Civic Committee could take their incessant pension radio spots off the air during the crisis.

  35. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==Forget that crud. It would be good for his constituents. And that’s all that should matter right now.==

    Agree, I meant that with a degree of snark. Sorry if that wasn’t clear, but I was trying to imply that there is no reason he isn’t there. Carrying the title of Gov. should be enough of a reason. If not, than less virtuous reasons (photo ops) would also lead you to the same conclusion.

  36. - Anon58 - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 3:39 pm:

    “His staff says there was no place to land.” ~ I live in Cairo. I’m still here waiting for the Birds Point levee to blow;) Just wanted to say that helicopters land all the time on a pad behind the fire station. It’s high & dry:)

  37. - danray - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 8:48 pm:

    Kudos to Rich and his excellent taste in tunes. Check out the Derek Trucks Band youtube…always the highlight of my week…

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