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Allen apologizes, but for what?

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* The Champaign News-Gazette reports that former Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Jim Allen apologized via text message to Republican congressional candidate Erika Harold for his hateful diatribe. Harold looked on the bright side

The story broke as the former Miss America and Harvard Law School graduate was preparing for a meeting in Washington of the board of Prison Ministries Fellowship, she said.

Harold thinks the furor will end up benefiting her campaign.

“I view the episode as being one in which a lot of Republicans stopped to think about what are the values of our party and reflected that back to me in their messages of support,” she said. “It was very encouraging to feel that support from people who had never met me, but once they read the email, they went on to our website and learned a little bit more about me and now want to stay engaged in the campaign in some capacity.”

* Indeed, what are the values of the GOP, particularly the ultra-conservative, Downstate wing? Let’s look at Allen’s slightly redacted rant again

Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Sh*tcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.

The truth is Nancy Pelosi and the DEMOCRAT party want this seat. So they called RINO Timmy Johnson to be their pack mule and get little queen to run.

Ann Callis gets a free ride through a primary and Rodney Davis has a battle.

The little queen touts her abstinence and she won the crown because she got bullied in school,,,boohoo..kids are cruel, life sucks and you move on..Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS…These pimps want something they can’t get,,, the seat held by a conservative REPUBLICAN Rodney Davis and Nancy Pelosi can’t stand it..

Little Queenie and Nancy Pelosi have so much in common but the one thing that stands out the most.. both are FORMER QUEENS, their crowns are tarnished and time has run out on the both of them..

* I know it’s impossible to just set aside Allen’s stupendously harsh and disgusting language, but let’s try to look at the meat of his argument, such as it is.

47th Ward’s comment on the original story maintained that this is pretty standard base GOP messaging

Let’s see: Nancy Pelosi is out to get them. Check. Affirmative action gives benefits to “others” that “we” pay for. Check. There is a conspiracy of RINOs and Democrats that is hellbent on destroying conservatism in Illinois. Check.

47th missed a couple of things: The use of Chicago hatred to discredit an opponent and the far Right’s opposition to anti-bullying legislation.

Fair or not?

…Adding… I also meant to point out that the same week Allen derisively called Harold a “little queen,” John Kass referred to Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a “princess“…

All was right with the world. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the peasants were shrieking their piteous cries of woe. The princess climbed down for breakfast with her father.

And just before a servant brought her a silver bowl of Lucky Charms, she asked Mike of Madiganistan a question:

“Daddy,” she asked, “can I be governor now?”

Again, pretty mainstream conservative messaging

“Dear Daddy…I mean Mr. Speaker. You got me this cool Attorney General job, and that was after you got me that neat state senate seat…Thanks for having all your union friends be real nice to me, they send me tons of campaign money at Christmas time, they must be rich!”

That was written by former state party chairman Pat Brady.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Another one-sided hit piece

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* From an AP story that is absolutely drenched in bias

‘‘There are investors who won’t buy Illinois or bonds with Illinois labels at any price. They just see it as toxic,’’ said Brian Battle, director at Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm.

I’m sure there are some who won’t buy, but every Illinois bond issue has been over-subscribed by a lot. Why? Because the state’s low bond ratings give investors a premium return.

* More

Take the $1.3 billion in bonds Illinois is expected to sell this week to improve highways, rebuild a 40-year-old elevated train line in Chicago and buy land for an airport. Battle estimates the state will pay more than $18 million in extra interest each year than states such as Virginia or Maryland, which have high credit ratings.

That’s an additional $450 million over the 25-year life of a bond issue. In personal terms, it’s $36 taken directly from the pockets of each of Illinois’ nearly 13 million residents. And that’s for just one bond sale.

Virginia and Maryland both have AAA credit ratings. Illinois hasn’t had a AAA rating since 1983, so the comparison is not exactly fair. And after peaking in 2010, interest rates on comparitive Illinois bond premiums have actually come down.

* More

In the past 50 years, just three states — California, Louisiana and Massachusetts — have had investment ratings as low as Illinois, but all have taken steps to correct it.

California’s pension reform was almost solely focused on new hires. Illinois did that in 2010. There’s no doubt that California is far better managed than Illinois, but the media constantly ignores the fact that Illinois beat Cali to the punch on prospective pension reform.

Massachusetts’ pension system wasn’t nearly as generous as ours. For instance, the state’s 2011 pension reform plan actually increased some benefits, including

Increases the base benefit on which a Cost of Living Adjustment is calculated from $12,000 to $13,000.

The state also reformed its health insurance plan for retirees, something Illinois has already done.

Louisiana’s reforms are here. There was a “cash balance plan” for new hires as well.

* The bottom line is Illinois has a severe problem, both in its pension systems and the way they are perceived. That perception problem isn’t helped by goofy stories like the AP’s.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


New laws

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* The House Republicans point out that five new laws will take effect as of July 1st

1.  “Julie’s Law” prohibiting court supervision from being granted to people caught driving more than 31 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.

2. Creation of the Sex Offender Evaluation and Treatment Disciplinary Board established under  SB 3638 to assist the Department of Professional Regulation in the licensing of sex offender evaluators and treatment providers.

3. SB 3764 providing greater guidance as to the name of a debtor to be provided on financing statements.

4. Banning zinc air button batteries from being sold in Illinois under the state’s Mercury-added Product Prohibition Act.

5. Continued funding of the Illinois Community Care Program for seniors as part of House Bill 206 which grants a $142 million supplemental appropriation to the program, as well as additional funds for group health insurance and old bills at the Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Developmental Disability Community Services.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* Zorn writes today about how young people aren’t using e-mail, but links to several stories that seem to debunk the theory that e-mail is dead. So…

* The Question: How often do you check your e-mail account(s)? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…


survey services

* Supplemental Question: How do you typically check your e-mail? Take the poll and explain…


polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Quinn: No more study, pass reform by final deadline

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* Gov. Pat Quinn’s op-ed

Dear Illinois taxpayers,

I’ve always been honest with you.

As I write to you today, it’s been nearly two years since I made pension reform the top priority for Illinois. I’ve been fighting for it ever since.

I convened a pension working group in January 2012 and proposed a comprehensive pension reform plan three months later. I’ve worked across the aisle, called special sessions, set numerous deadlines and released several studies on the consequences of inaction on education and the economy.

Time and time again, I’ve met at length with legislators and leaders, and pressed them to vote for comprehensive pension reform.

Yet here we are today.

If I could resolve this by executive order, I would have done it long ago. But I cannot act alone.

The General Assembly must do its part and send me a bill that defuses the pension crisis.

Despite my best efforts, the speaker of the House and the Senate president failed to work together to put a bill on my desk. So last week I proposed a conference committee, a mechanism that historically has been used to break gridlock between the House and the Senate on contentious issues.

The good news is they agreed on this means to the end. But now, it’s time for the heavy lifting.

I have set July 9 as the final deadline to come up with a comprehensive pension reform bill that both chambers can support. My staff will continue working around the clock to provide the research and fiscal analysis necessary for members of the committee to get this job done.

Let me be clear: I will veto any legislation that does not erase the pension debt and provide 100 percent funding for the systems. From day one, this fundamental principle has been at the core of every pension reform bill I have backed.

Illinois currently has the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. Any solution that does not turn that statistic around is simply not good enough.

You sent us to Springfield to solve problems — not to dilly-dally with partial solutions. Now, some in the General Assembly already are suggesting new excuses as to why they may not be able to make the July 9 deadline:

“We need more time to get the numbers right …”
“We need extra days to negotiate …”
“The problem took decades to create and cannot be solved overnight …”

Enough with the alibis. We’ve discussed, debated and negotiated pension reform to death. The numbers have been crunched and crunched again. And taxpayers have been bearing the cost for these excuses, delays and blown deadlines.

In fact, every time legislators have missed deadlines for pension reform, you have paid the price.

Following the General Assembly’s failure to send me a bill by May 31, our credit rating was downgraded twice in one week — by both Moody’s and Fitch — to its lowest point in Illinois’ 195-year history.

The pension squeeze already has forced $2 billion in education cuts and $3 billion in social service cuts. The state of Illinois is currently on track to be spending more on public pensions than on schools, which denies our children their right to a quality education. Not to mention, Illinois’ economic recovery is being held hostage by longstanding legislative inertia.

Fortunately, members of the conference committee are experienced and capable legislators. I expect them and the rest of the General Assembly to get their jobs done by July 9. The people of Illinois are counting on it.

And one more thing: I will continue to be relentless — pushing, prodding and forcing this issue until the General Assembly sends me a bill.

I also ask you to do your part. Contact your state legislators today. Call them, email them, tweet them now. Visit http://mylegislators.illinois.gov to find your legislators’ names and contact information. Tell them to support a comprehensive bill that erases the pension debt and provides 100 percent funding for the pension systems. Tell them to get their job done by July 9.

I will continue fighting for you.

Sincerely,
Gov. Pat Quinn

Lots of rear covering and finger-pointing there.

Also, his demand that a bill be passed without an actuarial report is a bit on the weird side. I mean, you don’t want to know if the new plan will work? Maybe he just wants them to pass a current bill, Madigan’s SB1 for instance. That bill would satisfy his demand that the unfunded liability be erased entirely. If that’s the case, he’s dreaming.

Also, too, Quinn proposed $400 million in education cuts this year due to the pension crisis. The GA restored those cuts, which undercuts his logic here.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      


Blackhawks open thread

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* Congrats to the Blackhawks and all their fans. Have at it in comments.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Lisa Madigan fundraising e-mail raises eyebrows

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* This fundraising e-mail from Attorney General Lisa Madigan is prompting even more speculation, if that’s possible, about what she’s up to…

Dear [redacted],

Our state is facing challenging times. Turning around the state of our state will take smart, tough, and effective leadership.

As your attorney general, I have been able to successfully advance and impact change on a host of issues including the national foreclosure crisis, utility rates in Illinois, and protecting our children from sexual predators, internet dangers and unsafe products.

Under my management, the Office of Attorney General has been an engine for revenue. Last year alone, my office generated more than $1.1 billion in revenue using less than $31 million in general revenue funds. That’s a return on taxpayer investment of more than 36 to 1. Since taking office in 2003, I’ve been able to recover more than $9 billion in badly needed funds for our state through litigation and collection efforts, with billions more brought back directly to consumers, including $1.8 billion in relief for Illinois homeowners from the national robo-signing settlement.

I’ve built strong relationships and reached consensus with members of the Illinois legislature – key leadership skills for a state that has a lot of work to do. Resolving issues in this state requires a willingness to sit down, negotiate and compromise with the General Assembly. Over the past ten years, my office has worked with legislators to pass nearly 100 bills on issues such as debtors’ rights, greater protections for elderly residents and victims of crime, and securing healthcare for the uninsured.

Government work is challenging, but it’s not rocket science either. It just takes someone willing to roll up her sleeves to get the job done; someone who can identify our problems, prioritize them, put together a plan to fix them, and then execute that plan. I’ve spent the last 10 years as attorney general doing just that.

With that in mind, I’ve been evaluating how best I can serve the people of Illinois. The impetus for my running for elected office has always been public service. I strongly believe that government has the power to do good when the right people come together for the right reasons. I am confident that I can continue to produce results on behalf of the people of Illinois, but I need your help to ensure I have the financial resources to do so.

Please consider making a contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even $25 by our finance deadline, this Friday, June 28th, to ensure that I have the necessary resources to continue to serve our state effectively.

You make the difference: I need your help to continue to fight the good fight. Please consider making a contribution today. With your support, I can keep pushing for progress.

In the weeks and months to come I look forward to pressing on – with your support – and keeping you posted on the results of my work and decision regarding my next steps.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Lisa Madigan

P.S. To make a contribution today of $250, $100, $50 or $25, click here. Your contribution will have the most impact if received by the end of this week, Friday, June 28th.

* Meanwhile, it must be a slow news week. Sun-Times

It’s not scientific and it may not even be accurate, but an online poll gauging Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s potential 2014 ambitions represented one of the most interesting nuggets of political news during a quiet day Monday at the state Capitol.

Rich Miller, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist and publisher of the Capitol Fax political newsletter, asked readers of his online blog to weigh in on whether the three-term attorney general would run in a Democratic gubernatorial primary against Gov. Pat Quinn and former White House Chief of Staff William Daley.

By mid-afternoon, a pretty one-sided answer prevailed: No.

Over 100 commenters weighed in, and almost 1500 people wound up voting 60-40 that she wouldn’t run for governor. I’m not so sure that I agree with the vote. We’ll see.

I was also asked to appear on a CLTV show last night to discuss our online poll. I declined. Oscar had his first intermediate puppy lesson at the same time as the show.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Brady to toss hat into the ring again

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

* Tomrrow is Brady’s day

Illinois state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, will formally launch another run at the office during a statewide tour Wednesday, he announced today.

The announcement, which has been expected, brings to five the number of formal candidacies for next year’s race, with possibly two more in the wings — including incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who hasn’t formally announced a re-election bid but is expected to. […]

Brady is the fourth announced Republican candidate, joining state Sen. Kirk Dillard, Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa.

On the Democratic side, Bill Daley, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and son and brother of Chicago’s two former Daley mayors, is running. Democratic state Attorney General Lisa Madigan hasn’t announced a campaign, but there is speculation she might.

* His announcement schedule…

State Senator Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, will announce his candidacy for Governor in 2014 in Chicago, Springfield, Marion and Bloomington on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

Following is the schedule:

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26

10 a.m. Chicago
The Wit Hotel, Wilde I Room
201 N. State Street

12:30 p.m. Springfield
Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport
Knotts Conference Room (main terminal, second floor)
1200 Capital Airport Drive

3 p.m. Marion
Williamson County Airport
Main Terminal
10400 Terminal Drive

6 p.m. Bloomington
CJ’s Restaurant
2901 E. Empire Street

* More

“Illinois is facing serious challenges. We see them everyday… on the front page, at boarded-up businesses and around the kitchen table as families struggle with their household budgets. With the right leadership, Illinois can grow and prosper again. Nancy and I believe in Illinois, and we’re not giving up on Illinois. And I’m going to be right there, sleeves rolled up, working for sounder communities, vibrant job growth and a stronger Illinois,” Brady said in a statement emailed to supporters and the media.

* Except for now opposing mass puppy euthanasia, I wouldn’t expect this

Whether Brady intends to moderate his message this time around is sure to be among the questions he’ll face as he kicks off his campaign Wednesday at events in Chicago, Springfield, Marion and Bloomington.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


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* *** UPDATED x1 - Brady: "It's not my firm" *** Rauner campaign paid Pat Brady's firm for consulting
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner responds *** Chuy Garcia endorses Madigan for another term as party chairman
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