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Jack Roeser’s arrangements

Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

* Via Illinois Review

Family and friends will gather for a Funeral Mass and Military Honors on Tuesday at 10:00 A.M. at the St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Dundee. Private family burial will follow in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, River Grove.

Visitation will be on Monday at OTTO Engineering 100 S. Lincoln Ave Carpentersville form 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM and again on Tuesday morning at St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Dundee from 9:00 A.M. until the time of the Mass.

Please omit flowers, memorials are encouraged to either the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township P.O.Box 173 Carpentersville, IL 60110 or the St. Elizabeth Parochial Catholic School 4052 S. Wabash Chicago, IL 60653.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Bill Luking’s arrangements

Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

* From Bill’s office…

William H. Luking will be waked on TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014 from 3 pm to 9 pm at Michalik Funeral Home, 1056 W. Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Luking’s funeral service will be on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014 at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams, Chicago, Illinois. The visitation will begin at 9:00 am with the Funeral Mass beginning at 10:00 am.

Parking for Mr. Luking’s wake on Tuesday will be a challenge. Given Bill’s love of the Chicago Transit Authority, it is appropriate that there is a Blue Line stop immediately adjacent to the Michalik Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Heifer International or the Windy City Harvest Youth Farm, Chicago Botanic Garden.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


A great Father’s Day story

Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

* Yet another example of why we’ve named our “Commenter of the Year” award for Wordslinger

Late in his much-too-short life, my old man developed a highly unlikely and completely accidental friendship with Bob Dole.

When I was a kid. in 1977, my peeps and I went to Norfolk to see my old man’s brother, who was in port as chief engineer on an oil tanker.

On the way back, we stopped for a few days in DC to see the sites.

Back then, security was nil. You pretty much had the run of the place. We went to Rep. Simon’s office on the Hill and the very nice people there loaded us up with same-day passes for the White House, the Pentagon, and some special exhibitions at the Smithsonian.

Just imagine; on the same day, we got a pass for a special White House Rose Garden tour, and got to shake hands with Pres. Carter, Rosalyn and Jackie O., who was there for some reason (my mom thought that was way cool).

Long story short, over the course of a couple of days, we kept bumping into Sen. Dole, all over town.

You have to remember, Dole had been Jerry Ford’s hatchet man in the 1976 race, and was considered to be in the GOP right wing (can you believe it?).
My folks were Norwegians and red-hot, anti-fascist, anti-commie, civil rights liberals.

Finally, after bumping into him one more time, Dole approached us and said “we have to stop meeting like this” and started chatting up the old man.

My parents were immigrants and could be very self-conscious about their accents. So when Dole asked if there was something he could do for us, they kept mum.

I knew what my folks wanted, though, so I piped up “we’d like to meet Sen. Humphrey.”

“Let’s go,” Dole said.

“Senator, we need to be…” a Dole aide started to protest.

“Shut up,” Dole explained.

As we made our way down to the Capitol Hill subway system, Dole and my old man got lost in conversation. Dole had had a tough time in WWII, and I know the old man had, too, though he never talked about it.

As my aunts recounted over the years, when he was about 21, the old man and his crew had been arrested by the Gestapo for stealing food from a Nazi storehouse. They were in a slave labor camp until VE Day and some of them were worked and starved to death.

Meanwhile, the Dole aide who had been told to “shut up” was trying to find out why the Senator was taking such an interest in us.

My mom wouldn’t talk, so he was pressing me, the kid with corncobs coming out of his ears.

“So, where in Kansas are you folks from?” he asked.

“We’re from Illinois,” I said.

“Oh?. Huh. So how do you know Sen. Dole?”

“Um, from TV.”

Now he’s getting pissed. “No, I mean why is he taking you to see Sen. Humphrey right now?”

“I don’t know.”

We took the subway to some huge Senate hearing room. The old man and Dole sat together and continued talking. I sat with Mr. Shut Up. My mom sat with Sen. Kennedy (she considered herself an honorary Kennedy after meeting Jackie O and Teddy, and would talk about them like family whenever they popped up in the news).

I think it was the Foreign Relations Committee.
But we didn’t go in for a while. The old man and Dole stood to the side, continuing to talk.

I know they were talking about the war, when they were young men.

The old man had never said ten words to anyone in his family about the war, but here was this old Norsky liberal, thick accent and all, chewing the ear of the GOP vice presidential nominee. And Dole was listening.

Finally, Dole approaches the big doors, and they’re swung open for him.

He marches us down the center aisle of this huge, crowded hearing room, takes us right up to Humprhey and says “Hubert, your Illinois fan club is here.”

Humphrey was dying from the cancer and didn’t have any hair. But he lit up like a light bulb, took us to some back corridor and he, Dole and my folks chatted like old friends about this, that and nothing in particular.

My parents were thrilled and talked about their day with Dole and Humphrey for the rest of their lives.

Dole didn’t have to do any of that. We were nobodies. My parents weren’t from Kansas; they weren’t citizens, they couldn’t even vote.

But he did because he was just a decent man, and made my folks feel like big shots in Washington, like they’d really made it in America.

It’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Just a sweet, selfless act of kindness.

Dole and the old man would exchange Christmas cards til my Dad died. My old man didn’t change his politics, but nobody could say a word against his pal Bob.

Years later, when Dole was running for president in Iowa, I got to know Dole a little better. I liked him a lot then, I like him more now.

And I voted for him for president, for me, my mom and my old man.

Nobody writes like that guy. Nobody.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Bill Luking spent most of his adult life working on behalf of the city he loved. Most Chicagoans have never heard of the man, but he did more for them than just about anyone else in Springfield. So, this one’s for Bill. Rest in peace, buddy. I hope you and Frank can have a couple of cold ones while you’re up there

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Yowza - $2.5 million in one pop to Rauner

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Who needs a budget plan when you have friends like this?…


…Adding… A Ken Griffin flashback from a 2012 Tribune interview

Q. I’m going to come back to this. But I want to touch on two more areas first. What do you think in general about the influence of people with your means on the political process? You said shame on the politicians for listening to the CEOs. Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?

A. I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and economic freedom is part of the pursuit of happiness – (I hope they realize) they have a duty now to step up and protect that. Not for themselves, but for their kids and for their grandchildren and for the person down the street that they don’t even know.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons. I think he’s having sufficient influence on the Rauner campaign, to say the least.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* I have some errands to run ahead of Father’s Day weekend so blogging could be light to non-existent the rest of the day. Speaking of Father’s Day…

* The Question: Do you have any fond political memories of your father? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Jack Roeser

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* There’s been no official statement released, but I have confirmed that conservative activist Jack Roeser passed away early this morning.

The man sure hated him some teachers’ unions. And he gave the GOP establishment in this state fits for decades. He was who he was, he did what he did, and if you didn’t like it, he didn’t care a bit. I couldn’t help admiring him for that.

The man made his mark on this state more than any single non-politician in memory. You may not have agreed with it, maybe even hated what he did, but I gotta tell you I always found him to be a real gentleman in person.

Jack and I had more than our share of go-arounds, but none of our conversations ever ended with anger. There was never any personal animosity between us. And I know he felt the same about many others.

* Jack was very proud of the wildly successful Otto Engineering business he built from scratch and the good things he was able to get done for Carpentersville and the surrounding areas. He deserved to be proud of those accomplishments. He did plenty of good.

From his Widipedia entry

Roeser enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served during World War II as a Corporal in the 1689th Engineer Battalion Combat Engineers in the Pacific Theater. He served in combat with distinction fighting the Japanese in the Philippines, most notably in the Battle of Leyte. He was one of the first U.S. Soldiers to set foot on Japan after their surrender to the Allies in 1945.

* Look, I know some of you folks completely disagreed with Jack’s politics. But keep it civil in comments. The man has a family and many, many friends. I, for one, will miss him.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


A wealth of arrogance

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Bruce Rauner really set himself up for a future attack yesterday

Asked by reporters how he would be able to put in place some cuts that have been discussed for years and discarded, Rauner replied, “I’ve been successful at everything I’ve ever done.”

Everything? Really? Including that shadey and failed nursing home business? OK. Have it your way, Mr. Modesty.

* The biggest complaint I had about the Quinn campaign’s response to yesterday’s Rauner chicken presser was that they didn’t pivot on the word “chicken.” Quinn has already called Rauner “timid” for refusing to lay out a budget plan. Why not press that further? Well, they did today. From a media release…

Paul Vallas: Entitled Rauner “Chickened Out” of Serious Debate With Disastrous 10-point Budget Prank

CHICAGO - Lt. Governor Candidate Paul Vallas said Friday that entitled billionaire Bruce Rauner provided the people of Illinois “with more chickens than answers” with his disastrous budget rollout the day before.

Rauner had waited 465 days, and until after the budget debate in Springfield, before appearing with chickens at a press conference Thursday.

Vallas said this was unworthy of the seriousness required of running for the highest office in the 5th largest state in America.

“I’m particularly offended that Mr. Rauner feels he doesn’t owe the people of Illinois any substance, yet he is entitled to the highest office in our state,” Vallas said at a Friday press conference. “What he did yesterday was embarrassing. Illinois voters deserve a real debate about the real issues.”

* Meanwhile

Rauner’s campaign passed out to reporters a 12-page, glossy pamphlet that touted $1 billion in savings, however, much of what was proposed appeared to be a repackaged version of what he has said in the past. That includes the wealthy former venture capitalist not taking a salary or pension as governor — saying that would save $708,000.

Notice that Rauner didn’t include his running mate in those cost savings. Supposedly, she’ll be taking a full salary. Why? She isn’t wealthy. So she gets a pass.

* Speaking of wealth

“No more law firms on the side,” Rauner’s “blueprint” stated, a reflection that Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, each have law practices.

House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs also is a lawyer and said he would “gladly negotiate what reforms (Rauner) thinks are necessary. I think it’s something that should be brought to the table.”

Poor Jim. Locked in the same sort of cage as those little chickens.

Durkin has four kids at home. Imagine those college costs. I really doubt he could afford to give up his law practice and continue providing for his family the way he has. But, whatever, he’s in the cage now. Just keep nodding in agreement with the guy who doesn’t have to worry about his own personal cash flow, Leader.

/snark.

* And while we’re on the subject of personal wealth

Rauner — who has used the private jet of his billionaire donor Ken Griffin to campaign around the state — said he would downsize the fleet of state planes, which cost the state $5 million a year.

“We are going to eliminate Illinois’ shuttle service and sell most of the state planes. My wife and I are going to move to Springfield,” Rauner said. “We will stop this process of shuttling people regularly at a high cost to taxpayers to Springfield.”

First of all, no offense meant, but how long is Mrs. Rauner gonna stay in a dingy upstairs Springfield apartment with tourists running around, loud parties and a badly leaking roof?

I mean, heck, I wouldn’t live there.

And do we really want the governor bumming jet rides from kabillionaires all the time?

This is a big state, man. Ever drive from Chicago to Cairo? Takes forever.

Are the state planes over-used? Probably. Could we get rid of them? Sure. But Rauner is insulated from such a decision because he can personally afford other options. What happens if the next governor ain’t so fabulously rich?

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Bill Luking

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* From a press release…

Luking & Associates, LLC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It is with a heavy heart that Luking & Associates, LLC informs you that William H. Luking, president and founder of Luking & Associates, LLC passed away quietly yesterday afternoon.

Thank you for your thoughts & your friendship at this time. We have lost a friend, mentor, and colleague. The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have lost a champion.

Arrangements are pending and will be announced when completed.

* People who didn’t know Bill would often comment on his disheveled appearance, but those who did know him constantly marveled at his brilliance. The guy read everything. He knew every legislative trick in the book. I was talking to a colleague of his this morning who said Bill once recited the state plumbing code from memory during a meeting.

Bill’s institutional memory would overload a computer. And now it’s gone. We are all the poorer for his loss, whether you knew him or not. The hole his death creates at the Statehouse is just unimaginable.

I tried to never miss a chance to talk to Bill when I saw him during session. He wouldn’t normally dish about stuff he was working on, but he would discuss what other people were up to, assess their chances, find their weak points, suggest a better route, give me some history, etc. He never wasted my time and I tried never to waste his.

Bill told me years ago that he once met Frank Sinatra and shook his hand. Bill was a young reporter in the hinterlands and Ol’ Blue Eyes came to town for a show. How freaking cool is that?

Many of us will forever be in Bill Luking’s debt. He was most definitely one of a kind. He was also a sweet and generous man.

I’m sure many of you have your own stories about Bill, so I’ll leave comments open. I’ll let you know about arrangements.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

“Bill Luking dedicated himself to the law and the legislative process. His legend and legacy will be lasting. For nearly 30 years, Bill fought for Chicago and its people and was essential to every major legislative initiative passed on the City’s behalf. As a dean of the Illinois statehouse, Bill shared with others his passion for history and always made himself available to mentor young people learning their way around the halls of the state Capitol. On behalf of all of Chicago, thanks Bill.”

As far as I’m concerned Bill’s getting the Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Insider this year. Not gonna be a vote.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Senate President John Cullerton…

I am saddened to hear the news of Bill Luking’s death. He was among the first people to encourage me to run for office in 1976. He was a man of honor, with an incredible knowledge of the legislative process. For decades Bill used his considerable skills to tirelessly advance the interests of the City of Chicago. He will be greatly missed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      


Quinn’s disturbing pattern of silence

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Lots of people covered Gov. Quinn’s campaign press conference with some ministers, but WBEZ was one of the only outlets to report this angle

An outspoken Chicago pastor connected Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan and suggested that GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner stands for “evil,” as he appeared next to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday to give the Democrat his endorsement.

Um, what?

* Listen to the raw audio

* Back to the WBEZ story. The minister in question was speaking of registering voters, including “unlikely voters”

The governor remained silent as the Rev. Walter “Slim” Coleman, a long-time left-wing activist, spoke at his side during a press event where Quinn accepted the endorsement of several mostly African-American clergy members. […]

“That’s an unlikely voter that began way back in 1961 and ’62 with the Ku Klux Klan, that grew up through the militias, that came outta the militias and, and, and – came in to call themselves conservatives, and then came in to call themselves Republican,” Coleman said.

“That’s a movement that brings an evil that we have got to stop,” Coleman said, as the crowd began to clap. “Our fight – our fight is not – our fight is not with flesh and blood. Our fight is with powers and principalities. And there’s an evil – there’s an evil that a candidate may seem that he’s harmless is gonna raise up in this state and we’re not gonna let it happen!”

* The minister later backed away

Reached by phone after Thursday’s event, Coleman told WBEZ he does not believe Rauner is evil. He said he was referring instead to the “hatred and prejudice and white supremacy” he believes are represented by the conservative Tea Party movement, which he said gets political cover from the GOP.

“We’re not suggesting that Rauner is a member of the Klan or that there were any Klansmen involved in his campaign or anything like that,” Coleman said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “We were just saying that the forces that are unleashed by the - the current day Republican Party are very dangerous forces and very racist forces, and that we don’t want them to take over in Illinois.”

* But the state GOP chairman was justifiably outraged at the governor’s silence

“It is unacceptable and outrageous for a sitting governor to stand by silently and condone comparisons to the Ku Klux Klan,” [ Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider] said. “Governor Quinn owes the people of Illinois an explanation for why he stood by and said nothing.”

* The Quinn campaign’s reaction

“We couldn’t disagree more strongly, and the Governor believes this rhetoric has no place in politics,” Anderson wrote in an email.

* The minister apologized, so I’ll leave it at that. What bugs me about this incident is that it isn’t the first time Quinn has remained silent while one of his supporters went off on one of his Republican opponents. Remember this from 2010?

A West Side get-out-the-vote rally Saturday backfired for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn when the governor was forced to quickly distance himself from racially charged criticism about his Republican foe made by the man who introduced him, Chicago mayoral candidate state Sen. Rickey Hendon. […]

“Let me tell you a couple things. I’ve served with Bill Brady. I’ve never served with such an idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic person in my life,” Hendon told the crowd. “If you think that the minimum wage needs to be $3 an hour, vote for Bill Brady. If you think that women have no rights whatsoever except to have his children, vote for Bill Brady. If you think gay and lesbian people need to be locked up and shot in the head, vote for Bill Brady.”

Quinn stood silent and didn’t speak until after a reporter asked him about Hendon’s remarks.

Governor, that’s just not acceptable.

* Related…

* ADDED: Two ministers backing Quinn got money from troubled state program: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn received a robust re-election endorsement this week from dozens of Chicago area ministers, including at least two whose religious organizations got money from a much-criticized state anti-violence grant program.

* Our Cold Civil War Intensifies

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


Rauner chicken stunt goes social

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Not long after Bruce Rauner’s press conference with three live chickens ended yesterday, a new Twitter account appeared…


Several more tweets were added after that. I know who’s behind the account, but my lips - er… beak? - are sealed. He’s a commenter here is all I can say. Hopefully, he won’t end up like #PeoriaMayor.

* Kyle Hillman had a little Facebook fun with yesterday’s goofy presser

* Back to the Twitters…


* Bruce Rauner’s Facebook posting about his plan has so far received 314 “likes” (way more than any of Gov. Quinn’s recent Facebook posts) and dozens of comments, including

* My own small contribution is probably gonna go over more than a few heads…

- Posted by Rich Miller   99 Comments      


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Friday, Jun 13, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* *** UPDATED x1 - Checked wrong box *** Oberweis files FEC paperwork to run for US Senate in 2020
* Local 150 PAC promotes capital plan in two new TV ads
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Illinois Credit Unions: People Helping People
* IEPA issues "seal order" on Sterigenics plant
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Rep. Chapa LaVia will head IDVA after previous appointee bows out
* Question of the day
* Mary Morrissey named new executive director of DPI
* Transparency issues
* It's just a bill
* Amazon leads $700 million investment round for Rivian
* Hysterical much?
* Minimum wage roundup
* Poll: Five points separate five mayoral candidates as union money whacks Daley
* Should the state sell the Tollway to boost the pension funds?
* Southern Illinois state's attorney vows not to enforce assault weapons ban if it becomes law
* Daley would keep hope alive for those who want pension benefit cuts
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