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Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 19, 2014

* Our final category, with last year’s winners in parentheses…

* The 2014 Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter (RNUG and 47th Ward)

As always, please make sure to explain your vote or it won’t count.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LizPhairTax - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:55 am:


    consistently moves the conversation, speaks from experience, uses real name.

  2. - Casual Observer - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    I would like to nominate Steve Schnorf. I skip over many posts. But never his. He tells it how it was, how it is and how it could be. I also respect that he is stingy with his comments. So, when he talks you better listen.

  3. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Amalia and I are rarely in ___ together, but when we are, who could disagree?

    I second the nomination of S-mom for her charm, wit and unpretentious nature. She agrees warmly, and disagrees kindly. She operates on a level of mature interaction at all times. She makes us better when things start to go a bit awry.

    And…I am in fact smitten. I don’t know why. And I don’t care.

  4. - Mason born - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    RNUG all the way. With all the Pension mess this year he has been invaluable as a source. I doubt anyone here doesn’t count on his analysis.

    Of course if you can’t do back to back repeats the Steve Schnorf.

  5. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Walk would be my runner up. He brings some fresh air around here and I can’t think of a time when he’s been less than courteous. Schnorff is growing on me. But S-Mom, she’s the goods this year.

  6. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    I nominated Soccermom last year, and would repost what I wrote then if I could figure out this gadget I use now.

    If anyone could find it, I’d be much obliged.

  7. - ZC - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    I’ll nominate Oswego Willy again, who’s moved on from the Jason Plummer genius to being a kind of
    Illinois Cicero this 2014, endlessly warning his fellow Republicans about the machinations and dangers of Bruce “Lucius Cataline” Rauner.

    If not Willy, who has won recently, then I’ll renominate Yellow Dog Democrat. He’s never won this award, and while he doesn’t need the ego boost, he’s posted as long and as thoughtfully on Cap Fax blog as anyone. He’s not always right but he’s always thought-provoking and he carefully reads the posts of his opponents and basically it’s like the Oscars; he deserves to get this award some year, just for his overall body of work.

  8. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    I nominate William J. Kelly. Incoherently entertaining. Gets lots of people around here upset.

    Of all commentators, he has had the greatest impact of all in the past year, breaking the contribution limits for Mayor of Chicago without ever even being a candidate.

  9. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Gonna have to say OswegoWilly…

    Even though he consistently gave Rauner a hard time his arguments always made sense, offered some of the best thoughts about the Treasurer’s race and offered up some great thoughts about the passing of JBT…

    It bugs me I am not even the best commentor in my school district…

  10. - The Muse - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    I like slick, Oswego Willy for his humor but RNUG has done a fantastic job of explaining the pension issue so that anyone could understand it. The CapFax community is here because we love the gossip and the issues, and when someone can breakdown a complex issue piece-by-piece the way RNUG did, they deserve to be recognized.

  11. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Add me to the Willy bandwagon.

  12. - Gooner - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    I’d also nominate Soccermom.

    It seems like this has been a challenging year in comments, with the elections bringing out more blindly partisan behavior than in other years. However, Soccermom has always remained above that behavior. It is a good reminder as to what the comments section here should be.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    * The 2014 Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter

    This was a year of intensity and overload. If we weren’t fact checking, we were waiting for point/counter point from governmental bodies to campaigns. There was plenty going on, and this place was place to find out.

    - MrJM - was consistently on top of his game. While it seemed discussions would focus down to the tenses of verbs, - MrJM - had an uncanny knack to infuse his thoughts, many times ridiculously funny thoughts, to give a clearer ironic look at the happenings of the day.

    Do yoursrlf a solid, just check out his Twitter. Hysterical. It’s kike reading a supplement to his comments here, and his pithy remarks there are as interesting as they are here. There have been way too many times I laughed at the absurdity I missed abd he pointed out, as only he could.

    Thanks - MrJM -, I nominate you for keeping a sharply cynical view that is delivered with such comedy and style.

    This is probably the hardest catagory because of all the great commenters here. If you aren’t learning here, than you aren’t reading here. I wanted to nominate about a half a dozen runner-ups, but I’m always leery I’ll miss one or two.

    Saying that, this award is named for - Wordslinger -, and rightly so because he encompasses the wit, knowledge, the inquizitive nature of all of us here.

    Illinois politics is better with this Blog and the commenters. Thanks Rich for allowing free discussion under “the rules of the house”. It goes deeper than commebters to commenter, but it’s a community. While communities have butchers and bakers, there are pension experts and budget gurus, political insiders of the highest order interacting and gladly exchanging thoughts and ideas, making us all better for it.

    It’s one heck of a community.

  14. - Gooner - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    I’d also like to nominate Amalia for Amalia’s wonderful efforts at educating readers as to the beauty that is Arsenal football.

    We definitely need more like Amalia here.

  15. - Western Ave. Doug - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    I have to go with Mr. JM. Always clever and to the point. Although I believe his political leanings are way too far to the left, he is so funny that even a right winger like me breaks out laughing. Always look for his posts first in any blog.

  16. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    In a close call, I nominate my friend Oswego Willy with Soccermom right behind.
    OW went way out on a limb this year about the election and his honest fears; some would say he is already being vindicated. In any case, we should all look back in awhile on what he had to say in the runup.
    Secondly, his heartfelt testimonial to JBT was not only great writing, it was one of the most heartfelt comments I’ve read in my 8 years hanging out here.
    Finally, he handled some trolling this year with commendable grace, intelligence, and a good bit of humor.
    I’m just sorry more people didn’t write him in for Gov. I know I woulda won the LG bake-off.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    Here us go - Wordslinger -,

    - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 10:55 am

    This is always tough because so many smart people teach and entertain during the year.

    This year, I vote for Soccermom. I like her politics, but even more I like the way she makes her case in a smart, concise way while being a model of civility (something I resolve to aspire to).

    The kid has it all.

    – She’s a progressive who’s also a fiscal conservative (I hear some heads exploding!).

    – A loyal advocate for her friends who’s willing to call them out when they’re wrong.

    – A committed partisan who respects (or at least doesn’t disrespect) those on the other side.

    – A great writer and voice of reason who is witty and wise, and only releases righteous anger when someone really deserves it. Then, look out.

    She doesn’t write as much like gasbags like me, but I always look forward to spotting the handle. One of my absolute favorites over the years, she’s long overdue for the nod.

  18. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    Thanks, Willie.

  19. - Stones - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    RNUG for his spot on analysis of the pension reform debacle.

  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Steve Schnorf, Consistently on target with almost all his posts.

  21. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    I nominate Soccermom. She keeps things grounded with her comments. Insightful. Sometimes witty. Overall good egg.

  22. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    @Gooner, thanks, I’m red with thanks, forever Red!

  23. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:15 pm:


    His pithy comments pack a risible punch.

  24. - steve schnorf ___ - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Soccermom. Speaks truth in such an entertaining way. Smarts, witty not too partisan, progressive without being elitist. I’m smitten, as are so many others

  25. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Soccermom deserves this for her wit and charm.

    MrJM deserves this because no says so much in so few words and is consistently funny as he is.

    Walker is always a must-read for his insight and knowledge, and like Steve Schnorf, doesn’t throw too many bombs into his comments, just good, thoughtful criticism and observation.

    Michelle Flaherty always makes me laugh.

    A Guy had to spin some unbelievable stuff and got tons of grief for it here, yet always came back for more and worked harder than anyone I’ve seen here to get the last word.

    There are many more, too many to mention, that make this blog a special place. You’re all aces in my book.

    The Golden Horseshoe is quite an honor. I’m sure RNUG would agree that we never anticipated how this distinction would change our lives in so many ways, mostly for the better. The fame and recognition is worth so much more than the cash and prizes that go along with this prestigious honor. I just hope my successor(s) fully appreciate the immense responsibility that comes with this title. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown, be careful of what you wish for, etc. etc.

    Merry Christmas, happy holidays and see you all here again in 2015. And remember: a very wise man once said we should emulate the qualities of those we most admire. That’s going to be my resolution for the new year.

    Peace all.

  26. - Linus - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    I’d like to split my vote, and second these nominations for king and queen of the commenting prom:

    – MrJM, for the reasons Precinct Captain and others have stated so well. Many are the mornings I’ve guffawed heartily into my coffee mug over his pithy posts.

    – Soccermom, for her respectful opinions and the well-balanced way she shares them.

  27. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    Pension posts are the internet equivalent of an informative C-SPAN program WITHOUT the associated boredom. Informative, timely, not boring - the commenters hat-trick!

  28. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:16 pm:


    Succinct with the perfect dose of sarcasm. Nobody says more while saying less.

  29. - PJ - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Lots of great candidates, but I’ll nominate Michelle Flaherty on the basis of working in the Andy Shaw “Microphone” video link at precisely the right spot in the comment thread on any BGA post to elicit a hearty belly laugh from yours truly.

  30. - Cuban Pilot - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    I vote Vanilla Man…….He is the Sonny Bono of this board. He started out as a pop singer with catchy songs that entertained the masses. Then, he disappeared for a really, really long time. In fact, I think many people questioned whether he was still living. Then, all of a sudden, during this recent election cycle, he reemerged as a serious poster who was not afraid to promote his opinions, no matter how unpopular. Now, despite the fact that the beat will go on with the majority of the people voting for the usual suspects such as soccermom, ow, wordslinger, and schnorf, I think V-man deserves consideration. Now, even though he may not win this year, I want V-man to know that a cowboys work is never done. So please don’t disappear next year.

  31. - dgd - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    No horseshoe for best legislative liaison? Or did I just miss it?

  32. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    47, thanks for the kind words. Even to be mentioned is nice, but I’d be the first to disqualify myself in the presence of so many other great nominations.

    That being said, S-Mama needs to win this or I’m gonna start breakin’ stuff around here. I’m just that into her sweet tsk tsks, and find myself caring about what she thinks. Weird,eh?

  33. - anon - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    I nominate RNUG for his authoritative analysis of the leading issue in the state. Not only is he so well informed, but he brings courtesy and clear writing to the blog.

  34. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Opinions might be well-crafted and insightful, but they still don’t quite match fact-based knowledge. When I see these names, my day is better, because I know I will learn something important:

    RNUG knows pensions
    YDD knows politics
    A Guy knows what they say at the door
    Schnorf knows budgets and people
    Amalia and Babe get what happens behind the scenes
    Wordslinger is just too good not to honor here
    Arthur Anderson knows numbers and business
    Johnny Utah always provides sources

    My first choice among the stars is SoccerMom.

    Not only does she know and understand things inside state government, but her humanity and emotional intelligence come thru as well.

    And she’s got 27 dresses in her closet already.

  35. - Joe Bidenolopolous - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    If Soccermom gets the nod, it’s a fine choice to be sure. That said, my vote is going to MrJM. Several have said it, but he is pithy and on point without a surplus of words.

    Schnorf is a great choice too - thoughtful and succinct with the gravitas and positioning of having been there and done that. If all three shared the honor, that’d be a-ok by me.

  36. - Walker - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    anonymous 2:44 was me Sorry, faltering laptop.

    Thanks so much for the mentions. To even be in the same thought with Steve Schnorf means a lot to me.

    Let me add: Michelle Flaherty — Makes my day — if only I didn’t suspect she was really Brownie.

    Mark Walker

  37. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    You know, I’m still remembering 47th’s acceptance speech, which I think still speaks to all of us:
    “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it—and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

    Word — I thought it would be immodest to post your kind words from last year. But my husband and kids have them, with instructions to read them at my funeral. (No kidding.)

    A guy — You always make me blush. You know it broke my heart when Rauner won. But if he’s surrounded by people who can listen to critics without flying off the handle (and with being smitten rather than trying to smite back), there’s a chance he’ll make a success of this thing.

    Schnorf and RNUG — You guys are so darn smart. You remind me of one of my favorite quotes, from the immortal Lillian Ross profile of Ernest Hemingway:

    “I wanted to know what “true gen” means, and Hemingway explained that it is British slang for “information,” from “intelligence.” ‘It’s divided into three classes—gen; the true gen, which is as true as you can state it; and the really true gen, which you can operate on,’ he said.” You guys provide the true gen, every time.

    OW — Your words about JBT were so lovely and true. I don’t usually think of blog commentary as an art form, but you really created something lasting with that tribute. You are something special.

    This blog means so much to me — too much, probably. But when I read these pages, I feel like I am still part of a community of smart, savvy people who really know about politics and who really love this state.

    Sorry to be all serious and soupy. But it has been an emotional few weeks. Sitting at JBT’s memorial, and seeing those hundreds of people whose lives she touched made me realize how important government and politics really are. I was so inspired — not least by Rich’s good words. I have been carrying the service folder with me ever since. And more than that, I have been trying to think of how best I can try to emulate the life and work of a smart, funny, honest, talented and tremendous redhead.

    God rest JBT. And God bless us, every one.

  38. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===if only I didn’t suspect she was really Brownie.===

    Close, but no cigar.

  39. - Sunshine - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    I like several but Vanilla Man always, always livens things up for everyone. It isn’t how often you post but what you say when you do. VM lights a fire.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    - Soccermom -,

    Thanks for your very kind words, you made me blush.

    How I feel about you?

    I wanted to make sure - Wordslinger -’s Comment about you made it up here. Hope that says it all.

    Thanks to all for your kind words, like - Soccermom -, this place means more to me than you might guess.

    I’ll borrow from - 47th Ward -, “you’re all aces”

    Great line. So true.

  41. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Wilbur, we shall fight another day (because neither of us appear to have a shred of self-control) Your accolades are deserved. I’m still going to give you a Wet Willie if I get close enough– but, it will be a gesture of friendship, not meanness. Make no mistake…it will be extra wet. The best to you. I too enjoyed the words honoring JBT. She was to all of us, our gal.

  42. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    Absolutely must nominate Soccermom. Funny, quick, interesting. But most importantly, she is very effective at disagreeing without being disagreeable. It’s a quality too seldom seen in the blog world.

  43. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    It’s a three-way tie, MrJM for wit, Soccermom for political humanity and steve schnorf for moderation, compassion and budget knowledge.

    It’s hard to vote for any one commenter. So many are so good.

    Also, thank you so much, Rich, for the best political news site, and for your acceptance of so many of us, with our different views. This blog is an Illinois treasure and gets props and respect at other political sites.

  44. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    Soccermom, here’s looking at you, kid. We’ll always have Dominick’s.

    I always thought Brownie strained mightily here to be informative and insightful while faking an almost incoherent gonzo facade.

    Like a certain commenter that requires a decoder ring….

  45. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    I enjoy reading the comments by both MrJM and Soccermom, but I give the nod to Soccermom for all of the reasons above. I especially appreciate when commenters are willing to call someone out on an inconsistent or poorly informed opinion and she always does it clearly and with class.

  46. - Under Influenced - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    William J. Kelly - His trolling extends beyond the digital world.

    “every great circus requires top-notch performers”

  47. - Earnest - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    I’m swept along with others voting for Soccermom–personable, funny, kind-spirited, clear point of view combined with an open mind, posts that are conversational but not (excuse the phrase) wordy.

    I express appreciation for pretty much everyone, and in particular:

    RNUG - in a world with near-infinite options for obtaining information, how can it be that a poster on a blog is where I look for the best-quality analysis of the state pension issue than any newspaper or broadcast station?

    Vanilla Man - he’s a one man band, not just someone on the band wagon. He makes other commenters better as they raise their games in order to disagree with him thoughtfully. Sometimes I wonder if he’s wickedly funny and ironic and it’s going over my head.

    Michelle Flaherty - other than a great Haiku master, who says more with fewer words?

    Steve Schnorf - authority, intelligence, experience and insight.

    I haven’t touched on Word, 47th, OW, Grandson, Louis G, Sen Clay, Rich and many others who broaden my perspective and make me laugh.

  48. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    My nominations, in Miss America format with runners-up are:

  49. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    Yellow Dog Democrat - we’re nearly at closing time, but I’m writing a proper nomination and going to try squeezing it in.

    First runner-up @MrJM - You never know what you’re going to get with a MrJM post, but it is almost certain to be hilarious. One of the great commenters who makes CapFax what it is.

    Second runner-up @soccermom - for all the reasons I have nominated her in years past. Her comments are always thoughtful and always add something to the conversation.

    Third runner-up @Shore. Shore’s comments aren’t as frequent as some, but they nearly always make me think and always do an excellent job of putting things in context. Shore’s comments also reflect a long history and deep well of knowledge, with brief references and stories that frequently make me want to say ==Tell me more!==

    Fourth runners-up, in a tie, @Demoralized and @Precinct Captain - while their comments almost always agree with whatever the Democratic perspective is on a topic, and their comments can be a bit aggressive at times, they add a great deal to the community here. They can alternatively be funny, insightful and knowledgeable. Sometimes a combination of all three.

    Fifth-runner up, @A Guy. He’s a relatively new face around here, but always does a good job of supporting his argument and never backs down.

    Sixth runner-up, @Michelle Flaherty - a biting wit.

  50. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    - A Guy -,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I like to think I can argue a side and then be the first to buy a beer for the person I argued with loudest. It’s those not picking a side to make things better that might need those wet willies.

    You are loyal abd are willing to stand up and be counted, how can I not respect that?

    That’s worth a beer and a handshake.

  51. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:32 pm:

    That’s a pretty long drum roll FKA…lol

  52. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    Steve Schnorf. I don’t know who’s behind it, but, man, that guy knows state government finances.

  53. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    I’ll take the beer Willy. Only if it’s the second one and I’ve bought the first one. You’re still getting the Wet Willie. A hearty handshake to follow…I’ll dry my index finger. lol. This great big dysfunctional family does have some benefits, don’t it?

    FKA, you’re the goods. I’m not worthy of that list, but I think I’ll print it out just for the hell of it! lol. Merry Christmas pal.

  54. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    2014 Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter should be Yellow Dog Democrat

    While YDD is nearly always wrong :), YDD is clearly someone who cares deeply about our state and the people living in it. YDD gets every aspect of politics and rolls it into one better than anyone else. The politics behind a move, the optics and the way it will be publicly interpreted, the hard numbers and data about everything from budgets to economic issues, and the reality of who wins and loses behind every decision.

    Better yet, YDD is reasonable, logical, and not strictly partisan despite the name. We got into it earlier this year on a thread and rapidly learned that despite our differences of opinion, we both had good reasons for believing what we did and the ability to back it up with independent sources.

    YDD doesn’t just spew the party line like some do. YDD truly wants to do what is best for the state first, and the partisan stuff comes second. No one can combine politics, humor, knowledge and concern for fellow Illinoisans in a single post the way YDD does… even if he/she is often on the other ==side== of things from me.

  55. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:42 pm:

    And the only reason I do not reference Oswego Willy, RNUG and 47th Ward are their recent victories.

    To me, those individuals are like the Hall of Fame. Once you’re in, you’re in :)

  56. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    And no discernible trace of steroids in any of them.

  57. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Thanks, A guy… looking forward to your comments next year as well.

    Thanks for adding as much as you do to the community here.

  58. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:55 pm:

    I simply cannot imagine winning anything named after wordslinger. It would like giving an award named after Grover Cleveland to Rand Paul.

    I have fun posting here.

    The best of my CapFax 2014 was when Rich selected my posting about that moronic phrase “uninformed voters” and gave it it’s own highlight. Being chosen by the esteemed Mr. Miller in such a way is a personal honor.

    To those who nominated me, thank you. After hundreds of topical song parodies, attempts to bring a libertarian, traditional and conservative take on 2014, it pleases me that some of you really like me.

    That’s about as good as it could get for a guy like me around here.

  59. - Amalia - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    bummer! my one liner nomination of Soccermom which included a fun comment about A Guy has disappeared so A Guy’s comment is not understood in context. bulb.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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