* Tammy Duckworth has often said that her ancestors are soldiers going all the way back to the American Revolution. She said it again during the US Senate debate tonight and this is how Sen. Mark Kirk responded…
“I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
Senator Mark Kirk’s attack on Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s family tonight was offensive, wrong and racist. Senator Kirk has been caught lying about his military record over ten times, but he was quick to launch false attacks questioning Congresswoman Duckworth’s family’s long history of serving our country. A struggling political campaign is no excuse for baseless and despicable attacks, and Senator Kirk owes Congresswoman Duckworth and her family an apology.
…Adding… Transcript put into context, which really makes this so much worse…
…Adding More… From Eleni Demertzis, spokesperson for the Kirk campaign…
“Senator Kirk has consistently called Rep. Duckworth a war hero and honors her family’s service to this country. But that’s not what this debate was about. Rep. Duckworth lied about her legal troubles, was unable to defend her failures at the VA and then falsely attacked Senator Kirk over his record on supporting gay rights.”
Several members of the City Council complained about a new ethics rule forbidding them from buying scarce World Series tickets at face value from the Cubs, but Ald. Milly Santiago, 31st, outdid herself, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
“We were not the ones reaching out to the Cubs for some freebies or for some special treatment,” the first-term alderman said at a hearing. “The Cubs actually reached out to all of us….”
“First of all, those tickets were not front-row tickets,” she said of the playoff seats she already received. “They were all the way in the upper deck.”
“I’m a poor alderman,” she said. The job pays at least $105,000 a year.
The entire episode has been “kind of insulting, humiliating and embarrassing for us,” she added.
South Side Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) was overcome with emotion on the day Sandi Jackson resigned her City Council seat under the cloud of a federal investigation that eventually would send her and her husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., to prison.
“She was one of my favorite colleagues. It makes me heavy-hearted because of the troubles her family is having,” Cochran said on Jan. 11, 2013.
Now, it’s Cochran who might be in trouble.
The retired Chicago Police officer and community organizer is under federal investigation in connection with his use of political campaign funds, sources have told the Chicago Sun-Times.
As Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown first reported, records show Cochran paid himself more than $115,000 from his campaign fund over a three-year span. In some cases, he reported the payments more than two years after he should have, then amended his campaign finance disclosure reports after the fact to correct the omissions.
The same utility company that is pressuring Illinois legislators for more than eight billion dollars in ratepayer subsidies illegally avoided paying more than $1.4 billion in federal taxes and penalties.
Meanwhile, Exelon just announced higher than expected 3rd quarter profits of $841 million and bragged to their investors about how successful they’ve been this year. In fact, they’ve made more than $2 BILLION IN PROFITS in the last twelve months.
Why on Earth should Illinois ratepayers be forced to pay billions more for nuclear plants we don’t need while EXELON CAN’T EVEN BE TRUSTED TO PAY ITS TAXES?
JUST SAY NO TO THE EXELON BAILOUT
BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit www.noexelonbailout.com.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – the state’s largest government-worker union – claims to have the best interests of state workers in mind.
But the union has repeatedly rejected provisions that would benefit state workers, such as time off to mourn the loss of a loved one and the ability to earn additional pay based on hard work and performance.
AFSCME and Gov. Bruce Rauner have been deadlocked for months in negotiations over a new contract for state workers. On Nov. 15, the Illinois Labor Relations Board will meet and consider whether the two sides have reached impasse – and if so, Rauner will be able to implement his last and best offer. AFSCME, in turn, could strike.
Why the deadlock? What is AFSCME fighting so hard to obtain? Salary increases of up to 29 percent, for one. Platinum-level health care benefits at little cost to state workers – a level of coverage that is not even available to regular Illinoisans on the state’s insurance exchange, let alone at a rock-bottom price. And a 37.5-hour workweek before overtime kicks in – to name just a few.
Undoubtedly, these are lavish perks that any state employee working under the AFSCME contract would welcome. But of course, these concessions would also further tank the state’s failing economy. It is estimated that AFSCME’s demands would cost taxpayers $3 billion in additional salary and benefit increases. That is a price tag Illinoisans simply cannot afford – a fact AFSCME has completely disregarded.
But the union also has turned its back on more reasonable benefits, to the detriment of the state workers the union claims to represent.
* From Council 31’s Anders Lindall…
Big surprise: The latest phony attack from the Rauner-funded IPI is so full of falsehoods that I can’t tell where to begin.
Here’s the reality: Bruce Rauner walked away from negotiations nearly 10 months ago and has refused to even meet with our bargaining committee ever since. We want to negotiate and reach a compromise that’s fair to all, but we can only do that if the Rauner Administration returns to the bargaining table.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is claiming he has the votes to retain his post as the U.S. Senate’s second-ranking Democrat. […]
Durbin long ago was pushed aside by his former D.C. roommate, New York’s Chuck Schumer, in the contest to succeed Reid as Democratic leader. But there’s been considerable speculation as to whether Schumer or the caucus wanted further change.
A new piece in Politico says that Durbin and Washington’s Patty Murray are still “circling” over the second slot. It says Murray is “refusing to rule out any of her options.”
But Team Durbin sounds awfully confident.
Says spokesman Ben Marter, “Durbin would be honored to continue to serve the caucus, and has the support to do that.”
Bruce Rauner will spend maybe $100 million, even maybe $150 million on his reelection bid. So, the Democrats are gonna need somebody with either very high name recognition (which Durbin has) or lots and lots of money with lots of rich friends. Or somebody with both.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Springfield) definitively said he will not be a candidate for governor of Illinois in 2018 against Gov. Bruce Rauner. […]
“I have priorities I want to accomplish in the Senate,” said Durbin. “There are other good people out there. If I take a step back hopefully some of them will emerge and step up.”
One potential gubernatorial candidate Durbin mentioned by name in a DailyNorthShore.com interview was Christopher G. Kennedy of Kenilworth, a former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
The son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), Chris Kennedy is also the chairman of the Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc., the investment firm of the Kennedy Family, according to Kennedy’s LinkedIn profile.
“I’ve encouraged him to get out there and talk to people around the state,” said Durbin.
Targeting people with individualized TV commercials using cable or satellite boxes has been promoted as the future of television for at least a decade. But the business, known as addressable TV advertising, has remained on the fringes, usually limited to two minutes of local commercial time an hour on cable shows.
Now, AT&T and Time Warner are pointing to targeted advertising as a major benefit of their proposed $85 billion merger. Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the chief executive of Time Warner, and Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, highlighted the vast trove of consumer data their combined companies would have in a call with investors on Monday, and its usefulness for both marketers and consumers.
Viewers, with new subscription options, could enjoy fewer interruptions and see ads for “the products you’re interested in, not the ones you don’t need to see,” Mr. Bewkes said. National advertisers would presumably pay more to reach them and have an alternative to spending on Google and Facebook.
Targeted advertising has become commonplace on streaming services like Hulu or platforms like YouTube, where, for example, women in their 20s may see ads for birth control, pregnancy tests or certain movie trailers. Advertisers hope things could potentially move even beyond that on TV, with people seeing ads based on, for instance, their location or individual interests, much like what happens on the internet. Still, skepticism over whether the AT&T-Time Warner merger will normalize the practice for traditional TV is rife within the ad industry.
* The Question: The individualized Illinois political campaign ads of the future?
When Lauren Umek heard Illinois was going to allow bobcat hunting for the first time since 1972, she applied for a hunting permit. So did four of her relatives.
But they have no intention of hunting.
“I might pull it out at parties,” Umek said of the permit on Monday, three days after checking a state list online and discovering that she’s one of 500 people who obtained a coveted permit among more than 6,400 who applied. “It’ll be a great conversation starter.”
Umek, 34, an ecologist from Chicago, is among an untold number of the feline’s fans who applied for permits with the notion of reducing the number of cats killed. The move has reheated the debate that turned the bobcat into a political animal last year. […]
Umek said she is the only person in her group of 30 or so like-minded friends and relatives who obtained a permit.
Marcella Kincaid has lost count of all the times she’s been told by potential employers, “We really want to hire you, but …”
She knows what’s coming next without listening.
The fact that she’s owned a small business, earned her master’s degree, volunteered in her church and community, received various certifications, held steady employment and stayed out of trouble doesn’t matter.
In 1991, she was convicted of selling cocaine, a felony. Interview over. […]
That could soon be easier for Kincaid, 48, of Springfield. Kincaid was one of five people Gov. Bruce Rauner granted clemency earlier this month.
Clemency allows a person to go to court to seek expungement of his or her criminal record.
What was supposed to be an information session about breast cancer awareness turned into an opportunity to bash Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner after women’s health advocates accused him of ignoring cuts to screening programs caused by the budget impasse.
Before Rauner even began taking questions in his latest Facebook Live chat Wednesday, critics announced they would have a dueling online event to highlight the damage they say has been caused by a lack of state funding. They even took issue with the way Rauner solicited inquiries, which featured a photo of his dog Stella wearing a pink ribbon and declaring, “Stella is doing her part to raise awareness and we are, too.”
“Frankly, I find that insulting. Illinois women need access to lifesaving screening services, not photographs of family pets,” said Beulah Brent, board president of Sisters Working It Out, a Chicago-based group focused on outreach in African-American communities where breast cancer mortality rates are high.
The exchange underscores the tricky political position Rauner finds himself in as the state enters a 17th month without a complete budget. While neither the GOP governor nor Democrats who control the General Assembly have budged enough to reach an agreement, Rauner has taken the brunt of the blame from social service groups that rely on tax dollars.
OK, wait. Stella is a fine dog and she’s Oscar’s friend. Let’s not bash her. And I really don’t see a problem with using her to advertise what was supposed to be an uncontroversial Facebook event. It was a decent bit of spin, though.
Anyway, what the governor just doesn’t seem to always comprehend is that while he might personally support the fight against breast cancer (or whatever other causes he contributes money to), he’s also the governor and that means he takes the heat for the cuts to those programs. And I’ll bet he gave far more money to campaigns the past few years than he gave to charity - which clearly demonstrates that he believes that government is, indeed, at the center of all this.
The solution is a comprehensive, balanced state budget, Rauner said.
“To do that, we need reforms to grow our economy because we can’t have government spending … growing way faster than the pace of growth for our economy,” he said. “It’s unsustainable.” […]
The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force also took to Facebook on Wednesday with a video response to the governor’s event.
“While it’s important for us to … balance the budget, it’s important for us to do reform, all of these things, a balanced budget should not come at the cost of a woman’s life,” said Teena Francois-Blue, associate director of community initiatives and research for the task force.
In 2014, the deficit was falling.
What changed? A partially expired income tax hike and no real state budget.
Yes, there would still be problems if the Democrats hadn’t allowed the tax hike to expire. The economy was growing in 2014, but we obviously needed (and still need) far more growth to sustain spending. The tax hike didn’t totally solve the state’s fiscal problems, but it did make those problems far more manageable. Today’s problems are far less manageable without that revenue and without a real budget.
* I didn’t see this press release when it came out last Friday, but I did see the ad last night. It’s pretty darned good…
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis’ (R-Ill.) campaign today launched its first television ad of the 2016 general election telling the story of Jonny Wade, a seven-year-old boy from Jerseyville who lost his battle with brain cancer last Christmas Eve.
The ad features Kim Wade, Jonny’s mother, who reached out to Davis’ office to help carry out Jonny’s mission of receiving more than four percent funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for pediatric cancer research so no other kid has to have cancer.
“As a father of twin boys, Jonny and Jacky’s bond hit home for me,” said Davis. “Jonny’s mission to ensure no kid ever has to have cancer should be this country’s next ‘moonshot.’ Cancer has impacted the lives of nearly every American, regardless of political affiliation. This is an issue Republicans and Democrats in Washington should be able to come together on. I continue to work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to advance research and make Jonny’s mission of curing cancer a reality.”
* The entire one-minute spot features Johnny’s mom speaking to the camera, with photos of the child and Congressman Davis interspersed…
A last-minute, high-dollar campaign has surfaced against two Republicans who are seeking seats on the 5th District Appellate Court, which covers the metro-east and Southern Illinois.
A political action committee called Fair Courts Now formed on Oct. 11 and, as of Wednesday, had raised $930,000. Most of it has come from plaintiff attorneys in the metro-east and St. Louis.
The committee’s expenditures, as of Wednesday, consisted solely of mailings and ad buys in opposition to two candidates running for seats on the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon: incumbent Justice Randy Moore of Carterville, and Madison County Circuit Judge John Barberis. Both are Republicans.
Moore is challenged by Democrat Jo Beth Weber, who is a circuit judge in Jefferson County. Barberis is running against Brad K. Bleyer, a Democrat and judge serving in the 1st Judicial Circuit, in deep Southern Illinois.
The top donors to Fair Courts Now are the Edwardsville law firm of Gori Julian & Associates ($235,000), the Alton law firm of Simmons Hanley Conroy ($250,000) and the St. Louis law firm of Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd ($250,000).
I’ve been telling subscribers about this push for several days. Subscribers also have the new TV ad.
Later in the above story, retiring Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville), who chairs Moore’s campaign committee, says the money from mainly asbestos attorneys is no surprise, but that they haven’t been able to raise any cash to counter them. Moore had just $27K in his campaign bank account at the end of the third quarter.
The chips are starting to fall in anticipation of the planned shutdown of the Exelon nuclear power plant in Clinton and the first significant victim is the DeWitt County jail.
As reported last week by Kevin Barlow, jail inmates have been transferred to the Piatt County jail in Monticello as part of a new arrangement designed to save DeWitt County money. […]
In addition to preparing for a substantial loss of tax dollars if the Exelon plant closes, [Dewitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner] said the county also is making a lot less money on its longtime program of housing federal inmates.
When Shofner took over in 2010, the DeWitt County jail took in more than $1 million in revenue for housing federal prisoners and had a staff of 16. Today, that revenue is about $180,000 per year and the staff has dropped to 12 people.
The current DeWitt County jail opened in April 1994 at a cost of about $7 million. It was designed to house 60 prisoners. Last week, the jail reported only 19 prisoners on site.
Um, OK. It looks to me like the county made a huge investment on a jail that was far too big for its actual needs. And handing the immensely profitable Exelon giant taxpayer subsidy checks in order to keep that jail open is not an argument that anyone else will buy.
Think about this: In 1998, George Ryan got 72 percent of the vote in DuPage County. And in 2010, Bill Brady got 52 percent. For the second most populous county, most Republican county, that is an unbelievable amount of attrition in a relatively short period of time.
When demographics change, you incorporate new people into the party. We didn’t do that, partly because we told people to wait your turn. It was an outdated system that pushed talent away and bred corruption and incompetence.
I think Kirk’s problem has nothing to do with Donald Trump. I think Kirk’s problem is he declared war on the conservative base of the party. When you basically tell conservatives if they disagree with you on the marriage issue then you’re a bigot, and if they disagree with you on the junk science behind climate change … that they’re Luddites … and down the line of issues, at some point you reach critical mass.
Madigan is talked about like he’s some kind of mythological figure, he’s 10 feet tall and he breathes fire. He’s a diminutive property tax appeals attorney. The city of Chicago and Cook County have thousands of guys like Mike Madigan. What’s the big deal? We haven’t lost races we should have won because of Mike Madigan. We have lost races we should have won because of the surrender-first approach of the Republican party. Because we have had terrible leadership in the caucuses … and we’ve had some bad candidates at the statewide level, too.
* Protest? Civil disobedience? Dude, all you’re gonna do is sit on your can while you flap your gums on the radio and type goofy stuff on Twitter in order to bolster your talk show ratings. C’mon…
Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted Wednesday afternoon that he plans to take up arms if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loses on Election Day.
“On November 8th, I’m voting for Trump,” Walsh tweeted. “On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” asking his nearly 80,000 Twitter followers, “You in?” […]
Walsh, who hosts a syndicated radio show on AM-560, later told NBC5 that the tweet was tongue-in-cheek.
“We’re talking about a musket,” Walsh said. “I could’ve said grab your slingshot and let’s go. Metaphorically, I meant grab your muskets, if Trump loses, man, we’re going to do what we have to do. We’re going to protest and boycott and practice civil disobedience. We may start a third party.”
“We’re going to do a lot of things to get our country back, that’s what I meant,” Walsh added.
* Most of the replies to his tweet were not at all supportive. And some were pretty funny, particularly this one…
Senator Mark Kirk To Meet With Whistleblowers Before Debate
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk will be meeting with four whistleblowers that accused Rep. Duckworth of ignoring or retaliating against them when they brought forth scandal, abuse and mismanagement at state and federal levels of the VA.
Two of the whistleblowers, Christine Butler and Denise Goins, said that Rep. Duckworth violated ethics laws for punishing them when they spoke out about mismanagement and veteran abuse occurring at the Anna Veterans’ Home under Rep. Duckworth’s leadership.
The other two whistleblowers, Germaine Clarno and Dr. Lisa Nee, said that Tammy Duckworth ignored and dismissed evidence of mistreatment and corruption at the Hines VA, telling them “it’s just the way it is” at the VA.
All four whistleblowers will accompany Senator Kirk as his guests to the U.S. Senate debate in Springfield on Thursday evening.
Hilton Garden Inn
3100 S Dirksen Pkwy
Springfield, Illinois 62703
October 27, 2016
Media must RSVP to [redacted] to confirm attendance.
I wonder if he’ll bring Duckworth’s long lost Nigerian brother to the next debate. /snark
* Kirk, Duckworth in second debate tonight: The 7 p.m. forum is the lone Downstate matchup between the two candidates. It will be held at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium and is sponsored by the State Journal-Register, WMAY 970-AM and WICS-TV Ch. 20. The event will be live streamed at SJ-R.com.