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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 22, 2017

* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statewide Officeholder goes to Comptroller Susana Mendoza

The Comptroller has been tireless since taking office last December, both in her official work and in her public outreach. She not only successfully managed the impossible task of handling the state’s bills, she also fought and won decisively a battle with the governor over important reform legislation for her office.

The voting was nearly unanimous.

* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider goes to Dave Sullivan

Yeah, he wins these awards all the time. But he wins because he’s the best. Deep relationships on both sides of the aisle, really has his pulse on what is going on, but, more importantly, maintains his integrity and ethics. Great guy, great lobbyist, great insider.

Dave received a bunch of very strong nominations, and deservedly so.

* Let’s move on to our final category…

* The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter

This is always our most popular award, but explain your nomination fully or it won’t count. I’m shutting down the blog for the holidays around 4:30 or so today and will announce the winner at that time.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - You know me - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    I’d say RNUG. I see a lot of the same names on here, but he’s one of the only ones that I remember and trust.

    Oswego Willy gets a separate award for dedication (or maybe a set of condolences to his loved ones). If the State had a nickel for every post he had on here, our pensions would be handing out bonuses to retirees with all the surplus funds they had.

  2. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    RNUG, resident expert on pensions, the biggest issue in the state’s long-term financial stability. RNUG can be counted on for clear explanations of complex questions, without partisan bias. A personal thanks to RNUG for making the effort to help all of us better understand the pension crisis.

  3. - Todd Stroger For President - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    I vote for Lucky Pierre. He’s consistent in his bashing of Democrats and Mike Madigan and brings a perspective that is needed.

  4. - Chris Widger - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    It’s just gotta be Oswego Willy, right? He takes his beliefs (which are 50% good and 50% awful) and normalizes them like no one else with a level of fervor unmatched on this site. In an era when campaigns repeatedly fail to emphasize the big picture, Willy hammers his big-picture points with sincerely impressive consistency. Everyone else misses open layups, and Willy nails the “skyhook, in reverse” every day. He’s an institution and an emblem of the commentary section, and the site wouldn’t be the same without him.

  5. - Montrose - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    Th first person that popped into my head when I saw the category was RNUG. As others have said, he provides clear, rationale explanations of our pension system that elevate the conversation on this blog. He is definitely deserving.

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    It’s named after him for a reason. Wordslinger is as concise, and at times, as biting as one can get here without getting the boot. I picture him spending a good deal of time each day reading this blog and having something to says that sticks. He was a newsman, I figure, and his smoke and drink habits are regular but never over the line. He sees the world and his comments reflect what he sees, likes and dislikes. We are better for it.

  7. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:40 pm:


    Pithy, insightful and sometimes snarky while being succinct and using a minimum number of words. Truly a talent

  8. - phocion - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    Yes, Oswego Willy. He can assert that “Governors own” when it comes to any state problem, while also scolding us to recognize that the legislature and executive are co-equal branches of government. I’m certain he leads a normal life, but when he posts here, his Rauner derangement syndrome is on full show for the world to see. His shameless excuses for legislative Democrats while piling on any minor transgression of the Rauner Administration are a sight to behold. Amazingly, he still claims to be a Republican without a whiff of irony or sarcasm. This award should be re-named in Oswego Willy’s honor.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    If there’s a commenter who is best identified with this blog, I go with Oswego Willie.

    Skyhook in reverse. Using the same words Rauner used against Quinn, the Rauner failed. Governor’s own.

    The daily battles with Raunerites. That almost deserves some type of compensation.

    The, “If Rauner wants to truly shame and show up Madigan, let him put 71 votes on the stairs behind him.”

    The brutal truth to Democrats about messaging, and how important it is.

    If there was a lifetime commenter award, I would vote for Willy.

  10. - Honeybear - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    Lucky Pierre gets my vote.
    For sheer tenacity.
    Every day it is OW and LP
    Battling it out
    LP pushes OW’s button
    And we’re off!
    I’ve never seen, or considered that LP
    Won a single issue.
    But back again he comes for another round
    I have to admire that
    I just have too
    And it keeps OW in fighting trim
    Every God blessed post
    It reminds me of a scene from Talledega Nights
    Jean Girard says to Ricky Bobby
    God needs the devil
    The Beatles needed the Rolling Stones
    Even Diane Sawyer needed Katie Couric
    Will you be my Katie Couric?

    Will you be my Lucky Pierre?

  11. - South of Sherman - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    I’m a huge fan of Mr. JM — pointed, clever and almost always hilarious. But given the state’s precarious finances and the need to truly understand the ramifications of what is, and could be, done to us, no one brings better, more important, or more easily understoof information to the table than RNUG. RNUG gets my vote.

  12. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    I always feel like I learn something when I read RNUG’s posts.

  13. - Moe Berg - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    MrJM is fantastic and underlying his barbs is a real intelligence and fine craftsmanship.

    RNUG produces quality work that is always worth reading and seriously elevates the discussion.

    It may spoil the ballot, but I vote for them both and hope they could be co-winners this year.

  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    I’d vote for Anonymous, but he/she seems to be all over the place politically speaking.

  15. - Fixer - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    RNUG, for the insight he offers on a consistent basis.

    Honorable mention goes to OW for his tenacity.

  16. - BucknIrish - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    47th ward. Makes insightful comments that jibe with the flow of the conversation and isn’t just using the comment section as a soapbox

  17. - G'Kar - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    I am nominating Lucky Pierre. Although I disagree with him 99.9% of the time, he does serve an important function on this blog. He makes others mad. True, but that’s not his important function. He makes people think and more completely spell out their arguments. I think it makes a better blog.

    My second vote would be for RNUG.

  18. - Touré's Latte - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 12:59 pm:


  19. - Lucky than Good - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    RNUG because he truly thinks through his posts and does the research needed to support his analysis/position.

  20. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    I vote for myself. For thinking up my nickname of “allknowingmasterofracoondom” Misspelling and all.

    Hey, at least I can brag I was nominated, and it is an honor.

  21. - lake county democrat - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    Agree with everything everyone is saying about RNUG. Honorable mention to A Guy as someone who posts his principles first and let the partisan cards fall where they may.

  22. - A State Employee Guy - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    My vote is for every commenter to put down the keyboard and go expose yourself to natural sunlight. Myself included.

  23. - DMZ - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:18 pm:


  24. - Baloneymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    either RNUG or MrJM. both post fantastic and insightful comments. one with facts, logic and reason, the other with more wit, sarcasm and raw emotion than I could ever dream of.

    as for those saying Lucky Pierre, lol, I get it. Capfax would not have been the same in 2017 without LP. and the irony of LP winning the “Wordslinger” award would be magnifique…

  25. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    Can’t go wrong with RNUG for fact-based analysis. He knows his stuff and delivers it without spin.

  26. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    The Looch.

    He was funny until he went radio silent when he got the job with Rauner - which I believe he still has, making him the only IPIer still around the Governor’s office.

  27. - Keyrock - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    MrJM gets to the heart of the matter with concise, pithy posts. I vote for MrJM over RNUG, despite RNUG’s great year.

    (OW would say it’s HBO’s fault that Dad’s Home State was put on hiatus but, unlike the Governor, OW is in charge and must take some responsibility for its decline in ratings.)

  28. - Rutro - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    OW, is runner up, they weren’t really commentators, but the radical candor twitter feed gets my vote. They were hilarious and all over the greatest team ever assembled.

  29. - Rayne of Terror - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:26 pm:

    My vote is for Honeybear in this sausage fest. She loves her region, she loves her clients, she’s the voice of the people.

  30. - MickJ - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:27 pm:

    Was going to say RNUG for obvious reasons.

    But switching to OW “auner derangement syndrome is on full show for the world to see. His shameless excuses”. When you comments are so well aimed that you can even get under the skin of a BOT.

  31. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    I’m pretty sure OW has already won.
    I’d like to know who in the past has already received this honor. Rich? I can’t remember them all.

    If RNUG hasn’t already won, then he gets my vote. Smart, knowledgable and adds expertise to our discussions. RNUG gets quoted. Who else gets that kind of respect?

    Then there’s Mr.JM. Says in one line what we often fail to say in an entire post - or in OW’s case, 20 posts, LOL

    I like Honeybear, a past winner though?. I like Arsenal. I like 47th Ward. They are all deserving of this honor.

    Lucky Pierre? Perhaps if he ever posted anything insightful, original or fresh - sure, but he doesn’t.


  32. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    Oswego Willy. Weighs in always, with humor, and is brave in trying things in writing. Often like a direct feed from the OW brain and I enjoy it all.

  33. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===She loves her ===

    Assumes gender facts not in absolute evidence.

  34. - IMissBentohs - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Oswego Willy

    I rarely to never agree with him and yet I like to read his posts as he puts effort into them.

    He is knowledgeable without having the proper knowledge. :-)

  35. - Headdesk - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Lucky Pierre. Brought sorely needed diversity of thought to the comments section on a regular basis. He/she gets my vote.

  36. - City Zen - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    Lucky Pierre, if only for sheer persistence and volume.

  37. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    RNUG. The one who can post a legit factual analysis without taking a beating. Well done!

  38. - Iggy - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Jack kemp,

    He is always bringing actual facts to the table, never backs down from a challenge, and I have to imagine half of what he says is censored and never makes it live.

  39. - Regular democrat - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    Rnug must be a writer in his everyday life. Clear concise and no quotation marks for every comment

  40. - Iron Lady - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    It is extremely difficult to choose just one. These are semi ranked:
    MrJM- quick witted and snarky.
    RNUG- hands down the pension guru.
    Wordslinger- really can sling his words, but I don’t think he should win an award that is already named after him.
    A Guy- conservatively bent, but respectful of opinions he does not share.
    Honeybear- painstakingly passionate.
    Oswego Willy- enduring,flow of consciousness live streamer. Should be winner of the most and longest blogs.

  41. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    Tough call. I have a number I following.

    Wordslinger for his financial analysis and overall talent

    MrJM for his wit and succinctness (I’d like to think I’ve learned to be shorter from him)

    Honeybear for their passion and compassion

    OW for his persistence

    AA because we’re both survivors of the same bureaucracy … and he occasionally reminds me of events I’ve forgotten

    Blue Dog because he can spark some interesting thoughts and reassessments … and we mostly agree on more limited government

    And there are probably a few others who don’t come to mind right now …

    I could vote for any of the ones I listed. If you back me in a corner, MrJM.

  42. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Willy for quality and quantity…even when I disagree with him.

    As for LP - I didn’t think we gave awards around here for talking point spewers.

  43. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    I vote for RNUG. Great analysis on the issue of pensions, which is one of the most complicated and controversial subjects around.

  44. - Careful - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’d vote for OW but I don’t want to encourage the lifestyle of commenting on this blog all day, every day. It’s a bummer.

  45. - Shemp - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Best Statewide Officeholder goes to Comptroller Susana Mendoza…

    Clearly local government auditors, accounts and managers weren’t consulted, that, or the other statewide officials are just that bad….

  46. - ??? - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    I vote for “a guy.” His posts, while I don’t always agree with him are well-written and well thought out, and I like that he can make his points without stooping to the level of a few commenters here who too often argue with him using snark and insults.

  47. - PublicServant - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    MrJM is a favorite of mine as is Michelle Flarity (sp).

  48. - illini - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    Over these past years that I have been following this site I have developed a great respect and admiration for those half dozen that have been nominated.

    I have come to consider many to be my “friends”, yet each brings their own unique expertise, passion, style and wit to these discussions. Each is unique, but they all are devoted to furthering the discussion of the important issues we face as a state. And I have learned a lot from each of them.

    I am taking a pass this year on trying to single out a single worthy commenter. Rich selects the topics, but this loyal group succeeds in putting the issues in perspective and add greatly to the dialogue. Their comments are always a must read for me.

    Wishing all my friends here a happy and safe holiday season.

  49. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter===

    This award is popular because of the community Rich cultivated. Read the nominations. Comment after comment, we all feel close or connect to others. We all have our opinions about what we read or who we read more or who we might even spit nails about. There isn’t anyplace like Rich’s Place, characters abound.

    As the comment sections evolved, we’ve been introduced to the likes of - RNUG -, - Mr.JM -, - AA-, and - Norseman -…

    That Crew only gets better with - Honeybear -, a winner back to back…but you can’t forget - 47th Ward - - VanillaMan -, and - Louis G Atseves - too.

    At any given time, we don’t know who is who, so we could be talking with a legislator, lobbyist, or an anonymous spokesperson that needs some decoding from time to time.

    I hate lists. Too many to list, to few to forget, so apologies to those like - Soccermom - or - illini - too.

    And while the award is named for him, I nominate - Wordslinger - for being the “Alpha” the first, the standard, and continually being a commenter that sees the angles first, and where I know I may be blind often. This year, he has again used his ways of seeing things to bring bigger pictures smaller, and focusing beyond the spin and drilling down to the facts and realities and consistently makes the comments better.

    I nominate - Wordslinger - as his gift continues to bring out better commenters and makes the community better by being that standard and this year his work should be celebrated.

  50. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    I see all the top tier commenters (Word, RNUG, MrJM, OW, 47th and Honeybear) are getting a lot of love, and deservedly so. (Apologies to those I’m sure I forgot to include)

    I like to go off the beaten path, so I’m going with Anon221. S/he seems to never bring a weak post, isn’t overly partisan, and brings new facts and information to the discussion. And provides citations to those facts. And uses tinyurls.

  51. - A guy - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    Last year I pushed hard for Honeybear because she was so passionate (and continues to be) If, despite our differences, we all have in common that we love Illinois and hurt when it hurts, her passion is something we can all identify with.

    There are a lot of very capable people to vote for here. On any given day I could pick a new deserving winner…even the dudes I spar with.

    To all who mentioned me, genuine thanks, but I’m not worthy of this considering how much more so many contribute. I don’t have as much time to keep up, but I do get up to speed quickly by reading these comments sections. There is always a provocative view that comes from somewhere that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

    But…my vote today goes to RNUG. This dude appears to drop everything to provide an answer to the group, OR even investigate and research to get one.

    I voted for Honey Bear last year because of her passion. I’m voting for RNUG this year because of his unselfishness. He puts real effort into having a consistent strike zone too. I don’t think I’ve read anything he’s written that I wouldn’t characterize as tactful and decent. He’s my choice this year.

  52. - State worker - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter==

    Though Wordslinger’s comments sometimes span only 30 words, they synthesize a library of knowledge about US history and Illinois politics. And pack in a big rig full of common sense. His sharp, cutting, wise, often hilarious comments have no match and no second place. Extra points to Wordslinger for resisting the victim rhetoric of the new left and new right. I fear the day we take this commenter for granted, and humbly request he is awarded the award named for him.

    That said, OW is also in a league of his own, combining concrete poetry and practical political philosophy. This commenter is doing unique literary work with the internet as his medium.

    Both have a commitment to truth as something knowable and measurable, something to scrutinize in making claims. Their interactions with other commenters show a dedication to this standard.

    Long live Wordslinger and OW!

  53. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    Not sure but I think Honeybear is a HE.

  54. - walker - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    Wordslinger. He says it first, and often stands alone, with insight, and evidence. His gifts go well beyond his obvious talent with turns of phrase.

    Special thanks to random arrows from Michelle Flaherty, who remains indefinable, indefensible, ineffable.

  55. - Pieroge tirebiter - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    I vote for Lucky Pierre. He is like the doppelganger of “Bill” from back in the Blago days.

  56. - Diogenes in DuPage - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    When I review the comments on this blog, I find myself scanning for what Oswego Willy has to say, for what Wordslinger offers, for what Honeybear feels, for what Louis G Atseves counters with, for MrJM’s response, for VanillaMan’s lyrics, for Rich Miller’s refereeing, and for RNUG’s knowledge. Thanks to all of you for making the this retiree’s “must read list” every day. This year, I give my tip of the hat, though, for the Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for the Best Commenter for 2017 to RNUG. He teaches and informs all of us with each timely comment in a factual way — which is very refreshing in this “post-factual world.”

  57. - Texas Red - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    Lucky Pierre - for his tenacity

  58. - Trapped in the ‘burbs - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    Special recognition to RNUG, Vanilla Man and Illini.
    Wordslinger is really good and greatly appreciated. Lucky Pierre is incredibly consistent and willing to take the heat that comes with his intensely partisan posts. He deserves recognition for pushing the dialogue and the courage of his convictions. Without any doubt, the straw that stirs the drink is Oswego Willy. His insight and balance stands above all of us and inspires us to be better.

  59. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===Lucky Pierre - for his tenacity ===

    If LP would engage on anything at all besides his/her “specialty” posts, LP would have a legit shot. The comments are far too narrowly focused and repetitive.

  60. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Wow, I am surprised that the same commenters that almost unanimously voted Susana Mendoza the best state office holder gave me a single vote for best commenter.

    I guess a lot of you like hard core partisans.

    As I think Worslinger or Demoralized said, I do enjoy the give and take. I also enjoy living between rent free between OW’s ears and occasionally sneaking a comment by him.

    Honeybear thank you for your kind words, I enjoy the poetry of your posts very much and your passion for social justice.

    I nominate Louis Atsaves for his insight on another huge issue for Illinois competitiveness- workers comp and other issues and for having the guts to use his real name and take the insults with class and dignity.

    Hopefully there can be some bipartisan compromise in 2018 to make Illinois a better place to work and live.

    Happy holidays to all!

  61. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    I’m on Team Wordslinger this year. Word has been on top of his game all year, with incisive, focused, and sometimes superbly snarky comments on all of our events of the day. The guy doesn’t miss a trick. He can distill an issue into fewer words than AA usually takes just to get going.

    Honorable mention to my CMS homie RNUG and to the inimitable, irreplaceable Oswego Willy.

  62. - SAP - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    RNUG for expertise on pensions that the rest of us wish we had on anything. Not a one-trick pony, though. Brings insight ona wide range of issues

    Honorable mention for Wordslinger and Oswego Willie.

  63. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    Pieroge, every one is entitled to their opinion, but there are a bunch of us who would challenge you to SuperSoakers at 25 feet for even suggesting a hint of comparison between Lucky Pierre et al and our beloved Bill.

  64. - Rabid - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    Lucky Pierre is fascinating and sometimes I do agree

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