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724 new cases, 23 additional deaths, 2.6 percent positivity rate

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 724 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 23 additional confirmed deaths.

    Bureau County: 1 male 60s
    Cass County: 1 female 90s
    Cook County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 2 females 90s
    Kane County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 70s
    Lake County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s
    Rock Island County: 1 male 90s
    St. Clair County: 1 male 80s
    Tazewell County: 1 female 90s
    Winnebago County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 143,185 cases, including 6,923 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 31,069 specimens for a total of 1,602,965. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 23 –June 29 is 2.6%.

* Meanwhile, the COVID Exit Strategy website now rates Illinois as “Trending Poorly,” mainly because, as of yesterday, cases had risen by 16 percent in the previous 14 days. The positivity rate had also increased by a fraction of a percent, but that factor contributed as well.

The Test And Trace website says Illinois has 611 contact tracers and needs 3,113, which means we’re 2,502. The state says it plans to hire about 3,800 tracers, but the program has had a very slow start. More on that from the COVID Act Now website

Per best available data, Illinois has 611 contact tracers. With an average of 716 new daily cases, we estimate Illinois needs 3,580 contact tracing staff to trace all new cases in 48 hours, before too many other people are infected. This means that Illinois is likely able to trace only 17% of new COVID infections in 48 hours. These low levels of tracing suggest there may be an active outbreak underway in Illinois, or that little tracing capacity exists. Strong caution warranted.

* Frank Main at the Sun-Times

A west suburban nursing home where 12 residents have died of the coronavirus plotted to kick out an elderly woman because her daughter criticized the troubled facility, according to a lawsuit the daughter has filed in Cook County circuit court.

* Tribune live blog headlines

D.C. dispatch: Fauci says U.S. could reach 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day

‘What if I don’t get better?’ Some COVID-19 survivors struggle with symptoms for weeks, even months, mystifying doctors.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival re-imagines itself amid pandemic

U-46 likely to require face mask usage, hand-washing stations, office shields when school resumes

Noise from al fresco dining irritates some neighbors of downtown Arlington Heights restaurants

Aon to restore most salaries cut by COVID-19 pandemic — and pay employees back what they gave up

Cubs’ Jason Heyward donates $100,000 to aid COVID-19 workers and increase contract tracing efforts on the South Side

Cook County property tax bills begin arriving Tuesday, but late fees waived until Oct. 1

Beaches and pools begin to reopen throughout the suburbs. But in Chicago, at least officially, the wait continues.

Bud Billiken Parade, a longtime Chicago tradition, cancelled

* From the Illinois State Board of Education

June 30, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Following the release of our Transition Joint Guidance for Starting the 2020-21 School Year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has engaged in fruitful dialogue with educators and stakeholders concerning the use of face shields in lieu of face coverings (e.g. masks). Since that time, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has communicated that face coverings and social distancing are the goal whenever and wherever possible. Face shields have not been deemed effective for source control and are only to be used when other methods of protection are not available or appropriate. IDPH arrived at this determination after lengthy additional collaboration with the communicable disease team, infection preventionists, and infectious disease specialists and after reviewing available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

In cases where individuals need facial visualization for instruction and communication, IDPH recommends video instruction to promote social distancing. If video is instruction is not available or appropriate, face shields may be used with the understanding that they have not been deemed effective for source control. As such, heightened attention and adherence to 6-foot social distancing is critical for individuals using face shields. Examples of limited situations when face shields may be necessary, if video instruction is not possible, include for teachers of English Learners or world languages, whose students may need to see their mouths form words to facilitate language acquisition.

Emphasis in original.


Bustos on the hot seat

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mark Maxwell interviewed US Rep. Cheri Bustos

After the election of President Trump, Politico, the same outlet came to you, curious how a Democrat in your district that elected President Trump could win. It sort of pitched you as I think maybe a Trump voter whisperer, if you’d agree with that there. But you told them that “on sensitive topics,” things like Black Lives Matter, “I don’t dwell on them.” That was back then. Do you wish now that that you had? Do you regret that comment at all?

From that 2017 profile

She talks, in other words, about these kinds of things by not talking about them much, because the people she represents, she says, aren’t talking about them much, either, or don’t want to.

“On these sensitive topics,” she said—Black Lives Matter, transgender bathroom laws and so on—“I don’t dwell on them.”

* Bustos’ response to Maxwell’s question

No. You know, I think, umm. Look, I’m a former reporter, and I know what you do to do research when you interviewing somebody. And you could go back to, you know, looking at articles that I used to write, you know, from the 1980s, for that matter. But the moment we’re living in right now, it’s 2020. And we are in the midst of a movement that is very special. And that is very important. And I think, you know, historically, we’ll look back at this and we’ll say this was a moment of change. And I’m confident that again, as House Democrats, where we are in the majority, we will be voting on a momentous piece of legislation that will pass. And, just, whatever the Senate ends up doing, November is a time of change. And what I was going to say about the last person’s statement: the part that I don’t agree with is, Joe Biden is going to win. And as House Democrats, we will stay in the majority and we will grow our majority. I’m increasingly confident that Democrats will win in the Senate as well. And then, this meaningful change… And this isn’t… You know, I know there’s all the articles about, you know, we’re going far left or whatever it is. We will bring about meaningful change that will pass the House that will pass the Senate that will be signed into law. And, and I just… I think this, what we are living through right now will lead to, to momentous change for the better of our country.

There’s more, so go read the rest.


Maybe find another funding source?

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Center Square

Illinois businesses that suffered a financial loss from recent public protests and looting could get a break from the state.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, has filed legislation to allow for a property tax credit in the same amount as whatever financial hit was taken.

“While it won’t cover everything, I think, at a minimum, these businesses that have already suffered under COVID, they ought to be compensated, or at least be given a small tax credit to make up for at least a portion of their losses,” Syverson said.

He says many businesses suffered losses that will be higher than the tax bill, which would mean a full waiver of the year’s property taxes.

Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Pritzker $25 million from the state’s capital program would go to help businesses that sustained property damage due to looting during recent protests. Syverson said more is needed.

“The ones that won’t help are the stores couldn’t open up due to protests, those that law enforcement [advised] to close because of what might happen, or those businesses that had to hire private security because the city would not guarantee any protection,” Syverson said.

He said it’s most critical to provide assistance in communities where local authorities either chose not to enforce the law or could not provide adequate protection.

“The first job of any municipality is to provide a protection for individuals, their families, and their property,” Syverson said. “If they’re going to allow crimes to occur, then they should at least reimburse those who were victims of the municipality’s unwillingness to fulfill and follow the law.”

So, he addresses this by imposing a possibly huge unfunded state mandate on local governments?


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Center Square

With fireworks readily available in neighboring states, a state senator says it’s time to legalize them in Illinois.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, has attempted to get a bill passed on more than one occasion, but can’t get Democrats to come on board.

“With the massive decline in state revenues due to the COVID, this would be an easy way to pick up some sales tax dollars and put some people to work in our state and they are just not interested,” Rose said.

Despite being illegal, Rose said fireworks already are here and the state is simply losing tax revenue to surrounding states that sell them. He estimates the state would bring in about $10 million a year in sales tax revenue.

Fire safety groups across the state are opposing any sort of legislation to legalize fireworks, something they said they already see enough injuries from. Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr thinks it is a bad idea.

“I enjoy a fireworks show, I like them,” Mohr said. “I think they are entertaining, but unfortunately they are dangerous and there needs to be a higher level of experience before someone is setting them off.”

The risk of misusing fireworks is real. According to the Illinois State Fire Marshall, there are an average of 18,000 fires caused by the improper use of fireworks every year.

Fireworks have been banned in Illinois since 1935 under what was dubbed the Fireworks Regulation Act.

* The Question: Should Illinois lift its ban on fireworks sales? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

find bike trails


Federal judge appears skeptical of GOP arguments

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Law Bulletin

A federal judge Monday indicated her skepticism that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s limits on gatherings during the pandemic unfairly infringe on political parties’ rights.

U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis during the hour-long phone hearing largely directed her questions toward arguments made by Daniel Suhr, a senior associate attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, which represents the plaintiff Illinois Republican Party, Will County Republican Central Committee, Schaumburg Township Republican Organization and Northwest Side GOP Club.

They sued Pritzker earlier this month alleging his May 29 executive order, which explicitly lifted in-person restrictions for religious gatherings but not for political parties, violated their First and 14th Amendment rights. […]

Ellis agreed that one of the ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to limit the number of people gathering in one place at any time.

And imposing those limits, whether on religious services or political events, does not infringe on participants’ ability to exercise religion or exercise speech, she said.

“They just cannot do it in numbers larger than 50,” Ellis said.



Licensing delay could be “catastrophic” for some applicants

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced today the July 1st deadline for issuing adult-use cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses has been temporarily suspended. Due to the previous application deadline extension and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order to extend the deadline. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will announce a new date to issue up to 40 craft grower licenses, up to 40 infuser licenses, and an unlimited number of transporter licenses. View the Executive Order here.

“The Pritzker Administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable adult-use cannabis industry in Illinois. IDOA is helping achieve that goal by providing Illinois residents, specifically those who live in communities that were disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs, with multiple entry-points to this new industry,” said Jerry Costello II, Acting IDOA Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the 6-week deadline extension granted to applicants have caused unforeseeable delays in the application review process. The Department is working tirelessly to ensure that applications are scored and awarded in a fair, deliberate and equitable manner.”

Once determined, IDOA will publicly announce the new date for issuing licenses.

The deadline is tomorrow and they’re just announcing this today? This, by the way, is the third time the licensing process has been delayed.

* Tribune

The delays could be catastrophic for some applicants, particularly those who were paying to hold real estate for grow facilities. The setbacks also threaten efforts to diversify the largely white industry.

“We’re going to have to write another check to the landlords to hold the building,” said Jamil Taylor, who leased a South Side building for a grow facility through the end of July. “That definitely puts us in a tough spot … We have to shell out thousands and thousands of more dollars.”

Under the law, grow license applicants had to secure property in advance. Taylor, who applied with a group for grow, transporter and dispensary licenses, said some groups won’t be able to afford an indefinite delay, and could lose their properties.

Social equity applicants are particularly at risk, Taylor said.


…Adding… Some of y’all in comments just haven’t been paying attention. The authority he has to delay these things is provided for in Sections 7(1) of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act

Sec. 7. Emergency Powers of the Governor. […]

(1) To suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing procedures for conduct of State business, or the orders, rules and regulations of any State agency, if strict compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action, including emergency purchases, by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, in coping with the disaster.



Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller


Illinois’ minimum wage will bump up to $10 on Wednesday. The move brings employees one step closer to the state’s checkpoint of $15 by 2025. However, some aren’t happy the state is moving forward with the increase during the current pandemic. The $15 minimum wage plan was the first bill Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law in 2019. Workers saw the first increase to $9.25 per hour on January 1, 2020. The momentum isn’t slowing down due to COVID-19, as workers can expect an extra 75 cents an hour next month.

Minimum wage workers will make $10 while tipped employees will get at least $6 per hour. Teen workers will see a boost to an $8 minimum wage. Some business owners are concerned they won’t be able to pay everyone and may have to cut down on staff.

Republican lawmakers hoped Pritzker would pause the payment ramp during the pandemic to lessen the bleed for businesses. However, the state’s Department of Labor is moving forward as planned.

Um, how could the governor or IDOL “pause” the minimum wage increase on their own without legislation? The article doesn’t say.

* Illinois Radio Network

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he won’t delay an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which he pushed for and signed into law during his first year as governor.

That state’s minimum will increase to $10 an hour on Wednesday.

Shortly after taking office in 2019, Pritzker enacted a phased increase to the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The first of two increases was Jan. 1 of this year going from $8.25 to $9.25 an hour. The second increase this year is set for Wednesday.

Again, how was the governor going to “delay” a minimum wage increase on his own without legislation? The article doesn’t say.

…Adding… From the other end of the spectrum…


Just another reminder that the days of learning election results on election day are over

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Kentucky’s primary was held last Tuesday

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this fall, after winning a closer-than-expected primary against progressive challenger Charles Booker.

The primary proved to be a nail-biter up until the very end, with Booker and McGrath each pulling ahead at various stages of vote-counting. Booker dominated in Jefferson County, his home area around Louisville and a key area for Democrats. But ultimately, a weaker margin outside of Lexington wasn’t enough to make up McGrath’s showing in rural areas outside the two cities.

Despite election day in Kentucky being held on June 23, a crush of absentee ballots made it impossible to know statewide results until a full week later. Vox’s partner Decision Desk called the race on June 30, around 11:15 am. The week of delays could serve as a preview for the November general election, if it is close.

* We have been conditioned to expect election results on election night. Those days are over, folks…

* We’re going to need a massive public awareness campaign. The craziness from the far left on Twitter during the counting of that Democratic US Senate primary has been off the charts. One tiny example…


*** UPDATED x3 *** Harvard study: Illinois one of just 17 states conducting enough COVID-19 tests

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Hill

Only 17 states and Washington, D.C. are currently meeting minimum targets for doing enough coronavirus testing, according to a new analysis.

The Harvard Global Health Institute, in collaboration with NPR, finds that 14 states and Washington, D.C. are doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, meaning it won’t be eliminated but it will not spread out of control. An additional three states are meeting a higher threshold of doing enough tests to suppress the virus and prevent almost any new cases. […]

The 14 states along with Washington, D.C. doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the analysis, are: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The three states meeting the higher goal of suppression-level testing are Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, with West Virginia, Montana, and New Jersey close behind, the analysis finds.

More here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** There is, however, a problem with Illinois prisons. Here’s Hannah Meisel

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has tested less than three percent of its prison population for coronavirus — a ratio that criminal justice reform group Restore Justice Illinois says is unacceptable, as Covid-19 cases in a northwest Illinois prison facility spike.

According to IDOC, 71 incarcerated men at the East Moline Correctional Center tested positive for Covid-19, along with five staff members. That number has steadily climbed since Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration first acknowledged the outbreak two weeks ago, when 26 inmates and three staff members had tested positive.

That rapid spread is a symptom of IDOC’s failure to formulate an adequate Covid-19 testing plan, according to a new report from Restore Justice published Tuesday. The group blasted IDOC for not reporting more data to the public, including how many prisoners are currently hospitalized with the virus and timely reports of Covid-19 deaths among incarcerated populations and prison staff.

“More than any other state, [Illinois has] embraced the most vigorous Covid-19 safety measures and protocols,” Restore Justice President Jobi Cates said Monday. “It baffles me how we could be in late June and still have only tested under three percent of prison population.”

More here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Department has been closely following the CDC guidelines and working with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) based infectious disease specialists to develop strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in Department facilities. The guidance we have received has not advised utilizing mass testing. However, the Department tests symptomatic offenders, uses focused prevalence testing, screens selected subpopulations, and screens offenders prior to inter-facility movement and medical furloughs. The Department also requires that staff be screened prior to entering facilities. The screenings include responding to a series of COVID related questions and having their temperatures taken. In the event that staff have any of the COVID-19 symptoms outlined in the screening document and/or have a temperature they must go home. The Office of Health Services constantly reviews the evidence and remains open to modifying current practices based on expert guidance.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From the University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs

The University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) today released a report on COVID-19’s impact in the state’s prisons and jails. […]

The Policy Spotlight says testing should be prioritized in areas where there is a greater risk of the virus either being carried into the facility by staff from the region or spilling over into the community. The spotlight suggests that while the Illinois Department of Corrections has made progress on giving inmates some access to cleaning and hygiene supplies and COVID-19 testing, the conditions still need to be improved.


Study: Unionized hospitals were better prepared for pandemic

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

Illinois’ unionized hospitals have dramatically lower staff vacancy and turnover rates, safer workplaces, and more robust infection prevention and control systems while enabling registered nurses to devote substantially more time to care for individual patients, according to new research by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI).

“The global coronavirus pandemic has put new strain on Illinois’ hospitals and a nursing workforce that was already facing severe shortages,” said study co-author and ILEPI Policy Director Frank Manzo IV. “This report shows that unionized hospitals in Illinois were far better prepared to absorb the impacts of COVID-19. Our findings have important implications for the future of hospital staffing and how we manage public health crises.”

Specifically, the report reveals significant differences between the state’s unionized and non-unionized hospitals in the wake of COVID-19, including:

    • Union hospitals have nurse turnover rates that are up to 14% lower.
    • Unionized hospitals have nurse vacancy rates that are up to 45% lower.
    • Unionized hospitals report 15% fewer OSHA violations and 29% fewer serious violations.
    • Unionized hospitals employ more infection prevention and control staff—particularly in Cook County which has seen two-thirds of the state’s COVID-19 caseload.
    • Nurses at unionized hospitals are able to devote 1 to 4 more hours of care to each patient, on average.

Despite their weaker staffing and care outcomes, the report notes that the state’s non-unionized hospitals have received 16% more funding per bed than unionized facilities from federal pandemic relief measures such as the CARES Act. All told, Illinois’ hospitals have received at least $1.1 billion, and small Illinois hospitals with under 100 beds have received more than four times the per-bed funding than their larger unionized counterparts.

Prior ILEPI research had documented that Illinois’ hospitals faced a shortage of 20,000 registered nurses before the COVID-19 pandemic, with half of its nursing workforce over the age of 55 and more than three-quarters of the state’s nurses warning of insufficient staffing levels. A proposed “safe patient limits” nurse staffing law– which would have required Illinois’ hospitals to hire more nurses and has been linked to better patient outcomes, including lower fatality and readmission rates for certain respiratory conditions and improved nurse retention, at minimal impact on the financial performance of hospitals– has been pending in the Illinois General Assembly for nearly two years.

The full report is here.

* Capitol News Illinois

But while the Illinois Health and Hospital Association agrees there is a nursing shortage, it argues the lack of preparedness was more of a federal problem, and that the nursing shortage did not diminish the quality of care patients received. It strongly opposes legislation requiring minimum nurse staffing levels at hospitals, and disputes any correlation between the quality of patient care and the presence of a nurses’ union in a hospital. […]

“First of all, we’ve been drilling and doing exercises on pandemics before the pandemic hit,” [Danny Chun, spokesman for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association] said during an interview. “Every hospital in the state, as you know, has an emergency preparedness plan for disasters of all kinds – mass shootings, traffic accidents, biochemical, biohazard, flu epidemics or pandemics. In the city of Chicago last year in the summer of 2019, Chicago hospitals did an exercise, a drill with the Chicago Department of Public Health on this exact issue – pandemics. And we were directly involved in a lot of the planning and discussions back in January, February, March where hospitals got ready for the pandemic.”

Chun said hospitals were directly involved in discussions with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration in the early stages of the pandemic to plan mitigation efforts, including the decision to cancel or postpone nonemergency surgeries and procedures in order to free up hospital resources for COVID-19 patients.

“Look at the numbers. We flattened the curve,” Chun said, referring to hospitalization data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which have shown a consistent downward trend since May in hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and ventilator usage by COVID-19 patients.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Federal judge sends Bailey case back to Clay County

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mike Miletich

The controversial lawsuit case between Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) and Gov. JB Pritzker has regained momentum.

Both parties have waited weeks for a decision on where the case would continue. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gilbert Sison remanded the case back to Clay County on Monday.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office wanted consideration in federal court on May 21. Bailey’s Attorney, Tom DeVore, immediately filed a motion to remand the case to Clay County.

“It is a fundamental principle of federalism that federal courts may hear only certain claims, such as those raising ‘federal questions’ or ‘arising under’ the laws of the United States,” Sison wrote. “A defendant may not remove a case to federal court unless, at the time of removal, a plaintiff’s complaint establishes that there is federal jurisdiction.”

* Bailey’s attorney won’t be awarded legal fees, however. From the opinion

In his emergency motion to remand, Bailey asks the Court to order the Governor to pay his reasonable fees and costs incurred during the period of time this action was pending in this court. […]

Bailey vigorously argues that Governor Pritzker’s decision to remove this case was frivolous and in bad faith, but the Court disagrees. The removal was timely. The face of the complaint arguably seeks to vindicate constitutional rights, like the right to travel and the right to free exercise of religion, without specifying that it refers only to rights secured by the Illinois Constitution. The Court seriously considered whether Bailey unintentionally pleaded himself into federal jurisdiction by raising a claim under the United States Constitution with this lack of specificity, and the decision in his favor was a close call. As such, the Court does not find that Governor Pritzker lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal. Thus, the Court will not award any fees under Section 1447(c).

*** UPDATE *** We apparently have a court date…

Since other county judges have ruled in favor of the EO, this likely isn’t gonna matter outside Clay County, population 13,815.


CDC official: “This is really the beginning”

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The most depressing thing I’ve read in days

The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to bring it under control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

The U.S. has set records for daily new infections in recent days as outbreaks surge mostly across the South and West. The recent spike in new cases has outpaced daily infections in April when the virus rocked Washington state and the northeast, and when public officials thought the outbreak was hitting its peak in the U.S.

“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control,” she said in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner. “We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging.” […]

“This is really the beginning,” Schuchat said of the U.S.’s recent surge in new cases. “I think there was a lot of wishful thinking around the country that, hey it’s summer. Everything’s going to be fine. We’re over this and we are not even beginning to be over this. There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.” […]

“What we have in the United States, it’s hard to describe because it’s so many different outbreaks,” Schuchat said. “There was a wave of incredible acceleration, intense interventions and control measures that have brought things down to a much lower level of circulation in the New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey area. But in much of the rest of the country, there’s still a lot of virus. And in lots of places, there’s more virus circulating than there was.”


*** UPDATED x1 *** “Millions unmasked march” planned for late July

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I kid you not

I gotta think they’re setting attendance expectations just a tad high.

…Adding… Financial Times

A national face mask mandate could act as a substitute to renewed lockdowns that would otherwise deduct about 5 per cent from gross domestic product, Goldman Sachs analysts argue as a number of states in the US have paused or reversed easing measures in response to growth in coronavirus cases.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” according to Jan Hatzius, economist at Goldman Sachs. “Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 percentage points and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1.0pp to 0.6 per cent.”

Goldman said it analysed the impact of face mask mandates in 20 American states and the District of Columbia between April 8 and June 24 and data on mask usage from YouGov and found that they raise the percentage of people who “always” or “frequently” wear masks by around 25pp in the 30 days after the order is signed. They estimate that a national mask mandate would increase usage by “statistically significant and economically large amounts” in states that currently do not require it.

Despite the rise in coronavirus cases mask usage remains a political issue in the US and is voluntary in a number of states. Goldman found that mask usage is highest in the Northeast, which was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, but where conditions have now improved, while the numbers are far lower in the south.

Arizona, Texas and Florida, which were among the first states to reopen and have seen a jump in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, have all reversed easing measures. Indeed, Goldman Sachs analysis found that reopenings have been delayed or reversed for about 40 per cent of the US population, which has raised fears about fresh lockdowns.


Guest speakers include:

    • Grundy County States Attorney Jason Helland
    • Illinois State Representative Darren Bailey
    • Constitutional Lawyer Thomas Devore
    • Teacher Tonya Sneed
    • Parkview Christian Academy Board President Jed Davis
    • Event organizers Dawn Gregory, Kayla Brooks Null and Michael Rebresh

Helland was clobbered by Secretary of State Jesse White in 2018. He’s been a regular at these rallies.


Open thread

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Yeah, that about sums it up…



Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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ISP has probed 11 violent threats against Pritzker

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tina Sfondeles

Illinois State Police have investigated 11 violent threats against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker since the COVID-19 pandemic began, including an email from a man who vowed to “put a bullet through” the governor’s brain.

In another incident, a social media user asked in late May, “Anyone got a high powered sniper rifle I can have? The governor needs to die and I will gladly kill him.” Illinois State Police said they reached that person in the Chicago area, who said it was an attempt to “vent.” […]

Pritzker has been the target of so many threats over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that the Illinois State Police needed a PowerPoint presentation to detail them all. […]

The most serious of them came from social media, and each was investigated by agents with the Illinois State Police. The threats led the governor to beef up his security details, from the usual two to occasionally as many as five agents accompanying him to his home and to news conferences. […]

The most violent threat came in late April when State police investigated an email and eight comments sent by the same person. In an April 25 message, the person wrote, “you will suffer death, via a bullet in your brain.”

Go read the rest. Somebody forwarded me one of the threats Tina wrote about and I sent it to the ISP out of an abundance of caution.


738 new cases, 14 additional deaths, 2.7 percent positivity rate

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 738 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 14 additional confirmed deaths.

    - Cook County: 1 female 30s, 2 males 40s, 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 unknown 80s, 1 female 90s
    - DuPage County: 1 female 80s
    - Perry County: 1 male 50s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 142,461 cases, including 14 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 26,918 specimens for a total of 1,571,896. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 22 –June 28 is 2.7%.

According to this site, Illinois’ R0 factor is 0.89, which is a good thing. Wisconsin’s is 1.22, Indiana’s is 0.92.

According to IDPH, 43 percent of hospital beds are available and 50 percent of ICU beds are open.

* Weekend numbers…

For Sunday, June 28, 2020:

• 646 new cases for a total of 141,723 cases
• 15 additional deaths for a total of 6,888 deaths
• 23,789 new test results for a total of 1,544,978 tests

    - Cook County: 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
    - DuPage County: 1 male 70s
    - Kane County: 1 male 50s
    - Kankakee County: 1 male 80s
    - Lake County: 1 female 90s
    - Peoria County: 1 female 70s
    - Will County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 90s
    - Winnebago County: 1 female 90s

For Saturday, June 27, 2020:

• 786 new cases for a total of 141,077 cases
• 26 additional deaths for a total of 6,873 deaths
• 30,237 new test results for a total of 1,521,189 tests

    - Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 females 60s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
    - DuPage County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
    - Kane County: 2 males 60s, 1 male 80s
    - Kankakee County: 2 males 70s
    - Lake County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 80s
    - McHenry County: 1 male 90s
    - Peoria County: 1 female 80s
    - St. Clair County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s
    - Union County: 1 female 70s
    - Winnebago County: 1 male 80s

* Related…

* Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes - Evidence from tissue studies and some people with COVID-19 shows that the virus damages insulin-producing cells.

* Court: Police have no right to COVID-19 patients’ names, addresses


Rate the Pritzker response ads

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As predicted, Gov. JB Pritzker is responding to those Illinois Rising Action ads I told you about last week. Statement from Quentin Fulks, Senior Political Advisor…

We won’t let Donald Trump’s allies at Illinois Rising get away with attacking JB Pritzker and lying about his record just because the Governor is standing up to the President. They know there is no legislator pay raise but they are lying about it anyways because that’s what they do – lie.

18 months ago JB Pritzker inherited a state government that had been hollowed out and destroyed by Bruce Rauner and his allies who cut workers and funding at the agency Illinois Rising is now criticizing.

In his first two years in office, JB Pritzker signed a bipartisan balanced budget into law, worked with Republicans to pass an infrastructure plan that is creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs while repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, raised the minimum wage to a living wage for all Illinois workers, and expanded healthcare to 120,000 more Illinoisans. In the fight against the coronavirus, Governor Pritzker has followed the advice of medical experts helping make Illinois one of the states with the biggest decreases in infections and protecting our hospitals and first responders.

Illinois Rising should stop wasting their time falsely attacking a Governor who has stepped up to lead as Donald Trump hides in his underground bunker and spews his racist diatribes.

Both ads will beging running in the Chicago and Springfield media markets tomorrow.

* “Paid for”

* Script…

Seen this ad? It’s paid for by the same Republican group who brought you Donald Trump.

But why are they attacking Governor Pritzker? Because he’s calling out the President’s failed leadership.

Don’t believe their lies. State legislators will not be getting raises. It’s Governor Pritzker who worked to pass a bipartisan budget, finding common ground on issues like investing in infrastructure. And he’s worked night and day to help Illinois confront the pandemic.

Governor Pritzker has risen to this moment.

Not sure if much money will be spent on that ad in Trump country.

* “Getting Things Done”

* Script…

This is a false attack.

This is a governor getting things done.

The truth is, state legislators will not be getting raises.

It’s Governor Pritzker who worked to pass a bipartisan budget, making education a priority, expanding access to health care and finding common ground with Republicans on issues like investing in our state’s infrastructure. And he’s working night and day to help Illinois confront the pandemic.

Governor Pritzker has risen to this moment.


We’re number one, and for a change that’s a good thing

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Brennan Center has a new study up entitled “Preparing Your State for an Election Under Pandemic Conditions”

Here’s a 50-state breakdown of what policies states already have and still need in order to best protect the November 2020 election from the Covid-19 pandemic.

* Illinois was the only state to meet all of the criteria. Click the pic for the full list. The last column is same-day registration, by the way. It got cut off

The Brennan Center only dinged Illinois on one topic: We have no pre-paid statewide postage for mail-in ballots. Fourteen states have that.


Caption contest!

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Twitter machine


Move beyond the slogans to focus on what works

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Quality managers achieve quality results, is I think the best way to sum up Mark Brown’s profile of Liz Dozier, who turned around Fenger Academy High School

Dozier inherited a bad situation at Fenger, which is located in Roseland, with daily brawls involving 50 to 60 students. In the second week of school, one of her students, Derrion Albert, was clubbed to death in a melee on his way home.

Police made 300 arrests at Fenger in her first year there.

What eventually turned around those problems, Dozier believes, was building relationships with students, not making arrests.

Dozier and her Fenger staff emphasized creating a school more attuned to the emotional needs of its students than to policing them. That required understanding why students were acting out.

Instead of relying on police to enforce discipline, they instituted restorative justice practices, which focus on repairing harm rather than applying punishment, and held peace circles to defuse conflicts. They provided grief counseling and anger-management training to students and created trauma groups to help deal with emotional baggage they brought to school from home.

It might sound like mumbo-jumbo, but these methods work well with young people.

By the time I visited Fenger a few years later, I encountered a warm, friendly atmosphere and a more relaxed student body.

After her first year at Fenger, Dozier moved to replace the police officers assigned to the school with new ones more attuned to her philosophy. She has only good things to say about the work of that second set of school resource officers.

But she thinks her students would have been better off with more counselors, social workers or therapists instead. Security guards from the neighborhood trained in de-escalation techniques are just as effective in providing school security in most situations, she says, and can call in police in extreme circumstances.

Go read the whole thing. Mark Brown proved once again why he’s the best newspaper columnist in Chicago by leaps and bounds.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Was reopening bars a mistake?

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday took his most drastic action yet to respond to the post-reopening coronavirus surge in Texas, shutting bars back down and scaling back restaurant capacity to 50%.

* Block Club Chicago

Bars across Chicago reopened this weekend — and people in Wrigleyville lined up to celebrate.

On Saturday night, Clark Street felt and looked much like it did on a normal summer night before coronavirus upended the city, though social distancing and new guidelines are part of the new normal. As patrons bounced from bar to bar in packs, some donned face masks. Many did not.

Crowds waited in long lines with little to no adherence to the 6-feet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people said they do have worries about the pandemic and are concerned they’re part of the problem as cases rise throughout the country — but others said they’re young and wanted to get out during the summer.

* Springfield…

Would be nice to see some coverage of this topic in the SJ-R. Just sayin…

* Back to Texas…

I’m hearing that Illinois bar owners might soon be getting a letter warning them that they’ll all be shut down again if they don’t start enforcing the rules.


*** UPDATE *** New Jersey…


Protected: *** UPDATED x2 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - React to today’s edition

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Question of the day

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association President Bill Brennan

With the State of Illinois poised to enter Phase 4 of the Governor’s “Restore Illinois” plan, 270 bowling centers, most whom are members of the Illinois Bowling Proprietors’ Association, are extremely excited to open their doors for business. These mostly-independent small businesses have gone to great lengths during the 100 days of the stay-at-home order, preparing their staff and facilities to be the safest destinations for recreation throughout Illinois. Online education, in-person staff training, the purchase of PPE, installation of barriers, and the development of a comprehensive list of best practices and procedures are just a few of the steps centers have taken that make them confident in safeguarding everyone who comes to the lanes

Unfortunately, with the news that bowling centers would be restricted to the extremely limited number of 50 guests in our facilities, many centers are now determining if reopening is even an option. Small to larger centers all share the traits of having large areas to facilitate social distancing, and these facilities have never been better equipped to clean and sanitize high-traffic touch points. Even before the stay-at-home order, the ISBPA’s members had evolved their operations to prevent the transmission of the virus, including Limiting group size, voluntarily reducing capacity, discouraging spectators, and the thorough cleaning and sanitizing of all shared equipment and spaces.

It’s really disheartening that the State of Illinois doesn’t believe that the bowling centers can reopen at a safe 50 percent of our granted capacity with the even heightened awareness and emphasis of safety and cleanliness. The fact that casinos, fitness clubs, gyms, indoor recreation facilities, and other similar location-based industries can open at this percentage of capacity bewilders the bowling community’s business owners. Expecting facilities that have tens of thousands of square feet to even pay their overhead with a maximum of 50 guests is preposterous. What’s worse is throughout the shutdown, numerous phone and camera calls were made in helping shape what Phase 4 looked like for bowling in Illinois. All in attendance knew our emphasis and expectations of safety and sanitation, and all regarded the granting of 50 percent capacity in our centers was a safe and business sound compromise.

* I asked about the viral load issue…

We have centers in membership that range in 4 lanes to 84 lanes. 50 people inside these facilities would look drastically different. Our centers are large enough that if we were granted 50 percent capacity we could responsibly distance groups of customers from each other. The fact that casinos and fitness centers, which have many more high traffic areas and touch points, and are allowed a 50 percent capacity and we are not isn’t logical.

He also sent the guidelines that were distributed to owners. Click here.

* The Question: Should bowling centers be granted the same 50 percent capacity limits as casinos? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

bike trails


AAP issues recommendations for reopening schools

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The American Academy of Pediatrics “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school”...

• School policies must be flexible and nimble in responding to new information, and administrators must be willing to refine approaches when specific policies are not working.

• It is critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community and done with close communication with state and/or local public health authorities and recognizing the differences between school districts, including urban, suburban, and rural districts.

• Policies should be practical, feasible, and appropriate for child and adolescent’s developmental stage.

• Special considerations and accommodations to account for the diversity of youth should be made, especially for our vulnerable populations, including those who are medically fragile, live in poverty, have developmental challenges, or have special health care needs or disabilities, with the goal of safe return to school.

• No child or adolescent should be excluded from school unless required in order to adhere to local public health mandates or because of unique medical needs. Pediatricians, families, and schools should partner together to collaboratively identify and develop accommodations, when needed.

• School policies should be guided by supporting the overall health and well-being of all children, adolescents, their families, and their communities. These policies should be consistently communicated in languages other than English, if needed, based on the languages spoken in the community, to avoid marginalization of parents/guardians who are of limited English proficiency or do not speak English at all.

* Face coverings

Cloth face coverings protect others if the wearer is infected with SARS CoV-2 and is not aware. Cloth masks may offer some level of protection for the wearer. Evidence continues to mount on the importance of universal face coverings in interrupting the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Although ideal, universal face covering use is not always possible in the school setting for many reasons. Some students, or staff, may be unable to safely wear a cloth face covering because of certain medical conditions (eg, developmental, respiratory, tactile aversion, or other conditions) or may be uncomfortable, making the consistent use of cloth face coverings throughout the day challenging. For individuals who have difficulty with wearing a cloth face covering and it is not medically contraindicated to wear a face covering, behavior techniques and social skills stories(see resource section)can be used to assist in adapting to wearing a face covering. When developing policy regarding the use of cloth face coverings by students or school staff, school districts and health advisors should consider whether the use of cloth face coverings is developmentally appropriate and feasible and whether the policy can be instituted safely. If not developmentally feasible, which may be the case for younger students, and cannot be done safely (eg, the face covering makes wearers touch their face more than they otherwise would), schools may choose to not require their use when physical distancing measures can be effectively implemented. School staff and older students (middle or high school) may be able to wear cloth face coverings safely and consistently and should be encouraged to do so. Children under 2 years and anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance should not wear cloth face coverings.

For certain populations, the use of cloth face coverings by teachers may impede the education process. These include students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving speech/language services, young students in early education programs, and English-language learners. Although there are products (eg, face coverings with clear panels in the front) to facilitate their use among these populations, these may not be available in all settings.

* Immunizations

Existing school immunization requirements should be maintained and not deferred because of the current pandemic. In addition, although influenza vaccination is generally not required for school attendance, in the coming academic year, it should be highly encouraged for all students. School districts should consider requiring influenza vaccination for all staff members. Pediatricians should work with schools and local public health authorities to promote childhood vaccination messaging well before the start of the school year. It is vital that all children receive recommend vaccinations on time and get caught up if they are behind as a result of the pandemic.

There’s a lot more, so click here if this topic applies to you or a loved one.

* From the Southern

Southern Illinois school officials got their first glimpse of rules for in-person learning for the next school year on Tuesday and began planning to implement them before the mid-August start of the school year.

Some school districts posted on social media new guidelines and information about how they are developing their plans for in-person learning.

Century School District 100 posted a message on Facebook that included: “We know that everyone is anxiously waiting to see what school will look like for us in the fall. Over the coming weeks, our staff and other stakeholders will be working to develop Century’s back to school plan. Once we have a plan in place, we will disseminate it accordingly.”

They asked that parents have patience and included a link to the new guidelines from the state. School officials also asked that parents not overreact to the guidelines because there are six weeks until the start of school, and things may change before that date.

* Tribune

With new cases of COVID-19 continuing and no vaccine, many parents have questions about what a return to school might look like.

Will young children be able to concentrate with face masks required? Will schools close over and over again if outbreaks occur, disrupting kids’ ability to learn? What if kids contract the disease and spread it to vulnerable family members?

Some parents are considering home-schooling their children.

Kids all over the world are wearing face coverings.

* Eastern Bloc

MPORTANT MESSAGE from Attorney Thomas DeVore:
Your children’s education is a fundamental right which cannot be withheld…

Posted by Brad Halbrook on Sunday, June 28, 2020

“Restrictemmendations”? Sheesh.

From comments…

Dress codes have been upheld by the courts for a long time.


National Guard’s top general: “Treating every member of our organization with dignity and respect starts with listening and compassion”

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Illinois National Guard’s Adjutant General, Brigadier General Richard Neeley

To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilian Employees of the Illinois National Guard and Department of Military Affairs:

Diversity brings strength. We want to draw as much as we can from the talents of all our service members and civilians. Inclusiveness and the act of including others into the team, no matter their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation strengthens our organization and the nation.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride and 10 years since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Dedicated LGBTQ+ Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians have long served in the military and in the Illinois National Guard, but both policy and prejudice robbed them of the dignity and respect we all deserve no matter how we identify.

Pride means different things to different people. For those of us in uniform, we often talk about pride in our service, pride in the accomplishments of our organizations and pride in those on our right and left. For the Illinois National Guard’s LGBTQ+ Soldiers, Airmen and civilians, Pride carries an extra meaning: it is a celebration of progress, and progress still to come.

It was almost 100 years ago that the first gay rights organization was formed. Henry Gerber, an Army veteran who served in France during World War I, returned to Illinois and founded the Society for Human Rights in Chicago, in 1924, laying the groundwork for future organizations within the community. This mission of this organization was:

“[T]o promote and protect the interests of people who … are abused and hindered in the legal pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed them by the Declaration of Independence and to combat the public prejudices against them by dissemination of factors according to modern science among intellectuals of mature age.”

Gerber’s organization was short-lived, but it served as an anchor for the modern movement that Pride celebrates this month.

Pride comes in June to mark the anniversary of one event, the spark in the fire that still burns today. The “Stonewall Inn,” a hangout for members of the LGBTQ+ community, was raided by New York Police on June 28, 1969. Simply existing as an LGBTQ+ person was not legal at the time and protests and violence ensued. Hot on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement gained steam. The first Pride Parade was held in Chicago, the very next year in 1970, and has been held all over the world ever since.

We acknowledge the hard-fought battles for civil rights, those already won and those ongoing. Treating every member of our organization with dignity and respect starts with listening and compassion.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Duckworth gets her moment in the sun

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The national media had slowly begun to take interest in US Sen. Tammy Duckworth as a possible vice presidential choice for Joe Biden. Duckworth was then put on the vetted list and a recent New York Times profile elevated her profile even further

Dan Milberg is a retired Army helicopter pilot who voted for Donald J. Trump in 2016, and does not wish to vote for him again. But before he can consider pulling the lever for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., he needs to know who his running mate will be.

“It might be someone too progressive,” said Mr. Milberg, who lives in Robertsville, Mo.

The one person who would put him at ease, Mr. Milberg said, is the pilot whose seemingly lifeless body he lifted from a helicopter in 2004, her legs blown off by a rocket-­propelled grenade not far from Baghdad: Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

It is not so much the event that indelibly marked both of their lives and earned Ms. Duckworth a purple heart that draws him to her, Mr. Milberg said. Rather, he continued, she “is moderate enough that I think she can be appealing.”

* The idea of appealing to the center took hold with NYT columnist Frank Bruni

But mightn’t Warren also give moderate voters pause? What about her age? She’s 71. Biden’s 77. Can the party of change and modernity, whose last two presidents were both under 50 when first elected, go with an all-septuagenarian ticket?

Governing partners don’t matter if you don’t get to govern. The certain catastrophe of four more years of Trump demands that Biden choose his running mate with November at the front, the back, the top and the bottom of his mind.

Harris also ably prosecutes the case against Trump. But many progressives have issues with her, and the idea that she’d drive high turnout among black voters isn’t supported by her failed bid for the Democratic nomination. She lacked support across the board, including among African-Americans. And in a recent national poll conducted by The Times and Siena College, more than four in five voters — including three in four black voters — said that race shouldn’t be a factor in Biden’s vice-presidential pick.

Duckworth is neither progressive idol nor progressive enemy. That partly reflects a low policy profile that’s among her flaws as a running mate but could actually work to her advantage, making her difficult to pigeonhole and open to interpretation. Trump-weary voters can read into her what they want. And in recent congressional elections, Democrats have had success among swing voters with candidates who are veterans.

* Fox News profile

She’s received high marks on legislative effectiveness.

As a freshman senator, Duckworth passed three proposed bills into law, earning her the rank of “Exceeds Expectations” as a freshman senator from the Center for Effective Lawmaking, alongside Republican John Kennedy, for the 115th Congress, 2017-2018.

* From WaPo’s top eleven

10. Tammy Duckworth: The senator from Illinois, Iraq War veteran and double-amputee made her case as Biden’s running mate in a New York Times story Thursday: “I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t,” Duckworth said. She added: “I can say, ‘Listen, that American flag is the same flag that would drape my father’s coffin, my coffin, my husband’s coffin and my brother’s.’ It has draped them for generations. No one respects that flag more than I have. But I will respect the right to protest it, too.” (Previous ranking: 9)


An emerging consensus is that Biden should select a woman of color. University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball ranks all five of Biden’s top vice presidential choices as women of color, with Harris, Demings, and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth leading the way.

* Sabato’s advantages for Duckworth

•Inspiring life story as double amputee
•Military background could give her crossover appeal
•Succession in the Senate not an issue
•Safe pick


•Has kept a low profile in the Senate
•Biden won’t need help carrying IL
•Safe pick


…Adding… I was talking with a pal who brought up a potential issue. Duckworth was a Blagojevich appointee (Veterans Affairs). Blagojevich now describes himself as a Trump supporter. Could be problems there.

*** UPDATE *** VoteVets is backing her…

* Related…

* Sen. Tammy Duckworth Demands Senate Hearing Into Report Russia Secretly Offered Bounties To Afghan Militants For Killing U.S. Troops


Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot rebuke President Trump

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the White House, June 26, 2020

Dear Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot:

I write to you today to call your attention to and urge action on the devastating violence in Chicago. While I have been heartened to see crime reductions nationally the last few years, I have been horrified by the continued violence in this great American city.

I recently read an article from the Chicago Sun-Times on June 8, 2020, “18 murders in 24 hours: Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago,” which discussed the severe crime and lack of law and order in our Nation’s third largest city. The article details how “85 people were shot and 24 killed the previous weekend, the most in modern history in Chicago.” Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement. The article recounts the following horrors:

    A hardworking father killed.

    A West Side high school student murdered.

    A college freshman who hoped to become a correctional officer, gunned down.

    18 people killed Sunday, May 31, the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades.

    The weekend of May 29, 25 people were killed and another 85 wounded by gunfire.

    The most violent weekend in Chicago’s modern history, stretching police resources that were already thin because of protests and looting.

Violence and death, which are disproportionately harming young African Americans, are tragic and unacceptable, particularly on such a shocking scale. According to the Chicago Sun Times, “shootings across the City increased by 71 percent last month,” and just this past weekend 102 people were shot in the city’s most violent weekend of the year. A 3-year old toddler was killed. More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq combined since September 11, 2001, a deadly trend that has continued under your tenure.

The American people (hardworking taxpayers) send you millions of dollars in Federal funding each year to support public safety in Chicago. In 2018 and 2019, the City of Chicago benefited from $136 million in funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, and another $68 million was recently announced for Chicago from this important program. The Department of Justice awarded and is in the process of awarding nearly $20 million to support law enforcement and law-enforcement related entities in the City of Chicago and Cook County across 2019 and 2020, including resources for combating opioid abuse and recidivism reduction. The Department of Labor has also awarded funding to programs targeting prisoner re-entry and recidivism reduction in the Chicago area. My Administration allocated $898.6 million to the City of Chicago and Cook County from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which helps support your first responders on the front lines. In the absence of any modicum of leadership, however, these substantial sums of taxpayer money are not being turned into results, and the safety of your most vulnerable communities continues to deteriorate. These funds are in addition to those collected through your combined insatiable appetite to tax the people of Illinois and Chicago.

I will continue to lead the way to support historically disadvantaged communities and would welcome your help in these endeavors. In December 2018, I signed into law the First Step Act, marking the first major reforms to our criminal justice system in over a decade. This brings historic reforms to make our justice system fairer and to help inmates successfully transition back into society by providing prisoners with a second chance through rehabilitative programs and fair sentencing. Additionally, when I signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, we created Opportunity Zones. Nationwide, nearly 9,000 communities have designated Opportunity Zones, including over 130 in Chicago, which are incentivizing investments in areas that have been forgotten for far too long. My Administration has also provided robust, unprecedented support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Recently, on June 16, I signed an Executive Order advancing important reforms to elevate a noble profession and strengthen the essential bond of trust between police officers and the communities in which they serve. My Administration continues to work closely with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and others across the political spectrum to advance further policy improvements and meaningful reforms.

Unlike previous Administrations of both parties, I am willing to tackle unsolved challenges. If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together. But to succeed, you must establish law and order. The combination of crime, high State and local taxes, and onerous State and local government regulations have caused thousands of Illinoisans to flee to other States. Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost more of its population than any other state in the Nation. If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors. My Administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer for all.

Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.


Donald J. Trump

* Sun-Times

Lightfoot replied: “I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump. As our police officers, street outreach workers and residents continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, he’s using the victims of gun violence in our city to score cheap political points, spew racist rhetoric, and ignore the impact of COVID across this country. It is despicable, disgusting and all too typical. Same old tired playbook. How about some leadership not steeped in the divide and conquer tactics?

“I stand with the Governor in providing for the safety and well-being of our residents.” […]

Trump has focused on Chicago crime since his 2016 presidential campaign, accusing city leaders and then Mayor Rahm Emanuel of thwarting police and at one point pledging to “send in the Feds.”

One of Trump’s oft-cited claims, which has never been proved, is that he talked to a “top police officer in Chicago” who told him he could stop crime in the city “within one week.”

* Pritzker press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh…

President Trump is a failure who has once again resorted to a press stunt in an attempt to distract from his long list of failures, especially his response to the deadly coronavirus and nationwide calls for racial justice. The people of this state and this nation have unfortunately come to expect his unhinged attempts to politicize tragedy with his predictable and worn-out strategy to distract, distract, distract. The Governor stands with the Mayor in working to accomplish meaningful change.

* Tribune editorial board

Pritzker and Lightfoot should call him on it. Schedule a meeting with Justice Department officials. Draw up a wish list. Federal dollars and law enforcement assistance are valuable. Maybe it means more manpower, more imaginative approaches, more technology. There are existing, effective social service programs in Chicago, ranging from gang conflict mediation to teen mentoring, that would benefit from a targeted infusion of federal dollars.

Deep breaths before commenting, please. Thanks.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Prepare for return fire

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I know we’ve discussed this topic before, but it’s now become my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Illinois Rising Action, a dark money super PAC, is running a TV ad against Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The group reportedly is putting $1 million behind the spot on both cable and broadcast over two weeks.

Called “Failed,” the ad heaps criticism on the governor for the “toilet scandal,” increased gas taxes, increased taxes on cars and allegedly giving a “huge” pay raise “to his politician buddies.” It also goes after his administration’s response to massive unemployment. The ad is appearing on broadcast and cable TV in Chicago, Champaign/Springfield and in Paducah, Kentucky.

A million bucks isn’t a lot of money in the TV world, but it’s not nothing, either. And since he began running for governor, Pritzker has never allowed an attack ad to go unchallenged and never allowed himself to be outspent.

As I write this, no response ads are airing, but I think it’s safe to say the governor will respond, and will also up the ante in the process. How much is anyone’s guess, but it’ll likely be substantial.

Illinois Rising Action has issued numerous press releases since early March. The group’s hits on the governor have rarely been mentioned by the media, perhaps because some of the attacks have been a bit of a stretch.

For instance, the organization, which does not have to reveal its funding sources, has pointed out that an investment group the governor founded with his brother backed a company that won a $13 million federal contract to develop a test for COVID-19. The story was covered by Fox News, but didn’t gain much traction beyond anti-testing social media paranoids.

Pritzker has put all of his investments into a blind trust. Besides that, the company has no state contracts and, frankly, developing a new federally funded test isn’t exactly the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard.

The organization also attempted to connect the dots between Pritzker’s “toilet” scandal and the massive federal effort to convert McCormick Place into an acute alternate care facility.

The contractor, Bulley & Andrews, was the master contractor for Pritzker’s spare mansion rehab, which blew up in his face when it was discovered that toilets were removed in order to reduce the property taxes on his vacant house. The McCormick Place contract, however, was let by the United States Department of Defense, not the State of Illinois. According to the Department of Defense, 18 firms bid on the $9 million contract.

Nonetheless, “A pattern is beginning to emerge of vendors with close ties to Governor Pritzker being awarded coronavirus related contracts,” the group recently claimed.

Bulley & Andrews is one of the oldest contracting firms in Chicago.

The governor has blamed the group for privately dishing to reporters that his wife and daughter were in Florida and that his family had visited their Wisconsin horse farm. Pritzker has said his wife and kid were in Florida before the first stay-at-home order was issued and that he owns a “working” farm in Wisconsin, so travel to it would be covered by his order.

Both stories visibly angered the governor — a guy who rarely shows that side of himself in public (or in private, for that matter). He claimed at one point that the “GOP super PAC” was “putting my family and my children in danger.”

Illinois Rising is run by a former Mark Kirk/Bruce Rauner operative who also consults for the firm running the opposition to the governor’s “Fair Tax” (some of whom also worked for Rauner before “the purge”). The idea, apparently, is to rough up the governor, and then the group working against the “Fair Tax” will build on that work to try and prevent it from passing. To succeed, the constitutional amendment needs the votes of either 60 percent plus one of those who cast ballots for or against the amendment, or over half of all votes cast in the entire election. The opposition doesn’t have to necessarily win in order to prevail.

A response ad is therefore a bit tricky. If this were only about Pritzker, his advertising team would just kneecap the Republican Party, a not-so-popular entity in this state. But this fight is ultimately about the progressive income tax proposal. So, in order to succeed, Fair Tax proponents will likely need some Republican or GOP-leaning votes.

All we can do now is sit back and wait to see how the Pritzker people thread that needle and track how much they spend.

Hey, at least it’s something to occupy ourselves with while the world burns.


*** UPDATE *** And here it comes…


Open thread

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A buddy of mine is in Alabama and he says these are everywhere…

Every team should be doing something like this.


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