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Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Riverfront Times

The Bottle Rockets, the Festus-born, St. Louis-based band of alt-country stalwarts some 28 years running, have announced today that they have broken up.

The news came via a statement on social media. According to the post, guitarist, frontman and co-bandleader Brian Henneman has decided to retire, and the group simply can’t go on without him.

“Although he’s in good health, he’s been feeling the passage of time and has lost interest in anything that distracts from or takes him away from home,” the post reads. “Unfortunately, this means the Bottle Rockets can’t continue as we know it. This is a difficult and emotional outcome for the band, and we share the sense of loss over this ending, but it can also be framed as an opportunity for new directions.”

Accompanying that post is a statement from Henneman himself that makes clear the decision was not made lightly.

“Been thinkin’ about it this entire time off,” Henneman writes. “I’m more certain of it than anything I’ve ever been certain of before. I’m turning 60 this year. Including my time with Uncle Tupelo, I have been doing this recording/touring thing for 30 years. I don’t consider myself too old to do it anymore, but I do consider myself too old to want to.”

I’d been trying to convince the group’s bassist Keith Voegele to do a European tour so we could all go over there together for a couple of weeks and get weird. Alas, that wish will never be fulfilled.

* Henneman is just a top-notch lyricist. Here’s one example

Guess I’m gonna have to row
Looks like the Gulf of Mexico, down by the Texaco

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Rate the state’s new vaccination ads

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Press release…

As more Illinoisans become eligible for the vaccine and the supply from the federal government continues to grow, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new public awareness campaign directed especially to residents in the hardest-hit communities who are reluctant to take the vaccine.

The public awareness campaign features Illinoisans who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 and are sharing their stories and belief in the vaccine.

The $10 million campaign will reach Illinoisans statewide in both English and Spanish through a variety of traditional and online media channels, including cable, broadcast and connected TV; streaming audio and radio; billboards and bus shelters; digital display and video; print and social media. Like other coronavirus-related expenses, costs are reimbursable by the federal government.

“This campaign builds on Illinois’ existing messaging which has used data to inform how to get outcomes that emphasize equity,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Vaccine hesitancy is real, and misinformation is rampant, especially on social media. So Illinois is acting proactively to share the message: All three of the approved vaccines were 100% effective in trials for stopping hospitalizations and death. After a year of staying socially distant and staying safe, what a relief it will be to get vaccinated so you can be protected from this virus.”

“I empathize with the Illinoisans who are unsure about whether to take the vaccine, and we’re launching this campaign to speak directly to them,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “I encourage everyone to do your research and listen to the personal stories of real Illinoisans who believe in the vaccine. As a physician myself, I got my shot because I know vaccines work. They have saved millions of lives. And by making the choice to get vaccinated yourself, you can protect yourself from this devastating virus and start getting back to normal.”

As a part of the administration’s data-driven and equity-centric pandemic response, the campaign follows the CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy of aiming to reach “the moveable middle” — residents who want to protect their health but are hesitant about getting vaccines. According to research conducted by Civis Analytics, approximately 46 percent of Illinoisans are in this group, a disproportionate number of whom are 18 to 34-year-olds, women, lower-income individuals and Black adults.

To speak to those residents, the campaign features public health experts and residents who have had Covid themselves, two of the most trusted sources of information on the virus, according to research.

Driven by real-time data, messages will be targeted to high vulnerability areas where vaccine uptake is a challenge. IDPH will analyze local vaccination rates in conjunction with the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index. Communities with lower vaccination rates and higher vulnerability scores will receive additional allocations so these critical messages are seen by those who most need to hear them.

The campaign is part of the state’s larger All in Illinois effort, backed by doctors and public health experts, encouraging Illinoisans to protect themselves and their neighbors from COVID-19 by wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated.

Watch the first ads here:

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Center Square highlights Mary Miller claims that she, her husband and “conservative Christians” are the real victims

Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021

* Center Square

A Republican congresswoman is defending her state lawmaker husband from what she says are attacks full of lies about the Jan. 6 capitol riots. Illinois Democrats are demanding an investigation.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in Washington D.C. Jan. 6 when the U.S. Congress was certifying the presidential election. A riot then ensued at the capitol building. Hundreds of people face criminal charges because of the violence and trespassing.

Video and other images on social media show state Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, was in Washington D.C. Jan. 6 attending rallies. Pictures also show a truck purportedly owned by Miller with a decal for a group called The Three Percenters.

State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, filed House Resolution 132 condemning Miller and claims he violated his oath of office. It has the support of 35 other Democrats, including House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside.

“Miller participated, and publicly promoted his role, in a rally that led to a violent insurrection of the Capitol of the United States of America, which resulted in the death of United States citizens, including members of law enforcement,” the resolution says. Miller “has continued to publicly support The Three Percenters, a para-military, anti-government hate group identified by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as having the goal of overthrowing the United States government through violent revolutionary tactics.”

Miller couldn’t be reached for comment.

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, told WMAY Wednesday her husband was nowhere near the riot, and they do not condone violence.

“He attended with constituents the rally,” Miller said. “It never crossed his mind once to be violent. We don’t advocate violence. We stand for rule of law and anybody that was violent or broke the law should be arrested and prosecuted, but he had nothing to do with that.” […]

The congresswoman said Morgan’s resolution is the latest in a series of increased targeting from Democrats.

“The attack is not just on him or on me, but it’s on all of my colleagues, we are all getting vile, vile messages and death threats,” Miller said. “They’re misrepresenting and lying about us, taking things out of context.”

It’s not just elected Republicans Miller said Democrats are going after.

“Their goal is to scare conservative Christians, especially, to be quiet and don’t get involved,” Miller said. “And I can say they may be coming for us today but they’ll be coming for you tomorrow. And I want to tell everybody to grow a backbone and get involved and speak up.”

Not one mention in that article about her Hitler comment. Nor this…

Notice he’s standing in front of a 3 Percenters banner in that first video.

* Center Square appears to be rapidly moving well beyond its stated purpose

The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting. A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes our work from other coverage of state and local issues. As a result of this approach, our readers are better informed about the focus of state and local government and its cost to the citizens whose tax dollars fund governmental decisions.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

* The governor's non-COVID losses continue to mount
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