Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hell freezing over?

By Patrick O’Brien
An ethics reform package aimed at cleaning up state contracting practices, including alleged practices under the spotlight of a federal corruption trial of Tony Rezko, could make its way through the General Assembly very soon.

The so-called pay-to-play measure would ban political contributions to statewide officeholders from any business with more than $50,000 in contracts awarded by that office. The business’ contracts with the state would be canceled if they broke the law. Family members of the contractor also would be banned from donating to the officeholders.

Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson, a Crete Democrat, all but dared Gov. Rod Blagojevich to veto or alter the bill in an attempt to “improve” it, as he has with other legislation. “Let him try it,” she said a Statehouse news conference Wednesday. Chicago Democratic Rep. John Fritchey, the House sponsor, vowed that his chamber would override a veto, while the Senate sponsors said they would attempt to get enough votes but couldn’t promise them.

A deal is a long time coming. Lawmakers have debated this version of ethics reform for three years. But the measure gained momentum this year because of the Rezko trial, which includes allegations of exchanging campaign contributions for state contracts and jobs. It's also an election year. “There’s a good chance it may be snowing in hell right now,” Fritchey said of the timing.

Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and sponsor, said the bill will be heard in a committee next week. He said Senate President Emil Jones, a Chicago Democrat and Blagojevich ally, wanted the bill “improved” even more but that Jones wouldn't stop the measure from advancing to the House. Fritchey said he expected the proposal to move soon.

Working for the weekend?
By Patrick O'Brien
The Illinois House could be in Springfield all weekend to approve a constitutional amendment that would give voters the right to recall elected officials.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said members could be in the Capitol until Sunday as they wait for the Senate to pass its own version of a recall proposal. If the House approves the Senate version by Sunday, there’s a chance it could still land on the November ballot for voters to consider. If the House changed the Senate version, they would miss the May 4th deadline to approve constitutional amendments in time to appear on this year’s ballot. (To be clear: The question on the ballot would ask voters whether the state should change its Constitution to allow a recall, not whether they should recall the current governor)

The Senate proposal would allow voters to recall elected officials, including local politicians and judges. It also would link the lieutenant governor and the governor, which Sen. Rickey Hendon said was because the two officeholders are elected in the general election together (although they're not considered running mates in the primary elections). Under Hendon's proposal, if the governor were recalled, the lieutenant governor would be, too. The House version, sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat, is directed only at statewide officeholders, not local officials and judges. That measure is stuck in the Senate.


It Must be Snowing in Hell

I just don't have the time (or energy) to fully elaborate on this right now, but suffice it to say that today, in the words of our Governor, was 'mostly and up day'. But in this case, it really was.

While a lot of people, myself included at times, never thought that it would happen, I had the privilege to stand with a number of my colleagues and others as we announced a historic agreement on legislation to prohibit pay-to-play politics in Illinois.

The agreement was a long time in the making, but it's days like this that make you feel good about the job. There are a lot of people that deserve credit, but I want to especially give a nod to Comptroller Hynes for his leadership on this issue dating back over three years, Sens. Harmon and Halvorson for their efforts, Cindi Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and our staffs who put in a lot of time up to the very last minute to help make this happen.

This measure should be on the Governor's desk within two weeks.

To read or post comments, visit Open House


Bringing the pork home to the Land of Lincoln

A press release from U.S. Rep Ray LaHood's office, via the Illinois Channel:

WASHINGTON, DC (April 30)—By a vote of 291-117, the U.S. House last night approved legislation authored by Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Peoria) which would establish the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Illinois. LaHood represents the same 11 counties which Abraham Lincoln represented for one term in the U.S. House. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced and guided the legislation in the U.S. Senate, which approved the bill on April 10. The legislation was contained in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act, a comprehensive public lands bill (S. 2739). The bill now heads to the White House for an expected signature from President Bush.

LaHood’s legislation grew out of an idea from the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, a Springfield-based group which has led efforts to create this Heritage Area. The legislation provides for up to $15 million in federal funds over 15 years to make grants available to assist with preservation and education of the Lincoln story at sites and communities throughout the area. The National Heritage Area encompasses 42 counties across the middle section of Illinois, from the Mississippi River in Western Illinois east to the Indiana border.

You know, $15 million here, $15 million there and pretty soon it ads up to a real money.

My question is this: Where do these "sites and communities" get their funding now? Are we going to be generating new "Lincoln sites"? And what does this have to do with natural resources? When I think of natural resources, I'm thinking of rivers and trees.

I Googled the Looking for Lincoln group and found the site. All it does is promote tours of various sites in four Illinois communities. Shouldn't the funds for this come from where ever the Hell Congress usually funds local tourism efforts? At least here in Peoria, we tax our own poor people to pay for our futile tourism programs.

Feh. If this was a City of Peoria budget item, we'd be grumbling about how many sidewalks we could use this money on instead. But I can't really blame LaHood or Durbin since they are giving Illinoisans what they want: A piece of the pork pie.

Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.



Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, on Wednesday released the following statement in reaction to the announcement of an apparent agreement on legislative language to curb pay-to-play opportunities in Illinois state contracting:

“The reform community is encouraged by this agreement to combat the pay-to-play practices that have plagued Illinois for too many years. We commend all those who have worked toward consensus, and we urge swift passage by the General Assembly. State government contracts should be awarded on the basis of low prices and high quality performance, and contract decisions should not be based on big bucks contributions to a political campaign. By prohibiting campaign contributions by large contractors, Illinois can take a significant step toward reassuring the public that tax dollars are being spent fairly and the public’s business is being put first.“


Illinois could surrender its sovereignty to California

How would you like it if your state surrendered its sovereignty to another state, say, California?

It could happen in Illinois.

HB 3424 could force Illinoisans to follow the stricter California standards regarding vehicle emissions, rather than the ones stipulated in the federal The 2007 Energy Bill, highlights of which are listed below:

The law, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, will produce dramatic results by 2020:

  • Raises mileage standards to 35 MPG, a 40% increase;

  • Reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) from autos by 30%;

  • Avoids 206 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually;

  • Lowers oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels a day;

  • Saves 18 billion gallons of gasoline per year; and

  • Requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels annually.

  • This afternoon I participated in a teleconference with Charles Territo of the Alliance. Where does California fit in? Part of that bill allows states choose the California standards. I live in Illinois, I do not, nor can I, vote in California elections. If HB 3424 becomes law here, California legislators and bureaucrats will be deciding not just what our automobile emission standards should, but if they change those standards, Illinois will have to follow suit.

    This will limit the types of vehicles that can be purchased in Illinois. For instance, late last year, Chrysler began selling a diesel version Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. It cannot be sold in California and eight other states. Illinois could be next. For you scofflaws out there who think they can travel to Indiana to buy one, registering it with the Illinois Secretary of State's office won't be possible--HB 3424 won't allow it.

    Does the auto industry care about clean air? During the teleconference, Territo said, "the auto manufacturers 'gets it.'"

    More from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers site:

  • America needs a more CO2-efficient society, and a new fleet of CO2-efficient autos will be dominating the marketplace.

  • Automakers are addressing climate change through energy bill provisions that will result in a 30% reduction in CO2 from autos by 2020.

  • By reducing CO2 by 30%, automakers will lead all industries in setting a clear path to meeting the recent United Nations Bali Climate Change Summit’s goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

  • And some more:

    There are sound reasons for federal law in all 50 states.
  • Federal law does not allow states to set their own vehicle safety laws. One state cannot decide to have more airbags in autos, for example.

  • Federal law does not allow states to set their own food labeling laws or packaging laws because such state laws would create marketplace chaos.

  • Illinois laws for Illinoisans. One emissions law for all Americans. 'Nuff said.

    One of the co-sponsors of HB 3424 is my state representative, Lou Lang. I'll be e-mailing Lang this post.

    And yes, I care about the environment.

    Related posts:

    Marathon Pundit Chicago River dumping follow up

    Marathon Pundit Exclusive: Waste pours into Chicago River

    To comment on this post, please visit Marathon Pundit.


    Documents at the State Board of Elections

    Over on the Capitol Fax Blog, there has been some critical discussion about the new website of the State Board of Elections during the past few days. Most criticism seems directed at an over reliance on Javascript for navigation and browser compatibility issues. To his credit, Executive Director Dan White did personally respond, welcomed suggestions, and assured us that the Board is "working hard to establish both near term and long term solutions."

    Nonetheless, what seems not yet to have been widely addressed is the lack of some basic functionality that one might expect from a website such as this. For example, the Candidate Office Filing Search allows visitors to find out at what time candidate paperwork was filed; but the site does not allow that same paperwork to then be viewed or otherwise accessed online.

    I contacted the Board and was told that the only way to get a copy of such paperwork was to either travel to Springfield or Chicago and pay a quarter for each page. This, to me, seems somewhat unreasonable, considering that a good number of Illinois residents, and the candidates running in their districts, live nowhere near either Springfield or Chicago. (East Moline is about 162 miles from Chicago, while Carbondale is about 171 miles from Springfield.)

    It would not be difficult for the Board to make all of these filings available online. They wouldn't even need to do any time consuming data entry--simply scan each document when and as filed and make it available as a downloadable Portable Document (PDF) or Tagged Image File (TIFF).

    Scanning the documents wouldn't take much more effort than time stamping them, and the only real additional costs involved would be server storage and bandwidth. Not only would doing so be more convenient for Illinois citizens; but it would be more environmentally friendly, reducing the need for travel and cutting down on paper use.

    Of course, if document imaging were to become a reality at the State Board of Elections, they wouldn't be able to charge their quarter per page; or then again, considering the policies of other branches, such as the Electronic Access Policy for Circuit Court Records of the Illinois Courts, maybe they could and would. What do you think?


    GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips - April 30, 2008

    QUESTION: How successful have Obama's handlers been in turning the Wright lemon into Wright lemonade, that is, how successful have they been in orchestrating Obama's "Sister Souljah moment?"

    -- Sister Souljah moment
    (THE DEFINITION: In United States politics, a Sister Souljah moment is a politician's public repudiation of an allegedly extremist person or group, statement, or position perceived to have some association with the politician or their party. Such an act of repudiation is designed to signal to centrist voters that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party, although such a repudiation runs the risk of alienating some of the politician's allies and the party's base voters.)

    -- ENTIRE FRONT PAGE WITH COLOR PHOTOS OF OBAMA AND WRIGHT: What Obama now thinks of Rev. Wright: "Divisive, Outrageous, Appalling, Objectionable, Offensive, Inexcusable" - Lynn Sweet,CST-NWS-sweet30.article
    -- Obama took too long to denounce Wright - Carol Marin,CST-EDT-Carol30.article
    -- Wright's wrong: He's under fire, not black church Obama's pastor surely enjoys soaking up media spotlight - Richard Roeper,CST-NWS-roep30.article
    -- Wright's latest performance full of paranoia, delusion -- and the controversy could be toxic to Obama's White House hopes - Neil Steinberg,CST-NWS-Stein30.article
    -- Obama opens a can of worms On the verge of making history, Obama opens a can of worms - Mary Mitchell,CST-NWS-mitch30.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY VERY VERY SAD: Mark Brown blasts all whites as being racist,CST-NWS-brown30.article
    -- Senate panel passes expanded recall bill - Dave McKinney and Jaclyn Brenning,CST-NWS-recall30web.article
    -- Bag of cash to save gov's house? Ex-aide tells prosecutors he gave Rezko $25K to pay contractors - Natasha Korecki and Chris Fusco,CST-NWS-rezko30.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Allowing people to vote who refuse to carry a photo ID promotes voter fraud. Because the Chicago Sun-Times promotes opposition to the photo ID requirement, the Chicago Sun-Times promotes voter fraud.,CST-EDT-edit30b.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Promiscuity promoters are overjoyed - the Chicago Sun-Times editorializes against promoting abstinence
    (Not posted as of 7:00 AM)

    -- Wright's clap-happy shtick no laughing matter to Obama - John Kass,0,5835087.column
    -- Obama on Wright: Not 'what I stand for' - Mike Dorning
    -- Obama breaks with Wright - Mike Dorning,0,4598316.story (Includes video clip)
    -- Obama outraged by Wright Senator says 'great damage' done to their relationship - Mike Dorning,0,1500329.story
    -- Wright does Obama wrong - Clarence Page,0,2906802.column
    -- If Wright wants to help Obama, he should be quiet - Kathleen Parker,0,6363047.column
    -- Rev. Linda Thomas denies Wright dissed Obama - Manya A. Brachear,0,1045413.story
    -- Obama jettisons his pastor - Editorial,0,2593539.story
    -- Daley says Wright a 'distraction' for Obama - Dan Mihalopoulos
    -- Senate proposed different recall measure - Ryan Keith,0,2044487.story
    -- Illinois Senate rejects sliding income tax proposal - Ashley Wiehle and Ray Long
    -- AP Interview: Ozinga won't spend lots of own cash - Deanna Bellandi,0,3671393.story
    -- VERY SAD: Immigration marches return with messages aimed at voters - Sophia Tareen,0,3948600.story
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: sides with Giuliani against Cardinal Egan,0,1544544.story

    -- FRONT PAGE IN DUPAGE EDITION: DIERSEN HEADLINE: All the religions of the world discourage homosexual activity. Elton John has called for the abolition of all religions because they discourage homosexual activity. With the Daily Herald's promotion of "dueling" National Day of Prayer services in DuPage County and with its blasting of traditional prayer services held in Wheaton, tragically, the Daily Herald, its owners, its employees, and its advertisers make it even more clear that they disapprove of traditional religions and that they agree with advocates of homosexual activity like Elton John.
    (Not posted as of 7:15 AM)
    -- Wright is on center stage - to the delight of Obama's opponents - George Will
    -- Legislators reject possible tax overhaul - Nick Shields
    -- No-show Stroger's disdain for suburbs - Editorial
    -- VERY SAD: Immigration activists hope marches resonate with voters - AP
    -- Kickbacks paid for renovations? Prosecutors allege bags full of cash prevented lien on governor's house - AP
    (Not posted as of 7:15 AM)
    -- Stroger cancels meeting with suburban officials on tax hike - Kimberly Pohl
    -- Earth Day: 'Reason must overrule hysteria' - Nancy J. Thorner, Lake Bluff
    -- DuPage County: Perfect political storm sinks flood control impact fee plan - Jake Griffin

    -- Obama 'outraged' by former pastor's comments (Includes video clip)

    -- Obama 'Appalled' By Ex-Pastor's Comments Wright's Comments A 'Show Of Disrespect To Me' (Includes video clips)

    -- Obama 'Outraged' Over Rev. Wright 'Spectacle' Obama On Wright: 'The Person I saw Yesterday Was Not The Person That I Met 20 Years Ago' (includes video clip)
    -- Bags Of Cash To Save Gov's Home Described In Trial

    -- VERY SAD: Immigration marches returning with messages aimed at voters,2_1_AU30_IMMIG_S1.article
    -- Senate proposes different recall - Ryan Keith,2_1_AU30_RECALL_S1.article
    -- State income tax change fails - Ryan Keith,2_1_AU30_TAXES_S1.article

    -- Elgin: Common ground found at illegal immigration debate - Stephen Ross Johnson,3_1_EL30_A3ILLEGALS_S1.article

    -- Ozinga announces run for Weller's seat - Susan DeMar Lafferty,042908ozingaweb.article
    -- Ozinga to run in 11th District - Susan DeMar Lafferty,043008ozinga.article

    -- Illinois State Representative David Reis, R-Willow Hill, wants state to require ID to vote - Mike Riopell
    -- State senate stops bid to change income tax - Kenneth Lowe
    -- Quinn: Too early to talk about impeachment of Blagojevich - Kurt Erickson

    -- Senate panel OKs wider recall Voters would be able to oust judges, many local officials - Adriana Colindres

    -- Roskam asks voters to pitch new laws - Dan Petrella (Includes video clip)

    -- Lawmakers think recall effort will die - Andrew Hellpap,pa-recallstop-042908-s1.article

    -- Illinois House OKs amendment to change method for drawing districts - AP

    -- The Anti-Obama Wright
    -- The Two Reasons Jeremiah Wright is Punishing Obama . . . and What Can Obama Do Now About this Guy? . . . Mary, the Mother of God?

    -- Another rough day for the Kjellander-defenders - John Biver

    -- Ozinga announces Wednesday - Fran Eaton
    -- Rep. Arroyo owes Pulido and Jones an apology - Fran Eaton

    -- With God as one of his enemies, you can't blame Jeremiah Wright for having a bad day - Daniel T. Zanoza

    -- The General Assembly will decide this week whether we hold a constitutional convention next year - Dan Johnson-Weinberger

    -- Rev. Wright: The Gift that Keeps On Giving - Bobby Eberle

    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Sadly, Bloomberg makes it clear that it does not want attention drawn to Obama's extremely liberal positions and his extremely liberal voting record

    -- Obama breaks with former pastor - Ben Smith
    -- The wrongs inflicted by Wright - Roger Simon
    -- GOP gives Clinton the silent treatment - Jonathon Martin

    -- Wright is Wrong - Rich Galen

    -- Obama condemns ex-pastor's 'appalling' remarks

    -- Obama Distorted Rev. Wright's Background - Ronald Kessler

    -- Obama's Opportunity - Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

    -- Obama's Wright Turn - Richard Baehr

    -- GOP Plans $500,000 Hit On Obama, Dems Strategic Advertising Will Link The Senator's Vulnerabilities To Congressional Hopefuls - Josh Kraushaar.

    -- Obama Rejects Wright, Repudiates 'Outrageous' Behavior Democratic Candidate Defended Retired Pastor in Race Speech One Month Ago - David Wright

    -- Obama's quandary over preacher reflects supporters' divide - Charles Babington
    -- Illinois lawmakers again seeking ban on pay-to-play politics - Deanna Bellandi
    -- Senate rejects income tax constitutional amendment - Ryan Keith

    -- Obama outraged by pastor's 'divisive' comments

    -- McCain urged to wait to name running mate
    -- Gingrich says Wright was hurting Obama

    -- Barack Obama Holds a Press Conference to Address Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Remarks
    -- Parting With the Pastor Sen. Barack Obama's painful journey - Editorial

    -- Cardinal Egan Says Giuliani Shouldn’t Have Received Communion From Pope - James Barron
    -- Obama Breaks Forcefully With Ex-Pastor Over Fiery Remarks - Jeff Zeleny and Adam Nagourney
    -- Mr. Obama and Rev. Wright - Editorial

    -- Political Wisdom: Obama’s Damage-Control Day - Gerald F. Seib and Sara Murray

    -- Obama blasts Wright - but is it enough? - Carla Marinucci

    -- Jeremiah Wright spreads his wings

    -- Bush, Romney to visit Utah in May for fundraising campaign - Thomas Burr

    -- Bush to host Utah fund-raiser with Romney

    -- Minuteman Pulido attacks Religious Access Bill (Video clip)

    -- Obama Lies - LAUNDRY LIST OF LIES (76 lies and counting)

    -- VERY SAD: Champion News and Public Affairs articles deleted from the Illinois Review website - Dave Diersen
    Very sadly, someone deleted the Champion News and Public Affairs articles from the April 29 GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips posting at They were the 40th, 41st, and 42nd of 87 articles and had been between the Suburban Life article and the Illinois Review articles. They were:

    -- There's no evidence McKenna even wants Kjellander gone - Doug Ibendahl
    -- Convention Committee Chairs for the 2008 GOP State Convention
    -- Berkowitz w/John Cox on Obama, The Clintons, Bush, McCain and the McKennas


    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Senate Dems Chicken Out on Income Tax Hike Measure

    When I skimmed Family PAC's email announcing the defeat of the Democratic Party-backed constitutional amendment to allow a progressive income tax in Illinois, I saw the number 35 and thought, “That was close.”

    It takes 36 votes, a two-thirds majority, to pass a constitutional amendment in Illinois.

    But when I found the roll call, I saw that the measure got 35 “No” votes. (Click to enlarge the roll call image.)

    That meant almost half of the senators in the Democratic Party bailed out.

    Perhaps the phone calls that Paul Caprio's group made to Downstate Democrats helped win the day. His press release follows:


    Downstate Democrats joined with Republicans today in decisively defeating an attempt to put a graduated income tax proposal on the Illinois ballot this
    November. The vote of 35 no/19 yes and 1 present was so decisive that the proposal is now dead for this session.

    The taxpayers of Illinois have been saved from hundreds and millions of dollars of excessive taxes and the business climate in Illinois has been saved from further erosion.

    Family-Pac made more than 23,000 live transfer calls in six target Senate districts that resulted in more than 766 constituent calls to legislators in these districts during the past week. In addition to that, we made more than 81,000 calls across the state where voters were asked to call their state senator.

    April 29, 2008 - A good day... for Illinois taxpayers.

    Paul Caprio
    Maybe Senate Democrats have been following the travails of their favorite presidential candidate and concluded that his coattails, even in Illinois, may not be as long as they thought.



    By Patrick O’Brien
    The House approved a constitutional amendment today that would try to take the politics out of redrawing the state’s legislative map every 10 years. (See more here.)

    Many supporters and opponents of the measure said any change would be better than the existing system, which has resulted in a draw out of a hat three consecutive times because lawmakers hit a stalemate. “Determining the future of Illinois based on the flip of a coin is irresponsible,” said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, during debate.

    Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, said the framers of the 1970 Illinois Constitution thought that the tie-breaker provision would be enough to make any sensible, responsible party compromise. “It turns out, we’ve had three opportunities. And three times, we’ve struck out.” She said the proposal would “do the job” in forcing a compromise.

    Under the plan, sponsored by Rep. James Brosnahan, an Evergreen Park Democrat, a stalemate over who would redraw the map would result in the Illinois Supreme Court appointing a “special master” to oversee the process. Each chamber of the General Assembly also would approve its own map with a three-fifths vote.

    Opponents said the proposal lacks specificity in multiple areas, including the role of the state’s high court and the criterion for selecting a special master.

    The House approved the measure, 98-10 with one voting present, but House Minority Leader Tom Cross, an Oswego Republican, said the bill is presumed dead on arrival in the Senate. Even if approved by both chambers, 60 percent of the public would still have to vote for the idea before the state Constitution could change.

    We remain flat
    By Bethany Jaeger
    Only 19 senators voted in support of asking the public whether the state should allow a graduated income tax rate to replace the existing flat rate. That’s far short of the 36 votes needed, indicating most senators are unwilling to support something that looks like a tax increase right now, particularly during an election year.

    “I just think we need to escape the politics of self-preservation,” Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat and co-sponsor of the measure, said after the vote. He and Sen. Michael Frerichs, a Champaign Democrat, said they pursued the constitutional amendment to give the state flexibility in revising its tax structure so that it could establish a system less reliant on local property and consumption taxes, which often burden the low- and middle-income taxpayers.

    Republicans voiced opposition to the measure because they said it would pave the way to increased income taxes. That would be a “killer” for small businesses and job creation, said Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican, during floor debate. Republicans also said the proposal fails to address high property taxes and lacks details, leaving voters vulnerable to a tax-and-spend approach to state government without public input.

    Another income tax proposal, meanwhile, is still in the works in the House. It originally tried to set new, tiered rates for individuals making more than $250,000 a year, but it narrowly failed. It’s expected to come back in some form.

    Coming up
    Watch for more updates regarding Senate action on another constitutional amendment to let voters recall elected officials and on ethics reform to ban so-called pay-to-play politics.


    On This Day In History

    The Trib barely notes that today is the 25 anniversary of Harold Washington being sworn in. Both the major dailies take a pass on the story today, but not here at ArchPundit!

    So let's start off with some of the existing resources on the net:
    One of the single best episodes of This American Life explores Harold Washington's life and adds to that a brief bit about how Barack Obama's rise is related to Harold's tenure.

    Mike Royko's column "So I told Uncle Chester: Don't worry, Harold Washington doesn't want to marry your sister. " This is also the 11th anniversary of Mike Royko's death. I posted that on the 20th Anniversary of Washington being sworn in on April 29, 2003.

    CBS 2's Web Version of their coverage of Washington's death

    848's rememberance--WBEZ was on top of the story in 1987

    The Commemorative Year Celebration marking his 25 anniversary of being elected and 20th year since his death

    NPR: The Legacy of Harold Washington

    Rich Miller comparing the black vote with Byrne and Washington and Clinton and Obama

    Progress Illinois posts today on the anniversary

    I'll be gathering more posts and hopefully encouraging a few folks to post some on their own today and linking to them and with a little luck we might just have a guest post.

    By the way, the Sun Times does cover the 25th Anniversary of Lee Elia's rant today. Priorities.

    I'll be covering the anniversary all week over at ArchPundit.


    The General Assembly will decide this week whether we hold a constitutional convention next year

    This week is the deadline for the General Assembly to place constitutional amendments on the November ballot. (The Constitution has a six-month deadline).

    The main reason to hold a constitutional convention is because voters have not had an opportunity to amend the constitution in a substantive way for over a decade. We have not had the chance to vote on the recall power. We have not had the chance to vote on the flat tax mandate. We have not had the chance to vote on making school funding a right, rather than a goal, of the state. We have not had the chance to vote on reining in the extremely broad amendatory veto power. We have not had the chance to vote on our absolutely broken redistricting regime that essentially works to pick the leaders of the chamber at random.

    A constitutional convention would provide an avenue to put these amendments on the ballot for the voters to approve or reject.

    If the General Assembly process of asking voters to approve or reject constitutional amendments works -- that is, if the General Assembly does in fact place amendments on the ballot for the voters to accept or reject -- then there isn't much reason for a constitutional convention.

    If, however, the General Assembly does not place any amendments on the ballot this year, as they have not for at least a decade, then there is a very good reason for a constitutional convention, because it is the only way for voters to amend the constitution.

    This week the General Assembly will decide whether we hold a constitutional convention.

    If they find a way to put at least one substantive amendment on the November ballot, the call for a constitutional convention will surely fail.

    If they do not find a way to put any amendment on the ballot, then the call for a constitutional convention might pass.

    So for those of you who don't want to see a constitutional convention, I suggest you lobby the General Assembly to put an amendment on the ballot this week! (My favorite is SJRCA 92 that would ask voters to scrap the mandate for a flat rate income tax, but you might like recall or redistricting).


    GOPUSA ILLINOIS Daily Clips - April 29, 2008

    -- Witness: Rezko said 'Fitzgerald would be eliminated' Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's name is now included in the list of political heavyweights linked to an alleged plot to get rid of Chicago's U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. (Includes video clip)

    -- Rezko Quoted As Saying Prosecutor Would Be Replaced A government witness testified Monday that political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko told him three years ago that Chicago's chief federal prosecutor was to be fired and replaced by someone chosen by then-U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Includes video clip)
    -- Wright Says Criticism Is Attack On Black Church Obama's Ex-Pastor Speaks On Black Faith (Includes video clips)

    -- Rev. Wright: Black Church Is Under Attack, Not Me (Includes video clip)
    -- Hastert Named In Alleged Scheme To Oust Fitzgerald (Includes video clip)
    -- Analysis: Wright Is Bad News For Obama (Includes video clip)

    -- Wright May Be Deliberately Trying to Hurt Obama - Gingrich

    -- Divisive Democrats - Robert Graham
    (THE LETTER: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have promised to bring us together. However, their angry, divisive campaigns and their hate-filled rhetoric have split the Democratic Party into two warring camps. If they can't conduct their campaigns without driving the Democrats apart, how do they imagine that they will bring us together as a nation?),0,6883705.story
    -- Is Wright trying to torpedo Obama?
    -- Witness says Hastert linked to alleged plot House speaker would have picked Fitzgerald's replacement, defendant's ex-associate claims - Bob Secter and Jeff Coen,1,5644219.story
    -- FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD WITH COLOR PHOTO OF WRIGHT: Rev. Wright's words still bedevil Obama - Christi Parsons and Mike Dorning,0,2022690.story
    -- RNC slam's DNC McCain war ad as 'illegal' - Mark Silva
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Democrats argue that many of those who want to vote for Democrats refuse to carry a photo ID,1,6584911.story
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Chicago Tribune sides with Absolut and against Americans,0,1147163.story
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Leonard Pitts promotes homosexual activity,0,5922378.story
    -- Wright's curious mission - Editorial,0,360729.story
    -- Wheaton College professor's divorce costs him his job College applies standards based on New Testament - Russell Working,0,6497533.story

    -- FRONT PAGE TOP WITH 7X4-INCH COLOR PHOTO OF OBAMA & 1.5X1-INCH COLOR PHOTO OF WRIGHT: Obama backs away from Wright Senator says he too was offended by some of former pastor's remarks - Lynn Sweet,CST-NWS-sweet29.article
    -- Wright: Criticism an attack on black church - Lynn Sweet,wright042808.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: OUTRAGEOUS: Chicago Sun-Times paints Obama as being an innocent victim of Wright,CST-EDT-edit29b.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: OUTRAGEOUS: Mitchell paints Obama as being an innocent victim of Wright,CST-NWS-mitch29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: OUTRAGEOUS: Huntley paints Obama as being an innocent victim of Wright,CST-EDT-hunt29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: OUTRAGEOUS: Brown paints Obama as being an innocent victim of Ayers and Wright,CST-NWS-brown29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: OUTRAGEOUS: Sneed paints Obama as being an innocent victim of Wright,CST-NWS-SNEED29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Obama argues that many of those who want to vote for him refuse to carry a photo ID,CST-NWS-scotus29.article
    -- 'Fitzgerald would be terminated' Rezko said prosecutor to be fired, 'investigation will be over': witness - Natasha Korecki,CST-NWS-rezko29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: ANTI-RELIGIOUS SOCIALISTS ARE OVERJOYED: Religious leaders want government to spend more on welfare. The more dependent one is on government, the less dependent one is on religion.,CST-EDT-vox29.article
    -- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD BUT NOT SURPRISING: Cathleen Falsani blasts Wheaton College for "siding with legalism over grace," that is, for siding with the rule of law over moral relativism,CST-NWS-fals29.article

    -- FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD WITH COLOR PHOTO OF WRIGHT: Wright takes opportunity to fire back - AP
    (Not posted as of 5:30 AM)
    -- Got an idea on how Congress should be run? Roskam, Dillard, Pankau, Pihos, Radogno, and Ramey want to hear it - Jack Komperda
    -- Appeal likely for Lake County Democrats kicked off ballot - Bob Susnjara
    -- Second witness refers to hint of Fitzgerald ouster - David Beery
    -- VERY SAD: State lawmakers consider allowing bets on horses over the Internet - AP
    -- Area newspapers report sales declines

    -- Rutherford: Passed budget? Right - John Faddoul

    -- LaHood: Future is bright for Congress Retiring U.S. Congressman addresses Student Center crowd - Barton Lorimor

    -- LaHood talks about state's past, present and future - Scott Fitzgerald

    -- Former congressman J.C. Watts speaks at Collinsville prayer breakfast

    -- Local residents, leaders share impact of state funding cuts - Dan Petrella (Includes video clip)
    (DIERSEN: Republican State Representatives Patti Bellock, Franco Coladipietro, Mike Fortner, and Sandra Pihos and House Republican Director of Appropriations Kent Gaffney held an outstanding town hall meeting on the state's financial condition Wednesday evening, April 23, at the Wheaton Community Center Auditorium. The PowerPoint presentation that Gaffney gave made it clear that the state has spent too much in the past, that the state is spending too much now, and that the state is on track to spend too much in the future. Over 100 attended the town hall meeting including Mike Bowler, Fred Bucholz, Liz Corry, and Sal Falbo. Questions concerning the event should go to Pihos at 630-858-8855 or

    -- There’s no evidence McKenna even wants Kjellander gone - Doug Ibendahl
    -- Convention Committee Chairs for the 2008 GOP State Convention

    -- Berkowitz w/John Cox on Obama, The Clintons, Bush, McCain and the McKennas

    -- Why one conservative senator (CHRIS LAUZEN) voted Yes on bill to amend E-verify ban (Includes response from Rosanna Pulido)- Fran Eaton
    -- Rev. Wright’s Traveling Circus - George Dienhart
    -- Wright's Chickens - Fran Eaton
    -- Democrats responsible for protecting Gov. Blagojevich - Fran Eaton
    -- Roskam: "There Oughta be a Law" - Fran Eaton

    -- Income tax vote expected Tuesday, April 29 - Bethany Jaeger

    -- Engendering a Republican Renaissance in Illinois (Video clip)
    (THE ARTICLE: I have had the good fortune to speak at many county GOP Lincoln Day dinners and before a number of Republican organizations around the state over the past several months. The speech I have linked to here was last week before a great group of concerned Republicans in Yorkville (Kendall County) as represented by the Kendall County Women's Republican Club. My talk breaks down into four component parts and is, in part, my contribution to the important discussions and debates Republicans across the state are having as to how to make our party relevant and competitive again in Illinois. The four parts: (1) Where are we? What is the landscape?; (2) How did we get here?; (3) Where do we want to go? What kind of party do we want to be?; and (4) How do we get to where we want to go? I want to again thank the Kendall County Republican Women for their indulgence as well as offer my thanks to the many other GOP county chairmen, township GOP organizations, and rank-and-file Republicans throughout Illinois who have welcomed my thoughts and observations (and who, of course, have expressed their undying devotion to WLS-AM 890 and the "Don Wade & Roma Show"). I would welcome your feedback and your ideas as to the policies and practices the Illinois GOP must embody in order to be successful again.)

    -- Chris Robling’s “Illinois Review” Post (CONCERNING THE COMBINE)

    -- VERY SAD: Extremists laud Wright's dedication to 'black liberation theology' Defense of Farrakhan a source of pride for New Black Panther Party - Aaron Klein

    -- Barack Obama, the Weather Underground, and the Spirit of Revolution - Sandy Rios,_the_weather_underground,_and_the_spirit_of_revolution
    -- A Christian Farrakhan - Rich Lowry

    -- Obama's 'Wright Problem' Escalates - Ericka Andersen

    -- Wright Says Obama's Just Doing 'What Politicians Do' - Penny Starr

    -- McCain refuses to play "referee" on Wright flare ups - Mosheh Oinounou
    -- Obama on Wright: “He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign.” - Bonney Kapp

    -- Rove tells Obama how to win

    -- Witness: Fundraiser Rezko said prosecutor Fitzgerald would be replaced - Mike Robinson
    -- Heated campaign souring Democrats on rival candidates - Alan Fram

    -- Obama pastor re-ignites US debate on race

    -- GOP: Obama ad not racist Daves says ad's focus is judgment of Democratic candidates for governor

    -- Obama's former pastor says he has been 'crucified' by the media The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose racially charged sermons set off a political firestorm, says attacks on him are actually attacks on the black church. - Johanna Neuman,0,5246651.story (Includes video clip)
    -- Rush Limbaugh directs his Operation Chaos against Clinton and Obama - Bill Maher
    -- Jeremiah Wright, former pastor to Barack Obama, strides back on stage - Peter Nicholas,1,618888.story

    -- Pastor making life hard for Obama - Carla Marinucci

    -- Barack Obama's foes avoid fueling Jeremiah Wright controversy - Michael McAuliff
    -- VERY SAD: Jeremiah Wright is preaching to the choir, say NYC pastors - David Saltonstall

    -- Not Speaking for Obama, Pastor Speaks for Himself, at Length - Alessandra Stanley
    -- Obama Adds to Distance From Pastor - Jeff Zeleny
    -- OUTSTANDING: U.S. Supreme Decision Is Likely to Spur Voter ID Laws in More States - Ian Urbina

    -- Wright Decries 'Attack on the Black Church' - Rusell Berman

    -- Wright media blitz could hurt Obama Pastor makes no apologies for remarks; experts see ammunition for the GOP - Peter Nicholas,0,1426956.story

    -- Rev. Wright Puts Obama on Defense, Again - Nick Timiraos and Amy Chozick
    -- U.S. Supreme Court decision: A Victory Against Voter Fraud - John Fund

    -- VERY SAD: At the Press Club, Preaching to the Choir Black Ministers From Around the Country Gather to Show Support for Wright - Hamil R. Harris
    -- Still More Lamentations From Jeremiah - Dana Milbank
    -- Obama on Rev. Wright: "He Does Not Speak for Me" - Peter Slevin
    -- Mississippi Republican Runs Ad Against Obama - Paul Kane

    -- The campaign gift that keeps on giving Obama's former pastor is making rhetorical contributions to the Republican ticket. - George Will

    -- Why Jeremiah Wright Is Willing to Destroy Barack Obama; This Champaign Really Is Generational - Thomas de Zengotita

    -- House GOP Targets Obama - Reid Wilson

    -- BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Wright: U.S. Marines Like Romans who Persecuted Jesus (Video clip)

    -- Questions for Obama - George F. Will

    -- Jeremiah Wright Goes to War - Amy Sullivan,8599,1735662,00.html

    -- Wright not backing down, says furor over him is attack on black church - Aaron Blake

    -- Obama dread turns to glee for the GOP - Josh Kraushaar


    Monday, April 28, 2008

    Income tax vote expected

    The Illinois Senate is expected Tuesday to vote on a proposal to change the Constitution so that the state could have a graduated income tax rate rather than the current flat rate (3 percent on individuals and 5 percent on corporations). That's according to the sponsors of the proposal, Democratic Sens. Michael Frerichs of Gifford and Kwame Raoul of Chicago.

    "This is no tax increase," Raoul said, referring to a misconception that this measure relates to a House proposal that would double the tax rate on individuals making more than $250,000. (That measure recently failed. See more here.)

    Both Senate sponsors said in a Statehouse news conference Monday that they did not introduce the constitutional amendment to increase taxes as a way to generate revenue for any specific purpose, although they both support a graduated income tax rate. And they acknowledged that such a system eventually would lead to increased taxes. They want to establish what they said would be a fairer tax structure, given that the existing system relies on local consumption taxes that often burden low-income residents.

    The measure previously advanced out of a Senate committee (see our previous blog post for more), something the sponsors say gives them hope that the full chamber can do the same Tuesday. While the sponsors said they were counting on one Republican vote in support of the measure, it would still need more GOP support to pass the House with the necessary three-fifths vote. Then it would have to win support from of at least 60 percent of voters in the next election.


    Con Con Considerations: Party Affiliation

    Cross-posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

    The November ballot will ask voters whether Illinois should have a Constitutional Convention. A Constitutional Convention would be authorized to review any portion of Illinois' Constitution they wanted to -- and to propose an entirely new document, amendments to existing provisions, or additions of new materials. All proposals from a Convention would have to be approved by voters at a subsequent election in order to take effect. Governmental powers, taxing authority, separation of powers, the rights of those accused of crimes, and of victims; any or all of this could be on the table.

    Our current state constitution requires that voters answer this question at least every 20 years. It takes a majority of votes cast on the question, or 3/5 of all ballots cast, to call a Convention. If there is a Convention, then two delegates will be chosen from each of the 59 State Senate districts.

    But the Constitution also leaves much to the General Assembly to determine. Others have taken a position on whether or not there should be a Convention, and even on what issues a Convention should address if it is called. This page is less interested in what a Convention might accomplish as in how it might work. ICPR has not adopted a position in support of or opposition to a Convention, but instead offers these questions about the nuts and bolts of running a Convention in order to prompt discussion and solicit consideration.

    This is the first in a series.

    Party Affiliation

    The Constitution provides that there shall be two delegates elected from each Senatorial District and directs the General Assembly to make that happen. How that should happen would be up to the legislature.

    On the one hand, party affiliation is the only identifier, other than a candidate's name, that appears on the ballot, and many voters use party affiliation to guide their selection processes. Many who seek to be delegates may already be elected officials, with a clear and proud history of partisan affiliation.

    On the other hand, a Convention with partisan members will likely also have a partisan majority, and voters' perception of any product of such a Convention may be colored by their impressions of the party that dominated it.

    Delegates to the 1969 convention were elected without party labels; all qualified candidates ran in a non-partisan free for all, and the top four vote getters then ran in a run-off; the top two were elected.

    Should Candidates for Delegate Affiliate with a Party?

    To comment, please visit ICPR's blog, The Race is On.


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