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Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* She’d ride down to the river and meet with all her friends

The road goes on forever and the party never ends

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Zopp makes small cable TV buy during debate

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* From our friends at Comcast…

Andrea Zopp for US Senate
Agency: Buying Time, DC
10/13/15 only
Total Buy: $7,445
Networks: CNN only, in Democratic Presidential Debate
Syscode / zone / $ by zone
5170 / Chicago Interconnect / $ 6,000
9804 / DirecTV / $ 715
7800 / Champaign Interconnect / $400
7827 / Peoria Interconnect / $130
7829 / Rockford / $ 200
Total Buy: $7,445

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

 The final results are in and as many analysts have noted, “Exelon was the big winner in this year’s [PJM grid capacity} auction.”  Here are the highlights:

  • $1.7 BILLION RATE INCREASE FOR EXELON – Exelon engineered the new rules to increase their profits. Their $1.7 BILLION reward will be paid for by struggling Illinois ratepayers. 
  • Byron and Quad Cities Both Cleared the Auction and are Obligated to Run Well into the Future

 Exelon’s Low Carbon Portfolio Standard would have raised $1.6 billion over 5 ½ years for Exelon.  The Capacity markets, under Exelon-pushed rules, earned Exelon $1.7 billion over only three years.

Illinois doesn’t have a balanced budget, service providers are being decimated and real people across Illinois are hurting.  It’s time for Exelon to take their HUGE $1.7 BILLION WINDFALL and stop asking legislators to keep padding their profits. 

Enough is enough!

Just Say “NO” to the Exelon Bailout

 BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses.  Visit

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* From the twitters…

* The Question: Why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Raoul: “Inflexible demands plus willful amnesia is no recipe for any negotiation”

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* From Sen. Kwame Raoul…

Yesterday, a member of the press asked if I am willing to meet the governor halfway.

I replied with an example I’ve used in the past, asking rhetorically if it would be appropriate for me to meet the governor halfway if his stated objective were to enslave me. I knew my words were jarring. I used them not in order to play the “race card,” but because they illustrate an unacceptable extreme.

In no way was I suggesting that the governor is a racist. His personal philanthropy and conduct toward me demonstrate otherwise.

The governor and I have worked together productively in the past and continue to do so. Just yesterday, Gov. Rauner, Leader Currie and I celebrated the expansion of the Chicago Innovation Exchange. Later, I attended a meeting of the criminal justice reform commission the governor convened shortly after taking office. Where we share ideological priorities, we’ve worked together, and where we differ, we’ve engaged in civil discussions. The governor has never failed to be a gentleman. That does not mean I must turn a blind eye to the disproportionate impact many of his demands would have on communities of color while harming low-income and middle-class families of every description.

This crisis won’t be resolved in an arm’s length back-and-forth in the media, and I remain willing to meet with the governor to discuss the topics on his agenda. But in my practice of law, I’ve represented employers in negotiations related to labor, workers’ compensation and civil lawsuits, and I know that when one side insists on extreme approaches as the only possible starting and ending point, a negotiation cannot bear fruit. We can’t forget that we live along a fragile continuum of progress. Not so long ago, employees had few protections and injured workers little recourse, civil justice failed the victims of corporate negligence and minorities were shafted at the ballot box and in redistricting.

The governor also prefers we forget that just six months ago, both Republicans and Democrats funded a set of critical priorities that are simply unsustainable without additional revenue. Instead, he’s content to accuse legislative Democrats – a diverse caucus – of uniformly wanting a tax increase, when in fact, most Republicans agree to the need for revenue, with their votes if not their voices.

I’m willing to negotiate, but a list of inflexible demands plus willful amnesia is no recipe for any negotiation, much less a successful one.


- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Violence spike blamed on budget cuts

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* The governor proposed cutting CeaseFire’s $4.7 million state funding by $3 million in February, and hasn’t released any new money for quite a while. Mayor Emanuel also cut $1 million from the program. The AP says the city’s crime spike could be related

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner froze money for CeaseFire, featured in the 2011 documentary “The Interrupters,” as Illinois began running out of money because Democrats passed a budget that spent billions more than the state took in. The program was cut off before receiving all of the $4.7 million it was budgeted last fiscal year, and it has gotten no state funding this year as the fight between Rauner and Democrats who lead the Legislature drags on and several programs in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois shut down.

Meanwhile, Chicago has seen a roughly 20 percent increase in shootings and homicides so far this year compared with the same period in 2014. That included a July 4 weekend that left 48 people shot, including a 7-year-old boy who police say was killed by a shot intended for his father, described as a “ranking gang member” by officers.

None of those holiday weekend shootings occurred in two police districts covered by a Ceasefire-affiliated program that managed to fund itself for the month of July. The same area saw nearly 50 shootings in August. […]

Target Area’s grant was $220,000. Combined with another eliminated grant that helped ex-offenders leaving prison, the state dollars made up 21 percent of the agency’s annual budget, Phillips said.

In July, Target Area used an anonymous donation to train several hundred people on how to prevent conflicts from escalating into violence. The neighborhood into which they were sent during the July 4 weekend saw none of the dozens of shootings and killings that plagued the city over those days, Phillips said.

The following month, when funding was gone and programs had ended, there were 46 shootings in the same area.

The theory behind the program seems pretty sound, at least.

* From a recent WaPo interview of epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

“What has been meant by this in the past is that you can approach violence with epidemiological methods, which essentially means that you can apply science to it, figure out where it is, and predict it.

“But we’ve gotten much more sophisticated since then, and now we have very specific health methods for reducing it. We understand that the people doing violence have picked up a set of behavioral patterns by the way the brain copies things. And also that people follow their peers, and there are strong brain processes that encourage you to do that.

“If you go beyond thinking about violence as a moral problem and instead try to understand it as a health issue, many things that were previously unexplainable can be explained. People are always saying “senseless acts of violence,” but that’s really because we haven’t made sense of it. […]

“I’ll give you an example. I worked in refugee camps in Somalia. We had six doctors, and there were a million refugees in 40 camps. There was serious malnutrition, an unimaginable rate of death from diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria. So it seemed like this was an unmanageable problem. But what we did is we recruited tens of thousands of health workers, who were taught just a few simple things that needed to be done.

“These are paid jobs, but they’re paid at a scale that’s different than the people who have gone to ten years of school. Because what’s required to help a mom manage diarrhea, or talk to a sex worker about safe sex, or talk to someone who is suffering a lot, it’s often not that complicated. We’re either giving people nothing or super-everything, and it makes absolutely no sense.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

*** UPDATED - Home and doing better *** I’ll be back later

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* Oscar isn’t feeling well, so I need to take him to the vet. He won’t eat or drink (he even refused a hot dog yesterday) and he’s obviously not his old self.

Here he is yesterday cuddling with his Uncle Rob…

Think positive thoughts, please. Thanks!

…Adding… … They are giving him some fluids to make him feel more comfortable and then they are going to run some tests and I should know something in about an hour or so.

…Adding More… The tests all came back negative. He ate some treats but he didn’t want any water. They are now going to take some xrays.

…Adding… The X-rays were negative except that he had an irritated stomach and bowels. They are putting him on a canned, bland diet for now and giving me some medicine for his nausea. We are going home now.

…Adding Still More… We’re home and he’s eating his new food. Wolfed down an entire can. What a relief…

I’ll be posting again in a few.

- Posted by Rich Miller   106 Comments      

Gray hired by Trump

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* Bernie

Kent Gray, a lawyer and elected member of the Lincoln Land Community College Board, has been named Illinois campaign director for the presidential campaign of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

A news release from the Trump campaign said that Gray, in a 25-year career, has worked on seven national presidential campaigns and many state and local races. As an attorney, Gray has handled ballot access issues for dozens of candidates for offices from president of the country to local school boards.

Gray, 45, lives in Leland Grove. He lost a 2014 GOP primary for circuit judge.

* Several top Illinois Republicans have been gloating lately about how Trump didn’t have an Illinois presence and how he might not get onto the ballot

“I don’t know that Trump gets on the Illinois ballot,” warns Republican strategist and former Illinois GOP chair Pat Brady. Absent a significant organization, you’re just not going to get it done in this state.” Brady is backing Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. But other top Illinois Republicans are making similar predictions.

IL GOP PARTY CHAIR HAS NO TRUMP CONTACTS: Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, who is remaining neutral, tells POLITICO that while potential delegates for Bush, Kasich and Rubio have called the state’s GOP HQ raising their hands for those campaigns. “I can’t tell you we know right now, who to contact if someone wants to be a Trump delegate … I’m not sure the Trump campaign understands the complexity of having delegates in every congressional district.” Petitions start circulating Oct. 3 and candidates have until January to get them in. […]

QUOTABLE: “He asked all the usual suspects. They all turned him down.” — Pat Brady on Trump’s attempt to drop roots in Illinois.

* Petition circulation started yesterday. This is not going to be an easy task for Gray because the Trump campaign is so far behind. Even so, he has until early January to find delegates in every district and get their signatures turned in.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

MLB playoff open thread

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* A text message from state Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), a South Sider and lifelong White Sox fan…

Let the Cardinal fans in Springfield know there’s a place in my district they might want to watch the game tonight.

The attached pic…

- Posted by Rich Miller   108 Comments      

Once more, with feeling

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* Tribune

Rauner attempted to reframe the debate by arguing Democrats already have voted for various union-weakening proposals in recent years, nullifying their argument that they’d be violating a core principle if they approved his demands. […]

Instead, the governor said, the fight was “about political tactics for the next election versus policies for the next generation” as he insisted Democrats were more interested in protecting their political allies in organized labor than “helping the middle class.” […]

“Length of school day, length of school year, layoffs in Chicago teachers, whenever they needed something out (of collective bargaining), they take it out,” the governor said. “So when somebody argues to you (that) this is about a violation of the core principles of the Democratic Party, call it on them. Call them on it. It’s not true. Simply not true. This is about political manipulation, political maneuvering, not about true genuine policy.”

It’s true that the Democrats have whacked the teachers and AFSCME over the years. Heck, in 2010 those unions boycotted House Speaker Michael Madigan’s campaign funds, and two years later AFSCME flooded Governor’s Day with hundreds of angry, screaming protesters.

But what Rauner wants is patently extreme and most definitely goes against the “core principles of the Democratic Party.” I’m not gonna post it yet again today, but click here if you’re not sure what I mean.

There’s a big difference between taking length of the school year out of Chicago collective bargaining and forbidding teachers and local government employees to bargain on all wages and benefits, overtime and pensions.

C’mon, man.

* Sen. Kwame Raoul rebuts another Rauner argument. The governor says that the fact that he has removed so many items from his list of demands is proof he is negotiating in good faith

“If you just throw something on the wall that is to the extreme and say, ‘OK, I’m dropping that now,’ that’s not a fair point of departure to say, ‘I’ve negotiated,’” Raoul said of Rauner.

Yep. Dropping “right to work” zones from his agenda wasn’t negotiating, it was accepting reality that there was no way that thing was ever gonna pass and pushing for it was doing more harm to his party than good.

* More from Raoul

“That said, I think that there has been efforts to meet the governor halfway on some of the issues that were part of his Turnaround Agenda.”

Oh, please. They haven’t met Rauner half way on anything.

- Posted by Rich Miller   121 Comments      

B3 fallout?

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* Will there be state legislative fallout from yesterday’s Barbara Byrd-Bennett indictment? Ald. Burns doesn’t think it’ll be too bad

It threatens to damage the credibility sorely needed to get the $480 million in pension help from Springfield needed to avert a devastating round of mid-year budget cuts that, Schools CEO Forrest Claypool has warned, could cost thousands of teachers their jobs and send class sizes soaring through the roof.

“There’s a reputation about Chicago anyway. If you’re a DownStater or a suburban legislator who hates Chicago, this confirms why you don’t like Chicago,” said Ald. Will Burns (4th), the former state lawmaker now chairing the City Council’s Education Committee.

“But if something is going to be done for Chicago, the city cannot be the only beneficiary. Suburban and Downstate schools have to benefit as well. So, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think Barbara’s indictment is hurtful. Part of the reason why is there is new leadership at CPS.”

Burns noted that Emanuel replaced Byrd-Bennett with his chief of staff Claypool, whose reputation for integrity is unblemished at the Chicago Park District, City Hall, Cook County government and the CTA.

* But

But downstate and suburban lawmakers, many of them already CPS skeptics, say the Byrd-Bennett case will make a “yes” vote on an emergency aid bill more difficult.

“We want to know where the money goes. Until you get rid of the corruption and the wasteful spending that’s already occurring, then we have no desire to send you anymore money,” said State Rep. Jeanne Ives.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who hired Byrd-Bennett in 2012, issued a statement saying “CPS students, parents, teachers and principals deserve better.”

But a Republican state lawmaker said “better” in his view, might be his bill that would allow local governments to declare chapter nine bankruptcy.

“Certainly, there is a case to be made that CPS is beyond fixable,” said State Rep. Ron Sandack.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      

Unclear on the concept

Friday, Oct 9, 2015

* By Kristina Rasmussen at the Illinois Policy Institute, with emphasis added

Illinois’ growing bill backlog is back in the news, thanks to the warning bells sounded by Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger.

With Gov. Bruce Rauner rightly rejecting calls for higher taxes until the General Assembly passes much-needed budgetary and economic reforms, a political dance will continue in the halls of the Capitol. Call it the state budget shuffle.

Here’s how it works: Lawmakers essentially have given up on trying to pass a balanced state budget. Of the more than $2.6 billion that flows into state coffers every month, much more goes out the door. That’s why Munger expects a backlog of $8.5 billion by the end of the calendar year if spending isn’t recalibrated.

How is the pie of available funds sliced? The worthiness of any given program has little to do with it. Everyone wants food pantries and crisis nurseries to keep their doors open, but tugging on heartstrings won’t get anyone far. Rather, it’s a game of who has rigged the system so they can jump to the head of the line.

Pensioners have a constitutional clause that guarantees their pension benefits can’t be diminished or impaired no matter how dire the state’s fiscal situation. State workers have binding contracts and court orders that ensure they get paid, even if the state government were to shut down. Lawmakers have a statutory continuing appropriation that means they also will get paid no matter what.

Who doesn’t get preferential treatment? Low-income working moms looking for help to pay for day care. Seniors who rely on community groups for help. Even lottery winners are getting stiffed. The comptroller can try to mitigate the pain the best she can, but she, too, must live within the constraints of the system.

Um, hello? Gov. Rauner proposed cutting that child care program all the way back in February and then pushed through emergency rules designed to decimate it this summer.

The huge child care program cuts are a feature, not a bug.

- Posted by Rich Miller   61 Comments      

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Friday, Oct 9, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Zopp makes small cable TV buy during debate
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Question of the day
* Raoul: "Inflexible demands plus willful amnesia is no recipe for any negotiation"
* Violence spike blamed on budget cuts
* *** UPDATED - Home and doing better *** I'll be back later
* Gray hired by Trump
* MLB playoff open thread
* Once more, with feeling
* B3 fallout?
* Unclear on the concept
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