Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's Funny, (unless you live in Illinois)

A Cleveland newspaper actually ran a story about an furniture ad carried in the Chicago Tribune.

One look at the ad and you can see why...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everybody

What a year it has been. And while we all catch our breath from the highs and lows that we've seen over the last few months, I hope that we can take this opportunity to remember those people and things that are really important, and try to keep those people and things in mind now and everyday.

***I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy season ***

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Courtroom Victory

To say that I've been busy is an understatement, but in the Coincidental Timing Department, comes this bit of news from Common Cause. A federal district court in Connecticut turned down a constitutional challenge to that state's recently passed pay-to-play ban:
The court held that the law, one of the strictest laws in the nation banning “pay to play” contributions, was constitutional, a decision that could have wide impact on states considering similar policies in light of the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
The federal court opinion is available online here.

And the following quote from the release just shows that for the time being, our state will continue to be the poster boy for political corruption.
“Today's decision is a clear victory for good government. The current shameful situation in Illinois -- and the earlier corruption scandals in Connecticut that prompted enactment of this law -- show that too often politicians are willing to trade away their offices for private gain. This law protects taxpayers by assuring that those seeking to do business with the state are not paving their way with campaign contributions. Ending pay-to-play government must be a primary goal of both state and federal officials," said Laura MacCleery, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, which assisted the law firm, Hogan & Hartson in serving as counsel for Intervenor-Defendants in the case.
What I do find interesting is who the plaintiffs were in the case. The Association of Connecticut Lobbyists and the Green Party of Connecticut. The first one I get, but the second one just strikes me as odd.

In any event, it's another victory for banning pay-to-play politics.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Time is Now

For myriad reasons, my blogging output has obviously been lacking of late. But I just read a great article that I would be remiss to not pass on to readers. Mike Lawrence, of whom I have always been a fan, (and who just stepped down as the Director of SIU's Paul Simon Policy Institute), does a fine job of eloquently setting forth the dire state in which our state finds itself.
Illinois is drifting toward a mediocrity that could deny our kids and grandkids the economic opportunity and quality of life that have lifted generation after generation in this heartland hub. Yet, most residents do not sense the urgency, do not understand the depth and breadth of an unprecedented budgetary meltdown and do not trust their leaders any more than their leaders trust each other.
Mike goes on to succinctly distill the nature of the situation, building up to this penultimate paragraph.
To move forward resolutely will require courageous, forthright and cooperative leadership — in other words, the opposite of the paralyzing dysfunction that has marked and marred the last several years. It will not be easy, given the toxic breakdown of trust among the key players and the public’s disgust with them. But all of us who want a first-rate state must demand a new attitude in Springfield.
Not surprisingly, Mike hit it on the head.

Our state, both its citizens and its infrastructure, needs help. It doesn't need pandering, nor strategies borne of fear of political reprisals. If ever there were a time, a need, for bold and decisive leadership, that time is now.

The members of the General Assembly are uniquely empowered as stewards for Illinois' well-being. We, all of us, must see the troubled times in which we find ourselves, not as a daunting obstacle, but as an opportunity to be seized upon.

It is the time for ideas aimed at shaping our state for the next generation, rather than for the next election cycle.

Illinois residents from Galena to Chicago to Cairo, are in this together. Our children, our businesses, our future - all of them depend upon the ability of legislators to set aside geographic and partisan divides and make the tough decisions that are required by tough times.

As a nation, Americans resoundingly answered the question of 'can we do it?' by shouting 'Yes We Can'.

When we in Illinois face the question of 'will we do it?', our only reply can be 'Yes We Must'.