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The [Thursday] Papers

The newspaper mindset persists.

From Natasha Korecki's Politico Illinois Playbook:

THE BUZZ - This is a day you'll want to buy hard copies of the Sun-Times and the Tribune, sit down with a large cup of coffee, and read. There's that much news; not just hard news, but impactful investigative pieces that warrant your attention, involving the Chicago Police Department, the Democratic primary race for governor, the future of the Dept. of Children and Family Services and the future of Illinois.

Why would a particularly newsy day necessitate buying hard copies of the papers? Read the lesser versions without links! Oh yeah, newspapers still rarely use links (it's 2017). Read the unupdated versions! Read the versions you could have read online last night! If anything, a particularly newsy day necessitates an online read, in which one can take full advantage of all the online tools available, shift between stories and sites beyond the Tribune and Sun-Times, and get a broader range of viewpoints.

Also, Korecki is offering this advice in an e-mail newsletter with links to the newsy stories she's aggregated! "Instead of following the links I'm providing here, follow along with your print editions!"

Mindset, people. Mindset.


Related: The Sun-Times isn't in need of saving because of market conditions, but because of the utter failure of its ownership and management to adapt and innovate for the digital age, which is now old enough to graduate high school and head to college. The people there too can't shake the notion of spreading out your print editions in the morning while drinking a huge mug of coffee, but that's not how increasingly huge numbers of people consume the news anymore. A more apt image might be recharging your cellphone because you're going to be on it all day catching the latest twists and turns.


Also, you can't hear the audio of J.B. Pritzker's wiretapped conversation with then-Governor Rod Blagojevich - the day's top story, because a state budget not passing was not unexpected - from the print edition. I'm just gobsmacked I'm still writing about this kind of thing 12 years after I started this site.


Before I get to Pritzker, I'm going to start with the (still nonexistent) state budget, just for my own organizational purposes.

Korecki nicely sums up the state of play:

Here's the lead we wrote exactly one year ago: "If Springfield is indeed the 'banana republic' Gov. Bruce Rauner described on Tuesday, then it's completely gone apeshit ... There's no budget - balanced or unbalanced - for Rauner to even consider signing. That leaves schools guessing about whether they can open on time in the fall - something Rauner has desperately tried avoiding. It leaves other schools and universities at risk of closing. Not to mention social service funding which has been through the wringer already for the last 11 months."

Copy, paste: Swap out 11 with 22 and we've arrived at the present. Rauner is now poised to enter year three without a budget.

What's next: It's tough to take anyone too seriously when it's clear the two main players - House Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner - despise one another. Madigan vows to return in June and hold "continuous" session. Please. The House had gone weeks at a time without meeting during the regular session that just ended when it would only have taken a simple majority vote to pass budget measures. Madigan was mum during all the negotiations in the Senate.

Gov. Bruce Rauner held a news conference on Wednesday placing all the blame on Democrats and talking about turning around the state by growing jobs and the economy and the need for continued negotiation. Please again. Without a budget, the state's pile of unpaid bills has climbed to $14 billion; its credit ratings are plunging. Rauner ranted about Democrats touring the state to create headlines but Rauner has released one ad after another blasting the people he's supposed to negotiate with. During the news availability he stood next to GOP Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, who earlier in the session was on the verge of closing in on a grand bargain deal with Democrats before Rauner pulled the plug. By all accounts, Radogno was pushed to the side in future negotiations.

On Twitter, Korecki pins the tail on the donkey - and that doesn't mean the Democrat:



Politics prevailed over governing, the Tribune reports:

Spring session ended with another thud Wednesday, as Democratic fear of blowback from raising taxes trumped a desire by some to put a spending plan on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

The end result is that for the second year in a row, partisan dysfunction at the Capitol sent lawmakers into a summer overtime session, leaving unanswered questions about whether an agreement can be reached to ensure elementary schools open on time this fall, universities can avoid further cuts and the poor can get social services.

We're now looking at the possibility that Rauner will go a full term without a signing a budget.

"Rauner had vowed to veto a Democratic budget that included an income tax hike and sales tax expansion, but he nonetheless classified the House's inaction on a spending plan as a 'complete dereliction of duty by the majority in the General Assembly.'"

Rauner, of course, has never proposed a serious budget and, as noted, pulled his party off the grand bargain that seemed like Illinois' only hope because . . . it didn't hurt workers enough?


This is the fight of Rauner's life. He is determined to bring radical change to the state; he perceives himself as a one-man revolution who will finally put a stop to what he (incorrectly) believes is holding Illinois back. If he were to compromise, he'd be just another dealmaking pol instead of the change agent he promised - to voters and himself - that he'd be. It's one man holding up 12.8 million of us for principles he believes are worth achieving no matter how many are hurt in the meantime. How do you negotiate with that?

Madigan is not entirely blameless, but Rauner is the one who can't accept that he can't change the laws of electoral physics.


Rauner already campaigning/fundraising on his own failure to deliver a budget.


"Illinois had its bond rating cut to a step above junk by S&P Global Ratings because of the long-running political stalemate over the budget that's kept the state from dealing with its chronic deficits," Bloomberg reports.

"The company warned that the rating could be cut again, which would make Illinois the first state since at least 1970 with a below investment grade."

Well, Rauner promised to bring Illinois back and he has - to 47 years ago.


Maybe we've got to expand our means of livin'.


Noted: An update on the 911 legislation I wrote about on Wednesday.


Primary Blues
"Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Tuesday went after some of the biggest players in Illinois Democratic politics - though pointedly not by name - in calling for changes in a local property tax system that he called rigged and likened to 'extortion,'" the Tribune reports.

"Kennedy was later asked if Berrios, Madigan and Burke are corrupt. He replied: 'The people who are in the system feel like they're playing by the rules and, as such, they feel like they're not breaking the rules. I think we need to change the rules so if this conduct continues, it's against the law.'"

Huh. Isn't this the same defense J.B. Pritzker used regarding his use of the county's property tax appeal system? Why yes, it is! He just availed himself of the same opportunity everyone else has to reduce their assessments!

The problem is twofold: First, that Kennedy is unwilling to call out Berrios, Madigan and Burke for their obvious corruption, regardless of whether what they do is "legal." After all, who writes the laws, rules and regulations governing this stuff? They didn't come down from the mountain with Moses.

Second, the idea that participating in a corrupt system is okay as long as that's what everyone else is doing is corrupting in itself. It helps perpetuate the system. A person of character does what's right regardless of what the law is or what opportunities one is availed of. In the case of Pritzker, a massively wealthy person essentially cheated the public out of badly needed tax revenue for what amounts to chump change for him.

Which brings me to Pritzker's new problem:

"I've got a lot of reasons why it makes sense. The problem for you would be the same problem with the Senate really," Pritzker said. "I've given you contributions."

"Total nonissue," Blagojevich replied. "First of all, you give money to everybody, like (Attorney General) Lisa Madigan, OK?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, no question," Pritzker said.

"Which, incidentally, if you can do for me what you did for her, before the end of the year. Can you think about that?" Blagojevich asked, aware that Pritzker had donated $50,000 to Madigan during the previous year.

"I can't, I mean, not while everything's up in the air, but I hear ya," Pritzker said. "I hear ya and, and, and ... But anyway ..."

"If we go in that direction, though, if that does happen, I mean there's some other people who can help us that you know," Blagojevich said.

"Sure," Pritzker said.

"If you feel skittish about that, which I believe you shouldn't, but go ahead," Blagojevich said.

"Yeah," Pritzker replied, "I don't think we should even talk about it but I understand what you're saying."

Pritzker was smart enough to know he shouldn't be talking about campaign contributions in the same conversation as a political appointment, but at the same time let Blagojevich know that he "heard" him and that he understood what he was saying. In other words, he winked and nodded.

He also did not accept the discussion as confirmation that the allegations swirling around Blagojevich were true. Quite the opposite.

"I think you've got a lot to run on," Pritzker told Blagojevich. "It's just, we've got to get the legal thing behind you."

Just get the legal thing - which you've just provided me proof of - behind you! Pritzker even practically begged to be an intimate advisor and intermediary on other appointments.

Pritzker later called Blagojevich "to see how he was 'holding up under all the Senate pressure,' according to a transcript of the conversation the Tribune obtained."

So that's where his sympathies lied, feigned or not.

Pritzker had a chance to show character and split with Blagojevich - and take his millions with him - and help lead his party and state in another direction, but instead he chose to put his own political ambition first.


Injury Rates In Young Female Athletes Almost Certainly Underestimated
"Most studies define injury as time loss from participation, whereas many athletes with overuse injuries continue to participate despite pain and reduced performance. When time-loss definitions are used, about 90 percent of overuse injuries appear to be missed."



Top 20 Percent Of Americans 'Hoard The American Dream.'


A sampling.




The Beachwood Tronc Line: Master class.


Posted on June 1, 2017

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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