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Cashing out

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:50

In hunting through campaign finance records, we noticed former state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican, closed out her account in the past few days. She finished her legislative career in 2012, and there was no money left in her final report.

Looking at the report before that showed that Mulligan had paid herself the remaining balance of the fund, $23,662.71, in July.

Can lawmakers just give themselves the remainder of their campaign funds? Usually not.

Candidate: 'Duck Dynasty' star is like Rosa Parks

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:53

As the controversy continues over A&E's suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson over comments he made to GQ magazine, Republican candidate for Congress Ian Bayne of Aurora sent a statement this morning comparing Robertson to Rosa Parks.

From the statement:

Parks, famous for refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white person, as was the rule of her day, provided inspiration for a movement of equality of black people and white people in America.

"What Parks did was courageous," said Bayne. "What Mr. Robertson did was courageous too."

Bayne believes that the Duck Dynasty star knew that going on GQ (magazine) would result in the current controversy going on surrounding his suspension...

Noah meets obstacle in OKC locker room

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 01:08

It's not unusual for NBA players to stop by the opposing locker room after games, usually to greet former teammates.

Joakim Noah met some resistance, though, when he walked into the Oklahoma City locker room after Thursday's 107-95 loss. Noah was there to greet former Bull and fellow French speaker Thabo Sefolosha, no doubt. But he was stopped by a former enemy from Boston, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.

There were still players and reporters in the locker room at the time, so plenty of witnesses to the verbal exchange between Noah and Perkins. Anthony Slater from The Oklahoman sent this account:

Perkins: "They just let anybody in the locker room?"
Noah: "Come on, man."
Perkins: "I'm just asking."
Noah: "Come on, man."
Perkins: "Just let anyone in the locker room now?"

Lottery mania

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:22

I found this tweet from Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka amusing because, first, everyone is caught up in lottery mania, and, second, I usually do these calculations for the blog, too. Now I don't have to.

Democrats detail coming unemployment cuts

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:01

A handful of Illinois Democratic members of Congress Tuesday outlined county-by-county numbers of people who will lose unemployment benefits Dec. 28.

Their numbers come from the the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, was the only House member from Illinois to vote against a bipartisan budget deal, saying lawmakers should have extended unemployment benefits.

"That is inexcusable and Congress has an obligation to ensure that millions of people can keep their modest benefits," Schakowsky said in a statement.

As it is, people are set to lose benefits Dec. 28 if Congress doesn't extend benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks. Illinois has a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

Democrats detail coming unemployment cuts

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:01

A handful of Illinois Democratic members of Congress Tuesday outlined county-by-county numbers of people who will lose unemployment benefits Dec. 28.

Their numbers come from the the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, was the only House member from Illinois to vote against a bipartisan budget deal, saying lawmakers should have extended unemployment benefits.

"That is inexcusable and Congress has an obligation to ensure that millions of people can keep their modest benefits," Schakowsky said in a statement.

As it is, people are set to lose benefits Dec. 28 if Congress doesn't extend benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks. Illinois has a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

New year, new tax fight

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 12/16/2013 - 13:19

The Illinois arm of Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative advocacy group, is targeting a handful of suburban Democratic state lawmakers with TV ads in its fight against the idea of a graduated income tax.

Here's an example of the spot, which also airs online, which subs in different lawmakers' names depending on where it runs. A spokesman said the first lawmakers being targeted include Reps. Carol Sente of Vernon Hills, Marty Moylan of Des Plaines, Deb Conroy of Villa Park and Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora.

None of the three have signed on to legislation to install a graduated income tax in Illinois, and they haven't signed onto a resolution opposing it.

Bulls sign Augustin

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:06

The Bulls officially signed point guard D.J. Augustin on Friday, a move that had been expected for a few days. He is expected to be in uniform for tonight's game at Milwaukee.

The Bulls host Augustin's old team, Toronto, on Saturday. He was waived by the Raptors to make room for the players acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay trade.

Augustin, 26, wasn't playing much for Toronto. He appeared in 10 of 19 games, averaging 2.1 points. Not long ago, he was producing good numbers for the Charlotte Bobcats. During his third NBA season in 2010-11, he averaged 14.4 points and 6.1 assists.

How campaigns can end before they begin

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:07

Next week, the State Board of Elections meets to get the process started to determine whether candidates who filed to be on the March 2014 primary ballot can stay there.

Candidates have to file petition signatures to get on, but more than 120 challenges were filed to those petitions. In those cases, the Board of Elections will eventually decide whether a candidate has followed the rules, gathered enough signatures and can stay on the ballot.

Many cases end without anyone getting booted and nothing changes. But in some cases, a candidate could get tossed, eliminating a challenger and making life easier for the other hopeful(s) in a race.

Final decisions should be made by Jan. 9.

Noah joins Bulls' injury list

Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 19:25

The Bulls had yet another injury surprise waiting before Tuesday's game against Milwaukee at the United Center.

Center Joakim Noah will not play because of a knee contusion. He was out on the floor shooting baskets after Monday's practice, so it's unclear when this injury happened.

Luol Deng (sore left Achilles) and Jimmy Butler (turf toe) won't play tonight. If veteran point guard Mike James is available -- he's supposed to be recovered from a knee sprain -- the Bulls will have nine healthy players against the Bucks. Carlos Boozer is the only starter from the regular season opener who will be in the lineup tonight.