Ah, my home state. Just when you think it has hit rock bottom it sinks lower. Paul Mirengoff of the Powerline blog gives us the details of the latest outrage in the Land of Lincoln:
Arthur Bishop, the new director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), was convicted in the 1990s of bilking his employer, a substance abuse counseling center, out of money received from its clients. According to the center’s director at the time, Bishop created a bogus program for convicted drunk drivers. He took money from patients and provided them with forms they wrongly believed would allow them to get their driver’s licenses back.
Unfortunately for Bishop’s victims, the center wasn’t licensed by the state to provide that service at the time. Bishop pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is standing by his decision to make Bishop the state’s top child-welfare official. He claims to see no connection between Bishop’s corruption and his ability to lead a department that has been plagued by charges of failure to keep track of its money. In December, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued a Chicago businessman and friend of a former DCFS director to recover millions of dollars in state grant money the businessman allegedly misspent.
If Quinn can’t see the connection between stealing and unfitness to run a large government agency, perhaps he can connect the dots on Bishop’s own “children and family” issues. Court records show that a paternity case was filed against Bishop in 2003, when he was a DCFS deputy director. DNA tests showed he was the father of Erica Bishop, then 17.
According to the child’s mother, Bishop, who was married to another woman when Erica was born, “denies his own daughter’s existence” even though “he visited us on numerous occasions at my parents’ house when she was a child.” The mother further alleged that Bishop “even asked me if he could live in with me if his wife put him out after she learned the truth.” Continue reading
In a USA Today story Illinois is ranked as the third worst run state in the Union:
> Debt per capita: $5,041 (11th-highest) > Budget deficit: 18.5% (9th-largest) > Unemployment: 8.9% (10th-highest) > Median household income: $55,137 (16th-highest) > Pct. below poverty line: 14.7% (tied for 24th-lowest)
Illinois has the worst credit rating in the U.S., having received the lowest rating of any state from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Explaining its reasoning, Moody’s pointed to the state’s underfunded pension and ongoing weak fiscal practices such as bill payment delays. Only 40.4% of the state’s pension obligations were funded in 2012, the worst rate in the nation. Illinois also had the fourth-largest debt in the country at the end of fiscal 2011 at nearly $65 billion. The state faced high foreclosure and unemployment rates in 2012, both among the worst in the country. Continue reading
John Hinderacker of Powerline asks the crucial question: is Dick Durbin (D. Ill) the dumbest Democrat?:
The competition is intense, but Durbin is definitely a contender. Here is the latest evidence:
In preparation for a previously announced hearing on controversial “stand your ground” laws announced after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., sent letters to more than 300 possible corporate backers of the American Legislative Exchange Council, requesting their position on such policies in states across the country.
This is Durbin’s press release announcing the “stand your ground” hearing in his Senate Judiciary subcommittee:
Around 30 states currently have some form of “stand your ground” laws on the books. September’s hearing will examine the gun lobby’s and the American Legislative Exchange Council’s influence in creating and promoting these laws; the way in which the laws have changed the legal definition of self-defense; the extent to which the laws have encouraged unnecessary shooting confrontations; and the civil rights implications when racial profiling and “stand your ground” laws mix, along with other issues.
There are multiple layers of stupidity here, so let’s try to itemize at least some of them:
1) Self-defense is a matter of state, not federal, law. Why is Durbin’s Judiciary Subcommittee holding a hearing on a topic that cannot, and will not, result in federal legislation?
2) “Stand your ground” had nothing to do with the Trayvon Martin case, as both prosecutors and defense lawyers said, and as we and many others have explained countless times. Is Dick Durbin really one of the few who don’t get this?
3) As Durbin’s own press release states, around 30 states have some some sort of stand your ground legislation. That is a clear majority. There is a reason for this. Most people think such laws are a good idea, as shown by, for example, a strong 45%-32% plurality in this Rasmussen survey. It is not necessary to investigate the influence of some nefarious “lobby” to explain why popular legislation is enacted in 30 states.
4) Durbin’s attack on the American Legislative Exchange Council is a sad page in the current left-wing playbook. A previously little-known good government group (albeit one with broad support and participation among both corporations and legislators), ALEC found itself in the left-wing crosshairs a year or so ago, and has remained there. Why? Roll Call’s blog offers a clue: Continue reading
I view Detroit and its bankruptcy as a harbinger of things to come. The blue state social model of ever higher taxes, ever expanding benefits for members of public employee unions and one party rule by the Democrat party is coming to an end. The ending will be painful for people luckless enough to live in blue states, as I do, but this parasitical form of government ultimately destroys the private economy host it feeds on. Walter Mead at Via Meadia has been prescient in seeing this:
It looks like Detroit may yet have competition for the distinction of America’s most poorly run city. The unprecedented triple-drop in Chicago’s bond rating and the city’s shiny new long-term debt figure—$29 billion—should have pols quaking in their boots. The Chicago Sun-Times has published some distressing numbers from Chicago’s recent audits:
- The number of “physical arrests” by Chicago Police officers declined again — from 152,740 in 2011 to 145,390 in 2012. That continues a six-year trend that coincides with the hiring slowdown that caused a dramatic decline in the number of police officers. Police made 227,576 arrests in 2006. The number of arrests has been dropping like a rock ever since….
- Emergency responses continued their steady rise — to 472,752. That’s up from 300,971 in 2006.…
- The 55 percent subsidy to retiree health care that Emanuel wants to phase out and retirees are suing to maintain cost the city $97.5 million in 2012.
- The condition of Chicago’s four city employee pension funds is growing ever more precarious. The firefighters pension fund has assets to cover just 25 percent of liabilities, followed by: Police (31 percent); Municipal Employees (38 percent) and Laborers (56 percent).
In addition to the pension, law enforcement, and emergency response concerns that remind us of a certain bankrupt city across the lake, the report notes that three of Chicago’s four largest private employers (JP Morgan, Accenture LLP, and Northern Trust) are in finance. It seems like blue cities have a codependent relationship with the one percenters progressives claim to hate.
It hasn’t all hit the fan quite yet, but Chicago seems perilously close to real trouble. The city is all out of money, and with an imploding public education system and harrowing levels of violence, it is losing residents fast. Illinois, which itself lost more than 800,000 people to out-migration in the past two decades, is essentially Chicago on a larger scale, with hundreds of billions in unfunded pension liabilities and complete political sclerosis. The state cannot bail out Chicago, and judging by the feds’ reluctance to even lift a finger for Detroit, Chicago shouldn’t expect much more. Continue reading
Well, the Land of Lincoln, and the home state of the South Side Messiah, has another distinction:
llinois’ credit rating has taken another hit. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service downgraded the state from an “A” rating to “A-minus”, making it the worst in the country.
The New York ratings firm’s ranking means taxpayers may have to pay tens of millions of dollars more in interest when the state borrows money for roads and other projects.
The downgrade is the latest fallout over the $96.8 billion debt to five state pension systems.
The downgrade now ties Illinois with California, but California has a positive outlook.
Illinois’ fragile overall financial status netted it a negative outlook, putting it behind California overall.
The ratings came out now because Illinois plans to issue $500 million in bonds within days.
Finally…we beat California at something.
My beloved state of Illinois has a terrible economy, and a shrinking tax base but that is apparently no problem for the bi-partisan pirates who have been plundering the Land of Lincoln for decades:
When Republican state Rep. Roger Eddy announced his retirement from the House Thursday, you could hear the “ding, ding, ding” of a slot machine all the way from Springfield.
Eddy hit the pension jackpot.
He is retiring early from the House to run the Illinois Association of School Boards, which, among other activities, lobbies the Illinois Legislature. His start date is July 1 — although now that he’s leaving the Statehouse before the end of the spring session, he said it’s likely he’ll work for the association before July.
Why the sudden defection? One likely reason: He’ll be much richer in retirement, thanks in part to taxpayers.
In his new job, Eddy will not only stay in the Teachers’ Retirement System, he can collect more in benefits from it. He has been working both as a state representative and superintendent for Hutsonville Community Unit School District 1. He has been part of TRS through his Hutsonville job, where he earned a salary of $107,400. His new salary is expected to be at least $200,000, and his pension will be based on that.
Illinois Statehouse News reported that Eddy’s pension as school superintendent would have been about $70,500 a year. It will climb to at least $141,000 in his new job. His predecessor at the IASB, Mike Johnson, is earning an annual pension — get ready to swallow hard — of $193,273, according to TRS.
But that’s not the end of Eddy’s pension largesse. He’ll be eligible in two years to begin collecting a pension of about $24,000 a year from his nine years of part-time work in the Legislature. Illinois Statehouse News projected his lawmaker pension carries a lifetime value of $584,273. Eddy is 53 years old. Continue reading
By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees,
and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.
From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree,
turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.
When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue,
there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.
Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.
I have designated Governor Quinn of my homestate of Illinois the worst governor in the country. Not content to rest on his laurels, Governor Quinn has continued to misgovern the Land of Lincoln with the skill of a spendthrift who is afraid that he has a cent somewhere that remains unspent. Such diligence will always reap a reward, and one has now come to Quinn:
Illinois, unable to solve its long-running financial problems, was given the lowest credit rating of any state in the country by Moody’s Investors Service on Friday, a move that will increase costs to taxpayers.
A second agency, Standard & Poor’s, left its Illinois rating unchanged but warned of a negative outlook that could lead to a downgrade in the future. A day earlier, Fitch Ratings also left the rating unchanged and declared a stable outlook.
Lower credit ratings generally mean the state winds up paying more interest when it borrows money by selling bonds.
Both Moody’s and S&P said they are troubled by Illinois’ failure to balance its budget and strengthen government pension systems, although a tax increase and other measures have helped.
Moody’s cited “weak management practices” and a recent legislative session that “took no steps to implement lasting solutions.”
Moody’s now rates Illinois “A2,” below any other state. Only one state, California, qualifies for the next-highest rating. All the rest are ranked higher. Continue reading
I have previously deemed the Governor of Illinois, Patrick Quinn (D.), the worst governor in the country. Go here to read the post in which I bestowed the title. After his meeting with the Illinois bishops on Friday December 16, 2011, I have attached “Lying” to his title. The bishops asked for the meeting to protest the constant pro-abortion advocacy of Quinn. After the meeting here is what Quinn said:
“A lot of the discussion was how we could work together to fight poverty, help the people who are less fortunate and need a helping hand,” Quinn told the Sun-Times as he left a Christmas toy give-away on the Far South Side. “Getting people jobs, helping people who don’t have enough food to eat — that’s what the church’s social mission is all about.”
This was too much for the bishops and they released the following statement: Continue reading
Blagojevich, the foul mouthed former governor of my State, the first governnor in the history of the State of Illinois to be impeached and removed from office, will not have to pay rent for the next 14 years, as he will be serving time for that period after being sentenced today by Federal District Judge James Zagel. Continue reading
This can be considered a companion piece to my worst governor post which may be read here. The video above consists of selections from a speech by author Joel Kotkin to the Illinois Policy Institute explaining some of the ways in which the powers that be in Illinois have made the state completely uncompetitive with other states in producing sustained private sector economic growth. If I were starting out I would leave Illinois. Nothing good is going to be happening in this state economically for a very long time. The leadership of the state is completely blind to our problems and promote policies that drive businesses away and sink Illinois deeper in a fiscal morass. Illinois’ woes are completely man-made, and Illinois, thanks to a majority of the Illinois voters, remains wedded to a model of high government expenditure, hostility to private enterprise and unending political corruption that makes effective reform for at least the next three years a pipe dream.
In a crowded field, Pat Quinn, Democrat Governor of Illinois, can now officially be proclaimed the worst governor in the United States.
He has been vying for the title ever since he took over from impeached and removed Governor Blagojevich, currently bound for a long stay in federal prison. Since taking over from his felon predecessor, he has the following accomplishments to his discredit:
In a midnight session of the lame duck legislature in January of this year he increased, in the midst of the worst economic slump since World War II, Illinois personal income taxes by 67-75%, and, as a result, the misgoverned state of Illinois became a national laughingstock.
Quinn got elected last year by a razor thin margin largely by under the radar last minute internet ads posted by Personal PAC, a pro-abort lobbying group, headed by a Terry Cosgrove. As payback Quinn appointed Cosgrove to a $46,000 a year job on the Human Rights Commission. Lake County Right to Life has good coverage on this story which may be read here. Regular Guy Paul has been on top of the story at his blog here.
Now I happen to know Cosgrove from the days back in the Seventies when we were both attending the U of I. He is a lapsed Catholic, now a militant atheist, homosexual activist and fanatical pro-abort. He was head of the local campus pro-aborts and I was one of the founders of L.I.F.E. (Life Is For Everyone), the campus pro-life group. One time I saw Cosgrove at Mass circa 1980 at the Newman Chapel, at Saint John’s. Puzzled why he was there, after Mass I found out why. At the pamphlet rack in the back I saw that he had stuffed pro-abort obscene anti-Catholic pamphlets. I disposed of them. He also said in one memorable public forum that he carried a gun to defend himself against “militant anti-choicers”, as he phrased pro-lifers. Quinn appointed him to the Illinois Human Rights Commission in April of this year. That a bigot like Cosgrove now has a seat on the Human Rights Commission in Illinois has a nice Orwellian touch.
Now Quinn has outdone himself and seized the title of worst governor. As further payback to Cosgrove and his pro-abort pressure group, Quinn is going to attend the annual fund raising dinner for Personal Pac and present an award. When challenged on this by every Catholic bishop in the State, and Cardinal George, the ostensibly Catholic Quinn responded that giving the award was the “Christian thing to do.” (Quinn obviously must have a unique gloss on the statement of Christ, “Suffer the little children…”.) Continue reading
Even for Illinois this is putrid. Two Illinois teacher Union lobbyists are able to collect teacher pensions because they each served as a substitute teacher for one day. This of course is taking place in a de facto bankrupt state.
Over the course of their lifetimes, both men stand to receive more than a million dollars each from a state pension fund that has less than half of the assets it needs to cover promises made to tens of thousands of public school teachers. With billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, which serves public school teachers outside of Chicago, is one of several pension plans that are in debt as state government reels in a fiscal crisis. Continue reading
The Governor of Illinois is Pat Quinn, a Roman Catholic and 100% pro-abort. He got elected last year by a razor thin margin largely by under the radar last minute internet ads posted by Personal PAC, a pro-abort lobbying group, headed by a Terry Cosgrove. As payback Quinn appointed Cosgrove to a $46,000 a year job on the Human Rights Commission. Lake County Right to Life has good coverage on this story which may be read here. Regular Guy Paul has been on top of the story at his blog here.
Now I happen to know Cosgrove from the days back in the Seventies when we were both attending the U of I. He is a lapsed Catholic, now a militant atheist, homosexual activist and fanatical pro-abort. He was head of the local campus pro-aborts and I was one of the founders of L.I.F.E. (Life Is For Everyone), the campus pro-life group. One time I saw Cosgrove at Mass circa 1980 at the Newman Chapel, at Saint John’s. Puzzled why he was there, after Mass I found out why. At the pamphlet rack in the back I saw that he had stuffed pro-abort anti-Catholic pamphlets. I disposed of them. He also said in one memorable public forum that he carried a gun to defend himself against “militant anti-choicers”, as he phrased pro-lifers. That a bigot like Cosgrove now has a seat on the Human Rights Commission in Illinois has a nice Orwellian touch. Challenged on the nomination, Quinn made the following truly hilarious statement:
Pat Quinn is the Governor of the State of Illinois. He was Lieutenant Governor under Rod Blagojevich and took over after Blago was impeached and convicted by the State Legislature. Quinn bucked the Republican tide this year and won election to a four year term, narrowly defeating pro-life Republican Bill Brady. In that campaign Quinn emphasized that he is a pro-abort.
Pat Quinn claims to be a Roman Catholic. The State Legislature this week passed a civil unions (pretend marriage) bill for homosexuals. Quinn has vowed to sign it.
Gov. Pat Quinn – who campaigned on the issue, lobbied members and was on the floor of the House for much of Tuesday’s debate – lauded the House’s action. Quinn said he would sign the bill if it passes the Senate, where a vote is expected today.
The Bishop of Springfield, Thomas Paprocki, wasted no time correcting the Governor:
After the Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation that would require the state to recognize same-sex unions, Governor Pat Quinn was quoted as saying, “My religious faith animates me to support this bill.” He did not say what religious faith that would be, but it certainly is not the Catholic faith. If the Governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative for which he is accountable to the voters. But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority, and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.
The Governor met the Bishop’s rebuke with a shrug of indifference: Asked about the bishop’s statement, Quinn said, “I follow my conscience. My conscience is not kicking me in the shins today.” Continue reading