Saturday, October 31, 2009

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Will Quinn finally sign campaign limits bill?

I’ll give the “Mighty Quinn” the benefit of the doubt when he says now that he’s inclined to sign into law a measure that would impose limits on campaign contributions.

Pat Quinn told reporter-types that he, “look(s) forward to signing it,” after the state Senate on Friday gave the measure the final bit of legislative approval it requires before the governor can have his say-so.

LET’S NOT FORGET, however, that Quinn helped negotiate a previous version of a campaign finance law that made it through the Legislature, only to then turn around and use his “veto” power to kill it off.

Now I know there are those people who will say that measure was tainted by special interests who imposed so many restrictions on the restrictions that it would have done little to limit contributions. Those people say Quinn did the right thing by killing it off.

But because of that past act, I’m going to wait and see until Quinn goes through the ritual of using a dozen or so pens to put his “Pat Quinn” on the bill, thereby allowing it to become law come Jan. 1.

As it stands, this version of a campaign finance limits law has its critics – but these are purely partisan political people. In short, Republicans are upset that they were not given enough say in the measure’s creation, and they resent the fact that Democrats will be taking credit for giving the people of Illinois a measure of “good government.”

THEREBY IMPLYING THAT it was the GOP that was somehow the problem.

But that is the reality of modern partisan politics. Some people are always going to disagree because they don’t like the letter (“D” or “R”) that follows someone’s name. The merits of a proposal have little to do with it.

For what it’s worth, the measure would limit how much money people and groups could give (http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/10/bill-restricting-campaign-fundraising-sent-to-quinn.html) to candidates, and also would require more frequent public disclosure of campaign contributions. But critics are focusing on the fact that the legislative leaders still would have great authority to receive contributions, then distribute that money to individual candidates.

What else was notable in the news on the day before millions of little rug rats go marching through the streets in search of mini-Snickers bars?

NEW OWNERS, NEW BALLPARK, BUT THE SAME OLD BALLCLUB?: I’m not a Chicago Cubs fan (I consider them to be a civic embarrassment), but I couldn’t help but note the fact that the team’s new owners tried to make themselves visible.

In reading a transcript of their comments, I couldn’t help but get the impression that the changes (http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2009/10/ricketts-family-speaks-after-taking-control-of-chicago-cubs.html) from Tribune Co. ownership will be less than overwhelming.

Tom Ricketts made it clear he’s focusing attention on development of a building adjacent to Wrigley Field that would allow for space for the retail shops and restaurants and fancy amenities that many stadiums have these days.

Insofar as the team on the field? He’s deluded enough to think the current team has the talent to win a World Series (a division title is only possible because their division is weak) and he has no plans to change the manager. Lou Piniella is still employed. And the answer is “yes.” Ticket prices will rise for 2010.

MENTALLY DEFICIENT AND DISTURBED!?!: That’s how far Brian Dugan is willing to go to try to avoid having a death sentence imposed against him for the 1983 abduction and slaying of a 10-year-old girl in the DuPage County suburbs.

A judge on Friday ruled that attorneys for Dugan can bring in a psychologist who uses a brain-scan technique that will supposedly show us that Dugan’s brain literally contains “important deficiencies and disturbances” that would make it inappropriate for him to be put to death for the slaying of Jeanine Nicarico.

The psychologist will be allowed to testify even though the state’s attorney thinks that such brain scans (http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/10/judge-allows-testimony-about-dugans-brain-deficiencies.html#comments) are not necessarily relevant.

Whether they are or are not is something for a jury to decide. Yet I can’t help but wonder how many people will wind up so confused by the testimony that they wind up disregarding it in their own minds.

THERE’S NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE: Not being much of a professional basketball fan, I can’t really figure what’s going on here. The Chicago Bulls for the past decade have drawn more people than any other National Basketball Association team.

It must be the people who view it as a tourist attraction to see the very floor upon which Michael Jordan and crew won a few NBA titles (and where Dennis Rodman used to be the most flamboyantly-clad person in the arena). They can even see the parking lot that once was the Chicago Stadium where the first few of those six NBA titles were won.

Does anyone seriously think that names such as Elton Brand and Eddy Curry were (http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/bullstopnbaattendance_091028.html?rss=true) responsible for bringing in those crowds – which averaged over 20,000 per game (the NBA average was just over 16,000)?

I’d have an easier time believing that those people were showing up to see the Matadors do their dance routine that makes the image of late comedian Chris Farley as a Chippendale’s dancer (http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=1422) appear erotic.

-30-

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