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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Desperate Blago | Music Commentary



Desperate Blago
The Ballad of Rod Blagojevich
Ukulele Parody | 2:46
Commentary
By Lisa

Friday, January 30, 2009

Illinois Senate Votes 59 to 0 to Convict and Remove Rod Blagojevich from Office of Governor | Pat Quinn Becomes Governor



Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends - Viva la Vida

The Illinois Senate has voted unanimously 59 to 0 to convict Rod Blagojevich of impeachment and remove him from Office of the Governor of Illinois, effective 4:52pm by the declaration of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois.

Mr. Blagojevich is further disqualified from holding public office in future, also by unanimous vote.

Pat Quinn has been sworn-in as the 41st Governor of Illinois.

Blago held a press briefing outside his home and thanked the people of Illinois for the opportunity to serve them and says he will continue to fight for them and to clear his name.

CBS Jay Levine Report



Blago's statement after the removal of office

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blagojevich Makes His Case Before Illinois Senate Impeachment Trial

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Rod Blagojevich makes his closing argument on his own behalf in the historic impeachment trial of an Illinois Governor.

Blagojevich Will Appear for Closing Argument in Illinois Senate Impeachment Trial | Review By State Sen. Dan Rutherford



Another twist in Blagorama as Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he will show up in Springfield on Thursday to present the closing argument on his behalf.

United States Postal Service Requests Congress to Change Six Day Delivery Requirement to Five Days | Mail Volume Down, Online Communication Up



The United States Postal Service (USPS) has requested the United States Congres to amend the laws requiring six day postal delivery and instead require five day postal delivery, which would likely result in elimination of Saturday delivery or sometime mid-week.

With mail volume down by billions and online communication skyrocketing, should Congress allow the change or should it remain six days?

Obama's Change on Ethics, Transparency and...Hypocrisy? | Commentary By Campbell Brown



CNN's Campbell Brown says President Obama isn't following his own rules on ethics and transparency.

Reality Check | No Economic Solution Without Reversing the Credit Crunch



All the bailouts and all the proposed stimulus spending are useless without reversing the current credit crunch, according to many financial and economic experts.

Will Obama's stimulus package change the credit crunch crisis?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

City of Aurora Strikes Back and Vows Fight to Halt Railroad Merger and Hold Canadian National (CN), Daley and Politicians Accountable

City of Aurora vows to fight Canadian National's (CN) and
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's wish to reduce quality of life
and add tens of millions of cost in Aurora and Naperville

According to sources and reports, the City of Aurora voted unanimously to join other members of The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC) in an appeal of Canadian National Railway's merger with the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad (EJ&E), not only funding the legal appeal, but taking direct aim at those who stand to benefit at Aurora's expense and who fail to protect taxpayers.

Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois, joins other communities, including Naperville in vowing to strike back at the approval by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and questions on the environmental impact study that may have been insufficient.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, who co-chairs TRAC, said "the increased outpouring of opposition to this acquistion indicates that more and more citizens are concerned about how this will impact their daily lives."

Part of the appeal also alleges the STB expedited the process to accomodate CN's purchase timeline. Sources say Chicago Mayor Richard Daley may have been pushing his clout behind-the-scenes to expedite approval of the deal so he can divert and dump significant freight traffic away from the City of Chciago onto suburbs at their expense.

Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence praised Mayor Weisner's efforts to block the merger and agreed "we must fight this" and further stated:

"We have two enemies in this fight. CN and the Chicago politicans who smile at us, everyone from Sen. Dick Durbin to now Sen. Roland Burris, telling us how everything will be okay and they are on our side, but in reality, they and other politicians are afraid to stand up to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley."

"Daley tears down public housing in Chicago, shifting the problem to the suburbs so he can build multi-million dollar properties. Now, he wants to get rid of the trains and freight traffic because he wants property for his silly Olympics and other developments, shoving tens of millions of dollars in costs to taxpayesr in communities like Aurora and Naperville, two of the largest cities in Illinois."

"We need to escalate this fight. If our taxpayers have to pay one dime for CN or Daley's benefit, there should be consequences to all politicians who did not protect the taxpayers of communities like Aurora and Naperville who will be hit with dramatic change in quality of life and costs."

Lawrence notes Daley pushed state legislators, including some suburban lawmakers, to increase a regional sales tax to help bailout the CTA despite its chronic problems, high costs and mismanagement, supposedly to avert fare increases, which went up anyway after the tax increase.

Weisner agrees with Lawrence and says he's encouraged by recent developments and optimistic they can either stop the merger or make those responsible for the negative impact pay for it.

Just to create one overpass over Ogden Avenue in Aurora, which the STB acknowledges would be necessary to avoid serious adverse impact, would cost an estimated $50 million. They recommend CN pay two-thirds of the cost, but even if they do, it would leave almost $17 million in cost to taxpayers.

Lawrence's bottom line and message to CN, Daley and everyone is simple, "we will accept zero cost to the taxpayers of Aurora and Naperville."

Fernando Chapa, State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia's Brother, Seeks Elected Office with East Aurora School District 131 Board

After moving from Batavia to Aurora recently, sources said Fernando Chapa, who's family owns a real estate brokerage and he is the brother of State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia, was considering a run for elected office.

Speculation ranged from mayor to alderman-at-large, but now it's confirmed he has filed to be a candidate for School Board for East Aurora School District 131.

The school district, which has been in a state of academic and financial crisis, continues to require dramatic and bold transformation.

The candidates that have filed for the April 7, 2009 election for school board are (in alphabetical order):

* Samuel Carson

* Fernando Chapa

* Stella Gonzales

* Fernando Salinas

* Juanita Wells

Note: Click here for West Aurora School District 129 Board candidates

Election 2009 | Controversy Swirls Around Aurora Township Republican and Democrat Candidates and Caucus

Although different in nature, both Aurora Township Republican Chairman Bill Wyatt and Aurora Township Democrat Chairman Alex Arroyo, are both dealing with controversies swirling since the caucus held for each recently to determine a slate of candidates for the April 7, 2009 election for Aurora Township government elected office, ranging from Supervisor to Trustee.

Aurora Township Democrats had a controversial tie vote for the position of Supervisor, with Arroyo breaking a tie in favor of Christina Campos. Interim Aurora Township Supervisor and candidate Annie Craig has filed a formal objection, saying voters were not signed-in properly and those not eligible may have voted.

Craig is seeking a runoff election between Campos, Paul Griveskes and herself. The matter would likely be reviewed by township officials.

The caucus for Aurora Township Republicans reportedly was smooth and without any voting disputes, but one of the candidates that emerged to be on the slate for Trustee, has raised questions since for many township Republicans since.

David Luna, who teaches martial arts, has a past history with gangs and a murder allegation at the age of 20 that was later dropped (he was allegedly a passenger in a drive-by shooting). Some township precinct committeemen say that if this information had been known, he would not likely have received sufficient votes.

Luna, who was reportedly recruited by Wyatt's wife, Gabriella, says his life has changed and those issues are in the past. Some are asking that he step aside so another candidate can run instead.

Bill Wyatt says he will continue to support Luna because he believes he has turned his life around.

Illinois Impeachment Update | Day 2 Review By State Sen. Dan Rutherford

Illinois State Senator Dan Rutherford reviews Day 2 of the Impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (2 minutes):


Listen to the FBI's intercepted communication tapes or read the transcripts reviewed on Tuesday

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chasing Blago | CBS Early Show, Geraldo Fox News, CNN Larry King Live, ABC Nightline

CBS Early Show with Rod Blagojevich | Part 1 - Tuesday

Watch CBS Videos Online

CBS Early Show with Rod Blagojevich | Part 2 - Tuesday


Watch CBS Videos Online

Geraldo Rivera's Fox News with Rod Blagojevich - Monday




CNN Larry King Live | Excerpt (3:09)


CNN Larry King Live | Extended (36:54)


ABC' Nightline with Rod Blagojevich - Monday

City of Aurora Seeks $55 Million From $825 Billion Economic Stimulus Package

City of Aurora officials are seeking $55 Million from President Obama's proposed $825 Billion Economic Stimulus Package, which include the following:
  • Ogden Avenue Railroad Overpass, $16.5 million, 712 jobs
  • Construction of Station Boulevard from Liberty Street to the Metra Commuter Station at Route 59, $7.5 million, 107 jobs
  • Sewer Separation, $5.8 million, 124 jobs
  • Eola Road Widening from 87th Street to Keating Drive, $8.5 million, 114 jobs
  • RiverEdge Park/ Brownfield Cleanup, $16.5 million, 185 jobs
Which of the above should be considered, which should not and what should have been considered?

Also, on Tuesday's City of Aurora docket:

>Finance Commitee | Agenda | Map
3pm, City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place, 5th Floor

>Government Operations | Agenda | Map
4:30pm, Alderman's Office, 60 E. Downer Place

>Aurora City Council | Agenda | Large Bills | Map
6:00pm, City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place, 2nd Floor

Illinois Impeachment Update | By State Sen. Dan Rutherford

Illinois State Senator Dan Rutherford reviews Day 1 and previews Day 2 of the Illinois Senate Impeachment Trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (2 min):

Election 2009 | West Aurora School Board Candidates Emerge

For the City of Aurora and surrounding communities, there is no doubt the future relies on the success of education with the six public school districts that include portions of Aurora.

Since Dr. James Rydland became Superintendent, there has been progress at West Aurora School District 129 and the district seems poised to take it to the next level, so the next school board has an opportunity and responsibility to make sure that happens.

Five candidates have emerged for three available seats for the April 7th election for school board (alphabetical order):

* Mark Bradford

* Robert Littler

* Neal Ormond (currently on board)

* Anthony Stanford

* Jonathan Wood (currently on board)

Laurie Hoffman, who is also currently on the board, is not seeking re-election. Those elected will serve a four-year term through 2013.

Can President Barack Obama Change the Chronic Crisis of the Middle East? Is Peace Between Palestine and Israel Possible?

President Barack Obama had his first media interview since his inauguration with Al-Arabiya Television in an effort to reach out the Middle East and address one of the world's chronic and difficult crisis between Palestine and Israel. Can he change the situation along with former Senator and Special Envoy George Mitchell?



CBS "60 Minutes" reviewed the complications of solving this chronic crisis and the reality from the region:


Watch CBS Videos Online

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good Morning America, Impeachment and Blagojevich Media Blitz Heat Up | The View, Senator Oprah?

Live from New York, it's Rod Blagojevich...


Blagojevich on Good Morning America


Sen. Matt Murphy and Blago on Good Morning America


Blago on the View | Part 1


Blago on the View | Part 2



Gov. Rod Blagojevich revealed on Good Morning America
that Oprah (yes, really) was one of the possible considerations
as a replacement for Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat in Illinois


Blago's media blitz gets into full force on Monday as the Illinois Senate begins a historic impeachment trial of a sitting Governor of Illinois.

The media blitz includes national interviews on Good Morning America, The View, Fox News and Larry King Live.

During the Good Morning America interview, it was revealed her excellency and queen of talk, Oprah, was considered as a possible option for the U.S. Senate replacement for Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

>See OpenlineBlog's November 6th post and poll suggesting Oprah as a U.S. Senate candidate among others, including former Bears coach Mike Ditka, Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Blago's primary complaint about the impeachment process is the inability to call witnesses in his defense. That is both true and not true. He can call witnesses, but not just any witnesses, such as Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. The U.S. Attorney's office has asked the Senate to limit such witnesses due to the ongoing criminal investigation.

>William Jacobson questions the fairness and constitutionality of the Illinois Senate's impeachment trial. See inside for his commentary.

>Senate's impeachment trial begins

>Blago appears on Good Morning America and The View

>The View co-host Joy Behar attacks Blagojevich and tries to mess up his hair

Friday, January 23, 2009

Defending Blago | By Rod Blagojevich

Sunday morning on NBC's Today Show



Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich could be a week away from being removed from office, but with the impeachment trial in the Illlinois Senate looming on Monday, he is saying the process is unfair and his attorneys may attempt to stop the process because of the rules.

Specifically, Blagojevich wants to be able to call any witnesses and have subpoena power, but the senate rules have limits. He says, for example, he wants to call as a witness Rahm Emanuel, the new Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, who has made media appearances saying there was no attempt to sell the senate seat.

Should Blago get the opportunity to call any witness and have due process?

Aside from the allegations regarding selling Obama's U.S. Senate seat, the impeachment will look at a various complaints of "abuse of power."

Blago objects to these and says that if they date back for so long, why are they being brought up now?

Illinois Democrats, including the Daley's, Madigans, Emil Jones and so on, looked the other way for years, so is Blago correct he is being railroaded?

>Listen to Blago's radio interview with WLS-AM on Friday morning:

Blago says during his WLS-AM radio interview...

-Needs to call witnesses like Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, etc
-Illinois Dems are pushing Blago aside for huge tax increase
-Pat Quinn has cut a deal to slam the people of Illinois with taxes

-Impeachment process is unconstitutional and unfair; no due process
-Questions how an end date for a trial while claiming to be fair
-December 9th arrest was his family's personal "Pearl Harbor Day"

-Appointing Roland Burris was his legal responsibility
-Danny Davis was a leading candidate for the U.S. Senate seat

-Having phones tapped "crossed his mind" earlier
-Appearance on The View on Monday
-Says he's done nothing wrong

-Being punished for saying no to Daley, Madigan, Stroger, etc
-Being punished for giving kids healthcare and senior prescription drugs
-Being punisehd for giving seniors free public transportation

-Being punished for closing corporate loopholes and saving middle-class
-Being punished for making political enemies and helping working people

-Will continue to fight for people, truth and what's right

More...

>Chicago Mayor Richard Daley called Blago today "cuckoo" (note: Daley's administration has been under numerous ongoing federal investigations)

>Blago holds press conference and urges Chicago Tribune editorial board to help him and says he's being hanged

>Lt. Gov Pat Quinn, anxious to push Blago out so he can screw up the state himself, says we shoudn't believe Blago's song-n-dance (note: apply the same criteria to Pat Quinn)

>Blago's lead criminal defense attorney Ed Genson says he will quit

Ricketts Family Wins Ownership Ticket Offer to Chicago Cubs for $900 Million



The sale for one of the most popular sports franchises in the world has been narrowed down to just one.

The Ricketts family, which made their fortune with online brokerage TD Ameritrade, has been selected by the Tribune Co. to enter into exclusive negotiations to purchase the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and a stake in Comcast SportsNet for $900 million.

The deal would be 50% cash and 50% financing, but aside from various aspects to the negotiations with the Tribune Co, it would need to be approved by 23 of 30 of Major League Baseball owners.

The Tribune Co. has been trying to unload the Chicago Cubs to raise funds to address its current bankruptcy.

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox and a 80% stake in a sports network were sold for $700 million.

The Tribune Co. bought the Chicago Cubs in 1981 from the Wrigley family for $20.5 million.

Aside from winning a World Series, what changes would you like to see new ownership do for the Chicago Cubs or Wrigley Field?

Barack and Michelle Obama's First Dance | At Last With Beyonce



Barack and Michelle Obama's First Dance
Neighborhood Presidential Inaugural Ball
Washington D.C. | January 20, 2009
At Last | Beyonce


Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Barack Obama Retakes the Oath from Chief Justice John Roberts



On Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts did a "redo" on the oath of office after some mistakes on the day of inauguration.

It appears that while Obama technically became President of the United States at 12:00 noon on January 20th, executing his duties could lead to possible questions without the proper oath.

Television cameras were not allowed for the small ceremony, which has led to complaints by various television news networks.

President Obama Issues Executive Orders on Pay Freeze, Lobbyist Rules and Freedom of Information | Will State and Local Government Do the Same?



President Barack Obama's first day was highlighted by a press conference where he announced a pay freeze for his aides that make in excess of $100,000, new rules on lobbyists, including a restriction on aides that leave public service and would be banned from lobbying the administration as long as Obama is President and a new policy toward information requests.

Books | Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln By Doris Kearns Goodwin


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

With President Barack Obama's selection of opponents such as Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, Joe Biden for Vice President and others, much was made about Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" which Obama has read and spoke to Goodwin about.

Will Obama's strategy of surrounding himself with opponents work or will it backfire in some cases when they act in their own best interest?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama | President of the United States

Barack Obama's Oath and Inaugural Address | 21 minutes

(Full transcript of speech inside)

Barack Obama takes the oath and is sworn in as
the 44th President of the United States of America



President George W. Bush returns to Texas


Barack and Michelle Obama at the Neighborhood Ball


CHANGE | Will Barack Obama Change Washington and Politics As Usual or Will Washington and Politics As Usual Change Barack Obama?

CHANGE
CHANGE
CHANGE

That's what our local political rockstar Barack Obama promised as he ran for President of the United States.

After being elected U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2004 and making it clear he would not be a candidate for higher office in 2008, he "changed" and embarked on perhaps the most effective political campaign in history.

Changing "politics as usual" and the way our sometimes dysfunctional system runs cannot happen with just one person, but Obama will have the responsibility and power to lead that change.

As President Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, can he actually do it? Or will the politics and power of Washington change Barack Obama? Not the person or even his intentions, but his results.

One year from now, which is more likely? Will we see evidence of Barack Obama changing Washington and "political as usual" will Washington and "politics as usual" change Barack Obama?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack Obama | The 2004 Speech That Launched Local Guy to Political Rockstar Status and President of the United States of America



Barack Obama Speech
2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC)
18:47

Inaugural Address of the President of the United States | By Ronald Reagan (1981)



Inaugural Address of the President of the United States
By President Ronald Reagan | 1981
20:48

Meet the Press | Rahm Emanuel on Economy, Obama, Burris, Blago, Bush, Change, Rahm's Reputation



Meet the Press
Rahm Emanuel
January 18, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Rivalry | West Aurora Wins 66-64 Over East Aurora in Double Overtime Thriller

With seconds left in double-overtime,
West Aurora prevails over East Aurora

In Aurora, East is East and West is West, but the oldest rivalry in Illinois high school sports history is always one of the best.

On Saturday evening at East Aurora, another classic was added to the storied past with a double overtime 66-64 victory by the West Aurora Blackhawks over the East Aurora Tomcats.

East Aurora (12-3) had won the last 12 games, but West Aurora (11-5) leads the overall series 126-86.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Election 2009 | Kifowit Mayoral Campaign Supporters Missing-in-Action; Consecutive Events Draw Empty Crowds

Despite aggressive publicity, Kifowit's January
fundraiser was missing supporters and voters.


Aurora Mayoral candidate and Third Ward Alderman Stephanie Kifowit has been aggressively campaigning at events throughout Aurora since early 2008, but as the April 2009 election draws closer, it appears the public has been a "no-show" in response to her candidacy.

Her main platform of changing the form of city government to a city manager hasn't resulted in any action from her whatsoever, which requires a referendum to actually change.

On January 7th, viewers reported her highly-publicized fundraiser at the Gaslite Manor was a "bust" and the above photo taken during the middle of her event demonstrates the dismal crowd.

With just 18 vehicles, most of those were Kifowit's personal and family vehicles along with the staff of the Gaslite Manor. Only a few supporters showed up to her major fundraiser.

Kifowit told people later the event and turnout was good and then sent an email to her supporters saying:

"It was a good event and the food was great...our campaign is going full steam ahead."


Clearly, the fundraiser was a bust and the campaign was not gaining any steam, but to give Kifowit the benefit of any doubt, we decided to wait and see how she would do with a FREE event, the grand opening of her campaign office on Thursday on the near west side of Aurora.

Even with lots of FREE publicity, offers of FREE refreshments, FREE gift bags and even FREE wifi, the turnout was even more dismal:

Kifowit's grand opening drew another empty crowd.
7 vehicles, including her own, staff and volunteers.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately for Alderman Kifowit, at the rate things are going, she will end up with more words than voters.

Election 2009 | Garcia Launches Write-In Campaign for Aurora's Alderman-at-Large | O'Connor's Fiscal Reality Questioned

Garcia challenges for Alderman-at-Large
and says taxpayers need fiscal responsibility


With emphasis on the best interest of taxpayers, Guadalupe Garcia says she's launching a write-in campaign to challenge longtime Alderman-at-Large Bob O'Connor in Aurora's April 2009 election.

Garcia said that when no challengers filed for the seat, she decided taxpayers of Aurora needed someone to address the "financial irreponsibility" of elected officials such as O'Connor and add a voice of accountability and responsibility to the Aurora City Council.

O'Connor, who has been Alderman since 1985, Chairman of the Aurora Finance Committee and has been part of the fiscal decisions of the city for over two decades even preceding the current or previous mayoral administration, says the city's financial situation is just fine and stated:

"(this city) has had a very good record of financial management" and further stated "People are getting value for their money."

However, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner has acknowledged there are difficult financial challenges ahead due to various reasons and says much of the spending during his administration was a result of previous years of not addressing important needs and cites examples such as the upgrading of sewers throughout downtown and fixing bridges.

O'Connor cites the city's tax levy rate as being flat, but Garcia says taxes have gone up significantly going up since over the last decade and that Aurora's rate is much more than communities such as Naperville.

Garcia says Aurora's rate is $1.91 compared to $0.71 per $100 of equalized assessed value (EAV) in Naperville, more than twice as much cost to taxpayers for city services.

Garcia says the city council must provide fiscal oversight, direction and is ultimately accountable for the decisions that are approved. She says O'Connor is out of touch with the reality the taxpayers of Aurora face everyday.

O'Connor, who once ran for mayor himself many years ago, previously ran against a Hispanic woman. That was Linda Chapa-LaVia for the 83rd District State Represenative race. Could he end up with the same result?

Will the Hispanic business community, a growing voice in Aurora, rise to support a Hispanic woman articulating fiscal responsibility?

Garcia, who lives on Aurora's west side in the 5th Ward and is a network engineer, acknowledges a write-in campaign is a challenge, but she welcomes the effort and hopes taxpayers will make the extra effort for the fiscal responsibility of the city.

She has formally declared her intention to be a write-in candidate with the Aurora Election Commission, which will allow write-in votes to officially count in the April 7th election.

If O'Connor were to lose, sources say it is likely Ninth Ward Alderman Leroy Keith could become the new Finance Chairman and Sixth Ward Mike Saville the new Mayor Pro-Tem.

Garcia says she's doing this because she cares about the future of Aurora. She says there are too many important issues and taxpayers need an Alderman-at-Large that will address them differently.

Currently, the other Alderman-at-Large is Richard Irvin, who won his seat in 2006 because Alderman Bob Shelton dropped out of the race. Irvin and Third Ward Alderman Stephanie Kifowit are both running for Mayor against Tom Weisner.

Inaugural Address of the President of the United States | By John F. Kennedy



Inaugural Address of the President of the United States
By President John F. Kennedy | 1961
13:42

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pilot Emergency Lands US Airways Jet in Hudson River After Bird Strike




On Thursday afternoon, after taking off from La Guardia Airport in New York City, a US Airways jet (Airbus A320) made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after an apparent bird strike that caused engine failure.

Everyone was able to survive because of the pilot being able to land the plane on the water and keep it floating enough to allow for rescue.

Barack Obama + Spider-Man Join Forces to Save the World

Barack Obama might be a political rockstar, but
Spider-Man is his favorite comic book superhero.

Marvel Comics has incorporated President Obama in
a special Spider-Man comic book where they join forces.

Most stores sold-out on the first day of release.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 BARACK OBAMA COMIC BOOK

ABC News Nightline Report

Suze Orman's 5-Step Financial Action Plan | Free Book Download From Oprah

Download a FREE copy of Suze Orman's book

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (pdf)

Offer Expires 1-15-09 at 11:59pm


Presented By Oprah

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fantasy Island Star Ricardo Montalban Dies at 88



Ricardo Montalbam, who played Mr. Roarke, your host, on Fantasy Island, from 1978 to 1984, died at the age of 88 in Los Angeles on January 14, 2009.

Election 2009 | Aurora Township Republicans and Democrats Slate Candidates

Aurora Township Republicans and Democrats each held a caucus Tuesday evening to slate candidates for the April 7, 2009 election for Aurora Township's government:

And the winners of the caucus are:

>Republicans

Supervisor - Al Heriaud
Assessor - Davis Offutt
Clerk - Donald "Buzz" Foley
Highways - Mark Semmler
Trustee - Dr. Monica Silva
Trustee - Harry Childress
Trustee - David Luna
Trustee - Penny Falcon

>Democrats:

Supervisor - Christina Campos
Clerk - Juan Thomas
Highways - John Shoemaker
Trustee - Dolores Hicks
Trustee - David Moore
Trustee - Archie Needham
Trustee - Bill Catching

Note: Results are unofficial

Blagojevich Musical Tribute | By Chi-Town Kids

Viewer Discretion Advised

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

State Sen. Linda Holmes Wants Smoking Ban Lifted At Casinos and Veteran's Clubs

A couple veterans walk around NYC for the
American Legion convention back in 1937



During an interview with the Daily Herald, Illinois State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Plainfield) said she "absolutely" favors lifting a smoking ban at casinos and veterans clubs.

In contrast, during the same interview, incoming Illinois State Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) said the smoking ban needs to be applied equally everywhere.

Health officials say the smoking ban has been a success in Illinois and made the workplace and environment for non-smokers more friendly for restaurants and bars.

Casinos claim substantial drops in revenue are mostly due to the smoking ban, which tends to force smokers outside for a break from gambling.

Should the smoking ban continue to be applied equally everywhere or should any exemptions be made?

U.S. Senate Dems Flip-Flop Again; Roland Burris Will Be Barack Obama's Senate Replacement Until 2010; Blago Scores Win Over Illinois Democrats

Roland Burris gets his wish to become
Barack Obama's replacement to the U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate Democrats strategy backfires and allows
Blagojevich to do exactly what they insisted he couldn't do

Dick Durbin changes position multiple times;

Illinois Democrats Quinn, Madigan(s), Daley avoided
special election and instead get squeezed out of
decision-making process by Blagojevich

Election 2010 primary election
a little more than a year from now...

Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna reacts:

President George W. Bush's Final Press Conference Sampler | Financial Crisis, Economy, Iraq, WMD, Katrina, Election, Obama, Disappointment, History



President George W. Bush
Final Press Conference Sampler

SNL | Blagojevich, Burris and Maddow



Saturday Night Live (SNL)
Blagojevich and Burris Intro
January 10, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Face the Nation (and Illinois) | Dick Durbin Flip-Flops on Previous Flip-Flop(s); Roland Burris Defends Roland Burris



Face the Nation with Bob Schiefer
Dick Durbin, Roland Burris
January 11, 2009 | 13:35

Naperville Trims City Workforce By 5%; Aurora's Reductions Coming Soon?

The City of Naperville is trimming its workforce by another 20 positions in addition to 23 vacant positions already eliminated as part of an effort to reduce expenses with reduced revenues expected in 2009.

The workforce cuts are being combined with spending reductions in every department, including police and fire, with the majority of positions being cut as "non-frontline."

According to the Daily Herald:

The cuts will reduce Naperville's work force by roughly 5 percent and are estimated to result in more than $3 million in savings next fiscal year.

At the Aurora City Council meeting to approve the 2009 budget, Alderman Rick Lawrence and Mayor Tom Weisner reportedly agreed significant spending reductions would be necessary going forward.

ABC's This Week | Obama on Economy, Stimulus, Middle East, Grand Bargain, Sacrifice, Interrogation, Torture, Bush Admin, Healthcare, Speech, Dog

Obama on This Week | Part 1


Obama on This Week | Part 2


Obama on This Week | Part 3



ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos
Barack Obama | Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blagojevich's People Props, Political Poetry and the Golden Rule

(Chicagoist / European Pressphoto Agency photo)

When Rod Blagojevich is removed from the Office of Governor
and before any federal trial, will he continue to have these
dramatic press conferences with props and poetry?



Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he wants to fight, fight and fight until his very last breath.

There are some who believe this is a sign of delusional behavior and some who say these are the actions of someone who feels singled out while a whole state of corrupt officials does the same thing, but on Friday, he came prepared to respond to his impeachment with people props, political poetry and the "golden rule."

PEOPLE PROPS

Blago calls them the people who have been helped by his actions, such as expansion of healthcare around the legislative process, who are proof that he should be considered a hero instead of proof of evidence of his abuse of power.

Some say these people used as props were no more than human shields, but the folks at Chicagoist had an interesting perspective on three of the people props:

Person 1:

(Chicagoist) This man is very angry. Whether it's because he was napping in his office (as we would have been) or because the Governor is just plain pissing him off is unclear. But what is clear is that he isn't having any of Blago's bull.

(OpenlineBlog)
Blago started the press conference much later than scheduled, so maybe the guy was upset his car was going to get towed outside the Thompson Center since he couldn't afford to feed much to the meters thanks to Mayor Daley's dramatic parking rate increases?

Person 2 - In Wheelchair:

(Chicagoist) This man is terrified. Mostly because he is the first line of defense. There is nothing else between him and Blago. We would wet ourselves if we were that close to The Hair.

(OpenlineBlog) He does look scared, but he might have been worried Blago was going to name him and disclose his medical condition like Blago did with the guy with the kidney replacement during the press conference. By the way, are those running shoes the guy in the wheelchair is wearing?

Person 3 - The kid:

(Chicagoist) Clearly, Blago possesses powers beyond our comprehension. He appears to have used the Force, a la Darth Vader, to incapacitate this toddler. While she dreams of unicorns and gumdrops, Blago is free to go about his scheme.

(OpenlineBlog) Yes, we completely agree.

>POLITICAL POETRY

Blagojevich quoted a poem from Alfred Lord Tennyson during a press conference in Chicago on the same day he was the first Governor impeached by the Illinois House and on the birthday of Blagojevich's favorite politician, former President Richard Nixon.


"Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."


>THE GOLDEN RULE


Blagojevich wasn't just satisfied with quoting a poem this time, but he also cited the "golden rule" during the press conference, which basically is to treat others the way you would want to be treated.

>COMING SOON...

In case you think Blagorama will calm down next week, we note Blagojevich is technically scheduled to preside over the opening of the Illinois Senate on Wednesday, pursuant to law. The same Senate that will convene soon for his impeachment trial. Stay tuned...

Meet the Press | Bill Cosby, Etc...


Meet the Press | Bill Cosby
January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Illinois House Votes to Impeach Gov. Blagojevich; Senate Trial Next | Illinois Supreme Court Rules Sec of State's Signature Not Required for Burris

Blagojevich's Post-Impeachment Press Conference | 10:41


Friday's Press Conference Audio Clips | WBEZ
Rod Blagojevich | Pat Quinn | Jesse White


For the first time in history, the Illinois House has voted 114-1 to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich on a charge of "abuse of power" and the Illinois Senate will have a trial that could remove him from office.

40 of 59 State Senators would have to vote in favor of convicting Blagojevich to remove him from office. The trial is expected to start January 26th due to various legislators attending the inauguration of Barack Obama.

In other news, the Illinois Supreme Court has issued a ruling that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's signature is NOT required to make the appointment valid of Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate (Illinois Supreme Court opinion, pdf)

Roll Call Video - 1:09



"(Blago's actions) show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois."
-Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie

"After six years of enabling and endorsing Rod Blagojevich, the Democrats who run this state waited until Illinois faced national embarassment to act and are now voting to impeach a governor they worked to re-elect only two years ago. To make matters worse, these same Democrats have fed this crisis by refusing to strip the governor of his appointment powers and are helping to seat Blagojevich's hand-picked and tainted choice for United States Senator."
-Andy McKenna, Chairman of Illinois Republican Party

NOTES:

>House vote is similiar to "grand jury indictment" not a conviction. Chief Justice of Illinois Supreme Court will preside over trial in the Illinois Senate.

>Durbin is saying the U.S. Senate won't seat Burris without the signature of Jesse White, who says he won't sign.

Images | Rod Blagojevich and Richard Nixon

Rod Blagojevich getting the autograph of former President Nixon
Today, January 9th would have been Nixon's birthday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rock This City 2009 | Aurora's Downtown Alive Changes Format and Location


Ready to rock this city in 2009?
OpenlineBlog's interns are looking for music
talent that will get our viewers thunderstruck


Aurora's Downtown Alive festivals during the summer will have two significant changes in 2009, according to Gina Moga, the city's special event department head.

Change - Instead of the usual Friday night gatherings, there will be four weekend gatherings (Friday/Saturday) that will provide eight nights of entertainment.

Change - Instead of Downer Place in downtown Aurora, the festivals will be held on Galena Boulevard.

The four weekend "themes" and their dates are as follows:

  • Blues on the Fox (June 19 and 20)
  • Summer Jam (July 10 and 11); Alternative rock music, bands include Eve 6 and Painkiller Hotel
  • Rock on the Fox (July 31 and August 1); Classic rock music, bands include Foghat and a Dave Matthews tribute band
  • Fan Favorites (August 14 and 15); Bands include American English and The Moods

What music and format would you like for Aurora's Downtown Alive?

What local or global, undiscovered or existing individual or group talent (any genre) should we feature here for our audience in 2009? Let us know inside or at openlineblog@gmail.com.

Political rockstars are welcome to submit their suggestions, too.

Political Football | Obama Punts to U.S. Senate; Punts to Jesse White; Punts to Lisa Madigan; Punts to Burris; Punts Back to Illinois Supreme Court


When the legal and political dust settle on the appointment of Roland Burris as the replacement for President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat, ironically Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is one of the few elected officials who can accurately say he stepped up to do his job and didn't just punt the issue away.

Illinois Democrats ranging Sen. Dick Durbin to Madigan & Madigan to Pat Quinn to the Daley folks to legislators all over flip-flopped on the the question on a special election, which would have given the power of the selecting the seat to the people of Illinois.

Local Democrats, including State Sen. Linda Holmes and State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia, didn't want the people to have that power.

In lieu of a special election, Blagojevich made a lawful appointment and the U.S. Senate Democrats have done their own flip-flops, saying they would just need the appointment to be certified by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who refused to sign it originally.

Now, White is feeling like the fall guy and doing his own flip-flop. He says his signature shouldn't matter, but he would sign it if "forced" to by the Illinois Supreme Court. He punted the issue to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan, who has made legal blunders with her previous motion to shoot Blago out of the Governor's chair, now says it's really not a matter for the Secretary of State, but rather the U.S. Senate, in her response to a motion filed before the Illinois Supreme Court by Burris, who we note ironically was once the Illinois Attorney General himself.

President-Elect Barack Obama is not displaying any political courage either. First, he said he agreed with the U.S. Senate Democrats unlawful blocks, then he says it's up to them to seat Burris and he will work with them.

So, except for Blagojevich, as ironic as this may seem for someone who is about to be impeached, everyone else is failing to do their responsibility.

Now, it's up to the Illinois Supreme Court to exert some sense into this political circus and rule on the motion. Or perhaps it may punt it, too.

The Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court is Bob Thomas, the former Chicago Bears field goal kicker.

Stay tuned...

>Lisa Madigan's response to motion (pdf)

>Roland Burris' response to her response (pdf)

I-88 Interchange At Naperville Road With Freedom Drive Connector Opens in Full Today

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Presidential Power Lunch | Bush, Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter

Presidential Power Lunch
George H. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush
Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter meet at the White House

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Roland Burris Turned Away; Sen. Dianne Feinstein Says Burris Should Be Seated; Pressure Increases on IL Sec of State Jesse White; Durbin-Burris Deal?


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changes his tune
after a meeting Wednesday morning with Roland Burris,
who is getting closer to being seated as a U.S. Senator.


***UPDATE - Burris, Reid and Durbin meet on Wednesday morning. Senate Dems want White to certify the appointment, Burris to testify for impeachment panel and full U.S. Senate to vote.

***UPDATE - Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says he's being made the "fall guy."

***UPDATE - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is likely to respond to Burris' motion to Illinois Supreme Court saying White doesn't have to certify.

***UPDATE - Obama continues to avoid the issue, but says he will "work" with Burris if he's seated.

***UPDATE - President Jimmy Carter called Burris today in support of his appointment.

Despite being turned away by the U.S. Senate and most Democrats on Tuesday for the first day of Congress, Roland Burris looks like he's getting closer to being seated as the replacement for President-Elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

Mr. Burris was rejected in his attempt to present his credentials (the appointment letter from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich) to the Secretary of the Senate, which lacks the certification from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

While a motion is pending before the Illinois Supreme Court to force Jesse White to certify the legal appointment by Blagojevich, many argue there is no relevance to White's certification since the law gives the sole authority to Blagojevich and hence, no legal excuse for the U.S. Senate to refuse to seat Burris.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said Burris should be seated and there appears to be growing consideration that despite the cloud over Blago and Democrats flip-flopping on a special election, the law must be followed to allow Burris his seat in the United States Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) were scheduled to meet with Burris on Wednesday.

We urge Roland Burris to reject any "compromise" or "deal" with Harry Reid or Dick Durbin that pushes Burris to promise not to run for re-election in 2010 with one exception. If Durbin believes its okay for just one senator from Illinois to be in the U.S. Senate for now, he should come back to Illinois and leave Burris in Washington DC.

Why? We note Dick Durbin failed to speak out on Blagojevich until now, has looked the other way on the abuse of power in this matter by Lisa Madigan and Jesse White as well as the usual suspects of corruption in Illinois from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to Gov. George Ryan.

Burris Press Conference
Tuesday at U.S. Capitol | 4 min



Sen. Harry Reid
on Senate Floor | 1 min

Impeaching Blagojevich | Burris Files Affadvit With House Panel About How He Got Appointed to U.S. Senate Seat; Testimony Coming Thursday

(Senator?) Roland Burris has filed an affidavit (see below) with the Illnois House's impeachment panel regarding the circumstances surrounding his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as the replacement for Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

We note Blago's criminal defense attorney, Sam Adams, Jr., is the individual who initially contacted Burris, not Blagojevich or a state employee.

Burris is expected to be in Springfield on Thursday to testify before the panel, which is trying to wrap up Articles of Impeachment against Blagojevich and send it to the Illinois Senate for a trial.



(click document images for larger version)

Obama Picks Leon Panetta as CIA Chief; CNN's Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General

President-Elect Barack Obama will name former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta as the new CIA Director, a politician without experience in the intelligence community. Depending on one's perspective, that may be both good and bad.

The more interesting, but less controversial choice, may be Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, a neurosurgeon and former White House fellow, as the next U.S. Surgeon General.

CNN Reports on Sanjay Gupta


eHealthInsurance - Invest in your health and wellness - it is the most important gift you can give yourself.

Gas Prices Back Up From Gaza Crisis | Who Broke the Ceasefire?

Just when you thought it was safe to fill up your gas tank without choosing between food, shelter, clothing and driving during an economic crisis, gas prices have been rising again during the last couple weeks, reversing the steady decline in price in recent months.

Why? The New York Times reports:

"Oil prices are up about 25 percent in the last week alone, in part because of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Rising oil prices have helped push the wholesale price of gasoline up by 40 percent since Dec. 24, leading to predictions by energy experts that retail gasoline prices will spike by as much as 25 percent in coming weeks."

Both sides of the conflict blame the other for breaking the previous ceasefire. Who started it? CNN's Rick Sanchez reviews the facts (3:36).