Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Waterboarding Torture? | Experiment By Eric Mancow Muller



Mancow, WLS-AM 890 (Chicago) Radio Host, attempted to prove that waterboarding was not torture by undergoing the enhanced interrogration technique, but came up with a different conclusion after the experiment.

Is waterboarding torture and should it be permitted as an enhanced interrogation technique by any government?

Illinois Political Mafia Attempt to Fool Taxpayers Over Reform With Ethics Scam

As another Chicago alderman (Ike Carothers) and former aide to Mayor Daley is indicted on public corruption, Senator Roland Burris swirls in controversy over how he sought President Obama's former U.S. Senate Seat, impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's legal troubles loom ahead with corruption charges and even current Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn may have pay-to-play problems, what will it take for serious reform of Chicago and Illinois politics?

Apparently a lot more than a corruption pandemic from Chicago to Springfield.

Illinois Democrats pushed campaign limits through the Illinois Senate that are designed to keep the system rigged and some say may actually be worse than doing nothing at all.

The so-called limits per year instead of per election cycle (which means incumbents are protected) are $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for uinions/corps/pac's and $90,000 cash from state political committees and UNLIMITED in-kind contributions (goods, services, political operatives, mailings, etc).

In other words, limits-in-name, but same-old-game (or worse).

We urge our viewers in Illinois to not be fooled and throw out any elected official (Democrat or Republican) who supports the political mafia's control over Illinois and allows the corruption and pay-to-play pandemic to continue.

>Vote from Illinois Senate was 36 to rig the system, 22 against the ethics scam.

>For our local viewers, State Sen. Linda Holmes voted to rig the campaign finance system, create loopholes and protect incumbents. State Sen. Chris Lauzen and State Sen. Randy Hultgren voted against the ethics scam.

>Vote Record

>Text of legislation

Illinois State Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill | House May or May Not Consider

The Illinois State Senate passed a medical marijuana bill that may or may not get considered by the Illinois House during the current session.

State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Plainfield) said "We are talking about people here that are not looking to abuse a drug...to sit here and say that this drug has the potential to be abused, therefore, we should not be voting in favor of this bill...well, then go home and empty out your medicine cabinet because all your pain medications and all your sleep medications have the potential to be abused."

Illinois Politics Reaches Moment of Truth | Commentary By Patrick Collins

In the coming days, the Illinois Senate and House will tell the public - and the nation - where they truly stand on the core reform issues.

Will this session be the one where we charted a definitive new course and returned to our proud roots as the Land of Lincoln - or did we squander the opportunity and thereby remain fodder for Saturday Night Live's next popular skit?

>See inside for the rest of the commentary by former U.S. Assistant Attorney Patrick Collins, who heads the Illinois Reform Commission.

Free Violin Concert

Thursday, May 28, 2009

City of Aurora and Labor Unions Collide on Contract Negotiations, Fiscal Situation | Third-Party Mediation Coming Soon


(click on images for larger version)


Tensions have been increasing recently for City of Aurora employees with negotiations on new labor contracts with two unions, AFSCME Local 3298 and 1514, a few hundred city "frontline workers."

On Tuesday, viewers report union members showed to fill the city council chambers for the Aurora City Council meeting and represenatives used the public comment period to make statements saying the city must be "fair" to employees.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner responded to various complaints by union represenatives by saying the city is in the midst of economic challenges, but the city is being fair and will be applying cost-cutting moves to all other employees as well.

Union reps complain executive-level employees have been receiving raises averaging 10%, some getting 20% raises at times, but Weisner said that average was only about 3%.

The City of Aurora is eliminating a few vacant positions, but instead of major layoffs and staff reductions, negotiators are asking for 9 unpaid furlough days over the next 18 months, larger contributions to health insurance, elimination of retiree health insurance for new employees and a salary increase lower than previously received.

Previously, AFSCME employees received annual salary increases as follows:

>2003 - 4.00%
>2004 - 4.00%
>2005 - 4.00%
>2006 - 3.75%
>2007 - 3.50%
>2008 - 3.40%

Weisner says executive-level employees will be getting a 0% increase for next year and city officials say other unions, including fire and police may even be asked for rollbacks and adjustments before their current contracts expire, so AFSCME may be the among the first, but all unions will be asked to sacrifice.

"Salaries & Benefits" is the largest part of the city's budget, so percentage savings on costs has an impact on the overall budget, which is about $435 million for 2009.

Many say city employees, at all levels, have enjoyed years of stable wage increases, growing employment, benefits and security, but with the fiscal situation of the city, economy and reduced revenue streams, the concept of guaranteed employment and raises must end.

Union reps say they recognize there must be adjustments, but say frontline workers are the wrong target to hit first.  They question the city's fiscal situation by saying the city is not only spending large amounts on items like the new police station, Shodeen project and the proposed RiverEdge Park, but they point to deals that have given large cash incentives or rebates to businesses and projects such as car dealers, restaurants and numerous donations to organizations and social-service agencies.

Weisner says the city has been forced to make big infrastructure expenditures in areas such as sewers and bridges to make-up for a period where little was being done.  He says these investments will be necessary for future growth.

Is everyone correct to some extent?

City needs quality workers at all levels, but should they have automatic raises and guaranteed positions?  Would trimming the workforce, getting early retirement for some of the more inflated salaries of longtime employees and adding furlough days help the financial situation and efficiency of the city?

City needs to invest with infrastructure and capital projects, but should the city take a comprehensive review of all spending, change the habits of the past and reshape priorities so that funds are focused on the most important investments for future growth, transforming the city and increasing revenue streams?

What changes would you implement for the City of Aurora workforce?  Which "frontline" or "executive" areas could be trimmed?  Which executives should go and/or replaced?

AFSCME represenatives and the city will be entering into third-party mediation.  What would be fair for all union contracts?

Most importantly, what is in the best interest of taxpayers and the future of Aurora?

Susan Boyle Sings Again With World Watching



Susan Boyle, who's performance on Britain's Got Talent skyrocketed her into worldwide attention, appeared again on the semi-finals, this time with the world watching.

In case you missed her first performance, see below:



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicago, Illinois Corruption Pay-to-Play Pandemic Continues | FBI Wiretaps Could Sink U.S. Senator Roland Burris with Blagojevich Scandal



U.S. Senator Roland Burris (D-Chicago Corruption) may have deep trouble ahead as the pandemic of corruption, pay-to-play, who-you-know, how much you can give, cronyism and Chicago (Daley) style politics continue to infect Illinois and affect the U.S. Senate.


***UPDATED



>Read the transcript (pdf)

Aurora City Council Approves Cost Increase for RiverEdge Park

RiverEdge Park Phase 1 - Music Garden
(Master Plan Excerpt)


On Tuesday, the Aurora City Council voted 9-2 to increase costs by about $332,000 up to $1.7 million for Phase 1 of the proposed 10 acre "RiverEdge Park" on Rt. 25 (Broadway) that is primarily to include a "music garden" to host events such as Downtown Alive.

$1.7 million is the cost of the design and "public outreach," not the actual construction, which is expected to be approximately $12 million for Phase 1.

4th Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence reportedly questioned the increased design cost since the vast majority of the project includes walkways, landscape and a stage with a small building. He cautioned against the pace of spending.

City staff member Stephanie Phifer, who says there has been extensive public input and public meetings into the park design between staff and "stakeholders" told the Aurora City Council the design costs were reasonable, they will seek donors toward the project later and renderings of the designs would not be available until a donor package was ready.

According to the Daily Herald, the City Council approved various land swaps between the City of Aurora and Fox Valley Park District to provide for a contiguous land parcel for the park. The City of Aurora will also pay ComEd about $1.3 million for various electrical work.

As part of the deal, Fox Valley Park District would get free use of the park and music garden for their own purposes 8 times per year at no charge. Downtown Alive, which is being moved to Galena Boulevard in 2009, would be moved to the new park's music garden with an estimated capacity of 8,500.

The original design included large tension structures and other amenities that have since been changed and/or reduced by recommendations by a "committee of stakeholders" that has apparently been meeting and selecting what should or shouldn't go into the park.

One of the unknown factors related to the park involves the donors who were supposed to have funded most of the cost. Thus far, donors have not stepped forward for the park as expected and city staff claims it will be necessary to build Phase 1 first and then seek donors.

NOTES:

>Daily Herald on land swaps

>According to viewers, City Council members voted as follows: Alderman Lawrence and Alderman Irvin voted NO. The rest of the City Council asked no questions on the increased costs and voted YES.

>Downtown Alive will move to Galena Boulevard in 2009

Aurora City Council Votes to Give City-Owned Elks Club Building to Developer | Future of Aurora Election Commission

On Tuesday, the Aurora City Council reportedly approved a deal 10-1 with a developer that would renovate the city-owned Elks Club building at 77 S. Stolp in downtown Aurora, which is the current home of the Aurora Election Commission.

The City of Aurora, which previously purchased the building in 1999 for $937,000 will "sell" the building to the developer for $850,000 and then give it back, including $550,000 upon certificate of occupancy for the building and the remaining over time.

The developer also plans to seek reimbursement for many expenses as part of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district.

The developer, Steve Arwady, says he wants to renovate the upper three floors into 19 condos at a cost of $1.1 million of interior work. He says he will be doing another $1.1 million of exterior work and will have total costs of $3.4 million.

With the previous history of the building having a failed development, 4th Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence expressed concern about the city giving funds back to the developer regardless of any sales of units and without any recourse for the city to recoup its investment if the developer does not produce.

The first floor of the building would include a restaurant, but at Tuesday's City Council meeting, when the developer was reportedly asked about what the retail tenant would be investing into the deal, that information was not provided to the city council.

Bill Richards, Chairman of the Aurora Election Commission, also reportedly addressed the City Council and expressed concerns about relocating and that it was not clear how, when or where they would move to and they may or may not be able to exist with the developer.

The Aurora Election Commission, which has its own confusing existence as it serves 3 of 4 counties that have portions of Aurora, but is only funded by Kane County and the City of Aurora, could have up to 18 months to remain in the building. An art gallery and sales office for the 19 condo units are also being planned for the first floor if the project proceeds as the developer claims.

We encourage the City of Aurora to consider this opportunity to eliminate the Aurora Election Commission and instead allow the Kane County Clerk to select their own location for a satellite office in or near downtown Aurora if the Elks Club project proceeds.

Action Alert | Tell State Sen. Linda Holmes to Say NO to Massive Tax Increases for Illinois



As Illinois legislators get closer to a decision on a massive income tax increase to force taxpayers to pay for corruption, incompetence, wild spending and fiscal irresponsibility, we urge our viewers to contact their state legislator and urge them to say NO.

For our local viewers in Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Oswego, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plainfield, please urge State Sen. Linda Holmes to not punish taxpayers of Illinois with more tax increases and instead establish fiscal responsibility and ethics reform.

Tell State Sen. Linda Holmes to say NO to massive tax increases:

>Springfield Office 217-782-0422

>Plainfield Office 815-609-3711

California Upholds Ban on Gay Marriage



The California Supreme Court upheld a ban on gay (same-sex) marriage, causing reactions from some in California.

Gay activists are attempting to push civil unions and/or gay marriage in other states, including Illinois.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Selects Sonia Sotomayor to Join the Supremes



President Barack Obama has selected Sonia Sotomayor of New York to be his nominee for the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, replacing retiring Justice David Souter.

We also learn Sotomayor is a lifelong Yankees fan and Obama credits her with saving baseball...



...and here we learn her view on application of facts in a case and doing justice in a particular case.



Sotomayor has been on the Supreme radar since Souter announced he would retire. In early May, Karl Rove, former advisor to President Bush, had this to say about Sotomayor:

Illinois General Assembly, Chicago Mayor Daley Gaga Over Gambling Expansion with Video Poker | Aurora, Hollywood Casino, Illinois Gaming Board Impact


Lady GaGa - The Fame - Poker Face
Amazon MP3


The Illinois General Assembly and Chicago Mayor Daley are going gaga over gambling expansion across Illinois with video poker, which would be placed in locations such as bars, taverns and truck stops.

It would be the first time legalized gambling was permitted in Chicago. Mayor Daley (D-Corruption), who many believe is paving the way for a massive casino in Chicago, gave this reason for why gambling should be expanded:

"Well, everybody thinks gambling is bad. Let's be realistic, everybody does. But why is it in Mississippi? Why is it all over? It's even in Illinois. If it's that bad, then whey did we wallow it to happen if everybody thinks it's that bad?"

Aaron Jaffe, Chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, isn't so gaga, saying it would not only make it difficult to limit addicted gamblers who have otherwise been banned from casinos, but would create a complex administrative difficulty with gambling in so many locations. The estimated $300 million in revenue video poker may generate may be offset by the cost of administering it.

Many also say video poker will have an adverse impact on existing casinos, such as Hollywood Casino in Aurora and communities may see further reductions in gaming tax revenue.

So, how did Aurora-area legislators vote on gambling expansion with video poker?

>Sen. Chris Lauzen and Rep. Kay Hatcher voted NO.

>Sen. Linda Holmes, Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia voted YES
(Cross, Senger, Schmitz, Hultgren also voted yes).

>HB255 (Senate voted 47-12, House voted 86-30)

The bill moves to the desk of Illinois temp Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to go along with it despite prior statements opposing gambling expansion.

Should the State of Illinois gamble with video poker?

North Korea Fires Up Nuclear Tests

President Barack Obama | Supreme Court, Health Reform, Auto Industry, Pragmatism, Bush, GITMO, Torture, Family, Sacrifice



Interview with President Barack Obama
Supreme Court, Health Reform, Auto Industry,
Pragmatism, President Bush, GITMO, Torture, Family


Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to Build the Perfect BBQ Fire and Find Positive Use for Local Fishwrap (Beacon-News)



Planning a cookout during the Memorial Day holiday weekend? Learn how to build a fire for your barbeque.

When you need to burn a newspaper, given the journalistic implosion by editors such as Mike Cetera and Dave Parro along with their financial bankruptcy, we recommend firing up the local fishwrap (aka "Beconfused" or "Beacon-News") for your grill.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Action Alert | Tell State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia to Say NO to Massive Tax Increases



Is that State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia (D-Aurora) standing with politicians asking for an even bigger tax increase than the previously floated massive increase?

As taxpayers are getting squeezed from all angles, it appears certain Illinois Democrats are preparing to dramatically complicate the problem, extract more money from you and continue the bad habits of wild spending.

We urge viewers to contact Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia and ask her to say NO to massive tax increases and instead say YES to massive fiscal reform to put an end to the wild spending at the expense of taxpayers.

Spread the word and contact Linda Chapa-LaVia to vote NO on tax increases:

>Springfield Office 217-558-1002

>Aurora Office 630-264-6855

Kris Allen Wins American Idol



Kris Allen
American Idol Winner
Studio Performance
Heartless By Kanye West




Adam Lambert
American Idol Runner-Up
Studio Performance
One By U2

Terminator Salvation



From Amazon:

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Skynet Edition) [Blu-ray]

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [Blu-ray]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

West Aurora School District Pushes Legislation to Stop Penalty on School Funding

West Aurora School District 129 Superintendent Dr. James Rydland helped push a legislative effort with other school districts and several legislators to pass SB 2051 to make a significant change to eliminate penalties to school districts that pass referendums.

The bill, which has yet to be signed by Illinois temp Gov. Pat Quinn, would stop the state from reducing the amount of funding to a school district when it passes a referendum to increase more local taxdollars.

According to Rydland, the effect could be significant on the finances of a school district like West Aurora, which passed a referendum in 2007 for $14 million, but saw it's state funding decreased by $10 million.

SB 2051 passed 56-0 in the Illinois Senate and 104-1 in the Illinois House.

Local legislative co-sponsors included State Sen. Chris Lauzen, State Sen. Linda Holmes, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia and State Rep. Kay Hatcher.

Note: According to our viewers, the local fishwrap (aka "Beaconfused) may have done a similar story and they incorrectly named only Chapa-LaVia as a sponsor of the legislation. SB 2051 was first introduced by Sen. Crotty and then Sen. Lauzen was the first local legislator to sponsor the bill. Chapa-LaVia was not added as a sponsor until two months after the legislation was introduced. Click here for a list of the co-sponsors and when they were added.

Illinois Senate Passes Text Driving Ban | Legislation Moves to Illinois House

No bold ethics reform, cutting wild spending or taxes yet, but the Illinois Senate passed a ban 45-6 on using mobile devices for text messages while driving.

The ban apparently does not prevent one from using a GPS system on a mobile device, but one cannot "surf the web" while driving.

While public safety is important and we strongly urge drivers to use common sense and caution at all times, not just when looking at a mobile device, do you agree a law should exist to ban you from ever using a mobile device for text or web while driving?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back to the Future | State Sen. Chris Lauzen Proposes Change to Balance of Power in Illinois House

State Sen. Chris Lauzen is proposing a change to the Illinois constitution that would restore multi-member legislative districts for state representatives. Currently, there are 118 state representatives for 118 districts. Instead, there would be 117 members from 39 districts with every district having three members.

Illinois government had this system until 1982 when a guy named Pat Quinn, who is now the temp Governor of Illinois, pushed an effort to reduce the number of legislators, which many say caused the consolidation of power for legislative leaders that has led to corruption and "who you know" politics to thrive in Illinois.

Quinn's appointed Illinois Reform Commission is recommending term limits for legislative leaders and a fair redistricting process to address part of the situation that Quinn helped to create.

The previous system had "cumulative voting" and it created situations where almost every House district had members from both political parties. Voters woud have options of casting three votes for one candidate, split for two candidates or a vote each for three candidates.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has also taken advantage of the consolidated power. Because so many districts are part of the City of Chicago and many of those representatives are under his control, he is able to influence much more control over who the legislative leaders are and how the system works (or doesn't).

Many say reducing the number of districts, but spreading the representation would create better balance of power.

Quinn Threatens Doomsday to Scare Illinois Into Massive Tax Increase | Just Say No

From Chicago Mayor Daley's "doomsday" scenario for the CTA to force a tax increase to the latest "doomsday" budget cuts being proposed by Illinois temp Governor Pat Quinn to force a tax increase, there's at least one consistent message from Chicago and Illinois political leaders. Pay more taxes or else.

We say it's time to call the bluff. Quinn says the state would be forced to slash the budget by 37% if no income tax increase is passed.

Good. Because in reality, if spending were drastically cut, it would force the state to finally have spending priorities on the things that are important instead of the current wild spending that gives priority to cronies and waste.

Some of the threatened cuts include education, healthcare, seniors, public safety, human services, economic developmen, agriculture and funds to local government. For some reason, they aren't threatening to cut their own salaries.

Unfortunately for Illinois taxpayers, the political mafia that runs the state (including Michael Madigan, Richard Daley) is trying to figure out ways to stick it to you. Even certain so-called Repubicans, like former Gov. Jim Thompson, are trying to extract billions from taxpayers to pay for the incompetence of Illinois politicians by supporting a tax increase.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who predicted the tax threats, was right about what would unfold if he was taken out.

The proposed tax increases don't invest in our future, but rather try to pay for the past and ongoing fiscal irresponsibility.

Please contact your state legislators and urge them to say NO to any tax increase from the State of Illinois to get them out of the $12 billion mess they created.

Tell them taxpayers are not going to give them another bailout.

West Aurora School District 129 | New Board Member

Maricela Perez, a nurse and lifelong resident of Aurora, was selected by the West Aurora School Board (District 129) to fill the vacancy of board member Al Rhea, who resigned earlier this month.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ground Zero Shifts from Aurora to Notre Dame on Nation's Abortion Debate | Obama Honor Causes Chain-Reaction; Watch the Commencement Speech

Obama Notre Dame Commencement Speech | Part 1


Obama Notre Dame Commencement Speech | Part 2


Obama Notre Dame Commencement Speech | Part 3


Obama Notre Dame Commencement Speech | Part 4





***UPDATED: Ground Zero in the nation's abortion debate moved from Aurora, Illinois to South Bend, Indiana this weekend when President Barack Obama delivered the commencement speech at the invitation of Notre Dame.



The invitation from a Catholic-based institution for someone that strongly supports abortion rights has caused a reaction from many and protests at Notre Dame.

Much of the criticism is about Notre Dame and their role in honoring Obama and not necessarily opposing Obama's speech itself.



See below for a video review of Ground Zero Aurora and how a community was engulfed in the abortion debate when Planned Parenthood built the largest abortion clinic in the nation's history.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sen. Bill Brady Takes On Chicago Mayor Daley's Big Box Allergy



Sen. Bill Brady, who is running for Governor of Illinois, is introducing legislation that would prohibit local units of government from discriminating against "big box" retailers.

Chicago Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago have been trying to limit big box retailers.

Torture, Waterboarding, Military Tribunals | CIA Strikes Back at Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Latest Recall; Obama Changes Tune on Military Tribunals



Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had multiple version of what she knew and when she knew it regarding "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding that has been deemed torture by President Barack Obama's administration.

She appears to have known about it since 2003, but says the CIA was misleading.

Who do you believe? Nancy Pelosi or the CIA?

Meanwhile, President Obama, after a flip-flop on release of GITMO abuse photos, has now changed his stance on military tribunals, saying they can exist with some tweaks.

Chicago Corruption, Illinois Pay-to-Play | Will the Epidemic Be Stopped or Become a Pandemic?



From Chicago's City Hall to the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, the epidemic of corruption, pay-to-play, cronyism, family dynasties, who-you-know, consolidated power, special interests, ghost payroll schemes, hired truck scandals, lobbyist gigs and the "Chicago way" have made Chicago and Illinois into a case study for the world on how not to operate government for the people's best interests.

Will the Illinois General Assembly stop the pandemic or continue to spread the disease?

Can they shut down corrupt regimes like Chicago Mayor Daley? Can they implement campaign contribution limits? Can they create real transparency and accountability?

What reform do you want to see and what do you think will actually happen?

Chrysler Dealerships | Could Be Worse



Chrysler pulled the plug on hundreds of auto dealer franchise agreements across the nation, including several in the Chicago area.

As a bankrupt company, Chrysler is looking to survive and one of the ways is eliminate dealers that are lower volume.

Some say the situation could have been worse with closing all dealerships. Franchises could still operate as "used car" dealers or seek other brands eventually.

Meanwhile, GM is considering dramatic measures if it goes into bankruptcy and will do the same to 1100 dealerships initially.

>Chrysler | Chicago metro closings

View Chrysler dealerships targeted in the Chicago area in a larger map

Puck Preview | Chicago Blackhawks Meet Detroit Red Wings in Western Conference Finals



Preview of National Hockey League (NHL)
Western Conference Finals
Chicago vs. Detroit

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gun Control | National Registry?



Gun rights vs. gun control could become a heated battle in the United States Senate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Illegal Immigration | U.S. Born Children of Illegal Immigrants



When illegal immigrants are deported from the United States, what should happen when there are children who are born as U.S. citizens?

Dick Cheney vs. Colin Powell; Cheney Endorses Rush Limbaugh and Talks Political Strategy





For a guy who was one of the most powerful Vice Presidents in modern history with his behind-the-scenes influence over some of the most controversial decisions of the 8 years of the George W. Bush Presidency of the United States, Dick Cheney isn't exactly sitting quietly in retirement.

On Sunday during an appearance on Face the Nation, Cheney took the opportunity to slam former Secretary of State Colin Powell for his endorsement of then-candidate Barack Obama.

Marilyn Bethell Murder | Teen Pleads Guilty, But Mystery Remains

The October 2005 tragedy on Aurora's northeast side of the murder of Marilyn Bethell was partly resolved with 17-year old Gareng Deng pleading guilty to being involved (he was 14 at the time of the incident).

Deng, who is originally from Sudan and was placed in the local area by the World Relief organization, will be released from prison in about 30 years when he is 47 years old.

It's still not clear who actually shot Bethell, who's body was found nearby two months after she went missing around Halloween of 2005.

Deng was involved in a crash with Bethell's car and then got into a car with someone else.

We urge prosecutors and investigators to continue to seek anyone else who may have had a role in this tragedy before this case can truly come to a resolution.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Drew Peterson Arrested, Indicted and Held on $20M Bond for Murder of 3rd Wife, Kathleen Savio with 4th Wife, Stacy Peterson, Still Missing


Drew Peterson arrested for murder
(Herald News photo)

Former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson was arrested Thursday after a grand jury indictment on the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who died in 2004.

With national media attention on this local story ever since his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing on October 28, 2007, the investigation into Savio was pursued again after initially being ruled an accidental drowning in a bathtub.

Some say that while Drew Peterson may have been convicted long ago in the court of public opinion, there is limited evidence and that hearsay testimony between Stacy Peterson and a pastor may be used to prosecute Drew Peterson and could be a challenge.

"We are very confident in our case" said James Glasgow, Will County State's Attorney.

One of Peterson's attorneys said "Although he is disappointed with the decision of the state, he looks forward to the opportunity to once and for all prove his innocence in a court of law."

As part of the bizarre saga surrounding Peterson, aside from children from his previous marriages, another woman, Christina Raines, and her children, were recently living with him.

Drew Peterson is being held on a $20 million bond.


Star Trek

Amazon Unveils Kindle DX | Speeding Up the Transformation to Digital Books and Documents

Amazon Kindle DX

Accelerating the transformation from
printed material to digital documents

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Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages
Built-in PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and work documents on the go
Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle DX, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Books in Under 60 Seconds: You get free wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging
Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable
Big Selection, Low Prices: Over 275,000 books; New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are only $9.99, unless marked otherwise
More Than Books: U.S. and international newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, magazines including The New Yorker and Time, plus popular blogs, all auto-delivered wirelessly

>Pre-order the new Amazon Kindle DX

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Illinois Politics | Madigan, Cross, Lauzen, Chapa-LaVia, Holmes

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged he avoids meetings with House Minority Leader Tom Cross if they are not going to be "fruitful."

Meanwhile, Cross shot back in a speech saying Madigan is abusing his power by alone deciding which matters can come up for a vote.

Which brings us to this question...what is the role of legislators in Illinois if the legislative leaders, regardless of political party, have so much control over the legislative process? What's the role and purpose of everyone else?

Is a system where a few, such as Madigan or Mayor Daley's whims, decide what can be discussed or voted upon, good for the region or state as a whole?

Locally, State Sen. Chris Lauzen is one of the few legislators who speaks up, even when it's not in line with the Republican establishment. Which Democrat legislators speak up?

Are State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia, who is considering a run for Lt. Governor and State Sen. Linda Holmes, both Democrats, more likely to go along with legislative leaders or are there examples where they go a different way?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Election 2009 | Weisner, Lawrence Inauguration for New Terms After Landslide Wins

On Tuesday evening, after Election 2009 landslide victories in April, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Fourth Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence were sworn-in for new terms as part of an inauguration ceremony at Aurora's City Hall.

Weisner easily defeated city council members Richard Irvin and Stephanie Kifowit for Mayor. According to our viewer reports, Irvin was reportedly not present for the city council's Committee-of-the-Whole or for the inauguration ceremony.

Lawrence's 4th Ward had among the highest voter turnout in the City of Aurora and he had two opponents who actively campaigned. He won a 3 way landslide with over 60% of the vote.

If Weisner does not seek another term, Lawrence is considered by most to be the front-runner for a future race for Mayor of Aurora.

Other city council members, including those that did not have opponents or strongly contested elections, were also sworn-in. That includes 4 year terms for Juany Garza (Ward 2), Scheketa Hart-Burns (Ward 7), Leroy Keith (Ward 9), Lynda Elmore (Ward 10), Bob O'Connor (Alderman-at-Large) and for a two year term, Rick Mervine (Ward 8).

Ward 1, Ward 3, Ward 5, Ward 6, Ward 8 and Alderman-at-Large will be open for election in 2011.

Change | East Aurora School District 131

With East Aurora School District 131 having a crisis for years, change is happening, at least on the school board level.

New members Stella Gonzales, Annette Johnson and Anita Lewis are replacing Fernando Salinas, Ken Maurice and Bob McCue, the new all-women school board with Rayanne Carlson and Carol Farnum also has a new president, Dee Weaver.

After the second phase of change to revamp the school board, we wish the new school board success in taking bold and aggressive steps to reverse the chronic problems of the past.

Change | West Aurora School District 129

Neal Ormond, longtime voice of the West Aurora Blackhawks on sports broadcasts and a school board member, is the new President of the West Aurora School District 129 School Board. Allyson Herget will be Vice President.

Former President Al Rhea resigned from the board last month.

Mark Bradford, who won a seat in April's election, has been sworn-in as the newest member of the school board.

Change | Indian Prairie School District 204 Superintendent Considers Move to Indiana

Stephen Daeschner, Superintendent of Indian Prairie School District 204, which includes significant portions of Aurora and Naperville, has applied for a vacancy in southern Indiana's Greater Clark County School System.

In the midst of a 3 year contract that expires in July 2010, Daeschner told the Daily Herald he is interested in the opportunity to work with more at-risk students.

College of DuPage Trustees | Pay-to-Play or Just a Coincidence?

At first glance, electing trustees to the College of DuPage Boarddoesn't seem like the usual place where you may see Chicago corruption, pay-to-play or buying influence, but after teacher unions poured $100,000 to fund the campaigns of new trustees, questions are being raised.

Kory Atkinson, one of the outgoing trustees, says the trustees who received massive amounts of funds should abstain from any votes that involve faculty issues to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

According to the Daily Herald:

Atkinson Monday night displayed two oversized checks with a combined value of $100,000 that he said symbolized the amount of money teachers unions have spent on the campaigns of the four trustees. One check showed $30,000, and the other showed $70,000 and represented the amount spent in the most recent election, Atkinson said.

While Illinois considers campaign finance reform to deal with the widespread corruption epidemic from Chicago to Springfield, many say campaign contribution limits should apply to unions or even be banned so only individuals can contribute to a campaign.

Do you believe unions give significant campaign contributions with no expectation of favorable votes and treatment? Is it all just a coincidence?

Madigan Says No to Gambling Expansion in Illinois, But...

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan is ruling out gambling expansion this year to address the $12 billion deficit of Illinois.

A spokesman for Madigan told the Daily Herald "We're not going to spend any time on it this year."

However, other legislators, including various Democrats, feel different, such as State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), who wants to push gambling expansion now that Waukegan is on track to receive a casino license.

Link says the State Senate may force the issue in front of the the Illinois House.

Should the State of Illinois limit or allow further casinos?

Top 10 Financial Tips | By Donald Trump



Top 10 Financial Tips By Donald Trump
Late Show with David Letterman

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Election 2010 | Giannoulias Runs Into $26,000 Pothole

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010, spent $26,000 of the state's Bright Start college savings funds to purchase an SUV for use by his office, including himself.

On Monday, Giannoulias defended the purchase by saying the expense is a reasonable operating expense because it's used at times to market the Bright Start program, although his office could not explain how much it was used for marketing and how often it was driven by Giannoulias.

Records show the college savings investment the treasurer's office oversees lost $85 million last year.

The White House Flip-Flop on Caterpillar's Hiring Future



President Barack Obama, in an effort to push support approval of the massive economic stimulus (aka "wild spending") bill, went to Caterpillar in Peoria in February and made headlines about how if the stimulus bill was passed, Caterpillar would hire.

But, Caterpillar didn't exactly go along with that plan. Jake Tapper of ABC News questioned White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the flip-flop. See Gibbs squirm in the video.

Caterpillar is one of the largest employers for our local viewers in the Aurora/Naperville vicinity.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Should Students Accused of Off-Campus Crimes Be Kept Out of School?

Recent controversies in Naperville and Barrington have raised questions on whether students should who have been accused of a crime off-campus, such as sexual assault or rape, be allowed to continue to stay in school.

Daily Herald asks a similar question "Should kids accused of crimes be kept out of school?"

"Faced with a student accused of rape, Barrington High School officials responded by suspending the student.

But in Naperville's Indian Prairie Unit District 204, an 11-year old student accused of a similar crime continues to attend classes, with officials there saying their options are limited."

And more on the Naperville situation:

"At issue in Naperville is what to do with two Gregory Middle School students, ages 11 and 12, who face felony charges of criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assualt resulting from a November incident with a classmate at a Naperville home.

The 11-year old also faces a misdemeanor count of battery for a separate alleged incident involving the same victim - this time at school."

Because of questions on being able to remove students from a school when an incident happened off-campus, State Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) responded by proposing legislation to make it easier for schools to remove students.

That legislation was stalled by the leadership of the Illinois Democrats in the Illinois House on concerns about the consitutionality of the proposed law.

So, what do you think?

Should schools be allowed to remove students accused of crimes even if it relates to something that happened off-campus?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden's Swine Flu Travel Advice Fiasco and The White House Backpedal



U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has lived up to his reputation for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, saying people shouldn't use airplanes or subways due to swine flu concerns (see above).

The travel industry has reacted by saying Biden's comments are fear-mongering.

Then, to make matters worse, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to explain what the Vice President "meant" to say (see below).

U.S. Justice David Souter Ready to Leave the Supremes

U.S. Justice David Souter, shown above when he was nominated
by President George H. Bush in 1990, is planning to retire from
the United States Supreme Court at the age of 69, creating the
first appointment opportunity for President Barack Obama.

Condoleeza Rice Debates Torture with Stanford Students

First, the set-up:



Then, see this:



A Stanford student videotapes an impromptu debate on torture during a visit by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

After the release by the Obama adminstration, some say Rice may be subject to allegations of war crimes for her role in authorizing waterboarding, which the Bush administration said was legal and the Obama administration says is not permitted.