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September 8, 2009

The Big O

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CLTV Producer Afua Owusu is braving the crowds and fans, and is attempting to view the Oprah Show taping on Michigan Ave. She is live blogging from the filed.

WOOOOOO! I am back at work... seems like I've spent the last 13 hours in a dream. But really, I got the opportunity to experience the Oprah Factor in all its glory. Yesterday, I began my journey from the WGN TV Studios in Roscoe Village all the way down to the Michigan Avenue Bridge -- after a full work day which began at 3am to see the one and only Oprah Winfrey. Those of you that know me well- know she is my hero.

Continue reading "The Big O" »

August 19, 2009

International Incident or Publicity Stunt?

Are we on the verge of an international incident that could change U.S. relations with India?

By now you’ve probably heard, Muslim actor Shah Rukh Khan, the “Tom Cruise” of Bollywood was questioned for 90 minutes by customs agents at Newark Airport last Friday after his name appeared on a security checklist.

He says routine security procedures were not followed and he felt embarrassed and uncomfortable having to find a U.S. national to vouch for him.

Ironically, he was on his way to Chicago to promote his new movie “My Name is Kahn.” It’s takes a look at the discrimination Muslims has faced in the U.S. since 9/11.

Continue reading "International Incident or Publicity Stunt?" »

July 28, 2009

$25 Million To Buy More Illinois Cops

Today, Senator Dick Durbin announced Illinois will get more than $25 Million in recovery Act funds to hire 106 new police officers across the state.

The money is part of the $1 Billion in funds being distributed across the country through the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), COPS Hiring Recovery Program.

Chicago will get more than half of the state's share.

Here's where all the money will go:

Continue reading "$25 Million To Buy More Illinois Cops" »

July 19, 2009

Blago On The Radio

Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich hits the airwaves on WLS-AM this afternoon. He'll host a two-hour talk show today and next Sunday. Program Director Bob Shomper says the personalities on the station are compelling, knowledgeable, opinonated, and controversial. Shomper says Blagojevich has all of these traits.

Maybe, he's right. Despite Blagojevich's legal troubles, people may still want to hear what he has to say. I admit-- I'm curious. He could say something outrageous, and isn't that what makes great radio?

Will you listen? Have ANY interest in his take of the issues of the day?

July 6, 2009

Three Hours I'll Never Get Back

Poor Governor Pat Quinn.

He's running into brick walls as the legislative leaders from his own party (namely House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton), as he tries to plug a nine billion-plus budget hole.

So his new strategy is to reach out to rank and file lawmakers to do an end run around the leaders.

Today he made his pitch to more than two dozen suburban lawmakers.

Continue reading "Three Hours I'll Never Get Back" »

July 2, 2009

South Carolina's First Lady Willing to Forgive

Jenny Sanford says her husband's affair with an Argentine woman is inexcusable, but she's willing to forgive him.
Say what?

Governor Mark Sanford told the Associated Press this week that his mistress is his soul mate, but he's trying to fall back in love with his wife. Is that even possible? How would you feel after hearing your husband make such a public statement? Mrs. Sanford also says she hopes he can make good on his intentions to save their marriage for the sake of their children.

How many women would be willing to give it another shot?
Check out this column by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. It gave me a chuckle.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em

July 1, 2009

Illinois and its Governor Adrift

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn finally started talking tough on the budget, albeit a little too late.

He needed to say no more Mr. Nice Guy a long time ago.

Today he vetoed what he described as the most onerous parts of the budget, that decimate what he calls the heart and soul of the state's human services.

That's sets up a showdown with his fellow Democrats House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who won't give Quinn what he wants.

They're calling their chambers into special session on July 14th, but if the mess isn't fixed in the next two weeks state workers won't get their checks on the 15th of the month and then the pain starts.

Continue reading "Illinois and its Governor Adrift" »

June 30, 2009

The Budget Balancing Act

The state’s budget year ends at midnight but lawmakers are still in Springfield trying to agree on a last-minute spending plan.

Governor Pat Quinn says an income tax increase is the best way to raise revenue.
He says if lawmakers don’t pass the tax hike, he will be forced to make drastic cuts to social service programs.

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But lawmakers have been against raising taxes. Nonetheless, the governor "remains optimistic" that a new spending plan will be approved in time.

What do you think?

June 23, 2009

Your Destination for Politics

Are you fed up about corruption at the city, county and state levels? Today we had a on-air discussion about corruption and efforts at ethics reform with former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins (chair of the Illinois Reform Commission) and Chicago's corruption-busting Inspector General David Hoffman.

Here's a clip of Collins blasting the Springfield establishment for it's limited action on reform.

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Did Gov. Pat Quinn make a deal with the devil on ethics reform?

Continue reading "Your Destination for Politics" »

June 22, 2009

Gov. Blago Better Beware

Sometimes it seems disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich doesn't realize how serious his situation really is (his Second City cameo, an attempt at reality tv and to put it generously, his erratic behavior). Heck, the judge presiding over the case against him, James Zagel has said as much.

But if Blagojevich is thinking clearly he should have gotten a reality check today. A federal judge sentenced his pal and former top fundraiser Chris Kelly to more than three years in prison on tax charges.

It's a victory for the feds looking to gain leverage on Kelly.

Continue reading "Gov. Blago Better Beware" »

June 18, 2009

A Look at "Swatgate"

So, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has some beef with our Commander in Chief. Apparently the advocacy group is upset over President Obama's enormously skillful ability to kill flies. Check out this video.

As you can see, during a television interview, the President did what millions of people around the world do on a daily basis -- he swatted a fly that was bothering him.


Continue reading "A Look at "Swatgate"" »

June 17, 2009

Your Destination for Politics

Tune in this Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. for a half-hour political special about corruption and the failure of ethics reform in Illinois.

Former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins (who put away former Gov. George Ryan and Mayor Richard Daley's patronage chief Robert Sorich) will be our guest as we find out why we can't clean things up in the Land of Lincoln, and take your calls.

Are you angry at the politicians in Springfield who are looking to raise your taxes before they clean up government?

Weigh in here and tune in this Friday at 3:30 p.m.

June 15, 2009

Obama Pitches Healthcare Reform to Docs

President Barack Obama is taking his push to overhaul the nation's troubled healthcare system on the road.

He was back home in the windy city today, making his pitch to one of the most skeptical audiences, doctors.

Mr. Obama addressed more than 2000 doctors at the AMA's annual conference downtown, telling them reforming healthcare is the single most important thing that can be done to assure the nation's long-term fiscal health.

Continue reading "Obama Pitches Healthcare Reform to Docs" »

June 12, 2009

Pink Slips Fly at City Hall

In a high stakes game of chicken city hall style, Mayor Richard Daley won the first round.

Today more than 1500 layoff notices went out to Chicago union workers.

Daley says that's because unions wouldn't come to the table and accept unpaid furlough days.

But organized labor says there's more to it ... namely that Daley wouldn't give them a guarantee that there would be no layoffs if workers made the requested concessions.

Continue reading "Pink Slips Fly at City Hall" »

Pink Slips Fly at City Hall

In a high stakes game of chicken city hall style, Mayor Richard Daley won the first round.

Today more than 1500 layoff notices went out to Chicago union workers.

Daley says that's because unions wouldn't come to the table and accept unpaid furlough days.

But organized labor says there's more to it ... namely that Daley wouldn't give them a guarantee that there would be no layoffs if workers made the requested concessions.

Continue reading "Pink Slips Fly at City Hall" »

June 9, 2009

Ike's Woes

Indicted 29th ward Alderman Issac "Ike" Carothers held his head up high and kept his mouth shut today as he entered a plea of not guilty to charges he greased the skids for a development in his ward.

Namely the feds accuse Carothers of receiving more than $40,000 in home improvements and other benefits in exchange for helping a developer get a lucrative zoning change ultimately worth millions.

But Ike's got something going for him.

Continue reading "Ike's Woes" »

June 8, 2009

Want To Make $100,000 Per Year?

Three days a week, I talk with WGN Radio's Garry Meier about what's going on around Chicagoland.

Today, we were talking about the State of Illinois' multi-billion dollar budget deficit. Some estimates put it at $11.5 Billion.

That's $11,500,000,000.00.

A lot of zeros. A LOT of zeros.

Governor Pat Quinn was at the Chicago Food Depository Monday, trying his best to drum up support for a income tax increase.

Garry and I were talking about that. A tax increase in the middle of a horrible recession. Not what many people like to hear.

I said to Garry, in regards to employees of the State of Illinois, that "they make $90,000...$100,000 a year."

I missed a word in that sentence. I meant to say "some" make that much.

Continue reading "Want To Make $100,000 Per Year?" »

What's in the Water at Chicago's City Hall?

Just what is in the water being served up in Chicago City Council chambers?

For decades now, the place has been a magnetic pull for the ethically challenged.

This morning, 29th Ward Alderman Ike Carothers pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges that include bribery and fraud.

Continue reading "What's in the Water at Chicago's City Hall?" »

June 5, 2009

Who Will be Hurt by Budget Cuts?

State lawmakeres need to come to up with a new state budget, or thousands of low-income kids could lose their child care services.

That was the message Governor Quinn delivered today at the Erie Neighborhood House on the city's west side.


Continue reading "Who Will be Hurt by Budget Cuts?" »

June 4, 2009

President Obama's Muslim Outreach. Will it Work?

President Obama reached out followers of Islam this morning with a much-anticipated speech in Cairo, Egypt.

The president called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims."

He said the cycle of suspicion and stereotypes must end.

Continue reading "President Obama's Muslim Outreach. Will it Work?" »

June 2, 2009

Should Quinn say "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has scarcely been in office a hundred days. But he's already incurred a great setback; the general assembly has snubbed him on his tax hike and budget proposal.

Quinn has spent most of his career as a reformer on the outside, lobbing rhetorical and electoral bombs at the establishment. So he may not be prepared for this sort of no-holds-barred battle on the inside.

And following the Rod Blagojevich political strategy of trying to shame your opponent as being against the poor and downtrodden probably won't work either.

Still, he has leverage. Lawmakers larded up the state's capital construction bill with more than $500 million in pork projects and if he so chose he could put a brick on it. So if lawmakers want to see a ribbon cutting in their district Quinn could compel them into playing ball on the budget.

Continue reading "Should Quinn say "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"" »

Two Charged in CPD Officer's Death

Two young men are now charged with the shooting death of 27-year-old Chicago Police Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez.

21-year-old Kevin Walker and 20-year-old Shawn Gaston each face three charges tonight:

First Degree Murder
First Degree Murder of a Peace Officer
Attempted Murder

According to Chicago Police, Gaston was the shooter and Walker was the driver.

Valadez was in plainclothes when he was shot in the head and leg about 12:15 Monday morning. Police say he and his partner were standing outside talking with someone when the shots were fired.

It's sad that not only did a 27-year-old officer die in this tragedy, but that two young "men" are now charged in that death.

June 1, 2009

I'm A Viewer, Get My TV Out Of Here!

It's wasn't the first time we've seen Patti Blagojevich on television.

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But instead of reading to children or cutting a ribbon to open a hospital, Mrs. Blago was eating a tarantula and chatting with Spencer and Heidi Pratt from the Hills.

Yes, folks, I watched (some of) "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!" on Monday night.

It was interesting. It was amusing. It was embarassing.

Did you watch the show? What did you think?

I'll be interested to see what the ratings were for Chicago.

May 30, 2009

U of I Clout List

A Chicago Tribune investigation finds prospective students on a "clout list" are getting into the University of Illinois even if they don't have stellar test scores or GPA's. University trustees and politicians track this list. 77-percent of the 800 applicants placed on it since 2005 got accepted. Many times, this happened over the objections of admissions officers.

I've overheard parents talking about the article and expressing a bit of anger over this. On the other hand, should we be THAT surprised? If a high-profile Harvard University alum urged school officials to accept a particular applicant, wouldn't they strongly consider it? Probably. But, Harvard isn't a PUBLIC university.

U of I President Joseph White scheduled a meeting for Monday to discuss this matter with staff and adminstrators. It'll be interesting to hear what they decide.
Your thoughts?
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-college-clout-31-may31,0,7230960.story

May 29, 2009

Ike Carothers Helps Himself

I like Ike was the popular slogan in the 1950's which denoted support for the President Dwight D. Eisenhower. But it's doubtful aldermen and others will say that about their colleague 29th ward boss Ike Carothers anymore.

The feds announced Thursday that a grand jury had indicted Carothers on charges of bribery, fraud and filing a false tax return, alleging he had profited to the tune of more than $40,000 in exchange for helping a developer get lucrative zoning changes.

Carothers could be facing several years in prison, but that's unlikely. WHY?

According to newly unsealed federal court records the indicted Carothers wore a wire, traditionally a big no-no for Chicago politicians, and has recorded both public officials and developers.

Continue reading "Ike Carothers Helps Himself" »

May 28, 2009

Is Roland Burris his own worst enemy?

Roland Burris is angry.

He and his defenders say he is a victim of a political witchhunt, and has been unfairly placed into an alleged pay-to-play scheme with disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich over his effort to be appointed to President Obama's former senate seat.

But does he have a right to be angry?

Continue reading "Is Roland Burris his own worst enemy?" »

May 27, 2009

Bumbling Burris

Illinois junior senator can't catch a break.

His fundraising for reelection has been anemic at best, and most polls give him a slim to none chance at keeping the seat.

Now a federal judge has ordered the release of a secretly recorded conversation between Burris and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich's brother to the senate ethics committee.

On the tape Burris pushes to be appointed to the senate vacancy, and his own words suggest a potential quid pro quo. “I will personally do something OK? And it will come to you before the 15th of December.”

At another point Burris suggests something potentially in violation of state law.

"God knows number one, I, I wanna help Rod," Burris said on the recording. "Number two, I also wanna, you know, hope I get a consideration to get that appointment."

So to be able to raise money for the governor, while not creating the appearance he was buying president Barack Obama's former senate seat, Burris at one point suggested having his attorney make the donation.

But that never happened.

Continue reading "Bumbling Burris" »

May 26, 2009

Leave Roland Burris Alone?

If you believe what you read, Senator Roland Burris may be in a heap of trouble.

Transcripts of phone conversations, secretly recorded by the FBI, show that Burris may have begged the brother of former Governor Rod Blagojevich for an appointment to the U.S. Senate.

In exchange, Burris agreed to make a campaign contribution to Blago.

I haven't read the transcript yet. But a federal judge Tuesday said the recordings should be given to a Senate Ethics Committee looking into Burris' appointment.

Rod Blagojevich, of course, was impeached in January for, among other things, trying to "sell" Barack Obama's former seat in the Senate to the highest bidder.

What do you think of this allegation? Do you think Burris lied when he said he didn't make an offer of payment of some sort?

Do you think the news media should leave Roland Burris alone and let him serve out the rest of Obama's senate term until January 2011?

May 25, 2009

Of State Budgets and Vets

Memorial Day, a time to reflect and appreciate the service of those who have made the supreme sacrifice in support of country.

It's also a great time for parades in recognition of the same.

Along with the marching bands and marching vets are the ever present politicians showing support for service personnel and trying bank goodwill with the public.

Continue reading "Of State Budgets and Vets" »

Of State Budgets and Vets

Memorial Day, a time to reflect and appreciate the service of those who have made the supreme sacrifice in support of country.

It's also a great time for parades in recognition of the same.

Along with the marching bands and marching vets are the ever present politicians showing support for service personnel and trying bank goodwill with the public.

Continue reading "Of State Budgets and Vets" »

May 22, 2009

Is Waterboarding Torture ?

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That's the question Chicago radio personality Erich "Mancow" Muller set out to answer this morning.
Mancow became one of several journalists and media personalities to get waterboarded live on air.
Known for his conservative view point, Mancow started the morning a supporter of the interrogation tactic.
Mancow says he hoped his on-air test would help prove that waterboarding did not, in fact, constitute torture.


Continue reading "Is Waterboarding Torture ?" »

May 19, 2009

Winning the Battle and Potentially Losing the War

Score one for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. He got his way today when opposition commissioners couldn't muster up enough votes to override his veto of the sales tax rollback.

Eleven Commissioners voted yes, to override Stroger, but they needed 14 of 17 commissioners to support them.

But the opposition isn't giving up yet. Commissioner Pete Silvestri of Elmwood Park says commissioners will continue to vote to rollback the sales tax. And if Stroger vetos that they'll keep voting for it until Stroger relents.

And while Stroger may be happy with his victory today, by supporting an unpopular sales tax, he's giving his opponents a powerful issue to club him with in the 2010 primary ... one that could bump him from office.

Continue reading "Winning the Battle and Potentially Losing the War" »

Cowards On The Cook County Board

It was an on again, off again affair with the Cook County Board.

President Todd Stroger, who pushed through a one percent sales tax hike last year, last week vetoed a vote to do away with the tax increase.

He did so, facing a possible veto override by commissioners.

The cards were stacked against him.

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Two weeks ago, the Board voted 12-3 to rollback the one percent tax that gave Chicago the dubious distinction of having the highest sales tax in the country. Two commissioners were not there for that vote.

Stroger said doing away with the one percent sales tax would leave a $400 million dollar budget hole which would mean closing down county supported hospitals and medical clinics.

In order to override the veto, the Board needed 14 votes. Not only didn't it have that. It didn't have the 12 original votes.

Here's how commissioners voted in this round:

Continue reading "Cowards On The Cook County Board" »

The Problem With Voting Present

The Cook County Board tested embattled President Todd Stroger’s veto power today.

Commissioners supporting a rollback of a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase needed 14 out of 17 board members to side with them to override Stroger’s veto of a measure to withdraw the tax increase.

But they came up short.



Continue reading "The Problem With Voting Present" »

May 18, 2009

Patti Blagojevich: Offer On Table For Reality TV

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Illinois' former First Lady, Patti Blagojevich, apparently now has an offer from NBC to be one of the contestants on the reality television show "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!"

If she accepts, she would take over for her husband, Rod Blagojevich, who had the orginial offer from NBC to be on the show that tapes in the Costa Rican jungle.

A judge already said the former governor couldn't leave the country to be a part of the show.

An attorney for Blagojevich says Mrs. Blagojevich made make the deal because the family needs the money.

Do you think Illinois' former First Lady should take part in a reality TV show?

May 14, 2009

Will Wisconsin Be Next With Marriage for Gay Couples?

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From North of the Stateline...

Late Thursday, the court announced it would take up a case thrown out of Dane County court last year.

In 2006, Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will look at a challenge to that vote. Namely, whether the referendum illegally put two issues to voters at the same time: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions.

Continue reading "Will Wisconsin Be Next With Marriage for Gay Couples?" »

May 13, 2009

Todd's Tax Troubles

He makes around $170,000 a year, yet somehow Cook County Board President Todd Stroger didn't pay all of his 2007 taxes.

And as a result of that nearly $12,000 debt, the IRS has put a lien on Stroger's South Side home.

So at a time when is Stroger is sticking to his guns on his unpopular sales tax hike which is taking nearly half a billion dollars out of taxpayers' (many of whom can least afford it) pockets, shouldn't Stroger use his six-figure, taxpayer-funded salary to be paying his own taxes?

What do you think?

Is it hypocritical?

May 11, 2009

Cheney Prefers Limbaugh Over Powell

I’ve never been one to air my “dirty laundry” in public. But the Republican Party doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

For example, there have been some very public differences with the new Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Sen. Arlen Specter defected to the Democrat Party saying his political philosophy is no longer in line with Republicans. Now former Vice President Dick Cheney says he sides with talk show host Rush Limbaugh over former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a man he worked closely with at the start of the Iraq war.

Continue reading "Cheney Prefers Limbaugh Over Powell" »

May 7, 2009

Daley's Budget Woes

The City of Chicago's budget deficit is so bad that even Mayor Richard Daley is going to take an additional 13 days off without pay along with the rest of the city's non-union workers.

That will bring the number of furlough days to 16 days, that, coupled with management effeciencies, should save taxpayers $12.6 million.

Unfortunately that doesn't make enough of a dent in the problem, so the mayor wants the city's unionized workforce to share in the sacrifice.

Continue reading "Daley's Budget Woes" »

Daley's Budget Woes

The City of Chicago's budget deficit is so bad that even Mayor Richard Daley is going to take an additional 13 days off without pay along with the rest of the city's non-union workers.

That will bring the number of furlough days to 16 days, that, coupled with management effeciencies, should save taxpayers $12.6 million.

Unfortunately that doesn't make enough of a dent in the problem, so the mayor wants the city's unionized workforce to share in the sacrifice.

Continue reading "Daley's Budget Woes" »

April 24, 2009

Twenty years of Mayor Richard II

Chicago Mayor Richard II turned 67 today. And as he marked another year, he also marked another milestone ... twenty years as Chicago's mayor.

Despite that accomplishment (which puts him about a year and half away from breaking his father's record as the city's longest mayor) Daley isn't very reflective or sentimental about his reign.

Continue reading "Twenty years of Mayor Richard II" »

April 23, 2009

Video: Blago's Hollywood Debut

Caught on Camera!

Our former governor, Rod Blagojevich, suspended in mid-air as cameras rolled in Los Angeles Thursday.

It's apparently part of the NBC Reality Show that a federal judge this week said he couldn't leave the country to be a part of.

Now Blago says there may be another way to be a part of the show afterall.

Watch the video. Then tell us, is Blago doing this to make money for his family and defense fund or is he just hanging by more than just a legal wire these days?

Another Day in Paradise in Cook County Government

Todd Stroger can't catch a break.

This time he's under fire for inconsistencies in multiple interviews in which he addressed a recent patronage scandal.

Stroger says he fired former University of Georgia basketball player Tony Cole from his $61k a year job for lying about his criminal record.

Then he had to oust his first cousin Donna Dunnings, the county's CFO, over "explosive allegations" Cole made about her.

Stroger says it took so long to fire Cole because of a backlog of criminal background checks.

But the Illinois State Police disputes any notion of a backlog and says it sent the county Cole's background check on December 20th.

Continue reading "Another Day in Paradise in Cook County Government" »

April 20, 2009

Behind The Crestwood Water Controversy

On Sunday, I was in the village of Crestwood reporting on a Tribune investigation that found the southwest suburban village had, for at least 20 years, mixed in untreated, contaminated water, into it's tap water.

You can read the full Tribune story here.

That report is the first in what may become an Erin Brokovich-type story right here in Chicagoland.

Continue reading "Behind The Crestwood Water Controversy" »

April 14, 2009

Blago's Fiscal Woes

Some say when the feds are done with Rod Blagojevich former Governor George Ryan may look like a boy scout.

But it'll be a few years before that happens.

Continue reading "Blago's Fiscal Woes" »

April 8, 2009

Ex-Chicago Bear is Palatine Mayor

Jim Schwantz is learning to play a new sport-- the game of politics.
Entering the political arena for the first time, the former Bear defeated long-time Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins with 42 percent of the vote. Mullins finished third with 22 percent.

Mullins told me she's down, but certainly not out.
After twenty-years, she still wants to play.
She intends to be back in the game when former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas returns as a Republican to challenge Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

April 6, 2009

Marriage for Gay Couples Coming Back As Issue

Last week, Iowa's Supreme Cout stunned much of the country by ruling gay and lesbian couples could begin to legally marry in the state as soon as April 24th.

Monday, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas vetoed a measure from state lawmakers that would set marriage for gay couples on the road to reality.

Tuesday, the state legislature voted to override Douglas' veto making Vermont the fourth state in the country to legalize marriage for gay couples.

Illinois may soon join the chorus of states looking into one of the emerging issues of civil rights: Marriage Equality for Gay Couples.

State Representative Greg Harris, from Chicago, has sponsored a bill that would legalize civil unions in Illinois, giving gay couples many of the legal benefits of marriage but without the formal title.

Continue reading "Marriage for Gay Couples Coming Back As Issue" »

April 5, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote

On Tuesday, we go to the polls.
Well, some of us will.
Voter turn-out tends to be low for municipal elections, but there are a lot of hot races.

One big race-- the one between Mike Quigley, Rosanna Pulido, and Matt Reichel to replace former Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

There's a five-way race for Niles Mayor after Nicholas Blase retired and pleaded guilty to his role in a kickback scheme.

A homeless man is running as a write-in candidate for Oak Park Trustee.

In Orland Park, a plan to raze Orland Plaza Shopping Center is making waves.

I vote in every election whether it's for United States President or Village President. My parents constantly lectured their children not to take our right to vote for granted. It's one of the reasons they came to this country.

Polls open at six.

April 3, 2009

Another Chapter in the Blagojevich Drama

More drama unfolds in the Rod Blagojevich saga. The impeached ex-governor was vacationing in sunny Florida with the family when federal prosecutors finally filed what had been anticipated for months -- a sweeping 16-count indictment of Blagojevich that includes racketeering, wire fraud and extortion charges.

Whether Blagojevich is ultimately found guilty or innocent, many Chicagoans say they are suffering from massive corruption fatigue. And no wonder.


Continue reading "Another Chapter in the Blagojevich Drama" »

April 2, 2009

Video: Blago's Disney Vacation!

Just minutes before Former Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday, a television reporter from Orlando got into the Disney hotel where he is vacationing with his family.

My question for you: Was this news or an invasion of privacy?

March 30, 2009

O'Hare's Computerized Welcome Wagon

Ahh... computers. They're one of man's greatest inventions and greatest curses.

I'm not talking about when you're at your computer and it locks up just before you save a great narrative.

No, no. I'm talking about when one of us gets replaced by a computer.

I've seen it happen in manufacturing jobs for years. Now it's happening at the airport in a job that used to be uniquely human.

Continue reading "O'Hare's Computerized Welcome Wagon" »

March 26, 2009

The reason we should pay attention in history class...

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Right now, our neighbors to the North, in North Dakota and Minnesota, are fighting off an absolute disaster.

The Red River, which flows north between the North Dakota and Minnesota border, is at near-record flood stage.

In 1997, I was a reporter right out of college when I was hired by the ABC affiliate in Fargo, ND.

It was just a month after what was being called a 100 year flood destroyed many homes, lives and communities along the Red River.

You may remember the picture above from Grand Forks, ND. The city had to be evacuated when flood waters broke through the sandbag dikes.

Flooding in that area isn't new. It happens every spring.

But right now, the Red River is about to crest at levels up to 2.5 feet higher than the devastating levels seen in 1997.

Continue reading "The reason we should pay attention in history class..." »

March 24, 2009

Councilman sues city and gets money!

The story is out of Naperville where a city councilman, Richard Furstenau, sued the city--the city in which he worked and lived--with violating his constitutional rights.

The cased stemmed from Furstenau's arrest in January 2006 and accused of slapping a police officer in the chest.

He was later aquitted of charges during a bench trial in May 2007.

The city apparently has already spent $1 million on defending itself.

Now, council members (Furstenau excluded) voted to settle the constitutional right violation case.

This guy, who at one time swore to uphold the laws of the city, sued the city and others and now may get money, after paying his legal bills, for taking it to court.

Continue reading "Councilman sues city and gets money!" »

March 3, 2009

Coverage of Tuesday's election

Watch CLTV Tuesday night for complete Primary Election results and reaction from the candidates. You can also track the latest election results for the 5th Congressional District Primary elections by visiting their website: http://www.chicagoelections.com and by logging on to the Breaking News Center.


February 24, 2009

Video: Durbin calls on Burris to resign from Senate seat

Sometimes you have to wonder why Illinois politics, specifically Chicago politics, has a bad reputation.

Oh wait, I know. It's because we prove the saying a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

Tuesday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said for the first time in public that if he were Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) he would step down.

Continue reading "Video: Durbin calls on Burris to resign from Senate seat" »

January 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration - See it again tonight

If you missed it, want to see it again or you just want to record it, CLTV is your source this evening as we wrap up our historic coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Continue reading "Obama Inauguration - See it again tonight" »

President Obama: How do you feel about it?

Tears, screaming, silent joy, sober thoughts and pensive faces were all seen and heard during the inauguration ceremonies. As you watched the live coverage of the swearing in and first speech given by Barack Obama as President of the United States, what were the thoughts, feelings, emotions or musings that came over you?

January 19, 2009

Chicago students journey to inauguration for trip of a lifetime

24 Frazier Preparatory Academy students are on the educational opportunity of a lifetime. And their sharing their journey to Obama's inauguration online. Visit their site SharemyInauguration.com and their YouTube channel.

Continue reading "Chicago students journey to inauguration for trip of a lifetime" »

Video: Obama's Road to the White House

On the eve of tomorrow's historic election day, CLTV invites you to take a look back at President-Elect Barack Obama's journey to Washington. From his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to Inauguration Day, McClendon and Kelley take a look at some of the important moments in Obama's rise.
Also, please join us tomorrow, Inauguration Day (Jan. 20th) for extensive coverage of Obama being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

January 9, 2009

Video coverage: Blagojevich Impeached

From The Breaking News Center: "In a historic vote, the Illinois House has impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, directing the Senate to put the state's 40th chief executive on trial with the goal of removing him from office."
Below is CLTV's video coverage of the story. Stay tuned to CLTV and The Breaking Center for continuous coverage throughout the day.

Video coverage: Impeachment Hearings

Below is an archive of unedited video of the recent impeachment committee's hearings. The hearings began in December after Gov. Blagojevich was arrested on federal criminal charges.

January 2, 2009

City Revenues Drop More Than Expected

Chicago's Chief Financial Officer and next Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley, Paul Volpe, called a news conference Friday morning, laying out the fire money mess Chicago was faced with 2008.

Standing at the center of several bar graphs, made to illustrate the dire financial condition of the city, Volpe acknowledged the city's estimates for 2008 revenue was way off. In fact, even after lowering expectations in September, the city was still $31 million short by year's end.

Continue reading "City Revenues Drop More Than Expected" »

December 30, 2008

The Governor, His Appointee and the Elephant in the Center Ring

As a reporter in Chicago it's interesting for me not only to cover the political intrigue we're witnessing right now but the reaction of those who are far removed from the events.

My cousins from Australia were here visiting for the holidays when Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges after allegedly trying to 'sell' the open U.S. Senate seat he had sole power to fill, by appointment.

They're now home but continue to follow developments. That includes the latest turn with Blagojevich going against nearly every democrat in the country by appointing someone to fill the seat.

Roland Burris, the former Illinois Attorney General and state Comptroller, was tapped today to be that person.

The question from my cousin, "Why did the governor do that when he knows it's not going to be accepted?"

Good question.

Continue reading "The Governor, His Appointee and the Elephant in the Center Ring" »

December 19, 2008

Video: Blagojevich speaks out

Gov. Blagojevich made a brief statement today. He stated he "has done nothing wrong" and will not resign in the face of federal corruption charges.

December 17, 2008

A Rude Awakening

Governor Rod Blagojevich has a top attorney defending him in Eddie Genson.

Genson is lion of the Chicago bar known for using his legal prowess for the benefit of mobsters and corrupt pols among others.

But the legal magic honed over the last four decades had little effect at the Springfield hearing of lawmakers investigating whether to impeach the embattled governor.

At every turn Genson decried the proceedings as illegal and all but a kangaroo court.

And lawmakers threw it right back at him. One state rep. young enough to be his daughter told him to retake a law school class.

Genson had a rude awakening.

A Rude Awakening

Governor Rod Blagojevich has a top attorney defending him in Eddie Genson.

Genson is lion of the Chicago bar known for using his legal prowess for the benefit of mobsters and corrupt pols among others.

But the legal magic honed over the last four decades had little effect at the Springfield hearing of lawmakers investigating whether to impeach the embattled governor.

At every turn Genson decried the proceedings as illegal and all but a kangaroo court.

And lawmakers threw it right back at him. One state rep. young enough to be his daughter told him to retake a law school class.

Genson had a rude awakening.

December 15, 2008

Impeachment or Bust

There are few issues that most Illinois pols can agree on, and one of them is their near-universal dislike of embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich.

So it's no surprise that on Monday the house voted 113 to zip to put together a Special Investigative Committee to see if impeachment is warranted.

But that unanimous vote belies rancorous debate from the Republican side of the aisle.

Continue reading "Impeachment or Bust" »

Impeachment or Bust

There are few issues that most Illinois pols can agree on, and one of them is their near-universal dislike of embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich.

So it's no surprise that on Monday the house voted 113 to zip to put together a Special Investigative Committee to see if impeachment is warranted.

But that unanimous vote belies rancorous debate from the Republican side of the aisle.

Continue reading "Impeachment or Bust" »

December 12, 2008

Watchdogs laud Madigan push to remove Blagojevich

Attorney General Lisa Madigan wasn't even done answering questions about her push to have the state supreme court declare governor Blagojevich unfit to hold office when government watchdogs began lauding her.

Here's a statement from Jay Stewart, head of the Better Government Association:

BGA applauds Illinois Attorney General's suit to remove Governor

The State of Illinois is in a crisis. Governor Blagojevich is a continuing harm to our state. Any and all measures available to remove the Governor must be pursued as fast as practically possible.

Accordingly, the Better Government Association (“BGA”) applauds Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision today to file suit in the Illinois Supreme Court demanding the court remove Governor Blagojevich.

However, the Attorney General’s bold action should not be used as an excuse by anyone in the General Assembly to hold back on impeachment proceedings. Standing by idly while our state’s future teeters in the balance is completely unacceptable. Impeachment is a separate process than the action filed by the Attorney General and both can move forward at the same time.

Failure to act is tantamount to failing to protect our state and its citizens. The Attorney General has acted, we demand the General Assembly exercise its impeachment power as soon as possible.

-Jay Stewart
Better Government Association

Is Blagojevich unfit?

The political walls continue to collapse around Gov. Rod Blagojevich as he tries desperately to hold on to his job amid federal corruption charges.

This morning Attorney General Lisa Madigan kicked it up a few notches as she filed a motion with the Ilinois Supreme Court to have him declared incapacitated in an effort to force him from office, at least temporarily or in the alternative strip away his power to appoint Barack Obama's successor.

At a news conference at the Thompson Center Madigan admitted it was an extraordinary request but quickly added "these are extraordinary circumstances"

She said the current situation made it impossible for Blagojevich to govern "with any legitimacy."

What do you think? Can Blagojevich still discharge his duties?

December 11, 2008

Video Coverage: The scandal so far

The arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday has the attention of Illinois and now, the entire country, and details continue to emerge. Below is CLTV's updated video coverage of the scandal so far. You can also check out the Chicago Tribune's extensive online content including the 78-page criminal complaint and the U.S Attorney's Press Release.
Tune into CLTV and log on to The Breaking News center for up-to-the-minute reports as this story continues to develope.

December 10, 2008

Was Jesse Jr. ready to Pay-to-Play?

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. awoke Wednesday to the unfortunate reality that he is "Senate Candidate 5." And that's not a good thing.

That's one of the senate hopefuls referred to in an FBI agent's affidavit which details Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged scheme to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by president elect Barack Obama.

In it Blagojevich talked about giving "Senate Candidate 5" the seat in exchange for raising $500 thousand and later a one million dollars for him.

According to the feds' recordings Blagojevich said he wanted something "tangible, up front."

Today Jackson himself addressed reporters in Washington and professed his innocence.

Watch this and tell us what you think.

December 9, 2008

What was Blago thinking?

Anyone who's watched the federal noose tighten around Governor Rod Blagojevich these past few years probably isn't surprised the feds went after him.

Many saw the pay-to-play allegations that came to light in the trial of Blagojevich's former fundraiser Tony Rezko were a harbinger of things to come.

But what shocks most political observers is the breadth, brazeness, and vulgarity of what the feds alleged.

That after his top fundraiser was sent to the federal pen and as he knew the feds were watching his every move that he would try to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.

Here's a little taste of what the feds allegedly captured on tape:

Continue reading "What was Blago thinking?" »

What was Blago thinking?

Anyone who's watched the federal noose tighten around Governor Rod Blagojevich these past few years probably isn't surprised the feds went after him.

Many saw the pay-to-play allegations that came to light in the trial of Blagojevich's former fundraiser Tony Rezko were a harbinger of things to come.

But what shocks most political observers is the breadth, brazeness, and vulgarity of what the feds alleged.

That after his top fundraiser was sent to the federal pen and as he knew the feds were watching his every move that he would try to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.

Here's a little taste of what the feds allegedly captured on tape:

Continue reading "What was Blago thinking?" »

December 4, 2008

Political Point or Unpatriotic? Flying the American Flag Upside-Down

In Plainfield, Debra Brzostowski, 38, says she's in distress about the economy.

To prove the point, the American flag outside her home in the western suburb of Chicago is flying upside-down.

Continue reading "Political Point or Unpatriotic? Flying the American Flag Upside-Down" »

November 4, 2008

Oh Snaps! Today is Election Day

We've waited four years for today, its hard to believe its finally here. Election day, when it pertains to the Presidential Election should be a holiday - that way people don't have an excuse as to why they couldn't go and vote.
And just remember if you don't vote - you don't have the right to complain in a couple of years. Today is the day that will help shape for many of us the rest of our lives.
GO and VOTE. As long as you are in line before the polls close at 7 p.m. you will get the chance to cast your ballot. So step it up and do your civic. Go VOTE


Afua S. Owusu
(uh-fee-yah) (Oh-woo-sue)
News Producer

November 3, 2008

Fast Eddie wasn't fast enough

Former Chicago Alderman and political heavyweight Edward R Vrdolyak was known as "Fast Eddie," not only for his deal-making prowess, but also but for his perceived ability to outrun the feds.

After nearly 40 decades of clout though, he's slowed and is now a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to scheming with political insider Stuart Levine to steer the sale of a medical school building for a $1.5 million kickback.

But he's better known for something else.

During the city's infamous council wars, Vrdolyak was the bane of Mayor Harold Washington's existence. He and Ald. Ed Burke led a posse of white aldermen, known as the Vrdolyak 29 who worked to stymie the agenda of Washington the city's first black mayor.

It's somewhat ironic. Back then he was known to brag as fellow aldermen went to jail saying he always spoke as if he was talking into a federal tape recorder. Apparently not anymore. What sealed his fate in this case were all the secret tape recordings Stuart Levine made of him.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that while he's been known as Fast Eddie, today's guilty plea shows he wasn't fast enough.

He's looking at 41 months max in club fed.

Mayor Washington's press secretary Alton Miller says the plea is a case of roundabout justice. He added that the mayor known simply as "Harold" would say Fast Eddie got off easy.

October 30, 2008

... And I am Proud to Be an American

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…Cause at least I know I can vote. Well, okay that's not the way the song goes. But it's definitely the way I feel right about now. For the last couple weeks we've watched our country's economy spiral down. It's scary to see what is happening to our country. There were so many opportunities for us to have been told the truth and yet all we received were lies. That is very unnerving.

Continue reading "... And I am Proud to Be an American" »

October 22, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich By The Numbers

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The news isn't good for Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.

A new Chicago Tribune poll of 500 likely voters in the state show the second term governor is sitting in the popularity cellar.

In it, just 13 percent of voters (65 out of 500) said they approve of the job Blagojevich is doing while 71 percent (355 of 500) disapprove.

That is the lowest approval rating of an elected official in the 30-year history of the Tribune doing such polls.

Continue reading "Gov. Blagojevich By The Numbers" »

October 20, 2008

The Secret of Body Language.

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I'll admit it. I'm a nerd. 100% purebred All-American nerd.

This claim is backed up by the hours I've spent watching networks like History Channel and Discovery.

I was guilty of it this weekend, in fact.

The show "Secrets of Body Language" on History Channel grabbed my attention.

Sure, I know what you do and how you say something is as important (if not more) as what you say.

That's how JFK "won" the debate against Nixon in 1960, right?

Continue reading "The Secret of Body Language." »

October 15, 2008

The Great Depression Part 2

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Well President Bush managed to get us into a second war with Iraq so I guess it’s only fair that he helped steer us into what could be the country’s second Great Depression.
When I woke up from my afternoon nap today (yes, I maybe 25, but I take naps like an 80 year old) I was sweating. And at first I thought it was because I was wrapped in two down comforters; then I realized I had actually been listening to Charles Gibson give a special report on the Dow Jones which has fallen 733 points, their second largest drop ever.Ever?

Continue reading "The Great Depression Part 2" »

October 9, 2008

Palin on Newsweek - What do you think?

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The latest issue of Newsweek Magazine features what is becoming a controversial cover. The cover, shown here, is a close up of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Republican media consultants tell Fox News the photo is a "clear slap in the face" because it wasn't retouched. They say its highlighting imperfections like unwanted facial hair and wrinkles.
But the magazine says it cropped Gov. Palin to accentuate her smile and eyes.
What do you think? Is this a harmless cover or are the objections justified?

October 8, 2008

A Personal Story: The Dangerous Foreclosure Slide

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Today, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart ordered his deputies to stop taking part in evictions of properties that have been foreclosed upon starting tomorrow.

Dart says he made the move because of the skyrocketing number of foreclosures in the Chicagoland area.

This story took on significant meaning to me recently. For nearly a year, I've battled with a law firm in Wisconsin to try and save the home my mom was so proud of buying in early 2004. It was the first house she was able to buy on her own.

Continue reading "A Personal Story: The Dangerous Foreclosure Slide" »

September 26, 2008

Rumble in Mississippi…

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Ok, so I know it’s not as smooth as “Rumble in the Jungle” but not much rhymes with Mississippi… and the only other option was “Showdown in Mississippi.”
Well, America – tonight is the night. The first Presidential Debate of the 2008 Elections and the number one question on the minds of most Americans … surprisingly is not “what about the economy?” But, will McCain be there. We have less than 40 days until we march to our respective polling locations to select the 44TH President of our great but financially crumbling nation (in case you haven’t heard WAMU just got snagged up by Chase.)

Continue reading "Rumble in Mississippi…" »

September 17, 2008

Is Govenor Blagojevich "cuckoo?"

Embattled governor Rod Blagojevich has already been called a sociopath, so when Mayor Richard Daley called him "cuckoo," he wasn't the first to publicly challenge the governor's sanity.

It arose after the Governor accused the CTA of being responsible for it's budget shortfall, while the Mayor and CTA blame Blagojevich's unfunded mandate of free rides for all seniors (just one in a long line of populist programs designed to show Blagojevich as champion of the people).

It marks a change, for months, throughout the dysfunction in Springfield, Hizzoner wouldn't call the governor out personally but the funny gloves are now definitely off.

Blagojevich's response, "I don't think I'm cuckoo."

Think about it. You might be "cuckoo" if you were locked in a political battle with most of your own political party, had approval ratings lower than President Bush and to top it off had the feds invading every one of your pores with their pesky corruption investigation.

So here's today's question, who's cuckoo? The governor? Daley? or better yet the voters?

Weigh in here, after watching the video.




September 12, 2008

Obama Campaign Update

Are the gloves coming off?

Check out this memo from Obama's campaign manager and strap yourself in.


TO: Interested Parties
FR: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager
RE: Heading into the Final Stretch
DA: September 12, 2008
______________________________________________________


Summary

With both conventions and the vice-presidential selections behind us, the campaign is now heading into the final stretch. The race has settled into a tight race nationally with Obama well-positioned in the key battleground states, a historic enthusiasm gap, and a debate being waged on Obama’s home turf – change.

In recent weeks, John McCain has shown that he is willing to go into the gutter to win this election. His campaign has become nothing but a series of smears, lies, and cynical attempts to distract from the issues that matter to the American people. But as Barack Obama said earlier this week “enough is enough.” This election is too important and the challenges too big to spend the next 54 days talking about trivial non-issues.

Today is the first day of the rest of the campaign, and today we are releasing two new ads that go directly at the fundamental issue in this race: John McCain is out of touch with the American people and unable to address the challenges facing the country in the 21st century and bring about real change, and that Barack Obama is the candidate who will bring about change that works for the middle class.

We will respond with speed and ferocity to John McCain’s attacks and we will take the fight to him, but we will do it on the big issues that matter to the American people. We will not allow John McCain and his band of Karl Rove disciples to make this big election about small things.


Continue reading "Obama Campaign Update" »

September 9, 2008

Video: "Putting Lipstick on a Pig" is lazy reporting

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The national media is taking the easy way out.

Late Tuesday, Senator Barack Obama went on the attack. He called the McCain/Palin campaign's reformist image "putting lipstick on a pig".

"The other side, suddenly, they're saying 'we're for change too.' Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years," Obama said to the crowd.

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough," he exclaimed.

Watch the video here:

Instead of covering the issues, the press is covering a darned pig statement.

Something stinks. I think it's the reporting barnyard they're wallowing in.

Continue reading "Video: "Putting Lipstick on a Pig" is lazy reporting" »

September 2, 2008

Video: Sarah 'Pawlenty' faux pas raises eyebrows

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I've worked in television long enough to know that sometimes, things are in the TelePrompTer that aren't supposed to be there.

Perhaps that explains the faux pas from the co-chair of the Republican National Committee on Tuesday night.

In front of the entire convention (and presumably a national audience), Jo Ann Davidson of Ohio made a pretty noticeable slip of the tongue:

"We are holding a convention that will nominate a Republican woman, Governor Sarah Pawlenty, our next vice president," Davidson said.

Watch it for yourself:

Continue reading "Video: Sarah 'Pawlenty' faux pas raises eyebrows" »

17 and Pregnant

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It’s a situation we see more often than we would like to in this country.
And once again, the issue of teen pregnancy is back in the national spotlight.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard the news that presumptive Vice Presidential Nominee Governor Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter –Bristol - is 5 months pregnant.

Continue reading "17 and Pregnant" »

September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin does TV

On Friday, when Governor Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's VeePee pick, no one really knew who she was.

One fact I found doing a fast google was that her degree (the only one) is a bachelor's in journalism.

Another fact... she actually worked in television news.

Now... here's the video to prove it.

Continue reading "Sarah Palin does TV" »

August 29, 2008

Video: McCain introduces Palin

John McCain has chosen Alaska Sarah Palin as his running mate. Watch the video of McCain introducing Palin and parts of her speech from Dayton, Ohio.

After the jump, watch CLTV's Political Reporter Carlos Henandez Gomez's analysis of the VP pick.

Continue reading "Video: McCain introduces Palin" »

August 28, 2008

What Will White Voters Do in November?

Tonight, Senator Barack Obama will take his place in history when he accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

Obama is set to become the first African-American to accept a major party presidential nomination. His big moment happens to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech.

This moment is certainly one for the history books.
Some would like to believe Obama's nomination is proof that the issue of color is behind us, but not so fast.

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Continue reading "What Will White Voters Do in November?" »

August 26, 2008

...and then, the crowd roared.

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"The time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose."

Those were the words Senator Hillary Clinton said as she opened her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

If you didn't see it, the 20,000+ delegates were on their feet for a good number of minutes, cheering, holding up "Hillary" signs and chanting rythmically "Hill-a-ry, Hill-a-ry"

The message, as expected, was one of unity. Though it is of note that her speech veered in the direction of her own stump speech... for her own candidacy.

Continue reading "...and then, the crowd roared." »

August 25, 2008

Why Michelle Obama Rocks

Michelle Obama, the woman who could become the nation's first African-American first lady, is tonight's keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Known as "the rock" in the Obama family, she wrote her own stump speech. It's expected to humanize her other half and to show up her own critics.
It is indeed Michelle's big night to shine.

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Continue reading "Why Michelle Obama Rocks" »

Video: In depth interview with Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama kicks off the Democratic National Convention tonight and will speak in prime time to the crowd in Denver. CLTV will be covering the convention all week, both on air and online. Below you'll find WGN's Allison Payne's in depth interview with Michelle that aired last December. She talks about balancing her family life with politics, how race is affecting her approach to campaigning and how her Chicago roots help her every step of the way.


August 24, 2008

Still Waiting for My Text Message!

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What the “bleep” Obama? I woke up yesterday morning at 12:45am and the first thing I did was check my phone… no new text messages. And as I drove to work to start my early morning producer shift I made my daily call to the news desk to see if there was any breaking news overnight. And guess what? There was. Denise our night side desk assistant told me Obama picked Biden it was all over CNN and his website and she asked me did I get a text message and I simply replied no.

Continue reading "Still Waiting for My Text Message!" »

August 23, 2008

Obama Veepstakes (Post-Game)

So they go their separate ways for the next few days, to stump in crucial battleground states until their official anointing at the Democratic convention.

Sen. Barack Obama and his newly minted running mate Sen. Joe Biden's first public appearance together was brief.

They shared the stage on the grounds of the Old State Capitol in Illinois for less than half an hour.

But that didn't seem to bother the throng that exceeded 35,000 people of all ages and colors, many of whom waited more than two hours in the muggy Springfield heat.

After that many squeezed their sweaty bodies as they tried to touch Obama, Biden or their wives.

But one veteran political observer described Biden's presentation as flat.

While others described him as on fire.

What do you think? Weigh in here.

Obama Veepstakes (Post-Game)

So they go their separate ways for the next few days, to stump in crucial battleground states until their official anointing at the Democratic convention.

Sen. Barack Obama and his newly minted running mate Sen. Joe Biden's first public appearance together was brief.

They shared the stage on the grounds of the Old State Capitol in Illinois for less than half an hour.

But that didn't seem to bother the throng that exceeded 35,000 people of all ages and colors, many of whom waited more than two hours in the muggy Springfield heat.

After that many squeezed their sweaty bodies as they tried to touch Obama, Biden or their wives.

But one veteran political observer described Biden's presentation as flat.

While others described him as on fire.

What do you think? Weigh in here.

Video: Obama introduces Biden in Springfield

This afternoon, from the front steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Sen. Barack Obama introduced Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate. CLTV was covering the rally and below, you'll find videos of each speech.

Covering the Obama Rally

CLTV's Carlos Hernandez Gomez is in Springfield today covering Obama's rally where the senator is expected to formally introduce his running mate, Joe Biden. Here's his early report from Springfield. CLTV will be following the story throughout the day.

Obama Veepstakes (Biden vs Change)

Now that those who didn't get the long-awaited text message know Delaware Sen. Joe Biden will be Barack Obama's #2 should he win the presidency, we can begin to ponder why?

Maybe he wanted an Irish Catholic who could appeal to the middle and working-class; or perhaps it's because Biden had the most experience and detailed policy proposals of any of his fellow Democratic presidential primary candidates.

Or maybe it's that Obama needed to exponentially beef up his foreign policy cred as Republicans begin to target that soft underbelly of his campaign.

Continue reading "Obama Veepstakes (Biden vs Change)" »

August 22, 2008

Obama Veepstakes

Are you anxiously checking your cell phone, blackberry, or other electronic device you're tethered to for news of Barack Obama's choice for vice-president?

Perhaps you're an Obama supporter preparing to add his veep choice to your campaign paraphernalia, or maybe you're a backer of Republican John McCain, licking your chops and thinking about how to attack the soon-to-be celebrity.

Either way keep your televisions tuned to CLTV and your computers and pdas linked to cltv.com for coverage of the decision announcement today.

And stick with us throughout the weekend, CLTV's Political Reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez (that's me) will be traveling to the Old State Capitol in Springfield for Obama's rally Saturday, where he's expected to make his first major public appearance with his newly minted #2.

You can also join the conversation on our blog, where I'll provide regular updates.

Obama Veepstakes

Are you anxiously checking your cell phone, blackberry, or other electronic device you're tethered to for news of Barack Obama's choice for vice-president?

Perhaps you're an Obama supporter preparing to add his veep choice to your campaign paraphernalia, or maybe you're a backer of Republican John McCain, licking your chops and thinking about how to attack the soon-to-be celebrity.

Either way keep your televisions tuned to CLTV and your computers and pdas linked to cltv.com for coverage of the decision announcement today.

And stick with us throughout the weekend, CLTV's Political Reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez (that's me) will be traveling to the Old State Capitol in Springfield for Obama's rally Saturday, where he's expected to make his first major public appearance with his newly minted #2.

You can also join the conversation on our blog, where I'll provide regular updates.

August 15, 2008

Blagojevich a Brutha?

As constituencies loyal to him continue to contract, Rod Blagojevich is doing his absolute best to hold onto the support he still has.

One example is how he's recently held events announcing programs catered to the African-American community, among others like the elderly (i.e. free transit rides for seniors).

But this past Monday in a speech to the City Club of Chicago, Blagojevich may have gone too far.

After the forum's moderator, Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green suggested there was little difference between Blagojevich and Senate president Emil Jones (the second African-American to hold the post) the governor agreed, and made the following pronouncement.

"There are times I consider myself the first African-American governor of Illinois."

Other than the oddness on its face that someone of Bosnian Serb ancestry would claim honorary African heritage; it's also factually incorrect.

Illinois has already had a black governor, albeit for only a few hours.

Continue reading "Blagojevich a Brutha?" »

August 7, 2008

Waiting for Blago... What you didn't see on the evening news

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Governor Rod Blagojevich signed a bill into law Monday, it was to make sure that those who violate orders of protection have GPS tracking bracelet--so victims know if their abuser is nearby.

The bill is named in honor of Cindy Bischof, the Arlington Heights woman who was shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend outside her office.

That was the news story.

What didn't make the news that night was the tardiness of Governor Blagojevich.

Continue reading "Waiting for Blago... What you didn't see on the evening news" »

July 10, 2008

Jesse and Barack

By now you have heard about Jesse Jackson's crude comments about Barack Obama, whispered off-camera during an appearance on Fox News.

Here's Regina Waldroup's report from this morning:

Regina went down to Hyde Park this morning to get reaction there.

What do you think? Text us at CLTV24. Or, you can leave a comment below.

July 3, 2008

I'm not a crook

Governor Rod Blagojevich could be called the Rain Man of presidential history with his encyclopedic knowledge of the nation's top executives. He's a known admirer of the late President Richard Nixon and even got his picture taken with the 37th president.

Back in the early 70's, as the wolves of Watergate pursued him, eventually driving him from office, Nixon made his now-infamous declaration, "I'm not a crook."

Blagojevich has his own Nixonian problem, with his administration under siege by federal prosecutors.

And today he gave what could be called his "I'm not a crook," statement at a news conference in which he denied he's a target of the fed's probe:

"The answer is I am not, and, and, and, it's a ridiculous question. And you know it's a ridiculous question. Because if you carefully look at the things that have happened, and you're not just interested in sensationalizing something so you can, you know, do your big news story, you wouldn't even bother asking questions like that." - Rod R. Blagojevich

Here's the raw video we shot:


Does anyone but his staff believe him? And does it even matter? Whether he is ever charged or not, the fed's investigation has undoubtedly weakened him and emboldened his political enemies in Springfield like House Speaker Mike Madigan.

More importantly, in the eyes of many, all of this has put his ability to govern in question.

What are your thoughts?

June 26, 2008

Blago Time

If I had a dime for every time Governor Rod Blagojevich showed up late, I'd be retired and living on my family's ancestral farm in Puerto Rico.

But alas the only recompense for the governor's tardiness is an unwelcome spike in my blood pressure.

Today more than a hundred folks are waiting in a sweltering shack on the West Side for the governor to announce a summer jobs program for young people, at the same time he's planning more than a billion dollars in cuts to the state budget, something most see as a scare tatic to get his nemesis, House Speaker Mike Madigan to give him what he wants.

Anyone watching might notice these sort of announcements of help to targeted constituencies seem to come at curious times, often after bad news (like maybe his pal Tony Rezko's conviction).

But back to punctuality or lack thereof.

For those keeping score the gov was 38 minutes late today and that's not including the half hour by which he pushed the event back.

June 25, 2008

The Daley Trifecta?

Anyone not living under a rock knows that with a few rare exceptions, Mayor Richard M. Daley's word is law in Chicago (Chicago Children's Museum anyone?). And if that's not enough, his brother John holds Cook County's purse strings as Chairman of the county board's finance committee.

But could their younger brother Bill be in line to head state government? Word is he's considering a run for governor in 2010. With federal prosecutors probing every one of Governor Rod Blagojevich's pores, to say he's a long shot for reelection is to state the obvious.

Bill, the youngest of Mayor Richard J. Daley's children, served as U.S. Commerce Secretary in the second Clinton administration and is now Midwest Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase, something that wouldn't hurt in the fundraising department.

Bill Daley is currently an ad hoc advisor and fundraiser for presidential hopeful Barack Obama's campaign. He's also regarded as one of the few whose advice the mayor actually heeds.

Still the pool of potential 2010 Democratic hopefuls is growing. There's Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who could rely on the muscle of the state Democratic party headed by her father, House Speaker Mike Madigan. There's the up and coming State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias; State Comptroller Dan Hynes; Lt. Governor Pat Quinn; and State Rep. Julie (transit funding) Hamos, just to name a few.

A Bill Daley gubernatorial candidacy would likely (as it did when he flirted with the idea for 2002 cycle) inflame sensitive nerves and reopen the old resentments of many over the unchecked political power of the Daley family.

And that brings me to this question. Would a Daley in the governor's mansion equal too much power concentrated in one generation of one family?

Let me know what you think.

May 22, 2008

Image Is Everything

Image is everything when it comes to politics. Everything you say, don't say, do and don't do is scrutinized ad nauseam. That also goes for the politician's other half.

Take these two ladies for example, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain. We know they are the wives of the presumptive presidential candidates of their respective parties. But for the most part, we don't know much else. We’ve heard a few sound bites from them and have maybe read a few articles about them.

Then there are the photo spreads.

In these two pictures, it looks like they are trying to let the photos tell who they are or at least who they want to be seen as. And as you can tell they are projecting very different images than they do on the campaign trail.

Both were photographed for Vogue magazine. Michelle Obama in September of '07 and Cindy McCain for the June '08 issue.

In one picture, McCain is chillin' on a chaise lounger, with her hair down, wearing jeans, no shoes and red polish on her toenails.

The Washington Post writes "the implied message is unmistakable: I am not a Stepford wife."

On the other hand, Obama is shown in a more formal, classy pose. She’s in a little black dress with pearls and pumps. The Post believes "the implied message is unmistakable: I am neither subversive nor threatening. I am not some scary 'other.' I am Camelot with a tan."

The Post surmises "McCain’s image aims to excite the eyes. Obama’s offers reassurance."

Just goes to show you, pictures do speak louder than words.

January 11, 2008

Obama or Clinton? Black Man or White Woman?

Black women who plan to vote Democratic in the upcoming presidential primary COULD find themselves faced with a dilemma. Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Man or Woman? Black or White? Either choice has history making potential. Of course this is only a dilemma if you generally agree with both of them on most issues.

But if race and/or gender factors into your decision-making, consider this.

Barack Obama is the first Black candidate to have a real shot at winning the nomination. He’s smart, passionate, politically experienced on the state and federal level, a “people person” who comes from humble beginnings. And let’s be honest, he’s good-looking! His colleagues, both friend and foe consider him someone who can bring “both sides” together.


Hillary Clinton is the first woman to have a real shot at the nomination. She’s tough as nails (even though her softer side has come through recently), she has experience on Capital Hill and in the White House, she’s spent her adult-life in politics and she can count a former, 2-term president as her “better half.” Not to mention, maybe it’s time this country had a woman at the helm to tone down the testosterone dominating the world political scene right now.

It's a tough choice! Black women are asking themselves, "Should I be loyal to my race or my gender?" I’m willing to bet many of them won't know which way they’re going to vote until they walk into the booth. Either way it looks like history is about to be made. The first (fill in the blank) Democratic candidate for president will happen in 2008!

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