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Illinois
  • Rick Santorum Counting on Rural (Real) Americans in IL and MO

    Down by double digits in recents polls, Rick Santorum needs something to turn his luck around.

    That why he's really counting on the salt of earth social conservatives of the rural Midwest to march to the polls, Bible in hand, and rise up against their oppressive urban fiscal conservative counterparts in tomorrow's primaries

    But campaigning in recent days in Illinois and Missouri, Mr. Santorum has sought to motivate his followers by highlighting a different divide: urban versus rural. And because many of the nation's small towns are suffering economically, Mr. Santorum's approach means he is taking on his own party.

    "Think about it, look at the map of the United States — blue being the Democrats, red being the Republicans — it's almost all red," Mr. Santorum said Saturday evening. "Except around the big cities.

    "And yet when you look at the economic plan that Republicans put forward, it’s all about tax breaks for higher-income individuals who live in those blue areas mostly."

    It's weird, right? In these big tracts of land, where only seven or eight people live per square mile, Rick Santorum actually does really good. And it's only in these tine little places where millions of people are all squashed together that Mitt Romney dominates.

    How is that fair? Who was the genius who decided that delegates should be given out by percentage of vote and not by square mileage?

    Some snobby elitist "educated" person, no doubt. Figures.

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Illinois, Polls, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Dr. Bob Tiballi, Kane County, IL Coroner

    Bob Tiballi for county coronerTwo Republicans are duking it out in the Kane County, Illinois primary for county coroner, both hoping for the chance to take on incumbent Democrat Tao Martinez. Who knew being a coroner falls along party lines? We demand Grover Cleveland's death certificate! Death is nature, not nurture!

    Like so many races, the Chicago suburb's coroner primary has come down to the acceptance of lifestyle choices. On one side is Dr. Bob Tiballi, who is trying to lock down support from his core, breathing base by coming out strongly against death. "I hate death. I hate everything about death," says Dr. Bob, a possibly divisive stance considering dead Chicagoans' strong record of voter turnout.

    Dr. Bob's opponent is Rob Russell, who is taking a big-tent approach by embracing the circumstances of his constituents. ALL of his constituents. "I don't hate death. I respect it. It's part of life," Russell says, speaking for the truly silent majority.

    It remains to be seen whose perspective will resonate with Kane County voters, but one thing's for certain: Dr. Bob is the only doctor in this race. He's also a firebrand fit for the national stage — his campaign has already accused Kane County's Republican establishment of trying to push him out of the race by using "dirty tricks." Let's not pursue that any further, because thinking about the dirty tricks of coroners is the stuff of daymares.

    And yet, fun fact here, in many towns, coroners don't actually perform autopsies. They leave that messy task to the pathologists. If television has taught us anything, this gives the coroner plenty of free time to come up with zingy one-liners, like "Apparently this ballerina took a swan dive," or "I guess somebody ordered this baker into dozens," or "This is file number 045122. Cause of death is myocardial infarction. No evidence of foul play." Run in peace, Dr. Bob!

    Photo via DrBob4Kane.com.

    Previously: John Lackey, "Lackey, not a lackey."

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Dr. Tiballi a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Illinois, One of a Kind Candidates
  • Dick Durbin May Block Religious Freedom Commission's Renewal Until Feds Buy His Favorite Prison

    The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is one of those obscure federal panels that does yeoman's work with little notoriety and an even smaller budget.

    Created by Congress in 1998 to advise government officials on the plight of persecuted religious groups, the USCIRF now faces a shutdown unless Congress approves its reauthorization. But with the House having already approved a funding bill, only a few Tea Party zealots stand in the way of the agency's renewal.

    And by "Tea Party zealots," I mean "one liberal Democratic Senator with a parochial interest in an Illinois state prison…"

    The Thomson Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison near the Mississippi River town of Thomson, was built by the Illinois government for about $140 million a decade ago but hardly used because of staffing issues.

    [Senator Richard] Durbin, according to advocates for the religious groups that are the commission's most ardent supporters, wants Congress to come up with the money to buy the prison and make it a federal facility, and he has put a hold on the reauthorization bill until that happens. His leverage could be that Rep. Frank R. Wolf , the Virginia Republican who sponsored the legislation creating the commission in 1998, chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that funds federal prisons.

    These heartwarming stories of semi-anonymous Senate holds always remind me of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. If only Mr. Smith were a career politician willing to stand up to the influence of corrupt interest groups like "Big Refugee" and "Big Persecuted Minority" in order to advance the economic agenda of his home state.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Dick Durbin, House of Representatives, Illinois, Prison, Religion, Senate
  • Rod Blagojevich Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison

    Rod Blagojevich — who earlier today admitted his own guilt in a burlap sack full of federal charges levied against him — was just handed a sentence that is pretty much the polar opposite of "fuckin' golden"

    Disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison after he made a final plea for leniency, acknowledging his guilt and saying, “I am unbelievably sorry.”

    “I believe he did, in fact, accept [responsibility],” U.S. District Judge James Zagel said in announcing how long Blagojevich should spend in prison after being convicted of 18 corruption charges that included attempting to sell or trade an appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the election of President Barack Obama.

    Well, you know how these things go. Especially with reality TV stars. 14 years. That'll probably get bumped down to seven or eight months.

    Blagojevich will have to surrender Feb. 16. Under federal sentencing rules, Blagojevich will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence, or just under 12 years in prison, at a minimum. The ex-governor turns 55 on Saturday.

    Oooooohhhhh… Maybe that's why he was always telling people that he was innocent. That makes a lot more sense than my old theory, which was that he is a transdimensional manifestation of a quantum being who exists outside of fixed reality.

    Though, I still think that's a likely possibility.

    Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Crime, Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, Senate
  • Rod Blagojevich Admits He Was Guilty After All

    Turns out that — despite many completely plausible and rambling protestations of his innocence — former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is, in fact, guilty of trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat

    Ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich told a federal judge at his sentencing hearing this morning that he accepts his guilt and is sorry…

    Blagojevich's attorneys admitted for the first time Tuesday that he's guilty of corruption, but said the sentence of 15 to 20 years prosecutors want is too harsh.

    And here I had taken him at his word this whole time. I feel like such a fool.

    Today, I have lost a piece of my innocence.

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Crime, Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, Senate