Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daniel W. Hynes, Alexi Giannoulias, Jesse White and Lisa Madigan join Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, at microphone, in a press conference at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Friday.

Illinois Tollway workers covered Rod Blagovich's name on toll plaza sign on southbound I-355 at Bougton Road in Woodridge.

His first press conference

New Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn holds his first press conference at the State Capitol Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, in Springfield, Ill. Quinn's first official action as governor was to move his recently created ethics commission under the watch of his new office.

Former Gov. Blagojevich

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich returns to his house after speaking to the media and a gathering of supporters Thursday outside his Ravenswood Manor neighborhood home in Chicago.

Lisa Madigan, left, shakes hands with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn after a press conference at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Friday,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States as he is sworn in by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009. Obama became the first African-American president in U.S. history.

'Time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit'

My fellow citizens,
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Packing Nation's Hopes, Obama Rides to D.C.

President-elect rolls into capital aboard vintage railcar on path to inaugural

WASHINGTON - Invoking hope and history, President-elect Barack Obama rolled into the capital city Saturday night pledging to help bring the nation "a new Declaration of Independence" and promising to rise to the stern challenges of the times. He kicked off a four-day inaugural celebration with a daylong rail trip, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861.
Obama began his day in Philadelphia, where he said the young nation had faced its "first true test" as a fragile democracy. He ended it in Washington, where his own tests await after his inauguration on Tuesday.

Full Article....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Roland Burris Is Sworn In As Illinois Senator

U.S. Senator-designate Roland Burris (D-IL) (L) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) walk toward the Senate Chamber underneath a painting of Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation before Vice President Dick Cheney swears him into the Senate at a ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 15, 2009 in Washington, DC. Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The 96th General Assembly will convene on Wednesday,
January 14th. There will be many new faces coming to
Springfield due to victories in the General Election in
November. Their names and districts include:

Will Burns (D – 26th House District/Chicago)
John Cavaletto (R – 107th House District/Salem)
Michael Connelly (R – 48th House District/Lisle)
Keith Farnham (D – 43rd House District/Elgin)
Jehan Gordon (D – 92nd House District/Peoria)
Kay Hatcher (R – 50th House District/Yorkville)
Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr. (D – 114th House District/E.St. Louis)
Emily Klunk McAsey (D – 85th House District/Lockport)
Deborah Mell (D – 40th House District/Chicago)
Darlene Senger (R – 96th House District/Naperville)
Andre Thapedi (D – 32nd House District/Chicago)
Mark Walker (D – 66th House District/Mt. Prospect)
Michael Zalewski (D – 21st House District/Chicago)
Dan Duffy (R – 26th Senate District/Barrington)
Toi Hutchison (D – 40th Senate District/Olympia Fields)
Emil Jones III (D – 14th Senate District/Chicago)

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Guide to the Blagojevich Impeachment

It's a two-step process, with governor's own political adversaries as jurors

By Tom Curry

Here is a guide to the process by which Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois might be removed from office

What is impeachment?
Impeachment is the formal accusation of wrongdoing, lobbed by a legislative body against an executive branch official, such as a governor or a president.
Impeachment is somewhat analogous to an indictment the criminal court system.
It is only the first step of a two-step process.
Once an official is impeached (or accused) by the lower house of the legislative branch, he or she then must be tried by the upper body of the legislature.

Is the impeachment process in Illinois similar to the impeachment process used against U.S. presidents?

It’s almost identical.
According to the Illinois Constitution, the Illinois House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct investigations “to determine the existence of cause for impeachment” and, by a majority vote, to impeach (accuse) the governor.
Impeachment trials are conducted by the 59-member Illinois Senate.
“No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators elected,” the Illinois Constitution says, mirroring a provision in the United States Constitution.
There are 59 senators, so 39 would be needed to convict Blagojevich, resulting in his removal from office.

Of what misconduct has the Illinois House accused Blagojevich?

The House voted to impeach the governor for what it called “abuse of power” by engaging in “a plot to obtain a personal benefit in exchange for his appointment to fill the vacant seat in the United States Senate.” That seat that had been held by President-elect Barack Obama until he resigned on Nov. 16, 2008.
The impeachment resolution also accuses him of plotting to award state funds to the Tribune Company only if it fired certain members of the editorial board who had been critical of the governor.
The House also accused him of plotting to divert casino gambling revenues to the horse racing industry in exchange for campaign contributions, among other alleged misdeeds.
“I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing,” Blagojevich told reporters at a press conference Friday after the lower house of the legislature impeached him.

Has Blagojevich ever participated in an impeachment before?

Yes, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, he voted “no” on all four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

Can the Illinois Senate impose any penalty (fines, etc) on the governor beyond removal from office?

No. But a conviction by the Senate would mean that in the future, Blagojevich would be disqualified from holding any public office in Illinois.

If Blagojevich is convicted by the state Senate, can he subsequently be indicted in a federal court for any crimes he may have committed?


Is the impeachment and trial process fair? After all, many of the people serving as jurors in the Illinois Senate are now his political adversaries. His fate won’t be in the hands of an impartial and disinterested jury, will it?

No, he won't be facing a disinterested jury. But the impeachment process, both the federal level and state level, is a political process. That’s what the Framers of the United States Constitution deliberately chose. And most state constitutions follow the U.S. Constitution in this design.
But Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Democrat, told Chris Matthews in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball Friday that he would keep an open mind and "judge whatever is presented before us objectively."
He said that the allegations against Blagojevich were "disturbing," but added, "I've got to deal with what is strictly presented before me and it's a very delicate process leading into that. I'd admonish my colleagues... that they be very careful as to what they say publicly. We want to treat this process with the highest integrity."

Who becomes governor if Blagojevich is convicted and removed from office?

According to the Illinois Constitution, in the event of a vacancy, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn would become governor.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

All the Presidents

President George W. Bush (center) meets with (from left) former President George H.W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn takes questions from the audience Monday after his address at the Chicago City Club luncheon at Maggiano's Banquets in Chicago. Quinn announced the formation of the Illinois Reform Commission, headed by former Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins.

Burris turned away

Roland Burris makes his way through a crush of photographers and reporters as he arrives on Capitol Hill to claim President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat Tuesday in Washington. Burris was appointed by beleaguered Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich but was turned away by the secretary of the Senate.

Democrat Elected Officials

  • Effingham County Board Distric G-Doug McCain
  • Effingham County Treasurer - Steve Dasenbrock
  • Effingham County Board District C - Karen Luchtefeld

Effingham County Democrats Officers

  • Chairman - Audrey Griffith
  • First Vice Chairman - Dan Niebrugge
  • Second Vice Chairman - Allen Wente
  • Secretary - James Hammer
  • Treasurer - Shirley McEvers