A New Can Of Worms
20 February 2004
Axis of Evil Strikes Back

A dispatch in today's Chicago Sun-Times notes:

"Hard-liners appear almost certain to retake control of Iran's legislature in parliamentary elections Friday after hundreds of reformist candidates were disqualified. In the latest sign of the conservatives' boldness, they padlocked shut the capital's last major pro-reform newspapers.

The silencing of the two dailies -- Yas-e-nou and Sharq -- on Thursday was part of relentless pressure on media critical of the Islamic establishment. But it carried an added blow just before the elections, which most reformists plan to boycott."

Hardliners either A) feel threatened to the point where they must react or B) believe that they can get away with a crack down.

My vote is for A. Hardliners are being pressured from both within Iran and by the United States' success in Iraq. They can't do anything about the US, but they can do something at home. The Persian on the street believes that the US is much more powerful and willful than we actually are. They may take any silence on the part of the US as supporting the mad mullahs of Iran.

Hopefully, the US will turn up the heat.

16 February 2004
So Much for the Medicaid Bed Tax

The State Journal-Register has a story that augurs bad news for last year's Medicaid Bed Tax:

"The Bush administration is headed for a confrontation with states over the financing of Medicaid, the nation's largest health program, as federal officials crack down on arrangements used by many states to shift costs to the federal government."

Hopefully, if this develops the Institute will be able to flame the fires.
Budget Preview

Governor socks it to business, holds out the hope of gambling expansion for the casinos, and he throws in an additional gimmick or two.

Been there done that.
Can There Be Smoke Without Fire?

Firm linked to mayor, governor reaped millions reads the Sun-Times headline, so I'm thinking they finally got the Governor with his hands in the giant cookie jar known as Chicago city governmen:

: "A private roofing venture run by Gov. Blagojevich's top fund-raiser and hired by Mayor Daley's administration for work at O'Hare and Midway airports was paid $7.6 million over the past five years -- nearly $3 million more than initial city estimates, records show."

Alas, there doesn't seem to be much to it. A government contract cost more than expected? Big deal. That the principles of these comapnies knew the Governor? Again, big deal.

Well, what about the no-bid contract extension? Again, big deal contracting rules say they can do that until they get around to soliciting bids.

Is it inefficient? Yes, but it hardly sounds corrupt. Again, it's a lot of smoke but no real fire.

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