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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008 01:21 pm

Cap City

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Untitled Document PACHYDERMSAND JACKASSES
OK, our adopted son Barack Obama handily beat our native daughter Hillary Clinton in the Illinois Democratic primary.  Predictable though the outcome may have been in the Land of Lincoln, the presidential campaigns on the whole have had all the suspense of this year’s Super Bowl — complete with coaching controversies and lead changes and maybe, just maybe, will conclude with an upset.  A pair of political prognosticators — Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander and Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s downstate director, Bill Houlihan — provide commentary on this year’s primaries at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.
THEBETTERBUSH
Maybe Honest Abe’s shoes are just too big to fill, or maybe national milestones just aren’t that important. Whatever the reason, President George W. Bush declined to attend Tuesday’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Inaugural Ceremony in Hodgenville, Ky. Instead, he asked first lady Laura Bush to represent him. We’re guessing the Great Emancipator was displeased, because he sent stormy weather that forced a cancellation of the bicentennial launch.
IS THIS ZERO-BASE BUDGETING?
With only two weeks left until the March 1 deadline, Springfield aldermen have yet to pass the fiscal year 2009 budget or even pin down the much-needed changes they have been clamoring about for months. Apparently Springfield residents are slightly flighty, too — the city held a public budget hearing on Monday and no one showed up except aldermen and some members of the press.
FRIENDS — HOW MANY OF US HAVE THEM?
Brad Will has plenty of friends, and his are a dedicated posse hellbent on making sure that their homeboy, an Illinois-born freelance videojournalist who was murdered in Mexico in 2006, didn’t die in vain. Last week, for the second time since December, members of Friends of Brad Will performed a Whodiniesque disappearing act when several of them were arrested for disrupting a meeting on Capitol Hill. The hearing was on President Bush’s so-called Merida Initiative, also called Plan Mexico, which would provide Latin American governments with $1.4 billion in aid to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, and political corruption. Critics such as the FOBW fear that the money will have the opposite effect, leading to further human-rights abuses of citizens — a subject Will was documenting when he was shot to death by plainclothes Mexican police. Will’s murder was the subject last year of a lengthy news story in Illinois Times [see John Ross, “The killing of Brad Will,” Aug. 9].
GATEHOUSE’S GATEKEEPERS
To borrow a line from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, “It’s like booing at the Special Olympics.” But, dang, sometimes you just can’t ignore the State Journal-Register. The paper’s ballyhooed “first annual” Readers’ Choice Awards hit the streets on Sunday, Feb. 10. We think it’s that paper’s version of our “Best of Springfield” edition, but there’s a big twist: The paper told advertisers who won before it told its readers. At the SJ-R, folks have a right to know, but folks who are likely to buy self-congratulatory ads apparently have a right to know first.
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