Quick Hits – April 14, 2016

Quick Hits – April 14, 2016

It’s nice to be noticed!

No! It wasn’t a new haircut. It was that, after I took the Courier-News to task for a headline that did its best to diminished Farm & Fleet’s Elgin entry, the Daily Herald changed theirs before I could call them out for the very same thing.

In both cases, the mastheads basically blared that Elgin had to give away the farm in order to get Farm & Fleet to consider their meager municipality. We’ve already discussed why that’s utterly untrue on Tuesday.

farm & fleetBut just as I was about to put fingers to keyboard, at 6:43 a.m., the DH changed theirs to “Blain’s Farm & Fleet coming to Elgin, plans to hire locally.” And that’s so much better because this retailer really is a large feather in Elgin’s cap. There’s absolutely no downside.

Ah! But having to find some way to sour the sauce is officially called the “Jewish Mother School of Journalism.” And it goes something like this, “You brought me a Farm & Fleet? How nice! Oy! You paid way too much! What! You couldn’t have brought me a Lord and Taylor?”

(It really helps if you read that quote in an elderly Russian Jewish woman’s accent.)

Perhaps it’s a reverse schadenfreude kind of thing. With the newspaper biz descending further and further into the abyss, they can’t be happy for any success.

But instead of bitching more, we’ll simply set the example here by going with a glass half full kind of mentality. The DH changed the headline to something much more appropriate. It’s a start!

A spring thaw part 2

They are talking amongst themselves! Our intrepid state legislators, that is! Fed up with the twin pillars of polarity, the minions are starting to seek budget solutions on their own. It’s kind of like staging a philosophical coup.

Case in point! A bi-partisan panel convened Monday at the Chicago’s Union League Club’s Illinois Campaign for Political Reform/Truth in Accounting forum. That feckless group consisted of Democratic state legislators Fred Crespo, Greg Harris, William Davis and Heather Steans, and their Republican counterparts Robert Pritchard, Tom Morrison, Patricia Bellock, and Matt Murphy.

Some of the Democrats actually admitted we need to cut spending, while the Republicans conceded the need new revenue sources (taxes)! And both sides agreed the State has some real problems and the failure to address those issues lies squarely at the fee of Michael Madigan and Bruce Rauner.

Steans also noted she’d been attending semi-clandestine assemblymen meetings, the sole purpose of which is to end the budget stalemate. Davis and Pritchard said the same thing. Meanwhile, another State Rep told me there are at least six such groups regularly gathering to discuss the state of the State.

Since the Speaker casts just one vote and the Governor gets none, perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel finally isn’t a Metra express.

Who said Springfield ain’t bi-partisan?

 A bill pushed by Treasurer Michael Frerichs and sponsored by State Rep Robert Martwick (D-Norridge) forcing life insurance companies to make good on their death benefits, passed by a healthy 75 to 34 House margin yesterday.

HB4633 requires life insurers to match their policies to the federal Death Master File, used by the Social Security Administration, to determine if a policy holder has passed on.

frerichsApparently, these compassionate companies use the file to avoid making unnecessary annuity payments, but if they find a family who failed to make a life insurance claim, they suddenly start whistling and simply turn the page. And if the family doesn’t make a claim…

That malfeasance amounts to $550 million in unpaid Illinois life insurance claims. Under the new statute, these insurers must make every effort to put that cash into the hands of the rightful heirs.

Frerichs did note that the majority of insurance companies do the right thing. But half a billion dollars ain’t chump change either.

The bill still has to pass the Senate where the rogue insurance companies are heavily lobbying for a watered-down version. And you thought lawyers were bad!

And speaking of hope

It may seem like a small thing, but, to quote Donald Trump, it’s “huge.”

In his recent apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia,” or, “The Joy of Love,” Pope Frank basically said that, “The Church exists to form people’s consciences, not to serve as a substitute.” Please take a few minutes to really take that in – I’ll wait…

Pope FrankThe Holy Father went on to say that he understands  married life can be a complicated thing (something husbands have known for centuries) and went as far as declaring that, on a case by case basis, pastors should welcome divorced church members back into the fold.

To be fair, the Pope also proceeded to say some really stupid bleep about same-sex marriage and birth control, but to let that get in the way of the greater message would be just like the folks who complain about Farm & Fleet’s sales tax break.

No one better than Pope Frank understands that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this shift from pointing a finger to pointing the way is, as Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich put it, “a game changer.”

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