WBEZ | Durbin http://www.wbez.org/tags/durbin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Remembering Harold Ramis http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-25/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis-109766 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Harold Ramis Flickr justinhoch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at the life and career of Chicago-based writer, actor and director Harold Ramis. Plus, we check-in on the Illinois governor&#39;s race with less than one month to go until the primary.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Remembering Harold Ramis" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-25/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis-109766 Where was Senator Dick Durbin at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin mid 30s (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At 68 years old, Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin is one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill. First elected to the Senate in 1996, Durbin now serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate.</p><p>His memories of being 25, however, might be classified as his more humble beginnings.</p><p>Durbin was a young father and husband&mdash;he had one young daughter, with another baby on the way. He was graduating from Georgetown Law School and had just accepted a job offer in then Lt. Governor Paul Simon&rsquo;s office in Springfield.</p><p>And, as he&rsquo;ll tell you himself, he had hardly any money to his name.</p><p>&ldquo;I skipped my graduation ceremony,&rdquo; Durbin recalls. &ldquo;I needed to get on to payroll and get a paycheck so fast that I just skipped it and said send me the diploma in the mail.&rdquo;</p><p>So, he packed up a U-Haul truck with his few belongings and his Newfoundland dog (the dog&#39;s full name, for the record, was Johann Sebastian Black. Durbin says they called him Bassy, for short. He didn&rsquo;t explain further.) and headed across the country to Springfield. His brother followed the U-Haul in Durbin&rsquo;s old Volkswagon.</p><p>Durbin says he spent his last dime putting his wife and baby on a plane, so he spent the nights of this road trip in the back of the U-Haul with his brother and Bassy.</p><p>He thinks even the people who know him well now would be pretty surprised to hear how poor he was when he was 25.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 Illinois Senators remind American not to forget about ORD expansion http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senators-remind-american-not-forget-about-ord-expansion-105568 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AMRresized_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79436747" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Illinois senators don&rsquo;t want the pending merger between American Airlines and US Airways to affect plans to expand O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>Last night, Senators Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) sent American Airlines a letter saying they hope the merger won&rsquo;t derail the O&rsquo;Hare expansion plan.</p><p>The billion dollar <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doa/provdrs/omp.html">O&rsquo;Hare Modernization Program</a> hinges on agreement United and American Airlines. The city is scheduled to sit back down with the two carriers in March to work on the next phase of the decade-long project.</p><p><a href="http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/agreement-reached-expand-capacity-o%E2%80%99hare-and-foster-economic-growth-nationwide">In 2011</a>, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood helped broker a deal between the federal government, the city and the airlines.</p><p>In the letter, the Senators reminded the airline the O&rsquo;Hare project &quot;will create 195,000 more jobs and generate $18 billion in annual economic activity,&quot; adding the merger faces &ldquo;regulatory scrutiny&rdquo; by legislators before being approved.</p><p>Speaking today from Chicago, Sen. Durbin said the project was crucial.</p><p>&quot;We really believe that key to economic progress in the Chicago reason is new runways and the modernization of O&#39;Hare,&quot; Durbin said. &quot;I&#39;d like a committment from the new American Airlines that they are going to with us in that effort.&quot;</p><p>Staff from Senator Durbin&rsquo;s office said they had not yet received a response from American.</p><p>&quot;We appreciate the concerns expressed in the letter by Senators Durbin and Kirk,&quot; American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said, adding, &quot;We have frankly been a little bit busy of late.&quot;</p><p>Fagan reiterated what the airline said yesterday during its merger announcement, that Chicago remains an important hub, but declined further comment.</p><p>Here&#39;s the full letter sent yesterday:</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/125701684/Durbin-Kirk-Letter-to-AA-and-US-Airways-Merger-2-14-13" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Durbin Kirk Letter to AA and US Airways - Merger - 2.14.13 on Scribd">Durbin Kirk Letter to AA and US Airways - Merger - 2.14.13</a> by</p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_40997" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/125701684/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senators-remind-american-not-forget-about-ord-expansion-105568 U.S. Senator Dick Durbin doesn’t think Trotter should be let off the hook http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t think Illinois lawmaker Donne Trotter should get off easy for trying to bring a gun onto an airplane.</p><p>Trotter is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/2nd-special-election">currently campaigning</a> for the congressional seat once held by Jesse Jackson Jr.</p><p>He&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-lawmaker-released-bail-weapons-charge-104236">facing felony charges</a> after security at O&rsquo;Hare Airport found an unloaded gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag on Wednesday.</p><p>Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t know how Trotter&#39;s case will turn out.</p><p>&ldquo;But we can&rsquo;t make exceptions because someone&rsquo;s an elected official,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This applies to everybody across the board. Don&rsquo;t tempt us, don&rsquo;t try to test the system because we&rsquo;re serious about safety on our airplanes.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Durbin&rsquo;s comments were made during an appearance at a Christmas luncheon for the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago on Friday.</p><p>He also addressed the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-occupy-shantytown-federal-plaza-104241"> looming fiscal cliff</a>.</p><p>Durbin said he&rsquo;s confident Washington will come ot a solution in the next few days.</p><p>The senior lawmaker said Senate Democrats stand solidly behind the President.</p><p>&ldquo;The real difference is with Speaker Boehner and whether the House of Representatives will agree with the President for a bipartisan approach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It has to be bipartisan in the Senate, if it&rsquo;s bipartisan in the House, we can get it done.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 15:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267 Drought threatens to close Mississippi to barges http://www.wbez.org/news/drought-threatens-close-mississippi-barges-104099 <p><p>ST. LOUIS &mdash; After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation&#39;s main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market.</p><p>Any closure of the river would upend the transport system that has carried American grain since before steamboats and Mark Twain. So shipping companies are scrambling to find alternative ways to move tons of corn, wheat and other crops to the Gulf Coast for shipment overseas.</p><p>&quot;You can&#39;t just wait until it shuts down and suddenly say, &#39;There&#39;s a problem,&#39;&quot; said Rick Calhoun, head of marine operations for Chicago-based Cargill Inc. &quot;We&#39;re always looking at Plan B.&quot;</p><p>The mighty Mississippi is approaching the point where it may become too shallow for barges that carry food, fuel and other commodities. If the river is closed for a lengthy period, experts say, economic losses could climb into the billions of dollars.</p><p>It isn&#39;t just the shipping and grain industries that will feel the pinch. Store prices and utility bills could rise. And deliveries of everything from road-clearing rock salt for winter and fertilizer for the spring planting season could be late and in short supply.</p><p>&quot;The longer it lasts, the worse it gets,&quot; said Don Sweeney, associate director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. &quot;It&#39;s inevitable that it will mean higher prices down the road.&quot;</p><p>The focus of greatest concern is a 180-mile stretch of the river between the confluences of the Missouri River near St. Louis and the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill. That&#39;s where lack of rain has squeezed the channel from its normal width of 1,000 feet or more to a just a few hundred feet.</p><p>The river depth is 15 to 20 feet less than normal, now about 13 feet deep in many places. If it dips to around 9 feet, rock pinnacles at two locations make it difficult, if not impossible, for barges to pass. Hydrologists for the National Weather Service predict the Mississippi will reach the 9-foot mark by Dec. 9.</p><p>The situation worsened last week when the Army Corps of Engineers began reducing the outflow from an upper Missouri River dam in South Dakota, where a group of experts said Thursday that the worst U.S. drought in decades had intensified sharply over the last week.</p><p>The flow is gradually being cut by more than two-thirds by Dec. 11 as part of an effort to ease the effects of the drought in the northern Missouri River basin.</p><p>Lawmakers from Mississippi River states are frustrated with the corps&#39; action and even requested a presidential emergency declaration to overturn it. So far, the White House has not responded.</p><p>On Thursday, Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy told Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and some of his colleagues from Iowa and Minnesota that the corps would consider dialing back the amount of water being held back from the Mississippi.</p><p>Darcy also pledged to expedite removal of rock formations south of St. Louis, though that work would take at least two months after a contractor is hired.</p><p>To Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, the stakes couldn&#39;t be higher.</p><p>&quot;There is going to be a dramatic ripple effect to our economy if the barge traffic grinds to halt, which clearly it will if something is not done to avert this crisis,&quot; she said.</p><p>Her Missouri colleague in the Senate, Republican Roy Blunt, acknowledged &quot;friction&quot; between upper Missouri River interests that control the flow and those downstream on the lower Missouri and Mississippi rivers. He said the corps &quot;needs to manage that balance.&quot;</p><p>Over the years, parts of the river have occasionally been closed because of low water, barge accidents, dredging, ice and flooding. But this shutdown, if it happens, would affect a pivotal stretch that is used for two-way traffic &mdash; shipments going south to the Gulf as well as transports from the Illinois and Ohio rivers headed north to Chicago and Minneapolis.</p><p>A two-month shutdown &mdash; the length of time that some observers fear given current conditions &mdash; would have an estimated impact of $7 billion, according to the river industry trade group American Waterways Operators.</p><p>Consider agricultural products. It costs 30 to 35 cents more per bushel to send grain to the Gulf by rail instead of barge &mdash; a massive figure when calculating the millions of bushels shipped downriver.</p><p>&quot;When you think of all we buy at the grocery store that has grain and corn, consumers could really see it hit them in the pocketbooks,&quot; said Ann McCulloch of the Waterways Operators group.</p><p>The Coast Guard controls navigation on the river and decides when to require restrictions or shut it down.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really played by ear,&quot; Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty said. &quot;The Mississippi River is a dynamic environment.&quot;</p><p>River shippers are bracing for the worst, weighing train and truck alternatives to move a staggering volume of cargo, if necessary.</p><p>Seven million tons of farm products are shipped via barge in a typical December-January period, along with 3.8 million tons of coal, 1.7 tons of chemical products, 1.3 tons of petroleum products and 700,000 tons of crude oil, McCulloch said.</p><p>Trains already haul a vast volume of material, but switching from river to rail isn&#39;t that easy, especially on short notice. Cargill, for example, uses 1,300 of its own barges on inland waterways. Finding that much capacity elsewhere is no simple task.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;ll look for other sources of transportation to the extent we can. But if you take away this important artery, you can&#39;t just snap your fingers and replace it with trains,&quot; Calhoun said. &quot;There aren&#39;t just trains sitting around. They&#39;re already pretty busy with their business on their books.&quot;</p><p>Tractor-trailers can pick up some of the slack. But some cargo, such as coal, just isn&#39;t cost-effective to haul by truck over long distances, said Bob Costello, an economist with the American Trucking Associations.</p><p>Businesses operating directly on the river are bound to suffer, too.</p><p>George Foster founded JB Marine Service Inc. in St. Louis 36 years ago to make a living fixing and cleaning barges. An extended river closure may force layoffs, he said. And he figures many other companies will be forced to cut jobs, too.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s extremely dire,&quot; Foster said. &quot;There&#39;s no way to sugarcoat it.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/drought-threatens-close-mississippi-barges-104099 Durbin likes Donnelly’s chances in Indiana http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/durbin-likes-donnelly%E2%80%99s-chances-indiana-103584 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP120123114551.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin knows the chances of Barack Obama winning the Hoosier state in the presidential race aren&#39;t good.<br /><br />Republican Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead in the Republican-leaning state, even though Obama won the state four years ago.<br /><br />Despite the numbers, Durbin says that doesn&rsquo;t mean bad news for Joe Donnelly, a Democratic congressman from South Bend.<br /><br />Donnelly&rsquo;s in a tight Senate race against Republican Richard Mourdock for Dick Lugar&rsquo;s old seat.<br /><br />Durbin says he feels confident about Donnelly joining him in the Senate, especially after visiting the campaign in Indianapolis last week.<br /><br />&ldquo;There are a lot of ticket-splitters in Indiana, Republicans who said they can&rsquo;t vote for Mourdock because of some of things he&rsquo;s said,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;They find Joe Donnelly to be a good option, a good alternative. We feel good about his race. He still has a lot of work to do. We feel good about his winning in Indiana.<br /><br />Recent polls show the Donnelly-Mourdock race either tied or with Donnelly a few points ahead.<br /><br />In a debate last week, Mourdock, who also serves as Indiana&rsquo;s state treasurer, had to defend himself from criticism over controversial comments he made about rape, God and abortion.</p><p>Romney said he disagreed with Mourdock&rsquo;s stance that if a woman gets pregnant from rape, it&rsquo;s what God intended. But Romney supports Mourdock&rsquo;s bid for the Senate and even made a commercial for his campaign. The Romney campaign did not ask Mourdock to pull the ad after his comments on abortion.</p><p>For his part, Mourdock said the comments have not hurt him with Republican voters.<br /><br />The race is being closely watched because it could help tip the balance of power in Washington.</p></p> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/durbin-likes-donnelly%E2%80%99s-chances-indiana-103584 Durbin and Blagojevich: A He Said, He Said http://www.wbez.org/bcalhoun/2008/11/durbin-and-blagojevich-a-he-said-he-said/754 <p><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs/2008/11/ap05062001923.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-755" style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="ap05062001923" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs/2008/11/ap05062001923.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="196" /></a>A small back and forth today between Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Rod Blagojevich is a good window into the governor's decision about who to appoint to the senate. Senator Durbin said Blagojevich still isn't returning his calls to talk about possible replacements for President elect Barack Obama's senate seat. According to the state's senior senator, he placed a call to Blagojevich's office last week and still hasn't heard back. To be fair, the governor's office disputes that version of events, saying a call went out to Durbin last Friday, and the ball is in the senator's court. Regardless of who is technically "it" in the Durgojevich game of phone tag -- the dispute hit on a dynamic that's come to define Blagojevich's approach to governing. Whoever is right, the reality is that Blagojevich has not connected with Durbin about the appointment -- his state's senior senator, who also happens to be the number 2 in the chamber. (<em>AP Photo/James A. Finley/2005</em>)<!--break--> Politicians are usually reluctant to talk trash about each other -- especially in the presence of reporters. But if you talk to public officials about Blagojevich, they often talk disparagingly about the degree to which the governor operates in isolation. Among Democratic insiders talking about the pending senate appointment, this comes up a lot. I recently heard one prominent politician informally tell a group of reporters in a frustrated voice that the governor "doesn't talk to anybody!" The degree to which we're hearing complaints from elected officials about Blagojevich's failure to communicate would seem to be a sign of just how bad things are. If you ask people to place bets on what direction Blagojevich will go with the senate appointment, most people will tell you that they won't even get into that game. It's just that unpredictable. If I recall correctly, Rich Miller with the Capitol Fax Blog went so far as to say trying to predict Blagojevich's choice was a "waste of time." Part of what makes Blagojevich's decision process so complicated is this political isolation we got another taste of today. Here's why. If Blagojevich, as he says he does, plans to run for reelection in 2010, he has serious work to do. This fall, the Chicago Tribune pegged his approval rating at 13-percent. Not that long ago, another poll pegged him as the least popular governor in the country. The senate appointment is a real opportunity for Blagojevich to build some relationships, appeal to blocks of voters and breath new life into his image. Doing so, however, will require the governor to break with his style of isolation. In order to take full advantage of his enormous political opportunity, he will have to open himself to input from the most powerful Democrats in the state -- people with names like Durbin, Daley, Jones, Hynes and yes, maybe even Madigan (Obama is a given). He has to gauge their motivations, interests and preferences. A few Democratic insiders I've talked to predict Blagojevich will approach the senate appoint with an eye towards putting his personal stamp on it -- that he will look to make a choice that is uniquely his. They backed up this prediction by citing the governor's isolation, his tendency to shun input from others, and his record as governor, which is defined by this pattern. I would argue that in order for the governor to make some political hay and help himself with this appointment, he's going to have to break with that image, reach out, and make a decision that's about more than him. No matter who called who last, it sounds like Senator Durbin is waiting for a phone call.</p> Fri, 21 Nov 2008 15:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/bcalhoun/2008/11/durbin-and-blagojevich-a-he-said-he-said/754 Illinois delegates know how to party http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2008/08/illinois-delegates-know-how-to-party/400 <p><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-401" style="float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;" title="marlowes-steakhouse" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs/2008/08/marlowes-steakhouse.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="250" />Last night, Marlowe's steakhouse was the scene of the IL delegation welcome party. It was a 4-6 pm open bar party on the 16th street mall. It was the first official IL party and, boy, it did not disappoint. Ok, maybe it disappointed a bit. No one made a scene and the press wasn't let in. So we had to stand outside like the paparazzi on TMZ waiting for a politician to roll by and do a few sound bytes. I was tempted to start playing the full paparazzi role by barking at people as they came out. "Hey, Dick Mell! Dick! Dick! What are you wearing? What hot ordinance are you workin' on?" But instead I just took pictures and tried to stay out of the way. The first day was a treat. I am staying with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Biography.aspx?bio=rwildeboer">Rob Wildeboer</a> and Amanda Vinicky from Illinois Public Radio. We worked long into the night producing features and editing photos. Amanda went to the farmers' market earlier and I contributed by fixing Rob's computer, which really meant I called our IT guy Drew. <!--break--> The IL delegation is staying at the Denver Marriott. When I walked in, the jazz lounge quartet was setting up for what probably is going to be a raucous night of "Mac the Knife." I might go down there tonight just to see what IL politician takes the mic. My bet is on Emil. Denver folk seem nice enough. The bus-riding crew needs some work. When I asked someone if the Sheridan was off Broadway, the person responded with a curt "I don't know, dude" and when a teen cut in line and was chastised by an old lady, he told her to "shut up." Come on Denver, this is the town <em>Mork &amp; Mindy</em> made famous, you can do better than that! This morning we are covering the IL delegation breakfast and prepare for the main event, which are the Illinois' speeches tonight at the Pepsi Center. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and State Comptroller Dan Hynes (plus others) are speaking tonight. I wish they would theme the night by job title - it would be awesome if they had a "Comptroller night" at the next DNC. I have a bunch of tape and video to share today. I'll get it up as soon as I can. Until then, nanu-nanu!</p> Mon, 25 Aug 2008 06:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2008/08/illinois-delegates-know-how-to-party/400