A fascinating month-long political standoff might finally be coming to a close in Kankakee County.

The trouble started when Governor Rod Blagojevich promised state Representative Phil Novak (D-Bradley) a seat on the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

I can only take so much of Illinois politics before I begin to go a little crazy.

Don't get me wrong, Illinois politics is my life. I truly enjoy my job. But, eventually, the bickering, the corruption, the pettiness start to infect my soul and I gotta stop for a while.

As I've told you before, I spent much of my childhood on a farm in rural Iroquois County. One of the chores I thought was completely pointless back then was mowing the ditches.

It was dangerous work.

Let's continue our look at U.S. Senate candidates. This time, the Democrats:

• Comptroller Dan Hynes - Obviously the man to beat. Hynes has lined up big-time labor support, he has the backing of most county Democrat chairmen, he has put together a good organization, and he has won two statewide elections by wide margins.

This seems like a good time to rate the various U.S. Senate candidates. Let's start with the Republicans.

• Jack Ryan - A handsome multi-millionaire with three Ivy League degrees, quit his investment-banking career and went to work as a teacher in an inner-city school.

The media missed the mark on Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka's press conference not long ago.

Topinka summoned reporters to issue a public demand that the governor call a special session to deal with the budget problem.

I generally sympathize with the pro-hunting folks, but the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is engaging in either deliberate lies or abject incompetence these days.

The alliance's Web site (http://www.ussportsmen.

A costly mistake by the parents of a 4-H club member has turned into some bad publicity for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Representative Shane Cultra (an Onarga Republican) wants an apology from the governor over his remarks last week about the State Fair animal-doping controversy.

Pharmacists and road-builders have to wait months for their state-government reimbursements, but Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has managed to find the cash to green-light $200 million worth of pork-barrel projects.

Add the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court to the long list of politicians who have been bested by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The governor has a way of bringing out the worst in his fellow politicos, and the Supremes were no exception last week.

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