So, the fox says to the farmer, "Hey, don't fix the hen-house door; just buy more chickens."

That's pretty much the same advice that you, as Illinois voters, are about to be spoon-fed.

Last year, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan was able to use his alliance with the House and Senate Republicans to thwart Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones at almost every turn.

Whether it was the budget, or the governor's health-insurance expansion, or a multitude of other issues, Madigan and the Republicans were a solid team throughout the long overtime session.

This year, the Republicans have flipped on Madigan, allying with Blagojevich and Jones on the $34-billion capital-construction package, funded by expanded casino gambling and by leasing the Illinois Lottery to a private company.

Last month Governor Rod Blagojevich proclaimed that the Illinois House absolutely, positively, without a doubt had to pass the Senate-approved pension-obligation bond deal, a special-funds sweep, and the entire capital-construction package or he'd have to slash the state budget right down to the bone. Much suffering would result, the governor warned, unless the House complied with every one of his directives.

There are several important things to keep in mind when discussing the governor's proposed budget cuts. The governor threatened to slash $1.5 billion out of the state budget unless the House comes back to Springfield and passes some revenue-generating bills and the capital-construction budget, all of which were approved by the Senate in May and blocked by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) was one of just a tiny handful of Illinois Democratic state legislators who backed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid over the local favorite Barack Obama.

The reasons why House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign staff produced a memo for candidates about how best to call for the impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich are pretty sound. The execution, however, left something to be desired.

Some random thoughts about Tony Rezko's guilty verdict in his federal corruption trial...

Bruce Braley A bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April aims to help the millions of Americans who struggle to understand tax forms and other correspondence from the federal government.

The state-legislative pay-raise issue was a big reason why the Illinois Senate Democrats wanted to wrap things up by the May 31 deadline.

Back in 1966, with the Vietnam War escalating by the day, Vermont Senator George Aiken famously said that the United States should just "declare victory and go home."

History may have repeated itself last week when the two men assigned by Governor Rod Blagojevich to forge a compromise on a multi-billion-dollar capital-construction plan unveiled a $31-billion proposal for roads, bridges, schools, and mass transit and then quickly left town. Their war was unwinnable.