If you want to see how Governor Bruce Rauner's mind works, you should skim through the vast trove of e-mails from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's private account that a Better Government Association lawsuit finally forced into public view last week. 

In January, the first order of business for the Scott County Board of Supervisors will be to hold an election for its 2017 officers. Two incumbent supervisors serving the second halves of their four-year terms are purportedly vying for the position of chair: Diane Holst and Carol Earnhardt. There are five supervisors who will vote for this year’s chair, so a 3-2 vote will secure the position and associated responsibilities for the next 12 months. There is more to these responsibilities than meets the eye, and the taxpayers and citizens of Scott County would best be served with Diane Holst as the chair in 2017.

“This will be the most expensive race of our lifetime,” a Republican friend assured me last week about the apparently-already-begun 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

If Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker pulls the trigger and decides to run, we can expect that significant campaign spending could begin as early as next month – on both sides. And if last week is any indication, this is gonna be one nasty contest.

Top folks in the governor’s office said they didn’t quite understand last week why the Senate Democrats and the spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan were so upset with them about canceling last Thursday’s leaders meeting to discuss ending the long Statehouse impasse and finishing up a budget.

On December 1, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that will extend the life of the Quad Cities nuclear-power plant at Cordova, Illinois, for another 10 years. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the measure into law on December 7. At stake are 800 jobs on-site and thousands of ancillary jobs wholly dependent on plant workers. An article by Thomas Geyer published in the Quad-City Times on June 2, 2016, reported that the annual payroll at the Cordova plant is some $75 million, and its yearly Rock Island County property-tax bill amounts to nearly $8 million. Thus, the short-term preservation of jobs and revenue trumped common sense.

Johannes Brahms is regarded as one of the greatest composers in history. I never tire of his sonatas for violin or cello, and his piano works are pure magic. I go through whole periods of listening and marveling at his capacity for melodic development. I can’t read enough biographies. Beyond his incurable love for Clara Schumann – I’m convinced his over-the-top adoration of her acted like a narcotic that fired up his creativity to generate such astonishing melodies – one strange fact stands out to me.

As Senate President John Cullerton sees it, Governor Bruce Rauner “needed an excuse” to veto a bill last week that would’ve given the Chicago Public Schools $215 million for its June 30 pension payment. And Cullerton believes he turned out to be that excuse.

This is not the time to drop our guards, even for a moment.

On election night, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan started making his usual post-election calls to his Democratic members asking for their support for his re-election as speaker. But at least a couple said they’d like to sit down with him before providing a firm answer.

Every four years, the United States elects a new president. And every four years, the outcome makes some Americans so unhappy that talk of secession – never completely absent from our ongoing political discussion – gets a big bump in the “trending topics” lists. 2016 seems to be shaping up as secession’s best year since 1860.

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