Judge calls Illinois Statehouse feud 'ridiculous'

 
Circuit Court Judge Patrick Kelley dismissed a lawsuit filed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) against House Speaker Michael J. Madigan for failing to enter the governor's budget cuts into the official House record on time. Urging the two Democrats to settle their spat without court intervention, Kelley criticized the "ridiculous and embarrassing Hatfield and McCoy atmosphere at the Statehouse," The State Journal-Register reports.

In the dirty tricks department, the Ohio Republican Party admitted to a massive public records request that has Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and his staff sifting through millions of emails, The Plain Dealer reports. The GOP's director said the request - made by an intern who did not mention her connection to the party - was meant to show whether the Strickland administration could follow up on its pledge to make public records more available, according to the story.

Bogged down in all those emails, Strickland apparently hasn't been getting out enough. The Dayton Daily News reports the governor told a farmers' group that he was enjoying a cigar with a member of his security team in Cincinnati recently when a worker carrying a power washer asked them to move aside so he could get the place "spotless" for a visit the next day by the governor.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and his wife will soon be taking up temporary residence in a pricey gated community while the governor's mansion is being renovated, according to The Houston Chronicle . Texas taxpayers will pay $9,900 per month for at least a year, plus an $1,800 pet deposit for the Perry's dachshund, Lucy, the story says.

New England states rake in billions from tourists hoping to glimpse Fall foliage at its peak. But a forestry specialist at the University of New Hampshire said New Hampshire and Vermont may have gone too far with their interactive Web sites that attempt to predict peak Fall colors down to the day. Maine and New York take a better approach, she said, providing only snapshots of general conditions, Foster's Daily Democrat reports.

It sounds too good to be true, but some Pennsylvania state employees in Harrisburg have their own private casino, and they are encouraged to play the slots there - for free. The catch is the machines, being tested before they head out to real gambling venues across the state, don't pay out anything either, The Patriot-News reports. In an office building across from the Capitol, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is testing some 10,000 slot machines, according to the paper.

A 10-foot tall pig named Mr. Perks got a $150 ticket for parking too long in front of the Michigan State Capitol, the Detroit Free Press reports. The pig's custodian, Leon Drolet of the anti-tax activist group Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said Mr. Perks was "taken into custody…and will probably have to spend the night in jail," according to the story. 

 
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