Gay marriage expands. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Wednesday allowing same-sex marriage in the state starting this summer. Illinois is the 16th state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. The Illinois Senate approved the measure on Feb. 14, but the bill’s main sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, said he decided against calling for a vote in the House at the time because he didn’t have the needed support. Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Rev. James Meeks, a former state senator and megachurch pastor in Chicago, both publicly opposed the bill. Meeks was part of a coalition of African-American pastors who support traditional marriage and sponsored campaigns against the bill. The measure passed the Illinois House earlier this month by a narrow 61-54 margin; it needed 60 votes to pass.
Drug bust. Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel, R-Fla., has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and is taking a leave of absence from Congress. Radel entered the plea yesterday, admitting he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250 from an undercover officer in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29. After appearing in court, Radel returned to his home state of Florida, where he plans to serve a year of probation and enter in-patient treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. He gave no indication that he has plans to resign his post, despite calls from Florida Democrats that he do so.
So predictable. Even before HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1, government workers accurately predicted both the website’s crashing and the media blitz that followed, according to emails released yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. On Sept. 25, Henry Chao, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ deputy chief information officer, sent an email to CMS staff and contractors telling them the White House was worried about what would happen when the site was unavailable. “I think we should have a more comprehensive answer as to how we will ensure high availability,” Chao wrote. “I am picturing in my mind all the major print and online publications taking screenshots of what is below and just ramping up the hyperbole about hc.gov not functional.” The email included a graphic from the website stating, “The System is down at the moment.”
Sorry, wrong airport. The tiny Col. James Jabara Airport in Wichita, Kan., got a big surprise when a jumbo jet landed on its only runway by mistake Wednesday evening. The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, which carries parts for the company’s famed Dreamliner aircraft, was supposed to land 8 miles south at McConnell Air Force Base. The base is next to Spirit AeroSystems, which assembles parts for the Dreamliner. By midday Thursday, the jumbo jet had been towed into position for takeoff. Airport officials said the jet was safe to take off from the much shorter runway, which usually hosts single-engine aircraft and other small planes.