the urban north having little in common with the prairie flatlands of central Illinois, and both different yet again from the rolling forests and coal mines of the state's south end. Kind of what someone once said about Pennsylvania — Philadelphia and Pittsburgh separated by Alabama — only north to south rather than east to west.

In the House, for instance, just four of the 61 "aye" votes came from legislators whose districts are outside metropolitan Chicago, even though a third of the state's population is outside of the Chicago area. Just four of 61.