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The [Friday] Papers

UPDATE 2:33 P.M.: Still no column but I'd like to call your attention to a few other fine new Beachwood offerings.

* The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bracket! Just posted. You can enter and win prizes!

* The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week.

* Political Odds updated. Not new, but updated.

* Ferdy on Blago. Forget Ebert's crappy political columns, we'll take Ferdy.

The [Friday] Papers
I'm exhausted, and I've fallen way behind over here. I'm just about ready to read the papers and hope to turn out a column; I'll try to catch up in all our sections through the weekend so you'll just have to keep checking back to catch up yourselves.

In the meantime:

* Live From NY: Blago?

And take a gander if you'd like on my live-blogs from the week's proceedings; my commenters really made it work.

* Day One: Boy Governor On Trial
* Day Two: The Horsey Tapes
* Day Three: A Pattern of Abuse
* Day Four: He Gone

If I can get this IV drip to work properly, I'll be back soon with a Papers column and updated Political Odds.

The [Thursday] Papers
From Beachwood reader Joe:

The cop kid was discovered to be a fake when the patrol car rolled in to the 7-11 and the regular beat cop ordered a coffee, black, and the kid asked for a hot chocolate with whipped cream and "some of them rainbow sprinkles."

Meanwhile, officials are scrambling to explain how a 14-year-old boy became governor.

Boy Governor
By now you know that Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Impeached) is planning to deliver a closing argument at his impeachment trial today, although I suspect he just might announce a new program extending his seniors-ride-free policy to African-Americans, ministers, mothers, and all relatives of Gandhi, King, and Mandela.

Either way, this promises to be a blockbuster and, as I've done all week, I'll be live-blogging it at

We'll begin a little before 10 a.m. with some pre-trial hijinks, then proceed right into prosecutor David Ellis's closing argument. The governor is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m., but he's likely to make everyone wait while he makes some last-second fundraising calls.

Blago will have 90 minutes to make his case. That means he'll be able to repeat what he's already repeated to every television network licensed to operate in America - and some that aren't - approximately 18 times.

The session will then be adjourned while lunch is catered by Panda Express.

We should return around 1:30 p.m. - I'm betting closer to 2 - for Ellis to make his rebuttal. Finally, someone with knowledge of the case will get to pick apart Blago's nonsense on live TV. If the networks don't carry this, they will be (unsurprisingly) derelict in their duties once more.

Senators will then enter into deliberations, which will be catered by Connie's Pizza.

As soon as the pizza is finished, jurors will notify the chief justice that they have arrived at a guilty verdict and Pat Quinn will be sworn in as governor.

Brilliant Blago
One thing Blagojevich succeeded in doing was making his appearance today the subject of most news stories about the trial, instead of the evidence presented on Wednesday which was the most damning yet. In fact, in the coverage I've looked at so far, the day's testimony is virutally ignored, though it's far more persuasive and on-point than the tapes we heard on Tuesday.

Yes, it's not exactly news that the governor's flu vaccine fiasco allegedly violated state and federal law, as did his prescription drug program, or that his administration routinely violated legislative rules. (You can see my live-blog of the proceedings here.)

But the testimony laid out, as the House impeachment report did, the pattern of abuse of power that forms the article of impeachment against him. This isn't about Barack Obama's Senate seat, or even strictly about pay-to-play. This is about a governor who is alleged to have acted illegally in repeated instances, as well as incompetently. As the federal investigation into his administration reached deep into his inner circle, impeachment and/or indictment became inevitable. And when the FBI captured Blagojevich on wiretap allegedly trying to sell Obama's senate seat, get Tribune editorial writers fired in exchange for financial assistance with Wrigley Field, and extort a children's hospital for campaign contributions, enough was enough.

To wit:

"Auditor General William Holland contended that Blagojevich pushed health-care plans that violated federal import bans and awarded a politically connected firm a massive contract to help save the state money, only to see the firm use taxpayer funds for parties and sports tickets," the Tribune gets around to reporting today - I'm not sure I saw this at all in the Sun-Times. Too boring for them, I suppose.

"Senators also heard from Vicki Thomas, who heads a legislative agency that oversees the implementation of state laws. She maintained that the Blagojevich administration often ran afoul of legislative guidelines, most prominently when he exceeded his authority by expanding health care without the direct approval of lawmakers."

As we learned, that meant that Blagojevich's expansion of the Family Care program came without a line in the budget. Stuff like that. Or awarding a state contract to a firm not in existence until after the contract was awarded. Or making the flu vaccine deal without a contract and promising to pay . . . wait for it . . . COD!

Paging Greta and Geraldo!



* "Audit Slams State Drug Plan."

* "Audit: Blago Budget Office Improperly Issues Contracts."

Third Leg
"During the Family Secrets trial, the connection between Chicago politics and the Outfit came up often. In one bit of testimony in 2007, Mayor Richard Daley's friend Fred Bruno Barbara, the trucking boss and Rush Street investor, was identified by Nick Calabrese as a willing driver for mob boss Angelo 'The Hook' LaPietra on bombing runs," John Kass writes.

"Daley got so angry when asked about Barbara that he turned purple and shrieked. The governor of Illinois could have called him 'cuckoo.'

"For generations, the Outfit has formed the base of the iron triangle that runs things, and no understanding of politics in Illinois is complete without them."

Mail Call
The U.S. Postal Service is considering going to five-day delivery instead of six.

Just one more example of The Chicago Way coming to America.

Benny the Bull on Jerry Springer


See you at


The Beachwood Tip Line: 14 and over.


Posted on January 30, 2009

MUSIC - A Plan To Pay Musicians.
TV - The Tale Of Dominic Cummings.
POLITICS - Hospital Bailout: Rich vs. Poor.
SPORTS - Bettors Still Favor Bruins, Lightning.

BOOKS - The Lessons Of Typhoid Mary.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - A 360° Great Train Story.

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