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The [Friday] Papers

"As Sunshine Week comes to a close, it's important to reflect on the state of open government in Illinois, nearly four years after lawmakers and Attorney General Lisa Madigan rewrote the Freedom of Information Act," the Springfield State Journal-Register editorial board writes.

"Madigan and other legislative leaders, including Senate President John Cullerton, touted the rewrite as an antidote to both the former Gov. Rod Blagojevich scandals and Illinois' culture of government secrecy.

"This page supported the rewrite, although as with every piece of legislation, there were parts of it that were unsatisfactory.

"Even the parts that seemed like they would work have not, and it's time once again to revisit the law."

I'll say.

Click through for specifics, including a little bit - but not enough - about why the promising Public Access Counselor has turned into such a joke. I speak from personal experience on that one.

*

This, by the way, is where transparency starts, not innocuous data sets gleefully provided by your local unit of government. If only all the tech geeks working their civic butts off in complicity with efforts by officials like Rahm Emanuel to burnish their technocrat and transparency credentials would focus on FOIA first and what government doesn't want us to see, we might actually move forward for real instead of moving backward under the illusion of progress.

The Bill Beavers Show
"A powerful Chicago politician fond of playing slot machines spent thousands of dollars from his campaign coffers at a casino and then falsely declared he'd spent it on authorized campaign expenses, a prosecutor told newly seated jurors Thursday," AP reports.

"The accusations came during the sometimes dramatic openings at William Beavers' trial, where a defense attorney fired back later that the 78-year-old Cook County commissioner viewed the money as loans and eventually paid most of it back."

The idea that Beavers was just loaning himself money from his campaign fund - which doesn't strike me as legal either - is about as credible as the familiar defense that a pol or law enforcement official wasn't participating in a crime but running their own investigation.

He might as well have checked a kilo of coke out of the evidence room and, when caught, said he intended to return it, really.

*

"He didn't violate anything - except being the best darn commissioner he could be," defense lawyer Sam Adam Jr. told jurors.

Right. If I could read this into the record, judge:

"The 7th Ward alderman says he wants the 4th District commissioner's job so he can do 'less work.'"

*

"Standing by boxes full of banking documents and clicking on a remote, prosecutor Sam Cole displayed three separate, $2,000 checks on a courtroom screen that Beavers wrote to himself withdrawing $6,000 from his campaign fund on April 9, 2007.

"On that day, Beavers was at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., using the cash to feed his gambling habit, Cole told jurors. But on an election board form later, Beavers declared the $6,000 went toward campaign expenses."

Maybe he was getting horses to sign his ballot petitions.

*

"Adam said Beavers had paid back or properly declared expenses on 86.6 percent of the roughly $225,000 in campaign money at issue.

"You would be Visa's No. 1 client if you paid back 86.6 percent," Adam shouted a few feet from the jury box. "No. 1!"

Hopefully the jury has some folks on it who pay off their credit cards in full every month, because Adam's hyperbolic assertion isn't even close to being factually correct.

*

Beavers should have known better - even when he scammed expense checks out of the county he knew enough to pay taxes on it. As far as we know.

*

Prosecutors said that Beavers gambled at least $500,000 between 2005 and 2007, the Tribune reports

So more of a pigeon than a hog.

Proco Pinocchio
"Fire Breaks Out In Popular Wicker Park BBQ Restaurant."

Probably Joe Moreno's pants.

*

Too easy?

President Sunblock
"[Obama's] secrecy has become so oppressive and extreme that even the most faithful Democratic operatives are now angrily exploding with public denunciations," Glenn Greenwald writes for the Guardian.

Random Food Report
Wake, Bake, Steak, Shake.

Louder Than A Bomb
2013 Highlights.

The Week In Chicago Rock
The Specials, Kelly Hogan, Tyler The Creator, Jeff Tweedy and JC Brooks.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Boss hog.



Permalink

Posted on March 15, 2013


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Butt Fumbles.

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.


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