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The [Monday] Papers

Because the situation remains fluid, I'll be with you here all day once again, so here we go.

Blago Framed!
Mulder and Scully investigate.

George Ryan's Crocodile Tears
Apologizes when nobody is looking.

Sneed Undeterred
Still town's favorite patsy.

National Joke
The fake Elizabeth Dole on Saturday Night Live over the weekend telling the fake Rod Blagojevich why the U.S. Senate isn't disposed to seat him as Obama's replacement:

"In my opinion, you are a disgrace to Illinois . . . well, maybe not Illinois, but if you were the governor of any other state, you would be a disgrace to that state."

Weekend Update
Catch up with our special All-Blago All-The-Time Weekend Desk Report.

The Devils' Advocate
We're expecting to hear today if Eddie Genson will take the case. Here's my 2005 profile of the colorful criminal defense attorney.

*

Maybe Genson will consider these defense theories.

Some Honeymoon
"Forty five percent of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely," Rasmussen reports.

My guess is that "or one of his top campaign aides" is the key, meaning Rahm Emanuel. News reports have consistently put Obama in the clear, and even lauded his team for apparently offering nothing but
gratitude to Blago.

If The Shoe Fits
Would you let Blago go without jail time if, instead, every citizen of Illinois could line up and throw a shoe at him?

*

"In Iraqi culture, throwing a shoe is the ultimate insult," reports Kathryn Brown of CBS2 News.

*

The Iraqi economy must be on the upturn if journalists there now have extra pairs of shoes to throw around.

*

UPDATE: 2:56 P.M.: Brian Rhodes writes:

I took my shoe off and threw at the TV set since I wasn't there in person.

*

Beachwood Bob says:

"Did you notice that delayed response time by the Secret Service? It was almost as if they thought, this is it, stand back."

Killer Crime
"If Gov. Rod Blagojevich winds up in prison, he'll be the fourth out of the last eight governors to wear the orange jumpsuit," Rich Miller writes.

"As Jon Stewart noted on The Daily Show last week, just 48 percent of the people who commit murder end up in jail for their crime.

"'You are more likely to end up in jail if you become the governor of Illinois than if you become a murderer,' said an astonished Stewart."

Commuting Cost
Bob from the Beachwood suggests that whenever a governor has his or her prison sentence commuted, the remaining time be tacked on to the sentence of that governor's successor.

Barack Corleone
At the beginning of the movie, he insists he is "not like them." At the end of the movie, the door to the Oval Office closes as Rahm Emanuel kisses his ring.

Mystery of the Day
Go to photo No. 2: What's in the suitcase?

A) Really big comb
B) Jimmy Hoffa
C) Porn collection to be sent ahead to prison
D) The meds he was supposed to take but didn't

*

UPDATE 2 P.M.: A reader writes:

E) Unused flu vaccine
F) A ticket to South America
G) Lacy Peterson

UPDATE 2:49 P.M.: Michael O'Connor writes:

H) Ed Genson's fee, all in cash

Breaking Question
How will today's wind chills affect our Olympics bid? Just wondering.

Blago Bile
"In 1996, John Fritchey, a Democrat who shared a campaign office with Mr. Blagojevich, was told that his stepfather had suffered a serious stroke. He walked over to Mr. Blagojevich, who was making fund-raising calls, and shared the news," the New York Times reports.

"'He proceeded to tell me that he was sorry, and then, in the next breath, he asked me if I could talk to my family about contributing money to his campaign,' recalled Mr. Fritchey, now a state representative and a critic of the governor. 'To do that, and in such a nonchalant manner, didn't strike me as something a normal person would do'."

*

Meanwhile, this is insane:

"At points in early 2004, Mr. Blagojevich appeared with Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, at a community center in Evanston and a junior high school in Quincy. Mr. Blagojevich seemed confident, said two former employees, who refused to be named out of concern that their comments could jeopardize their current work, that he would soon be selected as Mr. Kerry's running mate. (An aide to Mr. Kerry's campaign says he was never under consideration.)"

*

But perhaps less insane than this:

"Behind the scenes, though, members of Mr. Blagojevich's staff saw a different man: one who was deeply concerned about his appearance (particularly his signature black hair, which he ignored suggestions to change) . . . "

Money Tree
They all dip from the same well.

"An Illinois businessman caught up in the federal investigation of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich offered to raise money for the governor on behalf of Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., investigators say," the Times reports.

"But state and federal records show that the businessman, Raghuveer Nayak, has also been a financial supporter of other politicians, including President-elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain of Arizona.

"Mr. Nayak and his wife, Anita, have donated nearly $17,000 to Mr. Obama's campaigns since 2003, state campaign records show, and friends and associates say Mr. Nayak raised thousands more in the Indian-American community here for Mr. Obama in his 2004 Senate race.

"They also say that one of Mr. Obama's close friends, Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer, showed Mr. Nayak's teenage son around New Hampshire at the time ofthe presidential primary early this year."

Sunburn
I bet when Lucio Guerrero was "Beach Boy" at the Sun-Times - writing about "the ABCs of the SPFs for the UVAs and UVBs while you get some S-U-N" and asking "Does this suit make my butt look big?" - he never thought he'd eventually make his way into the New York Times as the spokesman for an embattled governor who had become a national laughingstock.

Programming Note
As always, your comments are welcome.

Mell's Bells
"Rod Blagojevich does not seem to be a person of natural political skill and charm," A.B. Stoddard of The Hill just said on Fox News. "It's very strange he got this far."

Geez, the national media continues to drive me nuts.

Blago does have natural charm - it's about all he has. And the idea, just propagated by Stoddard, that Blago's inexplicable rise was all Dick Mell is just ignorant; the state's Democratic power structure was behind this guy (and not, for example, Paul Vallas in 2002), and that includes Barack Obama.

The media, too, went along for the ride. As I've written before, not all of us were fooled, but as usual, those of us who weren't were ignored.

As Bob Somerby often writes, the media prefers pleasing fairy tales to inconvenient truths that disrupt tailor-made narratives. When the New York Times writes "Blagojevich's Public Image Clashes With His Private Conduct," I hope they - and you - realize that public images always clash with private conduct because public images are just that: images. Images bought and paid for from the likes of David Axelrod and the corrosive, nauseating bevy of political spinners who are more talented - and far better compensated - than the crappy reporters they are paid to manipulate.

Cashelot
I was just watching a report on Caroline Kennedy's interest in replacing Hillary Clinton and wondering how much more it costs to buy a Senate seat in New York compared to Chicago.

Money Muddle
Over the weekend I asked why the Blagojevich family was under so much financial stress, as indicated by the governor's statements captured on wiretaps. An astute observer points out that he does have those huge unpaid Winston & Strawn bills - and that seems to answer the question for me. I didn't connect the dots on that one.

Affording Democracy
Just heard another report about how there's "no money" to hold a special election. Maybe all those folks ponying up for the Olympics could re-direct their charitable efforts to something far more important.

Barbershop
"We knew in the beginning from the hair that he was crazy."

- Mary Katherine Ham

Press Play
Obama is giving a press conference and calling on reporters from a written list of names, just like Bush was blasted for doing.

*

He took only three questions.

*

An NPR reporter nonetheless asked about Emanuel's contacts with Blago's office. "There was nothing that my office did that was in any way inappropriate," Obama said.

Obama says his team will release its findings of internal review of contacts with Blago about filling the vacated Senate seat next week - a delay requested by the U.S. attorney's office.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Bitten and shy.



Permalink

Posted on December 15, 2008


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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