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The [Thursday] Papers


To all the pols out there, now is a good time to do your dastardly deeds or dutifully dispense bad news that will get buried because Roland Burris is still the biggest story out there and it's swamping everything else.

And I'll get to today's (many) golden nuggets soon enough, but first a little news about City Hall.

"Charity Begins At City Hall For Mayor's Pal," the Sun-Times says on its front page today. "City spent $13.5 million to move homeless shelters so Michael Marchese could build luxury condos."

That sounds about right.

My favorite part, though, is about Patti Blagojevich. We've already known that she took a job recently as a fundraiser for the Chicago Christian Industrial League, but now we know why they suddenly needed a fundraiser: Because Daley's deal left them on the verge of bankruptcy!

Even better is her total failure to apparently raise a single penny, which is reminiscent of her failure to land any business in her three months as an investment banker.

In both instances, she was hired because she was married to the governor. But apparently the only business skill that's ever paid off for her was her friendship with Tony Rezko, which resulted in a bushelful of lucrative real estate commissions.

The industrial league, however, learned that a public figure under federal scrutiny for her business ties to a convicted felon isn't the best person to hire to raise money, even if she is the (criminally charged) governor's wife.

I mean, duh.

One might think that heads ought to role at the CCIL.

Meanwhile, Gery Chico is still defending his role in helping Patti land the job.

"Her husband had mentioned that she needed work," Chico told the Sun-Times.

You know, the husband who is on a glidepath to federal prison.

"I thought it would be a good fit."

In what way?

I'll tell you what would have been a good fit: a job with Michael Marchese.

Rahmbo's Ruin
I'm still waiting for someone to ask Barack Obama if he approves of how his chief of staff loused up the election to replace him by searching for a seatwarmer.

That's Stella
"GUESS WHAT? I knew that Susan Sher, vice president for legal and governmental affairs and general counsel at the University of Chicago Medical Center, would be joining the White House staff as associate counsel," Stella Foster writes today, "but I was asked not to say anything."

I remember when forgetting who you worked for was a firing offense.

"I've been getting that a lot lately from the inner chosen ones asking me not to report things. I wonder why? . . . especially since I and my boss, the late Irv Kupcinet, always reported only favorable things about some of the who's who now going to Washington."

Gee, I wonder why people used to Stella only writing favorable things about them think they can influence what she writes.

"Hmmmmm! I guess they don't know that I write a column . . . in fact, a wonderful column with wonderful things to say. When will they learn??? Perhaps, when I start not turning the other cheek???"

So, um, is this a threat to report more positive news about her pals if they refuse to cooperate?

Deal Sealed
I didn't ask for clearance so as a courtesy I'll take the real names out of this Facebook exchange.

Jane Doe would love to know what led to the speedy acceptance of Roland Burris this a.m.
2 hours ago - 8 Comments
John Doe at 10:04am January 7
Blago's check cleared.

Best Burris Status Update Ever
I did get clearance for this one:

Tom Gaines says Burris is getting more laughs than Franken in D.C. He's not good enough, not smart enough, and people don't like him.

The Blago-Burris Beat
My latest NBCChicago postings. Sort of like Beachwood Lite.

* It's All White's Fault. (No racial irony intended.)

* Blago Puts His Stamp On Business.

* Pundits Pan Durbin, Reid.

By the way, you can now subscribe to a feed of my NBCChicago posts here.

State of Impeachment
"Many panel members said privately that they don't expect the appearance [of Burris] to expose any nefarious tie between Burris and Blagojevich," the Tribune reports.

Geez, what a bunch of cynics.

"[B]ut state Rep. Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, the lead Republican on the panel, said there was plenty to discuss.'

Um, Jim? I'm thinking Republicans don't want to do the slightest thing to hinder Burris from taking office. He's your best chance in 2010.

Hire Fire
"The confidential report, disclosed by the Tribune during Blagojevich's 2006 re-election campaign, said Blagojevich's office sought to circumvent hiring laws for veterans, falsify hiring records, hire unqualifed employees and boost vacation time and pay by faking the background and experience of workers," the Tribune reports.

"Zaldwaynaka Scott, then the inspector general, said the administration's hiring strategy 'reflects not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law'."

We knew this in 2006 - and a lot more even earlier. But state Democrats - including an aggressive Barack Obama - rallied around their man for the same reason that U.S. Senate Democrats are now taking in Burris: Because our political parties are private corporations who always put their own interest in maintaining power before the public interest.

Recalling Roland
Seriously, he tried to kill an innocent man.

Start the recall movement now.

A Fine Public Servant
"Burris, whose first failed bid for governor came during his final year as attorney general, was the target of a scathing rebuke from the Chicago Council of Lawyers after he left office," the Tribune reports.

"The group, which billed itself as a progressive reform voice, cited information from nearly 100 lawyers, judges and community based organizations in writing that the attorney general's office 'must not be used primarily as a stepping-stone for higher political office'."

Barack Corleone
Barack Obama stepped in alright; when will folks like Mark Brown learn?

"One Senate Democratic source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said the Senate leadership had been urged by the incoming Obama administration to 'end the distraction' involving Burris in light of the economic crisis the president-elect is inheriting," the Tribune reports.


Obama said during his press conference on Wednesday that "This is a Senate matter," leaving the distinct impression that he has - and would - stay out of it.

Reminiscent of the beginning of this saga when Obama was found - even by his own team's internal report - to have been more involved in the selection process than he acknowledged.

Part of a pattern I've been writing about for a long time. And it has consequences.


"Obama Serves Reid A Taste Of The Chicago Way."

Republican Response
Illinois GOP chief Andy McKenna is right to criticize Pat Quinn in an Op-Ed today, but he's a hypocrite himself if he and his party don't take on Daley and City Hall, too.

Crush Rush
In some ways I almost feel like Bobby Rush is even more despicable than Rod Blagojevich.

"But Rep. Bobby Rush, the South Side congressman who has injected racially charged language into the appointment, said on MSNBC that the sight of Burris holding a news conference in the rain after being refused admittance to the Senate floor on Tuesday was akin to 'the dogs being sicced on children in Birmingham, Ala.'"

Apparently I revere the civil rights movement far more than Rush does.

Fruit Pie
"Before Blagojevich was arrested, Burris floated his name for the appointment," Lynn Sweet writes. "His name was never taken seriously. Obama's preferred list never included Burris, and the governor never brought him up."

He is the fruit from a poisonous tree. Even if the simple act of the governor making the appointment is legal in a vacuum, it is the end result of a corrupted process. Therefore Burris is himself tainted.

Legal Eagles
It's amusing - and depressing - to see how so many people have suddenly become legal experts.

Well, here's a real legal expert who says that a governor appointing a U.S. senator is a violation of the Constitution to begin with.

Programming Note
I have a few more items to come but I have some business to attend to this morning. Please check back, I'm just getting started!

The [Thursday] Papers SPECIAL P.M. EDITION!
Updating as we go.

While awaiting Roland Burris's appearance before the state House impeachment panel, let's take a look at some other items I didn't have time for this morning.

* Animal Farm continues its look through the Burris archives and finds, well, a hack.

* Would anyone take seriously official actions taken by Richard M. Nixon in the days before he was impeached? Just wondering.

* I've been meaning to mention this for days, and with the recent death of Ted Lechowicz, we all should have been thinking about it: Is Burris motivated in part by adding a fat federal pension to his bank account? Mark Brown notes today that he's already collecting $118,000 a year from his state pension. Then again, as Brown recounts, Burris is raking it in in the private sector.

* So when Burris says "I don't have no money," he means that he doesn't have anybody else's money, just his. And no politician spends their own money.

Bailing Out Chicago
What Oprah and Cub fans are demanding from the federal government.

Dick's Last Resort?
Dick Durbin is lucky he won't face re-election for another six years. Between his bungling of the Burris affair and his support of a commutation for George Ryan, he would be as vulnerable as he's ever been if he didn't have so long to repair his standing.

Roland vs. Rolando
Chicago Tonight last night featured a segment with Mary Hayes, the one-time deputy attorney general under Roland Burris who resigned because he insisted on letting an innocent man face the death penalty, and state Rep. Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon (D-Chicago, natch). From my notes:

HAYES: When Roland Burris was the attorney general, we had a crisis in a death penalty case . . . I had secured a promise ahead of time [before taking the job] that his door would be open. He assured me that his door would be open for questions. I quickly found it was not open at all. He would not discuss the case with me . . . I was never allowed to discuss the mater with him . . . I wrote numerous memos . . . Mr. Burris failed to recognize what was right and what was wrong.

HENDON: Perhaps he made a mistake at that time . . . [argues that Illinois needs two U.S. senators, as if we'll be left with just one if Burris isn't allowed to take the job]

HENDON: I would have accepted it if [Blagojevich] had offered it to me. I told congressman Davis he should have accepted it . . . I'm just keeping it on the up-and-up with the people of the state.

HAYES: We need a clean appointment or we need a special election.

HAYES: I think he thought it was politically dangerous to [admit error in the Cruz case] . . . there have been other situations in which his integrity and qualifications have been questioned.

HAYES: Governor Blagojevich pulled a fast one on the people of Illinois, and Roland Burris has enabled this.

"Ex-Advisor To Panel: Order Blago To Get Psych Evaluation."

Likely to leave you saying "Oh. My. God."

And Finally
Reality Roland TV.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Unseated.


Posted on January 8, 2009

MUSIC - Chicago Drill vs. Brooklyn Drill vs. UK Drill.
TV - Jonathan Pie On Lockdown Pt 3.
POLITICS - Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting.
SPORTS - The Truth About Ed Farmer.

BOOKS - A First: Comics Industry Shut Down.


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