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The [Thursday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

Just catching up with this Washington Post article, via The May Report:

"It takes a while for most start-up companies to gain the confidence of a U.S. congressman and the promise of federal funds. But last year, a small Illinois company accomplished its goal in 16 days with the help of Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, a little-known Indiana Democrat who sits on the House committee that funds the Pentagon.

"In rapid succession, the three-employee technology firm, NanoSonix, filed its incorporation papers in Skokie, Ill., and hired a Washington lobbying firm, K&L Gates, which boasted to clients of its close relationship with Visclosky. A week later, Visclosky wrote a letter of support for a $2.4 million earmark for NanoSonix from the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee."

Wow. Sixteen days from incorporation to a $2.4 million federal earmark. I've been going about this all wrong.

But wait - there's more!

"The NanoBusiness Alliance, which is based in Skokie, was founded in 2002 by several scientists and a senior partner in Lux Capital in New York, and it aimed to help its members get research funding to turn their ideas into moneymakers. The alliance in 2003 hired the predecessor firm to K&L Gates, Preston Gates, which was then rebuilding its lobbying shop after the departure of rainmaker Jack Abramoff, who went to prison in a federal influence-peddling scandal. The firm became K&L Gates as part of a 2006 merger, and its lobbying revenue is on pace to hit nearly $20 million this year.

"The firm signed clients at nanotechnology trade conferences and told them that it had found a committed supporter in Visclosky, who was then gaining seniority on the Appropriations subcommittee that controls the Pentagon budget."

Who knew so much nano was going on in Skokie?

*

Back to NanoSonix:

"As Visclosky's committee moved the earmark forward, Murdock, his wife and executives from the NanoBusiness Alliance wrote $21,700 in campaign checks to the congressman and the DCCC. Murdock said he could not recall whether K&L Gates suggested the donations."

He could not recall. Slipped his mind. The idea came from somewhere but . . . oh, who knows where.

*

For godsakes, they've got a $2.4 million earmark and no website yet!

Prisoner Pablum
Tribune editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis raps Gov. Pat Quinn today for his budget-induced prisoner release program. Unfortunately, Stantis gets it wrong on two counts.

First, the prisoners being released early are hardly hardcore, as one might think from Stantis's depiction of raging dog-like creatures, snakes and bats steaming out of a prison door with mischief in their eyes and baring teeth.

Instead, the prisoners being released - just 62 this week, and 1,000 in all - are already near the end of their sentences and currently living in "adult transition centers," which I take to mean halfway houses, or places like them.

Additionally, the prisoners' crimes were not committed against people, which I take to mean they were drug offenses or property crimes.

Second, without knowing the race of the prisoners being released, it's never a good idea to depict criminals as dark animals when the incarcerated are disproportionately people of color.

*

Frankly, I'd rather take my chances with one of our 1,000 new neighbors than, say, the credit card companies that are now reaming me by unilaterally hiking their interest ratest to 22.9 percent just like they're reaming everybody else. Who are the bigger criminals?

Facebook Feed
Scott Buckner would tell everyone to go to hell, but I live there and I'd rather not see them every day.

Green Scene
In the comments section, the mysterious Sean Burke responds to accusations that he's a Democratic plant installed in the Cook County Board President's race to upend Green candidate Tom Tresser.

Cool Site Of The Day
Waterbeds for the holidays.

Veteran's View
Robert Scheer: "You know, you were a major war hero. The Distinguished Flying Cross. Thirty-five suicide missions over Germany. Crash-landed your plane to save the crew. Received the Distinguished Flying Cross - that's, you know, one of the really top medals you can get - an incredibly heroic figure from World War II. Richard Nixon was a parade guard in the Navy who did not see combat. Yet in that campaign, as is often the case, Richard Nixon played the patriotism card - who's really willing to defend the country, who's really willing to stand up for America, and so forth. And I asked Sen. McGovern, I said: 'How come you didn't bring up your war record in response to this and talk about your own personal heroism, which was considerable?' And George McGovern gave me an answer - it was the best answer I ever got from any politician to any question I ever asked - he said, 'It would have been unseemly'."

*

And maybe it would have. But that shouldn't have stopped the media from correcting the record. A mistake it keeps making.

*

McGovern on Obama's health care plan:

"I wish he had not started with a compromise proposal. There's always room for compromise as you go along. His bill, as the House passed it, is now 2,000 pages long. The one that Hillary Clinton had 16 years ago was 1,300 pages. The problem with that is it's so easy for demagogues to pick them apart. And nobody's ever going to read 2,000 pages; at least I never have. I was in Congress for 22 years, but I never read a [2,000]-page bill, and I don't think anybody else will. And so it's easy to subject them to it. I would have just had a one-sentence bill: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans. Period."

*

McGovern on the bank bailout:

"I would have voted against the $700 billion giveaway. I think that was a mistake, particularly since they didn't attach any conditions to it. That was what bothered me, and I think there should have been a few populists taking the floor of the House and the Senate and say[ing]: 'I can't go down and get that kind of money from the government. What have these big banks and insurance companies, what have they done to deserve this? And what protection is there to the taxpayer? Are we just going to donate $700 billion with no conditions they have to meet?'"

*

McGovern for president.

Quinn Plays Coy
Defends what he won't admit to.

Bicyclists Baloney
Another casualty of parking meter madness: The credibility of the Active Transportation Alliance.

Dye vs. Bradley
George Ofman weighs in on two very different dilemmas.

Hangovers
Tall tales and modern erotic aesthetics.

Meet Mr. Stinky
And Diapers, Coupons, and Churros. In I Am A Security Guard.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Hypo-allergenic.



Permalink

Posted on November 12, 2009


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair.
POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Canada Cuts Youth Hockey Injuries In Half.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.


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