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The [Thursday] Papers

"Rod Blagojevich starts his Thursday facing a bleak countdown - 71 days before the twice-elected Illinois governor must say goodbye to his family and begin serving a 14-year sentence for corruption," AP reports.

"During those days, he will scramble to get his financial affairs in order and spend a final birthday and Christmas at home with his wife, Patti, and their two young daughters before heading off to prison to serve the sentence handed down Wednesday.

"The next time Blagojevich gets to spend Christmas or his birthday with his children - 15-year-old Amy and 8-year-old Annie - they will likely be young adults. Blagojevich, whose 55th birthday is Saturday, won't be eligible for early release for about 12 years, when he will be around 67 years old."


"Most people think corrupt politicians get to spend their prison time in a cushy confines, referring to it as 'Club Fed,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"But because of Rod Blagojevich's lengthy sentence prison sentence of 14 years, it's highly unlikely he will initially qualify for a prison camp - the most relaxed security facility available in the federal system.

"Blagojevich will likely end up in a low-security prison, said Jeffrey Steinback, known as a sentencing expert."


"He was corrupt when he took the oath of office," prosecutor Reid Schar said. "He was corrupt until the day he was arrested."

Then he was just one of the most aggressive liars in recent history.


And yet, prosecutors asked for just 15 to 20 years, even though federal sentencing guidelines call for at least 30 years. He got just under half that.


It's not that Blagojevich got too much, it's that George Ryan didn't get enough.


"Many of the Illinois political class are expert in the lawmaking arts, and adept at using words as weapons," John Kass writes for the Tribune. "They use words to gather treasure, and words to dig escape tunnels, and words to bludgeon enemies.

"They use words to levy taxes on some, and give tax breaks to special friends, and send regulators to crush those who cause problems, and all under the color of law."


"During his time as governor, Blagojevich batted back efforts to reform politics and government in Illinois," Brian Gladstein, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said in a statement. "He fought hard to defend dirty politics and pay-to-play practices in Illinois and after he failed, in the months leading up to his arrest, he went to great lengths to raise campaign cash from state contractors.

"We can't leave it up to prosecutors and Judges to punish politicians well after they have done damage to our government, and sometimes our livelihoods. ICPR works to create systematic change in Illinois to create a more effective and responsible government.

[. . . ]

"Blagojevich's sentencing isn't just a victory for prosecutors, it is a symbol of the work left to do.

"On December 15, the Campaign Finance Reform Task Force will hold hearings on public financing at the Thompson Center in Chicago. Public financing is an essential component to keeping politicians honest and ending gridlock in Springfield."


"Rod Blagojevich ran as a reformer and proved to be worse than anything that came before him," said state comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who ran against Blagojevich in 2006. "His reckless and self-serving handling of state finances has put Illinois billions of dollars in the hole, and ensured that it will operate at a deficit for years to come. His rampant corruption in mixing money, politics and government service undermined our system and further jaded an already-cynical public. And his refusal to accept any responsibility for his actions, while mocking his prosecution in his many media interviews, once again made Illinois and its government a national joke."


The number "14" is trending on Twitter right now. #Blago
21 hours ago


One can read "unbelievably" in more than one way. "@Annie1221: #Blago apologizes: ... unbelievably sorry for it."
22 hours ago


Putting Blago's Sentence In Context.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Contextual.


Posted on December 8, 2011

MUSIC - December In Chicago Drill.
TV - Don't Weaken Media Ownership Limits.
POLITICS - Another SRO Crisis.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Mom.

BOOKS - How Stereo Was Sold To A Skeptical Public.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago Footwork King's Bail Battle.

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