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The [Thursday] Papers

"Politicians were dancing and singing all along the Chicago Way on Wednesday, after U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced he would step down," John Kass writes for the Tribune.

"'I can hear the champagne corks popping all the way over here, and I'm in Virginia," said banker and Illinois' former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), the Republican who sacrificed his political career by recommending Pat Fitzgerald."

Among those leading the roundup to chase Peter Fitzgerald out of the U.S. Senate because non-partisan approach to corruption: Ray LaHood. Who is now Barack Obama's Transportation Secretary.

Fitzgerald was the reform U.S. senator from Illinois that Obama never even came close to being. In fact, Fitzgerald was the reform state senator that Obama never was.

If you loved Patrick Fitzgerald, please understand how he got there - and how he would never have been appointed had it been up to Barack Obama instead of Peter Fitzgerald.


Some of Patrick Fitzgerald's targets - most famously governors Ryan and Blagojevich - complained that he criminalized politics by not differentiating between political fraud and fraud. That's backwards. The truth is that criminal justice has long been politicized in this town.

"When I ran for the Senate, Chicago politicians only cared about one thing: Who would I recommend to the president for the post of U.S. attorney?" Peter Fitzgerald told Kass. "Prominent attorneys, people I'd never talked to, called asking to be on the selection committee."

Combine Republicans from Springfield and Democrats at Richard Daley's City Hall and all their lickspittles insisted that Fitzgerald must choose a local lawyer.

Then U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office began lobbying Karl Rove, the GOP Rasputin in the Bush White House, who was also a friend of Combine handmaiden Robert Kjellander, of Illinois.

Hastert, also of Illinois, insisted it was his choice to make. Kjellander, a national GOP leader, would later make millions in bond deals with Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Kjellander was mentioned in federal court papers and dealt with a Blagojevich insider, the convicted Tony Rezko, but was never charged.

He did run political errands for Illinois Republican boss Big Bill Cellini, who is now awaiting a sentence on a Blagojevich-related corruption conviction. Pat Fitzgerald should stay until the sentencing in June. Cellini is represented by former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, who is part of former Gov. Big Jim Thompson's clique.

What do they call that? Six degrees of Combine separation?

"They got to Rove, who said I had to appoint someone from Illinois," Fitzgerald said. "And still some journalists think there's no Combine in Illinois?

Here's my 2002 profile of Patrick Fitzgerald.

I also profiled Peter Fitzgerald in 2001 - it was called Party Pooper - but that piece doesn't appear to be online.


Patrick Fitzgerald: I Won't Ever Run For Elective Office.

"Fitzgerald said complaints that elected officials can't know what's legal and what's not are off-base.

"As much as we hear how there's no notice of what an offense is, it seems like lots of people are shredding stuff, deep-sixing computers, burning zip drives in barbecue grills, that somehow they've figured out that what they were doing was wrong," Fitzgerald said.

Ah yes, the Barbecue of the Documents.


"[Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick] Collins would not comment Wednesday on his interest in the position," the Sun-Times reports. "However, when he left the U.S. attorney's office in 2006, Collins' going-away gift was a jacket embroidered with the words 'Assistant U.S. Attorney.] Even then, Collins put his finger over the word 'Assistant,' then smiled wide."

It's almost a no-brainer.

As opposed to appointing Anita Alvarez, which would just indicate no brains.


Memo to Robert Blagojevich: STFU.

Tyson Beef
So Illinois Democrats have picked their fake Democrat to run against the indicted Democrat they supported over the fake Democrat.

And he lives outside the district. Perfect.


"All three candidates were asked how much of their own resources they were willing to commit to the effort. Tyson pledged $20,000 while the other two pledged $10,000 each."

And that's how you get to the statehouse.

Lesson Plan
"Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former Cleveland public schools CEO, was hired Wednesday to advise Chicago school officials while they do a national search for a chief education officer," the Sun-Times reports.

"Byrd-Bennett will act as 'chief education advisor' to Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to temporarily fill the gap left by the April 27 resignation of Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso.

"She'll be paid $21,500 a month. If she works the entire 13 months allowed under a School Board report, Byrd-Bennett would earn $281,000 as an 'advisor.' That's more than the $195,000 annual salary Donoso received as chief education officer - and more than Brizard's $250,000 annual salary."

Life Lesson From The M&A Front
Synergies never work and the acquired company always loses out. People lose their jobs, too. But the talk at the outset is always sunny.

But for now I'll just stick with this comment from Van Lingle Mungo:

"Sun-Times owner buys Chicago Reader"

What a sucker, I've always got this paper free.

America Is Drowning
"Almost 667,000 homes with a mortgage in the seven-county Chicago area were underwater on their mortgages in March - and 13 percent of those homeowners were also delinquent on their mortgage payments by three months or more," the Tribune reports.

"The paper losses total almost $58 billion in lost equity in Cook, Kane, Lake, Will, DuPage, Kendall and McHenry counties, according to real estate site Zillow's negative equity report scheduled to be released Thursday.

"The number of underwater homeowners varies by county, as do the paper losses. In Cook County, 44.5 percent of homes with a mortgage are underwater, accounting for $37 billion in lost equity, according to Zillow's data."

In Cook County, 44.5 percent of homes with a mortgage are underwater.

Just let that sink in. No pun intended.

NATO Notebook IV
The nonsense never ends.

A Chicago Man Invented The Remote Control
And now he's dead.

Local Music Notebook
Lydia Loveless, Public Pianos, and Metropia.

Palos Hills Mosaic
At the arty Green Hills Library.

Compare and Contrast
The Ryder Cup vs. NATO.

New IPA for Leinie's
Big Eddy Imperial.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Post-imperial.


Posted on May 23, 2012

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Should Talk More About Racism.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Hologram Arcade Machines.

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