The [Thursday] Papers
The (sparse) announcement on Wednesday that Jesse Jackson Jr. is being treated for a mood disorder only furthered the notion that the congressman's camp is suffering from a credibility disorder.
"In keeping with the secrecy that has surrounded Jackson since his medical leave from Congress was announced, the office's statement came from a doctor who went unnamed, citing health privacy reasons," the Tribune reports.
The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.
As the Tribune's John Kass writes:
"If the man is ill or troubled, most folks will be sympathetic. No one will pick on him or think less of him if he's ill. But that's not the problem. The problem is the awkward, unnecessary secrecy that feeds cynicism and rumors. And worse for the Jacksons, it makes them look ridiculous."
Speaking of looking ridiculous, apparently Roland Burris is still around.
But to reiterate, and I write this as well as a lifelong sufferer of a mood disorder called depression, which is nothing to joke about, although I've really never lost my sense of humor about it: Even the stinky media would have given Junior and his family the space (and respect) they should be accorded in a situation like this if the Jackson camp had just been straight from the start. That doesn't even mean revealing every last detail. The details can wait. It's the obfuscation and deception that have turned a delicate situation into an ugly feeding frenzy.
Legislative tuition waivers cost the taxpayers more than $13 million. Last year. Just last year alone.
[NOTE: A faithful reader points out that even public universities aren't funded solely by taxpayer dollars, so this may not be an accurate accounting; it comes from IllinoisWatchdog.org]
And legislators went down kicking and screaming - most notably Senate President John Cullerton, but also House Speaker Michael Madigan. Consider:
"At least 40 students got some form of a tuition waiver this summer semester, according to records obtained by Illinois Watchdog through an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request. At least four lawmakers continued to hand out waivers while the legislation ending the program was being passed through the General Assembly, according to state records.
"State Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Chicago, gave out eight one-year tuition waivers this spring. Zalewski said he gave out waivers only when students approached his office."
You mean it was a walk-in service?
"[M]y view was that if we could accommodate someone and get them off to college, it was in the best interests of the students to do so," Zalewski said.
"Still, Zalewski voted in favor of ending the program."
I don't believe this program exists, but as along as it does I'm going to milk it for everything it's worth, Zalewski reportedly thought. And by reportedly I mean, what the hell was he thinking?
"In addition to Zalewski, state Rep. Andre Thapedi, D-Chicago, Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, and indicted Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, all gave out tuition waivers during the first half of 2012."
"At least one lawmaker is being investigated for how she distributed tuition waivers. The U.S. Attorney's office has started a criminal probe of Sen. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago."
"A 2009 Tribune analysis found that in the five prior years, lawmakers gave at least 140 scholarships to relatives of their campaign donors," the paper recalls. "Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, gave $32,000 in scholarships to a relative of a campaign contributor and circulator of petitions for the speaker's campaigns.
"The Tribune also found that lawmakers gave at least 87 free rides to relatives of people with other political ties, including three children of city of Chicago employees charged with corruption. And the paper uncovered how the scholarships came in handy when the University of Illinois became increasingly competitive and costly. University e-mails and a state report showed that some students were placed on secret clout lists after state lawmakers advocated for them and then admitted only after the university learned that they were to get a coveted General Assembly scholarship."
Our Very Own (Child Abuse Enabler)
Rahm To Tourism Chief: Drop Dead!
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office swung into full damage-control mode Wednesday after Chicago's convention and tourism chief was quoted as saying that a 38 percent spike in the city's homicide rate and a troubling return to mob attacks downtown was hurting efforts to promote the city," the Sun-Times
"Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board that he's gotten five or six calls from meeting planners in recent weeks concerned about whether Chicago is still a safe place to hold their meetings.
"So far, nobody's cancelling any meetings just yet. But, that's a possibility if the Chicago Police Department does not get a quick handle on the problem, Welsh was quoted as saying.
"'We hope this sunsets quickly because all the good work we're doing regionally, nationally and internationally, if this is not contained in a reasonable period of time, it will have an impact,' the Tribune's website quoted Welsh as saying."
The website wasn't available for comment. But here's the article we're talking about.
"In a follow-up interview with the Chicago Sun-Times a short time later Wednesday, Welsh insisted that his remarks had been 'misinterpreted' and 'taken out of context.'"
When asked how, Welsh said "I don't know, ask Rahm!"
Nah, I just made that up. But I'm pretty sure it's the truth.
"Emanuel's communications director Sarah Hamilton said Welsh's earlier claim that crime and the perception of it is hurting tourism is 'simply false.'"
And that's just what we told Don!
The Beachwood Tip Line: Choosy.
Posted on July 12, 2012
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company