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The [Wednesday] Papers

The reporting and commentary about Rod Blagojevich's arrest is so voluminous that it's hard for even a junkie like me to wrap my head and hands around. As near as I can tell, the Tribune's online coverage has been fantastic, and I have nothing but good things to say about what Fox Chicago has done. Not only did I find Jack Conaty, Dane Placko, Larry Yellen and Patrick Elwood the most knowledgeable and compelling, but I believe they had Patrick Collins - the former right-hand man to Patrick Fitzgerald who prosecuted George Ryan - on first when he was still fresh. (Collins, who is terrific, made appearances on at least two other stations yesterday, and by the time he was on Chicago Tonight last night there was nothing new to glean from him.)

Fox is just all over this story. This morning they had John Kass and Jay Stewart on Good Day Chicago, and Fox reported that Jesse Jackson Jr. is the mystery Candidate 5. I know that's been speculated on, and maybe others had reported by then, but it was the first reporting I had seen on it that was sourced.

Anyway, there are so many threads to chew on I'm not sure where to start, so I'm just going to go with a running commentary I've been keeping of my own observations and those that contributors and readers have sent in. You can get the facts of the case and the conventional wisdom and speculation (along with the cheap jokes!) elsewhere. I'm just one person!

We do have Blago offerings in each of our sections today except Sports, so be sure to go read Blago Rock, Blago TV, Blago Books, Blago's Extortion Ring, and Blago's Defense Options.

And, on a programming note, Sam Zell will be interviewed - by Maria Bartiromo I think - on CNBC today at 2 p.m. CST.

*

"He shouldn't have been lead out in handcuffs, but in a straitjacket!"

- Some TV guy last night

*

John Kass said this morning that a special election should not be held for Obama's seat; instead, Gov. Pat Quinn should make the appointment and, in the name of bipartisan reform, he should name Peter Fitzgerald.

*

I'm always for special elections instead of appointments. But wouldn't this put the seat into play for a Republican? I'm not being partisan, I'm just wondering why the Democratic powers that be would allow it. Now, Lynn Sweet said last night that the seat would be a lock for a Democrat. I'm not so sure. Think about it: Could Valerie Jarrett run a campaign? Has Jesse Jr. been compromised? Is Tammy Duckworth viable? No Emil Jones, that's for sure. Giannoulias? He'd have the bank account. On the other side of the ledger, Mark Kirk lurks . . .

*

Blagojevich reportedly showed up for work this morning for "business as usual."

Yes. The first thing he did was call up Sam Zell and see how the firing of McCormick was going.

*

Blago accomplished one goal: He can now command large speaking fees.

*

"If he was really a Cub fan, he should off demanded Zell get Hendry to get rid of Soriano."

- Marty Gangler

*

Pat Quinn's press conference yesterday was brutal. He couldn't answer the question about who was in charge.

*

Why wouldn't Sam Zell agree to a business deal with the governor that tramples on editorial integrity? He's stated a number of times that he sees a newspaper as only a business with no special status whatsoever in terms of the public interest.

Of course, if he did go along with Blago's deal and it was exposed, the Tribune would surely lose customers because a newspaper has to have credibility. See where business interests and journalism ethics intersect?

*

Fitzgerald said he couldn't sleep knowing that John McCormick could lose his job as the Tribune's deputy editorial page editor. That means Fitzgerald believed it was a possibility, and the complaint infers that Zell was willing to play ball. The Tribune's statement on this isn't enough, but to be fair we also don't know if what was represented to Blago was done so just to tell him what he wanted to hear.

*

A very good question just came over the transom:

"Everyone's saying that Obama looks great in the Blago indictment because according to Blago on the tapes, they weren't willing to give him anything but appreciation for appointing Valerie Jarrett. But how is it possible for Obama and his people to know nothing about Blago looking for favors/money in exchange for the Senate seat, if Blago had sufficient communication with him/them to know they wouldn't give him anything? And if such a conversation took place with any of Obama's people, why didn't they report it directly to the feds? Just saying."

*

A former magazine intern recalls for me a conversation with Blago regarding a profile that was in the works. True story.

BLAGO: You know, I really hate that photo you guys had taken and I really don't want to see it run.

INTERN: Governor, I'm sorry, but we offered to take another photo and your office declined. If we choose to run these photos I can't do anything about it.

BLAGO: See, I don't think you understand me. If you can make sure that photo doesn't run, I can make sure you get whatever you need whenever you need it. Think about it and call me back.

Dude tried to bribe an intern

*

I'm reminded that state workers are required to take mandatory ethics training or risk losing their jobs or being fined,

*

A reader says:

"This is beyond exciting. It's almost more exciting than election night. Different kind of exciting. Now I'm passing from the 'Oh my God! Will you have a look at that' phase into, 'Oh my Lord. How did this happen?' Pretty freakin' bizarre. Just yesterday he was doing that 'What do I have to hide' thing!!

"Only in this city/state would progressives help to elect a man such as this. It's terrible but it's just riveting. If I thank God for anything, it's for Patrick Fitzgerald. I want to pay fealty to that guy."

*

Some of the folks on Rich Miller's Capitol Fax Blog were using the term Fitzmas yesterday.

*

A reader says:

"Maybe Bank of America was going to be his next squeeze: Give me half a million or I pull all the state's business."

*

From Julia Gray:

1. Who is going to take care of Blago's hair in the pokey?

2. My favorite part is the withdrawing money from sick children at Children's Memorial Hospital. Hey, hey gotta pay for All-Kids somehow, right?

*

A reader says:

"Blagojevich was clearly going through a manic episode. It doesn't excuse the conduct, but nonetheless. Last night while making dinner I saw footage of him on Chicago Tonight, and I thought to myself, 'Hmm. That guy is nuts. Possibly literally unhinged'."

*

I used to work for John McCormick when he was the bureau chief for Newsweek here and he's one of the most gracious men you'll ever meet. It's a badge of honor, John. Some pundits are saying you now have more job security than any journalist in America.

*

From Kevin B. O'Reilly:

Patti better learn to fake a serious illness and quick if she hopes to get Lura Lynn-style sympathy from Blago's favorite columnist, Sneed, in order to get Rod sprung early. Maybe one of the kids could come down with something?

*

Watching Barack Obama with Joe Biden and Al Gore yesterday, I couldn't help but think of the common thread: Joe Cari.

*

Continuing his pattern in the campaign of unilaterally declaring certain topics off-limits, Obama said yesterday that it would not be "appropriate" for him to comment on Blago's arrest. Just like it wasn't "appropriate" for him to comment on Dick Durbin's request that George Ryan get his sentence commuted.

No one asked him why.

UPDATE NOON: Obama has now called on Blagojevich to resign.

*

It's like he wanted to get caught!

*

My favorite part of the arrest is how Blago was told to come quietly.

*

After his court appearance, Blago tried to schmooze with one of the prosecutors, reported Drew Griffin of CNN. Griffin didn't say it, but kind of indicated through tone and telekinesis that everybody thought this was the behavior of a crazy man.

*

A reader says they counted 18 variations of the F-word in the complaint. Reminiscent of this.

UPDATE 12:08 P.M.: A reader suggests this is a better fit.

*

Inevitable story I haven't seen yet though I haven't had a chance to review all the papers yet: How will this affect the Olympic bid?

*

A reader points out that John Harris, also arrested yesterday, is Daley's former budget director and could pose a threat to the mayor. Harris was also first deputy at Aviation. Think airport contracts.

*

From Natasha Julius:

Does anyone else have this funny feeling Pat Quinn will never become acting governor? Maybe it's because he's the only Illinois politician who doesn't make me want to vomit on a daily basis, but I just feel like somehow the powers that be aren't going to let someone who seems dangerously like an actual public servant serve the public at that level.

I'm sure I'm being totally naive here and Pat Quinn is secretly married to Todd Stroger, but there are fleeting moments where I feel this odd warm and fuzzy sensation when I listen to him. I think it's what they used to call "trust" in the old days, but then I know that's can't be right because President Giddeyup outlawed trust back in '02. Still, I can't help feeling that if I were sitting next to Pat Quinn in a bar and I needed to use the restroom, I might just leave my purse in his care. Mostly because he'd be too busy trying to convince all the other drunks that we didn't really land on the moon, but still. I mean, like, you leave your purse with George Ryan and you know all the cash is going to be gone when you get back, right? And Blago? Damn, you'd come back and everything would seem fine and then the next morning your credit card company would call you and say someone ran up $10,000 worth of charges at, like, the Sharper Image and PetCo and an off-shore gambling outfit in Antigua, and they finally cut off the card when the kiddie porn started showing up. And then the next week after you'd spend every waking hour trying to expunge your credit report he'd call and ask if you wanted to go out to dinner and act all oblivious and you'd be all, "you were in charge of my purse, so . . . " and he'd be like, "I don't know what you're talking about, but why'd you leave your purse with some guy you just met in a bar anyway, slutty?" And you wouldn't really have much to say to that because, seriously, he's right except for the slutty part, because, like it or not, your decision to leave him in charge of your material assets was a tacit endorsement of his reckless lifestyle. Right, voters of Illinois? You dig?

*

Is Blago Insane?

*

Public Official 1A

*

As one commenter points out, looks like NBC chose the wrong week to shut down Division Street!

The Beachwood Tip Line: Unimpeachable.




Permalink

Posted on December 10, 2008


MUSIC - The BeachFest 2017 Playlist.
TV - FCC To Screw Rural America.
POLITICS - GOP Apostate: Why I'm Not A Democrat.
SPORTS - World Cup Concussion Fail.

BOOKS - Textbooks In The Digital World.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - South Side Teens At Film Festival.


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