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The [Wednesday] Papers

"What bothers me is I'd hate to see it at Halloween if everybody walks in - a 12- or 14-year-old walks into a police station on Halloween, they'll be handed a desk," Mayor Daley said on Tuesday. "They'll give them a car. They'll give them a badge . . . That's a real concern that we have."

As a service to readers, The Beachwood Calendar Affairs Desk would like you to know that there are just 269 days 'til Halloween.

Blagojevich Democrats
"Though two years ago Vallas considered running again for governor against Blagojevich, his residency was raised as an issue," Carol Marin writes today. "His allies say fellow Democrats were behind court efforts to stop him."

I've found it odd, or maybe not, that Pat Quinn's declaration in 2006 as Rod Blagojevich's running mate that he "has always been a person who's honest and one of integrity . . . I have confidence the governor does the right thing all the time" has been questioned by the media, but not the far more enthusiastic backing given by President Barack Obama.

"In the Summer of 2006, then-U.S. Sen. Obama backed Blagojevich even though there were serious questions at the time about Blago's hiring practices," ABC News recalls.

"At the time, numerous state agencies had had records subpoenaed, with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald telling authorities he was looking into 'very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud' with a 'number of credible witnesses'.

"In an interview with the Chicago Daily Herald in July 2006, then-Sen. Obama said, 'I have not followed closely enough what's been taking place in these investigations to comment on them. Obviously I'm concerned about reports that hiring practices at the state weren't, at times, following appropriate procedures. How high up that went, the degree at which the governor was involved, is not something I'm going to speculate on.

"'If I received information that made me believe that any Democrat had not been acting in the public interest, I'd be concerned,' Obama said."

Anyone who recalls Obama's similar denials about the investigation into Tony Rezko at the time of their house deal, since recanted, as well as recalling what we already knew about Blagojevich at the time and also with knowledge of how voraciously Obama reads the papers knows how disingenuous this is.

"At the Illinois State Fair in August 2006, Obama spoke on Blagojevich's behalf.

"'We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois,' Obama told the crowd."

Question Quinn all you want for his failure to stand up and tell the truth. It's appropriate. But why does Obama get a pass?

My guess is because Quinn is a true reformer with a record of action, not just talk. His failure to speak up about Blagojevich was an unfortunate anomaly. Obama has always endorsed Machine candidates over reformers; Blago was no exception. Reporters find Obama's actions unremarkable, despite being at odds with the lofty rhetoric that got him elected president.

That's why some of us are hardly surprised that Obama has gotten entangled with the Tom Daschles and Timothy Geithners of the world. The media's shock and horror that the only change Obama brings to the White House - outside of the huge and entirely heartening breaking of a racial barrier - is a return to normalcy from the utterly devastating and treasonous Bush years.

In other words, Obama is bringing us change back to business as usual.

It is an improvement, but still.

Similarly, the installation of the Machine's John Cullerton as state senate president is a vast improvement over the ultra hackery of Emil Jones in that business as usual will now return to the General Assembly. But it's not reform.

The Daley Show
Similarly, much has been made of Michael Madigan's co-chairmanship of Blagojevich's 2006 re-election campaign. I always viewed that as merely ceremonial; after all, Madigan is also the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. But guess who the other co-chairman was?

A beer on me if you knew the answer was Richard M. Daley.

UPDATE 11:34 A.M.: I've been made aware of conflicting information about whether Daley or Emil Jones was Blago's other co-chair. I've been unable to resolve this conflict through Google searching. If anyone has definitive information, please send it along.

CORRECTION 11:46 A.M.: No wonder I was struck when I saw reference on the website of a trusted source to Daley's co-chairmanship of Blago's 2006 re-election campaign; apparently it's not true. I just found this (By Kristen McQueary, Daily Southtown, Aug. 13, 2005):

"Firing a warning shot to anyone considering challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in next year's primary election, top Democratic leaders announced Friday they would co-chair Blagojevich's re-election committee.

"Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) will coordinate the governor's re-election effort and work to unite the state's Democrats around the incumbent, Blagojevich 's campaign announced."

If anyone has any additional information regarding Daley, please send it along. Otherwise, I stand corrected.

CORRECTION CLARIFICATION 5:27 P.M.: A Beachwood reader writes:

"Daley chaired Blago's 2002 campaign. I don't have time now to find the source, but I'm sure Daley chaired it."

Sure enough, I found this from a recent Sun-Times article:

"In 2001, Mell abruptly dropped his opposition to Home Depot on the same day his ward boundaries were redrawn so the controversial corner was no longer in his ward. Four months later, Daley agreed to serve as chairman of Blagojevich's campaign - an unprecedented move for the mayor. He had never done that for any other candidate for governor."

Barack Burris
Obama also worked hard trying to get Blagojevich elected in his first gubernatorial race in 2002 - after first supporting Roland Burris in the primary.

Yes, that Roland Burris.

The one who, among other things, tried to kill Rolando Cruz.

Maybe Obama didn't follow that story closely either.

Blago on Letterman
You've probably seen this exchange already, but just in case:

LETTERMAN: Why exactly are you here, honest to God?

BLAGO: Well, you know, I've been wanting to be on your show in the worst way for the longest time.

LETTERMAN: Well, you're on in the worst way, believe me.

Top Ten-it is
Ten demerits to the Sun-Times editorial page for a Top Ten list today that ends with "1. Elvis has left the building."

Gee, no one's made that joke yet! Hilarious!

Refusing to even link.

Obama's new Republican nominee to head the Commerce Department once vowed to eliminate it. Good or bad?

Union Yuks
"Last February, in the hours before the County Board voted to raise the sales tax by a percentage point, union leaders darted in an out of several board members' offices, tightening their puppet strings," the Tribune editorial page says today. "Then, after the board's midnight vote to approve all of the grossly featherbedded 2008 budget, union reps danced and cheered in the boardroom - some of them high-fiving pliant commissioners. All of which was a step up from 2007: That year, union reps actually sat at some of the county commissioners' office computers, furiously typing budget amendments they wanted the board to approve."

This isn't any more acceptable than when Republicans allow corporate lobbyists to write legislation.

Police Press
"The Chicago Police Department has unleashed a new anti-violence strategy in four West Side districts - and the results have been dramatic so far, police officials say," the Sun-Times "reports," without any apparent attempt to verify if this bold claim is actually true except using a very questionable metric of comparing murders from this January to last January.

Here's an idea: if the Sun-Times wants to get out of its financial mess, it might considering charging a fee to republish press releases.

Cullerton's Change
"Cullerton defended the ability of legislative leaders to raise money to dole out to their members - something critics contend has made rank-and-file lawmakers less independent in their voting," the Tribune reports.

"'The goal is to keep control of your party,' Cullerton said."

When can we start the John Cullerton impeachment proceedings?

Bean Scene
Punishing The Bean Scratcher.

Ginsu Governor
If you haven't read this yet, you really ought to.

Eddie Schwartz
The radio veteran has died.

He contributed these pieces to the Beachwood:

* Con Ed
* Nuclear Chicago
* Cops Shop

The Beachwood Tip Line: Ginsu-ready.


Posted on February 4, 2009

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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