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The [Wednesday] Papers

Roland Burris is scheduled to speak to the City Club at 12:30 p.m. today. I'll try to live-blog it here.

UPDATE 12:43 P.M.: Burris blogging is below.

UPDATE: 12:36 P.M.: Lynn Sweet just said on Fox News that Burris will give a speech at the City Club but is not planning to take questions - even though that's usually the routine at these things.

BREAKING 12:37 P.M. (NOW UPDATED AND CLARIFIED): This is heartbreaking, if true (you have to scroll down):

"Little birds were whispering rumors of the demise over the last 24 hours, but it seems like the gossip is now true. Touch and Go Records, Chicago's venerable indie institution, is done. The label will go the way of its Bay Area cousin, Lookout! Records, ceasing new releases and managing back catalog only. Issuer of influential post-punk albums - Slint's Spiderland, the Jesus Lizard's Goat and Big Black's Atomizer, to name a few - Touch and Go began at the dawn of the '80s in East Lansing, Michigan, before founders Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson handed the biz over to Necros bassist Corey Rusk in 1983. Soon after the baton passing, the label moved to Chicago and began documenting our city's burgeoning punk scene."

In the meantime . . .

* What's the deal with Kwame Raoul? In What I Watched Last Night.

* What Robert Plant Hath Wrought. In Don's Root Cellar.

* The New Political Dictionary. Contributions welcome.

* NBA trades and MLB second-basemen. In Fantasy Fix.

The Resignation Papers
* The Tribune is calling on Roland Burris to resign.

* So is the Washington Post.

* Just sayin'.

Ears Burning
"One of the greatest metaphors in American law is the one about the poisonous tree. It's about evidence. You cannot admit evidence that was not legally obtained. It is like fruit that falls from a poisonous tree, so tainted that it is dangerous to consume. It has to be rejected," Charles Madigan writes in a Tribune Op-Ed today.

"I think we have reached that stage now in the troubling story of Illinois' attempt to appoint a replacement for President Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Everyone connected to the process has been tainted, poisoned beyond any use."

Now, I'm not saying that's not a potentially common thought, I'm just saying that I've used it at least twice in the last six weeks.

* Steve Rhodes, January 8, 2009:

"[Burris] is the fruit from a poisonous tree. Even if the simple act of the governor making the appointment is legal in a vacuum, it is the end result of a corrupted process. Therefore Burris is himself tainted."

* Steve Rhodes, February 16, 2009:

"His protestations notwithstanding, Roland Burris's appointment to the United States Senate was always the fruit of a poisonous tree."

Just sayin'.

Panel Politics
Madigan goes on to call for a "Panel of 50," comprised of civic elites, who would pick candidates for office - and even raise money for them - outside of the Democratic and Republican parties. Huh? You mean like outsourcing our politics to the Abner Mikvas and Penny Pritzkers of the world? They're sort of already doing that, aren't they? I mean, look, can someone explain to me how the Obama power structure is not identical to the Daley power structure? They're the same people!

If Madigan is talking about forming a third party, that's one thing. He's not. If he's saying we should judge all candidates for an indefinite time on the sole issue of corruption, I agree. Unfortunately, that's not what he is saying. If so, we would have rallied behind Peter Fitzgerald and Ray LaHood would not be in the Cabinet, right?

The sliver of hope we have right now lies with Pat Quinn's reform commission and any momentum that can effect the structural changes in campaign finance laws, ballot rules, elimination of appointments instead of special elections at all levels (paging Daley!), improvement and aggressive enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act and its ancillaries, like the Open Meetings Act, and a host of other reforms that, truthfully, should also include removing Richard M. Daley from office. The culture of corruption emanates from City Hall. Rod Blagojevich told those around him that he wanted to govern the way Daley governed; even crack journalists who ought to know better are advising Obama to do the same.

Madigan wants new faces? Let's start with the race in the 5th congressional district. The Sun-Times decided to give dippy profiles to each of the four candidates who currently hold elected office. Today they give a few paragraphs each to the rest of the field. Thanks for perpetuating the advantages of incumbency and treating independent and Green Party candidates like nuisances whose names you were duty-bound to mention but whom you'd rather not think about.

Horse and Barn
Sun-Times editorial today:

"Burris Owes Us Facts On How He Got Seat."

Um, it's a little late for that. That's what he went down to Springfield to testify about in the first place, remember?

Cullerton Man
The anchors on Good Day Chicago pressed state senate president John Cullerton this morning on whether he thought Burris ought to resign. Cullerton punted.

Same with the coming tax hikes.

BLOGGING BURRIS
* Ed Burke just introduced the "great" Roland Burris and assured him he had a "legion" of friends in Illinois, while intimating that Burris is getting a raw deal and the truth - as opposed to the rumors being reported by the media - will set him free. Here's an idea Charlie Madigan might want to follow-up on: Push the City Club into the river.

* Burris complains that the latest controversy has pushed good news off the front page. Silly media.

* Burris begins his speech with a high school level primer on being a United States Senator. Much to his surprise, citizens are interested in their federal government!

* Now he's telling us what we already know about the state of the economy.

* Burris named off the Chicago power structure now running the White House. Woo-hoo!

* After reading from his speech that "time is a funny thing in politics," or something like that, he improvised by looking up and saying something like "Time in politics is funny." He looked lost so he returned to his script. Geez, Roland, if you're going to just read from a piece of paper and then leave without taking questions, why even appear? Why not just distribute a press release of your remarks?

* Recalling passage of the Lily Ledbetter Act and CHIP. Yawn.

* "Friends, I'm new in Washington. They don't know me out there yet." Slight chuckling in audience. They know you, Roland.

* "I am the real Roland. If I had done the things I'm accused of, I would be too embarrassed to stand up in front of you, because you are my friends."

* "Never a hint of a scandal" in his career. I don't have to go through this again, do I?

* "I ask you today to stop the rush to judgement."

* "Let's talk about the information in the media, and about the misinformation they are reporting . . . the issue is a simple one, two three. Number one: Yes. Yes, I told people around the governor that I wanted to serve in the Senate. Yes I told my friends. Yes I told the media . . . Number two: No. I did not have conversations about my appointment - now I'm talking about actually being appointed - with anyone other than the governor's attorney . . . Number three: Yes. The governor's brother reached out to me as he's done over the years, to do fundraising . . . but I did not give one single dollar to the governor."

But he tried to get others to give money to the governor. And kept that a secret.

* "I have nothing to hide, and I will continue to be transparent." I just won't take any questions today.

* "What I will no longer do after today, now that there is an ongoing investigation, is engage the media and have facts drip out in selective soundbites." Wow, using the perjury and ethics investigations as cover to no longer answer questions from the media! I will continue to be transparent to everyone but the people!

* "You know the real Roland Burris." Yes.

QUESTIONS!
He IS taking questions.

1. Are all the facts about your appointment now out?

A: They're out from me.

2. From Mayor Dwight Welch, Country Club Hills: When will we start seeing stimulus dollars?

A. [blah blah blah]

3. Dorothy Brown, Clerk of Circuit Court: Explain how stimulus package will help those with mortgage problems.

A: I've never seen such a war on the floor of the Senate. Of course, I haven't been there long. [blah blah blah]

4. Lorenzo Bracey (?): Have you been advised that you are the subject or target of an investigation?

A: No, I haven't been advised.

5. Did the members of the Senate read the stimulus bill before they voted for it?

A: Let me tell you something, I got handed an 800-page document on the third week I had been there . . . you read pieces of it . . . you get a briefing on it . . . the conference call agreement was bigger than the bill itself . . .

6. Bob ? from WGN: Are you sharing a house or apartment with other members?

A: That's another thing . . . I just learned that you can't get per diem as a senator while you are in Washington, and they do not pay your rent while you are in Washington . . . my wife found me a very nice, furnished apartment . . .

7. Amy Zummer ?: If there is excess funding . . . what are your priorities?

A: The money is going to come into Springfield . . . [blah blah blah]

CLTV SCROLL: Durbin: Burris statements unsatisfactory.

8. Former Ald. Bernie Hansen: How much time will you devote to the Great Lakes?

A. I have to get up-to date on the Great Lakes water issue . . . water is crucial to our survival . . .

9. Jeff Berkowitz: Was it wrong of you to solicit funds for Rod Blagojevich while you were being considered for the Senate?

A. I was never considered for the Senate. I was never considered by the Senate.

[Berkowitz re-asks from audience.]

A. We will not make any responses to those types of questions. Like I said in my statement, we will not make any responses to that question.

[Overheard: Green: You want a mug? Burris: Oh yeah, I'll take a mug.]

The Beachwood Tip Line: Trailblazing.



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Posted on February 18, 2009


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