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The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Well, it looks to me like they're crossing their fingers, as if to say "That fundraiser had nothing to do with me changing my position!"

2. Yes, get employers out of the health-insurance business.

3. College Illinois! Needs Taxpayer Bailout To Stay Afloat.

Me too.

4. "When ousted 36th Ward Ald. John Rice started a new job recently in Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, Rice said he did not rely on clout but rather applied for the $84,420-a-year position after seeing it posted online," the Chicago News Cooperative reports.

"But Rice's job application was not filed until the same day he started his new job with the Illinois Department of Transportation in November, according to state records obtained by the Chicago News Cooperative. And the management opening was never posted, the documents show."

It gets better.

"Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said in an email Monday that the governor - who lives in the 36th Ward, on the Northwest Side - did not get involved in 'those personnel decisions at the agency level.' Anderson declined comment when asked if the governor supported adding the new position to IDOT's payroll."

The governor has no opinion on adding a new position to the payroll. That's below his pay grade.

"A spokesman for the department added that the decision to hire Rice was made by Michael Stout, who stepped down at the end of December as director of the department's traffic safety division.

"But Stout said Monday that he 'never hired anybody' and did not know who had decided to bring Rice onto the state payroll.

"'He was given to me,' Stout said."

Rice apparently used the same placement office as Angelo Torres.

"Rice declined comment Monday."

He doesn't know who hired him either.

"Shortly after he began at IDOT, Rice said he was qualified for the new state job because he once ran valet and snowplowing companies and managed valet services for Jam Productions."

Yes, managing valet services eminently qualifies one for a job at IDOT - although not as much a using a valet service.

"In his application to the state, Rice also said he worked 80 hours a week during his brief tenure as alderman and 70-hour weeks as an aide to his predecessor as 36th Ward alderman, William J.P. Banks. Rice's duties as an aide included chauffeuring Banks between the ward office and City Hall."

So he has experience driving, too. What more do you want from the guy?!

"The records show that the formal process to fill the newly created opening began on June 17, and in the IDOT form to fill the position, officials typed that 'there is no proposed candidate at this time.' On the same page, however, Rice is listed as the candidate for the job."

In Russia, the job picks you!

"Rice's hand-written application was dated Nov. 21 - the same day that his appointment became effective."

Who says the bureaucracy moves slowly.


See also: Pat Quinn Has Always Loved Patronage.

5. "A newly retired state representative who shepherded two utility bills through the House in 2010 and 2011 landed a new job last month as the utilities' lobbyist," the News Cooperative also reports.

"Former state Rep. Kevin McCarthy, an Orland Park Democrat who served 14 years in the Illinois House, retired in late December after sponsoring the controversial ComEd 'Smart-Grid' legislation and, the year before, a much-debated bill AT&T wanted. On Jan. 26, McCarthy filed paperwork with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office to serve as a lobbyist under a new firm he created, KMAC Consulting. He lists two clients so far: AT&T Illinois and its affiliates, and ComEd."

That is just beautiful - like a Leni Riefenstahl movie.


McCarthy, Rice and Quinn are Democrats.

6. "A commission created by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn nearly two years ago with the ambitious goal of righting the wrongs of Chicago's police torture scandal is quietly falling apart, another apparent victim of the state's budget mess," AP reports.

"The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission hasn't even met since August or reviewed a single case. It is operating with a quarter of the money commissioners sought, which has delayed the hiring of a staff attorney."

Well, John Rice was just hired for $84,420 a year, would that help?

"Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan, said the global financial crisis has meant less money across the board in state government."

And then he burst out laughing.

7. South Side Irish Parade Organizers Raise Half Of Needed Funds.

So the bail money is set but they still can't afford any floats.

8. NBC Chicago and its political blogger, Edward McClelland, were just too swamped to return the messages left by the Windy City Times.

9. Auctioning Democracy.

10. State of Inundation: The Songs of State Farm.

11. First Basemen and First Benchmen.

12. Longboard Forever.

Have the heart of a child.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Forever.


Posted on February 8, 2012

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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