Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quinn, Blagojevich, and the Illinois Sierra Club in Happier Days

Pics from 2006 when most of the impeachable crimes had been committed.

Would it be too much for the Sierra Club (and Quinn) to say to Illinois Voters, We're sorry for endorsing him? Blagojevich fooled us and we should have known.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced a strong proposal to require Illinois' coal-fired power plants to install pollution controls to reduce the levels of toxic mercury they put into Illinois' air and water. Blagojevich's plan would require Illinois coal plants to reduce mercury pollution by 90% by 2009.
Governor Blagojevich's proposal will not only protect the health of Illinois children, it will also set an example for America to follow in addressing a major public health problem," said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

Mercury from coal-fired power plants ends up in lakes, rivers, and oceans, and certain species of fish accumulate dangerous levels of the toxic metal in their muscle tissue. When people eat these fish, they are exposed to potentially harmful levels of mercury. The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a warning about the dangers of eating large predator fish from all Illinois waters due to statewide mercury pollution.

The Bush Administration has proposed substantially weaker pollution controls that could allow Illinois coal plants to delay or even entirely avoid installing pollution controls. Governor Blagojevich and Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against the Bush Administration's proposal in April of 2005.

"Mothers and women hoping to have children shouldn't have to worry that by eating fish or feeding it to their kids they could be doing permanent damage to a child's brain,” said Darin. “We hope Illinois power plants will heed Gov. Blagojevich's call to clean up their act and protect our children's health. The technology to protect our kids is available, affordable, and it's time we put it on these smokestacks.”
The crimes were known when you stood with him. How many kids were saved in those remaining years to have put Illinois through this? Was Blagojevich worth it? Would Topinka have been that dastardly?

Illinois Sierra Club: Blagojevich the Right Choice To Protect Illinois' Environment

Jack Darin's blog from back in Oct 2006. I guess he thinks we'll forget.
Illinois’ air and water are cleaner today because of the work Governor Blagojevich has done to take on the polluters, and promote solutions to environmental problems. Sierra Club acknowledged this record of achievement with our endorsement Sunday.


This is exactly the kind of leadership that Illinois needs in the years ahead, when we face major choices about air, water, land, and energy policies. Illinois will decide whether or not we take serious action to combat global warming, whether we make smart, clean energy choices, whether we protect our drinking water supplies, and whether we protect our last remaining wetlands, prairies, and forests.

Unfortunately Washington has been making the wrong choices. Congress and the Bush Administration choose to keep subsidizing big oil, and to keep shortchanging renewable energy. Washington chooses to go slow and easy on pollution controls on coal-burning power plants, despite clear evidence that their mercury, smog, and soot emissions are hurting our children and many others. The U.S. Supreme Court has left most of Illinois’ remaining wetlands open to destruction, despite the fact that we count on them to protect us from floods, protect our drinking water, and provide a home for wildlife.

Washington isn’t helping, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do better. We can do better, and under Governor Blagojevich, we have been doing better.

Under Governor Blagojevich, Illinois has done better at cleaning up air pollution. After the Bush Administration proposed going slow on installing mercury pollution controls on coal plants, Illinois is poised to require a 90% reduction of mercury by 2009 – by far the strongest response of any state. Three years ago, there were 11 hospital waste incinerators burning across our state, putting mercury, dioxin, and other pollutants into our air. Since Governor Blagojevich called on them to shut down, all but one of them has, and the last may close soon – a remarkable achievement.

Illinois is taking major steps toward a smart energy future, where consumers are protected against rate shocks, our air and water are cleaner, and new jobs are created in clean energy businesses. Governor Blagojevich has proposed a requirement that 10% of Illinois’ electricity come from wind power by 2015. He has led by example by pledging to power the buildings under his control in Springfield exclusively by wind energy. His energy plan includes provisions to encourage cellulosic ethanol development, and energy efficiency programs to save consumers and businesses money by saving energy.

Illinois is doing more to keep our drinking water clean and ensure that we have enough for everyone. Under Governor Blagojevich, Illinois has moved to control phosphorus pollution, which threatens drinking water and wildlife across our state. Illinois is also moving to make sure that we have enough ground and surface water for drinking, for agriculture, for industry, and for wildlife.

Finally, Illinois is serious about addressing the threats posed by global warming. While top scientists tell us we may only have ten years to do something about global warming before it becomes irreversible, Washington has their head in the sand and their hand out to special interests. With as little as ten years to reverse this problem, we can’t wait for change in Washington, we need to start now here in Illinois. This week the Governor announced the first step in a major effort to combat climate change, beginning with a commitment to reduce state government’s emissions of global warming pollution. Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to make that commitment. We know that Governor Blagojevich is committed to developing a comprehensive program to reduce Illinois’ contribution to global warming by regulating carbon emissions. We look forward to working with him and his team to come up with a solution that works best for Illinois.

The Sierra Club endorsement is a hard one to get. We do not make an endorsement in every race, but only the ones in which we find a candidate who truly shares our values, and who is willing to put the public’s interest in a clean environment above the special interests that too often dominate our politics. We do not endorse the lesser of two evils, we choose the strongest of champions. Four years ago, Governor Blagojevich became the first Illinois Governor to be endorsed by the Sierra Club, and we are proud to announce that he has earned our support again, and the support of all Illinois voters who value clean air, clean water, and Illinois’ natural heritage.

I have been working my whole adult life to encourage the State of Illinois to take strong action to protect our environment. Historically, Illinois has lagged behind – too often the goal would be to do the least we could to comply with the law Under Governor Blagojevich, however, Illinois a is emerging as a national leader in promoting innovative solutions to environmental problems. We no longer ask “what’s the least we can do”, and instead ask “what’s the best we can do.”

The people of Illinois want clean air and clean water. They know that our old energy policies have given them high prices, high pollution levels, and threats to our national security. They are hungry for solutions. Over the last four years, Governor Blagojevich has been working to promote those solutions, and Sierra Club is proud to recommend him to pro-environment voters across Illinois.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Read The Stimulus.org

The transparent Administration's yet to put it online but ReadTheStimulus.org has a searchable version out there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sen Hendon on the Guv

From today's Sun Times,
In particular, Hendon is upset that senators are being asked to impeach Blagojevich in part on policy matters on which they previously supported the governor: expanding health care for children, creating a prescription drug program for seniors and procuring flu vaccines from outside the U.S.

"Is giving health care to children an impeachable offense, or does it fall under executive privilege?" Hendon asked House prosecutor David Ellis.

Hendon said he and other Democratic senators, then under the leadership of retired Senate President Emil Jones, backed Blagojevich on those programs, even after he implemented them over the objections of the Illinois House, and that to turn against him now on those matters would be hypocritical.

"How can I kick the governor out of office over that when we supported it?" Hendon told me in an interview after the Senate adjourned for the day.
LBJ was right. The only difference between Progressives and Cannibals is Progressives eat their friends. The only real charge against the Guv is selling Obama's seat, and the powers have prevented Blagojevich from calling the other side in those negotiations from testifying.

Blagojevich has been a catastrophe for the Illinois but throwing him out without hearing from those Obama has cleared of wrong in the auction isn't going to cleanse Illinois of corruption. We'll just sink deeper in the muck. At least one West Sider is honest enough to call this out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Batchlor on Gitmo

They're POWs. They should stay in the cage for the duration. It's as simple and legal as that.

Civil criminal trials would be frauds and judicial lynchings.

They stay until AQL surrenders or is destroyed.

GITMO may be a PR disaster for the US, but it's probably the best cage we can build. My guess is Obama's alternative in the States will be worse, or --more likely-- we'll simply avoid prisoners. That would be a real civilized solution to our PR problem.

As my boss told me of his time in Anbar, the local Sheik would sign for the Iraqis but we couldn't turn the foreigners over to them because they'd shoot 'em. My guess is now the foreigner we'll get turned over with Obama.

Batchlor HT RBO

Pelosi and Contraception

The amazing thing is after all these years of talk, debate, and reflection she's so ignorant on issues to shoot herself in the foot like this.

The only thing worse for Obama than Illinois Democrats, are Congressional Democratic Leaders. (Give the Illinois ones until Blagojvich's indictment though; and a full airing of the wiretapes. Then they'll be the greatest danger to his administration.)
PELOSI SAYS BIRTH CONTROL WILL HELP ECONOMY
Sun Jan 25 2009 22:13:43 ET

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.

The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Developing...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Real Barack Obama: Blago subpoenas — Where’s the Tanning Bed Media now?

A great link on all of the subpoenas issued Obama's staff including David Axelrod. I missed that one.

Also Doug Ross: And on the fifth day, subpeonas were served to Obama's senior staff
A veritable "who's who" of Obama staffers, surrogates and affiliates were among those served with subpoenas. Put simply, within one week of President Barack Obama's administration taking office, it is already under significant legal scrutiny that will -- at a minimum -- take precious time away from dealing with the country's monumental economic and foreign policy challenges.

And, once again, the mainstream media is AWOL, unwilling to report on this very newsworthy story.
The long arm from the swamp of Illinois's Democratic party won't let Obama go.

Bill Zucker: “I want some TARP”

HT RBO

The Bailout Backlash is here.



Expect more of this with Chicago's Combine coming to DC.
Ah, the dirty little secret is out. That $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bill was in part simply a variation on congressional pork - except this time the recipients were banks with friends in high places.

One of those powerful friends was Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And one of the recipients of a $12 million infusion of federal cash was the troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston - a bank that had already been accused of “unsafe and unsound banking practices.” Its CEO, Kevin Cohee had also been criticized by regulators for “excessive” pay that included a Porsche.

Deconstructing the Guv and other Sunday odds and ends

Blagojevich not crazy, experts say

Docs deconstruct the Guv. I don't think the Guv the only political narcissist Illinois's produced of late. Seems like we could name a long list of 'em.
Jack Fyans, a Springfield psychologist who leans Republican, declined to talk about Blagojevich specifically, but he did allow this: “It seems like the political culture of Illinois is being at least affected, if not influenced, by a slight degree of narcissism.”

Speaking generally, Fyans said narcissists don’t care what others think.

“The sense of superiority is phenomenal, and the sense of entitlement: I am the sitting whatever and I will do what I want to do,” Fyans said. “If narcissism is what we’re talking about, that person would be predicted to never resign.”

****
Some Illinois GOP Senators on Blagojevich's Democrat enablers: Senate Republicans mix politics with impeachment trial
"This guy (Blagojevich) didn't just land here without any help," said state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine. "It's in the impeachment documents. The entire Democratic apparatus is responsible for this."
The trial is a political trial; not a criminal trial. And the politics are Democrats telling Illinois Blagojevich has been on his own the past six years. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

****
Supreme Court weighs appeal by Daley's former patronage chief
Sorich goes to the Supreme Court. Just what Obama and Emanuel need: more reminders Chicago Democrats run a patronage machine.
In upholding the convictions, the judges agreed that Sorich and his two co-defendants—Timothy McCarthy and Patrick Slattery—had not received bribes, kickbacks and other "personal gain" in exchange for the jobs.

And neither Congress nor the Illinois legislature had made it illegal to steer jobs to those with political connections.

But the appeals court said Sorich and his cohorts were guilty of a "massive scheme to defraud" the people of Chicago by running "an illegitimate shadow hiring scheme" out of City Hall.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Legal Insurrectionist: Blagojevich Right, But Doing It Wrong‏

A cross post from the Insurrectionist. A "fair hearing" is the only way to bring Blagojevich's co conspirators to account. The guy wasn't pay-to-playing by his lonesome.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just finished a press conference in which he claimed that he is not participating in the Senate impeachment trial, scheduled to start Monday, because the Senate impeachment trial rules deprive Blagojevich of a fundamentally fair hearing. Blagojevich is right that he is being deprived of a fair hearing, but his trial boycott is the wrong way to go about it.

The two Rules Blagojevich cited in his press conference are Rules 15(f) and 8(b)(thanks to CapitalFax Blog for live blogging the press conference and reprinting the Rules in real time). Rule 15(f) prevents Blagojevich from calling any witness or presenting any evidence if U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald objects:

15(f) It is never in order to request a subpoena for the testimony of any person or for the production of documents or other materials from that person if the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has indicated that the person’s testimony, or inquiry into the subject matter of that person’s testimony, could compromise the U.S. Attorney’s criminal investigation of Rod R. Blagojevich…unless the U.S. Attorney subsequently indicates otherwise.
Blogojevich has a very good point on Rule 15(f). The Rule prevents Blagojevich from contesting evidence upon which impeachment is based. But that is not his best legal point. The more important point is that the Illinois Senate has delegated to a non-participant in the trial (Fitzgerald) authority over a Senate trial which the Illinois Constitution vests solely in the presiding Chief Justice and Senators. This is a potentially valid ground upon which to challenge the constitutionality of the proceeding.

Rule 8(b) furthers this problem by preventing Blagojevich from contesting the findings made in the House impeachment hearings (which had their own fairness problems):

No objection, however, may be made against all or any part of the House impeachment record filed by the House Prosecutor with the Secretary.
Rule 8(b) has the same fairness and delegation problems, although not as dramatic as 15(f). The Illinois Constitution provides for trial in the Senate, but the Senate has delegated the fact finding to the House. Again, a potentially valid ground upon which to challenge the Senate trial on constitutional grounds.

But Blagojevich has shot himself in the foot by not participating, submitting his witness lists, challenging the rules, or otherwise forcing the Senate to refuse to provide a fair trial in fact, not just in theory. Blagojevich should have fought each step of the way on each of these points, to create a record of his grounds to contest the inevitable verdict.

While there is no true "appeal" from the Senate trial verdict, it is likely that the Illinois Supreme Court, if it accepted the case (not a given), would apply the appellate doctrine of preservation. What this means is that you cannot raise on appeal an issue which you did not argue and preserve in the trial court, because an appellate court is not a court of first instance.

As applied here, the Illinois Supreme Court could reject Blagojevich's "appeal" challenging the Senate Rules on the ground that Blagojevich did not preserve the argument at the trial court level, even if Blagojevich's constitutional challenges (some of which I list above) were valid. As I predicted, Blagojevich would want to call Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and other witnesses to contest the criminal allegations, and to subpoena Fitzgerald's documents; so Blagojevich should have requested that subpoenas be issued and let the Senate reject the request. The same is true for the non-criminal allegations, which do not seem substantial to me; contest the grounds regardless of what the Rules say, ask to subpoena legislators, do something other than not showing up in order to preserve the record.

It may be too late for Blagojevich to do anything other than complain, which is too bad. A full and fair airing of the evidence would do everyone good.

Pat Quinn back when he knew something about Taxes


Quinn's Press Release back in 2003: QUINN LAUNCHES DRIVE TO SLASH PROPERTY TAXES, INCREASE SCHOOL FUNDING, JUMP-START ECONOMY
“The Taxpayer Action Amendment is a fair and simple method to deliver substantial property tax relief permanently to more than 2.7 million Illinois homeowners,” Quinn said. “We need to restore fundamental fairness to the Illinois tax code and deliver guaranteed property tax relief to the people who need it most – the hard-working, bill-paying taxpayers of Illinois.”

And noting Illinois’ current unemployment rate is up to 7.1 percent, Quinn argued the best way to jumpstart the economy and grow jobs is to put money in the pockets of consumers.

If approved by 60% of the voters in the November 2, 2004 election, the Taxpayer Action Amendment would amend the Education Article of the Illinois Constitution to impose a 3 percent surtax on the adjusted gross income of individuals reporting in excess of one-quarter million dollars ($250,000) a year.
Progress Illinois channeling the Daily Herald's John Patterson look at Quinn's past on taxes,
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who would become governor if Blagojevich is ousted, has shown support for tax increases, backing a constitutional amendment in 2004 that would have doubled the state income tax for those making more than $250,000 in order to raise more than a billion dollars for schools and property tax breaks. That plan has not been successful.
As SEIU's Progress Illinois notes: If history is any lesson, some much needed tax reform may be on the horizon. And I think to say that reform includes a tax hike unless Quinn is going to enlighten us otherwise.

Chuck Sweeny from RRStart got this out of Quinn a few weeks ago,
Would Quinn as governor seek to raise revenue to right the state’s fiscal ship? He said he’d propose a commission to examine tax breaks and “propose a moratorium on special breaks until we get out of this economic problem.” But which loopholes? One man’s loophole is another’s job-creating tax incentive.

One excessive loophole, Quinn said, is the 1.75 percent commission paid to retailers on sales taxes they collect for the state.

“Back in 1930s, when this was enacted, they gave retailers the 1.75 percent because they had to calculate everything with pencil and paper. Now we have computers. The real cost of collection is far less than the commission,” he said. The collection bonus to retailers costs the state $200 million a year.

“If you cut it in half, you pick up $100 million. This is money the customer is already paying,” Quinn said.

Would Quinn propose an income tax increase, even a temporary one, to get the state’s books in order?

“I don’t want to make any judgments on income tax. Part of it is the whole issue of getting access to the real numbers from the governor’s office. (Blagojevich) has not always been totally candid, and I’m a little bit reluctant to make judgments until I see real numbers that are not phony baloney.”
So Quinn who's up on the costs of loop holes has to waffle on the cost of an income tax?

What have Hynes, Giannoulis, and Quinn been doing all these years that they can't tell votes to counter Blagojevich's demagoguery?

The Guv's played the race cards, and now's playing the tax cards and these Democrats can't fight back with a little plain truth to Illinois voters about the impact?

Blagojevich has kept these guys in the dark about Illinois's finances down on that great mushroom farm in Springfield?

Tell me it ain't so. The first step towards reform is Politican with courage to speak simply and truthfully without hedging hard truths.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's ask Lt Guv Quinn about the tax increase

Even someone cuckoo can ask the right question. Turns out he was asked not so long ago,
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn won't say if he will or won't support raising the state income tax to deal with a $2 billion budget hole if he becomes Illinois' governor.

Quinn says he'd need to conduct a thorough review of everything if he was in charge.
So what has Lt Guv Quinn been doing on the tax payer's dime for all these years that he can't say?

Who's to day there's no truth here:
They want to get me out fast so they could put a huge income-tax increase on the people of Illinois… And they want to raise the sales tax on gas. . . . If I’m out of the way, they can quietly push this through.
Sing a pledge Pat Quinn. If my delinquent analysis compels a tax increase of any sorts, I will not run for reelection.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What will Blagojevich Do?

From Chuck Goudie's: How Blago's 'lynching' could turn into scene from 'Animal House'
When the state Senate gavels open its impeachment trial, our governor ought to keep in mind the most applicable quote from Eric Stratton in the movie:

"I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."
I don't doubt he will, and his goal will be to make the Illinois Senate look like fools (check Legal Insurrection's Blagojevich Is Good At Making Others Look Bad) Don't underestimate the Guv.

Also... This comment from Pat Collin's (member of Quinn's Illinois Reform Commission)is a red flag
More fundamental than laws, though, is trying to create an attitude shift in politicians and the people who elect them, he said.
I hope the commission sticks with nuts-and-blots geek issues on openess and procurement reform, and leaves the political transformation to politicans. They'll lose any creditability if they start getting on soapboxes lecturing voters about attitudes.

Elgin Politics: What would Obama do?

John M. Hamilton swipes Kane County Board Chair Karen McConnaughay (HT Daily Herald) with the Blagojevich brush (isn't the Guv a Democrat too? and a Progressive one at that!) for closed and secreative government, and gets this response,
This past summer the new Elgin Democrat headquarters had a meet and greet the candidates at their place on Grove Ave.

Kathy Hamilton, who is an appointed Democratic precinct committeewoman in my precinct asked me if I was a Democrat. I politely said no and thought it only polite to state that because of Obama's position on abortion and because I think that if he gets elected the terrorists will be more inclined to test him (something weeks later his own running mate Biden echoed) I can't vote for him or be a Democrat.
With that she asked me to leave. I said the purpose of my visit is to ask people what issues concern them regarding Elgin as I was considering running for Elgin City Councilman so let's get beyond those statements and talk about Elgin issues.

She then said if I wont' leave then she will. She went into the back and sent another Democrat lady out who asked me to leave.

I left and went home and wrote an apology letter to her asking her to please forgive me as my intentions were not to upset her. I gave my email address so she could forgive me easily by email. I also told her I felt Obama would not have asked me to leave.

John, your wife needs to read your letter.

Yep, what would Obama do? Tell her why a pro-lifer who shared Biden's concerns could indeed still be a Democrat?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hugh Bartling: Questions for Ray LaHood - Obama’s Pick for Transportation

HT Peoria Pundit for Questions for Ray LaHood - Obama’s Pick for Transportation
Of the many great picks Obama has made for cabinet positions, the choice of LaHood at Transportation still remains a mystery.
No mystery, Illinois governed by Kass's Combine and when it comes to doling out billions the combine wants a dealer like LaHood to manage the details.

Legal Insurrection: Blagojevich Is Good At Making Others Look Bad

A good analysis from the Insurrectionist. I'd just add in addition to this prediction: at the end of the impeachment process, two things will be clear: Blagojevich won't be Governor, and the legislature won't have any credibility; I suspect Prez Obama will emerge with plenty of crude stuck to his pants legs. And that before all the tapes and videos come out in the subsequent trial.
I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of Illinois politics. I've been following the Rod Blagojevich saga as an outsider looking in, from a legal perspective. One things seems clear to me, as we approach the impeachment trial: Rod Blagojevich is very good at making others look bad.

When Illinois Lisa Madigan ran into the Illinois Supreme Court with the novel theory that Blagojevich was "unable" to function as Governor due to a "disability," Madigan put her own credibility on the line. The lawsuit was a stretch, at best. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Magidan's request for an emergency injunction and refused to permit Madigan to file a formal complaint, all without even requiring Blagojevich to file a response, and without any explanation why the request was denied. I don't know Madigan's political future, but she looked amateurish and incompetent to this outsider. Only Blagojevich came out of the injunction case looking good, as he went about the business of being Governor.

Then Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris to Barack Obama's open Senate seat. Harry Reid, with Dick Durbin in tow, proclaimed that Burris never, ever, would be seated. Two days ago, Roland Burris was sworn in as the junior Senator from Illinois. In the process leading up to the swearing in, Reid and Durbin looked like blow-hard bluffers who used petty and unsubstantiated claims of paperwork deficiencies to save their egos at risk of a constitutional crisis. Burris, who did nothing wrong, got his Senate seat, but hardly in the sort of triumph of which he probably had dreamt a thousand times. Jesse White was vindicated by the Illinois Supreme Court, but almost everyone must wonder why he didn't just perform the purely clerical function of co-signing the Certificate of Appointment, and save everyone the trouble. Only Blagojevich came out of the seating fiasco looking good.

The Illinois House held impeachment hearings which were a joke. Yes, they got the job done, but in so doing didn't hold anything approaching a meaningful hearing. Blagojevich was not given the right to call witnesses pertinent to criminal accusations, or to subpoena documents regarding those accusations. The House committee relied heavily on the criminal complaint which Blagojevich was not allowed to challenge, even though the document has no evidentiary value in the real world since it merely is the equivalent of a prosecutor's closing statement loaded with selective evidence, hearsay, innuendo, rank conclusions, and argument. The non-criminal aspects of the impeachment articles sound like the whining of bully legislators who demand absolute power, and who see a Governor as the opposition. To this outsider watching the hearings, the House members looked like scared sheep being shuttled to a foregone result by the unseen hand of Michael Madigan. The House got their man, but none of them should be proud of the way they did it, and none of them looked good doing it.

Now we move to the impeachment trial. Blagojevich is refusing to participate as of this writing, on the ground that the trial is fundamentally unfair. While I certainly don't predict a Blagojevich victory, and just the opposite seems certain, somehow I suspect Blagojevich will be the only one coming out of the trial looking good.

The Senate rules are not as biased as what took place in the House, but the trial is not stacking up to be fair. One signal was the absurdly fast track. Bill Clinton was not impeached and tried in such a shotgun fashion, and the U.S. Senate was roughly evenly divided between political parties guaranteeing fair consideration. Here, at least from what Illinois bloggers write, it is a done deal and the evidence really doesn't matter. The best signal to that effect was that the Senate rules accept the record in the House (including the criminal complaint) in evidence, and required Blagojevich to file his response to the impeachment articles on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Talk about substance and symbolism merging into one.

I'm not sure that the "I won't play on your field" strategy is the best one for Blagojevich. If I were defending him, I would do everything in my power to make the Senate put forth the actual evidence in the criminal complaint (which they can't do because Patrick Fitzgerald won't let them), let me subpoena it, or not move forward on those counts. As to the other allegations, Blagojevich seemed on the right track in his press conference, with the ill and disabled at his side, as to why he did what he did. Maybe it's all B.S., but it sounded good to this outsider and Blagojevich could make for some uncomfortable trial days by calling House members and Senators as witnesses on these public policy issues. Whether the trial ends up being a hanging, or a real trial, the Senate will not look good.

I have this sneaking suspicion that at the end of the impeachment process, two things will be clear: Blagojevich won't be Governor, and the legislature won't have any credibility.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rep. Foster Votes to Extend Children’s Health Care Coverage

Something about Blagojevich Democrats talking about Health Care and Kids that raises red flags for me now. Bill Foster (D-Emanuel) on SCHIP Reauthorization.
The bill is fully paid for with an increase in the tobacco tax and a provision regarding self-referral to physician-owned hospitals. The bill raises the tobacco tax by 61 cents a pack, an action that discourages children from smoking. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a 61 cent-increase in the tobacco tax means that 1,873,000 fewer children will take up smoking.
See how long a 61 cent tax on addicts supports this. It looks like Blagojevich shell game with revenues. If SCHIP expansion a wise move, let's pay for it upfront like adults.

Some history,
Blagojevich used children as a way to dodge questions about the federal corruption trial of his former adviser and top fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko. When quizzed on the topic in April by reporters outside his Springfield office, the governor summoned nearby children to help.

"Kids, where are you when … I need you," said Blagojevich, laughing and motioning to the bright yellow-shirted children to gather around him outside of his Capitol office. "Come on over. Come visit. Come on over."

Pressed further, Blagojevich again deferred to the youngsters.

"Look it. Look what we have here. We've got kids here," Blagojevich said.

****
Today's Trib on All Kids.
...the state hasn't been as aggressive as needed in doing outreach.

The bottom line is, although Illinois has a universal health insurance program for all kids, it doesn't seem to be reaching all the children in the state who could benefit.
Get the feeling the problem is not fixed with new programs but just getting the existing ones to reach out to those in need? Maybe the financial fix in the back of Democrats minds is not smoking but just a new program financed by lack-of-use because Government doesn't seek out those needing to be served. Human Shields called for defense and then ignored maybe.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The liberal prisoner, Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi is driven to extremities

A cross post from BameAzadi,
Today morning January 15, 2009, the religious government of Iran transferred the pacific clergy, Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi from military section to narcotic addicts section in order to make more restricts in his communication with out of prison. It's necessary to say that the reflex of his pacific revealing and taking positions specially his views on necessity of abstaining from war and bloodshed and also of making peace between Arabs and Israel on mass media and in Human Rights Societies led to severe anger and hostile decision of Government against him. Please pay attention that the intensity of cold and wet in narcotic addicts section will increase the intensity of his diseases and gravity of his state.

" Today they transferred me to another section and change my place to torture me more than before. I have faced with new and more serious problems in this part of Yazd prison such as cold and restriction in using telephone. The goal of despotic government is ruining my resistance and stifling my voice.

Now once again I ask my attorneys in and out of country to announce their protests against Human Rights violation and against denial of freedom for a religious prisoner leader and to ask Prisoners Defenders organizations to increase and intensify their delivering movement and also to ask world's mass media to help to remove severe and heavy restrictions on me. Cutting off my phone calls indicates blocking the procedure of Human Rights Watch in medieval prisons. Suffocating and detaining a preacher of freedom and belief independence in appalling sections of religious government purports blocking effective and permanent news in current world.

I am spending regrettable time as I need immediate help of world's societies."

It is necessary to mention that above news has been confirmed by Human Rights Activists in Iran

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bill Foster finds illegals at the Ice Cream store

Dan Campana writes: Oberweis wants ad settlement; Dems want lawsuit tossed
He struck out twice in 2008, but Jim Oberweis hopes to pick up a different kind of win against the Democrats this year.

A federal judge is expected to rule next month on whether to throw out Oberweis Dairy's lawsuit against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over ads it paid for during Oberweis' run for Congress in the 14th District.

The ads -- spread across TV, radio and mailers -- claimed illegal immigrants were found working at Oberweis Dairy stores, something the Republican and his company deny.
Since Foster's on an Illegal Hunt, he'll be able to ask SecTreas nominee Geithner about his illegals too.
Geithner also didn't realize a housekeeper he paid in 2004 and 2005 did not have current employment documentation as an immigrant for the final three months she worked for him, the transition official said.

Ray's fingerprints are on everything around here

LaHood Sponsored Millions in Earmarks
In a Peoria newspaper article last year that celebrated his career, mayors cheered LaHood's earmarks, with one noting that "Ray's fingerprints are on everything around here." LaHood defended using his sway to fund good, local ideas.

"The reason I went on the Appropriations Committee, the reason other people go on the Appropriations Committee, is they know that it puts them in a position to know where the money is at, to know the people who are doling out the money and to be in the room when the money is being doled out," he said.

Some beneficiaries are little known outside the district. LaHood sponsored more than $1 million in earmarks to build a Peoria/NEXT incubator, a technology development project. A Morton, Ill.-based firm, Otto Baum, was chosen in 2006 to build part of the center. The firm wrote LaHood a $2,300 campaign check last year.
And the prints have postponed his confirmation hearings.... HT Real Barack Obama

Something's Fishy About The Burris "Paperwork" Fiasco

A cross post from the Insurrectionist,
Has anybody actually seen the paperwork Roland Burris submitted to the Secretary of the Senate which caused Harry Reid and Dick Durbin to approve seating Burris?

In her January 12, 2009 Press Release, the Secretary of the Senate stated that "Mr. Burris's certificate, and accompanying documentation, appear to contain all the essential elements required by Senate Rule II." This documentation has been described as "new credentials" in a statement released by Reid and Durbin. Elsewhere, these documents have been described as "an additional document bearing a state seal, an affirmation of the appointment and a mass-produced signature of the secretary of state, Jesse White."

Considering that the refusal to seat Burris over alleged "paperwork" problems nearly caused a constitutional crisis, you would think that the Secretary of the Senate, who originally rejected Burris' papers, would be forthcoming with copies of what Burris submitted. Not so.

I telephoned the Secretary's office, to request a copy of the paperwork, but was rebuffed. I followed up with an e-mail:

This is a follow-up to my phone call a few minutes ago. I request a copy of the "certificate, and accompanying documentation" filed by Roland Burris referenced in the Secretary's January 12, 2009 Press Release. You indicated that your office would not provide me with a copy, even if I were a reporter, and that I need to contact the Senate archives. You indicated that the papers may not yet be at the Senate archives. Given the public importance of these papers, and the Secretary's own public announcement regarding the papers, I again request that you provide me with a copy.

No response so far. Something is fishy here. Not fishy in terms of illegal or immoral or unethical. Just strange. Is this about saving face for Reid and Durbin? Were the "new" credentials nothing truly new?

Burris' original paperwork submitted to the Senate consisted of the Certificate of Appointment signed only by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. After that was not accepted, Burris also obtained the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court that White's signature was not required for Burris to be the lawful appointee. That also was not enough. Then Burris obtained a certification by White which did not comply with Senate Rule II; White issued a mere "records certification" certifying that Blagojevich's Certificate of Appointment was on file with the Secretary of State and was a true and correct copy. Still, not enough.

So what was the additional paperwork submitted by Burris on Monday, January 12, 2009, which averted a constitutional crisis? Was it the "mass-produced signature of the secretary of state"? If so, does that mean that Roland Burris' Senate appointment and the U.S. Constitution were saved by the equivalent of a rubber stamp?

Stay tuned. As soon as I get the documents, you'll be the first to know.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Emanuel and Blagojevich on America's Opportunities

Chuck Goudie looks at Rahm Emanuel's introspective reflections on America with Rod Blagojevich offered in Emanuel's resignation letter from the 5th CD.
"As sons of immigrants to this country," Emanuel stated to the governor, "you and I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities America provides to those who are willing to work hard and sacrifice for their children."
It's the opportunities for themselves Rod and Rahm look for. None of this ask not what America can do for you stuff, or God forbid Rahm's plan for National Service: for whom? certainly not them! For these two, it's all about the self-serving deal.
.
****
Congressman Kirk on his three week deployment in Afghanistan,



As Dick Durbin turns

The Trib's Editorial today on the dizzying twists of Sen Durbin on Sen Burris. Forget fairness to Roland. It's the people of Illinois this is about Sen Durbin.
Sen. Durbin, you were right the first time. Demand a special election to choose Illinois' junior senator. Allow Illinois voters to extricate ourselves from this ugly scandal with a dose of democracy. Fair to Burris? Be fair to your constituents.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blagovejvich and Burris on SNL

State Senator Mike Noland (Ill 22nd) and the Guv

From Mike Noland's Why I voted no on the recall vote,
Finally, I understand and even share your frustration regarding the governor. However, this, while in part his own doing, is something hard sought by those who want not so much his head as his job. Again, this is what elections are for. If and when he is charged with misconduct we can, under our constitution, impeach him.
Considering most of the stuff the Guv's been impeached over were long known before Noland's vote on recall, and the obvious lust for the Guv's job, you wonder how Noland will vote in the trial.

Noland may not be one lusting for the Guv's job, but fear of losing his, may change his mind on the trial.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tribune Editorial Rips Spinless Dems....From Durbin to Obama to Quinn

Mark Johnson channels the Tribs right on editorial,
For almost a month, Reid and Durbin insisted the Senate would reject any spawn of a governor who allegedly tried to sell that very seat. Their spines turned to mush, the Tribune reported this week, after President-elect Barack Obama told Reid to make the Burris embarrassment go away. Suddenly, Blagojevich's appointment of Burris wasn't so objectionable to the Democratic leaders.

But Reid and Durbin had been so firm in their resolve—and so sure they had legal authority to exclude a Blagojevich appointee—that they needed someone to let them off the hook. Hence their gamble this week that the Illinois Supreme Court would invent some previously undetected Illinois
law requiring Secretary of State Jesse White to co-sign Blagojevich's letter of appointment for Burris—something Reid last week had thanked White for not doing.

The state's high court said it wouldn't require Jesse White to do that. But it did say the law allows anyone to get a copy of a legal document, such as Blagojevich's letter, certified
as accurate by the secretary of state. On Friday afternoon, White provided such a copy. It's up to the Senate to decide if that document suffices.

White, a Democrat, is miffed that Democratic senators tried to play him as their fall guy. But to his credit he's going strictly by the book on this.

After the Supreme Court decision and the House vote to impeach the governor, Durbin said that
the Senate should wait to see if Blagojevich is ousted from office.

All this is still quite murky, but it does seem that the Senate is trying to buy itself some time. And that creates an opportunity.

When Blagojevich leaves, Gov. Pat Quinn arrives. Durbin said on Friday that Quinn could appoint a senator in "a clean, legal, respectable way." There is another clean, legal and far more respectable way to do
this.

The Senate seat doesn't belong to Dick Durbin or Harry Reid or Pat Quinn or any of the other politicians. The Senate seat belongs to the people.

Harry Reid's Ego v. The Junior Senator From Illinois‏

Update: Also check: Will The Fate Of The Constitution Turn On An 8x10 Framed Certificate?‏ Watch if Obama has to reel Reid in again.

A cross post from Legal Insurrection,
Harry Reid refuses to give in to the U.S. Constitution. With each passing day, Reid has been embarrassing himself more and more. The decision of the Illinois Supreme Court ruling that Roland Burris is the lawful appointee of Gov. Rod Blagojevich makes clear that this dispute is about Reid's ego, not whether Burris is the lawful appointee.

Reid has refused to seat Burris on an extremely strained, and wholly unjustified, theory that the Senate can do whatever it wants as to seating Senators, which would make elections and lawful appointments merely advisory. Reid risks creating horrible precedent merely to soothe his need for power.

There are only two people who are looking good in this process: Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris. Blagojevich may have acted in his own political self-interest, but he acted legally and properly in filling the Senate seat promptly with no taint on the person selected. Burris, though, is the real hero. While acting in his own self-interest, Burris was correct to stand up for the lawful appointment, not to play Reid's political game, and to go to Washington to uphold the Constitution. I hope Burris will continue to fight for what is lawfully his.

Blagojevich's Human Shields

Forget the articles. Impeach Blagojevich for using people's misfortune for political gains. That's what I find so obscene about the man. It's a crime he's committed for some time and with partners.


Photo AP

It's bigger than the Guv

From McKenna's press release,
Today the Democrat-dominated impeachment committee released their resolution to impeach Governor Blagojevich. Included in the list of charges were:

Attempting to import flu vaccines without FDA approval: In 2005 Governor Blagojevich publicly flaunted FDA rules and imported unapproved flu vaccines from overseas. Illinois never used those vaccines, but still paid $3 million for them.[1] [2]


Promoting a scheme to import prescription drugs without federal approval: Blagojevich continued to push a costly program to import prescription drugs from Canada, despite being advised by the FDA and state auditors that the program was illegal.[3] [4]

Governor’s refusal to comply with FOIA: Blagojevich refused FOIA requests from the Better Government Association for federal subpoenas despite advice from Attorney General Lisa Madigan that failure to provide subpoenas was a violation of FOIA.[5]
[6]

Executive Ethics Commission Report: While the report was not publicly available at the time, numerous press accounts documented the alleged widespread hiring fraud perpetrated by theBlagojevich Administration.[7]
[8]

These charges have one thing in common: they were all widely reported and well-known before Blagojevich’s reelection in 2006.

“Blagojevich Democrats have enabled Rod Blagojevich every step of the way for the last six years and are now trying to pretend they had nothing with the mismanagement of this state,” addedMcKenna. “Now more than ever, the Democrats’ failure to lead over the last thirty days has highlighted why we need change in Illinois.”
If I were Genson I'd quote all those Senator-enablers along the way in the trial. I think it would make them look like fools.

Friday, January 09, 2009

That 5th CD thing

HT Beachwood Reporter

Oak Park's venerable Les Golden in the ST,
Although Rahm Emanuel was named chief of staff for the president-elect two months ago, only on Jan. 2 did he resign his 5th Congressional District seat. Based on the Illinois Constitution, within five days an election to fill the vacancy was called. Because of the need to schedule the primary election at least one month before the general election of April 7, the period for gathering signatures is not the normal 57 days for congressional candidates but only 13 days.

That means that only members of the political class, with their patronage workers, will have the manpower to gain a place on the Democratic ballot in that heavily Democratic congressional district.

Leslie M. Golden, Oak Park
Also Chicago Journal profiles the manay candidates and has links to their webpages.

Illinois needs Blagojevich's trial

Don't resign Governor. Illinois and America need to hear your story. Your side of what's happened.

You didn't Govern alone. What you ever you've done, you've had plenty of friends and partners along the way.

We still have no idea what the plumbers were looking for when they burglarized the Watergate. Nixon's resignation and pardon assured America would never hear that story.

Illinois shouldn't repeat that mistake in the name of healing and rebuilding.

Let the trial begin and let the Senate take it's time with it so the full story is told.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tehran Sends Larijani to Meshaal in Damascus

Batchelor: Hamas Blinking over at the Real Barak Obama. Good snapshot on what's happening with Gaza and what seems like Iran's first challange to RBO... a challange that's not working out well thanks to the IDF.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fran Eaton: Blagojevich not leaving governor's mansion anytime soon

Fran's column in the SouthTown. She's right. We're going to be stuck with him for a while.
Despite the fact Blagojevich has made Illinois a laughingstock to the nation and the world, and it would be a relief and a face-saver to have him resign or be impeached, cooler heads will likely prevail in the Senate. Blagojevich is likely to remain governor, perhaps through the rest of this term.

In the meantime, let's hope Illinoisans have learned a hard lesson: We get the government we deserve. It is our responsibility to pay attention to state and local politics and know who we're electing. What we do in Illinois matters - not to just us here, but to the nation and to the world.

And just for the record, I sincerely hope this New Year's prediction is wrong.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Jeff Schoenberg: Rahm and reinvesting in the states

Schoenberg writes,
What is becoming increasingly clear is that in the run-up to January 20th, states will need to be preparing to prioritize their respective infrastructure needs so as to be ready to receive whatever additional federal funding will coming heading their way. It also means that on the transportation side, there is an opening to realign their thinking on investment in passenger and freight rail.

All too often, passenger and freight rail are crowded out by highways in allocating scarce public transportation dollars. What needs to happen now in Illinois is for us to establish a system of scoring and prioritizing transportation projects very much the same way that the state uses a set formula to evaluate school construction projects. The highly regarded School Construction Bond Program is jointly administered by the State Board of Education and the Capital Development Board and uses a rigorous evaluation process to vet and rank projects for school districts across the state.
Hope they do a better job than the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Otherwise these guys will take the whole country down like Illinois. Ten points on a trillion dollars is an awfully big kick back. Rahm and LaHood better explain how they're going to keep this clean.

Dan Curry: In 2006, Dems ignored Blago “5-alarm fire”

Dan Curry has a great post looking back at some of the 2006 Editorials. No one can say they didn't know what was going on in Illinois then.
Illinois Democrats are laughingly trying to say they didn’t know Governor Rod Blagojevich was under intense federal scrutiny in 2006 when they lined up behind him during his re-election bid. At the time, the Chicago Tribune called the corruption probe “a five-alarm fire.”
Also, Cal Skinner looks at some of the enablers over at Illinoize.

Monday, January 05, 2009

IDF VLOG UPDATE: IDF Captures Hamas Terrorists in Gaza - Capt. Benjamin Rutland - 5 Jan. 2009

Video: Weapons Hidden in Mosque Neutralized by IAF

xpost from Chicago Bungalow
On December 31, the IAF struck this Mosque that was being used to store Grads and Qassams. You can see two secondary explosions when they detonate after the strike - the second is huge.



And there is more over at idfnadesk's channel on YouTube

Tom Cross on MSNBC

Interesting point is The Hill's A. B. Stoddard that Illinois Dems were counting on Fitz to have indicted within 30 days.

Blagojevich and the Progressive's Crime

From the Trib's Editorial: A moment to hang our heads

This is the Progressive's Crime. Some of us can stand tall. Progressives have a huge burden to bear for this fiasco in Illinois, and none have been more damaged by this catastrophe than the weakest on whom's behalf progressives claimed to advocate.
The governor and his cronies richly deserve pillorying. But, as we focus on them, we should not overlook that he was reinforced by well-intentioned people and groups seeking his support for worthy causes or fearing retribution if they challenged him.

Advocates for early childhood education and expanded health-care coverage showered praise on him even though he was spending beyond the state's means. Most of them spoke softly, if at all, as Blagojevich castigated House Speaker Michael Madigan and others who suggested the escalated spending would require higher taxes or result in bequeathing a mega-tab to future wage earners.
When the presidents of our largest universities acquiesced to budget cuts and the governor's ridicule of higher education, Blagojevich saw them as patsies, and they proved him right by striking a Faustian deal during his re-election campaign. To recoup some of the losses in their budgets, they endorsed his zany, ill-fated proposal to have taxpayers bankroll tuitions for more affluent Illinoisans even though it would have adversely impacted impoverished students.

Children's champions, education leaders, major health-care providers and grant recipients hailed him in news releases and flanked him in front of cameras and microphones as he gloried in his accomplishments. Privately, they questioned his integrity, they worried over the growing deficit and they resented the bullying. But, unlike Shakespeare's Mark Antony, they came to praise Caesar, not to bury him.

He basked in their smiles, he heard their accolades and he collected their campaign contributions. Blagojevich saw no reason to abandon his ends-justifies-the-means approach. Voters ultimately re-elected him despite a blizzard of media reports documenting impropriety and incompetence in an administration he had vowed would be the most ethical ever. The millions amassed by aggressively soliciting those seeking state business and coveted appointments funded a juggernaut of largely misleading, negative commercials that duped Illinoisans into believing a woman they had elected as state treasurer three times and who had nowhere near his ethical baggage was somehow less trustworthy.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Richardson under the Obama Bus

How do you deny Roland Burris the Senate seat when he was just appointed by a guy under investigation, and make Richardson Commerce Sec when he's under investigation himself?

What a mess. What a bunch is team Obama to lead a Country at War.

The Real Barack Obama covers it.

At the Back of the Hill: Jew Hate in SF Demonstration in front of the Israeli Consulate Tuesday

Writes At the Back of the Hill,
Apparently, I am a Jew Faggot. This per a large very dark gentleman representing International ANSWER, organizers of yesterday's protest in front of the Israeli Consulate on Montgomery Street.
YouTube video of the Demo at ZomBlog including translations of the slogans chanted,
“Itbach al Yahud” (slaughter the Jews)
“Falastin balad’na w’al Yahud qalab’na” (Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs)
“ba ruh, ba dam, nafdeek ya Falastin” (with our soul, with our blood, we will cleanse you oh Palestine),
“al mawt al Yahud” (death to the Jews),
“Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahud, jaish-Muhammad saya’ud” (Khaybar Khaybar oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return).
The Real Barack Obama writes an excellant wrap up of the pro-Hamas demonstrations.

Willie Brown: Blagojevich makes a play worthy of Joe Montana

We may be the most corrupt State, and well down the tubes because of it, but you gotta marvel at the Guv's skill fighting a lost cause. From Brown's column today,
Maybe it won't save the governor's skin. But it [Burris's appointment] does completely change the game. If this were football, Blagojevich would be Joe Montana.

By naming the state's former attorney general and comptroller - a respected politician who ran against Blagojevich for governor in 2002 - Blagojevich has taken away some of the ammunition from critics who want him impeached.
And...
I've known Burris personally and politically for years. He's a man of immense integrity, and truth be told, he has more credentials to be a U.S. senator than Obama did when he first won the seat.
...and...
As for Obama, this must really be driving him crazy. How does he say "no" to someone as qualified as Burris? And what do he and the Democrats do if black Americans get behind Burris? How are the Democrats going to handle that kind of pressure?

You can't help but stay tuned to a production like this.
It's got me rivited....front row seats here in Illinois to this tragicomic farce we've given America.

No election for Illinois, but count every vote from Minnesota

Lisa Miscaro in the Las Vegas Sun writing on the possibility Reid will seat Franken from Minnesota and bar Burris at the door.
So Reid is left in the potentially incongruous position of calling for every vote to be counted in Minnesota while maneuvering in ways that could avoid an election in Illinois.

Blagojevich says Reid has conflict of interest

Not sure what the conflict was but Reid set himself up for a knockout for sure here.
Illinois' governor said through his spokesman yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is guilty of a conflict of interest in that Reid telephoned him in early December to discuss the seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Lucio Guerrero, spokesman for Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, said he didn't know firsthand which candidates the Nevada Democrat supported during the call, but he said that Reid's candidates did not include former Illinois attorney general Roland Burris, whom the governor picked for Obama's seat. Senate leaders have vowed to oppose the appointment.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Blagojevich Post: E J Dionne looks at Illinois

Dionne looks at Illinois and thinks the Guv's shot his last bolt.
Barack Obama’s patented approach to problems — wait and think before acting to see what develops — is the Democrats’ best way out.

Blagojevich had one powerful weapon, his ability to appoint a senator. Now that he’s used it, his arsenal is depleted. If Democrats face down Blagojevich by walking away from Burris, they deprive themselves of a Senate vote for a bit and may even face litigation. That’s still better than implicating themselves in Blagojevich’s game by making a deal.

Treating this appointment as a circus act makes more sense than taking it seriously.
I doubt it. Fitz has over 1,000 wire tap transcripts. Fitz and the Guv probably the only two who know what's in those conversations. I'm betting the Guv has plenty more up his sleeves he can throw at Obama or any other Demcorat who stands in his way. Wait-and-see may well be paralysis panic E. J.

****
Steve Roades looks at Obama's exoneration of his staff,
"Emanuel has declined to speak to reporters about his role in Senate succession and left for vacation in Africa before the report's release," the Tribune reports. "In a conference call with reporters, Craig characterized Emanuel's conversations with Blagojevich as 'completely innocent' and 'completely appropriate'."

*

Transparency policy: we'll post our carefully calibrated positions and failures to comment on our website and make our bleep transparent!
Right, that's not wait-and-see, that's bamboozle-and-hope-it'll-all-pass.

xp Illinoize

Pamela Davis in the New Yorker

Edwards CEO Pamela Davis is in the New Yorker now talking about her experience as an FBI informant hunting Rezko: Secret Agent Dept Whistle-blower.

A story there was no interest telling nationally until after the election I guess.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Will Harry Reid Also Bar Caroline Kennedy?

A cross post from Legal Insurrection,
According to news reports, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is prepared to have armed guards bar Roland Burris from the Senate floor, despite the fact that Burris has been legally appointed to Barack Obama's open Senate seat by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. At the same time, Reid is praising the unlawful refusal of the Illinois Secretary of State to certify the Burris' appointment, in order to create a pretext for Reid not to seat Burris.

Regardless of what you think of Blagojevich, Reid's conduct is troubling. The justification for Reid's actions is that Blagojevich allegedly attempted to sell the open Senate seat. But there is no allegation that Blagojevich attempted to sell it to Burris.

Will Reid also bar Caroline Kennedy from the floor of the Senate? As with Burris, there is no allegation of bribery or other misconduct in Caroline's attempt to get appointed to Hillary Clinton's open seat, but a lot of people (including Democrats) are against the appointment. Some say Caroline is using her family name and connections to Obama to get an appointment which others deserve. Surely, there must be some small measure of moral outrage in Reid's heart at the notion that family dynasties should prevail over hard-working Democrats who have toiled their entire lives seeking higher political office.

The double standard applied to Burris and Caroline Kennedy can not be justified by the allegations against Blagojevich since the allegations have nothing to do with Burris. Moreover, there is scant "proof" at this point of an attempt by Blagojevich to sell the seat. The only proof is the criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who has refused to release the evidence supporting this allegation, has asked the Illinois House impeachment committee not to investigate this allegation, and has asked the federal court for a three month extension of time to bring an indictment. The federal criminal complaint recites parts of conversations which may support the allegation, but as the Rodney King case showed, snippets of tape may not be enough to result in a conviction.

Since when do Democrats simply take the word of a prosecutor that someone is guilty? It may be that Blagojevich is a crook and will serve time in prison, but that doesn't justify Harry Reid acting like a crook as well.

The Blago Shpere on who will file an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Senator Burris’s suit against Secretary White

A very intersting comment from the Blago Sphere over at Capital Fax. Why isn't this guy blogging?
It will be interesting to see if there are any organizations willing to step forward and seek permission from the IL SC to submit an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Senator Burris’s suit against Secretary White.

The Urban League, IL NAACP, and Black Contractors United are the one’s that come most immediately to mind. Without the promise of an alternative African American appointment from Quinn, it would be consistent with their established mission statements to do so; even if it meant opposing Jesse White in the process.

Given that there is no other African American in the U.S. Senate; I don’t believe Obama’s opposition to the appointment provides sufficient cover; if the attempts to reject Burris were ultimately to be successful, and Quinn were not to follow suit with his selection. Those pre-disposed to this way of thinking already have held Obama suspect on this front in the past, and the collapse of a Burris appointment, followed by a Schakowsky replacement by Quinn would only throw gas on their fire.

O’bama would have been better suited to stay out of this I think; and let the Senate take the heat for dealing with this. He could have expressed regret, and disappointment at what has taken place, and then assured all that he felt the Senate leadership was capable of resolving this satisfactorily.

Gov Quinn would appoint a Dan Seals to the Senate

I wonder who Politico's sources are for stuff like this.
Sources say Blagojevich’s s successor if he’s removed from office, Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, is likely to point someone who is African- American, but likely not Burris because of the taint or Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill), who is often mentioned as a possibility but would be too controversial.

Sources said the choice is likely to be someone young and dynamic, like Dan Seals, who ran in a northeast Illinois House district in 2006 and 2008. It needs to be someone who would appeal to the white Republicans in downstate Illinois, to prevent the seat going to the GOP in a future election.

****
No idea who this guy is, but he's got it right about seating Burris: Republicans Shouldn't Help Dems Block Burris

Daily Herald: Dems explain why they let governor make appointment

I have a feeling AG Lisa Madigan may have tried to commit the wrong Democrat. As best as I can tell neither SecState White or Senator Reid have a legal leg to stand on. Burris will be our Senator. From today's Daily Herald.
Illinois Democrats stand by their decision against holding a special election to choose the state's next senator, maintaining that even if anyone anticipated Gov. Rod Blagojevich would name a new senator, they were confident the appointment wouldn't stand.

With Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White refusing to sign papers authorizing Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris, and Senate Democratic leaders refusing to seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich, House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown maintained that the appointment is moot.


****
And he's not wasting time: Burris goes to court over appointment