Category Archives: Presidential Poop

Poll: Keep Ryan in Jail

“Two-thirds of adults in Illinois (66%) are opposed to a presidential pardon for former Governor George Ryan, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.

“Just 23% say Ryan, the Republican convicted on federal corruption charges in 2006, should be pardoned. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.”

Perhaps the poll’s most interesting finding is this:

“Members of Ryan’s own political party are more unforgiving than his former political opponents. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Republicans oppose a pardon versus 59% of Democrats. Twenty-six percent (26%) of both parties favor pardoning Ryan. Among those unaffiliated with either major political party, just 15% support a pardon, while 77% oppose one.”

I can only guess that a segment of Democrats think Ryan’s death penalty moratorium should play into this.

- Via Progress Illinois

Chief of Cash

The New York Times delves into what it calls “a little-known episode of Mr. Emanuel’s biography” – you know, those 36 months in which he made $18 million working as a mergers & acquisitions guy.

My favorite part is this:

“Confidants of Mr. Emanuel’s said he decided to try his hand at business because he wanted financial security for his family, before eventually returning to public service.”

Oh, the sacrifices he’s made for us!

“He had a number in his head to make enough for the family,” one of Rahm’s brothers, Ezekiel, told the Times.

And he fell just short!

Going Blue

From Chicagoist:

“As if it hadn’t yet, we can now firmly say Obama merchandise has jumped the shark. Or something like that . . . “

Obama Punts

“Add president-elect Barack Obama to the growing list of politicians across Illinois issuing statements this week about former George Ryan being released from federal prison,” NBCChicago.com reports. “He doesn’t have an opinion.”

You know, I wrote the other day over on the Beachwood that I wasn’t going to spend the next four years saying “I told you so,” but that doesn’t mean I’m never gonna say it. So consider it said.

Mystery Pardon

There’s been a dearth of information about the one Illinoisan on the list of 14 that President Bush pardoned a couple weeks ago: Richard Micheal Culpepper.

Who?

Richard Micheal Culpepper. Of downstate Mahomet.

Seeing as how the 2000 census put Mahomet’s population at 4,877, a lot of folks down there probably know Culpepper. But I’ve come up pretty much empty.

What we do know is that Culpepper was sentenced on Jan. 15, 1988 to five years’ probation for making false statements to the government. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $4,351.90 in restitution.

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10 Questions for Dick Durbin

UPDATE DEC. 2: Some of these questions have now been asked and – sort of – answered. Let’s take a look (from various news sources).

*

Well, Durbin did it.

1. Why not just wait for Barack Obama to become president and ask for him to commute George Ryan’s sentence? You certainly have more influence with Obama than George W. Bush. And Obama certainly is more familiar with Ryan’s case.

“Durbin said he did not ‘think it would be appropriate’ to wait to ask President-elect and fellow Illinois Democrat Barack Obama to issue a commutation when he takes office since clemency actions normally come during the final days of an outgoing presidency.

Define “appropriate.” And, actually, presidents act on pardons and clemency requests throughout their terms; there is usually a flurry at the end of a term because it’s the last chance they get to exercise their power. And wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the new president from Illinois acted on this case? And will someone ask where Obama stands on this?

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Having a Ball

“Barack Obama tried to keep corporate lobbyists out of his campaign, but when it comes to his home state’s Inaugural Gala, everything is for sale, and the corporate sponsorship list reads like a Who’s Who of Chicago big business,” Politico reports.

“Stroke a $55,000 check, as utility giant Exelon Corp. has, and you’ve purchases sponsorship of the ‘City of Chicago Ballroom.’ American Airlines has dropped $40,000 for exclusive sponsorship of a cocktail reception that may include members of Congress. And $20,000 merely gets your company name over the coat check booth.”

That’s right – you can even sponsor the coat check. That’s almost worth it just to tell the story about how you, um, sponsored the coat check.

Now, if you can only scrape together $10,000, you can get your name on a dessert.

Which is only about a third as crazy as Monsanto spending $30,000 to build a mock-up of the Steppenwolf right there, apparently, in the ballroom.

Monsanto, of course, is the recipient of generous tax subsidies, so they can afford it. Their executives will probably even fly in on private jets.

Hey, it’s a ball. That’s what corporate royalty does.

Obama Elementary

Richard Roeper thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the school board in Hempstead, New York, has voted unanimously to change the name of Ludlum Elementary School to Obama Elementary.

Eriz Zorn disagrees. “Normally I’m an advocate for the Hall of Fame rule – that we wait five years after a famous person retires, leaves office or dies before naming anything after him. But this is not a normal situation. Obama has already, inarguably, become one of the most famous, important Chicagoans of all time.”

But enough about us. What do the folks in New York think?

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Obama Bowl

I’m glad Rick Morrissey said it first last Friday in the Tribune so it wouldn’t seem like just another attack on Barack Obama. Because Obama is wrong: We do not need a college football playoff system. In fact, we should roll back the BCS and just go back to the old-fashioned and glorious bowls before they were bastardized beyond recognition. Let’s go back to the future. Here’s why.

1. The fact that college football is pretty much the only athletic endeavor of its kind that doesn’t crown a champion after a playoff is a quaint and unique characteristic of the sport that should be cherished. It’s a big part of what makes college football popular – the weekly debate about the polls and end-of-season debate about who is really No. 1. Must we homogenize everything? We tried that with baseball stadiums in the 70s and found that ballparks like Fenway and Wrigley endure because, for whatever odd reasons, they came to be shaped certain ways. The same with college football. The lack of a playoff system is one of the great hallmarks of the college game. Are we really less well off as a civilization because we don’t crown an official champion (BCS notwithstanding)? Is this really an injustice?

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The O Line

DCist reports that the Metro in Washington intends to produce commemmorative Barack Obama “SmarTrip” cards.

“Metro spokesperson Steven Taubenkibel confirmed that the commemorative SmarTrip cards should be available for sale in early January, while special paper Metro farecards marking the inauguration will be sold somewhat earlier, in late December.”

Chicagoist suggests that the CTA one-up the Washington Metro by relabeling all Orange Line signage with the familiar “O” logo of Obama’s campaign.