Category Archives: Rod’s World

The Devils in Durbin’s Details

A collection of noteworthy points, details and arguments from the Durbin-Ryan-commutation imbroglio that I haven’t yet had a chance to point out.

* “If Ryan is released early, he will have spent less time in prison than two friends convicted in the case – Ryan’s aide, Scott Fawell, who did the dirty work, and businessman Lawrence Warner, who profited from the dirty deals,” the Sun-Times notes in an editorial today.

* “Let’s also look at one of the main assertions on Ryan’s behalf, that he’s been punished enough in part because his government pension has already been taken away,” Mark Brown writes today.

“What they fail to mention is that he had already collected about $800,000 from his ridiculous $197,000-a-year pension before he was sent off to prison. How many of you can expect to collect $800,000 from a pension in your entire lifetime? Not many. It’s not our fault if he spent it all.”

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My Darling Clemency

In conjunction with stating on Thursday that George Ryan should be set free, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to announce the following this week:

* He will not only keep Death Row empty, but clear out Simple Felony and Misdemeanor Row too.

* He is planning to enter the priesthood sometime between the end of his term as governor and the day of his coming federal indictment. He has also taken on a second job at a soup kitchen and a third job as a paralegal at Winston & Strawn.

* He will accept an ambassadorship from Barack Obama, but swears it is not because it will give him diplomatic immunity.

* Yes, he knows what irony means.

* Patti made him do it.

Meanwhile, Jim Thompson insists that Ryan feels remorse.

A) He’s just been too shy to say so publicly.
B) He’s damn sorry he ever trusted Scott Fawell.
C) He’s sorry he shanked that guy in Unit C and he’ll apologize for anything to get out before the ladies trap him in the shower.

Luis’s Folly

So Luis Gutierrez’s pitch to Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate was that he only wanted to serve as a place-holder for the next two years in order to work on immigration reform. Then he’d be out.

Um . . . huh?

Let’s do some good ol’ fashion speculatin’.

1. Face value is reality. Nah.

2. Face value is partially reality. Gutierrez wants two years in the Senate not only to work on immigration reform, but to raise his profile for his next move: mayor, governor, who knows.

3. Gutierrez thinks his wife will be able to make even more lucrative real estate deals on the side if he’s a senator instead of just a rep.

4. Gutierrez mistakenly believes that Obama’s Hyde Park mansion comes with the seat.

5. Gutierrez mistakenly believed that Blagojevich preferred a place-holder; his real intention was to run for re-election to the Senate in 2010 because the people would demand it.

Field Notes: Minnesota (con’t)

6:20 p.m.: Local television station reports that Sex World will give you something for free if you are wearing your “I Voted” sticker and come in by midnight. Still unclear as to what you get.

Con’t from Field Notes: Minnesota

Replacing Obama

The buzz around U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. as Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate should Obama win the presidency is at an all-time high today – and Jackson is loving it.

The Hill is reporting that “Illinois political insiders say Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who defended Barack Obama after his father famously threatened to castrate him, is the favorite to replace the Democratic nominee in the Senate.”

Jackson didn’t speak to The Hill, but the paper published a statement put out by his office saying he would be “honored” if appointed to the seat.

The statement also formed the basis of brief post on Politico.

And Jackson’s office left no doubt about Junior’s interest in the seat by sending out an e-mail on Sunday touting the Chicago Defender’s endorsement of Jackson for the potential vacancy, even if it did add perfunctorily that “The Congressman believes it is premature to participate in speculation.”

If the punditry is to be believed, Jackson’s chief rival for the post is U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The punditry is split, however, on whether Obama will indeed make the choice behind the scenes through force of will or if he’ll leave it up to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has the power to make the appointment.

I find it difficult to believe a President Obama won’t exert his will, but CQ Politics reports that “Those pondering the possibilities, though, agree that Blagojevich is unlikely to want any direction from Obama, and unlikely to get it.

“’Obama will not step foot into Illinois politics. It’s a minefield,’ said Paul Green who is a professor of policy studies at Roosevelt University. ‘He’d go to Kabul before he’d go to Springfield’.”

The Favorite Son?

You’d think the question of who the major Chicago newspapers would endorse in the presidential race would be a no-brainer. After all, both the Tribune and Sun-Times have been overwhelmingly favorable in their coverage of the Barack Obama, even if each has also broke the occasionally critical story about the hometown hero.

But the Sun-Times has a recent history of mysterious and disingenuous endorsements and the Tribune hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for president since, well, ever. And even if the majority of both editorial boards prefer Obama – certainly the case at the Sun-Times – each board could be overruled by either its editor or, more likely if necessary, its publisher.

Let’s try to read the tea leaves anyway.

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Blago Nixes CTA

“Gov. Blagojevich, who has criticized the CTA for mismanaging its budget, has appointed former Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix to the transit agency’s board,” the Sun-Times reports. “She had helped to create the Seniors Ride Free Program, which was added on to the RTA bailout bill in January. The CTA expects to lose $26 million in 2009 from giving free rides to seniors, and may raise fares next year.”

A) So Nix is already experienced in CTA mismanagement

B) Nix denied she was appointed by Public Official A.

C) Nix said she would fight against the CTA being used as a patronage dumping ground where politicians are given posts as rewards for lying through their teeth to defend their bosses against an intrusive public.