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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008

Let’s try to keep this as Illinois-centric as possible.

John Edwards is out of the presidential race. How does this impact Barack Obama?

Rudy Giuliani has dropped out and will endorse John McCain. Who do you think is now the frontrunner in Illinois next Tuesday. Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   122 Comments      


Guv won’t dump on Rezko, but attacks reporters

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008

* In the preceding post, I mentioned how legit reformers are way too often unfairly treated by reporters. Gov. Blagojevich, however, is not a reformer. He’s a claimed reformer who has mucked things up almost beyond repair. But, since he still desperately clings to that reporter mantle, he apparently feels that he can blame the media for his troubles

Gov. Blagojevich on Tuesday again blasted the news media for focusing too heavily on the Tony Rezko case and said he’s still withholding judgment about his former adviser and fund-raiser, who was jailed this week for violating bail.

“You could suggest maybe why those newspapers are getting skinnier and skinnier [is] because they write about stuff that doesn’t really matter to people,” Blagojevich said toward the end of a press conference about veterans’ health.

When asked if he regretted his relationship with Rezko, Blagojevich replied, “There’s a process that we call the court system that has to play itself out.

OK, on the same day that Rezko is denied bail that’s all the governor can muster?

Blagojevich’s campaign fund has racked up more than $2 million in legal fees, mostly because of Blagojevich’s relationship with Rezko and his alleged co-conspirators. But regrets? Not even a few.

* And I love this line…

Political candidates, the governor added, “presume and hope that people who are helping us are doing things honestly and forthrightly, and sometimes there are allegations

Tony Rezko was a member of the governor’s inner political circle. This was no run of the mill contributor that the governor barely knew who screwed up. Rezko was one of the governor’s top guys. He has no excuse, and it’s completely fair of the media to look into those ties and be skeptical of the govenor’s pronouncements, which get goofier by the day. The same goes for Obama, a Rezko friend.

* More Rezko stuff…

* Obama cuts Rezko ties

* Judge rules Rezko will stay behind bars

* From his mansion to the big house

* Rezko stain tars gov and Obama

- Posted by Rich Miller   104 Comments      


Suffredin attacks, is savaged

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008

* The Cook County State’s Attorney primary has become a mudfest - at least in the media

Before the debate, Suffredin criticized Allen for taking campaign contributions from city employees who Suffredin said may have benefited from patronage hiring practices at City Hall.

Allen said afterward that the donations were proper and that he was proud to get campaign contributions from rank-and-file city workers.

As has been the case throughout the campaign, Suffredin sparred repeatedly with opponents who criticized his work as a lobbyist for tobacco and casino interests. Suffredin said he had a diverse client list, which included the Chicago Bar Association and various non-profit groups.

* But that Suffredin client list also included one other problem

Larry Suffredin — a self-styled reformer running for Cook County state’s attorney — lobbied for a landfill controlled by Fred Bruno Barbara, a businessman once charged with extortion and implicated in the mob bombing of a restaurant, the Sun-Times has learned.

Suffredin, a Cook County commissioner (D-Evanston), has come under attack by rivals for his work as a lobbyist on behalf of casino and drug-company interests. State records show he also lobbied for Kankakee Regional Landfill LLC — a company tied to Barbara — in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met Fred [Barbara] in my life,” Suffredin said. “I didn’t know he had an interest in it.”

Barbara, 59, is a multimillionaire involved in trucking, waste hauling, banking, and other businesses. A friend of Mayor Daley’s, Barbara at one time got more than 60 percent of his garbage-hauling business from city contracts. He has also been a consultant to the city’s much-criticized blue bag recycling program. He has been arrested five times, including a 1982 arrest for extortion in an FBI sting. Barbara was acquitted in that case — and has never been convicted of any crime.

Barbara was apparently a silent partner in the Kankakee project, and Suffredin claims to have worked with someone else, and left when that person was dismissed by the company.

Anybody who knows Suffredin understands that this and other stories about him present a caricature of Suffredin that simply doesn’t match up with reality. But that’s the way it goes with the Illinois media. Someone claims to be a reformer and then he or shie is picked apart with stuff like the above and a non-reformer usually ends up winning. It happened to Glenn Poshard in 1998, and it happened to Paul Vallas in 2002, and countless other times. It’s ridiculous, but them’s the breaks. Suffredin doesn’t help himself by attempting to inflate little items like the Allen thing.

Cynics and partisans are gonna have a field day with that Suffredin story. But using it as “proof” of something evil or nefarious about Suffredin is like that old story of the blind men describing an elephant by each touching a different part of his body.

…Adding… Way down near the end of the Sun-Times story it’s revealed that Barbara got involved with the Kankakee landfill business in 2006 - a year after Suffredin was hired as its lobbyist.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Congressional updates

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008

* Tempers are flaring a bit in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean. Kirk Morris whacked Steve Greenberg in a debate the other day. Greenberg is generally perceived to be the frontrunner…

“He’s been successful once, and that’s being born into a family with money,” Morris said during a League of Women Voters forum in Barrington last week. “Now he wants to be a congressman as a consolation prize.”
Morris said he went on the attack after he claimed Greenberg raised questions about his professional and personal background. […]

Morris said he also became angry when Greenberg scoffed at Morris’ claim that he had given Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani the idea of promoting a “virtual” electronic fence to protect U.S. borders.

After admitting he had exaggerated his influence over Giuliani, whom Morris had met at a local fundraiser, Morris said it was Greenberg who had embellished his resume by omitting failed business ventures

And on and on it goes.

* More congressional stuff, compiled by Kevin…

* If money matters, Bean way ahead

* Republicans no longer face cakewalk in 11th Congressional District

* Democrats could run veteran against Roskam again

* 6th District Democratic hopefuls battle over immigration

* New Challengers Take On Old Political Name in 3rd District

This is a 2008 congressional primary open thread.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Morning shorts

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008

* Future shock, more here

* Real estate groups rally against Chicago transfer tax hike

* ICC will hold hearings on Ameren rate hike request

* Congressmen react angrily to VA findings

* Illinois offers help for veterans with brain injuries

* WTVP optimistic about financial future

* Council to honor Mayor Sawyer on Friday

* Chicago City Council panel backs earlier curfew

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   9 Comments      


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* Pot, meet kettle
* Today's quotable
* Credit Unions – Cooperative in structure, valued in service
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