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Who invented Squeezy?

Monday, Dec 17, 2012

* Kurt Erickson filed a FOIA request in an attempt to find out who in the governor’s office came up with the Squeezy the Pension Python idea. He had mixed results

According to a review of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “Squeezy the Pension Python” first appeared in an email exchange between top Quinn aides in mid-September.

It was kept under wraps for two months until the governor’s office unveiled his so-called “grass roots” education effort in November.

The records don’t show much else, however. The birth of “Squeezy” was apparently so secretive that Quinn’s attorneys blocked out information that might reveal exactly who came up with the concept.

We can tell you this: The first email to mention the name “Squeezy” came from one of Quinn’s longtime sidekicks: Claude Walker.

Walker served with Quinn during his days as state treasurer and rejoined his old boss in 2010 to head a new program designed to promote the state’s waterways. I dubbed Walker the state’s “canoe czar” and the name stuck. […]

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says the creation of “Squeezy” was a team effort.

Anderson then went on to throw former budget director David Vaught under the bus because Vaught used the term “squeeze” to describe the pension impact on the state budget.

* Related…

* Shifting the cost of teachers’ pensions could lead to cuts

* Illinois’ really big fiscal crisis: infrastructure expenses: If Illinois’ enormous pension costs trouble your sleep, the even bigger tab for fixing the state’s infrastructure will keep you up all night. The crumbling highways, rail lines, bridges and water systems that underpin our economy will need more than $300 billion in repairs over the next 30 years, according to a report released by the Civic Federation of Chicago a few weeks ago. The figure is in line with estimates by other groups that have studied the issue.

* Whitley: Big policy issues facing state in 2013

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    It’s not considered throwing someone under the bus if you think you did something AWESOME.


  2. - Horace - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:12 am:

    Back in the day, roads pay for themselves via the taxes raised on commerce.

    Nowadays, the taxes on commerce are diverted to other areas, like pensions and health care, and other human interests.

    Roads nowadays are liabilities that need special funds to maintain them.


  3. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:14 am:

    Kurt had nothing better to do?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:15 am:

    I wouldn’t mind finding out who invented Squeezy. I am shocked, SHOCKED, that no one has stepped out and claimed that.

    I personally would like to send a “Thank You.”


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    They are blocking who invented Squeezy to save that person from embarrassment!


  6. - Jaded - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:24 am:

    I don’t think it was stupid to use the word “squeeze” to refer to the pension impact on the state budget. I don’t even think it would have been stupid to show a picture of a snake with the word “pension” written on its body squeezing the Statehouse to illustrate this impact(as I am sure some editorial cartoonist somewhere has probably already done this).

    Calling the snake squeezy, now that was stupid!


  7. - Burnham the Monk - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:24 am:

    Squeezy’s dumb. It was either invented by a very old, old of touch aide or a young, dim aide. Either way, it’s dumb. It doesn’t do anything for the cause — and the idea of: “Well, at least it’s memorable” doesn’t really work in this case. It’s memorable for all the wrong reasons.

    However, what I find appalling — and creepy — is the whole ‘Thanks in Advance’ thing with the kids. Using kids like this (for me, at least) is beyond the pale. There’s nothing compelling in either the message or the presentation. It’s weird, it’s creepy, and the whole site should be removed.

    I’d much rather see a serious site with well thought out interactive tools. No wacky logos, no weird “Thanks in Advance” tag lines.

    I mean, seriously: ‘Thanks in Advance’ is a relic from the 1990s when folks were using usenet newsgroups like rec.arts.movies or alt.hackers and then then appending ‘Thanks in advance’ to the ends of their posts in order to seem cordial when asking question or soliciting information.


  8. - Demoralized - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:30 am:

    I would have denied the FOIA request. Internal policy deliberations are not required to be disclosed, nor should they. You don’t have a right to be looking over people’s shoulders just because they work in government. Get a life.


  9. - Judgment Day - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:44 am:

    “…the creation of “Squeezy” was a team effort.”

    Oh, there is so much that can be done with this statement. Methinks the first step is for the legislature to make a 50% cut in the Governor’s staffing budget for next FY.

    I mean, “Squeezy”, really? - this is embarrassing - even for Illinois.


  10. - Responsa - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:45 am:

    Demoralized– did your tax dollars go to film and publicize this Squeezy debacle? Mine did. That’s why there is (and should be) an interest in Squeezy’s conception, birth, and development.


  11. - Horace - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:56 am:

    Whoever the marketing wizard was that invented Squeezy…KUDOS!

    The blogosphere just can’t stop talking about Squeezy. If the job was to raise awareness, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


  12. - wishbone - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:21 am:

    We need billions to maintain existing infrastructure, and yet Quinn and Durban want to spend billions to develop high speed rail to no where (ie: St. Louis).


  13. - reformer - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    Victory has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.


  14. - Just sayin' - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    There is a likeness between Rod Blagojevich and Squeezy. The serpent angle.


  15. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:59 am:

    Squeezy is great. The Gov should get a jingle for him (her)? How about some animation and variation? How about Squeezy constricting around someone’s home with a balloon saying ” … and you thought your real estate taxes were high last year?” How about some companions for Squeezy? Like pension hyenas and jackals.


  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    Nobody will step forward and take credit? (Kind of like the pension crisis itself.) Maybe we all should step forward and say: “I am Squeezey!”


  17. - SqueezyRoxs - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    Poor David Vaught. He seems to constantly be the fall guy for Quinn. If Sqeezy had been a success, Quinn would claim it was his idea. But it was an epic failure, so lets blame Vaught.


  18. - titan - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    Infrastructure and pensions are long term issues, needing mature/responsible long term funding plans that mature/responsible legislators stick to. We don’t seem to have that here.


  19. - Happy Returns - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:41 pm:

    ” Squeezy is great. The Gov should get a jingle for him (her)?”

    My suggestion: The Lemon Song, by Led Zeppelin…


  20. - Burnham the Monk - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    “My suggestion: The Lemon Song, by Led Zeppelin…”

    Or, more appropriately, “When the Levee Breaks” by Zeppelin. Squeezy can bop ominously, relentlessly, to Bonham’s (genius) drums.


  21. - Stones - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    I was thinking more of “Taxman” by the Beatles.


  22. - rusty618 - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    The image was Squeezy was stolen from Disney (Kaa in Jungle Book). Just because it is a different color, does not make it original. I am surprised there hasn’t been a law suit filed by the Disney Corp yet.
    So what is the pay and pension of someone who “promotes the state’s waterways”? Just wondering how much money the state is wasting there!


  23. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    We need Sneaky the Fox to search out who fathered Squeezy.


  24. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    - rusty618 - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    “I am surprised there hasn’t been a law suit filed by the Disney Corp yet.”

    Disney is a smart company. They know we couldn’t pay if they won…


  25. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    Horace, fess up. Did you create Squeezy?

    Whoever created it keep telling Quinn that it’s effective. He may actually believe it. The rest of us will enjoy the laughs Squeezy gives us.


  26. - Truthteller - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:04 pm:

    Wasn’t Claude Walker another one of Quinn’s patronage hires? FOr this the taxpayers have to pay all this money? Fire him and give his salary to the pension funds.


  27. - UnderInfluence - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 5:38 pm:

    Congrats to Erickson on another “top-knotch” journalism effort. Hopefully we see another “who cares” story headlining this weekend’s front pages.


  28. - Peck - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 7:51 pm:

    Quinn needs to capitalize on the momentum of everyone talking about Squeezy.

    He needs to use him in a public service message NOW, while the iron is hot.

    If he does, the blogosphere will continue to talk about Squeezy. Otherwise he fades away…


  29. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Dec 18, 12 @ 8:12 am:

    We’re still talking about it. So at least Squeezy has legs, yuk yuk.


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