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Kudos to Joan Rivers; Plus an unfair hit on Graham

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* Unlike the fawning, clueless, celebrity-driven national media, Joan Rivers sees right through Rod Blagojevich

A year after winning “Celebrity Apprentice,” Joan Rivers went on the show as a guest this week. After spending time with this year’s controversial competitor, Rod Blagojevich, she tells me she was completely underwhelmed.

“He’s an idiot,” she says of the indicted former governor of Illinois. “When you talk to him for 10 minutes, you go, ‘How did this man get elected?’

“Come on, Chicago, didn’t anyone TALK to him?”

Joan Rivers is now my hero.

* In real news, federal prosecutors yesterday opposed Blagojevich’s motion to delay his trial until November…

In their filing Monday, prosecutors contended that neither argument by the defense is persuasive, “particularly in light of the strong public interest in resolving this case as expeditiously as possible.” […]

“The charges in this case allege that the defendant engaged in a longstanding and pervasive abuse of his power as the governor of the state of Illinois,” the prosecution said. “The defendant has repeatedly and publicly challenged the legitimacy of the charges against him. As a result, the public has a strong interest in the expeditious resolution of the charges.”

Prosecutors argued that no matter how the Supreme Court rules on the “honest services” law, the underlying evidence against the former governor would remain the same at trial. […]

Prosecutors also dismissed the defense claim that it has been overwhelmed with evidence from the prosecution. By the time the trial would begin in early June, the defense would have had months to review all the material, they said.

The case is back in court today.

* And this Boender trial is quite bizarre. First, they subpoenaed Mayor Daley and backed off, then they subpoenaed Blagojevich

He’s asked for testimony from Mayor Daley and up to 10 Chicago aldermen. But politically-connected developer Calvin Boender, on trial for bribing a city alderman to get a zoning chane for his West Side development, sent out a subpoena to an unlikely recipient: Rod Blagojevich.

The former governor received the subpoena two weeks ago, one of his lawyers said.

But Blago won’t be taking the witness stand.

His lawyers opposed the subpoena, saying the indicted ex-governor and Boender don’t know each other.

The defense agreed to withdraw it [yesterday] morning, said Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky.

Mark Brown is taking Boender’s case much more seriously

City Hall apparently finds the Boender trial a big yawn, too, especially now that his lawyers have dropped their bid to force Mayor Daley to testify. How else to explain Daley’s announcement that he had named state Rep. Deborah Graham to replace Carothers as alderman?

After going through the motions of taking resumes on the city Web site, Daley picked someone who wouldn’t have been state representative if Carothers hadn’t decided to pull out all the stops to get her elected in 2002, with some help from Carothers’ wholly owned subsidiary in the 37th Ward — Ald. Emma Mitts.

I suppose this increases the likelihood we can look forward to the time when the by-then formerly incarcerated Carothers will show up as an adviser on either Mitts’ or Graham’s political payroll in the same way Carothers’ formerly incarcerated father William was always a mainstay on his.

We replaced typewriters with computers faster than we can change Chicago’s machine politics.

That’s pretty unfair to Rep. Graham. While a Carothers ally, she wasn’t exactly owned by him. He was a hugely powerful force in that region, and nobody could have been elected without cutting a deal. Sen. Don Harmon cut his own Carothers deal in the 2002 campaign, but we haven’t seen him publicly flogged lately. And for good reason. The same ought to go for Graham, as far as I can tell.

* Related…

* Not much of a horse race: Blagojevich, ‘Apprentice’ less appealing to nation’s TV viewers than ‘Boss’ at the track

* Daley appoints aldermen to fill Carothers, Flores spots

* Mayor Richard Daley names 2 to City Council

* Daley fills two City Council seats in one day

* Daley Fills Two Chicago City Council Vacancies

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:06 am


  1. You wonder if there are more spinoffs trials coming from the Chicago real estate business. There was a lot of money to be made during the long bull run — and lots of political folks were very involved.

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:18 am

  2. So Rich, what’s “for good reason” mean? Please enlighten us to your thoughts/opinion…

    Comment by Loop Lady Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:24 am

  3. ===So Rich, what’s “for good reason” mean?===

    Because he’s not corrupt.

    Comment by Rich Miller Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:29 am

  4. agreed…IMHO this position is a better fit for Graham as well…she knows the hood and the people’s needs very well…Congrats and best of luck to her…

    Comment by Loop Lady Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:37 am

  5. Rich,
    fess up. You voted for Blago - twice

    Comment by What the. . . Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 9:56 am

  6. Why would a state rep. want to be an alderman? Graham will take a step down.

    Comment by Conservative Veteran Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:00 am

  7. ===fess up. You voted for Blago - twice ===

    No, I did not.

    Comment by Rich Miller Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:06 am

  8. Joan Rivers totally got Blago’s number. She called him out for bad service because he spent all his time jaw-boning diners and professing his innocence, when he should simply have been serving burgers. Now Joan knows what it feels like to be an Illinois constituent. All talk, no service.

    Comment by Whatever Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:10 am

  9. Yes Joan. His name is Michael Madigan and he co-chaired Blagojevich’s two campaigns for governor.

    Comment by Brennan Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:14 am

  10. We know why Blagojevich won, and it isn’t because we are stupid.

    For all you smart bloggers out there, start recognizing the reality that Rod Blagojevich was the change in 2002 after decades of GOP governors, we thought we would be better off with as governor. He was a congressman, he had charisma, and a gift of gab likeability. After Grumpy Grandpa Going Off To Prison Ryan, voting for Blagojevich wasn’t a stupid move.

    Re-electing him was common sense being overridden by partisan politics in a state led by partisans. The Party In Power wanted to stay in power, again, not a stupid reason.

    Blagojevich’s Campaign Chair, isn’t a stupid man.

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:16 am

  11. Another reason why Blago won the second time: his campaign commericials managed to make JBT appear to be just as much of a crook as he was, so voters threw up their hands and decided they might as well stick with the devil they knew. (Even so, he just missed getting 50 percent of the vote, so more people voted AGAINST him than for him.)

    Comment by Secret Square Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:24 am

  12. Joan Rivers to Illinois, “can we talk….?”

    I saw that smile (RB’s) before. I didn’t trust that smile then, and I didn’t trust that smile in either of RB’s terms. At the time, I was voting democratic but didn’t vote for RB either time. I wrote in candidates - a waste of my vote. Can I say I did so out of knowledge after carefully considering the evidence. Nope. What does that mean for me in the general in nov. I don’t know.

    Comment by dupage dan Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:26 am

  13. ==Graham will take a step down.==

    Hardly. Instead of one of 118, she becomes one of 50 in the third largest city in the country, plus a nice salary bump, plus not having to make the drive to Springfield every week.

    Incidentally, why do people keep claiming that Madigan chaired Blago’s 2002 campaign? That’s just wrong unless my memory has failed me. In fact, that was the year that during the state fair Madigan called out Blago for his “indiscretions,” right?

    Comment by Boggles the Mind Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:42 am

  14. Deborah Graham came to the legislature as a pretty dim bulb.

    When I was running for school board in Oak Park and River Forest in 2003, Graham came over and introduced herself.

    I told her why I thought Illinois should raise the minimum wage, which I argued would stimulate the low-wage economy. People making minimum wage tend to spend money on businesses that employ low-wage workers.

    Graham responded Illinois should raise the minimum wage to increase taxes paid by minimum wage workers.

    Graham was the caricature of an urban Democrat who had not particular skill set and thought that workers existed to pay taxes so connected people, like Graham, could make live a comfortable lifestyle doing some government job.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 10:43 am

  15. Rich, when you talked to Joan Rivers, did her comment about Blago keeping death row inmates waiting for commutations come up? She made a crack sound bite on that episode that she hoped no cons were waiting for a phone call from him. Obviously, that’s not exactly the case with death row inmates in Illinois being pardoned or taken off the list by Ryan, but Blago, in his terms, DID ignore looking at ANY of the cons applying for parole. I was simply curious if a show producer/writer gave Joan that topic or if she came up with that on her own.

    Blago seems to have been cast in that show to be , as Former Wrestler-teammate Goldberg would recognize, “the heel”. The official bad guy everyone likes to hate, the Omarosa, if you will.
    That means that no matter how bad or good Rod does on the show, likely he will be kept on as long as possible, until the very end, when the “hero” they’ve already picked will topple him.

    I have to wonder what impact that’s going to have on potential jurors.

    Comment by Gregor Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 11:43 am

  16. ===Rich, when you talked to Joan Rivers,===

    Have you never read a blog? lol

    That was somebody else’s column. Clearly linked.

    Comment by Rich Miller Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 11:43 am

  17. Graham is my state rep and while not totally unresponsive, she appeared to have little interest
    in suburban issues, rarely even acknowledged her mail, and often seemed uninformed about how legislation might affect Oak Park. For some reason, she maintains an Oak Park office–no doubt so she can at least look interested in someplace other than the West side. Of course, I didn’t realize her ties to the Carothers machine were so strong. Now I understand more.

    Alas, I wonder who the Carothers machine has in mind for our next rep. Or maybe I don’t want to know. It seems unlikely that redistricting will get us out of the clutches of the West Side machine, something which has to give some of those
    Oak Park do-gooders fits.

    Comment by cassandra Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 2:22 pm

  18. So old plastic face doesn’t like Rod? Big deal. It only takes one jury member. I hope that person was watching.

    Comment by Bill Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 2:35 pm

  19. Lol, sorry for the confusion Rich, I may not know how blogs work, but if I had one, it would be set to Daylight Savings time, hint. :-)

    Comment by Gregor Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 4:29 pm

  20. Joan River subscribes to an old school type showbiz school thing where she only acknowledges A list celebrities.

    Comment by Clive O'Tootle Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 7:46 pm

  21. Personally, get used to the deer in headlights look (too bad there are not cameras in the courtroom)and suprised, to add to his poor work performance on this show, that someone didnt try to dine-and-dash, since he apparently thought that was funny and cool while he was in college. Apparently, his antics are not well enough known in NYC, but Joan did see throught it. Hero of the restaurant working class, NOT.

    Comment by Been There Before Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 11:01 pm

  22. watching the replay, also thought the most telling was his confession that team work (and collaborative effort) was a new concept to him and something alien to politics, in his experience. Really?! LOL

    Comment by Been There Before Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 11:12 pm

  23. Final snark, having watched it, since he was so gutsy to appear (or words to that effect, by the Donald) on the show, very disappointed that he basically raised no money for the charity (despite some golden opportunities). Will it be appropriate (I assume so) to also point out in court someday that he did this show for personal employment and financial gain, not out of his heart for the charity he has selected or otherwise. Will someone (maybe even the show) connect the dots that he needs to make money somehow (his pleadings in court and his personal statements), and establish that he is not appearing to somehow benefit any charities out of altrustic motives. My vote, overall, he taints the jury pool with his repeated over the top antics and he opens the door at trial to more proof of his crass self-serving motivations.

    Comment by Been There Before Tuesday, Mar 16, 10 @ 11:25 pm

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