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September 19, 2005

And the beat goes on

Up in Chicago, they're picking the jurors who'll hear the evidence against former Illinois Gov. George Ryan in his corruption trial. (Text of indictment)

The investigations have been going on for 11 years, dogging Mr. Ryan through his final four years as secretary of state and the 1998 gubernatorial election, which he still managed to win by 120,000 votes (out of 3.3 million cast). But at the time, only five of his lower-level employees in the sprawling SOS office had been convicted in the drivers' licenses for sale scandal, and Mr. Ryan managed to distance himself from it.

The list of the convicted now contains 73 names, including top aides from both the SOS and gubernatorial days. The scandal had blossomed sufficiently by 2002 not only to keep Mr. Ryan from seeking re-election but to drive the Republicans from the governor's mansion for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Even as the sad Ryan drama plays out, another seems to be in production. Two people pleaded guilty Friday in a scheme to bilk "consulting fees" from investment companies doing business with the state's Teachers Pension Fund. Accompanying court filings made reference to "Public Official A" whose campaign donors benefitted from the "consulting fees."

People who claim to know are busy telling reporters that "Public Official A" is current Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who rode a wave of anti-corruption fervor to the office in 2002 (aided as he was by the GOP's selection of a candidate named Ryan to replace George on the ballot).

Anyway, Gov. Blagojevich denies he's "Public Official A" and says he don't know nothing about nothing when it comes to improper consulting fees. 'Course, that's that Ryan always said, too, when he was being called "Public Official A" in federal court filings.

Any Illinois residents who want to sit down and cry in despair should feel free to do so.

Posted by jcb at September 19, 2005 03:09 PM


How about this for a new Illinois slogan: Illinois: We're Working Hard To Be More Corrupt Than Louisiana? On the other hand, Illinois may already be more corrupt than LA. In all the detritus I've read in the wake of Katrina, I believe I saw that LA was third in the nation for government officials convicted for various crimes. Would #1 and #2 be NJ and IL? Inquiring minds want to know!

Partially OT, jcb, you seem like a man who will fight in a crusade. So here's my suggestion for a new fight---PorkBusters. Here's how it works: Bloggers identify pork in their state or Congressional District, post said information on your blog, add to PorkBusters page, call, write, email Senators/Representatives and ask if they're willing to cut pork for Katrina. It's a win-win situation. I'm giving a link here, but be sure to check out the pork state-by-state section. That Kansas has more pork than Illinois proves IL needs more Republicans in DC! http://truthlaidbear.com/porkbusters.php

Posted by: paladin at September 20, 2005 01:19 PM

Interesting link, and sure, be glad to hear from anyone who wants to talk about pork, especially specific cuts... ham for you, loin for you, chop for me, etc.

Just want to say right up front that, as someone who crosses the river several times a day, none of the millions rolling into the planned new bridges on the I-74 is pork. That would be a wise and necessary use of public funds. (I'm smiling as I write, you understand.)

I am willing to nominate the indoor rain forest in Coralville, our neighbor 60 miles to the west, as being pork. The feds have promised $50 million of the $180 million cost, with state and local governments throwing in tens of millions more. (There are project management problems at the moment and the whole thing may fall to pieces.)

Having a big patch or rain forest in the middle of Iowa would be kinda neat, but...

I'd also nominate the Prairie Parkway connector,
a new freeway that's been pushed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert for years. He got $207 million for it this year even though neither the need nor the location is clear to a lot of people.

Anyway ... no shortage of candidates. Have fun.

Posted by: jcb at September 20, 2005 05:10 PM

So much for Barak Obama being a New Democrat. Check out his response to a constituent (scroll down)---it's all about the pets---I guess pigs can be pets, too! http://instapundit.com/archives/025817.php

Posted by: paladin at September 26, 2005 02:50 PM

Yup, nothing at all "new" about form letters that would sound stupid even if directed to people who've actually asked the question the letters allegedly answer.

The part of Sen. Barack's response that irritates me the most is the P.S. -- "Our system does not allow direct response to this email" ... In short, "Mary" couldn't just hit the "reply" button and say, "Gee, you misunderstood the question and sent an inappropriate form letter."

No, she'd have to fill out a form and email it, starting all over again if she wanted to get her point across.

Posted by: jcb at September 27, 2005 10:03 AM