The Jury Talks Back

12/9/2008

Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 9:24 am

There was a time not too long ago here in Illinois that every single former governor was either serving time or had served time.  In the spirit of keeping that grand tradition alive:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a “staggering” level of corruption involving pay-to-play politics in Illinois’ top office.

Holy Hannah.  In addition to your normal political graft – trading official action for campaign contributions – it seems that Roddy was contemplating the financial and political benefits he and his wife could recieve from potential candidates for Obama’s Senate seat.

Like a lot of states, the Gov. has absolute authority on who to name to a vacant seat.  Our General Assembly has absolutely zero input.

Prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, secretary of the Energy Department or gain an ambassadorship in the new Obama administration, or get a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate. An Obama spokesman had no immediate comment.

In addition to this – for which there are apparently recordings of conversations – there’s the Governor’s attempts to pile in $2.5 million before changes to campaign laws in Illinois would make it too tough, using a favors list of people who have state contracts or get tax benefits.  And then there are corruption allegations involving some road work projects.  Did you think I was faking my astonishment, people?

Even Blagojevich’s recently announced $1.8 billion plan for new interchanges and “green lanes” on the Illinois Tollway was subject to corruption, prosecutors alleged. The criminal complaint alleges Blagojevich expected an unnamed highway concrete contractor to raise a half-million dollars for his campaign fund in exchange for state money for the tollway project. “If they don’t perform, (expletive) ’em,” Blagojevich said, according to the complaint.

And then we have a slight tie-in with the Tribune bankruptcy issue, due to allegations that Roddy tried to pressure the Chicago paper to fire editorial board members for writing pieces critical of him, in exchange for help with the sale of Wrigley Field.

“The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.

“They allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism.”

But will it go Global?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 8:33 am

The violence – the worst Greece has seen in years – erupted late on Saturday and spread within hours to Thessaloniki, Greece’s northern capital, its western port city of Patras and Chania on Crete. Helmeted and hooded demonstrators went on the rampage, venting anger and disaffection exacerbated by the economic crisis.

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