Category Archives: Blagojevich

>FOLLOW UP: Blago’s CTA senior subsidy a loser

>Well the chickens have come to roost on the buses and el trains of Chicago.

I am referring to Governor Rod Blagojevich’s blatantly political, self-serving legislation that gave all seniors, regardless of income, free rides (<= read that, taxpayer subsidized) on the cash starved public transportation system. He seems to think “old” means poor. Or maybe just more liberal politics designed to make everyone beholding to government for damn near everything.

As predicted, the ridership among seniors has increased – along with the budget deficit. The Governor’s plan was never about the poor. I can see some means-tested subsidy for seniors who must travel by public transportation. Give me a reason they need to travel, and show me they cannot afford it, and I say, “”give them a freebie.” Why any sane community would give gazillionaire Sam Zell (who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on his annual birthday party) a taxpayer subsidized ride is totally beyond me. It is nothing less than welfare for the greedy, not the needy.

Now with the increase in ridership, the CTA is experimenting with the idea of getting more people on each el car by removing seats and provide more standing room. This is where I start to appreciate irony. You know where I’m going … right?

Yep, we add all those shaky old people, with their canes and walkers, and we accommodate them by taking away their seats. This is a joke … a game. You put 50 tottering seniors on an el car and see how many are still standing at the end of the line. You get points for knocking them over like bowling pins. Or, maybe it is more like bumper pool, were the oldsters bounce off the more foot secure passengers until the post-prime riders all topple to the floor.

When we get these kinds of half-ass solutions, just remember that the money to solve these problems has been siphoned off by the insider crooks – which some of us call the “corruption tax.” The problem with the corruption tax is that it gets raised secretly. No budget. No vote. And until U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald indicts someone, we don’t even know where the money went.

Next time you are motivated to give up your seat to an oldster, just remember, they are not paying for the ride much less the seat.
(This gives me an idea. How about we charge extra for seats? People with seating privilege get special “seating tickets.” In fact, we can even provide “season tickets” with designated seating like the pews in the colonial churches. Hmmmm. The only problem … the crazy Governor and is friends in the legislature will probably give away all the valuable seats to the old fogies – except for the ones provided to those who have at least precinct level political clout.

That’s already how the handicap license plates and windshield signs work. I am betting a lot of you … like me … know people who have handicap car signs and are quite able bodied. If you don’t know anyone like that, just hang round a handicap parking spot and you will meet quite of few of them.)

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>REACT: Blagojevich should be trolling for votes?

>There has been a lot of reaction to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s attendance at a Chicago Black Hawks hockey game while the legislature was in overtime emergency session, trying to work out a deal to determine just how much of our taxpayers’ money would be wasted on the Chicago Transit Authority. None of the reactions were good. Only his hired staff defended his absence from the field of battle, and not all that well. How could they?

Go back a few days, and you will recall that some sort of “deal” was likely to pass. Optimism abounded, if only the cautious type. Mayor Daley expected a bill (legislative variety, since only taxpayers get the other kind). The four legislative leaders were in agreement, the papers reported. But, no! Once again the ineptitude of our dysfunctional state government trumped reason, common sense and progress.

So … while the legislature burned, the Governor fiddled.

What was remarkable to me was his bull shit excuse. (Pardon the expletive, but no softer euphemism sufficiently describes the Governor’s response). He said it would not have done any good for him to be there. It would not have changed the outcome.

Read that again before you go on.

Now consider this. The Governor is say he has no influence. He has no power of persuasion. He has no bully pulpit. He has no Machiavellian strategy. He has no favors to call on. No ability to twist arms. Nope! His presence is irrelevant … inconsequential.

The Governor once bragged, “This is the kind of thing that I think, frankly, separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that…?” (My emphasis.) The man who once flaunted his “testicular virility” now claims impotency – no more “testicular virility” than one of those troll characers. (Gads! He kind of looks like one, too. Don’t you think?)

>SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT!! Skullduggery in Chicago Olympic bid.

>Rumors abound that not only is Chicago Mayor Richard Daley attempting to bamboozle the International Olympic Committee to award the 2016 games to Chicago to save his political posterior in the wake of the unending string of scandals, but he is secretly attempting to introduce new events to the IOC which are designed to ensure that Chicagoans and Illinoisans win a disproportionate share of gold, silver and bronze medals. Other Illinois officials have joined in the effort to lobby the IOC

They have secretly proposed the introduction of a series of Olympic “civic” events. Due to my dogged sleuthing (even out doing The Drudge Report), I am now able to reveal the details of this plot. Here are the events they have proposed.

Job Placement I (cronyism): This event is simply judged on the number of political pals placed on the public payroll. Contestants are judged on not only the number, but also the rank and pay scale of the placed employees. Yet to be settled is the inclusion or exclusion of lucrative contract holders. Some argue that this is already incorporated in the Public Trough Feeding event (see below). With its long and colorful history of raw politics, Chicago has obvious advantages over other contenders. Several of the strongest players were previous winners of the World Shakman Cup.

Job Placement II (nepotism): This event is similar to Job Placement I except it deals only with the number of family members placed on the public payroll. With major politicians claiming so many “cousins,” qualification verification is expected to be difficult. Cook County President Todd Stroger is already in training and could be a strong contender. However, he will be hard pressed to challenge the long established Irish politicos, who literally invented the sport. The Mayor is pushing to have his brothers judge this event.

Under the Table Kick-Back: Government employees, in performing their civil duties are judged on how much money they can secure from citizens in need of services, permits, etc. Volunteered bribery, while quite lucrative, is excluded from the competition. The stack-o-cash qualifying event requires participants to secure the greatest amount of cash in the shortest amount of time – and no bill more than $100.

Official Corruption Marathon: This is the big kahuna of the proposed new events, with all-star competitors. Winners will be judged on the number of scandals that occur directly under their administrative rule. Indictments and convictions will be especially useful. Mayor Daley, himself, would have been a run-away favorite for the gold in this category, but Governor Rod Blagojevich is making a serious effort for the top medal. Many thought this event would be a Democrat sweep. However, Republican jail-bound Governor George Ryan looks like a potential medal winner. The Nobel Prize nomination is not expected to hurt his chances for a corruption award. He is also the only contender actually convicted of corruption. This could put him in contention for a gold medal. However, it is no small irony that the gold medal in this event will not be won according to the rules, but will most likely be stolen by the person most adroit at breaking the rules.

The Featherbed Beer Run: Government workers are judged on the most unproductive hours on payroll. Extra points can be gained by being totally away from the work environment while being paid. Back room card games, sports events and motel trysts are among the more popular work day escapes. The event gets its name for the propensity of government to employ needless workers, and the ubiquitous beer guzzling that takes on shift. There is a major loss of points for being the subject of the semi annual newspaper expose on malingering public workers. Instead of the traditional Olympic medal, the winner of this event will receive a gold brick.

Education Dodge Ball: The winner of this event will be determined by the number of public school children who will go uneducated. While drop-out rates are significant, the big point gainer is actually graduating an uneducated student in the “social promotion.” Overall winners will have to do well in the “phony truant report” event. The medals in this event are almost certain to fall to the major American cities. Look for Chicago, once declared to be the worst school system in America, to be a top contender for the gold.

Public Trough Feeding Frenzy: This is one of the few proposed events where well-connected private citizens will compete. Contestants will be judged on both the number of contracts and the total cumulative value. Extra points will be given as part of the ‘Inferior Work Rip-Off” event. Inferior work resulting in permanent injury or death of innocent people can boost the point score significantly. Look for Tony Rezko and Bill Cellini to duke it out for the gold in this one, with Bill Kjellander picking up the bronze.

Airport Demolition Smack Down: This is likely to be a relatively exclusive event. Spectacular as it can be, there are very few contenders – especially if military bombings are eliminated from the event, as Mayor Daley demands. He is arguably the world’s leading civilian airport destroyer, and would mostly likely pick up the gold.

Taxpayer Raping: Always popular with the political contestants. Here public officials are judged not only on the sheer level of taxation, but on creativity as well. Hidden taxes, in the form of mandates, will garner extra points. Misuse of taxpayer money also can produce additional points. More points for tax increases which do not improve services, and even more if services are reduced in the face of the tax increase. Many consider higher taxes for fewer services to be the Holy Grail in this event. For those anticipating a salacious contest please be aware that the name is only symbolic.

Jailhouse Torture Tournament: In this event, contestants will be judged both on the number of people they can torture in the shortest time and the effective use of torture devices. Special emphasis is on creativity and effectiveness. Yet to be decided is whether contestants will be allowed to use any device, as an indication of creativity (the City Hall preference), or be limited to such devices as electric generators, billy clubs (a long Chicago sports tradition), rubber hoses, brass knuckles. Maximum pain with minimum physical evidence is important. There is some controversy over anal penetration events. It is more a matter of esthetics than effectiveness. John Burge is a local favorite for the gold, but some say there are many more currently unknown contenders.

Minority Profiling Relay: Another of the so-called “law enforcement events,” it will require contestants to carry innocent minority individuals through the judicial system – from driving tickets to false imprisonment. Special points are given for false arrests and advancing cases that have no merit whatsoever. Sub-events, such as “evidence planting” and “prosecutorial abuse,” will be key to victory. Contestants with racial profiling experience are expected to dominate this event.

Cops as Robbers on the Run: This law enforcement event is strictly for police officers. Winners are determined by the amount of cash and the cash value of merchandise stolen from the public. Additional points are given for pocketing evidence form the scene of a crime, and even more for stealing evidence out of the police lock up. While accepting bribes for not issuing tickets is included, such low level corruption will not take a medal.

Mafia Marksmanship: Though the Mob has been out of practice in recent years, it was felt that, with Chicago’s Capone reputation, there should be a least one event honoring so many great Chicago personalities. Only “made” mobsters, with funny nicknames, are eligible. There are two major events. The first requires the accumulation of “intimidation money.” Extra points for money extracted as a result of severe beatings, with permanent injury good for bonus points. However, killing the victim is a disqualifier. Rules forbid accidental killing, and planned killing falls into the second major Majia event – and will be much more exciting for the audience. It measures the number of hits. Wounding does not qualify. The Whack Job event is judged on the importance of the decedent, the method of extermination and creative body disposal. Team Hoffa could be real contenders. Flawless from hit to disposal. On the other hand, Team Spilotro lacks Olympic stature. Nice hit, but botched burial. Didn’t they know that every two-bit amateur killer buries the bodies in Indiana? The names of the judges in this event are being withheld since the first three named are now missing – perhaps to Olympic training.

Rejected Events: A number of City Hall’s recommended events did not make it past first review by the IOC. The proposed Friend Shedding event was to judge contestants by the number of friends cut off in the face of scandal. The rapidity of such excommunications was to be a major consideration. However, this event was vetoed by the Committee because it appeared to have been proposed solely to insure Mayor Daley a gold medal. The same fate befell the proposed Official Public Temper Tantrum event — for the same reason.

In a similar vein, the Nutty Official event, proposed by Governor Blagojevich, will not be considered due to his pre-emption of the field. The Governor tried to convince the Committee that being recognized as a gold medal nut would be good for his career. To draw a comparison, the Governor explained how having almost every member of the legislature vote against his tax package was his greatest legislative victory. However, the IOC determined that the very idea to be a bit nutty.

The IOC also rejected Todd Stoger’s suggestion of a medal for Not So Bright Offspring of Powerful Politicians. They did not feel it was a very bright idea. In fact, they were not ever sure what the event would be. On the same basis, the OIC summarily rejected former Governor Ryan’s proposal for an event designed for Nobel Prize Nominees Currently in Jail.

State and city officials are lobbying hard against the proposed Convicted Public Official event. In this event, contestants would be judged on the number of public officials they have indicted and convicted. More points for higher-ranking officials. Though his would undoubtedly bring the gold to Illinois, city and state official believe the competition would generate too much enthusiasm among prosecutors, and could deplete the state and local governments of most of the current public officials. Mayor Daley argues that this event would be a set up for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who, according to the Mayor, is not even his cousin.

Finally, the IOC rejected City Hall’s suggestion for a Snow Removal Race noting that this was the summer Olympics. The Mayor countered that he has several cousins with snow making equipment who would cover the course in several feet of snow. “Nobody knows how to do a snow job better then we do,” the Mayor argued.

>LMAO: College Young Republicans trump the “Toad”

>Have to admit. I thought the Tammany Toad Award my civic group gave Governor Rod Blagojevich was a bit “in your face.” Well, not as much as the College Young Republicans. They presented the floundering governor with a gift bearing a much more succinct message: “Blagojevich sucks.” I guess that says it all. I do not know the name of the young lad bearding the lion in his den in the photo, but given the governor’s propensity to punish political adversaries, I hope he is an out-of-state student.

>Blagojevich and Jones share “Toad” award

>A civic group with which I am associated, the Public Policy Caucuses, recently presented one of you dubious honor awards to Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones. I thought I would share the press release with you incase you missed the extensive coverage in the press.

Tammany Toad Award to Governor Blagojevich and Senator Jones

The Public Policy Caucuses has presented its dubious honor recognition, the Tammany Toad Award, to Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. According to PPC President Larry Horist, the award is presented to public officials “for extraordinary disservice to the American political system and the tax-paying public.”

Horist said Blagojevich earned the derision of the public for abusing the line-item veto to slash almost $500 million dollars from the state budget, passed by the legislature, in order to fund his unlegislated and unauthorized healthcare plans.

“His action will result in a needless, prolonged and expensive legal battle that will in all likelihood support the overwhelming opinion that the money grabbing veto is not only brazen and contemptible, but unconstitutional. The Governor demonstrates a total lack of appreciation for the legislative process and an arrogance of action that is usually reserved for despots,” Horist charged. In what Horist described as “particularly egregious political crassness,” the governor appeared to target pet projects of his political enemies. “He is using his public office to engage in political warfare,” Horist added.

Jones shares the award for his support of the Governor’s scheme, promising to prevent an override of the veto in the Illinois Senate even though he concedes that the re-appropriation of the funds is probably unconstitutional. Horist said that the award for Jones is based solely on this issue. However, he added, “it appears the Governor is on his way to a life time achievement award in this category.”

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I feel very badly about this. So, I hereby apologize to all the pond-dwelling toads for any slander I may have committed by associating them with the recipients of this award.

>REACT: You can’t “fix” the CTA with money

>Governor Blagojevich has another “Dumbo” scheme to get money to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). I hate to tell Rod, but you cannot really affix wings to an elephant and make it fly.

The governor’s so-called $24 million “bailout” is supposed to prevent the CTA from making highly publicized (read that as politically harmful) cuts in service and increases in fares.

The problem is, it is not a bailout at all. The plan merely advances or loans money from next year’s budget subsidy from the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to cover the current shortage. This means the fix is a borrowed-band-aid to cover a cancer.

It does not take a rocket scientist or a corporate accountant to figure out that the scheme will only create a $24 million problem for next year’s budget.

There is only one possible fix, but it is something for which government agencies have no talent. It requires cutting fat out of the budget and streamlining operations. It means using technology to reduce payroll. Increasing ridership. The system has to be made to run more efficiently. Yes, more service for less money. Not only is that possible, it is the ONLY way to solve the problem.

Financial “fixes” and “bailouts” are like narcotics. They alleviate the current pain with the foolish belief that some how the dependency and destructiveness will be miraculously resolved in the future In fact, the future problem will be worse.

The governor would believe that the laws of economics can be ignored like Disney’s elephant ignored the laws of physics. The only difference is that Dumbo is a cartoon, and Blago is a joke – a bad one.