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I know you're not supposed to speak ill of the dead - even the ones who've given you every reason to do so - but it'd take a ridiculous degree of revisionism on my part to cast her as anything but a singularly vile individual who played the part of a politically connected small-town bigot to the hilt (more examples of which can be found here, here and here) and never, ever seemed to tire of the act.

So, no. You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead. It's just damn near impossible in this case.

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Let's face it: one of the surest signs that our political system is broken to the point of needing an entire truckload of Super Glue is when pols come crawling out of the woodwork to lessen the blow of sentencing of yet another Illinois "statesman" gone horribly wrong.

The man in question this time around is convicted fraudster and alleged serial pedophile Dennis Hastert. And one of his defenders is Tom DeLay, who may not be in prison anymore but still qualifies as high-grade pond scum - especially after putting up the mistletoe on this one.

Normally the cliché pretty much goes "it is to laugh", but that's far too polite for my mood. Try inserting the word "vomit" instead and you've got it just about right.

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And now the terminally stupid (fringe political candidate division) check in on the real reasons for the bad weather we've been having lately. It's a tender mercy that Atanus has no real chance of defeating Schakowsky even if she actually wins the primary, but if she did I'm sure such an event would be worth tons of potential future jokes for comedians across the US.
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So former Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner are members of entirely different political parties, right?

Sort of. Or not really, actually.

From Steve Bogira via the Reader:

In the end, Daley apparently did not believe enough in public service in difficult times. In just over three months, his commitment to the race declined by 100 percent. In an interview Monday night with a Tribune reporter, he offered his reasons for dropping out. They boiled down to "Being governor sounds hard."

And then on Tuesday, Daley told Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times he thinks Governor Pat Quinn "will be beaten by any one of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates in the general election." And that among the Republicans, "Bruce Rauner is the strongest candidate."

And why is that, you may ask? Read on:

But why is Bill Daley dissing the Democratic incumbent, and boosting his Republican challenger?

There are presumably some other hidden reasons, but perhaps it's mainly because Daley has more in common with a corporate guy like Rauner than he does with a Democrat like Quinn.

Rauner is a multimillionaire venture capitalist. Daley has been president and chief operating officer of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, president of SBC Communications, and midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase. He's also been commerce secretary, and he put in a year as chief of staff to President Obama, succeeding another Rauner buddy, Rahm Emanuel, in 2011.

And both Rauner and the Daleys believe in putting family first.

Rauner, you may recall—though Rauner hopes you won't—apparently used his influence in 2008 to help his daughter get into Payton College Prep, the prestigious Chicago high school.

In April, Crain's Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz reported that Rauner's daughter had tried to get into Payton, but her test scores and grades had left her just shy of admission. Rauner called Arne Duncan, who was then the CEO of CPS and is now the U.S. education secretary. A Duncan aide called the Payton principal, after which Rauner's daughter was admitted, apparently through a "principal discretion" process that allowed for up to 5 percent of admittees. (Political clout was not supposed to be a reason for a principal to exercise "discretion.")

"It's all baloney," Rauner told the Sun-Times, about Hinz's claims. "It's stuff that doesn't matter. It may have partial truths in it. It's all part of the process of slinging mud early against someone who's doing really strong."

I suppose Rauner thinks it's "stuff that doesn't matter" because the integrity of a person who would be governor is nothing to worry about in Illinois.

Oh, no. Of course not. Take a look at the guy who ran Illinois right before Quinn did. Or his predecessor. There weren't any serious ethics issues at all with those two. Not at all!

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Mark Kirk did something especially good and proper today - namely, becoming only the second Republican in the US Senate to endorse marriage equality - which is something I completely approve of.

But of course you know the wingnuts won't agree, which brings us to the ominous possibility that we may see a certain...er...prejudiced, unintelligent individual (or if you want to make it plain, "hate-filled moron") surfacing from his home pile of muck to challenge Kirk in the GOP primary next time around. His first go-around, of course, was the very picture of well-reasoned, fair-minded debate:

The (December 2009 radio) ad for Republican U.S Senate candidate Andy Martin questions the sexuality of candidate Mark Kirk. It's quickly being denounced by the party.

The ad says in part, "Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual. Roeser suggests Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals."

Martin's ads were denounced by the Illinois Republican Party. Pat Brady, the chair of the Illinois Republican Party blasted the ad and Martin saying, "His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party. Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican Candidate by the Illinois Republican Party."

And the men mentioned by Martin in the ad, Republican businessman Jack Roeser and Ray True, Chairman of the Republican Assembly of Lake County, also responded.

Roeser told ABC 7, "I don't really want to be associated with Andy Martin. He's made a lot of legal statements and cases that I think are irresponsible. Whatever he says I don't support." .

True said, "I request through the media that Andy Martin cease and desist from making any additional statements that are incorrectly attributed to me."

According to political consultant Don Rose, Martin has never been considered a credible candidate. Running for public office for decades as both a Republican and Democrat, Martin has a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and legal disputes in federal court.

"With such a record of failure politically, to say nothing of his other legal troubles, one wonders what keeps him going," said Rose.

What a wonderful guy. But wait - there's more:

Andy Martin, the U.S. Senate candidate who made waves by claiming his opponent - U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk - was gay, is at it again, this time attacking Kirk for covering up pedophilia in the United States Congress. The minute-long ad began airing on local radio today. So how did Kirk - and Dennis Hastert - cover up pedophilia? By not stopping Mark Foley's infamous affairs with underaged staffers. Martin hits a new nadir when, in the ad, he makes clear that, "Kirk is not a pedophile," but then feels compelled to add that since Kirk helped to "cover up" Foley's trysts, that makes Kirk "a de facto pedophile." No. Really. He says that.

As I said before, nothing but well-reasoned, fair-minded debate concerning policy issues are featured in those ads. No mudslinging to be found at all. No sirree!

As to the issue of antisemitism, Martin (including the stuff he's uttered under his previous name, Anthony Martin-Trigona) isn't particularly a shrinking violet in the Shrieking Public Bigot Sweepstakes on that subject, either:

During a run for a congressional seat in Connecticut, Martin-Trigona named his campaign committee "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America."  And many of his numerous legal filings have been anti-Semitic in nature.  Ironic, considering that in his original press release attacking Obama, he claimed Obama's "lies" about his heritage posed a danger to Israel and the Jewish community.

Oh, he also likes to sue. And sue. And sue some more:

Martin-Trigona is known to have filed over 250 civil actions, appeals, and other matters throughout the United States, which have been pursued with "persistence, viciousness, and general disregard for decency and logic." He has used legal pleadings to ventilate his contempt and hatred of persons of Jewish heritage and to level accusations which "have often been personal, have often emphasized racial or religious affiliations, and have often involved the members of . . . judges' and counsel's families." The purpose, nature and effect of his resort to multiple litigation has been to involve as many persons in as many confounding legal processes as possible. . . . Martin-Trigona's voluminous filings have "inundated" the District of Connecticut and his activities have burdened judicial operations to the point of impairing the administration of justice. Finally, Martin-Trigona has not desisted from his course of vexatious litigation but has expressly stated his intent to file yet more actions.

Thus spake the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, who are the poor bastards who have actually had to read all of the crap Martin-Trigona filed in the past. It's not a job I'd like to have. Not unless you paid me a shitload of money first.

The reason why I bring all of this up, of course, is that Kirk - who has already gone through a serious stroke and has now probably ended up on the political shit list of wingnuts all over Illinois (if not the entire country) for taking a principled stand on the issue of marriage equality - will probably be challenged by any number of really sad and pathetic people in the next primary if he chooses to run again. One of them will almost certainly be Andy Martin, and the unpleasant reality about that is that he'll haul out all of the insufferable "Mark Kirk supports T3H EV1L GAY!!1!!" bullshit just like last time and actually believe he knew it all along.

Then again, no one ever expects stupid bigots to become intelligent or tolerant overnight.

If ever.

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In memoriam, from both the SFWA web site and Locus Online
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So much for political corruption in Chicago.

Meet Rita Crundwell, horse breeder, ousted comptroller of downstate Dixon and embezzler of something on the order of 53 million dollars from the town she used to work for according to Federal prosecutors.
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Why, oh why should this surprise us at all?:

As a convicted felon, William F. Cellini — the longtime Republican power broker recently convicted of corruption tied to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s “pay-to-play” schemes — can no longer do business with the state of Illinois, as he has done for more than four decades.

But the Illinois law under which Cellini faces a five-year ban on getting any state contracts doesn’t apply to his vast network of business ventures, some of which have been turned over to his daughter and son, according to state officials.

Cellini companies — New Frontier Management and an affiliate, Pacific Management Corp., which is owned in part by his daughter and son-in-law — have agreements with private landlords to manage 18 buildings now occupied by state agencies that include the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Transportation, state officials say.

For those of you planning to scream "arrrrrrrgh" after reading that, do it into a pillow. That way you won't disturb your neighbors that much.

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Since Der Burgher Wa*ker might potentially be in a lot of trouble back home that actually isn't related to a recall vote, getting to talk to a sympathetic crowd at the Union League Club of Chicago about how his "budget repair" bill fixed a problem of his own making must've seemed like political heaven to him.   
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I'm sure that William Cellini thought of himself as being much more than the smartest guy in the room. Seriously. Problem is, a Federal jury decided he was just that and then went on to agree with much of the goverrnment's case against him:

Cellini was accused of trying to shake down investment firm owner Thomas Rosenberg, the producer of the Oscar-winning movie “Million Dollar Baby,” for a campaign contribution to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, in exchange for continued state pension business.

Prosecutors played secret FBI recordings of Cellini talking on the phone with (Stuart) Levine (more on him here), a serial conman who testified for parts of six days.

Prosecutors said Cellini’s motive was to please Blagojevich fundraisers Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly and thus, retain Cellini’s decades-long reach into the governor’s office. Prosecutors argued Cellini delivered an extortionate message to Rosenberg in May 2004 that his firm would lose Teachers’ Retirement System pension business if he didn’t donate to Blagojevich. Rosenberg testified he angrily balked at the request.

Unfortunately, he was far more of a cause of political corruption in Illinois than a mere symptom, as this Chicago Sun-Times piece from 1996 points out: 

(But most of all) Cellini has had clout with Illinois governors starting with Richard Ogilvie through James Thompson and now (former Governor Jim) Edgar. And those relationships have been mutually profitable: the Governors got cash for their campaigns and Cellini became a multimillionaire.

Cellini has clout. But money is the foundation of his far-reaching empire. Specifically, his ability to raise cash - primarily from road builders - while rarely giving any of his own money. Cellini raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, mainly for Republicans, primarily candidates for governor, but also for those seeking the White House like Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bob Dole.

Often referred to as a Downstate Republican powerbroker, Cellini has numerous business deals in Chicago and the suburbs, often working with businessmen allied with Democrats such as Mayor Daley.


It was that ability to grease the wheels of patronage - and seemingly do it for anyone regardless of their political affiliation - that was Cellini's strong suit. Until he started doing it on Blago's behalf, of course.

And Jim Edgar really might want to cut out the crocodile tears he's shedding on his former ally's behalf; he's not in office anymore, so they're not coming for him.

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You know, if you're going to get caught owing that much child support, you shouldn't whine about it. It doesn't seem that the Sun-Times likes you that much in the first place, anyway.
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The verdict on Scummy from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, MSNBC and even Auntie Beeb. Although the circumstances are completely impossible, it's amusing to think of him possibly sharing a cell with some other political figures such as Tom, George or possibly even Joe "Sunglasses" Qool in the future.  
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Recently, I posted something foo quickly for my own good (the thing on George Ryan's most recent attempt to get released from prison, this time due to his wife's terminal illness) and have since deleted it since my grasp on some of the subject matter was a little more feeble than I'd like. My apologies to unhipster and suburbancowboy for the obvious outcome (i.e., the deletion of their comments along with the post - I wish that didn't happen automatically, but it does).  


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Memo to incoming Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle: please fire as many of Urkel's relatives and cronies from their board jobs as humanly possible. You'll be doing all of us a massive favor, 
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Your parting gift, BTW, consists of a rather unpleasant reminder of how stupid this statement looks when you re-read it for context:

A generous person might call Kirk's contradictory stance in these matters cognitive dissonance. But that's not what it is. It's outright class warfare. Extending Bush administration tax cuts for the upper 2 percent of Americans (at a 10-year cost of $830 billion) without requiring that this contribution to the deficit be paid for up front - while simultaneously chopping unemployment compensation - is no different than many of the economic policies that have been plaguing our nation for the past 30 years. It's called screw-the-working-class, which, despite what some people like to pretend, includes the middle class. Unlike some of the other screw jobs, however, the egregiousness of this one is instantly obvious.

No kidding.
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My amusement at a hypothetical meeting between Rod Blagojevich and Tom DeLay is made even more amusing by the completely wrong prediction by professional ideologue Hugh Hewitt from 2005 concerning Pesty's supposed innocence.

Next hypothetical strategy by a politicall felon: Scummy trying to convince everyone that Lady Macbeth Blagojevich was, in fact, innocent of being involved in the planning of his shakedowns and is a hottie to boot. Wrong on both counts, IMHO.

(As to the "hottie" part, yes, an actual Blago supporter once wrote something of the sort in a letter to the editors of the Sun-Times or Tribune. My explanation? It's a relative. Or it's just drugs.)

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If a recent Chicago Tribune editorial blasting Tom Ricketts' bond-floating proposal wasn't bad enough news for his endeavor (the Tribune Corporation, after all, sold Ricketts the Cubs and still holds a 5% stake in the team), here's another hint as to where this is ultimately going: if the bond proposal fails, Ricketts has no alternative financing scheme. Period.

As safe as milk, eh?

As the Trib helpfully pointed out in its editorial, the dissimilarities between the Ricketts plan and Jerry Reinsdorf's previous efforts on behalf of US Cellular Field are surprisingly wide:

But taxpayers wouldn't gain an ownership stake in Wrigley Field or the Cubs, both of which would be enhanced handsomely. Compare that to the arrangement at U.S. Cellular Field, which is owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which financed its construction. (Tribune Co., which owns this newspaper and sold the Cubs to the Ricketts' in 2009, retains a 5 percent stake in the team and related assets.)

In other words, if the proposed bond issue defaults, Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for a property that they have no ownership over, which is not the case at US Cellular.

Oh, and the funniest part of all this? The screamingly funny part? Ricketts is attempting to facilitate all this Big Gummint money going to his team and stadium while playing the part of a major Republican donor as well. As Dan Bernstein points out:

(It’s not lost on local Dems, either, that Ricketts’s father bankrolled one of the shadowy PACs that campaigned for Tea Party candidates on the platform of shutting down government spending for special projects)

...except for a certain one Ricketts wants funded, that is.

Ah, irony.
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It turns out that the Ricketts/Cubs-inspired deal to rehab Wrigley Field and the nearby area has a few more reasons why its a really, really bad idea. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Sources said the Cubs' financing plan calls for a 2 percent hotel tax to backstop the Wrigley bonds when bonds used to finance Soldier Field and U.S. Cellular Field are paid off.

Bonds for the Cell will be paid off in 2021. Soldier Field bonds will be retired in 2031. If amusement tax growth is not great enough by then to retire the Wrigley bonds, the Cubs intend to borrow from the hotel tax and pay it back by extending the life of the bonds.

Think that's stupid? Get a load of this related caveat: 

That could force the city and state to forfeit amusement tax growth for even longer than 35 years.

But here's the catch: If the Cubs move to the head of the line, the Bears and Sox could be deprived of the money they may need to complete stadium renovations.

"They're assuming we won't need any major work at Soldier Field and U.S. Cellular Field. These are assets of the state and city that need to be upgraded," said a source familiar with the deal.

"Twenty years from now, the Bears may say, 'For us to stay, we need this and this.' ... The Cubs are saying, 'When the bonds run out, it'll go to us. The hell with you.'"

In other words, it's not merely a transaction apparently designed to rob people in order to pay Paul: it's a transaction designed to rob Peter and Jim and Louie to pay Paul. Astounding.

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Nothing warms the cockles of a Chicagoan's heart like the owner of a profitable professional sports franchise coming to the state during a debt crisis, hat in hand, asking for money.

Is Tom Ricketts cognizant of the fact that there's a whole load of people out there in need who don't have a gazillion dollars of cash to fall back on if programs they rely on don't get reimbursed by the state? And that the very idea of pulling this stunt during a time of financial crisis seems more than a bit clueless, if not outright callous?

Yeah, I'm aware that Reinsdorf and Co. pulled a similar stunt to get the new Comiskey Park built two decades ago. I didn't agree with that, either, and they didn't make their threat to move to St. Petersburg if they didn't get the money when the country was coming out of the worse recession it's had since 1929, either.

If somebody has a major brain fart and a deal like what Ricketts is proposing actually gets passed, I sincerely hope that the Cubs go another century without winning a World Series. They'll fully deserve it.
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And apparently, what we deserve are morons like John Shimkus (R-Middle Ages).

And yes, that was a supposedly sane adult who made that statement. One who was elected more than once as a member of the House of Representatives from my home state, no less. And now he's running for the Energy and Commerce committee chairmanship.

Even if you take issue with the concept of global warming, I find it difficult to believe that any GW opponent with two brain cells to rub together would want Shimkus representing their cause in Congress. You'd get better results - and more logical thinking - from a gibbon.

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