The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The evening and the morning of the second day

The President has ordered the military prison at Guantánamo Bay closed within a year, directed intelligence services to abide by the Army's interrogation standards, and directed Justice to review an important terrorism case with an eye towards giving the defendant actual Constitutional protections.

If he keeps this up, we could restore our standing in the world in less than 20 years, perhaps.

In local news, the Chicago Tribune has picked its favored bidder in the upcoming Cubs sale (without revealing who it is), and Illinois first lady Patricia Blagojevich got fired from her job as fundraiser at the Chicago Christian Industrial League. These stories aren't related, mind you; they're just current.

The first day of the Obama Administration

Life goes on:

Now I'm going back to the NPR story about all the stuff we're not shipping from our major ports.

Welcome to the Real World

Or, at the very least, to the reality-based world. And look at all of those people...I'm now totally happy not to be on the National Mall today.

More later, sometime in the next Administration.

Chicago getting "access to power"

Crain's Chicago Business crows that Chicago businesses will enjoy happy times now that so many political appointees in Washington will be from Chicago:

[F]or Chicagoans hoping to do business with the federal government or influence U.S. policy, the key won't be a high-level connection to the White House. It will be the ability to get a call back from the staffers who have direct lines to the powers that be as well as, in some cases, authority over bureaucratic functionaries. So while being from Chicago may not get you an audience with designated Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, it may help you get to his deputy chief of staff, Matthew Yale, a vice-president at Chicago-based Ariel Investments LLC.

One of my friends pointed out the flip-side of all this: lots of good people have left Chicago. Lots of them. I've kidded about my Congressman and junior Senator leaving, but really, it's hundreds of our best and brightest. The talent vacuum gives people like our soon-to-be-former governor and our new, I-guess-we-can-live-with-him-for-two-years U.S. Senator something to fill. Consequence: we have no state government right now.

Don't misunderstand: I am very, very happy that Obama will become President in 26 hours or so, but I also think it comes at a pretty steep cost for Illinois.

Ten take-aways from the Bush years

Via long-time reader SP, Bob Woodward's musings in today's WaPo concerning lessons we should learn from the last 8 years:

3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

The president should not micromanage, but understanding the ramifications of his positions cannot be outsourced to anyone.

For example, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004-07, concluded that President Bush lacked a basic grasp of what the Iraq war was about. Casey believed that Bush, who kept asking for enemy body counts, saw the war as a conventional battle, rather than the counterinsurgency campaign to win over the Iraqi population that it was. "We cannot kill our way to victory in Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus said later. In May 2008, Bush insisted to me that he, of all people, knew all too well what the war was about.

Less than 50 hours remain in the worst presidency in U.S. history.

Laughing too loud for the office

The legal team representing the only governor Illinois has quit this afternoon. More precisely, they stuck their collective tongue out at the legislature because impeachment is just so unfair:

Blagojevich's lawyers believe the process has become "fundamentally unfair" because they have had too little time to prepare for the Senate trial and have been denied subpoena power to call their own witnesses.

The governor's lawyers had been asked to file an appearance on his behalf by Monday. The Senate trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 26.

"I had never committed to the Senate trial, and I will not file an appearance," said Ed Genson, who deferred further comment....

Perhaps it's only coincidental that one of Blagojevich's fundraisers just this morning turned state's evidence (same story), and one of his former staffers plead guilty to misusing corporate funds:

Christopher Kelly, a longtime friend and adviser to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, pleaded guilty in federal court this afternoon to filing false tax returns that concealed his use of corporate funds to cover gambling debts.

Kelly, 51, answered with a strong "guilty" when asked how he would plead by U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo. He admitted to underreporting his commercial roofing company's profits by nearly $500,000 between 2001 and 2005.

There's no denying the entertainment value, but in all seriousness, I'd kind of like a state government again.