The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Power to the People!

The only governor we have takes his fight to the air in a self-parody so pathetic it made his lawyers quit:

Edward Genson, Blagojevich's lead criminal defense attorney, announced he was quitting hours after his client smeared the impeachment trial as a "sham" in a series of radio interviews and a nationally televised news conference. Blagojevich said the criminal case was being used as a pretext to impeach and remove him by fellow Democrats who have a vendetta against him for his independent political streak.

"That's what this is all about," Blagojevich said during a nearly 20-minute news conference in the Thompson Center in Chicago. "The heart and soul of this has been a struggle of me against the system."

It was all too much for Genson, a cautious criminal litigator who didn't approve of his client going public.

"I never require a client to do what I say. But I do require them to at least listen," Genson said after a federal court hearing related to the impeachment case. "I wish the governor good luck and Godspeed."

It's sad, really, that the governor doesn't realize that he is the system. Or, rather, was.

Even the pot—er, Mayor of Chicago—"puckered his lips and—in a high-pitched, sing-song voice—chirped: 'I said cuckoo once, I'll say it again. Cuckoo.'"

Oh sad day

Via The Atlantic's James Fallows, a report that Microsoft's latest round of layoffs means the end of Flight Simulator:

[A]s of yesterday, it's the end of development for the venerable FS franchise (and probably the associated Microsoft ESP, the new commercial simulation platform based on FS), one of the longest-running titles in the history of the PC.

Sigh.

When the Tribune and the Onion converge

Trib headline: "Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lawyers expect his removal from office":

"As far as I know, the people in the Senate are more likely than not to convict him, and he will be removed from office," Blagojevich attorney Edward Genson told the Tribune. "I don't welcome it, but I expect it."

Genson also said Blagojevich won't mount a defense during the impeachment trial.

Duh. Everyone in Illinois knows the Governor will lose his job next month. Everyone, it seems, except the Governor:

"What the Senate and House are trying to do is to thwart the will of the people and remove a governor elected twice by the people without a fair hearing, without due process and without giving me the right—the most basic right every citizen in our country has—and that is the right to call witnesses," said Blagojevich.

In advance of a series of news media appearances on Friday, Blagojevich told the Associated Press on Thursday: "I'm going to fight this to the very end. ... Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States," he said. "...And just like the United States prevailed in that, we'll prevail in this."

Memo to Governor: Your approval is in single digits. The only two reasons you are still in office are (a) you're too stupid to resign and (b) Illinois doesn't have a recall provision in its constitution. It's not a criminal trial; it's an exercise of political power. Don't worry, even after your conviction in the Senate next month, you'll still get your day in court. Oh yes. You will.

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.

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.

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.

Questionable use of JavaScript

The Chicago Tribune's home page this morning has this counter, which as a native Chicagoan I have to call pretty whiny:

Yes, it's colder right now in Chicago than at the North Pole, and yes, we've only had 44 days in the last 139 years when the temperature failed to go above -17°C, but this counter just seems silly. And it's so short-lived: we'll be out of the danger zone by noon today.

Now, a counter ticking down the 4 days, 4 hours, and 1 minute until Barack Obama is sworn in as President? Not silly at all.

And Crain's had a story this morning to warm my heart: Goose Island Beer is now available in Washington, just in time for a Chicagoan President to drink it.