One in the Blag

Let me present the Blagojevich clan, another reason never to trust politicians.

You may have heard about the scandal rocking Illinois politics. Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday by the FBI on corruption charges stemming from a "pay-to-play" scheme he secretly cooked up to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama. Under Illinois law the governor has the responsibility to appoint a replacement (which I think is a little odd) and Blagojevich planned to sell the seat to the highest bidder. In returning the favor, the winner would place First Lady Patricia Blagojevich on corporate committees to ease the family's financial shortcomings.

The FBI also unveiled a slew of other covert treats and dealings Blagojevich was working on. Apparently he threatened to withhold state money from Wrigley Field renovations if the Chicago Tribune didn't fire a few meddling editorial writers. A story in today's Trib provided this little insight:

In one recorded conversation, Blagojevich uttered a series of profanities about the paper's editorial writers, saying that "our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get 'em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support."

In another call, the governor's wife, Patricia, allegedly can be heard yelling in the background and urging her husband to "hold up that [expletive] Cubs [expletive]."

According to the criminal charges, Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, repeatedly warned an individual identified by authorities only as a "Tribune Financial Adviser" that the governor's support for a Wrigley Field deal "could get derailed by your own editorial page."

That's hardcore. Unfortunately I know these types of dealings determine many editorial decisions across the country. In Iowa, Hy-Vee, the state's main supermarket chain, threatened to pull all its advertisements from the Cedar Rapids Gazette if it published a story on how the store landfilled all its redeemed glass bottles instead of sending them to a recycler. Some how word got out anyway, and I can't remember if the article was ever printed.

This nifty little snapshot sums up the whole thing:

You can hardly seem him, but Blagojevich is behind the passenger seat headrest, cowering.

Ah, politicians. Many historians believe Rome began to crumble when the focus of its electors shifted from the betterment of Romans and Rome to their own personal gain. In scheming to place Illinois' vacant Senate seat before bidders (I wonder if it would have been a silent auction) Blagojevich placed his personal interests before those of his 13 million constituents. As LL Cool J says in that retarded Old Spice commercial, "Nice."

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