Are you already hopelessly confused about the Blagojevich scandal?
Are you getting whiplash from swiveling your head from one story to another trying to get the latest on what is nauseatingly being called “Blagogate”? (When in the name of all that is good and holy are we going to drop that stupid suffix from our scandals?)
Are you on the edge of your seat waiting for the almost certain resignation of the Illinois governor? (If you are, I suggest you get a life and get back to work.)
Never fear! Pajamas Media is coming to your rescue!
With new information coming out at Internet speed, there’s no possible way a normal human being could keep track of what’s happening — unless you are an Internet addict, in which case you are not a normal human being and belong in a twelve-step program.
But for the rest of us, it might be useful to have a one stop site that can fill you in on the scandal at a glance. That will be the purpose of this “nearly live blog” of the Blagojevich Affair. We’ll strive to bring you the most recent and most relevant information from a wide variety of sources — video, audio, blogs, MSM — anywhere and everywhere someone has an interesting or newsworthy angle on the story.
The most recent entries will be right at the top so you can check back often to keep yourself informed.
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12/12 – 8:30 am PDT – Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is definitely not out of the woods as far as the Blago Blow-Up is concerned. Three days before Blagojevich was arrested, Jackson cronies held a fundraiser for the governor with the expressed intent of raising money to help Jackson secure the senate seat, according to the Chicago Tribune who spoke with several of those present. Jackson’s campaign surrogate is on tape offering Blago’s people $1 million for the seat back in October. In attendance at this fundraiser for the governor – Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s brother Jonathan and Blago himself. Draw your own conclusions.
12/12 – 7:15 am PDT – A close associate of Chicago Tribune chairman Sam Zell has been confirmed as the middleman who heard out and perhaps even agreed to Blagojevich’s terms that in exchange for help in Springfield with the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Zell would fire members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board because of their pointed editorials against the governor. The Trib has received a subpoena asking for “memos about potential staff cuts or changes to the Chicago Tribune editorial board,” according to one source. The cowardly Zell, who was seeking a $150 million capital gains tax abatement from the IL Finance Authority, may have agreed to the extortion according to a phone call between Blago staff chief John Harris and the governor on November 21 that was taped by the Feds.
12/12 – 6:30 am PDT – Obama chief of staff-designate Rahm Emanuel either can’t come up with a plausible alibi regarding any conversations he might have had with Blago’s crew or is a really, really, devoted father. Yesterday, a Chicago reporter tried to waylay the guy who promised “transparency and openness” in the new administration while he was at city hall watching his kids perform in a pageant but was rebuffed with the excuse that ” “I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Dont do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.” Asked if he couldn’t do both — respond to extremely serious allegations of wrongdoing and be a good father — Emanuel responded in true “Chicago Way” fashion; ““I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father.” Mr. Transparency then pushed the reporter’s recording device away.
12/11 – 4:30 pm PDT – According to this report in the Wall Street Journal, Blago owes $500,000 in legal fees already. Now the question “What was he thinking?” can be answered.
12/11 – 4:00 pm EDT – Jim Lindgren at the Volokh Conspiracy has a helpful timeline of events related to the scandal.
12/11 – 2:00 pm PDT – Also at his morning presser, the president elect said he has asked his team to “gather the facts of any contacts with the governor’s office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days.” Does he expect someone to come forward and say, “Sure boss, I sat down with Blago’s Boys and tried to deal in Jarrett for that senate seat.” Somehow, I think any report that comes out of this “internal investigation” is either going to find everyone in his shop squeaky clean or they will find one person to throw under the bus. That’s the Chicago way.
12/11 – 1:15 pm PDT – President-elect Obama still insists he never spoke with Blagojevich about his replacement in the senate and the Axelrod statement of November 23 that contradicts him is now totally down the rabbit hole and has disappeared from conscious thought — at least that of the press. I guess we just take the Obama team’s word for it. Obama also solemnly stated that his staff had no part in deal making with Blago’s people on the senate seat because “That would be a violation of everything that this campaign has been about.” Why, yes. Yes it would. But does that mean it didn’t happen?
12/11 – 11:15 am PDT – Another of Chicago’s muckracking columnists, Steve Chapman, has a little history lesson on the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald to the federal prosecutor’s post in Chicago. Former Senator Peter Fitzgerald recommended his namesake (no relation) for the job back in 2001 because he didn’t trust a local boy to clean up the cesspool. Since then, Fitzy’s takedown of Scooter Libby is small potatoes compared to what else he’s accomplished. Mayor Daley’s two trusted aides and more in a patronage scandal that rocked the machine, aldermen like Ed “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak, Tony Rezko, and now Blago. “Fitzgerald said Blagojevich’s alleged conduct “would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” says Chapman. “Forget Lincoln. It would make Bonnie and Clyde flip their coffins.”
12/11 – 10:00 am PDT – A Rasumussen Poll reveals that 84% of Illinoisans believe Blago should resign. I guess the only response to something like that is what are those other 16% smoking and where can I get some?
12/11 – 8:55 am PDT – Chicago’s treasured columnist John Kass takes down all those pundits who thinks that Blagojevich (D-Dead Meat) is crazy. “The pundits who make such diagnoses have never talked to a Chicago machine politician in their lives,” writes Kass. “How do they think Chicago politicians talk in private when they’re muscling some other guy for cash? Like Helen Mirren playing the queen?”
12/11 – 6:45 am PDT – “Rezko Singing” reports Hot Air, quoting a WaPo story that found confirmation in criminal complaint of the long-rumored assistance that convicted Obama friend and financier Antoin “Tony” Rezko was giving prosecutor Fitzgerald. Lots of Chicago and Illinois pols are sweating this news. Rezko collected politicians like little kids collect interesting bugs and wheeled and dealed his way through Illinois politics for two decades. According to the story, he’s not finished yet.
12/11 – 6:30 am PDT – WBBM radio has audio of Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s press conference. He was “shocked and saddened” to learn that Blago was arrested. Rep. Jackson must not get out much or read the papers. The arrest has been expected for weeks.
12/11 – 6:00 am PDT: “No Bias, No Bull, No hope.” Video of CNN’s earnest Good Government Liberal in Residence Campbell Brown as she confronts Obama with the fact that he has not been very forthcoming over the Blago blow-up. Calling for “transparency” from a Chicago pol like Obama is akin to calling for the Cubs to win a World Series. And to refresh your memories, it has been 100 years since that happened.
12/10 – 4:00 pm PDT: AP reports that Governor Blagojevich is clinging “defiantly to power” by ignoring President-elect Obama’s call for him to step down. Blago sent his toady out to face the press and tell them that things were just peachy. “Business as usual” was her characterization of the goings on at Blago’s Chicago office. If that’s the case, I would suggest employees check their wallets and purses on their way out the door tonight.
12/10 – 3:30 pm PDT: “Peanuts! Popcorn! Get yer scorecard right here! Can’t tell the players without a scorecard!” The Hill helpfully supplies us with intelligent guessing about who “Candidates 1-6” might be. Something to nibble on while we eat our popcorn and watch the show.
12/10 – 2:30 pm PDT: Are conservatives “gleeful” over Blagogate? According to this Reuters story, two talk radio show hosts are pretty happy. But writing a story about how happy conservatives are gives Reuters the perfect opportunity to rehash all the Republican scandals of the last few years. Fair and balanced, that.
12/10 – 1:30 pm PDT: “Nothing but Sunshine.” This may be my all-time favorite political video. The day before he’s hauled off in cuffs, Governor Blago is asked about the “cloud hanging over” his administration. His answer — among other gems in this 2 1/2 minute laugh out loud clip — is: “There’s no cloud over me. We’ve got nothing but sunshine.”
12/10 – 1:00 pm PDT: Jesse Jackson Jr. is “Candidate No.5” Or is it 4 or 6? Hard to keep track since Blago tried to bribe as many as six potential candidates. Jackson’s lawyer says he’s “guiltless.” Is that the same as innocent?