THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Chicago On The Potomac: Chief Judge James Holderman of U.S. District Court approved prosecutors' motion to release a transcript of a seven-minute phonecall on Nov. 13 between Roland Burris and the brother of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the Senate Ethics Committee investigating Burris’s appointment to fill Barack Obama’s empty Senate seat, reports the Chicago Tribune:
The transcript provides a behind-the-scenes portrayal of the give-and-take world of Illinois politics. During the conversation, a restless Burris makes a hard pitch for the greatest job of his political career while Robert Blagojevich politely pushes back to try to get fundraising cash from a longtime supporter. In the end, little is agreed upon. …
"These transcripts verify the accuracy of my previous public statements on this matter and demonstrate once and for all there was no 'pay to play' involved in my appointment to the United States Senate or perjury in my recounting of that process," Burris said in a statement. …
Robert Blagojevich's attorney, Michael Ettinger, said he did not object to the recording's release because in his view it captured normal political activity for his client.
For its part, The New York Times describes the transcript as “reveal[ing] the degree to which Roland W. Burris aggressively and openly pursued” the open Senate seat, and that “he seemed almost in a crass negotiation with Mr. Blagojevich’s brother — also his chief fund-raiser — over how he could help the governor, win the appointment and not run into trouble over negative connotations that he might be trying to buy an appointment by fund-raising for him.”
Like Ettinger said: Chicago politics.
Consider the 1998 "Gnomes" episode - possibly surpassing Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" as the classic defense of capitalism - in which the children of South Park, Colo., get a lesson in how not to run an enterprise from mysterious little men who go about stealing undergarments from the unsuspecting and collecting them in a huge underground storehouse.
What's the big idea? The gnomes explain:
"Phase One: Collect underpants.
"Phase Two: ?
"Phase Three: Profit."
Lest you think there's a step missing here, that's the whole point. ("What about Phase Two?" asks one of the kids. "Well," answers a gnome, "Phase Three is profits!") This more or less sums up Mr. Obama's speech last week on Guantanamo, in which the president explained how he intended to dispose of the remaining detainees after both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly against bringing them to the U.S.
The president's plan can briefly be described as follows. Phase One: Order Guantanamo closed. Phase Two: ? Phase Three: Close Gitmo! …
Now take the administration's approach to the Middle East. Phase One: Talk to Iran, Syria, whoever. Phase Two: ? Phase Three: Peace! …
Now Kim Jong Il has tested another nuke, and we're back at the familiar three-step. Phase One: Propose a "structure." ...
† Man Accused Of Tainting Toddlers’ Soup To Sue Campbell: William Cunningham was sentenced to 100 years in prison on five counts of cruelty to children and two counts of aggravated assault for poisoning his children in January 2006 to extort money from Campbell Soup Co., reports The Associated Press:
The girl and boy, then 18 months old and 3 years old, were hospitalized after Cunningham fed them soup tainted with prescription drugs and lighter fluid.
On one occasion, authorities said he used the prescription drugs Prozac and Amitriptyline - both used to treat depression - to poison the children. …
The children's mother, Rhonda Cunningham, filed for divorce during the case.
† Think Adam Wuz Robbed? Blame Perez Hilton. (second item): The New York Times reports that Adam Lambert’s fans are accusing AT&T, a major corporate sponsor of “American Idol,” of skewing the outcome by providing phones with which to vote via free text-messages and lessons on how to send “power texts” – which would count as 10 or more votes - at two parties of Kris Allen’s fans in AR:
There appear to have been no similar efforts to provide free texting services to supporters of Adam Lambert, who finished as the runner-up to Mr. Allen.
Since then, angry supporters of Mr. Lambert have flooded online chat boards with messages claiming irregularities in the competition’s voting.
Officials of Fox Broadcasting declined to discuss the situation. In a statement issued Tuesday, a spokesman for AT&T said, “In Arkansas, we were invited to attend the local watch parties organized by the community. A few local employees brought a small number of demo phones with them and provided texting tutorials to those who were interested.” …
[T]ext voting is open only to AT&T subscribers and is subject to normal rates.
† Updates To Previous Posts (Specter The Defector): Politico makes the case that “Democrats may have lost a critical bargaining chip if they ever want to woo other disaffected Republicans, according to many senators and aides” by double-crossing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) on seniority:
The day after the GOP seized control of the Senate in 1994, Sen. Richard Shelby made a dramatic announcement that he would leave the Democratic Party to become a Republican.
Giddy Republicans rewarded the Alabaman for increasing their majority to 53-47, allowing him to retain his seniority on the Banking Committee while dishing him prized seats on the Appropriations and intelligence committees, paving the way for him to become intelligence chairman in 1997.
But what if Shelby had not been allowed to keep his seniority?
“I would probably have left the Senate,” Shelby told POLITICO last week.
Seniority is so important to senators that the Democrats’ move to knock Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) to the bottom of the seniority ladder so quickly after he joined their party may have seriously hurt their credibility with future party switchers.