Posts Tagged ‘Blago’

Illinois facing ‘outright disaster’ amid budget crisis. Greek Tragedy

July 5, 2010

CHICAGO — Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.

He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.

“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.

Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”

For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession.

Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state’s bills and refuses to take the painful steps — cuts and tax increases — to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state’s budget.

The state’s last elected governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, is on trial for racketeering and extortion. But in 2003, he persuaded the legislature to let him float $10 billion in 30-year bonds and use the proceeds for two years of pension payments.That gamble backfired and wound up costing the state many billions of dollars.

Then there is the spectacularly mismanaged pension system, which is at least 50 percent underfunded, and Illinois reports that it has $62.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, although many experts place that liability tens of billions of dollars higher analysts warn, could push Illinois into insolvency if the economy fails to pick up.

 Perhaps, but many analysts, liberal and conservative, warn of a potentially far grimmer reckoning — Greece Tragedy by Lake Michigan.

 

Obama visited Chicago to Take Care of Business

June 5, 2010

Presidents are never really off the clock, even when they go on vacation. But President Obama’s decision to skip the traditional Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington while on his second vacation to visit Chicago, since the BP oil spill began has some wondering what the schedule says about his priorities.

On “vacation,” Obama still holds staff meetings, occasionally attends local events and often gets his “relaxation” time swallowed up by pressing national and international business — his vacation to Hawaii in December coincided with the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing. The retreat this weekend is marked by a side-trip to Louisiana to inspect the damages from the oil spill.

Obama, who was headed to Chicago Thursday night, will not be at Arlington National Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony — which he attended last year. Instead, the president plans to be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill., while Vice President Biden takes his place in Arlington for the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Obama makes 3 hour visit to show concern for  the fishing business in Louisianna, and traveled to Chicago, to take care of Blago business.

Rahm Subpoenaned For Blago Trial. May Not Like This Crisis

June 3, 2010

President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was subpoenaed by the defense to testify in Rod Blagojevich’s upcoming trial, the White House acknowledged Wednesday.

Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett also was subpoenaed, according to the White House, which confirmed both subpoenas after the Chicago Sun-Times reported the news online Wednesday.

Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky described Emanuel as a “critical” witness for the defense because he was the supposed victim of an extortion, according to charges in the case.

One of the allegations against Blagojevich is that the then-governor tried to extort Emanuel when Emanuel was a congressman. Prosecutors say Blagojevich held up releasing $2 million in state grant money for the Chicago Academy, which was in Emanuel’s North Side and suburban congressional district, because Blagojevich wanted to get Emanuel’s brother, a Hollywood agent, to hold a fund-raiser for him in exchange for releasing the grant money.

Sorosky said the defense would want to ask Emanuel about that alleged attempted extortion and the U.S. Senate seat selection concerning now-White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste unless it involves you…..

 

Sestak Gets Blown By Windy City Politics

May 29, 2010

Party leaders and campaign operatives — on nearly a daily basis — approach challenger candidates seeking to disrupt the established political order with a simple message: Get out or else.

And so, the report this morning that former President Bill Clinton was tasked by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to make such an approach to Rep. Joe Sestak — allegedly offering him an unpaid advisory role on an intelligence board in exchange for getting him to drop his primary bid against Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) — would not normally raise much of a stir in official Washington.

That the story has become a major controversy, a regular fixture on cable news chat shows and a momentum-killer for Sestak following his come-from behind victory against Specter in last week’s Pennsylvania primary is evidence of how the White House mishandled the controversy, according to conversations with several high-level Democratic strategists.

Another senior party official said that the White House “has a lot of egg on their face” and described the events as a “PR nightmare”.

Where have we seen this strategy of buying off political candidates… Oh yea Blago… Business as usual in Chicagoland..