The last governor of Illinois, George Ryan, is in prison after a long trial, and his first unsuccessful appeal. Years ago when he was the Secretary of State his people took bribes from truck drivers who needed their licenses. One of those drivers had a faulty load that fell off the flatbed and hit a van with six kids inside it. They were all incinerated. That's when it was discovered that the truck driver hadn't taken the required test, he'd just bought his driver's license with a bribe.
This is the same governor who later commuted the sentences of all the inmates on death row. Not that he did this out of the goodness of his heart. DNA testing had already exonerated a bunch of them so it sure seemed like it would be the right thing for ANYONE to do. Since The Gov was in the midst of being investigated for his shady past, it also smelled like a blatant PR move to me. With all the national coverage for this magnanimous gesture, The Gov even got himself nominated for a Nobel Prize. That one really had the stank of a publicity stunt. He didn't win the Nobel in case you're wondering.
All of which brings me to our latest governor, Rod Blagojevich. The former gov was a corrupt Republican. So the Rodmeister, a Chicago Democrat, won the office almost by default. This guy isn't corrupt, he's just a joke, running the state like a Latin American dictator. He has no idea how to build a consensus. He just orders everybody to do his bidding and expects to get his way. Not happening. Meanwhile his wife, a real estate agent/broker/whatever, is making nice sums of money from sweetheart deals with big donors who buy their homes, rent their apartments, lease their offices through her.
You know things are in the toilet when your own party doesn't like you. This Gov has had an ongoing feud with his own father in law, Richard Mell, a Chicago alderman. He is at war with state party leaders like Mike Madigan, speaker of house, whose daughter is the attorney general, so that can't be good either. The mayor of Chicago just shakes his head when he talks about the guy. Da Mare gets along better with the opposition than This Gov. Nobody can get along with him.
Nothing is getting done in the general assembly. Everybody is dragging their feet. To punish the legislators for not doing his bidding, This Gov has called the general assembly back for 35 special sessions -- more than all of the previous governors combined. At a cost of over a million dollars in overtime. He also has a plane that flies him to and from the capital at a cost of five grand a day. He has a security detail of seven, some of whom are making six figures in overtime.
He was at a Blackhawks game the other night in Chicago during an important vote in Springfield. That may be the final straw. We don't have a recall vote in Illinois, but getting one seems to be all anybody can talk about.
This latest special session was about This Gov's proposal to save the jobs of the people who drive the buses and run the trains in Chicago. It still didn't pass. And when the folks working overtime to keep the trains and buses moving heard This Gov was at the Blackhawks game, the shit starting hitting the fan.
"Hey, don't get mad at me for being at a Hawks game, I'm the Governor -- I don't get to vote."
The local stations/papers are running polls asking whether the governor should have been at the Blackhawks game the other night, when we need legislation to keep the entire transit system in Chicago from shutting down. Gee, I wonder how people are voting.
Meanwhile, there's always the latest update on the Drew Peterson debacle to deflect some of the attention. And the mayor just hired an FBI guy who is also a bodybuilder to be Chicago's new top cop. For more money than the mayor makes.
Illinois isn't a state; it's a carnival.