The low that brought the storms to our south that I talked about cutting off some of the moisture our way on Tuesday brought a bunch of tornadoes in the deep south. I’m not sure if I’m statistically correct, but I would wager that the deep south is the most likely place to find tornadoes in the winter so its not unprecedented. That low will run up the east coast Thursday. We”ll be chilly and Friday remain cold with maybe even a bit of rain or errant snowflakes. We turn milder on Sunday.
Don’t Got To Work if you are Happy! In California, it was proposed that people “call in gay” on Wednesday and not show up for work. It was supposed to show how important gay people were to the work force and society in general. It was to show support for those opposed to Proposition 8 which recently was passed in California by a majority of voters who want marriage to be defined as between a man and a woman. I don’t get it. Happy people are indeed an integral part of society and a happy workforce is a productive workforce and I don’t see how showing how happy you are has anything to do with politics.
The Blagojevich Senate Seat For Sale Issue Is Not New: This is another installment of my reasons to not get too worked up over today’s controversies because they’ve happened before and the Republic has survived.
Much has been made in recent days about the “unprecedented” alleged sale of a Senate seat by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Constitution initially called for senators from each state to be appointed by elected by state legislatures. Remember, the founders weren’t too keen on giving the public direct involvement in determining who was in federal office. Representatives were the only officials elected directly by the people and their terms were limited to just two years.The president is actually elected by the Electoral College, which is not bound by the popular vote to cast their ballots as the public did. Judges are appointed. It was feared that if Governors appointed senators, then they could hold out for the highest offer, but they also didn’t trust the public to make a determination. So, a compromise was reached in which legislators from the state, elected by the people, would be the best to determine the most qualified individuals to represent each state. It was ascertained that gaining a senate seat unethically would be more difficult when individuals had to face an entire elective body.
Sounds good. Eventually, the 17th Amendment was passed in 1913 that called for the election of Senators directly by
the people of each state. Perhaps in response to hijinx in the selection process. In 1912, Illinois Senator William Lorimer was refused a seat in the Senate by that body because it was found he had paid a bunch of money to just about the entire Illinois legislature. See, it was commonly thought in the 19th century that rich guys could buy their way into the Senate by doing what Lorimer tried to do. From 1866 to 1906, six bribery cases were brought in the senate. In 1899, these two guys had gotten a bundle from their gold mining exploits and thought that they would buy the seat. Each spread money around the legislature and the process took 17 ballots. Each time there was another vote, each guy had to pass out more loot to keep the legislators in their respective corners from switching sides. I wonder if the Montana legislature was running a scam on the scammers because the more votes they had, the more money they made. Finally, on the last vote, a winner was declared but the Senate refused to seat him and the post remained vacant for two years.
Interestingly, the Lorimer case probably was the tipping point and helped propel the ratifcation of the 17th Amendment the year after the Lorimer monkey business. While the amendment gave the power directly to the people, it had a clause that brings us to today that read, “When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.” Because Senator Obama will soon be President Obama, his seat is open and its left to the Governor to fill the seat and back to the fears of the Founding Fathers. That’s where Blagodevich comes in. Curiously, the same situation arises in New York and Delaware with Senator Clinton and Senator Biden giving up their seats, yet…no news of corruption there.
Nope, it’s Illinois. In recent years, we had Republican Governor George Ryan. He had a long history of corruption charges but he was elected anyway. In 2003, he “retired” from political life but was then indicted and eventually convicted of fraud charges. He’s still in jail. His ouster led to Blagojevich’s rise. Barack Obama was involved in Blogo’s election in 2002, but recently said he had “no contact” with the embattled governor. (See Details of Questions Involving Obama Blagodevich Relationship)
Before that, there was Republican Jack Ryan of Illinois…no relation to George. He was a good looking, bright, energetic candidate for Senator. His opponent? The young man from the Illinois legislature? Barack Obama. Ryan’s candidacy was derailed at a late date in the campaign when his divorce records were released to the public. Earlier in the campaign, both he and his ex-wife, Actress Jeri Ryan, agreed that their divorce records should be unsealed but not the part regarding custody. A judge in California decided that those records should be released as well and so it was found that Ryan had gotten his wife to go to wild clubs for the intent of having sex in public. That was the end of him, though it should be noted that neither parent wanted that part released in order to protect their young son. Nevermind…politics trumps the kids! The Republicans literally dropped in Alan Keyes, from Maryland, to take Ryan’s place but Illinoisians weren’t about to vote for a guy who parachuted in to their state and Obama won in a landslide.
Of course, we have the recent allegations of Obama associations with controversial Chicago figures such as William Ayers (Weatherundeground admitted domestic terrorist) and Rev. Jeremiah Wright as well as convicted felon Tony Rezco. But, to be fair, it seems like its tough to be a politician
from either party without running into questionable characters. We had the controversial Chicago Mayor Richard J Daley. Now we have his son, controversial Mayor Richard M. Daley…this guy knows Obama too. Not long ago, there was Democrat Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, who was indicted on 17 felony charges, including embezzlement of nearly $700,000 of taxpayer and campaign funds (Remember the stamps?) He served 15 months in prison before being pardoned by President Clinton. Today he pockets something in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year from his congressional pension.
We could go on…at least back to Al Capone and all of the judges, police officials and political figures that he paid off…but I won’t. But, I would suggest that Illinois can give Louisiana a run for its money (bad pun) as the poster state for corruption…or at least corruption known.