Stop the Presses: More Chicagoland Public Corruption

Two cases where public officials were funneling business to their old law firms

Here’s the headline in the Chicago Tribune:

High-ranking Cook County [Chicago] prosecutor resigns after inquiry into case referrals to former employer

An internal review found [Chaka Patterson] had referred business to his old law firm, allowing it to charge up to $315 an hour above the county’s standard rate, according to an official and county records.

Patterson, a 49-year-old former partner at the Chicago offices of the global law firm Jones Day, became head of the county prosecutor’s office’s civil division in February just months after State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s 2016 election victory.

. . . . The issue of potential problems with law firms came up in a different context during the 2016 campaign after Foxx resigned from her job as chief of staff for County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to run for office. The Tribune reported that Foxx did consulting work for Power Rogers & Smith, a personal injury firm that had filed cases against the county. –Chicago Tribune

It is the second time in two weeks that referrals to high-priced law firms have led to resignations by top public officials.

The other recent case involved the head of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the top attorney there:

CPS chief Forrest Claypool resigns after being accused of ethics probe cover-up

Claypool was accused of orchestrating a “full-blown cover-up” by the district inspector general, who called for the CEO’s ouster in a blistering report given to the school board Wednesday. ….

A report from CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler was scathing in its criticism of Claypool. The district CEO “repeatedly lied” during an ethics investigation involving the top CPS attorney [Ron Marmer], the report said.

Schuler on Friday said the latest upheaval at the district’s top ranks could have been avoided if Claypool agreed to remove General Counsel Ron Marmer from overseeing a contract with his former firm, Jenner & Block. CPS hired the firm, which was still making severance payments to Marmer, to manage a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Illinois that was ultimately dropped. –Chicago Tribune

Now that you know what kind of corruption an Inspector General can uncover, is it any surprise that the Chicago City Council refuses to allow any IG to investigate it?

FBI Search Dog On the Prowl and Pointing Toward . . .

The Chicago Tribune‘s wonderful editorial cartoonist, Scott Stantis, has often penned negative drawings about Pres. Trump.

He has not been especially critical of the Trump investigations… until now.

His balanced stance makes his devastating take on the FBI’s unraveling mess all the more meaningful.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/stantis/

No offense, please. That’s the hyper-sensitive approach to that nameless holiday in late December

I am happy–I repeat–happy to wish people a Merry Christmas.

Perhaps that’s because I actually hope they have a Merry Christmas.

I say that even though I celebrate Hanukkah. True, I am never quite sure how to spell it. Its English spelling seems to meander, at least for me.

Back to Christmas . . . as a kid, I was always delighted to see friends riding around on their new bicycles and going to church with their families to celebrate the day.

I had my holiday. They had their’s. No harm, no foul.

All was well between us, even if no one had ever heard of multiculturalism.

I remembered these warm sentiments the other day, as I walked past DePaul’s building in the Chicago Loop.  (It’s a satellite campus. Their main one is farther north.)

There, taking up the side of a building, was a big sign wishing everyone, “Happy Holidays.”

DePaul, mind you, is a private school, so they can wish you anything they want.

It’s also a Catholic school, which would seem to give it some connection to . . . well, Christmas.

But, nooooooo.

I wanted to see if DePaul’s website was more forthright. Nope.

I assume DePaul’s administrators have only the most benign sentiments. They are probably thinking, “If we said, ‘Merry Christmas,’ it might not be inclusive enough. It might offend. There are lots of other faiths and lots of agnostics and atheists out there, and we want to wish them a happy time, too.” That’s a fine thought, but it assumes we wouldn’t respect their integrity as a Catholic institution for saying what they really believe. The only people it will hurt, IMO, is people who are rigid and intolerant, either because of their own religious beliefs or because they hate all religions. Why give them a veto?

When people wish me a Merry Christmas, I take it with the good cheer with which it is extended.  Why not?

The University of Minnesota goes much further in stamping out these greetings. Granted, it is a public university, which places some limits on what they can and cannot do legally. But I don’t see why that should prevent the employees from wishing each other all kinds of holiday greetings and putting up Christmas decorations or Hanukkah decorations if they wish.

Not so, they say.

Employees of the University of Minnesota received a document this week saying:

In general, the following are not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year since they typically represent specific religious iconography:

Santa Claus, Angels, Christmas trees, Star of Bethlehem, Dreidels, Nativity scene, Bows/wrapped gifts, Menorah, Bells, Doves, Red and Green or Blue and White/Silver decoration themes (red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year).” University of Minnesota memo to employees, reported at Intellectual Takeout

 

Documents that authoritarian tend to come from offices named “Diversity” and “Inclusion.” And those are the Orwellian Scrooges behind this gem.

Got that? RED and GREEN are forbidden as “religious iconography.” So are BLUE and White (because they are Jewish religious iconography, I guess).

Santa Claus? Oh, the horror.

And why, pray tell, is Festivus excluded? Are they not worthy enough to be prohibited?

Somewhere, I fear, the University of Minnesota’s librarians are burning “A Christmas Carol” to keep the administrators warm for the season.

A balanced analysis of Mueller and his team by a leading conservative

Amid strenuous conservative criticism of the Mueller team (the best of it by Trey Gowdy and Tucker Carlson), and equally strenuous pushback from progressives (led by Adam Schiff), Andrew McCarthy offers a serious analysis of what should–and shouldn’t–concern the public about the investigation’s fairness.

McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor with considerable experience. His stance is conservative but not doctrinaire, and his analysis is not a prosecutor’s case against Mueller.

The op-ed was published in the Washington Post (link here).

Key excerpts:

Is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III running an impartial investigation?

That this is a fair question to ask is itself troubling.

In Mueller’s case, there are various grounds for worry. Mueller’s investigation was triggered when former FBI director James B. Comey, no fan of the president who dismissed him, leaked a memo of a meeting with President Trump. Comey admitted hoping this revelation would lead to appointment of a special counsel….

Furthermore, the investigative team Mueller has assembled includes Democratic donors and supporters, including one lawyer who represented the Clinton Foundation and one who represented a subject in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. This month, moreover, it came to light that two members of the team, who had also worked on the Clinton email investigation, were having an extramarital affair and exchanged text messages expressing partisan political views — favoring Clinton and depicting Trump as “loathsome.”

Worse, in one August 2016 text, one of them, FBI agent Peter Strzok, asserted that the FBI “can’t take that risk” that Trump could be elected, equating some unspecified action against this seemingly unlikely possibility to “an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Dismayingly, this text, which crosses the line between political banter and tainted law enforcement, refers to a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then (and now) the bureau’s No. 2 official.

McCarthy praises Mueller for his results (which “so far appear free of political taint”) and for removing Strzok from the investigation. He is not alarmed that Mueller’s staff has strong political views, but is concerned about Andrew Weissman for a specific reason.

A gifted career Justice Department lawyer, Weissmann sent former acting attorney general Sally Yates an effusive email shortly after Yates was fired for insubordinately defying Trump on enforcement of the so-called travel ban. The obstruction aspect of Mueller’s investigation calls for an objective evaluation of how much independence law-enforcement officials have from the chief executive. Weissmann’s lauding of Yates suggests he is not objective on this point.

McCarthy’s conclusion: Remove Weissman to ensure the public perception of fairness.

Today in University Snowflakes, figuratively and literally: “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is Now Deemed Racist

It happened in London, but it could just as easily have happened at any American university.

The outrage, which is either feigned or hypersensitive, illustrates the usual combo that work together to suppress independent thinking on campus after campus:

  1. Group A, progressive students (“I am offended by everything”) and
  2. Group B, spineless university administrators (“I apologize completely, abjectly, and with total humility. You are my moral superior. I will go and work in the rice fields with the peasants and learn from their wisdom.”)

Today’s example comes from London’s large, distinguished university: UCL (University College London)

Here is the tweet and the abject apology. I will spare you the “outraged” tweets from SJWs.

What saddens me most is how singing groups like the Drifters buy into this invidious White Supremacist Ideology.

Btw, their version is wonderful!

Roy Moore Loses with the Same Dignity He’s Always Shown. None

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Yes, the Republicans desperately wanted to keep this seat.

But, as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, they didn’t want to keep it with this candidate.

The story in the Alabama papers tells a crucial story:

Recount in Alabama Senate race unlikely to help Roy Moore win –AL.com

All the votes are counted, and, although some will be challenged, that won’t change the outcome.

Moreover, the margin is more than the 0.5% needed for an automatic recount.

Not that Judge Roy has conceded. He didn’t concede to legitimate rulings by federal courts, and he won’t concede to this.  As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” And Judge Roy’s mind seems no more capacious than his horse’s.

The Second Most Important Number in the Alabama Election

Jones received 671,151 votes.

Moore received 650,436.

Write-Ins received 22,819.

  • That number is more than Doug Jones’ margin of victory. 
  • Those are Republicans who took the trouble to go vote, couldn’t vote for the Democrat and used their write-in to say Roy Moore was unacceptable. 

Richard Shelby had said that. Now, enough of his fellow Alabama Republicans did so to put Judge Roy on his horse for a slow ride home.

Other Messages from the Election

Meanwhile, the political class will reflect that

  1. The Republicans in the Senate missed a bullet, especially those who are up for election in 2018.
    • They won’t have Roy Moore chained around their necks.
  2. The Republicans in Alabama screwed up their primary. Either of the two defeated candidates could have won the general election.
  3. Donald Trump managed to lose twice in Alabama.
    • Actually, Trump lost three times: once in the primaries, once in the general, and once in picking an AG he doesn’t like, leaving the Senate seat vacant.
  4. Steve Bannon managed to damage his own position badly before the 2018 races, making it harder for him to raise money.
  5. The tax cut bill is on a fast track since it has to pass before Jones is seated in a few weeks.

She Will A Peel

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Here’s the story. It’s real, unfortunately.

Her lawyer erred badly with his closing argument:

She was just happy to see me.

Btw, that wonderful line was first uttered as an improvisation. Mae West said it on Broadway, not (as is sometimes thought) in a scripted film.

According to Quote Investigator:

In 1944 the play “Catherine Was Great” which was produced by [Michael] Todd and starred Mae West opened on Broadway. The author [Art] Cohn stated that West improvised the humorous line of dialog when she was interacting with her fellow star Gene Barry:

Barry, playing Lieutenant Bunin, was unaccustomed to carrying a sword, and in the second act, during an embrace, his scabbard came between him and his Empress.

A covert smile stole over Mae’s face. “Lieutenant,” she ad-libbed with a Westian leer, “is that your sword or are you just glad to see me?” –Mae West, in Quote Investigator