Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Murtha, CNN: Bad News Bulls

If you watch any CNN these days, it won't take long to see anti-war Congressman John Murtha. He was on three CNN shows in a single day foaming at the mouth about the allegations of soldier atrocities at Haditha.

It makes me ill to watch a network that refuses to highlight progress in Iraq tackle the Haditha story with a barely hidden glee. It doesn't matter that the facts aren't all in -- it's OK to be reckless when you are bashing your own country because that's "good journalism."

Jed Babbin provides some needed perspective.

First, the left will use every tool at their disposal to ensure that the Haditha incident becomes synonymous with the entire Iraq war. Abu Ghraib proved a propaganda bonanza for the terrorists and nations such as Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia that want us to withdraw from Iraq in defeat. Haditha - regardless of what the facts may turn out to be - will be used ceaselessly and purposefully to eliminate American support for the Iraq war and to demonize anyone who still supports it. Haditha will become the Orwellian centerpiece of the Democrats' claim that they support the troops. "They've been there too long," Murtha and his ilk will cry. "We have to bring them home before they kill more babies." And then the Dems, feigning concern for our soldiers, will offer them psychological counseling when they return. The political fallout will be enormous, and it will damage both the ongoing war efforts and our troops' morale.
And Mark Davis, a talk show host from Dallas, nails it.

It will be awhile before we know whether Marines are guilty in a November slaughter of unarmed Iraqis in the town of Haditha. But this has not stopped Mr. Murtha from savoring every nugget of their possible atrocities.

For many days, he has made himself available to dwell with relish on the details of a horrible day on which it appears U.S. forces may have responded to an IED blast with a wanton, brutal overreaction - a house-to-house killing spree whose victims included women and children.

Anyone with a shred of human decency approaches this with the utmost gravity. Those of us who support the troops and the war they are fighting have a special responsibility not to sugarcoat, minimize or marginalize any wrongdoing by those troops.

But, conversely, those who are exercising their right to speak ill of the war and the Americans fighting it have a responsibility not to allow their anti-war venom to inflame their assessments of bad moments in the war's history.

That track record is forever blemished by the absurd overreaction to Abu Ghraib, a prison scandal that was bad enough if treated objectively. The wheels of justice turned, and prices are being paid for humiliating detainees outside the protocols of interrogation.

But the day Sen. Ted Kennedy equated American misdeeds at that prison with the unspeakable torture that had happened there under Saddam, the reputation of war criticism was deservedly damaged beyond easy repair.

And now we have Mr. Murtha, barely able to contain the spring in his step as he basks in the grisly particulars.

Technorati Tags:

Blago was hiring hacks from day one

Associated Press just moved a story that says Governor Rod Blagojevich's top deputies were approving all hires from day one -- even civil service jobs that by law are supposed to be non-political.

Despite the governor's claims that his office did not decide who would be hired for civil service jobs, which are nonpolitical, those positions are among nearly 1,800 hires, promotions, transfers and salary increases aides to the governor OK'd in the months following Blagojevich's 2003 inauguration, according to hiring lists officials maintained.
Looks like they were treating the governor's office like a Chicago ward office.

Technorati Tags: , ,

But it's OK to reveal the play?

Absurdities abound from the lips of spokespersons for Rod Blagojevich and this one is no exception. A spokeswoman is trying to explain why the administration won't reveal the basis of their $10 billion estimate for the sale price of the lottery.

"Lovie Smith wouldn't give his playbook to the Packers, and Bruce Weber wouldn't give his playbook to Michigan State," Blagojevich budget spokeswoman Becky Carroll said, referring to the coaches of the Chicago Bears and the University of Illinois men's basketball team.
Of course the administration already revealed the most important bit of information -- the sale price! The rest is immaterial.

Lovie Smith might not give his playbook to the Packers, but it wouldn't much matter if he had already publicly announced the next play.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blagojevich's Bronx Bombers


Hmmmm. Everywhere convicted felon Eddie DeBartolo Jr. (left) shows up in Illinois, so does Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich's ever present top fundraiser, family provider, and general man about town.

First it was at the Illinois Tollway, where out of the blue a DeBartolo backed company was granted exclusive right to sell pizza at remodeled oases. That oddball contract caught the eye of Chicago ABC 7's Chuck Goudie, who did a three-part series in early 2005. He pointed out that Famous Famiglia was the official pizza of the New York Yankees, that Illinois pizza companies were quoted outrageously high lease prices and that the tollway refused to reveal Famous Famiglia's lease price.

Many questions come to mind, such as why would the Illinois Tollway give a NY chain such a deal in the heart of world famous Chicago pizza country? And why would it give it to DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers who was caught attempting to bribe the governor of Louisiana?

Rezko's name surfaced at the tollway after Panda Express, one of his companies, also got an exclusive oases contract.  The feds already are attempting to sort the oases contracts out.

Then, DeBartolo Jr. recently showed up as a potential buyer of Rezko's star-crossed property in Chicago's South Loop. Rezko, you recall, owned the land was planning to develop it until the city declined to give him tax breaks after it learned Rezko operated companies falsely claiming minority status at O'Hare International Airport.

So Rezko sold the land but still is involved in its development along with his former hand-picked CMS director Michael Rumman, who resigned about the time CMS was slapped with the worst audit in Illinois history by the Illinois Auditor General.

Just this week, DeBartolo backed out of the South Loop deal. Wonder where he and Rezko will show up next?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Corporate loopholes for contributors only

Governor Rod Blagojevich is fond of saying he's closed corporate loopholes. Well it looks like he opened a few in the last couple of days.

The common denominator: fundraising, of course.

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

First hole-in-one

I haven't played golf much this season -- Saturday was my second time out. But I was lucky enough to hit a hole-in-one, my first ever.

For the record, it was at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton (pictured above), on hole number four on the south course. It was a 146-yard nine-iron in front of three cheering playing partners in an otherwise unremarkable round.

Word spread on the course and a couple of curious course marshals came by. Fun day.

Technorati Tags: ,

Friday, May 26, 2006

Last chance

Today's the last day to enter this year's Chicago Marathon on Oct. 22, according to someone who should know: Marathon Pundit.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Blago's clout firms jump right back on


Two firms forced off Governor Rod Blagojevich's pay-to-play carousel in recent months have jumped right back on.

Their re-entry ramp? The state tollway system. Yvette Shields from the Bond Buyer is often the first on the beach when it comes to reporting on emerging waves of corruption from the Blagojevich administration. Earlier this month, she reported on a new tollway bond deal.

The deal is being equally divided into two series, each of about $500 million, with serial maturities between 2018 and 2031. JPMorgan is senior book-running manager on the mid-range maturities with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. running the books on the longer maturities. Perkins Coie LLP and Burke, Burns & Pinelli Ltd. are co-bond counsel, while Mesirow Financial Inc. and Scott Balice Strategies are the highway agency's financial advisers.

You might recognize Mesirow Financial and Scott Balice Strategies as two firms that lost either existing or pending state business in recent months because of embarrassing revelations from the press about incompetence and cronyism.

A subsidiary of Mesirow, Illinois Property Asset Management (IPAM), was fired by the state after the Illinois Auditor General revealed that the company was given favorable treatment in getting a $25 million "cost savings" contract, then produced questionable results, and to top it off billed taxpayers $31,000 for things like ice tongs, candy, parking at a Chicago Bulls game and a party to celebrate winning the contract.

Blagojevich talked tough when Mesirow's contract was pulled, amid growing media pressure.

In a written statement, Blagojevich said that "billing the taxpayers for things like car rentals and meals is inexcusable and won't be tolerated."

"Let this serve as notice to every company that does business with the state of Illinois: If you try to stick the taxpayers with these kinds of expenses, your contract will be terminated," Blagojevich said.

Mesirow is a big contributor to Blagojevich and its lobbyist is William Filan, cousin to Blago's budget director John Filan.

Scott Balice Strategies was picked a few months ago to get a state contract to help sell the state's college loans but later withdrew after publicity about its connections to top Blagojevich advisor David Wilhelm's former firm, which was poised to buy the loans.

Scott Balice is also a substantial Blago contributor.

I'm sure Blagojevich's inner circle apologized to Mesirow and Scott Balice for their temporary loss in state business.

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wouldn't trust Brian Ross


UPDATE II: ABC is sticking by its flimsy story by pointing out it just said that Hastert "was in the mix" of the congressional investigation surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "In the mix" means his name came up. In any investigation, lots of names come up and responsible news organizations don't print them unless there is credible evidence the person is a target. ABC, for some reason, lets Brian Ross overstate stories on a regular basis.

Justice Department denies Hastert is under investigation.

The ABC story that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is under investigation by the feds is probably wrong. Why? It was reported by Brian Ross, who has a long and documented history of ratcheting up stories beyond the facts.

My guess is that the feds crossed Hastert's path but aren't investigating him. Somebody told Ross and he twisted that into a national headline. Ross' lede is a good clue. Read the words closely.

Federal officials say the Congressional bribery investigation now includes Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, based on information from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.
"Now includes" doesn't mean he is under investigation.

Technorati Tags: ,

Maybe not even $5 billion

A respected bank president I know did a separate analysis from the one below and he said he doubted anyone would pay $5 billion for the lottery. More like $3 billion-$4 billion, he said.

Technorati Tags:

Blagojevich's $5 billion exaggeration


Had a financial whiz friend walk me through a rudimentary estimate of the value of the Illinois Lottery to a buyer. Anyway you slice it, it is worth nowhere near Rod Blagojevich's claim of $10 billion. Try about half that.

The above assumes a 19-year shelf life and a discount rate of 10 percent, which errs on the side of Blagojevich. In reality, it probably will be higher. Nonetheless, with that scenario, assuming annual growth of 5 percent in current lottery profits, the asset is probably worth just under $5 billion.

Go to the site and play around with the numbers yourself. You'll never get close to $10 billion.

At $5 billion, the skimmed money is insufficient to even put on the table as an education plan so I'm guessing Rod's people just made up the $10 billion figure. Unless they are going to let a company dramatically expand gambling in Illinois.

Technorati Tags:

Katie gushes over Gore


This picture, courtesy of News Busters, tells the story. I was walking by the TV set this morning and saw a beaming, fawning Katie Couric interview one of the worst presidential candidates in modern history, Al Gore.

If there was ever a doubt that she is a liberal Democrat, it was erased a few hours ago.

"I think in this movie, at different turns, you are funny, vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it, 'if only he was like this before, maybe things would have turned out differently in 2000.'"

I couldn't watch anymore and kept walking.

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Different perspective on Katrina

The national news media, particularly CNN, did its best to make the Katrina response fit into the "Republicans are heartless" template. Unfortunately, Bush administration did a poor job of communicating the heroism and countless rescues.

Lou Dolinar, a former Newsday reporter turned blogger, has written an interesting analysis of what really happened in New Orleans.

Remember the dozens, maybe hundreds, of rapes, murders, stabbings and deaths resulting from official neglect at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? The ones that never happened, as even the national media later admitted?

Sure, we all remember the original reporting, if not the back-pedaling.

Here's another one: Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard helicopters landing at the Superdome as soon as Katrina passed, dropping off tens of thousands saved from certain death? The corpsmen running with stretchers, in an echo of M*A*S*H, carrying the survivors to ambulances and the medical center? About how the operation, which also included the Coast Guard, regular military units, and local first responders, continued for more than a week?

Me neither. Except that it did happen, and got at best an occasional, parenthetical mention in the national media. The National Guard had its headquarters for Katrina, not just a few peacekeeping troops, in what the media portrayed as the pit of Hell. Hell was one of the safest places to be in New Orleans, smelly as it was. The situation was always under control, not surprisingly because the people in control were always there.

Technorati Tags:

If there's no $10 billion, there's no plan

A lot of the early analysis of the Blagojevich lottery sale/lease to fund education is an exercise in futility. If the sale or lease can't generate $10 billion up front, the rest of the plan collapses.

A friend of mine with a background in high stakes finance said he can't see any investor shelling out much more than $4 billion to $5 billion under the most generous of circumstances. And earlier we told you about the Michigan think tank analyst who said, based on his projections, a lottery the size of Illinois' would only generate about $2 billion.

It's up to the press and public to demand that Blagojevich release the detail of his projections so we can save ourselves several weeks of pointless speculation. My guess is that the estimate is as phony as some of his "cost savings" contracts exposed by the Illinois Auditor General.

Technorati Tags: ,

Another phony estimate?

A respected think tank in Michigan said in 2003 that the sale of the state lottery there could bring in one-time revenue of $1.3 billion to $2 billion. Yet, here in Illinois, with a similar size lottery, Rod Blagojevich is claiming a sale would bring in $10 billion.  That's crazy, considering it would take a company 15 years to recoup its $10 billion at the state's current annual revenue of $650 million.  Hmmmm.

Technorati Tags:

Barack Obama on Blagojevich "favors list"

For the first time, the entire Blagojevich favors list has been published. Rich Miller of Capitol Fax has it. Barack Obama is on it, as well as other interesting names.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cronyism and corruption a good bet

It is widely expected that Rod Blagojevich will announce another hare-brained scheme to skim tomorrow's revenue sources for immediate, short-term gain -- this one a sale of the Illinois Lottery.  And we are supposed to trust Tony Rezko, Chris Kelly, Al Ronan and the other insiders running state government to pull this off when we've seen this and this?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Roving for indictment news

Anyone out there who would like to increase traffic to their blog, just say Karl Rove is about to be indicted and include a few details about how you know. Just make it up.

That, apparently, is what one blog site did and despite the scorn the MSM publicly displays for blogs, on this one, it disregarded the dubious credibility of the source.

The reports appeared on the liberal Web site, run by Marc Ash, a former advertising man and fashion photographer in California. Jason Leopold, the author of the stories, directed inquiries to Ash, who says that "we stand by the story. We have multiple points of independent confirmation of what we originally reported. Our problem is, the prosecutor's office is under no obligation to go public."

Leopold acknowledges in a new book, "News Junkie," that he is a past liar, convicted felon and former alcoholic and cocaine addict. An earlier version of the book was canceled by publisher Rowman & Littlefield last year.

When there's a Bush-bashing story to be told, any source is a good source.

That didn't stop more than 35 reporters -- from all the major newspapers, networks and newsmagazines -- from calling Luskin or Rove's spokesman, Mark Corallo, to check it out.

According to, the indictment was supposed to be announced early last week. Rove escaped the charges all last week and was in Wheaton on Saturday without any handcuffs.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Blagojevich breaking the law?

When it comes to Rod Blagojevich's Inspector General's office, mum's the word -- except lately when Rod needs to leak IG results for public relations purposes.

The Sun-Times on Sunday exposed how super insider and Blagojevich pal Al Ronan, who was lobbying for gaming interests, got Lynda Mlinarich hired at the Illinois Gaming Board and then blocked a Gaming Board attempt to fire her. A Blagojevich spokeswoman defended the administration be revealing material that is not supposed to be made public.

The basis for the Gaming Board's complaint against Mlinarich included her failure to report she had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, which the board said was a violation of the Gaming Board code of conduct, Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

The inspector general, however, ruled that code didn't apply in this case because Mlinarich was subpoenaed involving McPier, not the Gaming Board.

"There was no violation of the Gaming Board code of conduct because the subpoena was related to when she worked at McPier. There was no basis for termination," Ottenhoff said.

Similarly, the inspector general found no wrongdoing involving Mlinarich and government credit cards.

"After the Gaming Board raised this, we had the inspector general look into the matter. Her determination was that the allegations of the misuse of the McPier credit cards were not tied to Ms. Mlinarich," Ottenhoff said.

Blagojevich's spokeswoman spilled a lot of information about an Inspector General investigation that is supposed to be secret.

(d) Unless otherwise provided in this Act, all investigatory files and reports of the Office of an Executive Inspector General, other than quarterly reports, are confidential, are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and shall not be divulged to any person or agency, except as necessary (i) to the appropriate law enforcement authority if the matter is referred pursuant to this Act, (ii) to the ultimate jurisdictional authority, (iii) to the Executive Ethics Commission; or (iv) to another Inspector General appointed pursuant to this Act.

(Source: P.A. 93‑617, eff. 12‑9‑03.)

Of course the law that makes it secret is bad public policy but it has shielded Blagojevich from a lot of embarrassment the last two years or so. The Tribune noticed this last year in a May 23 story.

It also highlights how the state's new ethics laws, aimed at shining more sunlight on Illinois government, can often become a shield that prevents public release of information.

Results of investigations by the state's executive inspector general are kept secret. The chairman of a state ethics panel said even he can't see the inspector general's reports. And even a letter from the inspector general to the chairman of a House panel reviewing Central Management was labeled "confidential correspondence" and kept from public view.

"Despite the best of intentions, we have inadvertently created a mechanism that frustrates the very purpose we were trying to achieve -- greater transparency in government," said Rep. John Frichey (D-Chicago), who has backed efforts to open up the ethics law. "We now have a system more suited for the former Eastern Europe than for Illinois."

So Blagojevich uses the secrecy of the law to shield information from the public and to selectively leak it when it serves his purposes. Again, where is state Attorney General Lisa Madigan?

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pepsi thief popped in Springfield

The best line of the weekend, from a man who stumbled onto a Pepsi machine vandal in Springfield, armed with his tool of choice.

The man said he asked the man what he was doing, to which the man replied, "Getting a Pepsi."

Swetland said the witness then asked, "Do you normally use a crowbar to get a Pepsi?"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

60 seconds of torture

Aaron at Free Will is right on -- this far left political ad from Connecticut has a certain science-fiction creepiness to it. They ought to loop this and show it to terrorists in prison until they spill their guts. It won't take long.

Technorati Tags:

"We do things right"


The Blagojevich spin machine's "we do things right" mantra is being put to the test by Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland, who today found cigars at the Conservation Foundation, and,

Illegal bonuses totaling $267,447 at the Illinois Finance Authority.

Technorati Tags:

Hell week for Illinois Democrats


Mayor Daley's administration on trial for patronage abuses. Governor Rod Blagojevich on the griddle for keeping a secret "favors list."

But that wasn't all the bad news for Illinois Democrats this week. At the trial of Daley patronage chief Robert Sorich, a witness told the court that city workers helped the campaigns of Daley, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel. Some of that political work was on city time.

Falcon also said she used her city phone on paid time to organize workers to call voters for Lisa Madigan, now the Illinois attorney general. Jurors were shown a list that Falcon said she kept in a notebook.

According to the list, Fleet Management Department workers helped make calls for Madigan on a Monday, Sewers Department workers on that Tuesday, Transportation Department workers on Wednesday and Water Department workers on Thursday.

Emanuel, of course, is one of the Dems' point persons in Washington slamming Republicans for a "culture of corruption."

As Republican congressional candidate Peter Roskam pointed out today, Democrats who accept help from the mayor and governor better get ready to answer questions about the corruption encircling the state.

"You don't get to be the beneficiary of a machine that catapults you into office and then play Claude Raines," said Mr. Roskam, referring to a movie figure whose character was "shocked, shocked" to discover gambling occurring in Casablanca.

It's starting to look like the reverse of 2002, when Illinois Republicans were under siege for corruption.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Buyer's remorse, four years later


While the Sun-Times news staff was hustling to get ahead of the Tribune on the Rod Blagojevich hiring scandal story, the editorial board was rousing from a deep sleep.

I like many of the members of the Sun-Times board, but they are a little behind the curve when it comes to sniffing out Blagojevich corruption.

You'd think the Sun-Times would have noticed that Rod Blagojevich was less than a reformer when it saw his uncanny fundraising ability, the multiple federal investigations and the hundreds of pay-to-play newspaper articles from around the state. Until today, however, the Sun-Times was sticking by the man it endorsed four years ago with the following words.
Rod Blagojevich will usher in a new era in state government, and after all the scandal and acrimony of recent years, we are eager to see it.
Today, finally, the "favors list" uncovered by Sun-Times reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney made the light go on in the editorial board room and the ST realized what nearly every newspaper editorial board grasped four years ago: Rod is not sincere on ethics.
When Gov. Blagojevich said he was going to "rock the boat" in Springfield and conduct business differently than his predecessor, the electorate wanted to believe him. They were tired of scandals that had besmirched the George Ryan administration. They were eager for wholesome government, free of patronage hiring, backroom deals, favors for political contributors. They wanted a cleansing of the corruption that had mired Ryan's tenure and ended with federal convictions.

With the mayor's former director of intergovernmental affairs on trial, George Ryan convicted of 22 federal counts and the feds zeroing in on the governor's office, it's hard for voters to believe they are being served well, and honestly, by their lawmakers. Disappointment isn't even a strong enough word for how most of us feel.
It's never too late to come around.

Sun-Times whacks Blago back


Last Friday, Rod Blagojevich's handlers knew the Chicago Sun-Times planned a Sunday blockbuster about a hiring scandal in the administration.
Rather than take its medicine and move on, the handlers decided they would pull the Clintonesque move of dumping the bad news out there on Friday, pre-empting the Sun-Times.

The cutesy play was poorly executed and cost the Blagojevich administration bad front page stories Saturday in the Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and State Journal-Register, as well as alerting every media outlet in the state it had something to hide.

This week, the Sun-Times let the Blagojevich administration know what it thought of its maneuver last week, with hard-hitting, top of the front page stories Tuesday AND Wednesday.

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rod is morphing into George Ryan


The irony of the 2002 campaign for Governor was that Rod Blagojevich was much more like George Ryan than Jim Ryan, even though Jim Ryan lost the election because of the damage inflicted on the Republican Party by George.

Four years later, the truth is finally emerging. Rod's corruption scandals are eerily evoking the ghosts of George Ryan:

Both George and Rod have been called "Public Official A" by Patrick Fitzgerald.

Both George and Rod hid behind their Inspector General.

Both George and Rod used taxpayer-funded lawyers to shield their administrations from federal investigations.

Both George and Rod threw scapegoats under the bus to hide wider corruption in their offices.

And, now, Rod, just like George, has his "clout list."

        The Sun-Times' blockbuster story this morning will turn the heat up on Rod to explain why a guy who was going to "change the way we do business in Springfield" has so closely followed the George Ryan playbook.

        Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A quiet hero is remembered


I didn't know Illinois State Police special agent Rodney T. Miller well -- never met him and only talked to him on the phone half a dozen times. But I knew I was talking to a real pro and man of integrity.

I last talked to him on Wednesday of last week. On Friday, he died in a car accident near Champaign, leaving behind a wife and two children. Judging from the turnout at his funeral Monday in Decatur, Miller touched many lives in a positive way.

May he rest in peace.

Kerry calls for swift boats

To help on the border, John Kerry is swiftly calling for more agents and more boats.

John Kerry's Rapid Response Amendment

Tomorrow John Kerry will offer an amendment to the Immigration Reform Bill to add 1,000 additional Border Patrol agents – bringing the total up to 3,000 new agents this year – plus add an additional 100 helicopters and 250 power boats to secure America's borders. Kerry's amendment would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to deploy up to 1,000 additional border patrol agents if the governor of a border state declares an international border security emergency and requests additional agents.

Technorati Tags: , ,

The ghost of Dean Bauer

Until Friday, nobody in Illinois knew what Rod Blagojevich's Inspector General does. That's because the "reform" law creating the IG allows virtually no public disclosure of IG activities.

Isn't that what we were trying to prevent -- a repeat of Dean Bauer, George Ryan's investigation stuffing IG?

Well, what we found out Friday was the IG had no problem allowing itself to be used for political purposes. For the first time ever, the Governor's office announced an IG office recommendation and referral to a federal law enforcement agency. The announcement was hastily made to take the steam out of a Chicago Sun-Times expose.

And, the circumstances surrounding the IG's investigation of Central Management Services' hiring scandal at least raises the specter that the IG was trying to shield the administration more than it truly wanted to uncover corruption.

Of course, we can't prove anything because the IG operates in almost complete secrecy. We do know that the first IG under Rod left mysteriously and the current IG, James Wright, was brought over from the Illinois Tollway, where he served as IG there. Did he help clean up corruption at the clout-happy agency. You decide after reading the following list of highlights:

On its big $700 million borrowing in 2005, the tollway gave a no-bid contract to Lehman Brothers to manage the deal. According to the March 23, 2005, Chicago Tribune, Lehman paid Blagojevich's former congressional chief of staff John Wyma as a consultant on the transaction as part of the $400,000 it has paid Wyma since Rod became governor.

The Daily Herald reported May 1, 2005, that more than 80 percent of the construction and engineering firms with tollway contracts are donors to Blagojevich's campaign fund. Those companies contributed a combined $1.3 million to the governor's campaign and hold tollway contracts worth $548 million.

The Tribune reported on Feb. 13, 2005, that despite his pledge to purge the tollway of cronyism, Rod Blagojevich's two top fundraisers, Chris Kelly and Tony Rezko, have links two lucrative no-bid food contracts at tollway oases. In addition, Tribune reports that the general contractor on the oases redesigns gave Rod's campaign $50,000 just before the administration moved forward on his contract.

Channel 7 in Chicago did a three-part series in February 2005 that revealed that one of the no-bid tollway oases food contracts went to NY pizza chain Famous Famiglia, the official pizza of the NY Yankees. The venture is connected to Eddie DeBartolo Jr., a convicted felon who once tried to bribe the governor of Louisiana.

DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, whose office previously prosecuted the biggest corruption case ever at the tollway, opened a civil investigation into the legality of the tollway oases contracts in wake of the media reports. Tollway headquarters are located in DuPage County.

The Daily Herald and other media outlets reported on Dec. 5, 2005, that the U.S. Attorneys office in Chicago had issued grand jury subpoenas to the tollway for records relating to the tollway oases contracts, including those involving firms tied to Kelly, Rezko and DeBartolo.

The Sun-Times reported on Feb. 26, 2006, that a company whose owners donated $76,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund has seen a contract to deliver I-Pass transponders balloon to $7 million from the original $150,000. IGOR was not the low bidder and its massive contract amendments were given without competitive bidding. IGOR also hired Wyma as a lobbyist.

The Daily Herald reported in February 2006 that the tollway decided to switch from concrete to brick sound barriers after the local bricklayers union donated $20,000 to Blagojevich's campaign. The bricks cost at least $19 million more than concrete.
So if the Inspector Generals aren't cleaning up anything, what are they good for? Political cover? Isn't that what George Ryan used Dean Bauer for?

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, May 15, 2006

CMesS saga just gets messier

In a story just moved on the wire, John O'Connor at AP reveals that the consultant the Blagojevich administration says uncovered corruption at Central Management Services was a crony hiring.

In an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press, Wynn told then-CMS Director Michael Rumman that he sought competitive bids to "test the market," but decided Simmons would be cheaper and more effective, so gave her the personal services contract without going through the bidding process.

Technorati Tags:

Interfering with feds?

Why are taxpayers paying for a second probe of hiring irregularities in Rod Blagojevich's administration?

Yesterday, Blagojevich was caught by the press and answered a few questions about the investigations.

The governor's remarks were his first public statements since Friday, when his office announced that it had fired the two employees, Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey, who both used to head CMS' personnel office. CMS is the agency that fills state jobs.

Both employees, who were fired last month, are fighting the dismissals through the Civil Service Commission. Their attorney accuses the governor's office of being among those who sought the favored treatment of certain applicants.

There are many things to scoff at in Blagojevich's statement, including the notion that an isolated and dubious referral to the federal government by his Inspector General shows his administration roots out corruption. Especially since the news media has already reported on numerous federal corruption investigations already underway in his administration that had nothing to do with his IG.

Another funny one was his reference to an "independent" Inspector General when it was not the IG, but his own chief of staff that announced the referral at Friday's deflective press conference.

But what caught my eye most was the administration's contention that a private law firm, paid for by taxpayers, is continuing to examine hiring irregularities even though the matter has already been referred to the feds. And that the feds already are looking at those irregularities in various other Blagojevich agencies.

Blagojevich also said his office handed the case over to the U.S. attorney's office and has hired a private law firm to continue looking for possible hiring irregularities.

Either the private firm is interfering with a federal investigation or it isn't really doing anything except being used as a pr tool by the administration.

Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Floodgates about to open on Blago

Governor Rod Blagojevich's transparent attempt to get in front of the hiring scandal story was a failure and it shows he is almost defenseless against the corruption investigations engulfing his administration.

He wanted to avoid a big Sunday story in the Sun-Times and instead his hastily called press conference Friday bought him front page stories Saturday in both the Sun-Times and Tribune. And his cutesy little game of publicly announcing an Inspector General referral to the feds didn't fool anybody -- it just alerted the news media to coming attractions.

For one thing, he's never publicly announced a referral before. For another, it is a matter of public record that the feds already are investigating virtually every agency in his administration.

The real game is not the Springfield office of Central Management Services, it is the governor's office in Chicago and his patronage chief Joe Cini. The feds already have seized Cini's computer and files and it quite clear from the stories so far that all hiring decisions went through him. The real question is who was Cini getting his orders from.

Blagojevich said when news broke about allegations of hiring irregularities at City Hall, he asked Cini about it "just to make sure that we're not operating that way."

"I called up our patronage ..." the governor said, catching himself as he used the common title for the head of the state's hiring operation. "He's not even that, he's intergovernmental affairs director, we even changed the name, and just to get some reassurance ... and his answer kind of summed it up: Of course, we don't do those things."

Rich Miller was right on when he said the hiring scandal already has eerily evoked flashbacks to the George Ryan scandal. Trash a couple of scapegoats, try to use a feeble IG's office as a defense, and load up on former federal prosecutors to defend against a widening U.S. Attorney's office probe.

George Ryan did essentially the same thing wheen the feds started nosing around the secretary of state's office. His parallel investigation helped him keep tabs on what the G was up to.

This promises to be a bad week for Blagojevich. Expect some new revelations. And a hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Springfield before the state Civil Service Commission where the scapegoats Blagojevich just fired get a chance to tell their side of the story.

Blagojevich is going to need a dramatic subject changer soon but unfortunately for him George Ryan already played the moratorium card.

Technorati Tags: ,

Simple as A, B, C

Here's a good explanation of why the telephone data records are needed and why President Bush is right and Democrats like Dick Durbin are wrong again on national security.

The potential value of such anonymized domestic telephone records is best understood through a hypothetical example. Suppose a telephone associated with Mohamed Atta had called a domestic telephone number A. And then suppose that A had called domestic telephone number B. And then suppose that B had called C. And then suppose that domestic telephone number C had called a telephone number associated with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The most effective way to recognize such patterns is the computerized analysis of billions of phone records. The large-scale analysis of anonymized data can pinpoint individuals -- at home or abroad -- who warrant more intrusive investigative or intelligence techniques, subject to all safeguards normally associated with those techniques.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More to this story

Here is the Tribune story on the press conference by the Blagojevich people. This is total misdirection. I'll have more later.

Technorati Tags: ,

More problems for Blagojevich at CMS

JUST ANNOUNCED: Rod Blagojevich's chief of staff will conduct a press conference at 1:30 at the State of Illinois building to talk about problems at the administration's Central Management Services agency. My guess is the press caught him on something and he is trying to get in front of the story.

Deep freeze at Sun-Times continues

The Sun-Times thought the exoneration of Anthony Porter in 1999 was a big, big story. It published more than 100 stories, including a 3,861-word epic that won several awards.

In this land of housing projects and poor families, where murder was almost as common as vacant lots, a crime, it seemed, had been solved. A case cleared.

And if, in the lockdown of Death Row, with two days between him and the executioner's needle sliding into his arm, that man knew he hadn't committed the crime, what did it matter, really? Outside that cold cell, who really cared?

Well, today, Alstory Simon has replaced Porter in prison and the Sun-Times empathy toward a potentially wrongfully convicted man seems to have dried up. Credible evidence has come forward that the Simon may be innocent and that the Porter exoneration story may have been a fraud. Suddenly, the Sun-Times has lost interest in the saga.

This week the absurd freeze-out continued. Attorneys for Simon brought forward two new witnesses to the crime, including one who has sworn in an affidavit that he saw Porter do the shooting of Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard in 1982.

That follows revelations that all witnesses against Simon have recanted and that a minister has come forward and verified that Simon told him in 1999 that his "confession" was coerced.

The new witness accounts were filed in Cook County Circuit Court, where Simon is seeking a new hearing. The attorneys staged a news conference afterwards and other news media covered the story, including the Tribune, and ABC-7 Chicago.

"I looked up to see Porter firing a gun and I saw Jerry laying in the bleachers," Brown said in the affidavit, filed in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay.

If any newspaper ought to be interested in the story, it's the Sun-Times. The murder occurred on the city's southeast side, the heart of the Sun-Times' circulation base.

When information came forward that Anthony Porter may be innocent in 1999, the Sun-Times didn't hesitate to tell the story. Within a couple of weeks of news that Porter might be innocent, here is a line at the end of the Sun-Times' award-winning story that describes the effort.

This account was assembled through interviews with David Protess, Paul Ciolino, Tom McCann, Cara Rubinsky, Shawn Armbrust, Eric LeBorgne, Syandene Rhodes-Pitts and Lori D'Angelo, as well as a review of police reports, medical examiner's reports, trial testimony and appellate records, and visits to the key locations in Milwaukee, Evanston and Chicago.

Now, information is coming forward that Alstory Simon may be innocent and the Sun-Times won't even send a reporter to write a brief.

The only rational explanation for the silence is that the Sun-Times believes the new twist in the Anthony Porter storyline makes its 1999 stories on the exoneration look more like cheerleading than real journalism. And the editors are doing their best to make sure that Alstory Simon goes away quietly, regardless of whether he is truly guilty of the murders.

I'm sure there are those at the Tribune who aren't crazy about this story, either. The Trib is not tackling the Simon claims with the zeal it tackled other possible wrongful conviction stories, but to its credit it is putting stories in the paper.

From the Sun-Times -- the sounds of silence. Or as it said in 1999: "Outside that cold cell, who really cared?"

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Shoot first, retreat later

By a 2-1 margin, a new poll shows that Americans approve of phone data surveillance to combat terrorism. That should put an end to the Dick Durbin & Co.'s one-day spasm of Bush bashing until the next trumped up story from the national media.

As usual lately, Chris Matthews is wrong.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Why Democrats can't lead on terror

Durbin Screams
Predictably, Democrats, enabled by the national media, are trying to suggest that the USA Today story this morning about collection of phone number patterns in the war against terror is somehow invading our privacy.

I'd say a chemical bomb that wipes out downtown Chicago is the real problem, not the NSA doing its job.

With Tony Snow now installed as White House press secretary, look for a strong push-back and a retreat by the Democrats.

The American people want to be protected and they understand we need to use sophisticated technology to do it.

Technorati Tags: ,

The House that Pujols Built


The new Busch Stadium lived up to my expectations -- great seat angles, rocking sound system, showcasing of the Arch-dominated skyline and not a single Cubs fan in sight. What amazed me most was the big screen scoreboard. It was the sharpest picture I've ever seen at a sports event by far. Made re-watching Albert Pujols' 18th HR extra nice.

Walked over to Al Hrabosky's bar afterwards and it is a rollicking, Murphy's type atmosphere with a special Missouri flavor, as demonstrated by this.


Technorati Tags: ,

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

New witness statements

Brown Affidavit 2-8-06Love Statement 2-10-06

Here are the two new witness statements implicating Anthony Porter in the murders of Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green in Chicago 24 years ago. They were filed in Cook County Circuit Court this morning by lawyers for Alstory Simon, who is serving a 37-year sentence for the crimes (see post below).

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

New witnesses say Porter committed murder

This morning the Tribune has the scoop about two important new witnesses in the unraveling story of the nationally celebrated Anthony Porter exoneration in 1999.

In the new affidavit, 35-year-old Raymond Brown says he was in the pool in the park the night Jerry Hillard and his fiance, Marilyn Green, were gunned down in nearby bleachers. The Tribune obtained a copy of the affidavit.

In the affidavit, Brown, who would have been 13 at the time, said he was with three friends in the park that night.

"While swimming I heard gunshots in the bleachers," Brown's affidavit states. "I looked up to see Porter firing a gun and I saw Jerry laying in the bleachers. I then saw Porter run past us with a gun in his hand," the document states.

Lawyers for Alstory Simon, who is serving 37 years in prison for the 1982 murders of Hillard and Green on Chicago's southeast side, are filing the witness affidavits this morning in Cook County Circuit Court and then will talk to the media.

Wonder if the Chicago Sun-Times will decide, finally, that this blockbuster story deserves a few sentences. Until now, the paper has refused to write a single word about the case.

I'll post the statements later today.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, May 8, 2006

Pssssst, somebody tell Chris Matthews....

We're winning the war, according to captured al-Qaeda correspondence.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Tribune sanitizes left-wing group

Although there's not a hint of evidence of it, the Tribune recently published a story that suggests something is amiss with DuPage County elections.

And in doing so, it failed to do its homework about a group it describes as "non-partisan" but is in reality a wacky left wing organization.

The story recounts a dispute between the DuPage County Board of Election Commissioners and a bureaucrat from the Illinois Secretary of State's office. DuPage officials say they are following the law by disposing of elections tapes months after the election. The SOS officials say DuPage has to ask permission of their office first.

Driving the story is criticism from a group called the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Melissa Urda and Jean Kaczmarek, co-chairwomen of the DuPage Chapter of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, a non-partisan election watchdog group, came across the issue as they sought "poll tapes" for the November 2004 election. They were hoping to check the accuracy of optical scan voting machines made by Diebold Inc., a lightning rod for controversy because its former chairman is a supporter of President Bush. They have not been permitted to do so.

Poll tapes are the printouts made from the machines the evening of an election after the machine has read all the ballots and tallied the votes on its internal computer.

"The illegal destruction of records is a breach of public trust," Kaczmarek said. "If the commission has not been following the rule of law, how can we trust how they're conducting elections, particularly when the process is not transparent to the public?"

This "non-partisan election watchdog group" calls itself non-partisan but is far from it.

I found that Urda and Kaczmarek have been speaking guests at DuPage County Democratic party events, and that the Naperville Township Democratic organization describes Urda as "one of our precinct committeemen."

A look at the group's national and state websites shows links to myriad books, articles and websites espousing theories of stolen national elections and an extreme fascination with Diebold Inc., as some sort of diabolical election apparatus run out of Karl Rove's basement.

Here's an example of what the group is promoting:



Harvey Wasserman, noted journalist, author, activist and historian will be in Chicago on Saturday, September 17th to speak on Election Fraud in 2004 and democratic reforms that are necessary to restore the integrity of US elections nationwide. Among his numerous publications, Harvey most recently co-wrote with Bob Fritakis: How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008 identified as a "Most Censored" story by Project Censored.

Ron Baiman will also be speaking. He is Senior Economic Researcher at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at UIC, Asst. Professor at the University of Chicago and Vice President of US Count Votes. He holds a Ph. D. in Economics and a BS in Mathematics and Physics. Following the 2004 elections he has been involved in studies of exit polls in comparison with official vote tallies in Ohio.

These events are sponsored by Illinois Ballot Integrity Project and by US Count Votes. To contact us call Larry Quick at 630-460-0857, Melissa Urda at 630-357-0744, or Ron Baiman 708-445-9052.

Oh, and if someone is still doubtful about my characterization of the group's politics, look at the national website. It links to And it asks people to sign a resolution loaded with sentiments from the moveon crowd.

WHEREAS, the U.S. Federal Elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 were fraught with disreputable conduct and evidence of steadily increasing malfeasance; and

WHEREAS, the impact of such dishonorable elections has been the progressive undermining of the health, well-being and liberties of Americans, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; and

With important statewide elections coming up in November and a red-hot congressional race in the 6th, we expect to hear more overheated rhetoric from the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Let's hope the media starts properly labeling the group.

Technorati Tags: , ,

The blockbuster the media refuses to cover


(Porter, left, and Simon)

The gatekeepers in the Chicago media establishment don't want to let this one in.

Newly emerging evidence shows that the Anthony Porter exoneration that launched the Illinois death penalty moratorium may have been a fraud.

The same people who were lionized by the news media for sparing Anthony Porter from the death penalty in 1999 framed an innocent man along the way, an explosive court filing alleges.

The Porter exoneration in 1999 was a national story, even used last year by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy when he grilled Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. So if the exoneration is a fraud, that's a big story, too, right?

Not to the Chicago media, though, which is giving this emerging blockbuster story the silent treatment (with a few notable exceptions).

Paul Meincke of ABC-7, perhaps the most respected TV reporter in Chicago, has done several stories, including an interview with the man who may have been framed. His stories are here and here. Most other Chicago TV stations have run at least one story in response to a press conference.

The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, the papers that have done thousands of stories about potential miscarriages of justice in our criminal justice system? Here's the scorecard on the Porter exoneration fraud story:

TRIBUNE -- 4 short stories averaging 366 words, or about 10 paragraphs. And columnist Eric Zorn has written about the case twice largely to discredit the motives of the attorneys bringing the case, although he never once attacked the motives of any of the cast of characters who advocated on behalf of the dozens of other cases Eric has written about.

-- Not a single word.

I'll say up front that I do not know who shot and killed Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green on Chicago southeast side in 1982. But I was a reporter and editor for 15 years and I know a good story when I see one. For anyone interested in following this saga in the weeks ahead, I strongly urge you to read the post-conviction petition filed by Alstory Simon in Cook County Circuit Court. He is seeking a hearing based on all the new evidence.

The petition is here.

There are many facts in this case or any other. Here are a few that stand out:

--No physical evidence has ever existed against Alstory Simon.

--The two witnesses who implicated him years after the crime have recanted.

--Nobody can place Simon near the scene of the crime near the time of the murders.

--Several people place Porter at the scene at the time of the murders.

--Simon's "confession" that he since has recanted was miraculously obtained by flamboyant private investigator Paul Ciolino, who said in an interview, "we bull rushed him." Ciolino then immediately arranged that Simon be represented by his friend, attorney Jack Rimland. During the time Rimland was representing Simon, he gave Ciolino and Northwestern journalism professor David Protess an award for uncovering evidence against his client!

--A respected minister in Milwaukee has come forward and sworn that Simon told him his confession was false in 1999.

I'll have much more about the central figures in this case in future posts and my motivation in looking into it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Best running toy yet


Just bought this Garmin Forerunner 305 and used it twice this weekend. I had an earlier Garmin GPS unit (201) and a Polar foot pod model. This is the best tool by far. The GPS unit is much improved and it measures time, pace, distance, elevation, direction, everything. The two things it doesn't do is make you faster and make you richer. It's not cheap. But luckily my also too expensive Polar foot pod konked out so many times I got my money back and used it towards this contraption.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Friday, May 5, 2006

Kennedy spin -- none better

I will not pile on Patrick Kennedy. I don't care that much about the story. I hope he gets the help he needs.

But that was one extraordinary statement today. For someone in the political pr business like me, it was like watching Pele kick a soccer ball. The artistry is unmistakable.

There is nothing that can touch a Kennedy damage control operation. I think Ol' Joe set up a secret perpetual account that pays for a commando pr unit that exists only for days like this.

I was taking pain medication and was trying to sleep so I took sleep medication when somehow I slept drove and don't remember anything.

The whole night explained! Even the drinking earlier if that turns out to be true. I don't remember a thing.

Then, scamper off to rehab so he can regroup to continue fighting for the people. There were some glaring contradictions, for sure. Like how he ticked off all his problems and rehabs and then said he's given voters good service. Democrats don't view contradictions as problems. They are trained early and often to pivot forcefully away from them.

Now, finally, I see why every Democrat reveres the Kennedys. Their spin is unparalleled.

Technorati Tags: ,

Nut cases are cured if they are anti-Bush

No big surprise here, but that retired CIA analyst who heckled Donald Rumsfeld the other day and got prime MSM coverage has a long and easily retrievable record of nutty behavior.

But poof, that record disappears if a nut or extreme partisan bashes President Bush.

The networks referred to Ray McGovern as simply "retired CIA analyst," not certified whack job.

Just like the MSM forgot to mention that fired CIA leader Mary McCarthy gave about $10,000 in campaign contributions to John Kerry and the Ohio Democratic Party in 2004.

And anyone wonders why the MSM's audience share erodes by the day.

Tip #1: What happened to Park Ridge probe?

Now that the City of Chicago has a new tipline and website to expose corruption, we'll be taking advantage of it. I will post a tip/question on the site and let you know if I hear back.

My question:

What happened to the investigation of Chicago Department of Transportation workers using a city truck and crew of workers passing out Rod Blagojevich literature during the middle of a work day in 2002?

A Park Ridge woman took a picture of the truck and the Jim Ryan campaign in 2002 highlighted her story at a press conference in the closing weeks of the campaign. The City said an investigation was underway. What happened to that investigation? If you need a refresher, here's a Nov. 1, 2002, Sun-Times story by Jim Ritter:

The City of Chicago on Thursday disciplined seven workers who allegedly used a Transportation Department truck to distribute Rod Blagojevich campaign literature in suburban Park Ridge.

Five seasonal workers were put on unpaid leave and two permanent workers were put on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Blagojevich is the Democratic candidate for governor, and Mayor Daley is his campaign chairman.

"One of the supreme ironies of this campaign is that Rod Blagojevich is using the corrupt Chicago Machine to try to get elected on a pledge to clean up corruption in Springfield," said Republican candidate Jim Ryan.

Blagojevich said the workers aren't connected to his campaign.

"I don't know who these people are," he said. "This is all new to me."

Transportation Department Commissioner Miguel d'Escoto called the allegations "serious," and added, "If it is determined there was any wrongdoing, we will pursue immediate discipline."

The incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. Beverly Stanis, a Republican election judge, said a Blagojevich campaign worker came to her door and asked her to support Blagojevich.

A few minutes later, she saw an orange Chicago Transportation Department truck parked nearby. Several people, including the worker who came to her door, picked up what appeared to be campaign literature from the truck.

"There was a beehive of activity," she said.

Stanis said that when she asked a friend to photograph the crew, several workers gave her a thumbs down, scowled and drove off.

"I think it's terrible for city workers to campaign on city time," she said.

The Park Ridge Journal reported the incident Oct. 23. Stanis, who has since moved from Park Ridge, appeared with Ryan at a news conference Thursday.

Stanis said she has "the greatest respect and admiration for Richard Daley. I know he would not tolerate this stuff."

The significance of this incident is highlighted in at least one plea agreement in the Hired Truck scandal where it is alleged that city workers were organized to work on behalf of the Democratic statewide ticket.

Yet I'm not aware of direct evidence of that work taking place -- except in Park Ridge.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Three thumbs up?

Missed this one in Sneed.

Racial profiling and junk statistics

Here we go again with the phony racial profiling stories.

In the Daily Herald today, there's a top-of-the-front-page story on police stats released by DuPage County police chiefs showing that there is a slight variance is some communities between the number of traffic stops and racial composition.

Therefore, the suggestion is -- racial profiling!

Yet any first year college statistics student can tell you these stats -- and the hundreds of others collected under a bad state law -- are as significant as one of those polls on the 10 o'clock news.

The Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald, who should have won about four Pulitzer Prizes by now but never will because she devastates liberal orthodoxy, has proven the folly of these statistical studies. Her groundbreaking, "The Myth of Racial Profiling" should be required reading for any lawmaker even thinking about passing racial profiling legislation based on junk statistics.

In short, Mac Donald shows that without including a variety of factors such as driving patterns, whether the stops were at night or day, differing crime statistics among racial groups, etc., the stats are utterly meaningless. Here's what she wrote in a recent op-ed in Massachusetts.

A reliable model of police discretion requires many more variables; the Northeastern team does not even hint at them. To now order Massachusetts officers to collect racial data, without developing a valid benchmark for that data, is senseless -- even more so given how minute the disparities measured by the recent study are. Cops will waste countless hours filling out forms that no one knows how to analyze, and they may think twice before stopping minority violators, lest they be accused of racism.

And she posits that these meaningless studies are not harmless. By the collection of the data and resulting distortive publicity, police officers eventually stop fewer minorities and some criminals who would have been deterred are not. Since minorities are disproportionately the victims of crime, ironically, these phony statistical studies are harming minorities most, Mac Donald says.

We have U.S. Senator Barack Obama and a bunch of state legislators to blame for this mess. While he was state senator, Obama sponsored this feel-good and do-bad legislation. It called for three years of data collection that will be released in a statewide report July 1. Get ready for a barrage of faulty analysis.