This Week In Illinois …

Particularly pungent

Dear Citizens of Illinois:

Is Patti eating tarantulas any worse than the B.S. we were asked to swallow this week?

University of Illinois President B. Joseph White kicked off the festivities by backpedaling from his initial denials that the school he runs has anything resembling a clout list, labeled Category I, for the well-connected to skirt the usual admissions criteria -- you know, like having good grades in high school.

White then announced he would appoint a task force to look into how to administer an admissions process with integrity.

Get back to us on that one, B.

Then indicted alderman Ike Carothers returned to City Council chambers for the first time since news reports revealed he had worn a wire for more than a year for the feds -- which "divided" the council.

"Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said he did not think it proper for anyone caught doing wrong to seek softer punishment by helping authorities build a case against a colleague," the Tribune reported.

Including gangbangers, drug dealers, white-collar criminals and members of Rod Blagojevich's inner circle?

Cardenas was easily outdone, though, by aldermanic colleague Berny Stone, who railed against inspector general David Hoffman in the wake of Hoffman's critical report of the city's parking meter deal.

"He's not an MBA," yelled Stone. "He's not even a CPA."

And neither are most of the councilmembers who voted for the plan.

Hoffman is, however, a former federal prosecutor.

Worse, it turned out that Stone hadn't even read Hoffman's report.

Which makes sense because like most aldermen, he probably didn't read the lease contract either before voting to approve it. After all, he's not an MBA or a CPA.

The biggest whopper about the parking meter deal this week, however, was uttered by the city's chief financial officer, Paul Volpe, who claimed against all evidence to the contrary that "It's impossible for us to force the City Council on any matter."

Then the City Council, angry that City Hall had forced the parking meter lease on them, passed a new ordinance requiring the city to give it 15 days to review similar plans in the future.

That's right, the City Council had to pass a law requiring itself to review major financial contracts before passing them.

State legislators might want to consider a law requiring them to do their jobs, as well. It turns out the budget they just passed not only doesn't add up, it doesn't even halfway add up.

But like the Chicago City Council, they're just pawns in another man's game. "We're expected to follow along like lemmings," complained Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston).

And they do.

Meanwhile, Patti Blagojevich is telling a national television audience from the jungles of Costa Rica that her husband was removed from office -- and indicted by federal authorities -- because "the special interests" didn't like the fact that he was just trying to help people.

So I beseech you, dear citizens: please make it stop.

I would even eat tarantulas myself if you could just make these people go away.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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