An uninteresting day personally-worked on my Herculean task, little else, but a big day in Illinois politics.
So Governor Ryan is stepping aside. First, the tribute: George Ryan has done good things for Illinois. He's revitalized infrastructure, including following up on his promise of untying the Hillside Strangler. He instituted the moratorium on capital punishment. He's been a defender of rights for all citizens. All of this is good news, and, Governor Ryan should rightly be praised for it. Unfortunately, actions that occurred during Gov. Ryan's tenure on his previous job (as Illinois Secretary Of State) have colored public perception of him and the job he has been doing as governor. And, again, rightfully so. Then-Sec. Of State Ryan's office (which serves as the Department of Motor Vehicles in Illinois) was discovered to have been selling commercial driver's licenses for bribes to driving testers and (maybe-the grand jury is still investigating) payments to Ryan's political fund. There have already been some 38 convictions and plea deals reached in this case, and more indictments (including some against Ryan) are a definite possibility. But even that won't be the damage from the scandal that makes him un-re-electable. The simple damage? Five dead children, burned alive in their van, who died when they were hit by a truck driver driving on a license he received in return for bribes. I don't envy Ryan's dreams of their ghosts.
What does this decision mean? Well, it means the gubernatorial race is officially wide open. With George Ryan out, the Republican nomination is available for Attorney General and unindicted co-conspirator Jim Ryan (no relation) who is likely to officially announce his candidacy for governor tomorrow. State Representative Patrick O'Malley has already announced, and Lieutenant Governor Corrine Wood is said to be considering a bid. Dark horse: keep an eye on U. S. Senator Patrick Fitzgerald. On the Democratic side, we have former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas, Congressman Rod Blagojevich, and former state comptroller Michael Bakalis have either announced or announced they will announce, plus about five other people said to be considering a bid, including Bill Daley, former U. S. Secretary of Commerce and brother of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley. If I had to put forth a guess now, I'd say the likelihood is of an unconvicted felon Jim Ryan-Rod Blagojevich race, but that could change easily, depending on who gets in. (BTW, re: my anti-Jim Ryan vitriol, I'll tell you later, but for now I'll just say that Jim Ryan's work as DuPage county State's Attorney was one of the reasons George Ryan instituted the death penalty moratorium.)
Today's Link Of The Day is Ellison Webderland, the official outlet for Harlan Ellison on the web. Harlan Ellison is…well, at the base, Harlan is a science fiction writer. But he's also a force of nature, an outspoken critic of…well, everything, and one of the most endlessly fascinating persons out there. Take a look around the site and try to draw some measure of the man. http://www.harlanellison.com
8/9/2001 3:55 AM