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Amazing News: Alexi Giannoulias Plans to Run for Obama’s Former Senate Seat

Alexi Giannoulias and Barack Obama

Alexi Giannoulias and Barack Obama

Holy Toledo! Former mob-connected investment banker and Obama basketball buddy and current Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is going to challenge recently appointed Senator Roland Burris for Senate in 2010, according to Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 32, opens his exploratory bid for Senator today hoping his close association with President Obama, generational appeal, record and early start locks him in as a front-runner in what today is a very undefined field.

Giannoulias, I am told, is running no matter the election scenario or the other contenders. Last week, William Daley, the former Commerce Secretary and mayoral brother, floated his name in order to head off Giannoulias securing early endorsements. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is also mulling a run, with her chances of getting in more likely in a special election.

Former Obama fundraiser Jordan Kaplan is in charge of raising the necessary funds for Giannoulias’ campaign, estimated at 5 million for the primary and 15 million for the general election.

Speaking to the DNC in August, 2008, Giannoulias referred to Obama as his “friend and mentor.” Obama was instrumental in getting Giannoulias elected as State Treasurer.

In the 2006 Democratic primary…Obama endorsed first-time candidate Alexi Giannoulias for state treasurer despite reports about loans Giannoulias’ family-owned Broadway Bank made to crime figures. Records show Giannoulias and his family had given more than $10,000 to Obama’s campaign, which banked at Broadway.

In response to the criticism over this and his endorsement of Dorothy Tillman, who had been accused of getting jobs for her relatives under former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington,

Obama rejected the notion that such endorsements conflict with his promotion of ethics reform in government.

“I have been very proud of my track record as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator in terms of maintaining highly ethical behavior throughout my public life,” he said in a recent interview. “Dorothy Tillman and Alexi Giannoulias were strong supporters of mine. There were no allegations that they had done anything illegal. And it was not a conflict for me to show my support for them.”

Giannoulias hosted a fund-raiser for Obama’s presidential bid in September, 2007–an event that was closed to the media and was not listed on Obama’s schedule.

A man who has long been dogged by charges that the bank his family owns helped finance a Chicago crime figure will host a Windy City fund-raiser tonight for Sen. Barack Obama.

Alexi Giannoulias, who became Illinois state treasurer last year after Obama vouched for him, has pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator’s Oval Office bid.

Obama kept his Senate campaign funds in Giannoulias’ Broadway Bank in 2004, but did not use the bank for his Presidential campaign funds. Another friend of Barack Obama’s, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, was also a Giannoulias customer, and used the Broadway Bank to float $450,000 in bad checks while gambling in Las Vegas.

The senior Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin is apparently backing Giannoulis, arguing that Burris is “unelectable.” So it looks like the deal is done.

Podcasts: A vast untapped potential

I’m a recent convert to podcasts.  Well, sort of.  There were a couple of radio shows that I really loved but for some reason couldn’t always listen to.  When I bought my first iPod, I hunted them down and started downloading regularly.  But then my attention started to wander: how many podcasts are there anyway?  Those first podcasts were like a gateway drug.  Now I’ve got a real monkey on my back.  I can’t get enough of the damn things.  The great thing about them is you can take them with you everywhere and listen to them while you’re cleaning or installing those damn brackets under the new countertop.  The are an infinite number of subjects too from Celtic myths to coffee break French to anthropology.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. This American Life: Hands down, one of the best radio shows today.  Funny, sad, poignant, informative.  Ira Glass has an uncanny ear for the best new Americana stories.  They have a TV version as well on Showtime that just won a couple of Emmys.  My daughter Brooke is hooked on TAL.  Not to be missed.
  2. Planet Money: Alex Blumberg, Adam Davidson, Laura Conaway and David Kestenbaum break down the financial lingo piece by piece until we all get the picture of how royally screwed we all are.  It might seem too simple at times but that’s the beauty of it: the financial wizards are trying to baffle us with bull#$%^.  Planet Money does away with all the obfuscation.
  3. Hardcore History with Dan Carlin: I got through 22 gallons of DryLock and paint with Dan relating the history of the Punic Wars in my ears.  If you like historic turning points, battles, strategies and other tidbits on history’s movers and shakers, download Dan.
  4. How Stuff Works- Stuff You Should Know:  Josh and Chuck give you the facts and fiction about things you probably wanted to know but were too afraid to ask.  They tell you the chemistry behind the awful collision of toothpaste and orange juice as well as how to make moonshine (if it weren’t illegal).  Their segues are hokey but that’s part of what makes this podcast work.  They’re funny, entertaining and informative.
  5. HowStuffWorks- Stuff Mom Never Told You:  If you are interested in gender differences, this is a cool podcast that just started.  Co-hosts Molly and Christin tell you all about how to play gender office politics, the differences in male and female brains and why more excitable female brains get migraines.  I like the way this pair is starting off and can’t wait to see how they develop this podcast.  Something tells me they didn’t like the way Hillary was dumped.  Just a hunch.
  6. The Dinner Party Download:  This podcast speaks to me.  It starts with a lame joke, your icebreaker, like: A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel in his pants.  The bartender tells him, “Hey, buddy, you’ve got a steering wheel in your pants” and the pirate says, “Arggg, it’s driving me nuts”   Ba-dum-dum!  Then, they talk about unusual news stories and feature one news story that inspires a cocktail, which they provide a recipe.  Then a short interview with someone you’ve probably never heard of.  Finally, they end with a foodie feature like Korean BBQ Tacos.  Each segment is short, about 15 minutes.  But if you’re looking for a good pick-me-up, you can’t beat it.  One other thing: one of the hosts of this dinner-cocktail hour is named Rico.  From Pittsburgh.  Cue the theremin music.

Do you have any favorite podcasts?

Monday: I really *need* this job. Please God, I need this job!

slide1Howard Dean auditioned for Secretary of HHS.

God, I hope I get it, I hope I get it!
How many people does he need? How many people does he need?
God, I hope I get it! I hope I get it!
How may boys, how many girls
How many boys, how many…

And was sent home.

God, I really blew it, I really blew it!
How could I do a thing like that? How could I do a thing like …?
Now, I’ll never make it
I’ll never make it!
He doesn’t like the way I look.
He doesn’t like the way I dance.
He doesn’t like the way I…

No, Howard, he doesn’t like you.  He used you.  Just like he used a lot of other people to get to the top.  Jeez, Howard, how thick can you be?  You and Brother Jim were the propaganda wing.  You were set up to look much bigger than you actually were.  Your operations were infiltrated by Cylons to undermine and destroy the progressive blogosphere.  “Are your bases are belong to us!”  Well, I outta…Bam! to the moon Howard!

Haven’t you noticed how many Republican types or Republicans carefully groomed to look like Democrats there are in Obama’s cabinet, not to mention how few women?  (Thanks for nothing for that last bit, Howard.)  There’s Robert Gates still at the Penatagon and Judd Gregg nearly slipped in to guard the henhouse at Commerce.  His choice of Daschle was inspired no doubt by the less than vigorous defense of the Senate while he was majority leader after 9/11.  Looks like that anthrax spore job really put the fear of God in him, eh, Howard?  And now, the *woman*, who you describe as “very nice”, Kathleen Sebelius, who has run around Kansas for the last several years recruiting Republicans to run as Democrats, is going to be taking your spot.

What’s coming next? What’s happening now?
Still it isn’t over
I’ve gotta imagine what he wants it isn’t over
I’ve gotta imagine what he does
God, I hope I get it, I hope I get it!
I’ve come this far, but even so: It could be yes, it could be no.
How many people does he…?
I really need this job
Please, God, I need this job I’ve got to get this show.

No soup for you, Howard.  I hear you really haven’t got a gig lined up.  Now, is that the kind of gratitude you expected from the person you just helped get elected?  When did you realize you were left out of the equation, Howard?  Did you become a part of the “old coalition” before or after the money men moved the operation to Chicago?  Was it just after the RBC hearing in May when your name fell off the email list?  After the Democrats surrendered, you became superfluous.

Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?
That is a picture of a person I don’t know.
What does he want from me?
What should I try to be?
So many faces all around and here we go,
I need this job Oh God, I need this show.

There’s plenty of time to work on your “50 State Strategy”.  Hey!  Maybe you can apply for a directorship with Accountability Now!  There’s no time like the present.  Actually, it’s too late but I don’t want you to get too despondent.  After all, you’ve now joined the ranks of the “old, uneducated, stupid, working class, sino-Peruvian lesbians” except that your branch still thinks it consists of “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models with PhDs in Architecture”.  I have my doubts as to whether the Whole Foods nation will be able to withstand the forces of psychological warfare arrayed against them, although, flattery did work magnificently well the first time.  As long as they keep their distance from thos old hags, the PUMAs, the left of the party is effectively neutralized.

It’s OK, Howard.  Don’t worry about us.  We might be sitting at the wrong lunch table but once the glamour wears off the Messiah and everyone sees that his real agenda is to implement Republican Lite (now with 1/3 fewer fundamentalists!), we’re going to have a lot more company at this table.  The working class American voters are going to realize they were screwed and you, Howard, are going to get some of the blame for that.

You might be better off out of the spotlight.

Open Thread: Snow Day!!!


Late Season Nor’Easter Blankets Much of East Coast With Heavy Snow

From the Carolinas to the shores of Maine, a brutal late winter snowstorm has paralyzed much of the Eastern Seaboard….Up to a foot of snow piled up in places like Jackson, Tenn., which saw 12.5 inches — the heaviest one-day snowfall there ever. Even the Deep South saw snow, including parts of Alabama that received nearly six inches.

Connecticut, Long Island, N.Y., and points farther north are expecting upward of a foot of snow — up to 15 inches. Some places are expecting record snowfalls.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled along the East Coast, starting Sunday night and continuing into this morning, including more than 100 flights at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Hundreds more flights were canceled at the New York region’s three major airports, said Jennifer Friedberg, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

What are you doing instead of going to work or school? Or if you are in one of those places that doesn’t have snow, what’s happening where you are? If you don’t like snow, just remember that when March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. And if you are out and about during the storm, please be careful!