Blago, 'Trumpocrat' / 'An outstanding journalist' / 'Gadget apocalypse'

Blago, ‘Trumpocrat.’ Newly freed by President Trump, Illinois’ convicted Democratic ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he has a new political affiliation.

Tribune columnist John Kass: Trump’s commutation of Blago’s sentence puts the lie to Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp.” (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
CNN’s Zachary B. Wolf on Trump’s clemency choices: “If there’s a theme, it’s corruption.”
CNN’s Stephen Collinson: “Trump is undoing years of government prosecutions.”
Media Matters: Blago’s release is “another win for the Fox News Cabinet.”
The Trib’s Columnist Rex Huppke: “Trump is preparing to combat corruption by putting together a Corruption Dream Team. (Blago, since he has the best hair, will be captain.)”
Trib columnist Dahleen Glanton: “Trump and Blagojevich are kindred spirits. The only difference is that Trump has gotten away with his corruption so far and Blagojevich didn’t” …
 … or, as her colleague Eric Zorn calls it, “the circle of sleaze.”
The Trib’s Steve Chapman: In Trump’s world, big shots get out early.
The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer: Welcome to “The first days of the Trump Regime.”

Upsides, anyone? A Sun-Times editorial: “It’s good Rod Blagojevich is walking free, but the motivation … sickens us.”
Springfield’s State Journal-Register: “A commutation is a reduction in a prison term but the conviction remains on a person’s record.”
 Just before he left office, President Bill Clinton sprung corrupt Illinois Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds.
 The New York Times’ David Leonhardt defends the institution of clemency as vital “in a legal system that errs far too often on the side of harshness.”

‘It’s been a long time.’ Blago planned a news conference for 11 a.m. at his Chicago home …
 … and not all his neighbors are happy about it.
Compare: Award-winning radio news coverage of the 2011 day Blago was sentenced: “I just want him to go away.”
The Sun-Times’ Mark Brown has little hope that’ll happen now: “We elected him, not once but twice, and now there’s no escaping him. That’s our punishment” …
 … witness the continued existence of, yes, Blago shampoo and conditioner.

‘If Blagojevich gets home and wants to talk—and he loves to talk—that might be bad news for the billionaire occupying his former office.’ Pulitzer-winning journalist Mark Konkol reflects on how a satiric cartoon about now-Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “racist advice to Blagojevich got me fired as executive editor of the Chicago Reader.”
Pritzker’s budget address will stream live on the web at noon.

‘You are Today’s Worst Person In Chicago.’
Beachwood Reporter chief Steve Rhodes calls bulls__t on the city consultant who cleared the massive Lincoln Yards development—while getting paid by the developer.

‘It’s hard to believe Matthews has a job at MSNBC.’ The Reader’s Ben Joravsky says he “can’t get over Chris Matthews’s epic rant regarding Bernie Sanders.”
Ahead of tonight’s NBC-hosted six-candidate Democratic presidential debate, Vanity Fair reports, Sanders’ team “has had it with MSNBC.”
Three months after suffering a heart attack, Sanders says he won’t release more medical records …
 … but Elizabeth Warren’s doc says she’s “in excellent health.”
Mike Bloomberg’s campaign predicts an unsurmountable lead for Sanders—if other candidates don’t drop out.
BuzzFeed News: Bloomberg called transgender people “it” and “some guy wearing a dress.”
ABC News: Buttigieg overstated his support among black leaders and public figures—including comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key.
N’Digo magazine founder Hermene Hartman: “Don’t call me ‘person of color’!
Ex-VP and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s launching a new voter registration campaign with a simple message: Avert climate disaster by getting Trump out of office.

‘An outstanding journalist.’
One of Chicago’s first black TV news reporters and anchors, Bob Petty, is dead at 79.

‘Gadget apocalypse.’ Tedium’s Ernie Smith warns, “In the span of a single decade, we basically let a computer-centric mindset around planned obsolescence threaten to ruin the long-term usability of entire categories of products.”
The staff of the dearly departed HQ Trivia mobile quiz game, which shut down Friday, held one last drunken sendoff round early Saturday.
ProPublica: TurboTax is tricking taxpayers with deceptive ads.

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