WBEZ | Rod Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/tags/rod-blagojevich Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: New play turns political theater into real theater http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-13/morning-shift-new-play-turns-political-theater-real <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr by kurtgessler.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Morning Shift dissects the fact and fiction behind a new play about the corrupt life of Stuart Levine and his role in the Rod Blagojevich trial. We also hear how the raw food movement has gained popularity in Chicago. (Photo: Flickr/kurtgessler)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-blagojevich-trial-goes-from-head/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-blagojevich-trial-goes-from-head.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-blagojevich-trial-goes-from-head" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New play turns political theater into real theater" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 13 Nov 2013 08:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-13/morning-shift-new-play-turns-political-theater-real 'Sinful' burger served in Chicago restaurant offending some Catholics http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sinful-burger-served-chicago-restaurant-offending-some-catholics-108849 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_york_minister.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A 10-ounce goat and beef burger served at Kuma&rsquo;s Corner on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side is being called sinful for more than its calorie count. The Ghost Burger is topped with red wine reduction and an Communion wafer that was inspired by a <a href="http://ghost-official.com/?cat=/" target="_blank">Sweden band</a> and also could symbolize the body and blood of Christ.</p><p dir="ltr">The burger is the monthly offering at Kuma&rsquo;s, a foodie destination with just a few tables. The eatery regularly names its hamburgers after heavy metal bands. The members of Ghost dress in religious robes and wear skeleton face makeup.</p><p dir="ltr">It&#39;s in poor taste, said Jeff Young of New Orleans, who runs the blog <em>Catholic Foodie</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;It&#39;s not, for us, the Eucharist,&quot; Young said. &quot;However this wafer is a symbol. There&#39;s a cross on it. It&#39;s like taking a flag and burning a flag.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Michael Caine, owner of Kuma&rsquo;s identifies himself as Lutheran and said he was not at all offended when his sous chef suggested the burger idea.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t intended to be a religious statement, it wasn&rsquo;t intended to be anything. We bought the wafers on Amazon, they&rsquo;re not blessed by anyone,&rdquo; Caine added, &ldquo;Does everyone forget that God might have a sense of humor?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Luke Tobias, Kuma&#39;s Corner director of operations, said the restaurant never wanted to offend anyone. He said reaction has been a &quot;mixed bag,&quot; but more positive than negative.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;There are people who are offended by it, but we&#39;re delighted to see that generally people seem to have a sense of humor,&quot; Tobias said.</p><p dir="ltr">The restaurant, which often plays loud heavy metal music, is a fan of Ghost, Tobias said. Young said he realizes that and knows Kuma&#39;s Corner didn&#39;t intentionally want to make anyone mad.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;The Ghost&quot; burger is selling well, Tobias said, because customers are curious about it.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;Hopefully people will have a good time with it &mdash; that&#39;s certainly what we&#39;re trying to do,&quot; Tobias said.</p><p dir="ltr">Kuma&rsquo;s in the past has had burgers named after defamed former governor Rod Blagojevich and also topped a burger with foie gras when Chicago&rsquo;s city council had tried to ban the delicacy because they said it was cruel to animals. The dish is made by fattening up ducks&rsquo; livers, often through force-feeding.</p><p>Caine&rsquo;s staff said its keeping the Ghost burger on the menu, complaints or not, until the end of the month.</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p><p><em>Aurora Aguilar is WBEZ&rsquo;s News Editor. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/aurorabr13" target="_blank">@aurorabr13</a></em></p></p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 17:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sinful-burger-served-chicago-restaurant-offending-some-catholics-108849 Monday deadline looms for Blagojevich appeal http://www.wbez.org/news/monday-deadline-looms-blagojevich-appeal-108051 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3049_AP081219030905-blago M. Spencer Green-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rod Blagojevich&#39;s lawyers were working Monday to meet a deadline to file what could be a book-length, 100-page appeal calling for the imprisoned former Illinois-governor&#39;s corruption convictions to be tossed or, at least, for his 14-year sentence to be reduced.</p><p>Monday at midnight was the filing deadline, though lawyers can request an extension. The appeal would come more than two years after the 56-year-old Democrat&#39;s decisive retrial and 16 months after he walked through the gates of a Colorado prison.</p><p>Lauren Kaeseberg, one of Blagojevich&#39;s longtime attorneys, said the appeal will be filed in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. She declined to comment on its content.</p><p>The defense filed multiple motions in U.S. District Court after Blagojevich&#39;s retrial seeking to have the verdict overturned, and the arguments in such post-trial motions are typically rolled into an appeal. One was a claim that trial Judge James Zagel barred wiretap evidence that might have helped Blagojevich.</p><p>Jurors convicted Blagojevich two years ago for wide-ranging corruption, including that the two-term governor sought to profit from his right to appoint someone to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president.</p><p>In a June request for permission to file a longer-than-usual appeal, Blagojevich&#39;s attorneys told the court there were 12,000 pages of court transcripts alone; they added, &quot;The issues for appeal are numerous and complicated.&quot; The court agreed to let them file the equivalent of around 100 pages.</p><p>As they prepared the appeal, Kaeseberg said lawyers were in touch with Blagojevich, now inmate No. 40892-424 in the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood outside Denver. She declined to offer details.</p><p>Appeals can take years to play out, and defendants rarely prevail.</p><p>Another Illinois governor convicted of corruption, George Ryan, filed multiple appeals over years, losing all key rulings. The Republican was recently released after more than five years in prison and seven months on home confinement.</p><p>Blagojevich was convicted on 18 counts over two trials, jurors in the first deadlocking on all but one count. Taking the stand in the second decisive trial in 2011, Blagojevich insisted his talk about selling Obama&#39;s seat was just that &mdash; talk.</p><p>At his sentencing hearing later in 2011, Zagel imposed a lengthy prison term, telling Blagojevich he had abused voters&#39; trust and undermined the democratic process &quot;to do things that were only good for yourself.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 11:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/monday-deadline-looms-blagojevich-appeal-108051 Long-time Chicago Alderman Dick Mell retires http://www.wbez.org/news/long-time-chicago-alderman-dick-mell-retires-107944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP304678472813.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Veteran Chicago Ald. Richard Mell, a colorful fixture of City Hall politics, announced Wednesday that he will retire later this month after nearly four decades in office.</p><p>Mell, who has represented the 33rd Ward on Chicago&rsquo;s North side since 1975, said in a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that his final City Council meeting will be on July 24.</p><p>Mell, 75, tendered his resignation &ldquo;with mixed emotions,&rdquo; according to the letter, though he did not cite a specific reason for retiring except to say it is time to &ldquo;move on to the next chapter&rdquo; in his life.</p><p>&ldquo;My goal has always been to positively impact the community in which I&rsquo;ve lived and work,&rdquo; Mell wrote. &ldquo;I woke up eager every day to support those in my community. It has been a sincere pleasure to see my community grow and thrive; I hope those I have worked with, and for, over the years agree that I have succeeded.&rdquo;</p><p>Mell did not immediately respond to interview requests from WBEZ.</p><p>Rumors of Mell&rsquo;s retirement have echoed through City Hall for months, prompting speculation that his daughter, Illinois Democratic State Rep. Deb Mell, is interested in taking his aldermanic seat.</p><p>In a press release, Emanuel quickly promised to launch an &ldquo;open process&rdquo; to appoint Mell&rsquo;s successor. The mayor will begin accepting applications on Friday from people interested in filling the seat, and will then make his final pick from a short list provided by a &ldquo;community-based commission,&rdquo; according to Emanuel&rsquo;s office.</p><p>&ldquo;In a city known for its colorful characters, Alderman Mell is a larger-than-life Chicago character who, just like the Billy Goat and Second City, is a Chicago institution and, in his own way, he has defined what public service and class look like,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>Representative Mell did not respond to WBEZ&rsquo;s interview requests.</p><p>But her father&rsquo;s departure means City Hall will lose something of its old, if controversial, ways. Mell has been an unapologetic defender of political patronage, saying it encourages people to have a civic stake in their communities.</p><p>And while some progressive aldermen shift their focus to the council&rsquo;s legislative role, Mell has maintained a hands-on approach to constituent services, even buying a chainsaw for his Ward office to hurry along tree-trimming requests.</p><p>&ldquo;The alderman is a guy who tries to make life in an urban a little easier for people - to cut through the red tape of city government and bureaucracy,&rdquo; Mell <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/pregnancy-tests-pigeon-poo-what-chicago-aldermen-really-do-107648#Audio">told WBEZ in a recent interview</a>. &ldquo;To help people with problems that they feel are insurmountable. If the alderman is doing that, they can be re-elected, unfortunately like me, for 38 years.&rdquo;</p><p>For those outside Chicago political circles, Mell is perhaps most recognized from the famous 1987 black and white photo of the alderman standing stop his desk in the chaotic City Council chambers, shouting to be recognized. The snapshot has come to represent the racially divisive &ldquo;Council Wars&rdquo; that began with the election of the city&rsquo;s first black mayor, Harold Washington.</p><p>Mell was a vocal opponent of Washington&rsquo;s, and counted himself among the so-called &ldquo;Vrdolyak 29,&rdquo; a majority bloc of mostly-white aldermen who stymied the mayor&rsquo;s legislative agenda during the early 1980s.</p><p>Mell has since become a powerful committee chairman, and has been a staunch ally to both Mayor Emanuel and his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.</p><p><em>Al Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a></em></p></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 14:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/long-time-chicago-alderman-dick-mell-retires-107944 Ex-Illinois powerbroker 'King of Clout' reports to Indiana prison http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-illinois-powerbroker-king-clout-reports-indiana-prison-105079 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS4490_P1030967-scr(1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A man once known as the King of Clout for the enormous behind-the-scene influence he yielded in Illinois politics reported to prison Tuesday to start a yearlong sentence for trying to extort a Hollywood movie producer.</p><p>William Cellini reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind., around 1 p.m. local time, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said. It&#39;s the same prison where former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is completing a 6 1/2 -year corruption sentence.</p><p>Cellini, 78, will stay in the minimum-security section of the facility.</p><p>Jurors convicted the multimillionaire Springfield businessman in 2011 of trying to shake down Thomas Rosenberg for a $1.5 million political contribution that was intended for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich&#39;s campaign. Rosenberg is the Oscar-winning producer of &quot;Million Dollar Baby.&quot;</p><p>Cellini, a longtime Republican, joins an ignominious list of prominent Illinois residents imprisoned for corruption.</p><p>Blagojevich, a Democrat, is serving a 14-year sentence for multiple corruption counts in a Colorado prison. Ryan, Blagojevich&#39;s Republican predecessor, is wrapping up his sentence.</p><p>Cellini had asked to go to a prison in Montgomery, Ala., in part because it was thought to have good medical facilities to deal with his illnesses, including heart ailments. It wasn&#39;t immediately clear why Cellini was assigned to the prison in Indiana.</p><p>Cellini was initially supposed to report to prison on Jan. 4 but was granted a two-week extension.</p><p>Hoping to get his sentence over with, Cellini in November withdrew his request to remain free pending appeal of his corruption conviction. A one-page filing withdrawing the request cited the stress the case put on his family and Cellini&#39;s health.</p></p> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 13:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-illinois-powerbroker-king-clout-reports-indiana-prison-105079 Illinois is the nation's latest abortion battleground http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/illinois-nations-latest-abortion-battleground-102814 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/abortion_protest.jpg" title="Anti-choice protesters set up a protest across the street from a Northwest Side family planning clinic (Photo by Marcus Gilmer/WBEZ)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Lead story: </strong>Abortion took center stage at times during this election, and thanks in no small part to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-08/rep-todd-akins-ridiculous-legitimate-rape-comments-101812">the wrong-headed words</a> of U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, it seems a new battleground for the debate has emerged over the past few weeks: Illinois.&nbsp;Two weeks ago, after 17 years of skirmishes and injunctions, the state&rsquo;s controversial abortion notification law &mdash; requiring patients 17 years old or younger to notify their parents before having an abortion &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/20/illinois-abortion-notific_n_1901354.html">went before the Illinois state supreme court</a>. Then, late last week, an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ill-court-backs-pharmacists-on-morning-after-pill-3886082.php">Illinois appellate court ruled</a>&nbsp;that two pharmacists could refuse to fill prescriptions for the Morning-After pill if it interfered with their &ldquo;conscientious convictions,&rdquo; saying the pair were protected by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. (<a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/22/14026790-court-illinois-cant-force-pharmacists-to-give-morning-after-pill?lite">An executive order</a>&nbsp;signed in 2005 by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had forced pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.)</p><p>It was against this backdrop that anti-abortion protesters gathered Monday night at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-planned-parenthood-vigil-20121002,0,1759244.story">for a prayer vigil</a> to mark the five-year anniversary of the clinic&rsquo;s opening. The clinic had been a lightning rod of controversy when it opened and the vigil falls during anti-choice protesters &ldquo;<a href="http://40daysforlife.com/index.cfm">40 Days For Life</a>&rdquo; campaign.&nbsp;Though it&#39;s no question which way the state will go in the upcoming election, the schism between liberal, urban Chicago and more conservative downstate areas will continue to widen over this issue well after the election, setting the groundwork for some interesting local elections down the line.</p><strong>Also: </strong>Monday was a big night for the Bears: The team came away with <a href="http://www.chicagobears.com/gameday/game/2012/regular4/">a 34-18 victory</a> over the Dallas Cowboys, playing in a stadium with so many Bears fans it sometimes felt like a home game. The Bears defense had yet another stout performance, forcing five Cowboys interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns (by Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs). While the offense took a while to get going, it clicked well when it did with Jay Cutler throwing for 275 yards (138 of those to Brandon Marshall) and two touchdowns. At 3-1, the Bears remain tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North division and head to Jacksonville this weekend for their next game.&nbsp;<br /><p><br /><strong>Announced: </strong><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/15492582-421/macarthur-foundation-bestows-23-genius-grants.html">The 23 new MacArthur Foundation &quot;genius&quot; grant recipients</a>,&nbsp;including Northwestern University historian Dylan C. Penningroth, who is researching pre-Civil War slaves who owned land. Other recipients include Claire Chase, flutist and co-founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble in Chicago, Punch Brothers mandolin player extraordinaire Chris Thile and acclaimed writer Junot Diaz.</p><p><br /><strong>Elsewhere</strong></p><ul><li>A Louisiana man became the nation&rsquo;s 300<sup>th</sup> death row prisoner <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-dna-evidence-20121001,0,2977942.story">exonerated by DNA evidence</a>.</li><li>Todd &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; Akin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/todd-akin-women-pay_n_1928534.html">said he didn&rsquo;t vote for the Ledbetter Bill</a> to secure equal pay for women because, well, freedom.</li><li>The Supreme Court is back in session and is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/10/01/162110683/high-court-takes-up-human-rights-on-first-day-back">taking up a human rights case</a> involving Nigerians seeking asylum.</li><li>Seth MacFarlane <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/seth-macfarlane-is-hosting-the-oscars,85895/">has been tapped to host</a> the 2013 Academy Awards, which should keep the censors busy (hopefully, anyway).</li><li>So an Iranian news agency <a href="http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/iranian-news-agency-claims-onion-report-it-ran-by-mistake-is-essentially-true/?partner=rss&amp;emc=rss&amp;smid=tw-nytimes">ripped off a story from <em>The Onion</em></a>, claimed it was true, then apologized for plagiarism yet still sorta claims it&rsquo;s true. Which makes total sense because, you know, Iran.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p><ul><li>There&rsquo;s <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/politics/2012/10/wls-tv_gm_anti-duckworth_ad_still_under_review.html">confusion over whether or not</a> WLS refused to air an anti-Duckworth ad or deemed it unsuitable for airing.</li><li>Now even IDOT <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-idot-asks-for-publics-input-to-map-future-road-projects-20121001,0,435718.story">is asking for public feedback</a> to help them make future plans.</li><li>Chicago Media Baron&trade; Robert Feder <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/15740946/wls-host-don-wade-comes-out-of-surgery-%E2%80%98really-well">has the latest on WLS-AM host Don Wade</a>, who is recovering from surgery to remove a growth from his brain.</li><li>There are <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120929/ISSUE01/309299973/tenants-flee-suburban-office-parks">a lot of empty offices</a> in suburban office parks.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Sports</strong></p><ul><li>The White Sox were officially elimanted from the 2012 MLB playoffs Monday night courtesy of <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321001107">Detroit&#39;s win</a>, and thus completing the team&#39;s epic collapse.</li><li>Meanwhile, the Cubs <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321001116&amp;teams=houston-astros-vs-chicago-cubs">hit the infamous 100-loss mark</a> for the first time in 46 years after losing to the Astros.</li><li>The Bulls have done the right thing and <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/8449078/chicago-bulls-tom-thibodeau-agree-four-year-extension">re-upped with Coach Thibs</a> for four years.</li><li>Mayor Rahm Emanuel <a href="http://www.wbez.org/emanuel-mum-where-he-wants-depaul-basketball-team-move-back-city-102800">wants DePaul to play their basketball games</a> in the city proper again but isn&rsquo;t giving any specifics as to where he wants them to play.</li><li>Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8447831/indianapolis-colts-coach-chuck-pagano-leukemia">has been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia</a> and will take a leave of absence from the team.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Finally</strong><br />Next time your kids ask you why the sky gets dark at night, you can give them a real answer other than what my parents told me, which was that Jesus turned off the sun so we could hide safely from the dragons. That&rsquo;s Alabama for you.</p></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gxJ4M7tyLRE" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 02 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/illinois-nations-latest-abortion-battleground-102814 Blagojevich says goodbye http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-says-good-bye-97307 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/AP120314067238.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rod Blagojevich is due to report to federal prison Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence. The former Illinois governor made a very public goodbye Wednesday evening.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><strong>LISTEN:</strong> Blagojevich's full statement<br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332754193-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-march/2012-03-14/blagojevich-full.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>With his wife, Patti, tearful and silent at his side, Blagojevich stood outside his home just after 5 p.m. He timed it perfectly for the 5 o'clock news.</p><p>"It's hard for me to say that I have to go to prison. That's a hard word for me to say," he said.</p><p>His 12-minute statement included a campaign-style list of accomplishments, including health insurance expansion and free transit rides for seniors.</p><p>"When I became governor, I fought a lot," Blagojevich said. "And maybe I fought too much. And maybe one of the lessons to this whole story is that you gotta be maybe a little bit more humble."</p><p>Blagojevich said he accepts the jurors' decision but has "great trust" in his appeal of the verdict.</p><p>"We have faith in the future, faith in the rule of law, and we have faith in God that right ultimately will make might," he said.</p><p>Supporters brought signs with messages like "FREE BLAGO," which some asked him to autograph as he headed up the stairs to his front door. He signed them and shook hands for another half hour.</p></p> Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-says-good-bye-97307 Ex-Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko sentenced to prison for second time http://www.wbez.org/story/ex-blagojevich-fundraiser-tony-rezko-sentenced-prison-second-time-95121 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/81071353.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the second time in two months, Tony Rezko was back in front of a judge Thursday to be sentenced to federal prison. Rezko was a fundraiser for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>Rezko was recently sentenced to 10 and a half years behind bars for his role in corruption in the Blagojevich administration. Thursday, he was back in front of a judge to be sentenced in a different case. This time for lying to get some loans to keep his failing businesses afloat. The case was brought as prosecutors were applying pressure to individuals involved in illegal fundraising for Blagojevich.</p><p>Judge James Zagel today handed Rezko a seven and a half year sentence, which he can serve at the same time as his other sentence. Zagel also admonished Rezko for entangling, "an honorable man" into his criminal acts. By that he meant one of Rezko's co-defendants who pleaded guilty, but the judge didn't say to whom he was referring.</p><p>Rezko will also have to pay more than $4 million in restitution, something his attorney says Rezko can't afford to do.</p><p>As the frail-looking 56-year-old left the courtroom, he smiled at his family, who waved to him and yelled, "Merry Christmas."</p></p> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ex-blagojevich-fundraiser-tony-rezko-sentenced-prison-second-time-95121 Blagojevich gets new date to report to prison http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-gets-new-date-report-prison-94863 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-08/AP Photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has a new date to report to prison.</p><p>Blagojevich will have to report to prison by March 15th, instead of mid-February. His defense attorneys said in court Tuesday that the date is based on when the family can sell their home on Chicago's North Side.</p><p>"The Blagojevich's are hoping to sell the family home. They've lowered the price and Mr. Blagojevich wanted to assist the family in moving into the new house," said Sheldon Sorosky, Blagojevich's defense attorney.</p><p>Federal Judge James Zagel sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in federal prison last week. The judge had told Blagojevich he would have to begin serving his time behind bars in February.</p><p>Blagojevich's attorneys also requested that the former governor serve his time at a low-security prison in Colorado. Judge Zagel said he would recommend that Blagojevich be sent to Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Englewood in Littleton, Colorado, 15 miles southwest of Denver.&nbsp;</p><p>Sorosky said he wasn't sure why Blagojevich chose that facility, but he says the family is not planning a move to Colorado.</p><p>It'll be up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to decide where Blagojevich will serve his sentence.</p><p>Jurors at two trials convicted Blagojevich on 18 corruption-related charges.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-gets-new-date-report-prison-94863 The worst parents of 2011 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-12/worst-parents-2011-94818 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/krisjenner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Good morning. This is the rant I delivered at <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/">The&nbsp;Paper Machete</a> this weekend.</em></p><p>Every Christmas Eve my parents perform an annual rite. After we’ve escaped the children’s Mass at church and enjoyed an extra-fancy dinner prepared by my mother and served to us on Christmas-themed china in the dining room, we all retire to the family room with the dogs to drink wine, listen to Christmas carols and open presents.<br> <br> The present opening is an orgy of generosity and paper-tearing that wouldn’t be complete without a bow being tied around the bigger dog or the smaller dog being placed in an empty gift-box. But the evening is not without its own particular brand of strife. Every year, my dad will lift a carefully-chosen article of clothing my mom has given him halfway out of the box, hold it up to his body, and say “Why did you get it in this size?” Then he’ll gingerly lay it back into the box. “See how he doesn’t even take it all the way out of the box? That means it’s going back,” my mom will announce. It’s a little awkward, but I guess being married for 40 years means you get to do without the niceties of pretending to like something your spouse gave you or pretending like you don’t see through your spouse’s obvious hatred of your gift.<br> <br> I see this little routine as being completely avoidable, but in the big picture, it’s a small price of holiday tension to pay. I could be Amy or Anne Blagojevich, who may be spending their last Christmas with their father for a long, long time. I pity these girls in so many ways: for having a soon-to-be-absent father, for being thrust into the spotlight and for having jerk parents in general. Blagojevich, prior to his sentencing, used his daughters as a reason for why he should receive a light sentence. I, along with the judge and many others, said “If Blagojevich cared so much about his daughters, why didn’t he think of them before he did anything wrong in the first place?” Blagojevich either lacked the compassion to think what exactly would happen to his family if he got caught, or, more likely, just figured he’d get away with everything forever, which is a wonderful lesson and attitude to pass onto your children.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-12/krisjenner.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 330px; " title=""><br> 2011 was a pretty good year for high-profile terrible parents. Lately, everyone’s favorite Bad Mom is Kris Jenner, mother to Kim as well &nbsp;several other assorted Kardashians and Jenners. Shortly after Kim’s high profile wedding and even more high-profile divorce, Jenner was on the talk show circuit, promoting her new book and discussing her daughter’s personal affairs. Just recently, on “Extra,” Jenner was quoted as saying “"You can't judge anybody else,” in regards to the public backlash her daughter has received. Coincidentally, it was announced on the same day that Jenner would serve as a judge in the Miss America pageant, so you can judge other people, just so long as you get paid to do so and it’s televised. Not content for us to know the personal information of just three of her daughters, Jenner is reportedly hard at work trying to ruin the lives of her other daughters, pushing for a new reality show for her daughters Kendall and Kylie. Between Kim’s divorce, Khloe’s fertility issues and Kourtney dating the guy from <em>American Psycho</em>, I’m a little worried about what skeletons lurk in the youngest daughters’ closets. I’m sure Kris will find a way of making sure we all know, talking about it and then shaming us for any sort of judgmental reaction.<br> <br> Kris Jenner is simply picking up the mantle of Dina Lohan, the original Cool Mom who wouldn’t let something as petty as her daughter’s substance-abuse problems stop her from going out clubbing with her substance-abusing daughter or appearing on TV shows discussing her daughter’s substance-abuse problems or talking about how much she loathes her daughter’s substance-abusing father. Lohan has been fairly quiet of late, but she can be proud of the fact that her younger daughter, 17-year-old Aliana, is pursuing a career in modeling which is a field known for cultivating good self-esteem, healthy habits, a supportive peer group and long-term stability in young women. Dina has said publicly that she’s still proud of Lindsay, whose career has taken her to the place every mother wishes for her daughter: flashing her talent in <em>Playboy </em>magazine because she doesn’t have enough money left to pay her bills. Good job Dina. You are super-cool. My mom doesn’t even have hair extensions.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-12/dinalohan.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 329px; " title=""></p><p>Then there’s Krista Keller, who’s noteworthy for being the mother of Courtney Stodden. Stodden made headlines this year for being a 16-year-old girl who married 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison, like it’s 1958 and he’s Jerry Lee Lewis or something. Stodden has also made a name for herself for her scandalous outfits, bizarre TV appearances (like a spot on Dr. Drew’s show to have her boobs scanned to make sure they’re real) and hilariously lascivious and alliterative Twitter account (a Tweet from Thursday night reads “Mr. Moist Saint Nick: As I magnetically dangle this magical mistletoe above my mere mysteriousness... I imagine your mouth smooching mine...”) &nbsp;Stodden’s mother, who is the same age as her son-in-law, has blessed the union as well as Stodden’s forthcoming TV show and has explained away people’s issues with her daughter as jealousy. &nbsp;I can’t help but think where I was at sixteen. I didn’t know who I was, and probably even shouldn't have been allowed to have a driver’s license, let alone a husband and a house and a reality show and stripper-shoes. Assuming your sixteen year old is mature enough to get married means you probably thought your four year old was responsible enough to stay home by herself while you went out. &nbsp;<br> <br> And I would be remiss in talking about the worst parents in 2011 without touching upon Casey Anthony. So now I’ve done that.<br> <br> I’m the proud survivor of good parenting and I’ve been happy to learn that many creative, successful people also came to a fulfilling adulthood despite having parents who supported them the traditional, non-televised way. In <em>Bossypants</em>, Tina Fey waxes about how her father is her hero, and in <em>Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?</em> Mindy Kaling talks about how her parents’ marriage is her model for matrimony, seeing as how they’re buddies and all. On <em>WTF with Marc Maron</em> last week, magician Penn Jillette described that one of the reasons why he’s an atheist is because nothing was more provable to him than his own mother’s love.<br> <br> I wish that my parents would figure out how to avoid their annual present fight, but at the same time, if that’s the extent of the annual Zulkey holiday drama, I can handle it. Because neither of my parents is going to jail. Because they would still tell me, gently, if they think I’m doing something that’s unwise. Neither of them think it’ll be a good idea if I publish my vagina in a magazine and neither of them is going on television to discuss my marriage. My parents being good parents may be what’s holding me back from being famous, but you know what, I really don’t mind.</p></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 15:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-12/worst-parents-2011-94818