Mark Brown weighs in on James Laski's new book finally
Mark Brown is a famous columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Mark Brown on several occasions. I thank God for Mark Brown because the famous "Hired Truck Scandal" would have sat on the backburner of someone's desk. I cannot go in depth about this story due to a pending lawsuit, but it made two Chicago investigative reporters very famous. The work by the Sun-Times is historically significant. I still think it led to every major scandal you read about in the newspapers now. Corruption will sooner or later lead to Mayor Daley's demise. Mayor Daley will always have an asterisk next to his name for corruption thanks to Mark Brown. (Please do not think I forgot about Meigs Field but the owners of the planes never did enough and they were too arrogant to fight back) Fighting Mayor Daley and his band of 11th Ward goons is full time work. I am glad Mark Brown put the guns back in the holster, when he gets in the saddle he is better than John Kass. Mark Brown writing about the Hired Truck Scandal proved he is at the top of his game when he wants. I am biased because I love corruption busting. I also think the Sun-Times moving a gem like Mark Brown back a few pages was a mistake. I respect Mark Brown as he knows how to keep his distance and write the truth. Maybe he will have a world famous website like me someday. Mark Brown's spin on James Laski is great and it is irony. Mark Brown was my first post on Chicago Clout but some posts got twisted a while ago. Please read more about James Laski as he prepares for his second book. Chicago Clout did a video on Mr. Laski and we hope to have another when his second book is ready. See the video here again http://www.chicagoclout.com/weblog/archives/2008/03/new_chicago_clout_commenator_j.html enjoy Mark Brown on James Laski below. Patrick McDonough
Laski's advice to Blagojevich: Look in the mirror At least former city clerk took some of the blame in his book March 3, 2009 BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist Former City Clerk Jim Laski beat Rod Blagojevich to the punch last year with his own convicted-Chicago-politician-tells-all book, and even with a second one in the works, he wishes the former governor the best of luck, sort of. "Good for him. He'll need it," said Laski, adding that "it's not a matter of if" Blagojevich is going to prison but "whether he'll get out in time" to attend his young daughters' college graduation. If you sense some resentment from Laski in that remark, it has surprisingly less to do with the former governor's purported six-figure book deal than with the same irritation many in Illinois have these days with the limelight-craving Blagojevich. Like a lot of us, Laski is tired of listening to the impeached governor's self-serving denials. "The bottom line is: Don't keep blaming people," Laski said. Obviously, there's a much bigger market for a Blagojevich book than there was for Laski's self-published My Fall from Grace: City Hall to Prison Walls, but I doubt that the greater demand will result in any greater proportion of truths being told. When I spoke to him by phone Monday, Laski put his finger directly on the biggest problem with a Blagojevich book promising to tell us about the "dark side of politics." "He is a major part of the dark side," said Laski, who adds that until Blagojevich is ready to "look in the mirror," he won't have much worthwhile to say. Blago baloney: Truths vs. untruths Say what you will about Laski, he has come farther than most convicted politicians around here in admitting his own failures -- failures that led to a 21-month prison sentence for taking bribes in the Hired Truck scandal. "I'm the one who had to make decisions. I'm the one who decided to take the money," says Laski, showing a self-awareness Blagojevich may never reach. "I wasn't saying I'm the poor persecuted one." Rather than expose the drinking problems and infidelities of state legislators, as Blagojevich has threatened, Laski notes that he used his book to explore his own substance abuse. Laski's book was illuminating mainly from the standpoint of showing a federal investigation from the viewpoint of the target -- what was going through his mind as the walls closed in around him. While Laski tells some stories out of school, though, the book isn't really a tell-all. I keep hoping we can coax more stories out of him as he goes, which is one reason I called him Monday, initially looking for his thoughts on Eddie Vrdolyak walking out of federal court with a sentence of probation. The good thing about a Rod Blagojevich book will be that there's usually a grain of truth in what the governor has to say. The bad thing about a Blagojevich book is how difficult it will be to find that grain amid the self-aggrandizing untruths. There's apparently some rumbling in the state Legislature to pass a law that would try to prevent the governor or other public officials from capitalizing on their crimes by writing about them. But I'm not sure we should discourage them. Feds welcome tell-all If it were up to me, every convicted politician in Illinois would be required to write a tell-all book as a condition of sentencing. After it was finished, a federal judge could reopen their sentence and adjust it accordingly, depending on how truthful they had been. Federal prosecutors no doubt welcome the prospect of Blagojevich's promise to write in detail about the circumstances surrounding his efforts to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat. From their standpoint, the more he does to lock himself into a story the better. That's one reason defense lawyers usually prefer their clients keep their mouths shut before trial -- and another reason not to discourage Blagojevich. Laski said his own book was pretty much a break-even proposition money-wise. "It was therapeutic for me," said Laski, who is paying himself a small salary from what remains of his political campaign fund (a practice I do not endorse) while looking for opportunities in radio or teaching. He says his next book will try to answer the question of "what's in the water here" that results in systemic political corruption. He hopes to include the thoughts of other elected officials who've been to prison -- and of the prosecutors who sent them there. "I'm really interested in how everybody gets down that road," he said. When Blagojevich is ready to explain how he got down that road, I hope he finds a good ghost writer. Until then, he should concentrate on getting a good lawyer.