Blagojevich’s carbon footprint

Many Illinoisans have long suspected the under-siege guv of being a gasbag. But while Hot Rod is providing fuel for columnists, political blogs, talk show hosts and SNL, has anyone thought about the gas he guzzled, and the CO2 he emitted, during his recent trip to NYC for that whirlwind PR blitz?

Look, sometime pols have to travel on the public dime. But jetting off across the country (and I doubt he traveled coach) just to brandish your shining helmet of hair for Larry King (look for the moment when he thinks he’s off-camera and tries to sneak in a quick hair fix) not only cost Illinois taxpayers for his travel expense reimbursement, it also unnecessarily contributed to carbon dioxide emissions — something Gov. Nim-Rod presumably is against, since he’s backed legislation to compel state agencies to buy flexible fuel vehicles that partly use ethanol and biodiesel. (Though the scientific jury is still out on ethanol’s big-picture advantages.) Then again, the Guv did cut public transit funding and subsidies last year, while still expecting the CTA to let seniors ride for free, so his promotion of sustainable transportation for all seems about as schizo as his attempted media makeover.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong. But judging from my own whirlwind Google search today, travel expenses for employees of the State of Illinois are administered by the Illinois Travel Regulation Council, which in turn falls under the purview of the Illinois Dept. of Central Management Services. (Ah, bureaucracy. So lovably Orwellian.) I may be misinterpreting the legalese here, but the council’s rules on “official travel” do include this no-brainer stipulation: “It is the policy of the State to reimburse employees for reasonable authorized expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.”

Obviously they aren’t going to authorize hair spray or teeth whitening dental procedures, but who out there among the electorate would consider Blago’s pandering on The View (“Come on, Governor, do your Nixon impersonation! Say ‘I am not a crook’!”) a “reasonable authorized expense”?

And let’s not forget that Rod apparently detests Springfield so much he’s long chosen to govern from his lovely Ravenswood Manor home. So when he’s compelled to head downstate, hasn’t that also been a completely avoidable travel expense (not to mention, environmentally obnoxious) for which taxpayers have to pick up the tab?

Emissions accomplished, Governor.

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