Sunday, January 4, 2009

The thin blue sign

Hurtling along I-88 the other day, weaving among potholes and navigating the serpentine arrangement of temporary lanes that are an enduring feature of this highway in construction perpetua, I genuflected once again with my transponder before the thin blue sign that celebrates Rod R. Blagojevich, patron saint of open-road tolling. Four times that day I gave thanks, not to mention 40 cents seamlessly deducted from my account, in recognition of that foresight and genius which rescued us from the tyranny of sitting for ten minutes, scrabbling for enough loose change to make the little gate rise up to allow safe passage through the toll booth. Much of that loose change would ultimately find its way into the trunk of some corrupt employee's car to be doubtless distributed later in all manner of interesting ways. In Illinois, no coin is too small to steal, particularly if you have a trunk-load of them.

The blue signs were the subject of some "controversy" a couple of years back as I recall from an article in the Tribune. The tollway authority has its own sign-making department; but these blue signs were made by another company under a rather hefty contract. With all these things one now wonders what machinations lay behind the obtaining of said contract. The Macblugo tapes suggest that $25,000 represents the basic unit of doing business on gBay. How many gBay units were those blue signs worth for the company that got the deal? What will happen once the inevitable happens sooner rather than later we hope? Will some dope spray paint out their patron's name and replace it with another? Maybe another contract will be required to create a new batch of signs to honor the next guvnor. Meanwhile, they give us pause to reflect upon the utter bankruptcy of the state's current administration.

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