Saturday, February 08, 2003

The title of this NYTimes article (reg. req.) is After Sweeping Clemency Order, Ex-Gov. Ryan Is a Celebrity. But after reading it...celebrity ain't what it used to be...

Highlights (or Lowlights of this celebrity):

...George Ryan has never been in more demand, with interview and speech requests flooding in from earth's far corners. Yet in a way, he has never been so alone, shunned by friends from 30 years in politics and hometown neighbors and left to unpack untold boxes of memorabilia in his century-old house.

...Police officers, prosecutors and the relatives of murder victims all say they feel betrayed — many have gone on national television programs like "The Oprah Winfrey Show" with scathing personal attacks. Retired judges who presided over the capital trials have called his action "gubernatorial nullification." The legislators whom Mr. Ryan desperately wants to change the justice system are instead working on a bill to restrict the powers of clemency.

(Ryan)....said his top aides on the death penalty had all opposed blanket clemency for the 171 people on death row, including four who were pardoned outright, as did his wife, Lura Lynn, whom he started dating when he was 15.

...On a recent afternoon, the former governor bought a cellphone from a sales clerk who called him George, and he was irked that she asked for his Social Security number. He stopped by the post office and the bank and said he would "probably have to go to the grocery store one of these days."

....David Dolman, who has lived across the street from the Ryans in Kankakee for decades, has been on the lookout for strangers lurking around the home of his now even more famous neighbor. "When he pardoned all those people," Mr. Dolman said "I told my kids, `If anyone wants to know where the governor lives, tell them that you don't know.' "