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Blago still on 'Apprentice' despite not being able to use a laptop
By Burt Constable | Daily Herald Staff

In episode three of NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice", Rod Blagojevich upped his incompetency by proving unable to turn on a laptop computer, let alone use it or even type.


Courtesy NBC

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Published: 3/29/2010 12:08 AM

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His portrait might never hang on the governors' wall in our Capital, but Rod Blagojevich will be allowed to hang around on "The Celebrity Apprentice" for at least another week.

The Illinois House voted this week to stop taxpayer money from being used to commission a portrait of the impeached Blagojevich that would hang in Springfield next to felon and former Governor George Ryan. But in Sunday night's third episode of this season's celebrity competition, Blagojevich once again managed to avoid being fired - or contribute much of an honest day's work. The men's RockSolid team lost the competition and Blagojevich looked vulnerable. But former baseball star Darryl Strawberry fell on the sword and claimed to be tired. Strawberry asked to be fired and was granted his wish by host Donald Trump.

So our three-week-long, statewide nightmare continues, as Illinois remains in an unflattering national spotlight.

In episode one, Blagojevich botched his job as a waiter in a diner. In episode two, he did nothing more important than gathering balloons. In episode three, he upped his incompetency by proving unable to turn on a laptop computer, let alone use it or even type.

"There's a whole bunch of technology that passed me by," our former governor offered. Apparently he didn't type his own papers at Northwestern University or in law school.

"It's difficult trying to find a task for him and trying to find something for him to do because there's not much he can do," marveled RockSolid project manager Michael Johnson, who earned his celebrity as an Olympic gold-medal sprinter. "The weakest player we have would be Rod."

Blagojevich can't type, but he can talk to every stranger he walks past on the streets of New York City.

"You can really tell he's a politician," former baseball star Darryl Strawberry said in an unflattering tone. However, Strawberry later called the disgraced ex-governor "a great guy."

Sunday night's task was to come up with a advertorial for a joint venture between Norton, the Internet security company, and LifeLock, the service that promises protect consumers from identity theft. In a moment of irony not lost on Illinois viewers, Blagojevich, scheduled to go on trial in June on corruption charges, did offer his expert opinion of what constitutes fraud.

There is at least one person pulling for Blagojevich.

"We're really interested in how it plays out. We're cheering him on," says Shannon Hannon-Oliviero, a spokeswoman for the Children's Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., the charity Blagojevich designated to receive his payout from "The Celebrity Apprentice." Given that Blagojevich is charged with using his political power in an attempt to force a contribution from a Chicago hospital, maybe he felt more comfortable playing for an out-of-town charity.