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The [Friday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes


That was my reaction when I saw this:



Quinn's response to the ad has only reinforced Washington's message and fit a pattern of dissembling, hypocrisy and incompetence that has marked the tenure of a man so many reformers had hope in.

For example, Quinn on Thursday denied being fired, but one of the local TV news shops last night dug into its vault (sorry, not sure which channel I was watching) and showed video of Quinn himself from the time explaining that he had been fired.

The Quinn team is also pointing out that Dan Hynes made a "cameo" appearance in an old campaign ad of his father's, who mounted a third-party bid against Washington in 1987. Dan Hynes was 18 at the time.

Maybe someone ought to ask Quinn if he'll rescind his support of Richard M. Daley and ask him to refrain from helping his campaign because of the sins of his father. Aside from Richie's sins, that is.

Quinn spokesperson Elizabeth Austin also said on Thursday that Washington's remarks about her boss were simply part of Washington's "occasional intemperate outbursts."

Nice way to further alienate Washington's many remaining admirers.

Nice way to elide the truth, as well.

"This is truly what Harold Washington felt," former Washington press secretary Alton Miller told the Sun-Times (link unavailable). "I'm sorry to say, it's absolutely the Harold Washington I remember, and it's the mood and the level of disappointment I remember."

Game over?

Today's Worst Person In Chicago . . .
. . . is state Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago).

"Sneed has learned Davis, who already is in hot water for a $500,000 bill allegedly owed to the Chicago Board of Education, is now refusing to return a $25,000 sculpture of an African slave, which is owned by Chicago State University!"

The question is: Why hasn't she been arrested? And how wimpy are the cops who tried to take back the statue and were turned away by Davis?

Lesson Plan
"Former Chicago School Board President Michael Scott and his predecessor, Rufus Williams, decorated their offices with expensive artwork and drank and dined at upscale restaurants - all on the taxpayers' tab, sources say a new investigation into questionable spending has found," the Sun-Times reported.

You're going to see a lot more come out about Scott in the coming weeks and/or months that will place him back in the crony category from the saint category he landed in after his death.


It's a good thing I no longer contribute to, where I wouldn't have been able to write that item.

Chicago Plan
Leon Finney, slumlord.

Daley Plan
"Two of Mayor Richard Daley's key aides, whose jobs are to make sure city workers obey rules and use good judgment, should be suspended for their own poor judgment in handling a student intern's sexual harassment complaint, according to findings by the city's watchdog," the Tribune reports.

"Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, in a report to the mayor, recommended strong disciplinary action against the top officials in his Office of Compliance, a unit that Daley created in 2007 to promote a culture of good conduct among city workers."

Oh, the irony.

But it's really not funny.

"Sources said Ferguson found that the two fumbled the handling of a intern's complaint that a boss at the city's 911 center sexually harassed her in 2008.

"The report found that Boswell and Meaney repeatedly disregarded city policies and showed favoritism to the boss during the sexual harassment investigation by trying to find him another city job, sources said."


Jean Genie
Former county clerk Aurelia Pucinski instituted Jeans Day and ran it on the square, the Chicago Current reports.

Dorothy Brown not so much.


"Brown, a certified public accountant and attorney, says proper controls are in place, and has promised to hand over records of the recipients of the Jeans Day funds," the Current's Alex Parker writes.

"But so far, no documentation has surfaced. I submitted a Freedom of Information request for receipts and other documentation, only to hear that the clerk's office believes it does not have to comply with the FOI law."


Progress Illinois has more, including the original report by Fox Chicago's Dane Placko.


Brown has promised to produce documentation of the program's finances at a press conference this morning.


The Jeans Day imbroglio has actually increased Brown's chances in the Democratic county board president primary, according to our new Political Odds, because of the possibility of campaign contributions from Levi's. And, because of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday, those contributions could be unlimited.

Corporate Speak
"You may soon be hearing a lot more from your favorite drugmaker or bank about which political candidates it favors and why," the Tribune editorial page says today.

And the Tribune editorial page is deeply untroubled by this.

"We understand the deep concern about this ruling. Bank of America and Pfizer have a lot more money than you do, and that means they can speak more loudly than you can at campaign time. A corporation with the will and the deep pockets could overwhelm a candidate it doesn't like with negative ads.

"The bottom line, though: We're not afraid of information. We trust voters to sift through political messages, consider the source, and vote their best judgment."

On what planet?


Wait, didn't you just write that "A corporation with the will and the deep pockets could overwhelm a candidate it doesn't like with negative ads?"

But voters will consider the source (if they can determine the source, let's be honest) and sift through that? What experience is that notion based on?


"So what now?" the Trib writes. "Will you start to see candidate endorsements on the back of Wheaties boxes? Probably not. But you probably will see more efforts by companies large and small to get their views - and their candidate preferences - across to voters. (Direct donations by companies to candidates' campaigns are still barred.) If Motorola thinks Pat Quinn shouldn't be governor because of his stance on, say, texting while driving, then you may hear about that.

"We suspect this means that candidates will have less control of the message in their campaigns. They're going to have new competition."

New competition? Corporations aren't going to compete with candidates' messages, they are going to amplify them. They aren't competitors, they are partners.

"If anything, corporate influence may become more transparent than it is now."

I can't wait to hear how.

"A company that pours money into a campaign to back one candidate or slap another candidate, or that steps out in public to offer its views on an incendiary issue at campaign time, risks a backlash. It could lose a lot of customers who disagree with its views."

I don't know what that has to do with transparency, but fear of backlash hasn't stopped corporations from immersing themselves in politically incendiary issues so far. How quickly health care reform is forgotten.

"Take note: What the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed corporations to do in federal elections, they have always been able to do in Illinois elections."

And that's supposed to comfort us?

"Yet we have not seen corporations mount their own campaigns for or against state candidates here."

Yes, corporations here never give money to state candidates!

Corporations are not people, despite what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. Commercial speech is not political speech. And campaign contributions do not equal speech in any case.

Just further reason why the only real campaign finance reform is public financing of all campaigns.

Madigan's Apples
"The first time I saw those eyes of Madigan's up close was in his Springfield office some 25 years ago," John Kass writes. "It was an intensely theatrical experience for a young reporter.

"He told me to stop by for lunch, and I was too green then to know that he'd be doing the lunching, alone, on two red apples, while I watched.

"Madigan cut the apples into about 16 equal slices with a small sharp knife. He set the slices in rows, peels down on two meticulously placed napkins, the fruit and the paper and the knife set at precise right angles to each other.

"He politely offered me some apple, and I politely declined. Then he began to eat the slices, one by one, in order. Madigan chewed with his mouth closed like a perfect gentleman. His teeth crunched their crispy flesh and he stared with those blue eyes of his, widening them to punctuate silent thoughts.

"This went on for about 45 minutes. I gave it four stars. It was all about demonstrating control."

Programming Note
I'll be the guest bartender tonight at the Beachwood Inn from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. - and maybe beyond, if Bob lets me. Who knows. After I'm behind the bar I'll be in front of it, so stop by if you'd like. And remember to tip well.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Control.


Posted on January 22, 2010

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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