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The [Tuesday] Papers

I didn't get a chance to write about the race to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th District as much as I would have liked to, nor to really research the primary candidates as much as I would have liked. But I have a pretty decent idea of who I would vote for if I lived in the district: Tom Geoghegan.

I find it fascinating that the unions are by-and-large supporting Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey when no one has been more vital and loyal to the cause than Geoghegan.

I find it predictable yet distressing that the Obama machine hasn't rallied behind true change and the idea that you have to depart from choosing the same old folks if you want different results.

I find it sad that the traditional media still doesn't strategize about how to cover campaigns and virtually ignores issues altogether. Someone like Geoghegan might have caught fire as a breath of fresh air.

Be that as it may, I will say that I've almost been persuaded that Mike Quigley ought to be the choice. The reason I prefer Geoghegan, though, is that he's exactly the kind of innovative thinker we need in Congress. I'm not sure that's the place where Quigley's considerable skills are best put to work - though I'm not with those who try to argue that we need him on the Cook County Board to keep fighting the good fight there. Give him a break!

If only Quigley would consider, say, running for mayor.

I came into this race with a much more favorable view of John Fritchey than I have coming out of this race. I think he had a shot and I think he lost it.

Patrick O'Connor is a hack and would be the worst outcome. I'm sure I would find comfort in the Green primary if I lived in the district and would consider voting there to once again support the destruction of the two-party stranglehold. I haven't seen any reason to vote for any of the Republican candidates

I appreciate Sara Feigenholtz's emphasis on health care issues, but I think she's much more of a conventional, business-as-usual pol - like Fritchey - than I thought going in. And her attacks on Quigley have been out-of-bounds. (Also, someone please ask Sara if she thinks Barack Obama was wrong to abet Todd Stroger's election.) Still, if I was a betting man, I'd put my money on her. She seems to have emerged from the pack.

I think I've read all of Geoghegan's books and I highly recommend them. I've only spoken to him once, and it wasn't pleasant. But we all have our bad days.

I was writing a story about McCormick Place when I was at Chicago magazine and, inevitably, I kept hearing stories about how corrupt the unions there were. Some of the stories were true, but I wanted a deeper understanding of the issue and, perhaps, an alternative view, so I called Geoghegan. He was very impatient with me with no inclination to provide a perspective, other than noting that union leaders are often installed by business interests or pols with other agendas.

I was disappointed with how short he was with me, but if he was suspicious about a Chicago magazine writer professing an interest in labor issues, well, that's not unreasonable.

Chicago Sports Survey
Theirs and ours.

Town Hall Redux
Many readers have asked me where my promised Part 2 about the Chicago Journalism Town Hall is. It's almost done! I've been slowed down by a million different things coming at me at once, but I've written up my notes from the second half of the town hall and I also have some interesting links to share about Internet business models and recent news thereof. It will be up soon. And then this column will return to its old snappy self too.


Also, I will be appearing with Michael Miner at the Billy Goat on Thursday night at the Chicago Headline Club's "burger night" event. First beer is on the Headline Club; start time is 7:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m., runs to about 7:30 p.m.

Campaign Inoperable
"Even though President Barack Obama has repeatedly pledged to ban congressional earmarks, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has 16 such projects, worth about $8.5 million, in the bill the Senate is considering this week," McClatchy Newspapers reports.

Yes, well.

"[I]n his address to Congress last week, [Obama] boasted how the economic stimulus package was 'free of earmarks'."

It was free of earmarks only because pet spending projects were the substance of the bill; there was no need to append anything. They might as well have called it The American Earmark Renewal Bill.

"By the end of this week, however, [Obama's] likely to sign a separate $400 billion spending plan that keeps most domestic programs funded through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2009. It's a measure that contains about 9,000 earmarks."

Obama also repeatedly pledged that he was going to go through the federal budget line-by-line to eliminate waste. Isn't this what got the Republicans in trouble in 2006?

Q Dog
After seeming to hit his stride, Gov. Pat Quinn has stumbled again on Roland Burris, backing down from his call for the magic man to resign. "If he doesn't accept my advice, we have to move on," Quinn said.

Why in the world would he accept your advice if you aren't going to press the issue?

Lesson to future pols: Just wait it out and scare the hell out of everybody by casting ridiculous racial aspersions. It works.


Late-Night Train Ride Through Snowstorm, Chicago


The Beachwood Tip Line: All abuzz.


Posted on March 3, 2009

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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