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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday said former President Ronald Reagan deserves 'a special place in hell' for his role in the war on drugs, but later she regretted what she called her 'inflammatory' remark," the Tribune reports.

"The comment from Preckwinkle, known more for a reserved, straight-ahead political style, came at a conference led by former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, who's now at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

"Preckwinkle was defending the recent move by the city of Chicago to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by allowing police to write tickets, saying out-of-whack drug laws unfairly lead to more minorities behind bars."

*

It's refreshing to hear a politician remind us that Ronald Reagan was such a cruel president that his vice president had to promise a "kinder, gentler" nation to get elected as his successor instead of the typical pandering of Democrats oddly as eager to rewrite history and perpetuate the myth as Republicans. I'm only sorry that Preckwinkle felt the need to apologize, though she did that very well - by way of explanation, not withdrawal.

"Ronald Reagan wasn't the first or the last, but he was certainly the most prominent at the very beginning," Preckwinkle told the Tribune in a phone interview.

The resulting policies have had the effect of sending young African-Americans and Latinos to jail and prison in disproportionate numbers, she said. They also have driven up government costs and damaged communities, she said.

"Drug policy in this country has been in the wrong direction for 30 years," she said. "I think that's something they should acknowledge. If I had it to do over again, I certainly wouldn't say anything quite so inflammatory. But my position basically remains the same."

"Preckwinkle shrugged off suggestions that her comments about Reagan might have a negative impact on her chances of seeking statewide office in the future," the Sun-Times reports.

"I have a job as president of the Cook County Board, and I intend to run for re-election as I've always said," Preckwinkle said.

*

In June, Preckwinkle was named 2012 County Leader of the Year by American City and County. I try not to take these things too seriously given that Richard M. Daley won plenty of them, but worth passing along. From that article:

Preckwinkle has harsh words for the county's jail system. Currently, 70 percent of its 8,500 to 9,500 daily population consists of inmates awaiting trial for nonviolent offenses, such as drug use, shoplifting and prostitution. She points out that the county is spending almost $150 per day to jail the inmates but does not offer any treatment for substance abuse. "This is terribly wrong, and we have a duty to do something about it," she says.

As part of the change, the county is moving to increase the number of detainees on electronic monitoring, which costs about one-third as much as keeping a person locked up, through more collaboration between the various departments involved in the public safety system. In addition, the budget includes about $1 million in funds for job training and other programs for the alleged offenders. "Drug treatment, employment, mental health, anything we do is less expensive than to jail them, where there is no success," she says.

Less expensive, more effective. It's Reagan in reverse.

*

"Reasonable people can disagree on the Reagan administration's drug policies," the Sun-TImes opines. "Reasonable people can believe, as we do, that he took too much of a punitive law enforcement approach, rather than a public health approach.

"But we can disagree on policies without - quite literally - condemning the man."

By all means, let's not condemn the man. That would be so impolite. He condemned the lives of so many others, but he did so with civility and we should return the gesture.

*

BREAKING: Hell just called. Preckwinkle is right.

*

Finally, as long as we're talking about Reagan's legacy, this is from RT earlier this month:

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Tootsie Footsie
"How many licks does it take to get to the center of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc.?" the Wall Street Journal wonders.

"No one really knows. The 116-year-old company, run by one of America's oldest CEOs, has become increasingly secretive over the years, severing nearly all of its connections to the outside world. Tootsie Roll shuns journalists, refuses to hold quarterly earnings calls, and issues crookedly-scanned PDFs for its earnings releases. The last securities industry analyst to maintain coverage of the company stopped last year because it was too hard to get information."

Finally, a company with real Chicago values.

As In Wreck
"A welcome breeze blew in from Lake Michigan as the two older women, one white and one African-American, sat in the garden of their South Side retirement home and joked and reminisced about five decades of friendship knit tight by the game of baseball," the New York Times reports.

"Mary Frances Veeck, 91, is the widow of Bill Veeck, the gadfly who wreaked humorous havoc as an owner of three teams but was also instrumental in integrating the sport 65 years ago. Wyonella Smith, also 91, is the widow of Wendell Smith, who took on baseball's racial barriers as a sportswriter in Pittsburgh and in Chicago.

"Both men are honored in the Hall of Fame. Both are long dead. But the bond between the two women is still strong, and as they proceed together in the 10th decade of their lives, they remain a charming and enduring symbol of their husbands' efforts to push the sport forward."

Rat Patrol
"Chicagoans rejoiced over the historically mild winter, but now many are experiencing the downside of no deep freeze: the pitter-patter of tiny feet in neighborhood alleys, the sound of a city's rats thriving," the Tribune reports.

"Complaints to City Hall about the omnivorous urban survivors - the bane of those who garden, walk dogs or loathe leathery tails - are on the rise.

"Through the end of July, the number of calls to the city's 311 center asking for a crew to get rid of rats was up more than 28 percent compared with last year. The raw figures: 15,895 calls this year, compared with 12,375 over the same period in 2011."

But will the rats leverage their growing political power?

Speaking Of Rats
"Urlacher declined comment when pressed on the matter by a Tribune reporter."

*

Maybe Jenny McCarthy told him arthroscopic surgery causes autism. Too easy?

In case you missed it: The Beachwood's Exclusive Look Behind The McCarthy-Urlacher Breakup.

Fantasy Fix: Top 20 RBs
Matt Forte vs. Cedric Benson.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your special place.



Permalink

Posted on August 22, 2012


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Butt Fumbles.

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.


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