The Daybook: Madness in Pakistan, Replacing Rahm, and the Kid Cop

March 3, 2009

When I got to work this morning, bright and early at 5 AM, I was pretty pumped for what was promising to be the kind of morning I live for: lots of breaking news to cover, with polls in the 5th Congressional District opening at 6 AM. My mood turned from excited to sickened pretty quickly though, when I found out about the disgusting attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Although I grew up in the West - born in England, but raised mostly in America (sorry, Draft Omar members, I'm not eligible to become president) - I've visited my parents' native Pakistan a few times, and am a big fan of cricket. Lahore is my father's hometown, and it's considered the cultural capital of Pakistan - rich in Mughal and British history, as well as fine dining, and away from the mobster-run ghettos of Karachi, and lawlessness of the tribal West. The madness knows no bounds though, it seems. Over the past few years, most foreign teams have refused to travel to Pakistan out of safety concerns. This obviously put the team at a huge competitive and financial disadvantage, since they really only played away from home. In baseball terms, this would be like the White Sox being on an 8 year road trip, because of the violence on the South Side. Even Pakistan's successful, rich neighbor, India (or the cricket version of the Cubs, I suppose) refused to cross the border for games. The one team that did step up to the plate and travel to Pakistan in recent years was Sri Lanka. And then this happened. A Sri Lankan player boards into a helicopter at Gaddafi stadium after the shooting incident in Lahore, Pakistan on Tuesday, March, 3, 2009. A dozen men attacked Sri Lanka's cricket team with rifles, grenades and rocket launchers ahead of a match in Pakistan, wounding several players and killing six police officers and civilian in a brazen attack on South Asia's most beloved sport. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary) My heart goes out to the families of people that lost their lives today. I do have one hope though. As baseball-crazy as Chicago is, multiply that by about one hundred, and you might be close to measuring Pakistan's passion for cricket. Maybe, just maybe, this could be the event that galvanizes the country against the radical elements trying to tear apart the fabrics of that society. Sorry for the downer post, but this really is a tough pill to swallow. Turning to the relative calm and civility of Chicago-politics (didn't think you'd hear that, did you?)...
  • The 5th district race is on. One election official I spoke with this morning says he's worried this race might set a record low for turnout. Kind of surprising from my point of view. This is the seat that was once held by Rahm Emanuel, Rod Blagojevich and Dan Rostenkowski. Powerful men those, at one time or another at least... Mike Rhee and Tony Arnold are all over the district, getting the latest from polling places and candidates.
  • Mekea Williamson is going to head down to a presser being held by Jody Weis about the kid cop debacle. The top cop will discuss his findings from an investigation about the embarrassing incident. [Side-note: Kaufmann hates this story, but I think it's fascinating. What do you guys think?]
Many more stories on tap as well, of course, check the website or the airwaves for those throughout the day.
Categories