Police tear gas Oakland protesters. Could you imagine if that happened in Chicago?

October 26, 2011

This is a huge news day. On huge news days, the task of ranking news stories becomes more difficult. So pay attention to what the local media chooses to be the lead stories. You could make a strong argument for Chicago budget fallout, Cook County budget fallout, veto session standoff in Springfield, Occupy Oakland/Chicago, Boeing's Dreamliner and more on Theo Epstein's arrival in Wrigleyville. I'll start with:

Occupy Oakland. It was bound to happen. With all the protests around the world, it was a matter of time before a town unleashed tear gas on a march. I would have put my money on Chicago or perhaps LA. But Oaktown? About 1,000 people marched on Oakland's city hall after they were displaced earlier in the day. The marchers didn't listen to the police, so the police decided this was a bad scene and gassed the crowd. Yikes. Now imagine if that crowd was bigger. Estimates from last weekend's Chicago march had the crowd over 3,000. And 130 were arrested peacefully for not leaving a park. Could you imagine the world wide attention Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago police force would get if they tear gassed Occupy Chicago?

Doing a quick look at the newspapers (online), neither home page (Sun-Times, Trib) has any coverage of the Occupy Oakland police riot. Interesting, eh?

B story: More and more information is trickling out about how Emanuel wants to plug Chicago's budget. The Trib has one of the big ticket items today: More cameras to catch you speeding. This is something that has been done on some big highways and expressways already, but this would be in so-called "safety zones" in the city. So if you are rolling at 30 mph in a 25 mph zone, you could get a ticket. I'm torn on this one. I get the need for safety and to crack down on reckless driving. But I also shudder to think about what this will do for our civil rights, and when the camera craze will die down. And I don't buy that this idea is on the table because of safety. This is about revenue. What do you think?

C story: Day one of the veto session in Springfield, already a standoff. The first fight is all about slots at tracks. That's what our government has boiled down to. Whether or not there should be slot machines at the track. Who still goes to the track anyway, unless you are with grandpa.

Weather: Did it really swing 25+ degrees in one night? What the hell, Chicago weather. Not cool. We want to love you and all your weather flaws, but ease us in, man!

Sports: Theo Epstein is now your Cubs boss. The loser? The Chicago White Sox. Epstein is going to draw even more national press, especially if the Cubs turnaround and contend. The Sox need Ozzie more than ever. The only thing the Sox will have is their product on the field. A mediocre 2012 season would be trouble for the bottom line. Then you add former IL Senate President Emil Jones' weird 'The rent is too damn low' statement? Uh-oh. 

The two best things from the Epstein presser:

1) He was in that Starbucks. A couple weeks back before it was a reality that Epstein was coming here, Trib writer Paul Sullivan did a big story on how some dude saw Theo in a Wrigleyville Starbucks. It was a very weird story that made you think a) Sullivan had inside info or b) Sullivan did a stupid article. I guess he had the info, and he was vindicated by Theo himself yesterday at the press conference.

2) Epstein said that he doesn't listen to sports talk, only NPR. Holla!!!!!

Kicker: Tomorrow night, I will be live and in-person hosting the Miss Wicker Park pageant at the Double Door. Why? Well, I love pageants so much. No, really - my buddy Rich Seng is the genius behind Rhymespitters and Miss Wicker Park and he asked me to take on the hosting duties. I've always had a thing for Bob Barker, and this is probably as close to Bob Barker as I'm ever going to get. It's a cool pageant, more about freaky, goofy Wicker Park than the traditional pageants. And no six year-olds will be there.

I'm excited. I think I'm going to take on a more Steve Harvey approach. Not the Steve Harvey from the WB's The Steve Harvey Show, but the Showtime at the Apollo Steve Harvey. I need to get a six-button blue suit. Any leads on where I could find a suit like that for under, say, $60? Here's last year's pageant. Can't wait.