Lead story: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle caused quite a stir yesterday when she brought a whole heck of a lot of fury down on long-departed former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Speaking in support of Chicago’s recent new relaxed marijuana ordinance at a forum at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Preckwinkle said the Gipper’s War On Drugs earned him “a special place in hell.” That collective, “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!” you heard was from the crowd at the forum — and everyone else everywhere.
While Preckwinkle has previously spoken out about the War On Drugs, she did apologize for her remarks yesterday, saying, “I regret my earlier comment regarding former President Ronald Reagan. I have been outspoken on the failure of the War on Drugs to end illegal drug use or sales in this country. However, this is too complicated to lay all of it out on President Reagan’s doorstep and inflammatory language only distracts from the larger issue.”
It’s doubtful Preckwinkle will face a severe backlash over her statement because that would require some sort of substantial Republican presence in Illinois. But she’ll still face criticism for taking a verbal crowbar to the ghost-knee of one of America’s most beloved presidents (no matter the legitimacy of her general criticism). Given recent bouts of public misspeaking by elected officials, this one’s not so bad, but it’s harsh enough to turn heads. It should be interesting to see if she uses any attention from this incident to push forward her own agenda beyond what ordinances are already in place.
Also: The “violence in Chicago” story won’t be going away any time soon, as August 2012 has already eclipsed August 2011’s murder totals and we still have ten days left in the month, including today. There were 38 homicides in the first 19 days of this month, meaning the city is averaging two murders per day for the month. With at least 346 murders (according to Fox Chicago) in 234 days, that’s just shy at 1.5 murders per day for the year. Yesterday’s shootings included a 15-year-old boy from the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood who was fatally wounded and a 61-year-old woman who was a wounded innocent bystander; both shootings happened in the middle of the afternoon. Then, late Tuesday night, another bystander was injured in an unrelated shooting. Forget nearing the breaking point; the breaking point is here.
And then: Mayor Rahm Emanuel is once more appealing to a higher power for help in his fight to stave off a strike by the Chicago Teachers Union: Chicago pastors. While he asked for their eh, "divine intervention" in supporting a longer school day last year, this year’s request seems a bit more vague. Rahm needs all the help he can get if he wants to avoid a teachers strike, but church and schools shenanigans has gotten him heavily criticized in the past.
Farewell: NBC’s The Office, the upcoming season of which will be its last. A remake of the BBC series by the same name, The Office debuted in the spring of 2005 to tepid responses but slowly managed to carve out it’s own identity, separate from that of it’s beloved origin series. After several seasons as one of the best comedies on television, the series has lagged a bit in recent years and has also dealt with several cast departures, including Steve Carell. The show has aired 176 episodes over eight seasons; its final season order is for 22 episodes.
- The GOP convention in Tampa next week could face headaches with a potential hurricane. Degree of irony: The Party of W’s convention and the storm coincide with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
- Speaking of Romney’s coronation, even as he distances himself from Rep. Todd “Mouth of the Midwest” Akin, he can’t escape some controversial ties.
- While we were getting all worked up over Akin, Texas got permission to cut funding to Planned Parenthood because, well, it’s Texas.
- Kanye West: American Idol judge? Yes, please.
- Those commemorative The Simpsons stamps are not as rare as you think they might be.
- Someone filed a FOIA request for that White House-brewed beer.
- And then I wept.
- Stroger Hospital gets its close-up on cable television next month.
- Our new tourism slogan: “If the violence doesn’t get you, the Legionnaire’s Disease will.”
- New baby monkey!
- Because BP is about more than just oil spills, they’re now recalling bum gas and dealing with a bad line which could send prices even higher.
- The Chicago Young Republicans have launched a campaign to recruit fellow youngsters to their call by, sigh, doing a “Call Me Maybe” parody. Good luck with that, guys.
- A Chicago man was arrested for a drunken tirade on board a recent New York-to-Los Angeles flight.
- Nominations for the 2012 Equity Jeff Awards are out.
- It looks likely that the Cubs will switch their Single-A farm team from Peoria to the Kane County Cougars.
- 2012 is over for Matt Garza.
- Oof. This story is not what we want to hear in the wake of the Sandusky trial.
- Look, Sox fans, even you have to wonder how Hawk is a finalist for an award using the word “excellence.”
- The Chicago Sky fell to New York last night, their 10th loss in 11 games.
- The Chicago Fire face D.C. United tonight in hopes of keeping their win streak intact.
- The threat of a lockout did nothing to hamper Blackhawks ticket sales.
I mentioned The Simpsons earlier so enjoy the origins of “d’oh!” [via The Daily What]