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Preckwinkle unleashes 'hell' on Reagan’s anti-drug legacy

Chicago’s new tourism slogan: “If the violence doesn’t get you, the Legionnaire’s Disease will.” Plus Toni Preckwinkle slams the former president then backtracks.

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Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle: not a Reagan fan. (AP/M. Spencer Green)

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaks at a news conference at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, in Chicago where she detailed plans for policy, personnel, and procedural changes within the ME’s Office, based on the results of an ongoing internal review of the department. After a run of headlines about stacked bodies in the Cook County morgue, county officials have announced an overhaul of the office amid concerns about the system that allows the medical examiner to remain in office indefinitely. While Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the current medical examiner is a “fine physician” who will keep her job for the time being, another county commissioner started a push Thursday to make it a lot easier to fire the morgue chief. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)


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.


Looking Ahead


I mentioned The Simpsons earlier so enjoy the origins of “d’oh!” [via The Daily What]

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