What a week in news! Everyone is putting their best work forward this week, so we can phone it in for the rest of the month.
Take a long look. Yep, city stickers cost that much. Sure, take a picture with your phone. That’ll help.
Top story: Jim DeRogatis and the DCA layoffs. Music blogger Jim DeRogatis left the Sun-Times this past summer to join the blogs. At first, we thought we would get a nice mix of “I hate this and I hate that” kind of blog posts, but he quickly put on his investigative reporter hat and has challenged Chicago’s music establishment - from Lollapalooza to PPAs to his newest story about the privatizing of the summer festivals. This week, he reported on the 29 layoffs at the Department of Cultural Affairs. Yesterday, there was a lot of traffic and tremendous chatter on-line. That’s a good blog post. DCA and the city contend that yes, they are layoffs but they are taking the money and transferring to the new Chicago Tourism Fund, which will rehire some positions (probably same people). But this isn’t about where the duties are going to end up, this story is about the future of the city’s relationship with music & the arts. Under the direction of outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, the arts and music found places downtown. Some might argue that has been good and bad for the strength of the respective communities, but there was focus from the city. What happens now that the city is reorganizing? Will the city treat arts & music like high schools do? Budgets are tight, get rid of SummerDance? It’s a moment in Chicago worth watching. You might grow up and tell your kids or grandkids that downtown festivals used to be free. And that you used to sleep at the beach.
B story: Rahm Residency. What an amazing waste of time! On Wednesday, Rahm Emanuel was put on “the stand” to be asked questions directly from his challengers. The first few interrogators were lawyers, but as the 11 hour session dragged on, lawyers gave way to regular citizens who had questions. Hey, that’s what’s great about our country. We have the freedom to ask would-be candidates really stupid questions. Yesterday was no better as Rahm’s renters took the stand and said they never saw any boxes or other Emanuel family materials left behind in the house. So the lawyers sent over a photog who took pictures of the crawlspace, which the renters never looked in. Okay, cased closed. I think Joe Morris and the board of elections should take this exposure and widen their powers. Start having hearings on everything. Next, does that homeless guy who always asks me for change really need bus fare to Gurnee?
C story: Earlier this week, I did a fluffy post about new Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. I pointed out that Preckwinkle had become more stately already, by geting rid of that royal blue suit she ALWAYS wears. Instead, she had a black pin-stripe suit on. She is stepping up her game! Twitter didn’t like it very much. I was accused of being sexist and a terrible, lazy journalist (the latter is accurate). The initial argument was that when women are in power, we attack how they look. When men are in power, we focus on issues. So after arguing the point that I’ve taken on Stroger for his bow-tie and Berny Stone for his drool, I’ve decided to become the new Chicago politician fashion police. Man or woman. You look bad (or good), I will call you out. Sound good? Equal? Toni Preckwinkle was the first, I think I might go with Daley and his ‘Indiana Jones’ hat next.
Weather: Readers of this here blog know that I don’t really like weather news. It’s cold, we get it. The blizzard story at the beginning of the week was pretty cool though, except for the Bears game. And memo to staffers at ABC7: We get it. Jerry Taft is fat and loves food. Stop teasing him every time there is a food lead-in or good-looking food image on the camera. Funny at first, now I just feel bad for him.
Sports: The Bears players are starting to ratchet up the “player safety” angle when asked about playing at TCF Stadium this weekend. The Metrodome collapsed under the snow so the Vikings/Bears game will be outside at University of Minnesota. The big problem is that the stadium was shut down for the winter already. So no running water, no field-maintenence and no way to stop the snow from piling up. The Vikings want to stay in Minnesota to play the game because they are honoring the team’s 50th anniversary. Bears and Vikings players have brought up concerns that because the field hasn’t been maintained, the artificial turf will be as hard as concrete. Imagine if a star-Bear gets hurt because of the field. Can you say boycott, NFL? The Bears need to win at Minnesota and if the Packers lose in New England, the Bears will clinch the NFC North. The Vikings will not have Brett Favre or Tavaris Jackson (and possibly Adrian Peterson). They will be going with an unproven third-string QB who has never played in cold weather (he’s from Alabama-Birmingham). The Packers may play without Aaron Rodgers, their star QB. Chicago fans, we may have a playoff bound Bears team after Monday night. If they lose to the Vikings, oh man.
Kicker: I am just a huge fan of this post - my friend Robert Buscemi is a stand-up comic in Chicago. My friend Adam Witt was listening to his CD in his car. The car was broken into and the CD player was stolen. The crooks ejected the CD and left it. Adam snapped the photo. Rejected by criminals, worst way to bomb, Buscemi: