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“Whatever it is, you look good”

Friday, Apr 11, 2014

* Here’s something you won’t see every day, particularly from me.

I came up with what I thought was a pretty good column idea for Crain’s Chicago Business. My editor, Tom Corfman, liked it and gave it a green light.

But then I wrote myself into a hopeless corner. That happens sometimes. It’s never pleasant. I worked on it and worked on it and thought I fixed it, but Corfman didn’t think I had. I read it again and realized he was right.

Uh-oh.

I labored over some revisions, but unbeknownst to me, Corfman also put some effort into it. His revision was far better than mine so we went with his changes.

* I usually hate it when somebody else touches what I write, unless it’s a typo or something like that. But I gotta give props to Corfman here. He made this column work

For the past few years, whenever I’d get a haircut I could always count on people asking, “Have you lost weight?”

In reality, I’d probably gained weight and I would sometimes say that. “Well, whatever it is, you look good,” I’d hear.

For the past couple of months, though, folks have been telling me they loved my new haircut.

But I’ve been telling them, I’ve only had one haircut in three months. “Well, whatever it is, you look good,” they’ve been replying.

I couldn’t figure out why so many people loved my nonexistent haircut until it finally dawned on me that I’d…

Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


17 Comments
  1. - Anon99 - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:06 am:

    So you can’t read the article unless you buy a digital subscription.


  2. - PublicServant - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:06 am:

    I give Quinn props for actually making the pension payment, but the problem is that its the state employees and pensioners that got the haircut. Heck, they got scalped, and whatever the outcome in the courts, I won’t forget that…ever.


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    Anon99, it’s a pretty inexpensive subscription.


  4. - Out Here In The Middle - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:19 am:

    99 - I just read it without a subscription.

    BTW - great column.


  5. - Montrose - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:23 am:

    Great analogy. Quinn has many flaws, but he has actually made some tough decisions. He has no control over the narrative right now, so he will have a very hard time changing the current perception.


  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:24 am:

    Skipping pension payments was the golden goose. Once the rating agencies got religion after the subprime mbs scandal, wasn’t really an option any longer.


  7. - A. Nonymous - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    Rich - Salient points in your column. Good team effort w/ your new editor.

    And it clearly hit some nerves. The boobirds are hanging out in Crains comments this morning - questioning your facts and asking if you think Quinn’s doing a good job.

    Perception indeed. Doesn’t help when the minority party has nothing to lose by talking out of both sides of their mouth - “cuts are bad”… “taxes are bad”…

    No such thing as Pixie Dust.

    Anon99 - All I got was a pop-up ad that I closed (sorry Rich). Otherwise, the article is available to the public.


  8. - In the Middle - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    I’m not a fan of Quinn, but have to hand it to him for making good on pension payments. Very tough to do.

    I don’t benefit from it; I just believe the State has an obligation here.


  9. - Walker - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    I registered for free and read the article.

    Selective perception abounds in politics. I occasionally call it partisan blindness.

    Almost no one but the ratings agencies, will see and report that the operating budget has been producing a significant surplus for the past two years due to serious cuts in spending.

    Much of that annual operating surplus has gone to fully paying the pension ramp up. And the overdue bills have been partly paid down, by the rest of the surplus.

    I would have much more respect for PQ’s critics if they would openly admit this reality, and then explain why our current budget surplus is not good enough for fiscal health.

    I agree it’s not good enough for the long range. More must be done — but immediately reducing revenues will harm, not help the situation.


  10. - Perry Noya - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Rich, an excellent column, but I don’t think the attacks on Quinn have to do with the “psychology of perception.” It’s politics, pure and simple. If the parties were reversed, the attacks on the governor would be just the same.


  11. - shore - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Crains gives you 10 views or something a month. I’m stunned people who read this blog who are most likely in the 1% of most avid news consumers- I hate the term “junkie” by 2014 haven’t figured out ways around news paywalls.


  12. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Your article brings to mind George Ryan’s “Illinois First” program where the politicians all received grant monies to dole out to local constituencies. The legislators all received great photo ops and press releases. However, these grants were paid for with monies that were reassigned from the pension payments. Only a few legislators noticed that pension haircut.


  13. - A guy... - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    You may have “empowered” editors everywhere. LOL. But everyone ain’t Corfman, that’s for sure. Good column. Looks like you lost weight.


  14. - 47th Ward - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    Did anybody else peruse the comments over at Crain’s? Yikes.


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Kudos for the weight loss. 5 years ago I quit drinking and started exercising, and lost 60 lbs….and, oh, smoking weed is out because All Food is soooooo good.


  16. - Anony - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    OK, as far as it goes. I’d agree that Quinn is doing a reasonable job — aside from his rampant cronyism — despite the fact that the two leaders of his party are primarily interested in their own agendas.

    However, there’s a saying on Wall Street: Don’t confuse brains with a bull market. The more than 100% rise in the stock market since 2009 has certainly enhanced the appearance of Quinn’s performance. The same glow still adheres to Jim Edgar, who governed during the epic bull market of the ’90s and is a respected elder statesman, despite approving many of the wild excesses that currently weigh on the budget.

    For bear-market governors George Ryan and Blago, the unfortunate timing of their terms likely added to their public punishments. In fact, Blago had it both ways, riding the wave to an easy re-election, then getting caught in the channel when it crashed.

    So it’s subject to revision. If the market tanks 50% — as it has twice in the past 15 years — the rewrites will be voluminous.


  17. - DuPage - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    A lot of us would like to lose 30 pounds. What diet worked the best?


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