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Afternoon odds and ends

Thursday, Feb 28, 2008

* Go to the 22:42 mark from the governor’s NIU press conference yesterday and listen to the crowd shout down CBS 2 reporter Mike Flannery as he tries to get a response out of Blagojevich on the “Public Official A” subject. The crowd objects to bringing up non-NIU topics into the presser, and the governor gets a chuckle out of it. But since Blagojevich is in the bunker these days it was the only chance to try to get him on the record. [Video is here]

* The IFT is not pleased with a reporter’s work, and the Illinois Times has the story

Dave Comerford is unhappy with Scott Reeder and the Small Newspaper Group, a family-owned chain of Illinois newspapers. Comerford, media director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, says he’s frustrated by what he sees as dishonest reporting and the twisting of quotes to fit a political agenda.

*** UPDATE *** Scott Reeder has written a response to the IT piece. It can be found here

If one does a quick Google search you’ll find that Mr. Downs [the author of the IT story] worked extensively for teacher union publications and received substantial campaign contributions from American Federation of Teachers affiliates.

* Illinois’ top 10 consumer complaints

For the second year in a row, identity theft heads the list of the top 10 consumer complaints received by the Illinois attorney general’s office.

* New Glitz for Michigan Ave?

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is packed with shoppers and gawkers, but to some, the area just south of there is not so magnificent. Now, some downtown boosters want to change that.

Today, a downtown development group unveils a plan to bring glitz to Michigan Avenue south of the river. Ty Tabing directs the Chicago Loop Alliance. He says one suggestion is to create a set of grand, ornamental steps.

* JibJab video

[hat tip: Fritchey]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 12:59 pm:

    South of the river on Michigan? What, around Millenium Park? The park is pretty darn glitzy — and is probably one of the best — if not *the* best — public “spaces” in the country.

    If it’s farther south than Millenium and Grant Park — then I’ll agree it’s not glitzy. But wasn’t that the point of converting the Congress Hotel into the casino?

    (I’m a gambling supporter, so I’m all for bringing a casino into the heart of downtown Chicago.)

  2. - GoBearsss - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    Oh…. My…. God….

  3. - A Citizen - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    QOTD - What is the name of the rock group in the pic? The three sleazers, The three hackmeisters, the three . . . . . ?

  4. - Princeville - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    well, as usual, Madigan looks pretty cool and in control, Blago looks to be exiting stage left, and Jones? What the heck is Jones doing, yanking up his britches? Never a dull moment with our top 3 leaders.

  5. - Deep Denial - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:19 pm:

    As the days progress Rod Blagojevich is sounding more and more like O.J. Simpson or Michael Jackson.

  6. - Norman - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:26 pm:

    I really don’t see why they’d tear that building down. Columbine HS is still standing…this seems to be a bit over the top if you ask me, especially the $40,000,000 price tag.

    I’ve also read conflicting reports about whose idea this was. I was under the impression NIU wanted this done, but you’d think from his words that it was all Rod’s plan. Can someone shed some light on this for me?

  7. - Something we knew all along.... - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:28 pm:

    “To continue to deny he’s Public Official A after the judge in the case has publicly confirmed he is, is tantamount to lunacy,” said Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock).

  8. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    Macbeth, its Michigan Avenue south of Wacker to Randolph. I work at Michigan and Wacker in the building where the Old Tavern Club was, RIP. To the property owners, there are offending low-rise structures with T-shirt shops, fast food outlets, radio shack, etc.

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===its Michigan Avenue south of Wacker to Randolph.===

    Great. Now the person who cuts my hair will have to find another shop.

  10. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Best coffee shop on the planet is on Randolph just up from there: Intelligentsia.

  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:57 pm:

    Also, as a former resident of that neighborhood, I liked the proximity to Radio Shack, Walgreen’s, Payless, That’s Our Bag and other stores in “offending low-rise structures.” Above the river is generally for tourists. Below is more for workers and residents.

  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 2:05 pm:

    The Wirtz family, which owns my building, has been pushing it. From what I understand, the mayor’s office is on board as well — tie in Michigan Avenue north of the river with Millennium Park, the Cultural Center and, possibly, the new Children’s Museum.

  13. - dc - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 2:05 pm:

    It pains me to say this, but the IFT may have a legitimate complaint. Although I grew up with the Kankakee Daily Journal, it’s not exactly the standard-bearer for investigative journalism. This attempt to highlight a problem with tenure is now overshadowed by a likely flaw in reporting and an apparent illogical conclusion. Reeder should have added a simple disclaimer to the article that the numbers were based on actual appeals, not actual firings. Seems to me that a simple sentance like that would have mitigated some of the criticism and acknowledged an obvious gap in the findings.

    Still, the IFTs rebuttal notwithstanding, this issue of tenure needs to have further scrutiny even in the face of public criticism. I also find it interesting that we’re seeing some core GOP issues rear their head (tenure, death penalty, taxes)as we begin approaching the “feeling-out” period for potential gubernatorial candidates. The reality, unfortunately for the GOP, is that any chance they have of re-capturing the Governor’s office, will be based on downstate support from unions like the IEA. IFT will hardly ever support a republican, but downstaters like Bill Brady will need to tread carefully on this issue if they hope to gain that critical support.

  14. - Reddbyrd - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 3:46 pm:

    Capt Fax:
    Is there a barber college at that location?
    I am sure you are not suggesting someone is paid cash money to work on the top of that noggin :)

  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 3:52 pm:

    LOL. Nope. Salon 333. Used to be at the Doral. Not foofy upscale, but I’m loyal. Problem is, I can’t get up there enough to keep the hair cut to a proper length.

  16. - Stuck with Sen. CPA - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 4:00 pm:

    Re: Columbine High School

    Yes, the high school still stands, but the library, where many of the deaths occurred, was demolished and replaced with an atrium. A new library was built as an addition and dedicated to the victims. Other areas where the attack took place - the entrance, the cafeteria and a classroom where a teacher died - were also remodeled so as to be unrecognizable from the day of those events.

  17. - John - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    Git down withya bad self!
    Jibjab ROCKS!

  18. - Fred Astaire they ain't - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 5:20 pm:

    Looking at the Jib Jab, all I can say is: “you got served!”

    I would call it an interpretive dance version of the peregrinations all three undertook during last year’s budget negotiations.

  19. - Bruno - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 7:31 pm:

    If the GOP can’t run against teachers unions and the greed of the public education monopoly, then what good are they?

    If the unions are so powerful that teachers get underserved tenure while kids get a worse and worse education, why bother getting involved in anything having to do with politics?

    The idea that anyone even give a damn about ‘teachers’ when taxes are skyrocketing and kids are getting mediocre (if that) schooling is a testimony as to just how disconnected the populace has become.

    The focus should be on the best education for the least amount of money. Focusing on class, size, teacher pay, administrator pay, state mandates, and the whole $20 billion + legalized money laundering scheme called public ed. is frightening.

    TENURE!? For a K-12 teacher?! How did that even happen?!

    The first politician to run against these pikers will likely lose. The 2nd and 3rd will win. Public ed. is a cesspool, and some one will get the credit for proving it to the sleepwalking soccer mom who is more ‘true to her school’ than to her children.

  20. - Earth to Reeder - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 7:58 pm:


    Two questions for you:

    1) You say that when a school board wants to fire a teacher, they must make a recommendation to the hearing panel, and the case goes from there. The Illinois Times writer says the board may fire a teacher and that it’s up to the teacher to decide whether to appeal. Which is it?

    2) If there are a substantial number of teachers getting fired and not appealing their cases — you don’t make a definitive case to the contrary — is there any reason why you did not make an effort to discover this number? Did you not have an obligation to try?

  21. - observer - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 9:02 pm:

    Reeder is slippery and a bit greasy, but that’s the business he’s in. I recommend anyone that deals with Scott use caution and put on a “buyer beware” button. Sometimes it’s hard to ell when Scott is your friend and when he’s making news.

  22. - Bruno - Friday, Feb 29, 08 @ 6:25 am:

    Earth to Reeder,

    You are correct that it is a fair question to get both numbers. Here is what is strange.

    The IT article, written by some one clearly as biased as Mr. Comerford, does not produce the figure you are requesting.

    Neither does Comerford. It would seem the fastest way to discredit Mr. Reeder would be to disclose that figure in the IT article, yet they don’t give the number either.

    One of the best reasons to vote for a Constitutional Convention is to get more transparency out of school districts (and every other entity).

    While we don’t need individual names, every district should disclose hirings, firings, check register, contractors and the text of contracts, not to mention all union contract negotiations PRIOR to signing.

    Freedom of Information shouldn’t require a request. Every entity should be subject to a uniform disclosure.

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