* You have to make sure to closely read stories like this…
Marlon Pendleton walked out of an Illinois prison a hopeful man after more than a decade locked up for a rape he did not commit.
Cleared by DNA evidence, he sought a pardon from the governor and about $140,000 in automatic state compensation. Two years later, he’s still waiting, his optimism frayed by poverty that has him sleeping on his sister’s couch in Indiana.
“They say once you pay your debt to society, it’s over,” said Pendleton, his voice bristling with anger. “But I didn’t even owe a debt to society, and I paid it, and it’s not over.”
* It’s indeed odd that the governor seems to be procrastinating so much on pardons and clemencies, particularly when he can expedite a politically expedient pardon for Rev. Jesse Jackson.
However, after reading 952 words of the Trib’s story, we get this nugget…
But Pendleton’s case isn’t clear-cut. In addition to the 1992 rape for which he was exonerated, he was convicted in 1994 in a separate sexual assault. Pendleton was convicted after the victim identified him as the attacker in a police lineup.
Pendleton claims he’s innocent on that one, too, but there’s no DNA evidence so it’s fairly easy to see why Blagojevich has been reluctant to use his pardoning powers with this particular case.
* We’ve talked about this before, but the Sun-Times has really crossed the line on this one…
The state’s All Kids insurance program for children now has more than 1,200 new applicants.
On Saturday, hundreds of volunteers at locations throughout the city and suburbs processed 1,217 applications for All Kids, exceeding the goal of the 1,000 Healthy Kids & Families campaign sponsored by Resurrection Health Care and the Chicago Sun-Times.
No mention of the well-known defects in the All Kids program (difficulty signing up specialists, for instance), and no mention of the political firestorm surrounding the governor’s numerous health care expansion plans. Just pure PR.
Resurrection Health Care’s PR firm is the Haymarket Group. The firm’s principals meet often with Sun-Times honchos to pitch ideas during notoriously long lunches at Gene & Giorgetti’s. This looks like a Haymarket special.
* They even had a gimmick to promote the plan, duly noted in the Sun-Times…
Gov. Blagojevich is promising a free $50 gas card for the first 1,000 families that enroll at least one child in the state’s All Kids insurance program today as part of the “1,000 Healthy Kids and Families” campaign.
* OneMan sardonically notes…
Any bets on if the cards have Rod’s name on them? Looking forward to what other state programs will give you incentives for participating.
If nothing else what does this say about us as a society when we have to offer a gas card to get people to sign their kids up for a state child health program or what does this say about our governor?
* Meanwhile, speaking of advocacy journalism…
The Huffington Post is planning to expand into local news across the US, founder Arianna Huffington said last night, beginning with a site edited for the community of Chicago.
Huffington said the Chicago site would aggregate news, sports, crime, arts and business news from different local sources as well as contributions from bloggers in what will be the first of a series of projects in “dozens of US cities”. The Chicago site will initially be curated by just one editor.
“We are aspiring to be a newspaper in that we want to covering all news, not just the political blogging the way we began,” said Huffington, speaking at Guardian News & Media’s internal Future of Journalism conference.
Competition is good, but Chicago is a very tough market. Chicagoans prefer the familiar, which is why we’ve seen the same old faces on our teevees for decades.
It’s also a highly complicated political environment. Newbies are routinely eaten alive.
Still, it’s a big market so there’s plenty of room for another publication. I think it’s an exciting development. Thoughts?