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More unsolicited advice

Monday, Mar 30, 2009

* Dear Gov. Quinn,

Why hasn’t McPier been fumigated as of yet?

* Dear FCC,

Why not open this option up to newspapers not covered by the federal “grandfather clause” and are still under the ban of cross-ownership of newspapers and TV/radio stations…

Tribune Co., a newspaper publisher and television station owner that operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said Monday that it has combined a newspaper and two TV operations in Connecticut in a bid to become more efficient and cut costs.

The move puts the operations of The Hartford Courant and WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV in Hartford under one roof, an unusual pairing, and places a TV executive in charge of both.

I know there are fears of too much consolidation, particularly among liberals, but can’t we have some limited mergers so we can maybe save some newspapers in this country?

And this is OK with me as well…

It has gotten to the point where Larry Wert, president and general manager of WMAQ-TV/Channel 5, confirmed the station is considering an arrangement in which it would outsource its sports reports to Comcast SportsNet, effectively eliminating its sports staff.

* Dear Chicago Reader,

A notice in your comment sections says this

We do not prescreen or edit comments, but we do reserve the right to delete any we find inappropriate.

So, I suppose that the multitude of insane, racist, over the top and definitely inappropriate comments all over your site are just fine with you. I don’t think the word “inappropriate” means the same to you as it does to me. But maybe I’m missing something. Perhaps you just can’t “find” them? In that case, I don’t blame you for not looking. It’s pretty disgusting stuff. But, hey, it’s your shop, so your rules. Have fun with that.

* Dear American Journalism Review,

Considering that this blog has the word “Fax” in its name, do you think I might also publish on more than one platform?

Most states also have niche publications geared toward political insiders, such as Arizona’s Capitol Times, which publishes on multiple platforms, or online-only outlets such as Illinois’ Capitol Fax blog.

Thanks for the plug, by the way.

* Dear John Shimkus,


* Dear John Howard Association,

Great idea

Award-winning journalist Hanke Gratteau has been named executive director of The John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) , the leading advocate for prison reform in the Midwest. She joins John Howard on April 6.

Gratteau will oversee projects and research aimed at monitoring and improving conditions in the state’s prisons, jails and juvenile detention facilities. She is the seventh person to head the Association since it was founded in 1901.

“My role with The John Howard Association will be a very natural extension of the public policy advocacy that was at the heart of my journalism career,” said Gratteau, former managing editor/news of the Chicago Tribune. “We will aim to shine a bright light on places and issues that are hidden from public view and provide a strong and clear voice for sound public policy grounded in research.

Seriously. Great idea.

* Your turn…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - ChicagoGuy - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:14 pm:

    Shimkus, has been “palinized”.

    Dinosaurs, carbon, God choosing the end of the world, bible quotes…………..I hope he runs for Statewide office. He MIGHT even do better than Alan Keys……..maybe.

    Why does the Illinois GOP make it so easy for us Dems?

  2. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:17 pm:

    That Crains article is just the tip of the iceberg concerning that festering gob of corruption masquerading as the regulatory authority known as McPier. Quinn won’t be able to take on that monster unless he is re-elected.

  3. - Eighty - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:21 pm:

    I love the Shimkus video. Good for a nice chuckle until you realize that he and lawmakers like him are actually voting on anything having to do with science.

    The whole newspaper deal is just like NAFTA in the early 90s. It’s against our best interest to artificially hold up the shift to online content. In the meantime, let’s lessen the burden. Who knows what that requires, though.

  4. - Amuzing Myself - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:32 pm:


    An honest question: I checked out the Shimkus link, and it peaked my curiosity. How come I never see a similar link to an IL Chamber, IMA or US Chamber web site? Seems if Illinois unions are a valid source of news, their ordinary opponents on similar issues would be as well.

    I’m not trying to be snarky, either. I’m curious if you’ve considered it or if they don’t have something similar that’s equally newsworthy to follow.

  5. - Hank - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:36 pm:

    The McPier story stinks, but how Globetrotter remains a DBE also needs to be addressed.

  6. - Anon - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:39 pm:

    mcpier — there are some good eggs there, and some bad ones, just like any other place. i guess we will see lots more about the bad eggs here (and elswhere) one the indictments come and the stories are told).

  7. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:42 pm:

    Progress Illinois is a biased publication incapable of a balanced analysis of an individual they consider a political enemy. As a result, their remarks about Congressman Shimkus is worth about as much as Rush Limbaugh’s remarks about Congressman Barney Franks.

    What is most insulting is the fact that so many of their readers endorse this kind of crap, and consider themselves the enlightened ones.

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===Seems if Illinois unions are a valid source of news, their ordinary opponents on similar issues would be as well.===

    It’s a valid question, but I don’t think any of those outfits you mentioned have a comparable, quasi-independent news service.

  9. - Farberware - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:45 pm:

    Interesting to note the modifiers Alexi put on his new “reform” initiative. He won’t take “corporate” PAC money and he won’t take money from “federal” lobbyists. So big unions, trial laywers and state lobbyists will be OK?

    Apparently IL GOP has responded:

  10. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:46 pm:

    It finally struck me that the big Tribune makeover a few months back created a daily “Time” or “Newsweek” Newsmagazine instead of a daily newspaper that we are all accustomed to reading. Or should I say fewer of us are accustomed to reading.

    The Sun Times beat the Tribune to the punch a couple of years ago and they are still losing tons of money. Why the Tribune would emulate such a set up remains a mystery to me.

  11. - Farberware - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:52 pm:

    “I don’t see a mention of non-corporate PACs. Does this mean he is not willing to go as far as Obama on the issue of campaign finance?” Alexi’s base figured it out on its own.

  12. - Farberware - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 2:59 pm:

    Looks like TA picked up the ILGOP release:

  13. - carbon deforestation - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:06 pm:

    Rich - kudos to you for highlighting the problems on The Reader site. You are far more of journalist than most of those “traditional” operators ever have been.

    Gov. Quinn should stop his chest thumping over special sessions, mini-capital deadlines and the ISP appointment - and get back to FUMIGATION. What’s the point of having an Reform Commission when you are still giving state contracts to Blago Corruptors 3 months after his removal???

    The Shimkus thing is hilarious! Sure to make the Daily Show soon!

    WMAQ - who cares - local TV sports guys are generic talking heads anyway. Besides Marc Giancreco, none of them ask questions or challenge the team owners or coaches on anything. They could all be replaced ComcastSportsNet for all I care.

  14. - Lakefront Liberal - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:07 pm:

    The Reader comments section is baffeling to me; they have such great stories, things that are worthy of discussion, yet the comments section is dominated by infantile creeps that drive away anyone who might wish to actually participate in a discussion of the issue at hand.

    Personally I would like people to be more engaged in politics and one entry point can be participating in comment sections and online discussions. But who wants to wade into all that?

    When a professional publication like the Reader allows the crazy people to run the show, it makes you loose just a little bit more faith in the possibiity for productive engagement in civic life. And in a town as cynical and dissengaged as this one that is the last thing we need.

    There is enough nastiness on the internet as it is, it would be great if the Reader would not allow its site to be one more outlet for it.

  15. - fedup dem - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    If WMAQ-TV did away with its sports department 10 months before the Winter Olympics aired on its channel, the result would be devastating. It may also have a negative impact on Chicago’s Olympic bid hopes for 2016. I imagine that there would be more than a few IOC members would not look kindly at seeing the potentital host TV station for the Olympics ridding itself of sports coverage.

  16. - Ghost - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:15 pm:

    Dear Gov. Quinn

    Clean up government, replace Carol Adams and her staff.

  17. - Anon Again - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:25 pm:

    Ghost-he will be there as soon as he gets rid of the give myself raises folks at IDOT

  18. - cynically anonymous - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:26 pm:

    Amen, Ghost. Amen.

  19. - Eighty - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 3:35 pm:

    @VanillaMan… the best part about the stupidity of Shimkus’ remarks is they’re still amazingly hilarious even outside of the context of the Progress Illinois post. You can see the unedited clip on YouTube sans commentary, and it’ll still leave you in awe over the stupidity of his statement.

    Yes, PI is a shill for organized labor. Yes, they’re as unbiased as it gets and their writing often bites (hard). But that doesn’t mean any video linked by them loses credibility. Rich wasn’t necessarily agreeing with the PI spin, but the content of the videos in their post outweighed it. Plus, PI had both videos in an easy-to-view format. I wouldn’t equate his linking of it to linking to a Limbaugh article.

  20. - Larry Mullholland - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 4:04 pm:

    Rich, et all, There should a fumigation at most state agencies.

    There are unqualified Blago/Rezko hacks at many agencies who are still drawing top dollars and are still not doing their “Jobs”.

    There appears to be little effort to actually weed out the bad seeds. Exception would be a couple high profile directors.

    Maybe we are being impatient but Quinn promised to be different. Still waiting on the dismissal of the hacks.

  21. - Reddbyrd - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 4:13 pm:

    Speaking of quality journalism — which Capt. Fax really wasn’t — let’s take a moment and remember this kid….

    WASHINGTON - The journalism and free speech museum called the Newseum has added 77 names to its Journalists Memorial, including one from Southern Illinois University.

    The memorial honors reporters photographers and broadcasters who died while covering the news.

    The youngest journalist’s name added to the wall on Monday was 22-year-old Ryan Rendleman.

    He was on assignment for the Daily Egyptian student newspaper at SIU in April last year when a tractor-tractor slammed into his stopped car at a construction zone.

    The memorial includes 1,913 names dating back to 1837.

    It began in 1996 with less than 1,000 names.

    More than 500,000 visitors have passed by the Journalists Memorial since the Newseum reopened in its new home in April 2008.

  22. - 2ConfusedCrew - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 4:15 pm:

    BTW…Dr. Carol Adams is a finalist to be named president of teh University of Emil….that should mean DepGovHeadBump will be back on a payroll real soon

  23. - Ben S. - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 5:16 pm:

    For the record, Andrew Sullivan has posted the Shimkus video under the title “Christanist Watch”.

  24. - Chicago Guy - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 5:16 pm:

    Bigger question for Governor Quinn: why aren’t you putting your own person in charge of McPier? I thought the Gov picked the CEO? How about other key leadership posts in state government?

  25. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 5:40 pm:

    Given that it’s a join mayoral/gubernatorial piggy bank, Quinn’s going to need some help from Daley to fumigate McPier. I doubt if Daley is interested.

    I wonder what old Richard “Ricky” Simon of United Service Companies thinks about someone else getting the janitorial contract — that is, if he didn’t get a taste somehow. You don’t know how this city and state works until you know the Ricky Simon story.

  26. - Corbin Freskey - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 5:51 pm:

    The John Howard Association should be writing the Gov asking why he has nit removed corrections director Roger Walker yet.

  27. - Hack Slacker - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 6:16 pm:

    The fumigation cannot come quick enough. The blagoofs that are still in the agencies are hiding themselves in program areas and their level of incompetency rises daily. C’mon Pat you promised!

  28. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 7:17 pm:

    The IOC could care less about local sports coverage, police protests, neighborhood protests, etc. They like money. Chicago doesn’t have enough. Japan, and possibly Brazil, do.

    The Olympics has been a sideshow in Chicago from Day One.

  29. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 7:49 pm:

    Ethical Alexi won’t take that evil PAC money for the new campaign. Swell. His ethics meter apparently never twitched as he raked in 1 of every 5 bucks for the Treasurer campaign over the past 2 years from people or companies in the money management business. Certainly that big score had nothing whatsoever to do with his nifty ILL-PERS pension investment power grab.

    As far as the fumigation, Quinn’s credibility as a varmint hunter is and will be severely impaired until John Filan hits the bricks, for good.

  30. - BOB - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 8:08 pm:

    John Howard Association’s Ex-Director Indicted
    It doesn’t get much worse than this if you are a good government type.

    Mike Mahoney, 63, the past director of the John Howard Association, has been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. He has moved to Cassopolis, Michigan.

    He is accused of paying “kickbacks while representing vendors that had multi-million-dollar contracts with the state prison agency.”

    The kickbacks allegedly went to George Ryan Corrections Director Don Snyder, 52. Snyder was indicted in July, along with Barrington Hills lobbyist John J. Robinson, 59, and Larry E. Sims, 59, of Pleasant Plains, near Springfield. ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY. JOHN HOWARD ASSO IS A JOKE. THEY ARE ALL IN IT TO STEAL FROM THE STATE.

  31. - HearMeRoar - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 9:21 pm:

    Amen, AA. What’s it gonna take to motivate Pat to get rid of Filan? Torches and pitchforks? I’m thinking that can be arranged. . . .

  32. - Latino pay to play - Monday, Mar 30, 09 @ 10:49 pm:

    If Quinn is serioius about fumigating McPier, he’ll start with the CEO, Juan Ochoa, who was a key fundraiser for Blago and protected by Luis Gutierrez. He was the go-between guy for Blago-Luis. In a previous story, the head of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Omar Duque, was quoted as saying that Blago’s brother Rob contacted him for fundraising, The chamber is the former home for Ochoa and the group that built their little empire during the Blago years with tons of state contracts for themselves and all the contractors and companies that donated to the former Guvs campaign. Quinn, we are still awaiting the cucaracha cleaning. Que sera, sera?

  33. - Hiker - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:15 am:

    About CO2: Plants photosynthesize more carbohydrates when they have more CO2. Plants are more drought-tolerant with more CO2, because they need not “inhale” as much air to get the CO2 needed for photosynthesis. At the same time, the plants need not “exhale” as much water vapor when using air enriched with CO2. Plants decrease the number of stomata or air pores on the leaf surface in response to increasing atmospheric levels of CO2.
    If we were to decrease our current level of CO2 from around 400ppm to the 270ppm that prevailed a few hundred years ago, we would lose some of the benefits of the green revolution. Commercial greenhouse operators are advised to add enough CO2 to maintain about 1000ppm. From testimony delivered to U.S. Senate 2/25/09 by Dr. William Happer Phd. Princeton University.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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