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Question of the day

Friday, Jul 10, 2020

* From yesterday

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement Thursday:

“While reading Sidney Blumenthal’s book ‘All the Powers of Earth’ concerning the pre-Civil War period a few months ago, I learned of Stephen Douglas’ disturbing past as a Mississippi slave owner and his abhorrent words toward people of color. I advised my staff to research and confirm the history to support removing the Douglas portrait from the House chamber.

* The Question: What book should Madigan read next? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - twowaystreet - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 9:57 am:

    How to Retire: A Practical Guide as You Countdown to Retirement

  2. - efudd - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 9:59 am:

    If he hasn’t already, Truman by David McCollough.

    Underestimated from day one, Truman may have been one of the most clever, and politically astute pols of the 20th century.
    A product of political machines, who worked them as much as they worked him.

  3. - Liberal Librarian - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison.”

    Removing racist statutes > removing racist statues. Do. Your. Job.

  4. - bluesman2383 - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:01 am:

    Maybe some on Daley & MLK:
    American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation (2000)
    The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North (2015)

    Both talk about segregation in Madigan’s strongholds.

    Here’s another about Douglas:
    Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship, 1833-1843

  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America… by Erik Larson

    Before the film project by DiCaprio and Scorsese hits.

    Great book.

  6. - Just Another Anon - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    The Road to Serfdom by Hayek.

  7. - May Soon Be Required - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
    Author: Erica Armstrong Dunbar

  8. - LawandOrder - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    Animal Farm by G. Orwell

  9. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.

    And all other books by Dave Ramsey and his staff.

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    I asked y’all to explain. Please do so. Thanks.

  11. - MOON - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:10 am:

    The Case For Trump by Victor Davis Hanson

    Madigan needs to widen his horizon.

  12. - Nitemayor - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    Northern Men with Southern Loyalties:The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis by Michael Todd Landis (Cornell 2014). Douglas stood up to James Buchanan over the debacle of the Lecompton Constitution, which contributed to the split in the party and Lincoln’s election.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:14 am:


    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America… by Erik Larson

    The book is based on real characters and events. It tells the story of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago from the viewpoint of the designers, including Daniel Burnham, and also tells the story of H. H. Holmes.

    Nothing wrong with a lil history, lotta fiction, Chicago backdrop, Daniel Burnham, and it’ll suck you in with the fiction woven in history

  14. - Fixer - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    Second what OW said. Excellent read.

  15. - Banish Misfortune - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    I always recommend Grant’s memoirs, and have been doing so for about 20 years. Relevant for current discussion on Civil War generals, and Illinois can put in a partial claim for him.

  16. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

    Why: It part product design, part engineering, part psychology going into the hows/whys of why slot machines/video poker/other machine games can be so addictive to people. The methodologies use to promote play, how going ‘electronic’ has made these games very different than the slot machines of old. It also looks at some techniques to reduce addiction.
    I think it should have been required reading for each legislator when we brought video gaming to the state and when we expanded it.

  17. - Angry Republican - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    Seven habits of highly effective people.

  18. - frisbee - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It easily connects the dots between slavery, Jim Crow laws and the War on Drugs. It is very well researched and continues to be very relevant to why our criminal justice system is structurally racist by design.

  19. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

  20. - Angry Republican - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    Forgot the explanation; anyone that has been in Speaker as long as Madigan can probably write his own book about being effective, but Steven Covey is always worth re-reading.

  21. - City Zen - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    “Who Moved My Cheese” as an introduction to the concept of change.

  22. - Lefty Lefty - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    BOSS by Mike Royko, although Mr. Madigan might use it as a how-to rather than an insight into the problems of one man consolidating too much power.

    I haven’t read it in a while - maybe he’s mentioned?

  23. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Nobody Calls Just to Say Hello; Reflections on Twenty-Two Years in the Illinois Senate, By Philip J. Rock. A nice little biography about a leader who focused on governing first and politics second. It describes the interaction with a politician who’s focus was on the reverse - politics first, governing second. Perhaps reading this book will give the Speaker an opportunity for some introspection for how to act during his waning time as leader.

  24. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    Haven’t read these yet, but thy’ve been on my reading list forever, because…the C-Span videos. They all give compelling reasons for change:

    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander


    The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

    Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

  25. - Nick Name - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

    It’s about hubris and the perils of even seeking absolute power, much less having it. Also, it’s five (hopefully someday seven) thick volumes so it should keep him busy for a while.

  26. - dbk - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    Simon Balto, “Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago”

    Laurence Ralph, “The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence”

    Two highly-acclaimed recent books on the Speaker’s hometown.

    Suggested in hopes that before he retires, he’ll learn to walk the walk.

    Come to think of it, I think the entire Chicago City Council and the entire Illinois GA should read these volumes and then discuss them in various public venues - sort of like “town halls.”

  27. - Nitemayor - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    2 more just came to mind. Lies Across America by James Loewen (Simon and Schuster 1999). The sequel to Lies My Teacher Told Me. One of my all time favorites, Confederates In The Attic by Tony Horowitz (Pantheon 1998).

  28. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    I hope he forget the tenets he learned from reading “The Prince”.

  29. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    I really enjoyed reading “The Hidden Life of Trees” and Madigan does like his apples.

  30. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:04 am:

    This Is Your Country On Drugs by Ryan Grim.

    Let Illinois be pioneers in ending the ridiculous war on drugs.

  31. - Earnest - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    Understanding the History of Institutionalization: Making Connections to Deinstitutionalization and the Olmstead Act for Persons with Intellectual
    Disabilities, in the State of Illinois

    Doctoral Dissertation by Nancy A. Cheeseman

    This may be more reminder than new information for Madigan, given he has seen the closing of JDC and the establishment of the Ligas Consent Decree. The closure of institutions was halted under the last administration but will become an issue once again given the impact of COVID-19 on larger congregate settings, which includes private operations as well as those operated by the state. Other issues which will be taking prominence soon are the elimination of special minimum wage, employment first, center-based day programs, housing options and the DSP recruitment and retention crisis. Also, it’s great to see students focusing on our state.

  32. - JM - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    He should read Martha Stuart’s jailhouse journal, “Resilience: Living In Prison.” Martha can teach him some prison life hacks, like how to make a shiv out of hair brush.

  33. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    Three Felonies a Day. Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

  34. - Bourbon Street - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago by G. Flint Taylor.

    It’s high time for the legislature to mandate recording (either audio or video) interrogations for all felonies.

  35. - Socially DIstant watcher - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    The Paul Simon Center recently put out a list of reading lists from a range of people who probably know Illinois politics almost as well as Madigan does.

    There’s no list from him; they don’t say if they didn’t ask him or if he didn’t respond, but it’d be fascinating to see his list, and there are probably a few books here that he hasn’t read.

  36. - Practical Politics - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    “American Pharoah” a more recent biography of Richard J. Daley (whose statue is on display in Springfield) and how he maintained segregation in Chicago — which has created many contemporary problems. The senior Daley was an ally of Madigan and his Ward Superintendent father.

    “Reagan in His Own Hand” radio speeches written by the only American president born and raised in Illinois. Reagan deserves to be recognized in Springfield someday soon.

  37. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:43 am:

    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

    The corruption investigations - may very well turn MJM’s allies into Brutus’s

  38. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    “The Analyst” by Jon Katzenberg. Because I don’t believe Madigan just happened to be reading a book about the pre-Civil War era during the height of the COVID crisis. So read something for enjoyment - this is a sharp thriller.

  39. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    The Art of War, but he probably helped write the thing. Madigan understands how to win. It takes strategy and luck. He lays low while opponents self-destruct, which seems to be his natural style.

  40. - Birds on the Bat - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    The Holy Bible. Maybe it will help him develop a conscience.

  41. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    ==I hope he forget the tenets he learned from reading “The Prince”.==

    He could do so by reading Machiavelli’s much more substantive “Discourses,” an analysis of the nature of republics, the nature of power in republics, and how republics rise and decline (including why nothing lasts forever). Reasonably suitable themes for the present moment.

  42. - The Magnificent Purple Walnut - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:18 pm:

    “Apples of North America”, Tom Burford.
    “Catcher in the Wry”, Bob Uecker.
    “Veeck as in Wreck”. Bill Veeck. Apples, Baseball, and some humor. All good for you.

  43. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    === The Holy Bible. Maybe it will help him develop a conscience.===

    Now do Trump.

    Signaling with the Bible and the flag to “others”…

    I’ll add on to those already suggesting Grant’s memoirs.

    Starting it now, tough to put down, hopefully I can knock out a few pages here and there and finish it, so very good.

  44. - Amalia - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    “Don’t Make No Waves, Don’t Back No Losers: An Insider’s Analysis of the Daley Machine” by Milton Rakove. So Mike can prepare to write his own machine’s story.

  45. - Birds on the Bat - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    Now do Trump.

    The question was about Madigan. Try to keep up, as you say. Rich was spot on a few days ago. Yakkers gonna yak.

  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    === The question was about Madigan. Try to keep up, as you say.===

    Thanks. Will do.

    As it says in the Bible, I’ll turn the other cheek.

    Be well.

    I’d add Carl Sanburg’s “Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years,”

    Looking at Lincoln here in Illinois, and Sandburg writing, it’s on my list sometime after Grant,

  47. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    Madigan could read through the 1949-1959 copies of “Adventures in Good Eating.” Those were Duncan Hines’ (the man, not the cake mix) restaurant guides. In order to see if Saputo’s made the list (they opened in 1948).

  48. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    Madigan could also read Roger Eddy’s new book on the Blago impeachment, “A Front Row Seat.”

  49. - JoanP - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    Harry Barnard’s “The Eagle Forgotten: the life of John Peter Altgeld”. Altgeld pardoned the Haymarket Martyrs, knowing it would be the end of his political career. He did the right thing, anyway. It’s always good to read about such a courageous act.

    And a couple of Chicago books I’ve been recommending to everyone since I read them: Thomas Dyja’s “The Third Coast: when Chicago built the American dream”, and Eve Ewing’s “Ghosts in the schoolyard : racism and school closings on Chicago’s South side”. Both provide an in-depth look at the the deeply-rooted racism in Chicago and how it resulted in public housing decisions that still impact our educational system today. Lightfoot should read them, too.

  50. - SAP - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    Anything by David Ellis, because Illinois.

  51. - Enviro - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    By reading “Feeding You Lies” by Vani Hari we can better understand why it is so difficult to learn the truth.

  52. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    Practical Politics - “Reagan deserves to be recognized in Springfield someday soon.”

    I recognize Governor Reagan when I see a mentally ill homeless person in Downtown Springfield.

  53. - 44th - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    The rise and fall of tammeney hall

  54. - Eastern Bloc Mitigation - Friday, Jul 10, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.

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