Chicago Sun-Times

So the fall veto session brings lawmakers back again next week.

The state's finances are already over the cliff.

So what will lawmakers do to find revenue, promote jobs, save services for the needy?

I'll ask those questions tonight on "Chicago Tonight"@7P on Channel 11.

Please join me!
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It is a mellow fall night out here at on the Midway.
I've always been lousy at crowd estimates but it looks like 15-20 thousand have jammed this stretch between Dorchester and Woodlawn.
Chicago rapper Common wound them up.
The presidential motorcade is just pulling up.
This get-out-the-vote rally is like deja vu all over again.
The music, the crowd, and the man---Barack Obama---are all the same.
The situation is decidedly not.
What he won so decisively in 2008 is at risk tonight. His own Senate seat is in play.
Even if he closes the deal here, the question no one can answer is whether nationally this is a wave election in the GOP's favor.
-30-

It is a mellow fall night out here at on the Midway.
I've always been lousy at crowd estimates but it looks like 15-20 thousand have jammed this stretch between Dorchester and Woodlawn.
Chicago rapper Common wound them up.
The presidential motorcade is just pulling up.
This get-out-the-vote rally is like deja vu all over again.
The music, the crowd, and the man---Barack Obama---are all the same.
The situation is decidedly not.
What he won so decisively in 2008 is at risk tonight. His own Senate seat is in play.
Even if he closes the deal here, the question no one can answer is whether nationally this is a wave election in the GOP's favor.
-30-

MIssing the Marathon

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8:33AM

I'm sitting at NBC in Washington D.C. covering the Kirk/Giannoulias debate but part of my heart is back home in Chicago where the marathon is filling the streets of the city.
I've run two Chicago Marathons---in 2000 and 2001---and each was an amazing, exhilarating, challenging experience.

The generosity of the spectators is what I remember most.

Why in the world would people come out to cheer a bunch of maniac runners crazy enough to try and finish 26.2 miles? I have no idea but what I learned was that without their encouraging words and cheers and enthusiasm, I might never have finished. It bouyed me as I began to flag. Sometimes it made me laugh out loud like when 4 guys in drag---high heels and flapper dresses---were informal cheerleaders on the sidelines.

The Marathon is a fantastic experience. The best part may well be the citizens who support it.




Scott Lee Cohen, multimillionaire Chicago pawnbroker, is gaining some traction in the polls.
Garnering 4-14% voter approval depending upon the poll in question.
But does that make him a genuine candidate or a guaranteed spoiler?  He maintains he's in for the long haul.  And for real.

In Homage to My Teachers

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I had not seen Rod Botts or Mary Lavelle since I was 14 years old.

She was my freshman English teacher and he my sophomore English teacher at Palatine High School decades ago. Each has now retired to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And on Friday morning I drove from Chicago to see them after all these years.

I can't quite describe my excitement. Or my nervousness.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

For a long time now, I've been reporting on how Homeland Security dollars were wasted in Cook County. Now comes a federal lawsuit that adds fuel to the fire. Here's my NBC5 report.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

For a long time now, I've been reporting on how Homeland Security dollars were wasted in Cook County. Now comes a federal lawsuit that adds fuel to the fire. Here's my NBC5 report.



Gloria Steinem came to Chicago Wednesday to stump for Democratic politicians and for her own Women's Media Center.

The feminist icon---whether you love her or hate her---remains brainy, unafraid of causing controversy, and utterly effective in communicating the gap that remains between women and their rights.

But superficial as this may sound, at 76 she looks fabulous. A friend of mine, watching the interview Steinem and I did last night on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, wanted me to ask Steinem how she manages to still be a babe. I didn't. But she gives life to the notion that if your brain is engaged, your skin somehow benefits.


Remembering Rosty

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Remembering Rosty
by Carol Marin

"Everybody wants a scoop, Carol. Everyone wants to be first."

The last conversation I had with Dan Rostenkowski was on April 22nd of this year.
His voice was as big and bold as it ever was but punctuated by fits of coughing from time to time that made him put down the phone until it subsided.

"I'm dying," he had told me a few days earlier. But in this last conversation of ours, when I brought that fact up again, he thundered, " I don't want that to get out. It's my business." Then he paused and added, "I have lung cancer. I don't know how long I've got."
I called him Mr. Chairman during our conversation that ranged from politics to the state of the news media. He did not have a good opinion of my profession.
Mr. Chairman, I asked, what's the difference in politics between the way things are and the way they were?

"The 24 hour news cycle!" he boomed. "They don't care about accuracy. But then again, Carol, the whole world has changed... Legislators don't have the opportunity to let people absorb what the meaningful legislation they are proposing means."
Rostenkowski coughs again, and then says, "I watch all these talk shows....you people in your 4th estate aren't analyzing anything anymore....the competition is so great."

Democracy, he told me, is painful. It requires sacrifice, and is endlessly complex.
The complexity was something he reveled in as the powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee 1981-94, a period of time in which he and a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, worked out revisions of the tax code.

But the politics of his time became more complex as well. And soon he was on the wrong end of a federal investigation that sent him to prison.
"I attended Oxford," he would later say ruefully. Not the university. The prison.

Did he believe, I asked him in our last conversation, that all the years he spent in politics and in Congress would be overwhelmed by the memory of that federal conviction?
"What do you think?" he roared.
I told him I believed there was much more to say about him than that. And about his larger-than-life legacy.
"I hope you're right," he said.
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