Chicago Sun-Times

January 2010 Archives


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The tightness of this Democratic primary race for governor is evident on the faces of the Governor Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes as they campaigned today.
Quinn at Alderman Ed Burke's 14th ward.
Hynes at a Haiti fundraiser at the Wrigley Field ice rink.
Quinn at an SEIU/Teamster rally.
Hynes at an afternoon press conference.

Hynes who was behind in double-digits, has pulled within reach because of the traction of two strong ads.

One dealt with the Quinn early inmate release programs that had to be suspended because it was plagued with problem inmates getting out.

The other was the hugely powerful Harold Washington ad that reached back two decades to the voice of the iconic Washington blasting Quinn and explaining why he fired him as his Revenue Director.

Those campaign commercials brought Hynes up in poll numbers.

The Quinn camp, two days out from the primary, are counterpunching as hard as they can.

Yes, there are.
And so the Quinn camp has redoubled its charges that Hynes horribly mishandled the Burr Oak Cemetery situation, citing documents suggesting that Hynes' office could have and should have known there were big problems with graves and human remains.

The tension, the charges, and the personal nature of this battle raises some real questions about Democratic unity going into November and about how either of these candidates could possibly endorse the other.
Stay tuned.

Though we've talked about it a lot this election, remember that the reason Illinois has a ridiculously early primary is so that the cold and the snow and sleet and the misery of winter will keep you and me away from the polls. The regulars, the patronage workers, the people whose jobs and livelihoods depend upon it WILL turn out.
In some races, there are miserable choices, let's admit that.
But in some there are really talented people.
Go vote.
If you're not sure for whom, check out the Sun-Times website for our paper's endorsements.
And if you have a second, read what a lunatic political day it was on Friday:,CST-EDT-carol31.article

If we needed more evidence that our WGN-TV reporter pal was a fighter, then it came this morning. Carlos was rushed to Northwestern Memorial after a blood clot made it's way from his leg to his lung. Then came a heart attack.

Any one of these things, in addition to the cancer he battles, might ordinarily have been fatal. But, said his wife, Randi, "not our Carlos!"

He fights on. But, she said, he sure could use some prayers.

carlos-gomez-cltv-tribute.jpgMany of you have sent emails or made posts to the column I wrote in November about Carlos Hernandez Gomez's fight with colon cancer.
When I visited him Wednesday, I asked if he'd like me to provide an update in this space and he said absolutely.
Carlos is at home, not in the hospital.
Though he would love to be back at work at WGN-TV reporting on all the political races being run, it's out of the question for the moment.
Carlos is undergoing chemotherapy for the colon cancer that has traveled to his stomach and liver. His gorgeous thick hair is a little thinner now. He keeps his feet up to minimize swelling. And he cannot eat solid food. Though, boy, how he'd love an Italian beef from Johnnies in Elmwood Park.
His wife, Randi Belisomo (also a WGN-TV reporter) is his biggest cheerleader and faithful nurse. She and Carlos told me they'd been to a Chinese healer this past week who told them every time they say the word "cancer" they have to balance it out by also saying the words, "shrink and dissolve". In other words, forcefully willing the cancer away.
Carlos and Randi have deep faith. And this illness, they said, is re-ordering their approach to what they want to accomplish in life. Carlos says he has made a promise to God that if he can get well, he'll spend the rest of his life trying to bring fallen-away Catholics back to the church. Randi wants to become a Eucharistic minister to help married couples through serious illnesses.
In their sunny condo on Wednesday, there was a lot of realistic talk about the difficulty of this journey but there was also a forceful measure of determination and courage and a lot of hope.
So, all you Carlos friends and fans, three words to leave you with: Shrink and dissolve!

Election? What Election?

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January 13, 2010


An election going on? Don't be silly. A primary on Feb. 2?

You'd never know it if you just happened to be a Democrat on the hunt for a list of candidates and mistakenly thought your very own Democratic Party of Illinois was there to help you figure that out.

James Houlihan, an Irish-Cathloic-Chicago politician is, well, a politician.
And an operator. Maybe in the best sense of that word. As the Assessor of Cook County, a powerful job, he has taken campaign donations from the real estate attorneys who plead for reductions in the client's taxes. But he has also managed to run his office with efficiency, transparency, and attention to the taxpaying public. No small task.
Now Houlihan is retiring. He's 66 and ready to reboot. Try something new. Teach, perhaps.
But what are the taxpayers of the county left with as a choice for his replacement?
And what does it say about all the reform legislators claim to have delivered to us lately?
Well, you be the judge.,CST-EDT-Carol06.article

Former Governor James Thompson, a member of the 9-11 Commission, raises serious questions of what exactly we didn't learn after the attacks of 2001 or from the exhaustive recommendations of the investigation that followed.
Governor Thompson will be my guest on WTTW's Chicago Tonight Monday at 7PM.

A Horse Story

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2 Jan 09

India was the name of our first horse.
Gray-white and a little speckled, we bought her in 1995 when the boys, Joshua and Gideon, were only 10 and 8.
Josh wanted to re-name her.
"How about Sonic the Hedgehog?" he said with dead seriousness. Sonic, after all, was a cartoon star of video games back in the early 90's and a particular favorite of his.
Me, not so much.

January 2, 2010

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

The primary is only a month away. Bring your brass knuckles if you happen to live on the Southwest Side.

There's a brawl in the making.

In what otherwise seems like a passionless, dispirited electorate disinterested in the looming, frigid Feb. 2 primary, we could use a real fight.

1 Jan 09

Roger Ebert, for a variety of reasons, is a hero of mine.
And he is responsible for my New Year's resolution to try to diversify my writing. And to see if I have the discipline to maintain this mostly-neglected Sun-Times blog of mine.
Roger, as everyone knows, is a brilliant critic and writer.
Beyond that, he is someone who has not permitted major medical problems to get in the way of the work he loves. Amazingly, since his surgeries, he has become, if it's possible, more prolific. And the reach of his writing has only expanded. Film, yes, always. But politics. And social commentary. And so much more. It's been stunning.
When we last saw each other a month or two ago at a Sun-Times event, I told him I was going use him as my inspiration and motivation to try and write in new and different ways.
He nodded his encouragement and gave me his classic thumbs up.
And so today marks the beginning, I hope, of a new turn on the writing road.
I'll keep you posted on how it's going.
Thank you, Roger.
And Happy New Year to you and Chaz!

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