The Chicago Tribune

Blagojevich—Good Riddance to Him
June 28, 2011

It’s never a happy thing to see someone convicted of serious crimes. With rare exceptions, I don’t believe people should serve really long prison sentences. So I don’t want Rod Blagojevich to serve decades in prison. Still, these were just and necessary verdicts. The Chicago Tribune’s Annie Sweeney reports that our corrupt former governor is expected to serve ten years. This seems about right. It’s hard for outsiders to understand just how toxic Blagojevich’s presence was. He took office on the heels of a disgraced, scandal-plagued Republican administration.

April 07, 2011

The day after I arrived in Chicago to cover the mayoral debate, an Appeals Court removed frontrunner Rahm Emanuel’s name from the ballot. The decision, which reversed findings by the Chicago Elections Board and a Circuit Court judge, ignored more than 150 years of Illinois election law in denying that Emanuel met the residence requirements for a mayoral candidate. Not surprisingly, the ruling drew outrage.

Is The Labor Market Better Than We Think?
March 04, 2011

Floyd Norris has been arguing that the Labor Department figures tend to underestimate job growth in the early part of a recovery (and underestimate job loss in the early stages of s recession.) Here's Norris's column from a month ago: The unemployment rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point in one month. There had not been a monthly decline that large in many years, but economists were unimpressed. After all, the decline was caused in no small part by a surprising reduction in the labor force, which could be an indication that more workers were discouraged and no longer looking.

The Blago Trial: Closing Statements
July 27, 2010

Click here to read Margo Howard’s first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the Blagojevich trial. And click here for her assessment of the opening statements. After two months of testimony, closing arguments in the Blago trial finally began in a packed courtroom (carried by speaker to a larger, overflow room). The line for seats available to the public started forming at 4 a.m. It felt like a Twilight premier for adult dorks.  Before Assistant U.S.

Dispatches From the Blago Trial (Part 3)
June 10, 2010

Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Click here to read her second. A note about Mrs. Blagojevich and the bathroom, and Mrs. B. and the courtroom. I encountered her in the loo again, only there were more people than last time. I did hear her say, once more, that it’s tough to hear people tell lies about you. I guess that’s how she responds to “how are you?” Also, I wrote yesterday that she would not be allowed in the courtroom once the trial began because she would be a witness.

Copenhagen: Not Such A Flop After All?
April 05, 2010

The Chicago Tribune's Jim Tankersley has a piece noting that the conventional wisdom on Copenhagen has been quietly shifting. In the immediate aftermath, nearly everyone labeled the accord a big fat failure. But in the months since, various countries have been racking up pledges to cut emissions and they've made a fair bit of headway: The conference was "no failure" and produced "the highest number of new government initiatives ever recorded ...

The High Price of Rapid Tax Refunds
February 18, 2010

The Chicago Tribune recently profiled a Naperville, IL couple struggling, like so many others across the country, to make ends meet. She had to stop working as a nursing assistant because of health problems, and his $8.50-an-hour job isn’t enough to pay all their bills. They’ve fallen behind on rent, even after pawning belongings to help catch up.

Delving Deeper Into Snowmaggedon Parking Philosophy
February 12, 2010

My post on the law and ethics of property rights and shoveled out parking spaces turns out to have stepped into the middle of a long-established and somewhat bitter debate. The orthodox libertarian position is represented by my friend Jesse Walker of Reason, this 2001 paper by Richard Epstein (which I haven't read; apologies if I'm mischaracterizing it), and Fred S. McChesney. Mike Madison at Pittsblog is moderately skeptical of granting property rights to space-diggers.

Will Rick Perry Get Away with Murder?
October 14, 2009

Not murder in the literal sense, of course, though in this case the metaphor is less distant than one would prefer.

August 05, 2009

On Tuesday afternoon I attended a health reform rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza.  (Readers should know that I attended in the capacity of a supporter/observer, and am not a fully detached reporter covering this one.)  The event included impressive headliners: Representative Jan Schakowsky, Governor Pat Quinn, County Board President Todd Stroger, and many others. Wendell Potter, the former Cigna publicity executive, also spoke. It is surprisingly hard for an amateur to gauge crowd size. The Chicago Tribune reported that hundreds of people were there.