After Thanksgiving....






After Thanksgiving, the balloons from the parade are deflated. People rush to travel home. The busiest day at O'Hare Airport is the Monday after Thanksgiving, and the busiest day at Midway Airport is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Many things just don't add up



Yesterday when Michael Scott's body being found was all the news in Chicago, along with the Thompson Prison, downstate. Many news radio, and local news stations were calling this a suicide. Yes, some of the things our Republicans in this state were saying about Thomson prison, political suicide, especially those running for office, but also Michael Scott committing suicide. Many things did not add up to me. Yes, John Kass is right, this is not an easy location to navigate day or especially night. Also how do you shoot yourself, end up in the river, fall on the weapon?
Jody Weis is now on all the local news saying it is still a death investigation even though the Medical Examiner says it was a suicide.

With all the blue light camera's in the city, the area Michael Scott was found did not have any. Was this planned on the part of Michael Scott, or the killer?
If one would of wanted a remote location, and one that is away from the blue light camera's you would easily find a remote place, say the Cook County Forest Preserves?

Many things Republicans are saying about Thomson Prison are also not adding up. Why would so many GOP oppose the use of Thomson Prison, something that is favored by the GOP constituents that make up the downstate area, and more so the area around the Thomson Prison. We have an under utilized prison, along with an area that was built up with restaurants, gas stations, convient stores, hotels and the like in anticipation that this would be a viable employer. Now the area does not have this facility, Thomson Prison, up and running, employing people, and supporting the area.
Local residents are angry at what they hear coming out of the mouths of the GOP, especially the GOP candidates. They want the jobs, and wonder why candidates, and politicians talk about creating jobs, when, right at their doorstep is the opportunity.
The area residents most affected by the Thomson Prison being utilized should also be looked at. Why not listen to the people most affected by this?

John Kass certainly makes a lot of good points

Michael Scott made his living in Chicago politics as one of Mayor Richard Daley's guys out front.
The mayor put him on a series of public boards, from the Park District to the Chicago Board of Education. He made a decent living in real estate, and for 30 years he did what all front guys do:

Talk to reporters, sit in front of news cameras and lend his face to the mayor's policies and enterprise.
What's strange is that this very public man found an extremely private place to die.
The place where Scott was found early Monday, with a single gunshot wound in the head, is on the maps as part of the vibrant and high-tech River North neighborhood.

But actually, the place where he fell is a no-man's land along the North Branch of the Chicago River, a difficult place to reach, especially for a 60-year-old stumbling around in the pitch darkness, over uneven ground, with no light and no moon.
Visitors Monday to the spot where Scott died didn't see any police or security cameras that might have recorded Scott's last living seconds. With all the high-tech in Chicago, the spot where Scott died is seemingly off the grid.

It is not a place for public men like Scott. Rather, it is a place for homeless junkies and rats. It is a place to hide.
It's certainly not a place for Daley's 1983 deputy campaign manager and, until Monday, the mayor's president of the Chicago Board of Education.

The Cook County medical examiner's office ruled Scott's death a suicide. But police aren't so sure.
"We know what the ME ruled," said Police Superintendent Jody Weis. "But there are a lot of questions out there."
Scott's blue Cadillac was found in a parking lot next to the Apparel Center building at 350 N. Orleans St. It had been left near a blue trash bin.

From there to where his body was found, Scott would have walked about 20 yards to a fence near an old, deserted railroad bridge. Commuters can see that bridge, its black steel trestle permanently raised skyward, sticking out of the River North landscape like a broken arm.

And in Monday's daylight, after the TV cameras had left, it seemed reasonable that Scott could have easily made his way there.

But the night before, in the dark, it would have been all but unnavigable. He would have had to walk right under the cement counterweight for that old drawbridge, then scramble underneath an iron fence, then down a little embankment overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash.
He'd have walked over broken bottles, old rags from some homeless wanderer. There was a syringe on the ground.
Scott would have walked out along part of the cement river wall running under the bridge. It is about 5 feet below street level, next to an old boarded-up bridge house. It's quiet, even in the day. At night it would be all but silent.
And again, remember: There are no lights, apparently no security cameras to capture the pull of the trigger and the muzzle flash.
After the bullet entered his brain, Scott fell into the shallows along the riverbank, behind some wood pilings. Police found the gun underneath him.


Phil Krone, a longtime Daley adviser and a friend of Scott's, openly questioned the medical examiner's ruling in a short article on the Chicago Daily Observer, an Internet news and opinion site.

"While the news reports indicate it was a suicide I do hope that an appropriate investigation is done to make sure that it was not a murder masked to look like a suicide," Krone wrote. "There are many angry people in this world. and you never know who might act out."
Krone told me later over the phone that he and Scott were to have breakfast next week.

"I don't believe he would have killed himself," Krone said. "And I don't believe he would have done it there. That's why I wrote it. To raise the question."
Those of us who've had friends kill themselves know that there is nothing rational about suicide.

But I just can't imagine Scott, the public man, tromping around down there, exploring during the day, running the risk of being seen. And how would he have found such a place at night, alone, by himself?

For a man who for decades maintained a public profile, it was a sad and desperate landscape. There must have been other, easier places.


This was a guy who made a living giving face time to TV news cameras, and it's difficult thinking of him crawling along that river wall at night. He must have known he'd fall either into the river proper, to wait for March and the long thaw, or onto the shallow bank, to be left for what scuttles around down there.

No man, public or private, should have to end like that.

jskass@tribune.com

One argument against housing Guantanamo Bay inmates at the Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois could already be moot.

Administration officials have floated a plan to hold military tribunals at whichever prison ends up taking the inmates, according to the Chicago Tribune. Right now, it looks as though Thomson is the leading candidate, the Sun-Times reports.

Over the weekend the Obama administration put out feelers about potentially transferring up to 200 inmates from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to domestic prisons. The Thomson prison was mentioned as a destination, but some Illinois Republicans lambasted the plan as a bad idea.

Among their complaints is the idea that carting inmates to and from court would pose a serious security risk.
By holding tribunals at the prison, there would be no need to transport the prisoners to places like Rockford and Chicago for trials in federal courts.

"The current thinking is it will be one-stop shopping," Charles Stimson, a former Pentagon official in the Bush administration and current legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation in Washington told the Tribune.

In order to make the transition easier, some officials recommend that the government house only foreign detainees at the prison and build a secure, on-site courtroom that allowed outside groups to observe and prosecutors to present classified evidence.

The administration official, who spoke to the Tribune anonymously, said it is too early in the planning stages to theorize about what steps the government would take with detainee trials.

Meanwhile, officials who toured the Thomson prison Monday left the impression that the northwest Illinois facility is leading the pack for becoming the next Gitmo.

"My impression is this is probably their No. 1 choice," Dixon Mayor Jim Burke, one of dozens of local officials briefed Monday about federal interest in the prison, told the Sun-Times.

Other’s said it’s too early to tell who is the front-runner, because other prisons need to be inspected.

"This is a very preliminary assessment," said Harley Lappin, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

An early estimate of the economic benefit of housing the detainees in Illinois leads some to believe the prison could create up to 500 new jobs and generate $85 million in payroll.

3 Cadillacs and 3 tragedies



Another Tragic end to another well known Chicagoan

Anyone in Chicago who turned on the local news, the radio or TV woke up to a body being pulled out of the Chicago River by the Merchandise Mart. If you turned on a local news program you saw a blue Cadillac being towed.

This is the third tragic event of famous Chicagoans that involved Cadillacs, the start was Chris Kelly and his Black Cadillac Escalade, then was Garrard McClendon's parents green Cadillac Eldorado that was taken by their murderers, now a Blue Cadillac belonging to Michael Scott was found by the Chicago River.

The first reaction heard on the news did not specify if this was a suicide or murder. Later on we find out that Michael Scott has a gunshot wound in his left temple, but it is still not known if this was a self inflicted gun shot wound or an act of violence. You would still have to wonder if, it was suicide how did he get in the river?

Still another tragedy. He could be another innocent victim. Still he has done a lot for the CPS, and will be missed.


Chicago School Board President Michael Scott had a gunshot wound to the left temple when authorities found his body in the Chicago River near the Merchandise Mart early this morning, sources said.

An autopsy will be performed later today to rule how Scott, 60, died. He was reported missing from his home in the Monroe police district on the Near West Side in Chicago Sunday, sources said.


Chicago School Board president Michael Scott was reported missing from his home in the Monroe police district on the Near West Side in Chicago Sunday.

His car -- a blue Cadillac -- was found parked near the river where the body was found, police said. It was towed from the scene.
Fire crews arrived about 3:20 a.m. to recover the body just west of the Apparel Center at 350 N. Orleans St., home of the Chicago Sun-Times.

A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

Belmont Area detectives are conducting a death investigation.

A stunned Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up at the scene Monday morning after hearing about Scott's death on the news. He said he spoke with him last week -- and Scott sounded normal to him.

"Everyone thought Michael was their guy," Jackson said. "People are so very sad. .. . The suddenness of it all -- midday has become midnight. The sun has been eclipsed."

Jackson described Scott as someone equally comfortable working with Chicago's poorest children or sitting courtside at a Bulls game.

"That's why I think the mayor leaned on Michael the most," Jackson said.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, issued a statement saying he was "shocked and saddened."

"Michael cared passionately about public education and made many courageous decisions as President of the Board," Duncan said. "He gave his time, energy and talents to improving the life chances of children. Chicago has lost a great leader and the city's schoolchildren have lost a devoted champion. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife and family."

Mayor Daley was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a conference in Michigan today, but abruptly canceled his plans when he heard the stunning news about his longtime friend.

Sources said the mayor had to pull himself together before making a personal visit to the home of Scott's widow, Diana.

"He's not just the mayor's school board president, he is his friend of more than three decades," said mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard. "He was a reliable partner -- someone who unquestionably cared about Chicago neighborhoods, the West Side, and cared about children and people who were down on their luck."

Friends say Scott was extremely distraught recently about the death of his first wife, Millicent, the mother of his children.

Ron Huberman, who replaced Arne Duncan as schools CEO, was at Scott's Near West Side condominium this morning to offer condolences to family and friends. He was joined by schools spokeswoman Monique Bond and Rev. Jackson, who was offering prayers.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger issued a statement through a spokesman Monday morning offering his condolences.

"My wife and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Scott," Stroger said. "Mr. Scott was a strong advocate for education. His contributions to the minority communities of Cook County will be sorely missed. In particular, his love for the upward mobility of residents from Chicago's West Side where he spent his life."

Scott was Daley's long-time go-to guy but raised eyebrows earlier this year when he disclosed to the Sun-Times that he had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating how students were selected for the system's elite selective-enrollment high schools.

Scott insisted he had done nothing wrong, but the system responded with a massive crackdown on college prep principals' ability to handpick up to five percent of their seats outside the normal selection process. An aide to Scott had requested such a pick at Whitney Young High School, but later withdrew the request at Scott's insistence, sources said at the time.

The furor emerged after Daley had appointed Scott to serve a second stint as school board president. Scott had recommended that sports agent Rufus Williams succeed him in that job, but Williams ruffled so many feathers that he resigned under pressure and Daley re-installed Scott to head the school board and oversee the city's public schools -- a top Daley priority.

Scott was an activist president, meeting on his own time with local residents, and even recently visiting troubled Fenger High School to personally observe an effort to bus kids from Altgeld Gardens to Fenger in the wake of the murder of Fenger honor student Derrion Albert. He was a calm and steady leader at sometimes raucous School Board meetings, often diffusing angry outbursts from the audience or speakers.

Scott, a West Side resident, also had served on the Mayor's 2016 Olympic committee and as former head of the Chicago Park District.

In August, he was forced to answer questions about his involvement in a development proposal near the the proposed Douglas Park Olympic site.

He insisted he would not profit from the deal.

"I would not profit . . . not at all," Scott told reporters at a Chicago Board of Education press conference.

He was responding to a published report contending he was "potentially positioning himself to cash in" if the Olympics come to Chicago because he was helping a group of ministers try to turn some city-owned lots across from what could have been an Olympic site into affordable housing. Chicago eventually lost out to Rio de Janiero, which will host the 2016 Summer Games.

Scott noted at the time that the ministers, whom he said he has known for years, came to him with their development idea in the summer of 2006 -- a year before he was appointed to a committee that has been trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

Scott said he agreed to advise the ministers on how to put the deal together, navigate city departments and train people on how to sell affordable housing.

Any profits were to be split among the ministers because "I have no monetary interest," Scott said. "These people are my friends. They asked for my help and I helped them on a part-time basis."

The city has shown no interest in the idea for two years, said Scott.

"The city has no formal plan or deal for any lots to be sold or conveyed for any amount of money for this proposal," Scott said.

Scott owns Michael Scott and Associates, a real estate development firm.

West Side Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) praised Scott on Monday, saying "he was a great individual who added value to every position he served" in city government.

Carothers -- who was indicted in May for allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions -- spent a year secretly recording public officials and real estate developers for the feds, the Sun-Times disclosed earlier this year.

On Monday, Carothers cut off a conversation with a reporter when asked whether he had recorded any conversations with Scott.

He would only say, "He was just a great friend and a great individual. My heart goes out to his family. It's just a tragedy."

Carothers said he has known Scott for "15-to-20 years, at least."

"He was a great negotiator, a great facilitator," the alderman said.

Pressed further about any business dealings he might have had with Scott, Carothers said, "All I have is what I gave you." He then hung up the phone.

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