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January 2010


State of our Union: Lavender!

(WASHINGTON, DC) This gem forwarded from an ABC7 Executive Producer watching State of the Union: "Michelle Obama in purple, Biden with purple tie, Pelosi with shade of purple suit.  Put red (GOP) and blue (DEMS) together and you get purple.  Look for yourself:



Heading for Haiti

Just a glimpse.

That's all I expect we'll see of the devastation in Haiti when we travel there tomorrow.  United Airlines is flying in 15,000 pounds of water, 300 tents, communications gear and other essentials.  Just as important as the hardware are the people they'll be transporting to and from the earthquake zone.  Relief workers from all over America are converging on Chicago for the flight to Port-au-Prince.  Filling their seats on the way home will be evacuees.  I'm told there have been people lined-up at the Port-au-Prince airport for the better part of a week.  Children.  Adults.  Those who had nothing and still lost everything.  Those looking to put some distance between themselves and the horror in Haiti.

We'll be along for the ride, documenting the journey.  Look for our reports on ABC 7 News and www.abc7chicago.com


Keeping score during Quinn speech

(SPRINGFIELD) There's a fantasy drinking game making the rounds among political reporters.  It involves Governor Pat Quinn and his penchant for using the same few phrases: "Land of Lincoln," "the Constitution," and "the People."  He also has a knack for quoting Scripture.

It's a pretty easy game to learn, especially when you're forced to sit through a political speech.  Every time Governor Quinn utters one of those phrases, you do a shot.  If I didn't need my job to support my wife and two kids - and had I successfully smuggled alcohol into the state capitol - I would have been broadcasting live tonight after consuming  more than 10 shots.

Here's the official tally during today's State of the State address:

Reference: # of mentions:
Lincoln 6
Constitution 2
Scripture quotes 2
The People Too many to count
Democracy I give up

Lest we be too hard on - or appear to mock - our eager Governor, need I remind you of Governor Blagojevich's fondness for quoting Kipling and Elvis lyrics?


What is it about airplane crashes??

(MT. PROSPECT) Let me start by saying I'm an aviation geek.  All things airplane intrigue me. However, as I cover day two of the crash of a cargo jet on final approach to Palwaukee Airport I'm fascinated by the fascination we (the media AND the public - admit it!) have with airplane crashes.

The two men piloting this Lear 35 lost their lives.  As I type this their bodies have still not been pulled from the chilled waters of the Des Plaines River just a few hundred yards from me.  As sad as that loss is one harsh reality remains: If two people had been killed in a car crash on nearby River Road it likely would not make the news let alone lead almost every news broadcast for two days.

"Flying still enamors people and so people still find an aircraft crash very spectacular," said Rob Mark, a corporate pilot and editor of jetwhine.com.  We were talking near some metal bleachers set-up just outside the fence line at the airport now known as Chicago Executive. It was the final destination of the fatal flight. Had it not been 8 degrees outside there might have been a father and daughter sitting on those bleachers listening to the piped-in sound of air traffic controllers and watching planes land and take-off. I once took a girlfriend to watch airplanes land at O'Hare.  That relationship only lasted a short time.  But I digress. 

Many years ago upon returning to O'Hare after a trip I remember a United Airlines captain welcoming passengers to Chicago via the plane's public address system. "The safest part of your journey is now over," the cool and confident sounding aviator said, "please drive safely. That's the dangerous part."

Statistics show more than 40,000 people die every year in car crashes, an average of 114 deaths each day.   FAA stats for 2008 reveal 553 people died that year in airplane crashes.  Add eleven more deaths if you include those killed on the ground.

The PBS program Nova reported:  "The annual risk of being killed in a plane crash for the average American is about 1 in 11 million. Compare that, for example, to the annual risk of being killed in a motor vehicle crash for the average American, which is about 1 in 5,000."

Perhaps pilot Rob Mark sums up our fascination with flying fatalities best: "If something falls out of the sky on top of your house, I mean that's a whole other issue."  We'll see you live at 4:30 and 6pm.  The lead story, of course.