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Late twist in Medal of Freedom winner Minow’s political back story

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There’s an interesting political back story to Newt Minow, whose public service ranges from working with the late Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson in 1952 to later declaring television a “vast wasteland” as head of the Federal Communications Commission. The 90-year-old was among 21 people named recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday.

Minow was appointed FCC chair by President John F. Kennedy when he told the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961 that “when television is bad, nothing is worse” and dared industry professionals to watch a full day of their product, including “commercials — many screaming, cajoling and offending.”

Minow’s denouncement was commemorated in television immortality with the sunken ship of “Gilligan’s Island,” the S.S. Minnow, named for him.

Minow called himself a lifelong Democrat, active in the campaigns of Sen. Paul Simon, the late U.S. Rep. Abner Mikva and Sen. Adlai E. Stevenson III, and a member of five Democratic National Convention delegations from Illinois.

But in 2014, Minow announced he was taking a “leave of absence” from his Democratic Party and backed Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for election over then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. (Rick Pearson)

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel is headed to Rome to see Archbishop Blase Cupich elevated to cardinal. World Business Chicago, a taxpayer-funded group, is paying his way.

*Gov. Rauner is headed to Rome as well but is paying his own way.

*The General Assembly nixed Thursday’s session. It’ll be back Nov. 29.

*There’s a hearing on the proposal to end cash bond in the Cook County court system.


What we’re writing (Wow, big day for political news edition)

*Tab on Emanuel’s series of tax and fee hikes: $1,700 for average Chicago family (includes 48-0 city budget approval).

*Durbin’s staying in D.C., so who might the Democrats get to run against Rauner in 2018?

*Rauner, Madigan feud means state’s stack of unpaid bills could hit $13.5 billion by July.

*Rauner administration starts to implement last, best and final contract offer on AFSCME, which says he can’t do that yet.

*Rauner still won’t say Trump’s name in public, but they talked in private.

*Emanuel doubts Trump will take away funding from all sanctuary cities.

*Indicted ex-Rep. Aaron Schock due in court Dec. 12.


What we’re reading

*Prosecutors: Man who dismembered 2-year-old boy enraged over cost of caring for him.

*Snow allegedly in Chicago’s near future.

*Chicago versions of Hogwarts on a budget?


Follow the money 

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.


Beyond Chicago

*Trump transition either going smoothly, or not so smoothly, depending who you talk to.

*D.C. Democrats try to unite but won’t be taking over.

*Terrorism possible in deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan.

*Speaker Ryan halts GOP push to restore earmarks, Politico reports.

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