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Showing posts from April, 2007

Friday YouTube Finds: Mavis Staples Skipping Chicago (for now)

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Sad news via Greg Kots blog: Mavis Staples is performing to support her new record with folks including guitarist-producer Ry Cooder, drummer Jim Keltner and a few others, but she won't be making a stop in her hometown of Chicago. Too bad for us, eh?

For a primer on Mavis, check her out with Pop in this cut from The Last Waltz.
She's a gem and her voice is tops. (For you Band fans out there, you gotta love Rick Danko's gyrations, right?

Or...check out the great dance moves on SoulTrain in the classic "I'll Take you There":

Boy...I wish life was this easy. Wearing great threads. Shimmy-ing down the SoulTrain. Great tunes. Doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Confirmed: Michale Jordan’s Son to Play for the Fighting Illini

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Congrats to Coach Bruce Weber and the entire staff. After this very challenging year - with the multiple arrests, injuries, and the Eric Gordon to IU saga - the Illini Nation could use the very good news.
Jeffrey Jordan, the son of basketball legend Michael Jordan, said Friday that he plans to attend the University of Illinois next year and play basketball as a walk-on. The younger Jordan, a 6-2 guard at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., where he is a senior, said in a news release that he chose Illinois over Valparaiso University.

"After I worked out at Illinois, (met) with the coaching staff and the players, and toured the campus with my mom, I just felt more comfortable with U of I," Jordan said in the release.
The insiders are saying that this plays well for the future. Jeffrey's younger brother, who many consider to be a much better hoops player, will be heading off to play college ball in a few years. The recruitment and signing of his older brother will give the …

The Shins and their Brian Wilson Influences…

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Unfortunately, I rarely get to sit down and listen to an entire record all the way through these days. I have an expansive collection, but it's largely gathering dust because I just simply don't have the time. For my birthday, my buddy Matt gave me some iTunes bucks and I went trolling for some new tunes. I settled on The Shins new record: Wincing the Night Away.

I only got about halfway through when something struck me: these guys have been listening to their Brian Wilson records, haven't they? I've since gone back and listened to the record a dozen or so times and that initial notion sticks for me. I'm by no means, a Shins Superfan, rather a casual listener, but to my ear, they've been heavily influenced by the Beach Boys and their once front man Brian Wilson- whether The Shins know it or not. As far as influences go, the Beach Boys are tops in my book, so it's not anything to be bashful about.

I've put up a few videos here below. Go ahead.…

Dallas Ingemunson Steps Down: A Lifelong ILGOP Leader

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The Illinois Republican Party just lost one of it's best. No, it wasn't through corruption or elctorate loss, it was just simply his time to step back. Dallas Ingemunson, the Kendall County Republican Party Chairman and "Honorary Chairman of the ILGOP" said his good-byes yesterday. While, I'm thrilled that Dallas his lovely bride Dodie can have some time together with their numerous grandchildren, we're really going to feel a HUGE void in the Party.

Ingemunson, the top Prosecutor in Kendall County for 24 years brought both gravitas and humility to the post of County Chairman - a post he held for 34 years. While the article in the Tribune mentions that one of his greatest accomplishments was his ability to bridge some of the "policy" divides between Moderates and Conservatives, I feel that Dallas' legacy will be that he welcomed young people to get involved and get active within the party apparatus and he embraced technology. He has a real …

First Impressions: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the Nintendo Wii

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A few nights ago, Natalie and I took it all in at the Orland Park Costco. In addition to buying a HUGE jar of Giardinara, enough yogurt to feed a football team, and of course, a $1.50 polish sausage/Diet Coke combo, I also picked up Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 for the Nintendo Wii. I've toyed with it in just about all of my free time the past few days. My first impressions: great extension of the core Wii Sports golf game. In playing all of the Wii Sports games, I found both bowling and golf the most fun games to play. That's largely due to the ability to go through the entire range of gameplay in both bowling and golf. Baseball would be great if you could run the bases, throw people out, and manage the game and boxing, well boxing is just too much work, frankly.

Tiger Woods 2007 PGA Tour brings all of that (the good stuff) to golf. You can create a player (which I already did), get him his tour card, upgrade his skills, and go head-to-head with the PGA's best. My ar…

Join Rudy Giuliani at Your Own Debate Party on May 3rd

Tonight, the Democrats running for President gather in South Carolina for their first debate. In a few weeks, on Thursday May 3rd, the Republicans will do the same, with their debate being hosted at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library. One of the things that will make this year different for Republicans than in the past is that there will actually be debates - we have many candidates! With the use of technology, ordinary folks are organizing across the country to host "debate parties". My guy - Rudy Giuliani is having his supporters host parties. If you're interested in one, you can visit this page to sign up. We'll be hosting one down in Frankfort (a private one!), and you should sign up to host your own!

Spinal Tap Reunion - For Real!

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Madonna, The Police, Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, and.....Spinal Tap?!?

You read that right! They're getting the band back together! Spinal Tap, the fake band, is fake reuniting for a gig this summer to benefit environmental causes. The show, coincides with their "new" release: Warmer than Hell. The best part? Rob Reiner also directed a new short film that chronicles the band and their current whereabouts that's being screened tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival. That needs to be on YouTube soon.

Back in 1990 or 1991, I caught This is Spinal Tap for the first time. My buddy Neil McAllister turned me on to it, probably through his older brothers. Immediately, it struck a chord with me. I ran back to the video store and rented the VHS a few times. Then for either Christmas or my birthday, someone bought me the tape. I just about wore it out. Then came "Break like the Wind". Released when I was in 8th grade, I again, collected …

Emil Jones and his “Silly Political Games”

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Emil Jones. Are you kidding me? A few days after pulling the ole "switcheroo" on one of your old potentially targetted Senate Members, you have the gaul to talk about "silly political games"? That's rich. For those who don't know what happened down in Springfield this past week, it's one for the ages. A politically targeted Downstate Senator passed a controversial amendement that would hold ComEd's feet to the fire with regards to their outrageous rate increase only to see his leader, Senate President Emil Jones kill it with what Capitol Fax's Rich Miller called " an obscure parliamentary procedure that nobody remembers ever being used."

Guess who's the biggest contributor to Senator Jones' campaign account. *ding* *ding* *ding* That's right! It's ComEd.

That's shameful enough for Jones, right? Wrong.

Jones then sent in another one of his stooges - Senator Rickey Hendon - to do some of his dirty work. T…

What Happens in Vegas…

The body needs sleep. There's nothing you can do about it. You can't put any time in the bank before you go to Las Vegas. You just need to pay the piper when you get home. I learned that lesson on Sunday night and last night. This morning, I could barely crawl out of the rack. It took me a few days, but I'm finally fully functional after my first excursion to Las Vegas. I'll do my best to recap and highlight some of the weekend - one which I really enjoyed and can't wait to repeat.

We left Thursday night and were delayed a few hours at O'Hare. That was time well spent in the Fox Sports SkyBox tavern out on the concourse. We had a small crew there at the airport because some folks arrived earlier, later, or on a different airline (Matt). I slept the entire way out there, thinking that I could bank the 2-3 hours for the long weekend I was in store for.

We arrived and spent quite a bit of time gaming. I believe it's either called "Old Town&…

Governor Thompson Eulogizes Mayor Don Stephens of Rosemont - Speaks to Loyalty

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One of the men in government past and present that I respect the most gave the eulogy for Donald E. Stephens, the Mayor of Rosemont, and a man that I know rather little about yesterday. Thompson did it with great flair and punctuated Stephens life with a stirring speech that he spoke from the heart. He didn't pull any punches and spoke directly to Stephens legacy - one which will last for many years in the future. He also spoke to a politics that so rarely exists these days:
“How do you expect people in public office to use the political process to carry out the wishes of the people who elect them, unless they can bring into office those who believe in them and support them?” Thompson said. “The real world understands that.”
Everyone talks about the need to clean up government these days. It's certainly true that there are some bad apples and that money corrupts plenty of people. What Thompson was speaking about and how Stephens lived wasn't about money and corr…

Michael Jordan’s Son Close to Being an Illini

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If for nothing but the press opportunities and having MJ attend some games, I sure hope that Coach Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini can close the deal to bring Michael Jordan's boy onto the squad. Of the places he's looking at, the Illini program is clearly the best.

Wilmette Loyola senior guard Jeff Jordan is seriously considering walking on the Illinois basketball team. Jordan made the trip to Champaign with his mother Tuesday and played with the Illini during a pickup game at the Ubben Basketball Complex.

Jordan already has been accepted to the university, and the Illinois coaching staff talked with him about joining the team as a preferred walk-on. The 6-foot-2 Jordan is rated as a three-star recruit by Scout.com.

If Jordan would choose Illinois, he likely would arrive for the start of the summer semester, when the five-man recruiting class will reach campus. Thus, a decision is needed soon. But imagine MJ sitting on the sidelines next to the Orange Krush to see his son…

Gawker Properties Becoming Keyword Honeypots?

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Anyone else notice lately that the Gawker sites are going a little crazy with the keyword linking? I read both Deadspin and Valleywag everyday and they have all these unnecessary links in their posts deep linking to category pages on their own sites.

Take for instance this post on Deadspin. What's with linking ESPN to this page? Same with Kobe Bryant and Paul Shirley. It's a wonder they didn't link the word "douche" to a tagged page. Same with Valleywag. Why link to an environment page on this post? All this linking makes me not even click the links to the outside sources.

I know that SEO is a very dark art that I don't come close to understanding, but is this an attempt to bring more search traffic in? Create these big lengthy verticle pages with post after post about a particular topic and hope/know your search rankings will rise on that word?

Sounds like a SEO Honeypot to me, no? Who knows, it probably works. I need to talk about smelt a lot more…

SB600 Is the Wrong Answer, Doug Ibendahl

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Doug Ibendahl is at it again, and this time he's going at with with a fairly blunt object. Hey Doug...here's a bit of advice. If you're going to try to attack folks, make sure you have something sharp. Not something that's dull and off-base. In addition to trying to force Andy McKenna to call a State Convention unnecessarily, he's also back on the SB600 train. You remember SB600, don't you? It's the bill that Ibendahl's Chinaman Jack Roeser is trying to pass that would require direct election of State Central Committee Members by the voters. At least that's what they say they want to happen. They've got their hand-picked guy, Chris Lauzen, who must be salivating at the prospect of a few hundred grand from Roeser's coffers for his 14th Congressional District Race, all lined up to sponsor the bill.

The bill has stalled in the Senate. Remember the name of the bill? It's SB600. That "SB" stands for "Senate Bill&quo…

I’m Somewhat Ashamed: I Voted for Sanjaya

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Can't say that I've watched even one minute of American Idol in my life, but like a little schoolgirl I voted last night for Sanjaya. Not just once, either. I voted like 15 times. I know...Weird, right?

I couldn't help myself. Howard Stern made me do it. What's that you say? How did Howard make me do it? He made it soooo easy. When I was in my car, I had Howard 100 tuned in and guess what kept flashing across the screen? The words "Vote for Sanjaya" and the number to call. I called. And called. And called. I kept looking around at the stop lights wondering if the folks next to me knew what I was doing.

Stern's crew have really figured out how to leverage the device to their benefit. There's a few million of those things around the country and more than a handful were probably tuned in to Howard. They knew that, and figured it was a great way to incent folks to act. I'm sure that this is just the first way in which they'll use…

4 More Years

Today at polling places all across the Village of Frankfort, residents went to the polls and voted. I'm lucky enough that they placed their confidence in me by re-electing me to another 4 year term on the Village Board! Granted, I was running uncontested, I still was nervous all morning. Turnout was low, and I expected that, with not many contested races in Frankfort. When I voted at 8 am this morning, I was only the 7th voter in my precinct!

I'm incredibly grateful for the support that both you guys (my friends) and the voters in Frankfort. I'm humbled by the confidence that you all have placed in me. I'm pleased with all that we've accomplished so far, but there's much more to be accomplished: downtown wi-fi, widening of Route 30, banning of all new banks, and dragging the Village of Frankfort into the 21st Century technology-wise.

While I was unopposed this election, that's largely due to you. I've been successful in fundraising and for tha…

Smelt Fishing 2007

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Continuing our annual tradition, Matt Pawlak rounded up our crew and others and we headed out to Montrose Harbor last Friday night for Smelt Fishing. We were right in the sweet spot of the smelting season, but, much like last year, our efforts didn't produce a heckuva lot of smelt. In fact, this year, we caught exactly ZERO smelt. Didn't matter that much as we were thinking ahead and brought a bunch of the suckers from Jewel! Libations were plentiful and the burn bucket kept us warm all night. Thanks to Tom Cactus Vlach for bringing the gear, Matt for much of the logistics, and Dan Fetterer for logging the most miles (NYC to Chicago!) to make it out to Montrose Harbor. Even though we came up largely empty on the fish front this year, make no mistake: we'll be back at it in April of 2008.

Here's a few pictures:


Matt Pawlak and Tom Cactus. The question of the night? Where's Rob?


The Dauphinais Brothers and Mark Kwilosz stay warm by the burn bucket.


Neil McAllist…

A Vegas Virgin, I am…

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I'm heading to Las Vegas for the first time this Thursday for my good buddy Mark Dauphinais' bachelor party. We're set to be there through early Sunday morning and I'm sure that things will be debaucherous. As luck would have it, one of my favorite blogs, Dethroner, announced that his "theme" this week is Bachelor Parties. Some great posts already and I'm looking forward to even more this week. I've alerted my crew that's going to be trouncing around with me about the Theme, and I bet we'll get some pointers/tips that we can utilize this weekend.

The party itself is actually an event that is being put on for 2 bachelors. Mark and one of his college buddies. Because of that, there appears to be in excess of 20 dudes heading out there. From the tone of some of the emails, most of the guys that I don't know (Mark's college buddies) are going to really turn one out. As a first timer in Las Vegas, I'll have to strike a nice ba…

“Wild Wild Life” - Smelt Fishing in Chicago

Nothing like starting the weekend out with a few nice tunes. Below is one of my favorites. This weekend marks our annual pilgrimage to Montrose Harbor for smelt fishing. Just like last year, I wouldn't miss it for all the tea in China. If you haven't ever been smelt fishing in Chicago, don't be bashful. You can tag along.

That old post from last year is kinda funny. When I was working and blogging for Tom Cross, the House Republican Leader, he received a letter from this nutball Doug Ibenhal. Doug complained to Tom that I took a few too many jabs at him and his Chinaman Jack Roeser, and that I should be focusing my efforts on defeating the Democrats instead of publishing my "smelt fishing excursions". Too funny, right? I guess he can't complain now that I'm not at Cross' office anymore, so expect some pics come Monday!

Enjoy the weekend and the video. These guys are weirdos, aren't they?

Clearing the Slate: Dumping Links on You Guys

I'm either too cramped for time, or too lazy or both to write a full post, so instead, I have a bunch of stuff rattling around my brain and I'm dumping it here so I can move on to more important things like whether I'm going to get a meatball sandwich or the Italian Beef at Venice Cafe for lunch today.


I hate it when people on the train wear a ton of purfume/cologne. I also hate it when people smell. Sure, we all have our off days, but my goal in life scent-wise is to leave no footprint - have no smell. Shouldn't that be everyone's?
The best sports blog out there is Deadspin. Hands down. One of the best parts of the blog are the comments. My co-worker Matt and I were just chatting about them this morning. The best description I've ever read about the community there was written on CopyRanter: "If you have time, read the comments; his readers are both batshit insane and very entertaining. "
I wonder if there's a Beer-O-the-Month-Club that will…

Companies I Love: Patagonia

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Some companies fascinate me (FedEx, Sirius Satellite Radio, Toyota, Google), some companies that I hate (sometimes FedEx, Kerasotes Movie Theaters, Clear Channel), and other companies I love. One of the companies that I love is Patagonia, the maker of gear and apparel.

"There is no business to be done on a dead planet."
- Sierra Club executive director David Brower

On certain days, I'm decked out head-to-toe in clothing and gear from Patagonia. As Natalie would tell anyone, I'm not that fashion-conscious and I usually have a hard time dressing myself in the mornings. I don't have that much clothing from Patagonia, but I have a few "everyday items" like coats, shoes, and my computer bag. Toss in a few shirts, some pants, and a hat or two, and that rounds out my whole collection.

I try to avoid clothes with lots of labels, while at the same time wearing clothes that are comfortable and wear nice. There's nothing worse then when I bring home a pol…

Richard Simmons Out in Front of Mandating Physical Education Classes in America

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This morning on my radio program of choice (Howard Stern), I tuned in to find a guest that has appeared many times before. He's also a popular guest on programs like The Tonight Show and Late Night. That guest was Richard Simmons. Richard is a popular guest because he's usually enjoyable to listen to/watch as he hams it up for the host and the audience. It appears that he knows his niche and he's parlayed that to a pretty sizable empire. This morning, in addition to the "Which guy(s) are you dating?" jokes, Stern also chatted with Simmons about the "Strengthening Physical Education Act of 2007".

Before Simmons scurried out after an insensitive joke, he spoke about how the "Leave No Child Behind" act is squeezing out physical education classes from America's schools. Much like there are standards for reading, writing, and arithmetic, Simmons bill would amend NCLB to provide a national guideline for minimum standards for health and f…

When The Devil Came, He Was Not Red, He was Gooey and Sweet

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I believe that I may have had the best food item that I have ever tasted yesterday at my sister Vic's house. Most of my family headed over there for Easter brunch-ish. (10 am to noon) There were the usual suspects on the menu: bagels, quiche, ham, etc. Natalie and I brought a banana cream pie, courtesy of my "Two-Time Pie Eating Champion" winnings. I made my way through the spread without much delight. While, as most people know, I really enjoy a good spread, I'm not really into breakfast foods. Vic tipped me onto the Gorilla Bread, and I'm thrilled she did. While not the least bit healthy, (the recipe doesn't mention that Vic uses Martha's cream cheese frosting recipe to top this whole thing off!) it may be the best thing I've ever tasted - not to mention it's President Jimmy Carter's favorite food.

When discussing my favorite foods, I tend to skew towards the italian beef/pizza area of the food pyramid, but this new Gorilla Bread ent…

An Open Letter to Illinois Legislators

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Dear Illinois Legislators,

More often than not, I know that more and new laws are not the answer to problems facing residents in Illinois. Many times, they aren't the solutions - they're the problems. That's why, it is with great trepidation that I am requesting your sponsorship of a bill that would modify the Illinois Vehicle Code.

As any commuter, or for that matter - any driver in Illinois, can tell you, road construction is the source of many headaches. While we all understand that constuction and improvements are a necessary part of the roadway system, most drivers try to avoid the construction areas at all costs. Avoiding the construction zones is good practice, but sometimes it's unworkable.

What makes travelling the construction zones worse is what, for lack of a better term, I'll call "Cheaters". These are the folks who run up the right lane, when 2 miles back there are merge left signage that indicates that the right lane is closing. Most…

Cubs Ownership Change: My Money’s on Colangelo

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The talk around Chicago for the past week has been the sale of the Tribune Company to Sam Zell and the swift decision to put the Chicago Cubs up for sale. Zell is part owner of the Chicago White Sox (inside Managing Partner Jerry Reinsdorf's group) and MLB rightly prohibits an individual from owning a piece of more than one team.

The speculation has been running rampant about possible suitors. Names like Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Murray have emerged. That won't happen. It seems it's down to three real possiblities: Don Levin - the owner of Chicago's most successful sports team, the Chicago Wolves, Mark Cuban - the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and IU graduate, and finally, University of Illinois graduate and former owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns Jerry Colangelo.

Baseball being baseball, this won't necessarily come down to whom has the higest bid as evidenced by the sale of the Boston Red Sox a few years back. MLB will have a …

Ben Wallace Breaks out the Low Cost Sneakers - Bulls Make Playoffs

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Although most, if not all of you didn't notice, our own Chicago Bulls have quietly secured a clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. I haven't watched a Bulls game in quiet some time. I catch the highlights every morning on SportsCenter and it appears that Luol Deng has matured into quite a player. Ben Gordon is somewhat of a "proven commodity" and Ben Wallace has been a great anchor in with the "trees". Wallace, who's been the source of some controversy this season because of his headbands (why not let him wear them, guys? He has them on in your billboards, promo materials and tickets, right?), but he's also gaining some press for something else he's wearing.



Wallace has joined up with Knicks guard Stephon Marbury to roll out a sneaker that retails for $14.98. You read that right: less than 15 bucks. Right now, he's wearing Marbury's shoes, but next season, he'll have his own line - The Big Ben. He's doing i…

Welcome to the *New* RhodesSchool

With the arrival of a new year in my life (29th!), I thought that it would be appropriate to move RhodesSchool over to a different blogging platform. I've been on a custom-made blogging platform that has served me very well since 2004 and I am not done with it. My Wedding Blog is still on the platform, as are a whole host of my other sites. With RhodesSchool, I wanted to bring it to a new platform because this is the type of issue that I deal with on a day-to-day basis at FeedBurner. We deal with publishers who have to modify their .htaccess file, install the Ordered List WordPress plugin, and embed various widgets and items into their sidebars.

I wanted to roll up my sleeves, get a little dirty, and get better acquainted to this particular platform. Will I stay at WordPress forever? I doubt it. It's one of many blogging platforms that publishers are using. Rick Stratton is using Feed.us and that looks to be a promising tool. I am planning on giving it a try next.

T…

Masters.org - Better, But Plenty of Room for Improvement

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I would be very comfortable in making the statement that the Master's is one of my favorite sporting events to watch on television. Sure, the first four days of March Madness, the World Cup, New Year's Day Bowl games, and the World Series are wonderful events, but to me the Masters is different. Each of those other events are captivating and are things that I look forward to. A few of them (World Cup & March Madness) even make me alter my workday by staying home, or going out for a long lunch, or leaving early. New Year's Day has changed so much over the course of the past 10 years that it matters less and less, with the "big" games occurring on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and now even later. (That, plus the fact that the Illini haven't played in NYDay in many a moon.)

The Masters, though, is a weekend event, where I don't really "root" for anyone in particular. Yes, I have my favorites (Sergio & Colin Montgomerie), but in the end, it does…

Daily Herald’s Eric Krol is Offbase on Tom Cross and His Campaign Team

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Daily Herald Columnist Eric Krol wielded a sharp pen against House Minority Leader Tom Cross on Friday. The column was pretty harsh and almost seemed vengeful. While they say that you should never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with Eric on a few issues.

Krol asserts that Cross "staged a coup against Lee Daniels, then House GOP leader". While that's how it may seem to an outsider and it certainly makes for a more sexy copy, it just isn't true. I was employed by the Leader's office under Daniels, and participated in a few campaigns through the HRCC (Daniel's campaign arm). The "stink" around Daniels had gotten so strong and his organization (HRCC) had atrophied to the point of failing to fund campaigns, that something needed to be done. It wasn't Cross alone that "staged this coup". It was rather a "falling from grace" that happened, and Cross, along wit…