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Oct. 31, 2014

I pledge allegiance…

When asked about his connection to the Tea Party during the WTTW and the City Club of Chicago U.S. Senate candidate debate earlier this week, state Rep. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) said, “I have never been a member.”

But Oberweis was careful not to criticize the party’s members, noting the founding fathers of the United States were Tea Partyers. He then brought up a figure that few audience members had previously associated with the Tea Party: Gov. Pat Quinn. The Republican candidate said, “Pat Quinn, for heaven’s sakes, was a Tea Partyer. His campaign sent tea bags to representatives.”

Oberweis was referring to a 1978 incident described on Quinn’s campaign website: “Quinn took up another fight on behalf of Illinois taxpayers when the General Assembly passed a whopping 40 percent increase in legislators’ salaries. Invoking the spirit of the Boston Tea Party, Quinn urged outraged taxpayers send teabags to then-Governor James Thompson in protest. Within days, the Governor’s office was overwhelmed with 40,000 teabags.”

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued the action did not qualify Quinn as a member of the Tea Party and claimed Oberweis is associated with the party. “Yeah, but that’s a lot different than the gang you’re hanging with,” he said.

Not in this town

GOP candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner caught flak this week for ordering a hot dog with ketchup – a big “no-no” when it comes to traditional Chicago street food.

Rauner ordered three dogs at a Vernon Hills Portillo’s restaurant, one of which contained ketchup, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Not long thereafter, an uporoar on Twitter ensued.

Eventually, Lyndsey Walters, press secretary for Rauner’s campaign, took credit for the snafu. “Hey, that hot dog with ketchup was for me,” she tweeted. “What happened to a woman’s right to choose?”

Culture in Chicago

The Chicago Humanities Festival is running through Nov. 9.

Events taking place this weekend include: “Trick-or-Treat with Paula Poundstone,” 8 p.m. on Friday at Northwestern University Law School’s Thorne Auditorium (sold out); “Lost in the Italian Renaissance,” 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Cassidy Theater; and choreographer Heidi Latsky’s “A Dancemaker’s Journey,” 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Edlis Neeson Theater.

For more information visit ChicagoHumanities.org.

-Tom Butala