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Thursday, April 13, 2006 08:26 am

CAP CITY

That's a rap, close enough for government work, the ladies' man

art2952
Kent Hammond of the Ace Sign Co. fights a spring breeze to install a street banner at Second Street and Capitol Avenue. The banner commemorates the State Journal-Register’s 175th year of publication. A variety of street banners have been installed th
PHOTOGRAPH BY EUGENE KNOX
THAT’S A RAP On Friday night, hip-hop came to Springfield — but not for long. The March Madness “Final Four” rap competition was shut down before the microphone was warmed up. Despite the fact the event had been planned for weeks and was the culmination of a month-long competition, promoters apparently didn’t square things with management at Vinegar Hill Mall, and police were called to disperse the crowd. Too bad — the young people who gathered weren’t the raucous types who show up far too often where rap music is played. With the rash of shootings in Springfield’s streets lately, so many young people coming together to do something positive should have been a welcome sight. “They sent 200 kids into the street who otherwise would have had a safe, fun, and entertaining evening,” says event promoter Emcee R-Two the Second of Capcitill Promotions. Rhavan Whittington, who was working the door at the event, expressed the view of most of the disappointed patrons: “I’m tired of hip-hop going up and down [Interstate] 55 between St. Louis and Chicago and skipping over Springfield.” Amen, brother.

HOW MANY FINGERS DO YOU SEE NOW? Jobs are neato. After all, no one likes being unemployed. That’s why the General Assembly should be cheered for creating the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority, which will dole out cash to worthwhile businesses that promise to put folks to work. In a press release breaking the news to the world, however, state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Lincoln, would have done well to spend a few bucks on a proofreader. According to the release, the authority will have an 11-member board. But wait a second — one paragraph later, the board has magically grown to a dozen members. Hold on, though: In describing just how the board will be selected, Bomke’s press operatives — we assume that he’s too busy to do this kind of stuff himself — say that the board will comprise three appointees from the governor’s office and another from each of 11 counties. That adds up to 14. The bill itself pegs the actual number of board members at 15 — three from the governor, 11 from the counties, plus someone from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Eleven. Twelve. Fifteen. Put it in the “close enough for government work” column.

THE LADIES’ MAN Word is, a few local broadcast journalists — all women — have taken to referring to Sam Cahnman as “Quagmire” after Glenn Quagmire, the womanizing pilot on the Fox animated series Family Guy. According to the show’s official fan site, Quagmire’s catchphrase, “Giggety-giggety-goo,” is known to “simultaneously arouse and repulse women.” The joke’s lost on Cahnman, a member of the Sangamon County Board and the Democratic candidate for the 99th House District seat now held by state Rep. Raymond Poe. Cahnman, who has a bit of a reputation as a ladies’ man, says that he’s never seen the show. “I sure would like to know where all these ladies are that I’m supposedly getting it on with,” he says.

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Illinois Times present “Beyond the Patriot Act,” the first of a 10-part film series, The ACLU Freedom Files, at 11:30 a.m. this Tuesday, April 18, in the Carnegie Room of Lincoln Library, Seventh Street and Capitol Avenue. The film explores the impact of the Patriot Act on people forced to defend their constitutional rights. After the 30-minute show, Ngozi Okorafor, ACLU legislative director, will lead a discussion. The Freedom Files are directed by Jeremy Kagan and produced by Robert Greenwald.

MYSPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER Myspace.com, a hip hub for networking, is popular with 18- to 25-year-olds, but that hasn’t kept Illinois politicians and their supporters from crowding in. Here’s how the free service works: A user signs up for a personal homepage and asks other users to be “friends.” The friends get access to one another’s homepages. Of course, not all of the pages are official — or even real. A homepage for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has most of the facts about the veteran politician right, and, judging the number of “friends,” he’s among the most popular Illinois lawmakers – but is outranked by U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who has racked up a staggering 2,700 friends and counting. Republican members of Congress don’t fare as well. A page devoted to U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood has attracted a mere 16 friends — one fewer than a page for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus. If only real lawmakers would get as excited about passing laws as their fake counterparts do — take, for instance, this fake message from “U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer” to Durbin: “Hello my fellow senator. I have this kick-ass bill I want you to sign. . . . ”
— From staff reports
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